“Like three glowing jewels within the crown of the Mechanicus are the Lathes. Their power is manifest, their importance is paramount, and their logical attraction beyond compare. Without these worlds the Calixis Sector would not exist, and without them it could not continue to exist today.”
–Fabricator-General Castellar at the Convocation of the 2431st Conclave of the Lathe-Covenant
Found near the center of the Calixis Sector, along the borders of the Golgenna Reach, the Malfian Sub-sector and the Drusus Marches, is an entire system the Adeptus Mechanicus dominate and rule: the Lathes. Its three main planets, ceded to the Adeptus Mechanicus during the final stages of the Angevin Crusade and since transformed into massive forge worlds in their own right, have been vigorous furnaces of production and research at the core of the Sector for over two thousand years.
The Lathes are the foremost forge worlds of the sector, rivalling Scintilla’s Gunmetal City for weapons manufacture. The three planetoids, Lathe-Het, Lathe-Hesh and Lathe-Hadd enjoy an anarchic, fluxing orbit around their violent blue-white sun, intersecting to produce events of hyper-gravity. At such times, industry goes into frantic production, as the commingled gravitational urges of the passing planetoids allow for the specialist smelting of rare metals and alloys. Lathe-world blades are famed throughout the Calixis Sector for their unbreakable character.
Gravitational duress also accounts for the dense, armor-piercing quality of Lathe-world ammunition. These so-called “body-blowers” are expensive and rare, and often purchased singly. The damage they can do to flesh is astonishing. Blades produced under gravitic circumstances on the Lathes are considered holy and special. Lord Hax owns a rapier of Lathe origin, presented to him by Magus Luol Rho, emissary of the Lathes at the court of Scintilla. It is rumored that King Skull’s sword is also an unbreakable tongue of Lathe manufacture. The workforce of the Lathes is surprisingly small but all those born and bred on those oddly tangling planetoids are meaty, squat and powerful in their demeanor, and built with heavy bones and mounds of flesh. The population toiling in the massive macro-foundries based there to exploit the unique gravitation fluxes are huge, heavy set brutes more Ogryn in stature than man. They are but one part of the story, for scattered throughout the planetary system are dozens of vast city-sized orbital stations and hundreds of mining and research ouposts, hulks, asteroid bases and scores of vast steelglass-domed agrology platforms---arbors of green and blue that provide food and water amid the frozen void.
Since their founding, the Mechanicum of the Lathes have converted nearly every object in the system to the purposes of the Machine God. They have occupied almost every stable anchor point in the system with research stations, agrodomes, and Skitarii garrison bases. Reaching out from the central system, the Magos of the Lathes have stretched their power and influence across the Sector using all manner of coercion and manipulation. From the Lords Dragon conducting their diligent interrogations on the prison asteroid of Sheol 17 to the Magos Biologis of the Hippocrasian Agglomeration laboring over the churned devastation of Morwen VI, the Adeptus Mechanicus has spread throughout Calixis, and the Arch-Magos of the Lathe-Covenant drive to maintain firm control over their far-flung holdings. These Lathe Worlds, the common title given to the various stations, planets, and systems the Adeptus Mechanicus of the Lathes claim rule over, represent an enormous power within the Calixis Sector.
The Lathes are held in the fealty of the Adeptus Mechanicus of Mars, and are a secretive, closed environment. Access to the inner system is strictly controlled by automated ward ships and the Magos Militant commanding the massed power and might of the Mechanicus, capable of calling in extremis on the dread might of the Titans of Legio Venator who are said to have a hidden fortress on the dead moon of Lycosidae at the system’s heart. The outer fringes of the system are somewhat more receptive to visitors, and it is here at the trans-shipping orbitals that the great Chartist vessels and Mechanicus high-liners put in to trade and to export the Lathe System’s vast output, whilst also feeding its equally vast hunger for ore and metal. Fiercely independent and beholden to none but the lords of distant Mars, the Lathe System’s near five billion inhabitants answer only to the Archmagos council of the ruling Lathe-Covenant, and here the rule of the Omnissiah holds absolute sway.
The Lathes are protected by a fraternity of warrior priests, who can call upon the power of Titans if the circumstances demand. They are the Auxilia Myrmidon, a militant sect of the Cult Mechanicus, and are centered in the Lathe System and in particular their heavy fortified arsenal and base on the city-sized Panopticon Orbital Station. From this mustering ground, the relatively few Myrmidons are dispatched in small bands to oversee the defenses of the Mechanicus’s domains, seek out and destroy their enemies.
Unfortunately for the Arch-Magos of the Covenant, controlling the ambition and thirst for knowledge of countless adepts, scattered widely over the vastness of the Sector, is nearly impossible. Factions and sects vie for control of their own individual fiefdoms, secret research cabals operate with furtive aims, and forbidden experiments occur wherever the endless desire for knowledge overrides control or sanity. Added to this litany of difficulties are the caprices of Astropathic communication and the insurmountable vagaries of Warp travel, as countless stellar phenomena and other, stranger anomalies wreak havoc with all attempts at interstellar command, often rendering even the most careful and diligent leadership efforts completely fruitless. Entire tech-heresies might rise, Explorator ships become lost in their travels and forgotten, and research outposts fall to disuse and decay, and worse, as the Lathes strive in this impossible task.
Founding of the LathesEdit
As the Angevin Crusade ground on into its fourth standard decade, the Imperial forces pushing towards the planet Orendal through the Adrantis region met with greater and greater resistance, contending with more and more severe Warp storms and incurring staggering losses. Essential to those victories that were achieved were the Explorator fleets of the Adeptus Mechanicus, bravely providing reconnaissance and resupply services across all fronts. As the situation within the Calyx Expanse grew more and more grim, supply and support challenges for the forces of the Imperium were mounting. Mechanicus legends speak of the saviors of the crusade, the sudden appearance of a massive Adeptus Mechanicus fleet, complete with ancient Lathe-class Fabricator vessels and full deca-legions of Skitarii. Supported with no less than a demi-legio of medium and light Titans to bolster the war machines of the Legio Venator already present, these forces proved indispensable for the final push to meet Lord Militant Angevin and his forces at Orendal.
Arch-Magos Mat Aleph Xenon, commanding the enormous might of the reinforced fleets and armies of the Adeptus Mechanicus, requested as reward for his efforts the stewardship of a small system, Pondus Impare, just inside the borders of the Imperial stronghold of the Golgenna Reach. The erratic orbits of its planets and the strange behavior of gravity within the system rendered it nearly useless to most colonization or mining plans. However, situated as it was in the borderlands between the pacified Imperial regions and the half-tamed expanse of Adrantis, and given the role of the requester himself, the Lord Militant did not hesitate to grant this request.
Having a massive friendly force garrisoning a system so close to the embattled frontier was ideal for the Imperial generals. The Lord Militant himself, sorely grieved with the terrible losses suffered in the latest push, had withdrawn from all command decisions, leaving his forces in disarray and confusion. General Drusus, rising to command the Crusade, maintained a strong relationship with Xenon, and the forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus continued to serve reliably throughout the remaining phases of the war.
During the remainder of the Crusade three massive Fabricator ships landed on the three primary planets of the Pondus system, and began to churn out infrastructure needed to supply the material needs of the crusade through the final stages. The needs of the forces tasked with the pacification and policing of an entire fledgling Sector were vast, and only fully developed forge worlds would be able to meet the growing and desperate demand.
