"Silent in the Calixian extent are worlds from which the Omnissiah has withdrawn His blessings. They trail their parent stars like errant children struck dumb and bloodied. Their ruins are profound, their catacombs endless, their savages sorrowful---for these wards of the Imperium of Mankind have paid a great and terrible price for the tech-heresy of their forbearers."
–Warrus the Secondmost, Indexus Astrae Calixis
Even among the unusually open-minded Explorators of the Adeptus Mechanicus, there are subjects which must be avoided at all cost to remain true to the dictates of the Machine God. A Heretek enthusiastically violates all such strictures, exploring xenos technology, archeotech from the Dark Age of Technology, and dabbling in all facets of technology related to the manipulation of the Warp. He may even be bold enough to develop entirely new technologies, combining components in forbidden manners to produce the ultimate tech-heresy for many in the Cult Mechanicus---innovation. He may go as far as sharing the tools of his trade and the secrets of its ways with those who have not been trained in the mysteries of the Machine God. A Heretek actively seeks out new technology and continuously experiments with new techniques in ways that were once forbidden. He no longer believes that any information, experiment, or device can be ignored. Rather, he deliberately focuses on those technologies that the Mechanicus' teachings once taught him to avoid, with a particular interest in developing Warp-based technologies.
Examples of Tech-HeresyEdit
Engines of Destruction: Weapons are the foremost goal and desire of many tech-heretics, whether it’s the discovery or theft of heavily restricted designs---such as atomics or the dread life-eater virus used as a tool of Exterminatus, the acquisition of sophisticated relics like the secrets to creating the induction coils used in plasma weapons, or the pursuit of alien designs of terrible power.
Gholam and other Forbidden Fleshworks: A Gholam is an artificial construct made primarily of flesh and synthetic tissue by the arts of a gene-sculptor. Although a widespread technology within the Adeptus Mechanicus, many branches of this lore are considered heretical and forbidden. These, in particular, include so-called “Murder Gholams”---horrific organic fabrications solely intended for violence, and homonculites---bio-forms fashioned from harvested human organs, alchemical serums, and vat-grown tissue in the shape of a living thing with no natural origin. Rarer creations include “Chimerics”---strange amalgam creatures that combine many sources of DNA to form twisted monstrosities with utterly unpredictable results, forced psychic mutation, and unspeakable “slaver parasites”---artificial organic grafts that subvert the will and the bodily functions of those unfortunates they are inflicted upon.
According to sacred legend, such fleshworks were forbidden by the word of the Emperor during the days of the Great Crusade in response to the horrors that he and his superhuman warriors encountered in the wars to end the Age of Strife.
Transgenic Blasphemy: In the darkest corners of the Adeptus Mechanicus, certain heretek Magos Biologis practice transgenic grafting: the splicing of alien organs and biological matter into human subjects. Such a procedure is not only extremely dangerous, corrupting the mind as well as the spirit, but is also an act of extreme tech-heresy. A Magos Biologis found guilty of such tech-heresy is likely to be executed on the spot or whisked away to a black interrogation chamber for further questioning.
Even attempting such a procedure grants the surgeon and the victim 1d10 Insanity Points. The procedure requires a Very Hard (–30) Forbidden Lore (Xenos) Test followed by a Very Hard (–30) Medicae Test.
Success on both indicates that the splicing is successful, permanently giving the victim a Trait or Talent possessed by the alien.
Failure on the Medicae Test indicates that the graft has not taken and deals 1d10 Damage to the victim (unmodified for armour or Toughness) and an additional 1d10 Insanity Points. Failure on the Forbidden Lore Test indicates that the graft has taken, but the surgeon’s knowledge of alien biology is flawed—instead of a trait or Talent, the victim instead gains a mutation (either random or chosen by the GM) as well as 1d10 Corruption Points. Failure on both indicates that the operation itself is an outright failure, and no additional penalties are incurred.
