“Of course it is dangerous here, but what we seek to prove is beyond such petty concerns. Even if we die, we will be immortal!”
–Magos Kellix Altar Oll, veteran researcher
One of many Adeptus Mechanicus installations scattered across the sector operated by the Lords of Mars. Tenuously (and dangerously) anchored in the center of a pulsar cluster on the rimward border in the Drusus Marches, its thousands of servitor-cogitators gather and digest data on this mysterious constellation. It receives little notice and few inquisitive visitors, which perfectly suits those running the station.
For the Tech-Priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus, there are few, if any, missions more worthy than the pursuit of knowledge. Within the Calixis Sector, this goal has launched endless Explorator fleets and Quaestor Expeditions in search of ancient technologies, remnants of STC systems, lost forge worlds, and other relics of days when science ruled Mankind. Though the Lathes treasure such vestiges as reminders of when Mars was truly ascendant, they also realise that there is still more knowledge to be found, some discoveries made long ago but since forgotten, others perhaps even new to humanity. Only through investigation and experimentation can such information be gleaned and understood, and thus from the Lathes sprout thousands of thousands of stations into the Sector. Some remain in the Lathes, the better to understand and monitor the peculiarities of their own system. Many went to inhabited planets and forge worlds, others attached themselves to long-duration voidships, but a majority were independent stations, isolated orbitals or detached laboratoria designed to operate on their own in the void. Into the dark they went, often not to be heard from for centuries---if ever---again. Diogenes IV is one such station, a tiny mote amidst a dazzling but deadly arrangement of pulsars.
As the name suggests, Diogenes is the fourth of this station pattern to be established in the Calixis Sector. Hundreds more also exist, as the structure is simple to manufacture and designed to support a wide variety of experimental research. Each is an angular affair, covered with docking ports, sensoria spikes, and other devices as needed for their research. This particular station was launched only a few hundred years after the establishment of the Lathes, and is located in a barely stable area of space near the rimward border. Surrounding it are several pulsars, each on its own worthy of study, but when grouped in such an improbable cluster they make for an irresistible attraction for closer examination.
A Precarious PerchEdit
Diogenes IV’s position is relatively safe, one of the few areas within the boundaries of the cluster where no one body overpowers the rest. While it makes for a somewhat stable anchor, it is a gravity hill, where even the slightest of disturbances might send it spiraling towards one of the powerful nearby stars. This also means that travel to and from the station is extremely challenging, rivalling some of the fell passages through the Lathes System. Often ships hover on the outskirts of the area for long periods after emerging from the Warp, carefully plotting their path across the gravity-confluences and Materium eddies before progressing inwards. It is not uncommon for vessels to limp into the station leaving trails of torn components in their wake, evidence of too close encounters to gravity shearing points. Some of the Tech-Priests aboard the station are convinced there are other bodies orbiting the area that exacerbate the cluster’s difficulty, undetected either through the overpowering energies of the pulsars or somehow otherwise illusive to the many arrays and sensoria aboard. Such speculation might explain some of the more destructive passages ships have faced.
At times, the confluences become so intense that no travel is possible, and any on the station must remain until the gravity tides subside. Those with docked ships sometimes wait out such storms aboard their own cabins, but few vessels have the shielding to protect against such devastating phenomena, and most are forced to berth inside the facility. The station itself is not conducive to waiting out the events, with many areas barely lit and covered with pitfalls or fallen wiring. There are few accommodations within Diogenes IV, and those are almost all designed for the comforts of Tech-Priests. For these reasons and more, there are few visitors to the station, few inquiries as to its progress, and few notices of even its existence. For those engaged in their own privative research within, this is an ideal state of affairs.
Centuries of DarknesEdit
Diogenes IV has remained in isolation for many centuries, weathering the gravity storms and other dangers of the cluster. Ancient Tech-Priests scuttle about the station, guiding their data-gathering devices and conducting esoteric experiments unfathomable even to others of the Mechanicum. Thousands of servitors exist in vast linkages to cogitator banks, their brains permanently wired into the mechanisms to aid in the processing and digestion of the constant data bombardment from hundreds of sensoria vanes lining the exterior. Hundreds more roam the hallways on mysterious errands for their masters. Much of the station is as dark as its surroundings, and passageways are littered with detritus and broken glow-globes from years of neglect. Entire compartments have fallen into disrepair, with little effort at restoration as attention towards research is more paramount.
It is in the darkest areas, though, that the most dangerous experiments are undertaken. Uncounted decades of solitude has led to a disregard for safety protocols or other niceties, and only results are of consequence. Minds already focused to an inhuman degree are warped further still in this reclusion, and the Tech-Priests attain a state beyond mere madness. One sect is certain that the pulsars are causing extreme stress-lines in the local Empyrean boundaries, and are determined to find a way to force the stars to synchronize their pulsations so as to create a vast entryway into the Warp such that vessels could enter without the need for actual Warp drives. That it might allow hordes of Daemons to enter realspace is of little concern, but so far their stellar oscillator arrays have proved fruitless. Another is certain that they can redirect the magnetic fields of the pulsars to gain entrance to another spatial region, and thus mimic the methods certain xenos races use to travel. The Lost Talon faction are devoted to studying a relic dating from before the Sector was founded, which seems to resonate in time with the pulsars and perhaps even guides their vibrational rates. Groups of unmonitored Magos Ætheric constantly tempt the Warp with their fell experiments. A small sect has even come to worship the pulsars as manifestations of the Omnissiah, and seek to reignite them through invert-matter explosions. Diogenes IV hosts many such as these in its holds, the darkness of isolation breeding darkness of thought and deed, all in the name of the Omnissiah. As more years pass, it is certain that one will erupt beyond the cluster to threaten the rest of the Sector.