In less than two decades, the unceasing efforts of the Fabricator ships had laid the foundations for three independent forge worlds: Het, Hesh, and Hadd, named after the ancient ships now permanently residing on each world. With single-minded purpose, their inhabitants bent their every fiber towards the production of weapons, vehicles, and ammunition to feed the ravenous beast that was the Imperial war machine. Enormous autofactories stripped the planet surfaces for raw materials, crawling their slow, implacable way across the planets, leaving nothing but dry, ruined desolation in their wakes. Imperial soldiers and naval personnel, manning the vast cargo ships sent to collect the equipment and ship it to the front lines, could only stare in awe at the incredible changes being wrought upon the planets in such a short time. Upon seeing the vast canyon systems the criss-crossing pattern of the autofactories had knurled into the surface of the planets, many commented that they appeared to have indeed been turned on a lathe.
Arch-Magos Xenon referred to his new domain as “The System where the Lathes Dwell,” to honor the venerated machine-spirits bound within the ancient and powerful artefacts, but this proved to be cumbersome for official documentation. Soon the name was shortened to “The System of the Lathes,” and then simply “The Lathes System” towards the end of the Angevin Crusade. However, the tendency of Imperial personnel to refer to the planets, rather than the system, caused it to appear as the Lathes on most star charts. Over the course of the intervening centuries, even the Adeptus Mechanicus itself has come to refer to its domains across the entire Calixis Sector as the Lathe Worlds.
Exodus of SteelEdit
Over the next thousand years the Adeptus Mechanicus consolidated its power over the Lathes and their surrounding system. Factories, orbital assets, and research stations spread throughout the system, taking advantage of the opportunities the various anomalies and variances existing within the system offered. The density of forge worlds alone was enough to set the Lathes apart. Controlling a system so rich in strange phenomena and material resources, with the full power of three ancient Fabricator ships at their immediate disposal, was nearly unprecedented in Mechanicus history, and much was made of the opportunity. Entire research groups were transferred from Mars and other outlying facilities to these fresh new holdings in the fledgling Sector.
One of the central aspects of the system that lured Mechanicus researchers were the three major asteroid belts, all situated at curious angles to the ecliptic plane, intersecting at various turbulent points. It was clear from the structure and composition of the three belts that they did not share a common origin, and thus each offered its own potential. In addition, in those regions where two, or even all three, belts converged, an extremely rare array of conditions held sway. Researchers from Mars and beyond were eager to come to the system to pursue lines of inquiry as varied as gravimancy, cryomantic mining, and kinetic discordance.
Most prominent among the system’s many fascinating properties, however, were the tearing gravity storms and horrific pressure shears that had rendered the system all but useless to other servants of the Imperium. Vast cities in space were erected solely to observe these phenomena, poring over probable causes and effects, and into possible applications for any powers thus discovered. Arch-Magos expert in transportation, Warp technologies, communications, and weapons theory descended upon the system, swelling the ranks of the Adeptus Mechanicus within the Lathes.
In order to feed the countless millions now laboring throughout the system, enormous food manufactories and agrology platforms were constructed under the auspices of the Rustica Mandate. These vast complexes were established throughout the system to provide sustenance to all those servants of the Omnissiah who still required such basic needs. The stations were carefully placed throughout the region, so as to maximize the logistical impact of each station and its production.
Empty and remote regions often existed amidst the research stations, weapons platforms, and agrology domes that sprang up across the system, the very gravitic anomalies that made the system so fascinating often causing these isolations. Many of these regions provided ideal storage locations and study facilities for captured crafts, exotic xenos vessels, space hulks of various provenances, and more, that had been brought to the Lathes for innumerable other reasons. The offices of Lord Inquisitor Caidin and his predecessors have filed many complaints and demands for information and even for the outright surrender of several specimens. There are no records of any such demands being approved, due in large part to the sovereignty of the Adeptus Mechanicus, especially within their own domain.
To ensure the security of the many assets that have since been brought under the protection of the Lathes, many Omni-Vigilens and Indoctrination Bases have been established throughout the system for the Crimson Guard and their Titan allies, the Legio Venator. Although the greatest presence of both the Crimson Guard and the Legio Venator is to be found in Adeptus Mechanicus holdings outside the Lathes System, both entities maintain strong forces within the system, including the Legio Venator fortress world of Lycosidae, and even the Panopticon Orbital Station. The Mechanicus know that should the Lathes fall, their own power within Calixis would soon fall with them.
Descendants of the LathesEdit
The Lathes System is subject to a unique array of stresses and stellar phenomena that make it fascinating to the full spectrum of Mechanicus adepts. This, combined with the alluring density of planetary bodies suitable for conversion into forge worlds, and the presence of multiple resource-laden asteroid belts, made the system irresistible. The inhabitants of the Lathes are the standard cross-section of any active forge world, but have expanded to occupy nearly every niche possible in the system. After thousands of years of acclimation and adaptation, however, there have been two primary genetic divergences from the standard Imperial norm.
Due in large part to the crushing and indiscriminate gravitic shears that buffet all three of the primary worlds, as well as the rest of the entire system, adepts and menials alike descended from the original colonial stock have generally low, powerful bodies. Most Magos Biologis theorize that these alterations make these deviations, dubbed Lathesmasters, the ideal workers for this harsh, chaotic environment. A second, less well known, genetic offshoot, however, caused a branch of inhabitants that are massive in stature, often more so than Ogryns. These giants, unfortunately, cannot leave the system or their bodies soon collapse. Whether it is the gravitic anomalies, some sort of mineral dependency, or perhaps even a strange symbiosis with the system’s sun, these huge creatures die within days of leaving their home system. There are many whispers within the Calixis Sector concerning the daunting size of this secondary branch. Rumors abound concerning their dimensions and strength, and the possible causes of such deviation from the genetic norms. It is when outsiders witness these large specimens that fresh rumors of mutation or genetic experimentation once again arise. A constant struggle is waged between the Lexmechanic Canonicus of the Lathe-Covenant and the Calixian Conclave, who seem determined to categorize the larger genotype of the Lathe World as Abhuman.
Because of this altered but stable genotype, Tech-Priests, Skitarii, and menials alike originating from the Lathes are shorter than average, but stronger and more durable. In fact, most standard humans would require some form of augmetic enhancement or gravitic support to survive for long in the Lathes System. However, there are many out-system humans that call the Lathes home as well, called to the system from all over the Imperium. Because of this diversity, there are even more factions within the structure of the system than would usually be expected, even among the fractious, individualist adepts of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
At the very top of the feudal hierarchy of the Lathes and their vassal territories are those adepts belonging to the Lathe-Covenant. Following the original documents of confederation---called the Pact of Blood and Oil---and these adepts control the web of relationships, obligations, and enmity that define the position of the Adeptus Mechanicus within the enormous power structure of the greater Sector. Power within the Covenant is slow to shift, but when there is an adjustment it often involves varying translations of the responsibilities, duties, and claims contained within the Pact and their relationship to the governors of the Calixis Sector.
The two most obvious factions vying for control of the system and its far-flung holdings are the Disciples of Thule and the Followers of the Divine Light of Sollex. Devoted to the teachings and example of Explorator Arch-Magos Paracelsus Thule, his Disciples are utterly focused on the search for ancient technologies from ages past, often to the exclusion of all else. Those adepts who follow the Divine Light of Sollex, on the other hand, are weaponsmiths without compare, devoting all of their time and energy to the development and production of the most destructive technologies imaginable. These adepts are truly ruthless in their pursuits, and are suspected of several incidents of genocide, as well as the sudden and complete deaths of entire biospheres in more remote corners of the Calixis Sector.
Serving as the native defense force, and the armed wing of the Adeptus Mechanicus within the Sector, is the Crimson Guard. A massive weapon, forged from the ranks of loyal Skitarii, combat servitors such as the famed Spatha-pattern creation, and skilled Secutor warriors, the Crimson Guard is scattered across the Sector. They are deployed in units that range in size from individual squads guarding outlying stations to regimental combat units stationed on major bases and fortress worlds watching over the most sensitive and important assets of the Mechanicus. Under the auspices of the Crimson Guard within the Lathes System itself are units that have not actually been contained within the standard chain of command for centuries, including the Brazen Guard Praetorii. Ostensibly, the Crimson Guard serves the Lathe-Covenant first and foremost, but the reality is much more complex than this, with various commanders and Arch-Magi commanding the fealty of various units and divisions, including the Grandmaster of the Legio Venator and the Forge Masters of the Lathes.