Cost 20,000, Very Rare
The Silica Animus: An artificial mind (rather than a simple cogitator) created from forbidden technologies, tradition holds that such unholy constructs are inherently evil and a perverted abomination in the sight of Omnissiah. Mechanicus doctrine states that the machine spirit of a Silica Animus is a twisted mockery of the soul of man, treacherous and insane. Ancient texts tell apocryphal stories, shrouded in metaphor, of such murderous and powerful creations during the Dark Age, and the legions of iron men that served them, blaming them in part for many of the terrible wars that laid humanity low in that lost time.
Malifica: Perhaps the darkest and most arcane of all sciences is the technology created to manipulate the energies of the warp or psychic force. A necessary evil for the Imperium and a cornerstone of its existence, it is a dangerous and volatile field of study.
At the outer regions of the accepted uses and patterns of this tech lie terrible devices and desires, and the melding of daemonic spirits with machinery and the channeling of the raw power of the empyrean through technology has long been a thing forbidden by the Mechanicus. For those reckless or insane enough, the temptation to pursue such dark experiments is great, offering the possibility of creativity and function unfettered by reason or the surly bonds of the universe’s physical laws.
The Proteus Protocol: Considered little more than a myth by many but the ultimat egoal of an obsessed few, the Proteus Protocol is an ancient and heretical technology for transferring not only the engramatic knowledge and memory of an organic brain, but also the personality and will, granting in effect complete mental and spiritual immortality in an artificial physical form. Of the few legends that surround this tech, some state that the abominations created are soulless beings with dark desires and alien hungers that can never be satiated. However, these warnings often fail to deter the Protocol’s most ardent seekers.
The Anima Chorus: Within the annals of the Calixis Sector, there is established provenance for the perpetuation of such tech-heresies as the Anima Mori, particularly among the works and disciples of the infamous Arch-Heretek Umbra Malygris. It was he who was reputed to have rediscovered the blasphemous technology known to the Adeptus Mechanicus as the Sarcosan Wave Generator. The generator releases a strange bio-aetheric radiation waveform that reacts with dead flesh, saturating it and filling it with unnatural life.
The energy alone is enough to bring corpses back to spasmodic and uncontrolled life. However, if the energy wave’s effect is amplified via a special implant unit (which may be attached to almost any reasonably intact corpse), its power increases tenfold, animating, sustaining, and controlling the cadaver. The wave energy is invisible to normal sight, but its source may be perceived by human ears as an eerie discordant moan, which gives the generator unit its other name---the Anima Chorus.
In the Calixis SectorEdit
Throughout the tumultuous history of the Calixis Sector, the specter of tech-heresy has often plagued the Adeptus Mechanicus of the Lathe Worlds. Threads of tech-heresy have spread from the far reaches of the Sleef Outworld to the center of Scintilla itself. The halls of the Panopticon have often rung with binary-cant curses and dire oaths against the pernicious hereteks that infest the Sector.
The reasons behind the prevalence of such tech-heresy in the Calixis Sector are many, but one theory from Arch-Magos Korvikal Quietus was that the Sector’s remote location, far from the center of Imperial control, is a major factor. Others claim that the opportunities the Koronus Passage provides and the unique features of the nearby Jericho Warp Gate have drawn hereteks like moths to a flame. Whatever the truth, the Lords Dragon have ruthlessly sought out and crushed tech-heresy wherever it can be found, often working alongside the Inquisition---though the Iron Wall of Silence sharply limits such cooperation.
Amongst the most notable groups tasked with eliminating and purging hereteks are the militant sects of the Adeptus Mechanicus, such as the Myrmidons and the Divine Light of Sollex---but there are other groups also highly interested in keeping tech-heresy from corrupting the pure knowledge of the Omnissiah. These organizations include the Magos Juris and, indirectly, the Lathe-Covenant Council itself.
Tech-heresy is often interpreted differently across the galaxy. There are many common schemes that the Mechanicus often label as such, but it is rarely found in such prevalence as in the Calixis Sector. The masters of the Lathes have placed their own stamp upon the tolerance and definitions of tech-heresy; for example, acquiring and studying xenos technology is rarely considered such, due to the particular focus on Explorator matters and the Thulian doctrine of High Fabricator Castellar. Arch-Magos Ralwure the Golden leads a conservative faction that considers harming or interfering with an ordained Tech-Priest’s person to be tech-heresy. In particular, this faction advocates severely prosecuting Rogue Traders of the Koronus Expanse who sometimes abduct Tech-Adepts and force them to serve as Enginseers on their vessels.
