The Adeptus Mechanicus is an distinct empire state within the Imperium, allied to Terra it is one of the founding pillars of the Imperium. The empire is ruled over by the clergy of a techno-religious cult, known as the 'Akolouthos Mekhane' (Greek influence in translation) more commonly known in the Imperium as the 'Cult Mechanicus' (those who follow the religion) or simply 'the Cult'. Their flock are the hordes of servitors that toil in the many Forgeworlds, these poor wretches are striped of their humanity and their minds reprogrammed to perform technical tasks. The are the 'electronic sheep' of the machine, mindlessly following their grafted memeplexes and 'social' programming. The Cult sees the Servitors as their property to do with as they will, and do not tolerate any form of independence.
Smoke and mirrors
The Adeptus Mechanicus is responsible for all the Imperium's higher technology. There are also other 'empires' in areas of space not dominated by the Imperium working with other cultures (as the cult has been places that the Imperium has not, and in the universe there are many stable warp networks, overlaid but separate, that effectively keep whole sections separate). This gives an usual situation that the hierarchy recognised and seen by the Imperium is not the same as that which the Cult see. To the Cult the Fabricator General on Mars; the high lord of Terra, is not the highest ranking member in the Cult. The true leaders are unknown to the Imperium, yet they are recorded as part of the Adeptus Mechanicus as 'Avatars' or 'IO' ('Incarnation of the Omnissiah'). It is entirely possible that some low level Priest is a member of the Cult's inner circle, cloaked with stealth fields and wielding tremendous power. An Avatar is powerful beyond most people comprehension as all technology obeys their command. They are also beyond the scope of this article.
The Cult - [Akolouthos Mekhane]
The Cult is very much run as a cult or religion, with initiates memorising prayers and laws, and proving themselves via trials and missions in order to gain status and reward. Above all else loyalty is the most highly prized characteristic among the cult. A modern analogy of the younger members of the cult's society would be organised crime social structures, like the Yakuza. The cult is highly active in acquiring and controlling technology, as far as they are concerned all technology in the Imperium is their Intellectual Property or derivative thereof and they zealously protect that property, and are quite capable of sabotage and murder. The full members of the cult are like the 'Big Boss' of a given initiate gang, and is untouchable and considered respectable within Imperial society. The younger members may even serve in units of Skitarii on Forgeworlds, the official army of the Adeptus Mechanicus, but rarely seen in the wars fought by the Imperium. Here they often fight opposing factions (Orients) within the cult, and are either promoted out of the armed forces or put down as servitors.
Each Forgeworld is run by the cult comprised of several 'masonic' Orients (lodges) all under the umbrella of the Grand Orient for that world. These Orients are multidisciplinary and draw members from all academic disciplines within the cult. From these Orients all those of those of a given discipline are arranged into companies or guilds known as 'Disciplina'. An analogy would be that the Orients are similar to a 40K version of Freemason lodges and the Disciplina being similar to Livery Companies. It is through the interplay of the Orients and disciplina that all the members can interact.
Notes: Disciplina was the roman goddess of discipline. Also, named after 'academic discipline', all the disciplina follow the academic disciplines, but a Disciplina is also the organisation, a mixture of university/ research and company. When several Disciplina collaborate they set up a 'Collegia'. A Collegia is made up of several Disciplina working together.
The Imperium recognises the Disciplina of all the worlds as one, and gives the name Legio (legion) to all the disciplina combined. So the Disciplina Cybernetica is known collectively as the Legio Cybernetica. Smaller multi-discipline organisations the terms 'collegia' is used , i.e. Collegia Titanicus to denote the Titan Legions, though the Imperium uses Adeptus Titanicus officially (and the cult often use 'project' internally at Orient level). The Imperium is not aware, or is not informed as to a given priest's affiliation to an Orient. The Imperium has not records of the Orients.
Correction: Several disciplina make a collegia, and all collegia are referred to a legio.
The Adeptus Mechanicus is founded on the morals and principles of a religion unchanged since the Dark Age of Technology.
More on the religion on the Machine Ghod.
An Orient is a fraternal organization. Each Orient is run as a democracy, which all Officers (leaders) being elected from, and by, the members of the Orient. All members of an Orient must have achieved the 3rd degree in a given Disciplina, which is a prerequisite of becoming an Orient member, and make them a leader within a their Disciplina. Each Orient has a temple where it's members meet to discuss subjects and conduct rituals to the Machine God.
Those within an Orient are known as 'masters' to other members, and those outside the the Orient know them as the 'Cult Mechanicus', such as the Imperium's Inquisition, and other high ranking figures if other Imperial organisations.
Member collaborate on research.
The Disciplina are where the Disciples work and Apprentices learn all directed by the Magos.
The Disciplina are the core work and study unit run by the Magos (3rd degree) who oversee the development of the Disciples (2nd degree) as the receive and are trained to use their implants, and monitor the knowledge uploaded to the Disciples new expanded minds. As they work, study and meditate they slowly master their craft and prove their dedication. The Disciples journey is as much spiritual as academic, more akin to martial arts training mixed with religious teachings. The no implants for understanding and enlightenment.
In turn, the Discipla overseer the Apprentices.
The Disciplina has a strict hierocracy based around a member's degree, with those of lower degree being subordinate to those of higher degree, and those of similar degree having authority based on project entitlement. The Disciplina is the recruitment and testing ground for those who will one day be inducted into an Orient.