Within the ranks of the adepts are whispered even darker schisms, factions whose existence sits on the shadowy border between hearsay and legend. The implacable Lords Dragon are said to stalk hereteks throughout the Sector, while the fabled Acuitor Set mech-assassin cult haunts the darkest fears of the most faithful servants of the Omnissiah. The adepts of the Ordo Reductor, in their blood-red robes, threaten destruction to any who stand against the Covenant, while the adepts of the Hippocrasian Agglomeration are said to study life to the very edge of death and beyond. Many other cabals, more sinister or mysterious, lurk around the edges of rumor and innuendo, shaping the relationships and patterns of fealty within the Lathes System like the violent and incomprehensible shears of local gravity.
The current balance of power within the Lathes System is difficult to decipher, even to those adepts who must daily contend with it. Nominally standing atop the furiously burning forges of the Adeptus Mechanicus in the Calixis Sector is High Fabricator Castellar, ruling from the forge-temples of Lathe-Het and leading the adepts of the Lathe-Covenant as the first among equals, for the greater glory of the Omnissiah. However, tensions abound between the Fabricator General and his deputy, Arch-Magos Ralwure the Golden. While the bureaucracy of the Covenant grows and grasps for power in pursuit of the quotas and production levels of their past, Forge Master Janden Samekh Alpha of Lathe-Hesh also burns with indignation at this betrayal of the foundational ethics of the Mechanicus. And over all, lies the eerie stillness of Lathe-Hadd, the Silent Forge, where political conflict has forced nearly every factory and workshop on the planet to fall still, waiting for a revelation that refuses to arrive.
Taming of the LathesEdit
“We have before us the rawest of diamonds, my brothers. But with the diligence and dedication you have shown in all things, this system will soon be the most glorious jewel in the crown of the Mechanicus Calixis.”
–Arch-Magos Mat Aleph Xenon addressing the first Conclave of the Lathe-Covenant
For their assistance in the prosecution of the Angevin Crusade, the Adeptus Mechanicus was gifted with the Pondus Impare system, eventually renamed the Lathe Worlds. It was in this system that three ancient Fabricator ships were sacrificed to the war effort. The massive vessels, constructed in the orbital shipyards around Mars thousands of years before, had never been intended to enter a planet’s atmosphere. However, it was decided that they would be incapable of feeding the hunger of the Imperial war machine if they remained in orbit. In a concerted effort involving almost the entire Adeptus Mechanicus fleet, each of the three primary planets received one of the priceless artefact ships, lowered into the gravity well on the glaring plumes of countless retro-jets and ancient gravitic plates. Immediately, the three Fabricator ships began to construct the massive mobile mining/factory crawlers that would harvest the planets’ resources for the war effort.
Before the final thrust into what would one day become the Drusus Marches, the Cynod of the Mechanicus and High General Drusus signed the Pact of Blood and Oil, outlining the rights and responsibilities of the forces of Mars within the Calixis Sector in perpetuity. Ultimately, the loyal forces of the High General, wielding weapons the Adeptus Mechanicus of the Pondus System provided for them, were able to defeat the enemies of the Imperium. The three planets, each housing an irreplaceable artefact of the Dark Age of Technology, had churned out enough weapons, machines of war, and ammunition to drown the enemies of Man. The surface of each planet had been scoured clean in the endeavor, the crawling manufactories chewing through the land and transforming it into the materials of war. More and more advanced factories, warehouses, templums, and hab-blocks grew across the planets as the skeletal structures of true forge worlds were laid down in concentric circles around each of the grounded Fabricator ships.
The effort of transforming the Lathe Worlds into their present forge world status was the work of many centuries. Layer by layer, building by building, the planets evolved. The viscera of pipelines, tram-tracks, and transportation tunnels were laid amidst the bones of evolving infrastructure. Higher and higher into the darkening atmosphere rose towering structures, the Cog Mechanicus glaring down from scaffold-enshrouded factories, research facilities, and worshipping centers alike. Carbon poisons saturated atmospheres as the native inhabitants migrated into sealed habitats beneath the surfaces of the planets, or slowly died of stubborn pride. As the Lathes System developed, so too did the Mechanicus holdings throughout the newborn Calixis Sector.
Surveyor maniples conducted an exhaustive survey of the entire system. Each item found within was assayed for its best value to the efforts of the Mechanicus, assigned relevant resources, and the taming of the Lathes begun. Harbinger stations and Scrutinatus platforms were pushed throughout the system. In the earliest days thousands of adepts died studying the system’s star and watching over the entangled loops of the intertwining asteroid belts. Many more adepts perished in the efforts to catalogue the system, but centuries of disasters, looting, misfiling, and simple neglect means that only the most cursory reports survive.
Several strange, notable anomalies can still be found in the data remnants kept deep beneath the Nidus Omega on Lathe-Het. Records show several celestial bodies that apparently no longer exist, but are referenced in several different entries, such as an entire cometary fragment, originally of some importance, that was either misidentified or mislabeled and thus lost to the mists of time. A legion of blank-faced servitors bears the responsibility of digging through these partial data scraps in the incense-laced darkness of the Elogium beneath the Nidus. The efforts of these fallen servants is tireless, and yet the High Fabricator and his fellow Forge Masters hold little hope to see more than a single reconstituted datum over the course of a lifetime.
One of the most infamous info-gaps is that there are no early records to show the existence of the planet now designated Cella. Because of the partial nature of the records, it is impossible to know if Cella was, in fact, present all along, or whether those early adepts, who struggled to bring an entire system into the Mechanicus fold, actually constructed it. Several archaeological expeditions have been suggested, but the High Fabricators have denied every request for time or resources throughout the millennia. If the rocky bones of a natural planet are present, however, there is no way to tell now without such an effort. Layer after layer of storage space, warehouses, stasis-vaults, and data-tombs have accumulated over the entire planet’s surface and deep into its mantle and core as well. Most adepts merely assume that it is an artificial construct, taking pride in the Mechanicus Calixis and its ability to craft worlds out of nothingness. Those few outsiders who have visited the system, however, often express serious doubt that a planet nearly the size of Terra itself could have been constructed artificially.
One of the most important mandates delivered to the legions of adepts reforming the system was the need for the Adeptus Mechanicus within the Lathes System to be as independent as possible. This was a policy dictated from the high towers of Mars itself, despite the close ties between the Imperium and the Mechanicus. To this end, the adepts instituted a web of life that stretched across the system, connecting those few regions of stable gravity to each other with a pipeline of transportation routes, agrodome stations, and transfer points, that would ensure that all the Omnissiah’s servants requiring food would have it, without the need for importation from Imperial worlds. The Rustica Mandate required the largest deployment of independent stations in the system, and is one of the most ambitious engineering feats to be seen throughout the Lathe Worlds.
Working outward from the Lumen Stations, which keep a constant watch over the fluctuating energy waves of their sun, legions of adepts struggled diligently to harness the system and make it their own. It was the work of several decades to anchor the Sagitarium Stations above Desideratum. Myrmidons of the Ordo Reductor, working closely with a host of war sages and Secutors, labored tirelessly to hang these stations and their lesser cousins around the desert planet. For nearly two thousand years now, every form of weapon known to man has punished the planet’s surface, scattering hab-sized shell casings, re-entry shafts miles deep, and other gigantic wreckage across the empty wastes. Rumors occasionally surface of strange artefacts blasted up out of the planet’s crust, but the Factors of the High Fabricator quickly dispel them, as all official records declare that there was never any xenos presence within the system.