The High Fabricators of the Lathes decree (and the Lords Dragon enforce) the following to be tech-heresy across the Calixis Sector and the Lathe Worlds (including those domains outside the Sector), though this is, of course, not a complete listing.
A Clear and Present Heresy
Among the greatest threats these groups encounter in the course of their duties are the Logicians. This particular cult embraces a philosophy of progress based upon a single tome, In Defence of the Future: A Logical Discourse.
The Logicians are well equipped and supplied, but their greatest dangers come from their seductive ideology and their allies. Few amongst the Calixian Mechanicus suspect that the Logicians are assisted by the secretive Recongregators faction of the Inquisition, but given the relations between these two rival organizations most would not register surprise at this revelation.
To a lesser extent, the Phaenonite faction also dabbles in tech-heresy and has connections to the Stygiasts, a group of apostate Tech-Priests. The Phaenonites have acquired through their Stygiast partners a collection of cyber-augmented elite warriors known as Maltek Stalkers, and the battles between the Malteks and the Lathe Forge Guard have been savage clashes that leave countless dead on both sides.
Censure Betrayal of the Cult Mechanicus
Simply put, all those who break a pact with the Adeptus Mechanicus are to be reviled. Any apostates of the Omnissiah, outcasts or exiles, and especially those who dare truck with the daemonic, must be given no assistance, no quarter, and no mercy. As enforced in the Calixis Sector, the Lathe-Covenant Council has a number of rulings applying this censure to the Tech-Witches of Ammicus Tole.
Ammicus Tole, one of the Logician hereteks on Sinophia, abruptly broke all ties with his parent group and began gathering his own followers. It is presumed that Tole was serially disloyal, for he had earlier also abandoned the Cult Mechanicus for the Logicians.
The Magos Juris assigned to the case discovered that Tole’s group had become a cult, and he had led them into rituals of the Warp that had irrevocably corrupted the technology that they came into contact with. The Lathe-Covenant Council acted quickly to alert the Inquisition, and assisted them in rooting out the majority of the cult, although some remnants did manage to escape offworld to Cyclopea. Among the most egregious of Tole’s creations was the Prognosticaon, a device of divination that could, with the proper use of sacrificial blood, closely predict the future.
Avert any Twisting of the Sacred Genes of Mankind
There are many amongst the Calixian Mechanicus, particularly Magos Biologis, who are devout to the belief that the form of Man is, in itself, to be revered. This creed states that the gene-structure of humanity is as the Emperor intended it---any unnecessary alterations to the human gene-code is, therefore, anathema. The exact definition of what is “unnecessary” meddling has waxed and waned over the centuries since the founding of the Lathes, but there are currently many amongst the Lathe-Covenant Council who cast great doubt upon even the smallest changes. Most shun more elaborate modifications such as those procedures that produce enhanced Gland Warriors, though when enough thrones are applied it is still discretely carried out.
The Sector itself was nearly rent asunder by the tech-heresies of Umbra Malygris only a few decades ago, and the blasphemies he was responsible for are still strong in the memory banks of the Calixian Mechanicus. Malygris pioneered the dark art of bioforging, a horrific forced mutation of the human body into a hulking, armored thing capable of surviving for brief periods in vacuum. The Apostatic Matrix, another of Malygris’ inventions, twists the very fabric of the mind to turn faith into heresy. He also developed a method of fusing human biology with that of alien races, mixing xenos gene-code into his captives with a process that became known as transgenics. The High Fabricator has decreed that Malygris’ name be accursed forevermore within the transmit data-streams, but not even he can deny that Malygris possessed a formidable genius.