Disciplina are referred to as 'worshipful' Disciplina, as in 'The Worshipful Disciplina of Astronomy'.
Several Disciplina working together is known as a Collegia. It is the Collegia that run the production plants and actually make things. The Collegia are the powerhouses of industry and produce all the Imperium's higher technologies and military hardware.
For example: 'Collegia Titanicus' is a group of Disciplina working together to produce Titans.
Collective name of all the Collegia i.e. The Legio Cybernetica refers to all the Collegia Cybernetica.
There are three levels of degree a Disciple can obtain in their career. Each degree is a status level and confers additional privileges, access to higher technologies and further progression up the cult's hierarchy. All knowledge of the degree is conferred through the electrograft implant. Higher level implants require greater mental training, and focus, to use effectively. Some higher implants require part of the brain to be removed to make room for the bio-photonic interface with external storage.
Children are born into the cult via careful genetic selection, and occasional engineering, and grown in artificial wombs. The child is brought up in the cult run community boarding schools, where they are taught the basics of the Tech (Tech sub-set - bio-software concept) language (High Gothic) with an outline of its convoluted integration with maths and the core rituals and meditation exercises needed for accessing implants that will be added later. The child is a product of the cult, and totally loyal to the cult. As the child matures they are assigned to a Disciplina as an initiate.
As they mature the often serve in the Skitarii, as front line troops, in service their Orient. The Skitarii is also a way for those born outside the cult to gain entry. There are other areas that a young person may serve, such as menial and builder, for the less adept.
An Initiate (or 'Pledge') to a Disciplina spend most of their time learning ritual, and rules of that Disciplina. They undergo surgery and testing - gaining level 1 core infrastructure interface implants and are equipped with external sub-brain storage. Final stage of initiation is the uploading of knowledge to become a full Disciple (i.e. initiate the storage and node). Once knowledge is uploaded successfully they are have completed the first degree and will serve their disciplina as an Acolyte. An Acolyte may serve many years before being put forward for the 2nd degree. While they are a productive member of a Forgeworld they are not yet part of an Orient.
These individuals have access to knowledge when connected to a machine (cogitator tech)
A Disciple is inducted into an Orient where they begin to learn the deeper knowledge and gain many internal and unseen implants (level 2 implants). They are still seen as an active Acolyte to all those outside the Orient, as membership of an Orient is secret. Once complete the Orient indoctrination they are referred to (and promoted) as Priest. To their fellow Acolyte this look like they suddenly became Priests. Once they have serve a century of two they may be inducted into the 3rd degree.
Zealot. (Anointed One) Master craftsman within a given Disciplina. Allowed into the high council chambers as observers and as helpers to 'Magos'. These individuals have full implant technology. The Zealots head up research and development and oversee the Disciplina. Once complete and accepted by the high council of their Orient they are uploaded with the greatest and darkest secrets of the Cult and become 'Magos'. They become a member of the High council of that Disciplina.
Beyond. Some Magos specialise in other Disciplina, and become multidisciplinary, but they will remain in the same orient.
Apostle - researcher into science theory. Mast be a Magos.
Sectary - Radical group or religious body regarded as heretical or schismatic by the Cult (Dark Mechanicus)
Votary - Takes vow, initiate. Used when first take vows and in training, replace with new title as earned (all are Votary)
Cenobite - a member of a religious order living in a convent or community.
Monakhos (Monk) - Solitary scholar, communing with the great machine in search on ancient knowledge.
Flamen - flamines maiores and flamines minores (Ad-Mec cult overseer/ Imperial liaison)
Presbyteros - Older Magos or Priest, part of the high Council.
Pontifex - High Priest (Imperial).
Hieratic - Tech language master - coder.
Klerikos - Clerk
Notes: Machine - 1549, "structure of any kind," from M.Fr. machine "device, contrivance," from L. machina "machine, engine, fabric, frame, device, trick" (cf. Sp. maquina, It. macchina ), from Gk. makhana, Doric variant of mekhane "device, means," related to mekhos "means, expedient, contrivance," from PIE *maghana- "that which enables," from base *magh- "to be able, have power" (cf. O.C.S. mogo "be able," O.E. mæg "I can;" see might ).
The use of Machine is slightly more complex in the way the Cult use it. It is more about the knowledge, and structure of thought that bring about 'machines' that mechanical devices, and has roots with 'might' and power structures.
Basically the 'Cult of the machine' is a cult of humanities 'thought and systems of artifice'.
This is a massively super populated hive world, forge world and commerce centre combined. The teeming trillions of humans feed the hunger of the forges and the 36 primary orbital space docks directly linked via the gargantuan spires of the gravidity funnels (a type of anti-gravity based lifts). Invictonburg is a bastion of Imperial might and serves as a good example of the STC based society organisation and project management systems utilised by the cult.
If you liked this, and would like to leave a comment on my guestbook, or catch up on all the recent comments, please visit my connect page. While there, you can also subscribe to email notifications, so you never miss a new post, along with my RSS feed as a backup. If you are feeling generous, and I know times are hard, you may support my site through Patreon (exclusive behind the scenes content), PayPal or Bitcoin! Lastly, there is a confidential contact form for any secret messages you wish to pass to me. Thank you for reading, and I look forward to hearing what you have to say :)