Even as the rest of the system took shape, a shell of stations was constructed at the margins to present an amicable façade to the rest of the Sector. These Excipio Stations also provided a convenient cover for massive defensive works, a first line of defense should the need ever arise. An army of workers built these dual purpose stations, primarily servitors who were immediately repurposed or destroyed outright once the stations were complete. The Excipio Stations now provide an elaborate mask of unity and friendship while defending the system from unwanted scrutiny or encroachment.
The skeletal structures of the docks, floating in high anchor around the three Lathes, were among the first works to be completed. When the system was young and the Calyx Expanse not yet fully tamed, Explorator fleets were seen as an essential adjunct to the Lathes System’s responsibilities. Even after the formation of the Calixis Sector, the support and coordination of these fleets was seen as vital to the directives of the Mechanicus Calixis. Vast Explorator fleets are still regularly sent forth into the Koronus Expanse and beyond after ancient treasures and undiscovered phenomena to further the Quest for Knowledge. The history of the Lathes overflows with celebrated Explorators, among them Secutor Josefus Sendar Ion the Bloody and the tragic figure of Magos Jonwa Kline, lost beyond the Rifts of Hecaton over three centuries ago. The most famous, of course, is Arch-Magos Paracelsus Thule himself.
Often these Explorator fleets carry with them sacred archeotech and other technologies not available to the average run of humanity. The launching of such a fleet is an delicate and momentous event, and the adepts of the Lathes treat is as such. When the flagship Sacred Wheel of Certainty was launched in M41.721, over a hundred thousand Lathesmasters attended, singing in binary cant as the enormous ship slid out of its cradle and into orbit around Lathe-Het. Massive atmosphere-scrubbers cleaned a path through the pollution at that moment, so that as a billion arc-torches lit the darkness and flocks of candle-bearing cherubs filled the skies, those on the surface were able to witness the departure of the enormous vessel.
Over hundreds of years the Lathes System transformed itself into one of the most important Mechanicus holdings in the entire quadrant. The shaping and development has never stopped, however, and the system has continued to be crafted, wrought, and changed down through the years to fit the shifting priorities of Forge Masters as they come and go. Currently, the Lathes are enduring a tumultuous period of confusion, conspiracy, and deceit, but undoubtedly they will arise stronger than before; the consequences, if not, are too horrible for even the logic-engines of the Covenant to conceive.
The Rule of Iron LawEdit
The Lathe Worlds comprise every planet the Mechanicus claim rule over within the borders of the Calixis Sector and beyond into the Koronus Expanse (though the latter is without any Imperial recognition, given the nature of that lawless region). The challenges of leading such a diverse and individualistic group as the adepts of the Omnissiah are manifold, ranging from the eternal problems of void communication and transportation, to the more insidious issues of oversight and tech-heresy. Over time, an elaborate structure has evolved within the rigid confines of the Pact of Blood and Oil to assist the Lathe-Covenant in managing its holdings.
The Lathe-Covenant requires a careful balance between three distinctly seperate offices: the High Fabricator of the Lathes, the High Council of the Arch-Magos, and the Consilium Magos. The High Council is a small cabal of Arch-Magos drawn from all the Lathe Worlds, responsible for every facet of production in the Mechanicus Calixis. The Consilium Magos, on the other hand, is a much larger body, again made up of adepts from throughout the Lathe Worlds. It is the duty of the Consilium to interface with outside agencies of power such as the Sector Governor’s council and the Holy Ordos. The Consilium hears petitions from these bodies, analyses their cases, and then advises the High Council. Ancillary to these assemblies are the Magos Vagus, the remaining magos in the Sector. Any magos may attend Covenant session, call for a hearing before the High Council, or request an audience with the High Fabricator, although this will most likely be denied unless they are able to pique his interest.
In theory, the Lathe-Covenant is independent of the High Fabricator, and he, in turn, is only one among equals within the High Council. However, over the past several hundred years, the balance of power has slowly shifted away from the Covenant and into the hands of the High Fabricator, effectively anointing him, unofficially, as the sole ruler of the Lathe Worlds and marking the Covenant as little more than an advisory body.
The Lathes SystemEdit
“The Lathes would present a solid-seeming veil of common purpose to the Calixis Sector at large, but their fractured reality is far from the monolithic, unified face they project to all outsiders.”
–Margrave Francesca Gryval, First Imperial Consul to the Lord Sector Calixis
The Sentanim system is home to much more than the Lathes themselves. Veiled in mystery, the aberrant nature of space and time itself protect secretive adepts as they pursue their manifold projects and agendas, far from the prying eyes of outsiders. Should an agent manage to pierce the security of the outer system, they find gravity itself turned against them, as local special anomalies make it almost impossible to navigate without inside aid. Gravitic shears and storms, congested lanes of transport tying each planet or region tightly together, and the countless assorted detritus and debris of two thousand years of expansion clutter the system further, forming a nearly insurmountable maze to any outsider attempting to enter.
- Rusica Mandate Stations
- Praeclusio Anchor Points
- Lathe Belts
- Excipio Stations
- Panopticon Station
The Lathe WorldsEdit
The Lathes System is the undisputed centre of the Cult Mechanicus within the Calixis Sector, the font of all blessed technology in this region. The rule of the Adeptus Mechanicus reaches far beyond this one system, though, to hundreds of planets, thousands of orbitals and research stations, and unknown numbers of Explorator vessels across the region and beyond. They are all still collectively known as the Lathe Worlds, those places where the Mechanicum holds sway or owns outright. Most are huge industrial forge worlds, generating giga-tonnes of material to drive the Calixis Sector from one day to the next, and fuelling the colossal war effort of the Spinward Front and its other battles across the region. Others range from isolated research facilities, orbital void stations, and far-flung Explorator fleets, to data-crypt worlds, failed experimental colonies, and other unique emplacements. Outsiders assume each is under the firm control of the Lathes, all part of a sector-wide, singular machine of unified thought dedicated to the Glory of the Omnissiah. Like many other such beliefs concerning the Adeptus Mechanicus within the Sector, they are woefully ignorant of the actual truth.
The various sub-factions underneath the Lathe-Covenant councils oversee the administration of the various Mechanicum holdings across the Sector. Areas that entire manufactorums once occupied on Lathe-Het are now devoted to such bureaucratic functions, something that has become a strongly fractious point within the higher ranking Magos-sects. Here the obsessive zeal for gathering and recording data most lower Tech-Adepts display has gone unchecked, creating endless information tombs for the reports, directives, proclamations, regulations, and other records each world generates, as well as those heavily edited Praecursator Grid monitor-streams that filter down to this level. So much data is gathered and kept that it has become impossible to perform any meaningful analysis or even organization, as the Lexmechanics struggle just to sort and file the incoming waves of information that unceasingly crash over them. Bands of servitors mindlessly ferry data-stacks across the planet, weaving patterns of information like ant-trails, the goal of preserving ancient knowledge more important than actually utilizing it.
Adepts watching over their worlds furiously construct new datum-vaults to contain it all, each quarrelling with each other over the relative importance of their charges and the data they generate. Massive shrine-vaults score the surface, devoted to the premier forge worlds or research facilities, some so layered in consecryptions that few, if any, are able to gain access. Many other vaults fall into disrepair as rival Adepts re-route their maintenance servitors to other repositories, or are even razed to make room for more privileged or powerful monitor-sects. Other crypts are destroyed in deliberate data-purges after regime changes in the ruling councils, or razed as their worlds are condemned for harboring tech-heresies. More still simply fall to the predations of time and are forgotten, eventually collapsing into dusty ruin and destroying centuries of history.
This is but a fraction of the difficulties the Lathes face. Just as Holy Terra and the Administratum nominally oversee the Imperium, a surely impossible task considering the difficulties of reliable Astropathic communication and Warp travel, so the Lathes also strive but fail to control their own empire within the Sector. Even with perfect monitoring, understanding, and compliance, the Lathe Worlds would be ungovernable.