Renounce the Empyric Device
This tech-heresy involves studying and constructing the device-patterns of the Archenemy. To the Calixian Mechanicus, any technology that touches upon or manipulates the Warp, such as the hallowed Gellar field that protects voidships during Warp transit, is to be considered cautiously and is often suspect, for any malfunction or deviation can spell disaster. Thus, tech that directly seeks to channel and direct the corruption of the Warp is tech-heresy of the worst sort and is often seen as a direct link to apostasy. Using technology to bind a Daemon is but one example of this tech-heresy.
The Arch-Magos Callophe once studied the effects of human psykers upon the material world, but her research violated many of the Mechanicus’ most sacred precepts. In time, she was incinerated through Inquisitorial edict, but she had left behind a staggering number of empyric devices and an organized group of hereteks known as the Empyric Engineers.
One of Callophe’s most well-known developments was the psy-engine, a crude weapon capable of harnessing and directing the power of a number of disembodied psyker brains. Her followers also built ætheric resonators, weaponized frames that channeled Warp energy into vicious, crackling blades.
Abjure the Unliving
The Calixian Mechanicus refers to the protean engineering for returning life to the dead as the tech-heresy Unliving. Adapting technology to raise or communicate with the dead is considered vile by the Lathe-Covenant Council, and is to be stamped out wherever it is encountered. This has much to do with a former member of that council, the outcast Magos Vathek. Infamous both in the Tech-Priesthood and amongst the Inquisition, Vathek devised several machines that operate on a principle known as the “Sarcosan wave,” originally rediscovered by Umbra Malygris. Sarcosan wave generators restore a measure of life to the dead, animating corpses with an unnatural hunger in an unspeakable mockery of the living. The Sarcosan wave generators built into Vathek’s own carapace have allowed his survival in many encounters that should have been fatal.
According to the agents of the Lords Dragon, Vathek has made preparations to leave the Calixis Sector for some distant destination. He has begun forming around him a group of similarly apostate Tech-Priests that has been dubbed “the Stygiasts.” The speculum umbrae is a similar creation of the Animal Mori, that purports to allow communication with spirits of the dead. Firmly renounced by the Lathe-Covenant Council, the current theory within the Calixian Mechanicus is that such devices instead are contacting the Warp or are somehow transmitting “echoes” of living souls rather than the truly dead. This has not tempered the Logicutioners when they find those possessing such heresies.
Abhor the Silica Animus
Few things are more loathsome to the Calixian Tech-Priesthood than any who seek to resurrect the Iron Men or other horrors of the Dark Age of Technology. Tech-Adepts of the Lathes reject with horror any idea of soulless sentience, called by some the Silica Animus or "Abominable Intelligence.” Without a machine-spirit, a device is but a shell. If that device, however, contains an animating intelligent force, it is no longer technology that can be trusted and relied upon, it is no longer part of the Omnissiah’s great plan---it is nothing less than damnation made real.
Both the Inquisition and the Magos Juris have hunted the heretek Nomen Ryne for his blasphemies of the Silica Animus. Ryne’s most infamous discovery was that of the so-called 13th Pattern of Cogitation, an outlawed set of rubrications that can give life and sentience to a soulless machine. Many claim that the schismatical data-patterns in the deep infotombs of Lathe-Hadd are also his work, but no connection has been proven. Naturally, the Calixian Mechanicus purges any and all machines found to possess any data-markers of this 13th Pattern, and in many cases the Techsorcists have been called in to assist.
Ryne has so far escaped justice due to his cunning---he has constructed a number of frighteningly lifelike automatons shrouded in the robes of a Tech-Priest. These “False-Men” spread as far as Alactra, and the Magos Juris intercepted a number of them attempting to book passage into the Koronus Expanse. Ryne’s work has also birthed other abominations, such as the beast-minded mech spiders and murder-cogitators, hand-held devices that can assassinate a machine-spirit. One of Ryne’s greatest followers is a Tech-Priest formerly associated with the Inquisition, Cyrrik Scayl.
Other examples of this tech-heresy include the mech-assassin automata known as Gholams and Golephs, both of which have plagued the Calixis Sector for decades. Of late, an entirely new pattern---the Caryatid---has emerged, bearing far more advanced weapon systems and hunting protocols. The Lords Dragon are said to be intensely interested to find out more about the Caryatids and destroy their source.
The true nature of what constitutes tech-heresy is vague enough that it can encompass a truly wide variety of subject and activities. Generally speaking, in the Calixis Sector there are several definite actions that are considered amongst the lesser tech-heresies (called such because they do not fall under one of the other major categories).
Misuse of Technology
An extremely broad category, this usually refers to the adaptation of technology to a use other than that for which it was intended. Such misuse can be as simple as otherwise innocent technology used against the Adeptus Mechanicus rather than for it, transmitting blasphemies against the Omnissiah through a vox-network, or even abusing a chronically recalcitrant machine-spirit (such as venting one’s frustration with the offending machine in the presence of a Tech-Priest). Naturally, due to the imprecise nature of this category, it is easily misunderstood and rarely draws major attention from the Calixian Mechanicus.
The case of Illucis Grizvaldi is an excellent illustration of this particular lesser tech-heresy. Grizvaldi, a previously low-profile heretek, took over a small section of Scintilla and began liberally transforming its citizens into bestial servitors loyal only to him. The Inquisition intervened in the matter and Grizvaldi was seemingly summarily executed, but in reality he escaped and his legacy has lived on. From time to time, other hereteks seek to match or copy Grizvaldi’s atrocity. He himself now targets the planet of Merov.
Unsanctioned Communion with the Machine
The influence of the Lathe-Covenant Council can be quite powerful on the attitudes and outlooks of the Tech-Priesthood at large within the Calixis Sector. The extremely conservative faction, led by Arch-Magos Ralwure the Golden, has campaigned at length to establish a set of activities as tech-heresy. Ralwure’s diatribes on this subject are the stuff of the legend, and thanks to his influence, the Council has decreed in his favor. Thus, for the lay citizen (one not belonging to the Calixian Mechanicus) to craft unsanctioned augments, or scavenge technology (particularly the pernicious Reclaimators lurking in the depths of the Calixian hive cities) has been declared tech-heresy. This policy has sought to go so far as to also include interfering with or harming a Tech-Priest’s person, but that has yet to be fully adopted. The extent of this particular category is replete with a complex set of precedents and exceptions that only those within the Cult Mechanicus could truly understand.
"I’ll never forget the beast of bronze. It was in the wards that it came for us, autolimbs and machine-legs all fused together. It clambered over rotting mattress and rusting frames, with scalpels in every one of 10 bronze hands, lusting for the flesh it had naught of. “Fire, you dogs!” I cried. Rot their hides for not pulling triggers in fear first of all, but they rallied, bless them! Those zealous hands fired ‘til naught was left whole, and bronze-melt ran to the blood-gutters. There’s the Emperor’s welcome! There’s how we greet the warp!"
–Jagamar Elste, Fenksworld, 3.237.795.M41
A strange tech-heresy gripped the Josian Reach in the latter half of the 8th century M41. The augmetic scholae, techadepts who built and maintained cybernetic devices, became warp-tainted in many diverse locations. The hereteks built malformed machine altars and conducted corruptions of Mechanicus rituals. They succumbed to madness and mindrust, engraved screeds of warp-nonsense across every surface, and toiled upon twisted devices.
One such device is the bronze malifect, an ugly arrangement of bronze augmetic limbs infused with a murderous spirit of the warp. Inactive, a malifect appears to be a large heap of war-damaged augmetic arms and legs, as though they were removed from dead Guardsmen and thrown in a pile. On closer inspection, the arrangement is the deliberate work of a madman. The bronze autolimbs are plasma-welded together such that the mass is joined into one large device, capable of articulation and movement: a stump to a wrist, legs side by side, an arm projecting from a thigh, and so on. Data conduits and power lines weave throughout the whole, linking small potentia coils and scavenged flexor-devices. Heretek sigils and nonsensical machine cant scripts are inscribed upon the most crucial linkages.