Often, change happens faster than the Lathes can react or plan. Planets revolt to overthrow their Tech-Priest masters, to be crushed into subservience or reborn as hostile regimes. Records of entire systems are lost in data-quakes, their existence erased and their oaths of knowledge-tithes forgotten. Tech-heresies fester across the Sector only to burst like rotten fruit, despoiling the minds of once-loyal Mechanicum servants against the Omnissiah’s proper worship. Explorator fleets vanish from Imperial space, never to be seen again or worse to return with unholy technologies and heretical xenos wisdom. Commonly punitive fleets arrive to correct wayward Lathe Worlds, only to find their target long since destroyed, absorbed into a rival Calixian sect, reformed in their ways, or simply no longer where the outdated records indicated it should be. Astropathic communications between the Lathes and their dominions go unheeded, misinterpreted, or simply ignored. This is exacerbated as the Lathe-Covenants and the Astropathic Choirs of Lathe-Het hold each other in barely restrained contempt for the dogmatic, outdated, and inefficient belief-patterns the other holds. Even with the mysterious Praecursator Grid aiding their efforts, and frequent loyalty programming engram-branded into their servants, the Arch-Magos of the Lathes are often only able to give the illusion of oversight and control over their worlds.
So it is that the Lathes turn, striving in their impossible goal of perfect control over their dominions within the Calixis Sector. The great cogwheel of the Opus Machina is raised upon all of the worlds, yet it is in actuality a mere symbol of unity for the Cult Mechanicus. The Magos of the Lathes issue decrees and orders to their charges, designed to enforce the tenets of the Machine God the prosperity of the Mechanicum, with enough power behind their binary directives to encourage compliance. These orders are followed, ignored, lost in Astropathic translation, misunderstood, or transformed into myth, depending on the recipients. The sheer inertia of these processes maintains much of this Empire of the Machine in the Calixis Sector through the millennia, its massive geared teeth grinding endlessly, but with each year wearing away more and more.
The birth of the Lathe Worlds began with the birth of the Calixis Sector itself, during the Angevin Crusade. A memorable amalgamation of brilliant victory and tragic setback, the Crusade set out in the fourth century of the 39th Millennium to conquer the region then known as the Calyx Expanse. Praetor Golgenna Angevin was placed at the head of this grand military force consisting of millions of loyal Imperial souls, and directed his efforts to cleanse the Calyx Expanse from debased human cultures and several minor xenos cultures that opposed the Emperor’s glory. Angevin’s remit was to purge the Expanse of these obstacles to pave the way for Imperial colonization. Naturally, such a prospect intrigued the Tech-Priesthood of Mars, and a sizable contingent of Adeptus Mechanicus forces accompanied the Crusade.
The Angevin Crusade (322.M39)
Lord Militant Angevin’s grand strategy included a sweep through the Calyx Expanse on two fronts, pushing the enemies of the Emperor who chose flight over destruction before him, and then trapping them all together in the Adrantis Region. Here, the full power of the Crusade would come crashing down in one masterstroke. Ahead of the forces of the Lord Militant raced a score of ships, such as Rogue Traders vessels and the Explorator fleets of the Adeptus Mechanicus. These ships helped identify potential targets and scouted enemy strongholds for the more powerful naval units arriving in their wake. At the sharp end of Angevin’s thrust into the Calyx Expanse, these Rogue Trader and Explorator fleets saw furious action on a regular basis. Acts of heroism and sacrifice were common, and on many occasions, the Lord Militant acknowledged that his decisive successes would have been impossible without the services and sacrifices of these irregular forces. The glory the Explorator Fleets gained in these actions helped set the Adeptus Mechanicus a position of honor in the Calixis Sector for centuries to come.
Conquering Adrantis (359-369.M39)
The first actions of the Crusade proceeded exactly as planned by the Lord Militant, and the greater part of the Calyx Expanse had been brought under the control of the Imperium in a few short decades. Unfortunately, after the enormous successes of these early phases, the commanders in charge of the final push into the Adrantis region failed to make allowances for the desperation of foes pushed to the very edge of extinction. The Crusade’s offensive ground to a bloody halt, and Imperial forces suffered far more grievous losses in four years than had been inflicted during the first two decades of the Crusade’s advance. These losses were so devastating that the Lord Militant was obliged to order his forces to regroup in defensive positions within the Golgenna Reach.
Shaken by the defeat, Lord Militant Angevin abdicated command of the Crusade to a council of his generals as he himself went into seclusion to mourn. Lacking coherent leadership, the council of generals began to quarrel over the authority that the Lord Militant set aside. The Adeptus Mechanicus forces accompanying the Crusade considered their agreements to lie with the Lord Militant, and held themselves apart from these squabbles for power.
The situation worsened as the enemies of Mankind began to exploit areas thought safely subdued; ravaging warbands of Orks, the Warp-worshipping Yu’vath race, and a mysterious group of shadowy, xenos pirate raiders were amongst the greatest of these opportunistic enemies that threatened the Crusade’s flanks.
When it seemed that the Crusade was on the verge of losing all the territory gained by Lord Militant Angevin, command of the main Crusade was seized by Lord General Drusus. A leading personality amongst the followers of the Lord Militant, Drusus was a popular and gifted commander, and he organized a daring series of counter-attacks that pushed the enemy forces back long enough for the Crusade to gather its considerable strength. Drusus’ strength of character was apparent to the Adeptus Mechanicus forces, and they swiftly agreed to lend their forces to his command. Once more, the Rogue Trader dynasties and the Explorator fleets of the Mechanicus led the way for the redeployment and reinforcement of the Crusade’s offensives.
Dawn of the Lathes (380.M39)
The Adrantis region was finally subdued through great acts of velour and much struggle. The victory could not have been assured without the assistance of the Adeptus Mechanicus. A major force under the leadership of Arch-Magos Mat Aleph Xenon turned the tide, and in gratitude, High General Drusus signed a pact with the Adeptus Mechanicus ceding control of several worlds in the Sector to the Tech-Priesthood of Mars. These worlds included Hadd, Het, and Hesh, a trio of worlds that were declared unsuitable for other Imperial agencies due to the unusual gravimetric effects of the system upon all three planets.
The effort of transforming the Lathe Worlds into their present forge world status was the work of many centuries. Layer by layer, building by building, the planets evolved. The bones of infrastructure were joined by a viscera of pipelines, tram-tracks, and transportation tunnels. Soaring into the atmosphere rose the towering structures of the Adeptus Mechanicus, its cog-wheeled iconography glaring down from scaffold-enshrouded factories, research facilities, and transmat altars alike. As the Lathe Worlds and their system developed, so too did the Mechanicus holdings throughout the newborn Calixis Sector.
The Praecursator Aftermath (580.M39)
Two centuries after the establishment of the Lathe Worlds, the system was only partially tamed and the far-flung holdings of the Adeptus Mechanicus were still in the turbulent process of consolidation. It was then that the fledging Calixis Sector was thrown into violent disarray. A conspiracy soon emerged that reached tendrils into many different power bases, from the Governor’s Council to the Imperial Guard. Even the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Inquisition were not spared. The ultimate goal of the conspiracy was never revealed (although it is rumored that entire data-vaults in the Tricorn contain detailed theories and evidence), but what is known is that the conspiracy centered around a group of agents known only as the Praecursators. According to official reports, no upper level members of the conspiracy were captured alive. Agents of the Praecursators had infiltrated their target organizations at the highest levels, which meant that rooting out the conspiracy was extremely difficult, even after the agents were discovered.