When active and infused with the power of the warp, a malifect moves rapidly with purpose and malignant intent. The daemon-spirit within guides the machine beast and senses terrified victims through unknown means---the malifect incorporates no ocular components or processing devices capable of initiating movement. It is the warp alone, clothed in metal, hungry for death and pain, that motivates the device.
The bronze malifect is guard and ambusher within remote Machine Temples and drifting medicae vessels touched by the warp. It has a simple-minded fascination with medical tools: saws, scalpels, hooks, clamps, and probes. The daemon within exhibits a low cunning, lying in wait until its lust for flesh can no longer be suppressed—and then it leaps forth to choke and stab. More complex strategies are beyond it. The bodies of the dead are left torn, sliced, and splayed open as though examined by a mad vivisectionist.
Other perversions of medical tech-devices and machine spirits accompany outbreaks of tech-heresy in the Josian Reach: the dead made to rise and walk on warp-infused machine limbs, the living driven irrevocably insane upon operating tables, and sacrificial altars made of scalpels and bone-saws. Of all these, the bronze malifect presents perhaps the greatest danger to servants of the Holy Ordos.
The False-Men of Nomen RyneEdit
"Twice across the past decades have I come face to face with devices that pretend poorly to be men, clad in red robes of the tech–priest, acting as clumsily as serf mummers playing Mechanicus upon the feast stage. I have held conclave with Interrogators and Inquisitors who have seen the same. The intellect of the arch–heretek Ryne labours these centuries, hidden in some secret retreat, sustained by tech–devices stolen from the Machine Cult. He works towards the pinnacle that is the Iron Men, but has not progressed past these false–men, these manikins."
–From the Journals of Inquisitor Felroth Gelt 3.582.710.M41
It is not known whether Nomen Ryne himself was the originator of the unholy Thirteenth Pattern of Cogitation, a way to construct cogitation cores that is reviled by the Calixian Mechanicus. By the 9th century M41, such questions of origin have become unimportant. The Thirteenth Pattern is endemic amongst outlaws of Golgenna and Malfian hives; devices and unsanctioned cogitators travel the black paths of smugglers and pirates alongside vox-heresy and scofflaw augmetic limbs.
The Mechanicus hatred of Ryne has not diminished, as his name and influence have only grown over the centuries. Cults arose with the spread of cogitation-heresy, such as the Children of Ryne who worship the arch-heretek as an Imperial saint. It was through these cults that the Mechanicus and the Ordos first learned of the false-men of Nomen Ryne, for the false-men are angels in the eyes of Ryneite hereteks.
Enough false-men have been dismantled by the Ordos for their nature to be clear, albeit horrifying. The false-man is a machine built to appear as a heavily augmented tech-priest, incorporating all the traditional Mechanicus cybernetic modifications, or at least the appearance thereof. A falseman is capable of volition, speech, and planning---more than enough to cast it as the forbidden Silica Animus, an attempt to recreate the dread Men of Iron and so bring back horrors of the Dark Age of Technology. But false-men are paltry manikins by comparison to the Men of Iron. Their speech is disjointed and often irrelevant, as though mad or mind-rusted. Their reactions to circumstance are similarly telling---unexpectedly violent, strange, or illogical. Their movements are off-key and inhuman, exactly as though a machine pretended to be a man. Yet they can construct techdevices, plan ahead, and perform the functions of a fabricator tech-adept.
False Machine Temples populated by false-men exist in the Malfian subsector. The Children of Ryne believe falsemen bring messages and new tech-patterns from Nomen Ryne himself. Some false-men claim to be Nomen Ryne. It is possible that insanity and a strange form of ascension to life eternal in the embrace of the machine lies behind these centuries of heresy---but both the Cult of Sollex and the Ordos Calixis are set on destruction of the false-men and are little interested in answering deeper questions.
"We gathered warp–maddened survivors and heard testament of man–crushing red serpents, strange ribbons, and a burning light that brought insanity. We scoured the district for any remaining daemonic presence and prepared to hunt down those responsible the abomination. We found nothing but tales of horror and a lingering taint of death and the warp---no heretics, no witches, no daemons."
–From the journals of Inquisitor Felroth Gelt 3.267.690.M41
The Calixian warp is fickle and sometimes the very shape and movement of objects within the Materium can excite the tides of the Immaterium. Then the barrier between realities thins and daemons far beyond any human conception or emotion spill forth to wreck brief havoc.
This type of event has happened often enough that the Inquisition in the Calixis Sector has become aware of it. Certain complex configurations of rods, spindles, and other structures can conjure forth daemons and the fury of the Empyrean when manipulated in a particular fashion. The Ordos know these configurations as Logi Daemonis---a term derived from the babblings of witches and careful notes of heretek tech-priests who sought revelation from Empyric engineering. Numerous suppressed references refer to “logi maleficium,” “perfect words,” “warp-questions,” and the like.
To the Ordos, a Logos Daemonis construct is an instruction to foul beasts of the Empyrean and a danger to Mankind by its apparently innocent nature until moved into the final configuration. The attendance of any other form of warpcraft or psyker taint is not necessary for a Logos to activate and call down destruction upon all around it.
The Inquisition has never obtained an intact Logos to examine, as the fury of a warp manifestation destroys that which created it. Known Logi have existed within manufactory equipment and moving scaffolds, or were crafted by the insane in the form of folding metal-wicker altars. All recorded daemonic manifestations created by Logi have occurred in crowded holy places: cathedrals, saint’s shrines, and Mechanicus manufactories. The Ordos considers this last fact as proof of malign intent, as it is the nature of the Archenemy to strike at the holiest places of the Imperial Creed.
An active manifestation begins with the raw light of the warp pouring forth from the Logos, as the barrier of the Materium gives way. The warp-light will drive weak men mad, burn flesh, and set fire to flammable materials. Invisible warp-spirits pour from a Logos to possess terrified Imperial citizens, forcing them to stand and watch the warp-light until they combust—or walk into the warp to be destroyed.
More powerful daemons emerge from the Logos as fires start to burn and Imperial citizens flee or die. They ripple forth as streaming ribbons of warp-matter, formed into shifting shapes and outlines that hurt the mind. The ribbons knot into central bodies and create limbs by enmeshing the dead and possessed with loops of warp-stuff. In the midst of fire, warp-light, and insanity, these strange daemons stride about the zone of manifestation until the Logos melts and the grasp of the Empyrean fades.
From activation to vanishment, a manifestation might last less than 10 minutes, leaving the building in flames, and all who did not flee, dead or carried into the warp. Unless quickly controlled, rumor, fear, and panic will spread through the populace. Whatever the result, the area will bear a disturbing, inhuman warp-taint evident to psykers for decades.
"Obliviates are mere empty shells, the echo of a horror already taken place. Had the faith of the enforcers of 12-L held firm, they might have steadfastly slain obliviates and hereteks alike. I have seen greater feats from oft-maligned Magistratum squads. But in low Karvelt they faltered in terror at what the obliviates represented, and so were torn apart by soulless flesh."
–From the Journals of Inquisitor Felroth Gelt3.056.707.M41
The Ministorum Calixis preaches that “the Emperor protects” refers to the immortal soul of the Imperial subject. Death is not to be feared, but destruction of the soul is a horror almost beyond words—it is a fear that can roil hives to uprising and overturn the Dictates Imperialis in panicked riots. The body of one whose soul has been destroyed is a terrifying abomination, and to burn that empty shell upon the pyre is an act of cleansing.
The notorious Illucis Grizvaldi and his heretek followers prey upon these Imperial fears through heavy-handed use of oblivion volitors. These tech-devices are a corrupted and clumsy pattern of neuroaugmetic; when surgically implanted into the brain, an oblivion volitor turns a man into a soulless “obliviate.” Obliviates are empty shells, living on after the soul is consigned to nothingness.
Hereteks further augment obliviates with crudely implanted blades and metal fangs, so as to use them like attack animals. They debase the divine form of man by whipping obliviate packs to savage their foes. But the true weapon is terror---terror of oblivion brought to cherished souls, terror that the God-Emperor’s protection is sundered.