An uneasy alliance of mid-level Administratum functionaries, Adepts, and specialists from the various infiltrated groups was formed and tasked with tracking down the Praecursators, isolating them from their power base, and then taking them into custody. The Adeptus Mechanicus was essential to this effort, providing transportation, cogitator support, data-sifting, and tailored meme-viruses to help root out the Praecursators.
Ultimately, the Tech-Priests of the Lathes concluded that a rogue Inquisitor Lord was at the heart of the conspiracy, although much suspicion was also cast upon sects of the Mechanicum as well, due to the heretical tech-rituals the Praecursators’ activities displayed.
The Praecursators had gone to great lengths to isolate the command structures of the Sector governance from several key Mechanicus facilities. Theories amongst the Lathes suspect that the conspirators were attempting to preserve these facilities for general use by Calixian citizens. This populist element of the conspiracy was particularly abhorrent to all of the affected organizations.
In the years following the unravelling of the conspiracy, the Fabricators of the Lathe Worlds bent every effort to lessen the strength of the Inquisition, within the Calixis Sector in general and over the holdings of the Mechanicus in particular. A great deal of infighting arose from the collapse of the Praecursator plot, and the Arch-Magos of the Lathe-Covenant demanded that the Sector Governor cede control of the planet Synford. Since then, Synford has become the primary producer of Baneblade super-heavy tanks for the Sector.
Despite the ancient nature of the plot, there is still lingering ill will among some members of the Inquisition who trace their ideological roots back to the lords and masters of that earlier time. Some Inquisitors still hold suspicions that the entire plot originated in the Lathe Worlds, in an effort to consolidate and expand their control within the Calixis Sector. Centuries after the end of the conspiracy, reports from the Inquisition claimed that the Praecursators eventually evolved into a particular cult of tech-heresy known as the Logicians.
The War of Brass (738-740.M40)
Over a thousand years after the initial founding of the Lathe Covenant, the hive worlds of the Gelmiro Cluster fell into apostasy. Their leader in this descent into heresy was a charismatic ruler who called himself the Emperor of Brass. This mysterious figure led his followers into the foul worship of the Ruinous Powers. Loyal to the Emperor of Brass, frenzied fanatics from the wealthy and powerful worlds of the Gelmiro Cluster murdered every functionary of the Adeptus Administratum, ritually desecrating the bodies of the fallen. Significant portions of the affected planetary populations accompanied their new overlords into treachery beyond redemption.
Dissatisfied with holding the powerful worlds of the Gelmiro Cluster in his augmented fist, the Emperor of Brass sponsored bloody uprisings on several other nearby worlds. Soon after, a full-scale rebellion threatened the wider Calixis Sector. The death toll continued to rise as he publicly tortured and executed loyal Imperial servants and citizens. The Sector Governor was forced to call upon all available forces to stem the bloody tide. From across the Calixis Sector and beyond, loyal units converged upon the Gelmiro Cluster. These Imperial forces first pushed through the neighboring regions, and crushed the nascent rebellions there with heartless efficiency. Amongst these forces that rose to answer the Governor’s call were several battle Titans of the Legio Venator, and an entire Explorator fleet with support from the mysterious Ordo Reductor.
The campaign against the Emperor of Brass and his burgeoning rebellion, known as the War of Brass, lasted just over three years, but even in that short time the fighting proved especially vicious. In the end, several companies of Space Marines were needed to reduce the final hives to rubble. In the final, desperate battles at the heart of the Gelmiro Cluster, several records were discovered hinting that support and reinforcement had been supplied directly from the Eye of Terror itself, linking the Emperor of Brass to far more dangerous threats.
At the end of the conflict, the once-rich worlds of the Gelmiro Cluster had been reduced to smoking remnants of ruin and shame. Many planetary populations had become nothing more than scav-mutants, doomed to wander across the devastated wastes, surviving off the rotting remains of their once-great civilizations. The Imperial agencies of the Calixis Sector avoid the haunted worlds of the Cluster, now classified as war worlds, to this day.
The Iron Wall of Silence Descends (740.M40)
The Calixian Mechanicus forces suffered staggering losses during the War of Brass. In the end, the battlefields of the Gelmiro Cluster were strewn with countless corpses of Skitarii and the scattered remains of many more combat servitors. Indeed, so high was the cost that the High Fabricator of the Lathes, Arch-Magos Kovikal Quietus, declared the imposition of the “The Iron Wall of Silence,” a steadfast rule of segregation from all other groups within the Calixis Sector. From that point onwards, any cooperation, beyond minimal requirements of existing pacts, were strictly forbidden in an effort to preserve the Calixian Mechanicus forces and allow for a period of rebuilding.
The Meritech Wars (211-226.M41)
Roughly five centuries after the final collapse of the Emperor of Brass and the scouring of the Gelmiro Cluster, a far more insidious danger arose from the Merates Clans. Rebelling against the Imperium of Mankind, the Clans drew many renegades and other malcontents to their cause. They declared independence from the Imperium, and began a systemic series of raids and heavier incursions into surrounding Imperial space, threatening both the Calixis and Ixaniad Sectors. At the height of the conflict, the very survival of both sectors was thrown into doubt as the seeds of rebellion and anarchy were sown far and wide by the forces of the Merates Clans.
Such confusion and violent resentment was unleashed throughout the regions afflicted by the Clans that civil war threatened to soak both sectors in blood. Production across the affected regions ground to a halt, as those who were not dragged into the conflict withdrew to defend their holdings and hope for intervention. Trust was an impossible hope in the wake of the Clans’ attacks, as entire populations that had seemed docile and loyal for generations rose up to support the rebels.
When all appeared lost to those loyal few who remained within the beleaguered systems, the leadership of now-legendary Calixis Sector Governor Myram Harvala surged to the rescue. A coalition of forces brought together from across the Calixis and Ixaniad Sectors swept into the advancing rebels along multiple fronts, crushing their forces and knocking their reserves back into the Merates Cluster. Imperial Guard, Imperial Navy, Adeptus Astartes, and Inquisition forces ground the opposition to tatters as they pushed them deeper and deeper into the heart of the now defunct rebellion. With victory all but assured, the High Fabricator of the Lathes, Forge Master Kovikal Quietus, sent three full Explorator fleets directly from the Lathe System. The centuries-old Iron Wall of Silence was finally broken, without prior notification or coordination. The Explorator fleets, with support from the Legio Venator, were at the forefront of the purification of the Merates Cluster. From that point on, there was no mercy and no quarter. Entire worlds were cleansed with weapons of such enormous destructive power that many of the planets were shattered into asteroids. By the time the forces of the Imperium and the Mechanicus were finished sweeping through the Merates Cluster, not a planet remained that had not been scoured of all life.
A thorough Inquisitorial investigation was conducted after Sector Governor Harvala declared the rebellion at an end. While laudable, the brutal zeal with which the forces of the Imperium, and the Adeptus Mechanicus in particular, had conducted the final phases of the counter-attack, had left not a single witness or prisoner to be questioned or paraded before the victorious processions along the avenues of Scintilla. Even those prisoners who had been taken prior to the arrival of the Mechanicum’s elite Crimson Guard were eventually lost to a rash of unusual malfunctions and sudden, mysterious deaths.
The Inquisitors exhausted all possible avenues of inquest, and soon followed whispered rumors of the Logician Tech-Heresy to the very doorstep of the Lathe System itself. However, rather than cooperate with the forces of the Governor, Fabricator Davos Phar responded with a brittle show of icy indifference, imperiously dismissive of the envoys’ requests, and accused the Inquisitors, their masters, and the very Sector Governor himself of blatant disrespect and towering hubris. Referring to them as “the miserable curs of a thankless master”, the Fabricator ordered the frontiers of the Lathe System and all other Adeptus Mechanicus holdings in the Calixis Sector closed, and all the force at the Fabricator’s disposal was bent to keep outsiders from penetrating the sovereign territory of the Omnissiah. The ancient Iron Wall of Silence was re-instituted, and stood again unbroken for over five hundred years with brief exceptions, until the Malygrisian Tech-Heresy erupted across the Calixis Sector, forcing the Adeptus Mechanicus once again into the affairs of the Sector at large.