To the psyker, there is little difference between an obliviate and an aggressive combat servitor. The Mechanicus Calixis have many times pressed upon the Inquisition that the results of heretek destructive neuroaugmentation are often indistinguishable from many servitor patterns. Speculation following from this observation is best kept quiet, however. It is doctrine within the Ordos and Ministorum that oblivion volitors destroy the soul—and it is thereby in the interests of the Mechanicus to earnestly aid in suppressing what might otherwise have been a lesser tech-heresy.
Illucis Grizvaldi held court for heretek vermin upon Scintilla at the opening of the 8th century M41. Iron-clad hereteks paraded those who once spoke against their master: the newly made obliviates were leashed and naked---bloody, drooling, and empty-eyed. The idea that those torn souls would never feel the God-Emperor’s embrace put terror into Imperial hearts. For all to see, the arch-heretek had destroyed the essence of the faithful by means of the heavy, clacking augmetics embedded in their skulls. It was by fear and death that Illucis Grizvaldi held sway over his underhive domain.
However, these unfortunate victims of such a process are by no means related to those rare humans who case no shadow in the Warp; Untouchables, or “Blanks” as they are sometimes called. The Obliviate’s soullessness is of a different kind entirely; their minds irrevocably broken and twisted by heretical technology.
Thirteen bestials were discovered by Brecht District Magistratum in the low- and mid-hive strata over the course of late 705 and early 706.M41, minds and souls destroyed by oblivion volitor neuroimplants. Ministorum preachers performed exorcisms, ward-prayers, and blessings upon the wretches, and word began to spread. It was judged necessary for the Ordos to act before fear and rumor led to greater unrest in the hive.
A vore–weapon is a made beast, a living assassin’s tool crafted by heretek genetor and xenobiologis tech–adepts from raw xenos breeding material. This crafting is a dangerous practice for a Calixian Mechanicus priest. While the Omnissiah blesses the toil that created grox, beremoth, and a dozen other worthy agri–breeds, the creation of new xenos beasts from breeds declared corrupt or vile is tech–heresy. The line between the holy and the heretek xenobiologis is smudged and often redefined, but creation and use of vore–weapons are emphatically tech–heresy in the Calixis Sector. No faithful servant of the God–Emperor would create or employ such obviously corrupt xenos life, and those who do must be hunted down and burned.
The most common breed of Calixian vore–weapon is a thin worm–like creature less than a handbreadth in length, bristling with hard spines. It is possessed of startlingly strong hooked fore–limbs and a maw of razor–teeth. It can coil to leap clear across a room if needed and employs its hooks and spines to scuttle with alarming speed.
A vore–weapon is docile until enraged by chemical cues. Typically, an assassin activates and throws the vore– weapon upon its target by means of an armored gauntlet of particular design. A frenzied vore–weapon is fast, fearless, and extremely aggressive. It tears through even light armor to get at the flesh beneath, and then rapidly levers, thrashes, and burrows its way within to destroy internal organs. Once the xenos has maw and fore–spines within flesh, the target is as good as dead.
Just as for an assassin’s envenomed dagger, however, a vore–weapon is ineffective against the armored, the alert, and the forewarned. Its primary use is often as a coded missive intended for someone other than the victim---the assassin’s master displays power and ruthlessness in using a heretek’s vore–weapon, and threatens the same terrible death to those who continue to go against his wishes.
The noted Inquisitor Embuleos raged against vore– weapons in his lifetime, calling them a great heresy forced upon the Imperium by negligent and degenerate Magi. Despite periodic purges by the Calixian Ordos and Mechanicus, vore–weapon breeders continue to practice their ugly craft throughout the Calixis Sector. Renegade Tech–priests and biologis hereteks outside the Machine Cult ensure that the wealthy and unscrupulous have access to this terrifying means of assassination. They cultivate squirming colonies of the beasts, hidden away behind facades of wealth, and hold court for the factors of assassin guilds and death cults.
In recent years, more and more of these bizarre living weapons have been used to commit murders across the Josian Reach, leading some to speculate that a large storehouse of these xenos creatures somewhere in the region.