The Second Siege of Vaxanide (507.M41)
Three centuries passed after the conclusion of the Meritech Wars and the re-establishment of the Iron Wall of Silence before the forces of the Lathes once again ventured forth, answering the call of the Sector Governor to stop the incursion of the Ork-infested space hulk Pinnacle of Savagery. Ninety years earlier, a similar attack had cost the system greatly, and the lack of response from the Lathes lessened their standings amongst the notable rulers of the Sector. In response to this fall from grace, and its attendant loss in trading status and support, the Calixian Mechanicus sent out two full Explorator fleets to assist Battlefleet Calixis in facing the Ork menace.
The Pinnacle of Savagery and its supporting fleet were met at the edge of the Vaxanide system. A dramatic battle ensued as the massive space hulk pushed deeper and deeper into the system towards planets that still bore the scars from the earlier Ork assault. The loyal ships of the Battlefleet Calixis Squadrons peeled away attending Ork vessels from the enormous space hulk and defeated them in detail. Meanwhile, the brutal weapons of the Ordo Reductor and the Explorator fleets pounded into the space hulk itself, ultimately shattering the vessel’s spine and spilling its vile contents into the void.
The danger to the system was not yet halted, however, as the significant chunks of the space hulk continued to hurtle through space towards the vulnerable planet. Again the Adeptus Mechanicus moved to intervene, putting lives and ships at great risk to slow the wreckage down, and ultimately bring it to a halt. However, when the ranking admiral of the Battlefleet suggested that any intact wreckage be destroyed, Arch-Magos Haverill Gemm, commander of the Mechanicus forces, denied the request, and the remains were claimed for the Lathe Worlds as recompense. With no further consultation of the Imperial Navy, the Explorator fleets secured several ships to each chunk of wreckage, fired their engines, and brought the largest sections back to the Lathe System for reasons unknown. The Imperial Navy, concerned that xenos hostiles might still pose a threat, lodged several complaints against this action, to no avail.
The disposition of any salvage from the Pinnacle of Savagery was never released, and its present location is listed as “unknown” in all Administratum sources. Though ancient treaties grant the Mechanicum rights to new technological discoveries, claiming the hulk while it still was categorized as a threat was singularly uncommon in the Sector. Many amongst the Inquisition and Imperial Navy suspect that the Calixian Mechanicus had planned all along to secure the space hulk’s secrets for themselves.
The Malygrisian Tech-Heresy (742-770.M41)
In the middle of the seventh century of M41, the insular and isolationist Calixian Mechanicus was again thrust into the spotlight when one of their own turned violently, irrevocably renegade and dragged the Lathe Worlds into a sector-wide path of carnage.
Explorator Arch-Magos Umbra Malygris was a militant renowned for his dedication to the destructive potential of technology. Malygris devoted decades to studying the weapons and munitions of bygone eras, poring for years over ancient tomes and datastacks of ancient and suspect provenance. A devotee of the Divine Light of Sollex, the Arch-Magos attracted many of the most gifted weaponsmiths and researchers under the aegis of his organization. Leery of the growing popularity of the militant adept, High Fabricator Castellar moved to sanction Malygris and attempted to break up the cabal he had surrounded himself with, fearing a recurrence of the False Fabricator affair several decades earlier. However, Malygris refused to relinquish any of his power, and declared Castellar as nothing more than an “ineffectual bureaucrat.” Thus, the stage was set for a massive conflict that would reach across the breadth of the Calixian Mechanicus.
Castellar attempted to use the Forge Guard to force compliance upon the errant Arch-Magos. However, bizarre system failures and binary invert-afflictions---themselves creations of the inventive and insane mind of Malygris---rendered even the vaunted and mighty Forge Guard ineffectual. Warned of the imminent attack, Malygris fled the Lathe System with a fully provisioned Explorator fleet containing vast amounts of research, ancient weapons, and blasphemous examples of his own tech-craft. A surprising number of Tech-Adepts rose up in support of Malygris, swayed by his charismatic data-cants and heretical approach to advancing technology. As a result, many of the ongoing works of the Calixian Mechanicus became abandoned, threatening a full dogmatic schism within the Lathe Worlds and the far-flung holdings of the Omnissiah’s Cult.
Aware of the danger posed to the entire Calixis Sector by the renegade Arch-Magos and his deluded followers, the High Fabricator formally declared Malygris and all who obeyed him as Apostate in the eyes of the Omnissiah. Next, Castellar contacted Lord Sector Marius Hax upon Scintilla, and requested assistance. This unprecedented outreach from the formerly isolationist Mechanicus quickly drew Hax’s attention to Malygris’ threat. Convinced of the seriousness of the situation, Hax used his influence to dispatch several major concentrations of Battlefleet Calixis to assist in the search for the missing Explorator fleet. No less than five full battle groups of ships, comprising both loyalist Explorator vessels and detachments of the Imperial Navy, formed the pursuit of the heretical Arch-Magos. Malygris and his followers fled to the furthest reaches of the Sector, always managing to stay at least one step ahead of his pursuers. Along the way, Malygris tested his research and weapons systems in a series of attacks that laid waste to several planets in his path rimwards towards the Halo Stars. Malygris and his followers subjected Xeiros Prime, Loss, and world-designate MMX215 to terrifying experiments. Orbital apostasic arrays drove entire planets into raving insanity. Bio-forged horrors stalked formerly-bountiful wastelands, transgenic atrocities ravaged entire cities, and enormous gene-lathes processed entire populations into ulcerous, writhing seas of living tissue.
The renegade Arch-Magos’ pattern was broken when his fleet arrived at Synford II. Many of his materials exhausted, Malygris turned to raiding Mechanicus facilities to acquire the technology and resources he needed to continue his mad schemes. The raids were indiscriminate and widespread, and it was the Synford system that suffered Malygris’ attentions the most---after scouring Synford II down to bare rock for raw materials, the renegade’s fleet bombarded the planet to destruction, leaving only a shattered husk in their wake.
However, the Calixian Mechanicus and Battlefleet detachments had tightened the noose. Malygris was cornered at the edge of the Synford system, caught between the advancing Mechanicus Explorator fleets and the flanking Imperial Navy detachments. At the forefront of the assault was High Fabricator Castellar’s flagship, Iron Promise. One of the Adeptus Mechanicus’ few true battleships, Iron Promise was a heavy combat vessel bearing a proud and long lineage.
Malygris’ fleet opened fire, attempting to overwhelm Iron Promise with a storm of macrocannon batteries and lance weapons. However, Castellar’s vessel had been retrofitted with several unusual devices of war from the High Fabricator’s personal vaults, and it was the blessings of these modifications that granted the mighty ship a chance to survive the attack. Void shields shorted out one after the other, and the massive vessel trembled under repeated hammer blows of nova cannon fire. Reeling in flames, with several decks exposed to the void, the ship seemed nearly crippled, but Iron Promise had finally reached optimal range for its killing blow.
The jutting prow split like a blossoming flower and gaped wide, exposing an enormous weapon that rapidly gathered corposant energy from the system’s sun. In moments, Iron Promise struck back with one final, searing blast of unspeakable power and blinding light. The weapon’s scything beam engulfed the enemy fleet and shattered all but the largest ships in one blow.
The battle did not last much longer, as the Imperial Navy and the Mechanicus fleets ruthlessly destroyed any surviving enemy ships---including any intact pieces of debris large enough to support survivors. With a curt message of gratitude to the Imperial Navy, Castellar and his forces turned about and headed for their home port in the Lathe System.
Whilst Malygris and his followers had been decisively dealt with in the Synford system, extensive purges of sympathizers and secret partisans of the renegade Arch-Magos shook the Calixian Mechanicus for years afterwards. The Divine Light of Sollex sect was severely scrutinized, with many suspect Tech-Adepts quietly replaced and sent back to the Lathes for reindoctrination. The taint brought through Malygris’ actions kindled a distrust of the more militant groups of the Calixian Mechanicus that exists to this day. Many fear that the tech-heresies of Umbra Malygris most likely live on, hidden in secret laboratories and locked away in dark stasis chambers throughout the Malfian sub-sector.
Personalities of the LathesEdit
It is no accident that the Lathes are the central concentration of authority within the Calixis Sector---the three worlds that make up the Lathes contain the greatest Forges, the most advanced technology, the most revered secrets of knowledge, and the most experienced adepts of the Cult of the Machine God. It is a truism amongst the Calixian Mechanicus that “as go the Lathes, as goes the Sector.”
Power Factions and SectsEdit
“Put three of them in a sealed chamber and you would find no less than five factions and two secret sects. I swear to you, I believe I have met Tech-Priests whose left brain and right brain belonged to two different splinter groups.”
–Rogue Trader Choras Donagal, First Trader of the Golgenna Reach
The Lathe Worlds are, in theory, one seamless, perfect mechanism where all serve in unity of purpose under the rule of the Lathes. On a practical level, however, they are nothing more than a loose conglomeration of factions, each consisting of millions of insular, isolated adepts, most far distant from their masters. Each adept pursues their own Quest for Knowledge with which to enrich the Omnissiah and the greater glory of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Occasionally, they find themselves capable of working in unison towards their disparate goals. However, quiet often, Tech-Priests across the Sector find themselves at odds with their brethren, with those for whom they should maintain the highest esteem. It is in those moments, when loyalty to the Omnissiah, loyalty to one’s self, and loyalty to one’s faction or chosen sect collide, that the true measure of an adept is often known.
History is replete with examples of adepts who have pursued their own Quests for Knowledge against the better judgment of their peers. The False Fabricator of Cyclopea and his elaborate Servitor army, the dangerous allure of the Pharrian Profanation, and of course, Arch-Magos Umbra Malygris himself, all stand as ready examples of the danger that can be posed from abjuring the teachings of the Omnissiah in favor of personal advancement or power.
It is, therefore, extremely important for any adept entering the crucible of the Lathes to exercise a certain amount of awareness towards the various factions and sects that comprise the Lathes System and the diverse feudal holdings of the Lathe Worlds.
- Disciples of Thule
- Magos Fidelis
- Divine Light of Sollex
- Cult Achanum
- Alium Union
- Scions of the Iron Sphere
- Hippocrasian Agglomeration
- Ferrous Whisper
- Aes Omnisiah
Graviton Pulse Launcher
Thanks to the unusual gravitic phenomena that affect the Lathes, the Calixis Mechanicus are experts in gravity manipulation, and the Graviton Pulse Launcher represents one of the many fruits of their expertise. Based upon the graviton gun, the launcher projects an orb or nucleus of barely contained gravitic energy. The orb descends rapidly, limiting its range, but once a target is struck, the field containing the energy collapses and a vast pulse of energy radiates outwards, violently crushing anything nearby.
Everything caught in the blast area is pressed to the ground and must take a Hard (–20) Strength Test or be knocked down. Being thrown to a solid surface from a standing position and forced to the ground in this way is enough to inflict 1d5 Impact Damage with the Primitive Quality to the Body, although what the character or object is thrown against and how far they fall may well make this effect far worse. Additionally, anyone attempting to move or perform physical actions within the blast radius for 1d5 Rounds afterwards must first pass an Arduous (–40) Strength Test. At the GM’s discretion, the blast may shatter brittle objects, collapse loose flooring, rupture containment vessels, damage vehicles and machinery, plus wreak any other havoc deemed appropriate.
Heavy, 20m, S/–/–, †, PEN —, Clip N/A, RLD N/A, Blast (6), Inaccurate, WT 24kg, Cost 4700, Extremely Rare
†See weapon entry.
Whilst not technically a weapon, this manufactorum tool is mostly used for delicate construction work in the Lathes system, but can easily double as an extremely dangerous melee device. Capable of firing intense blasts of heat at very short ranges, an arc-welder easily cuts through most personal armor, and the resulting electrical damage to the target can fry organs from the inside out.
Aside from its profile in melee, an arc-welder is capable of cutting through meters of adamantine plating, up to 40 centimeters thick every minute (thinner material can be cut through faster). Arc-welders are usually mounted on the wrist and can rapidly extend outwards for use, making them easily concealable. All enemy Weapon Skill Tests to Parry arc-welder attacks suffer a –20 Penalty due to its method of operation.
Melee, 1d10+5†, E, PEN 10, Unwieldy, WT 2kg, Cost 1,700, Very Rare
†The User does not add his Strength Bonus to this weapon’s Damage.
Kronos Mk III Plasma Pistol
Class: Pistol (Plasma)
In addition to seeing military service, this sophisticated plasma pistol is offered for sale by the Mechanicus weaponsmiths of the Lathes at an exorbitant price for those who wish to purchase its sacred power. Just why this rare and potent device of the Omnissiah’s divine wrath is available for sale while other lesser weapons are not remains another inscrutable mystery of the Mechanicus.
The Kronos has two settings: on the maximal setting it consumes three shots from the clip at once, and requires two Rounds after firing to recharge.
Pistol, 30m, S/–/–, 1d10+6, E, PEN 6, Clip 10, RLD 4Full, Recharge, WT 4kg, Cost 5,000, Very Rare
Maximal: 40m, 1d10+10, E, PEN 6, Overheats, Recharge
Hyper-Density Penetrators (Ammo)
Famously nicknamed “Lathe Body-Blowers” for their appalling effect of ploughing through vulnerable flesh, these bullets are cast from a unique dense metal alloy only made possible by exploiting the strange gravitational forces within the Lathe System. Because of their great mass, they must be propelled by a far more powerful explosive charge than a normal round, and so are limited only to the sturdiest firearms capable of handling them.
Effects: Reduce the base range of the weapon by half. Increase its Penetration by 2. The weapon gains the Tearing Quality. Finally, an average man-sized target hit by one of these rounds must succeed on an Ordinary (+10) Toughness Test or be knocked off its feet from the impact.
Weapons: Hand cannons, hunting rifles, shotguns (lose the Scatter effect), bolt pistols and boltguns (weapon Damage type changes from X to I).
Cost 100ea, Rare
Lathe Blade (Weapon Upgrade)
The astronomical and gravitic alignment of the Lathe worlds creates the conditions for the production of metal alloys of rare and singular properties. Such a strange metal is used to fashion the legendary Lathe blade. So phenomenal is their strength and structure that they can have paper thin edges yet be flexible enough for the blade to resist breaking under the impact of the most powerful blows, and can even be unaffected by the devastating action of a power field. Some, including Lord Hax himself, favor a Lathe-forged blade over a power weapon such is their quality and repute.
Effects: A Lathe-bladed weapon loses the Primitive quality. Increase the weapon’s Damage by 2 and its Penetration by +3. Wielders of these weapons gain a +10 bonus on Weapon Skill Tests. A Lathe blade cannot be destroyed by the effects of a power field and counts as having an Armor value of 25 if directly attacked. A Lathe blade is automatically of the Best Craftsmanship (the effects of this have already been included in these rules). This upgrade cannot be combined with the Mono upgrade.
Weapons: Knives, throwing knives, swords, axes and great weapons.
Cost 2,500+, Very Rare
A techno-arcane device of great sophistication, a sky eye incorporates a small hovering sphere slightly less than two fingers wide with an elegant docking station containing a variety of holo-display modules. The sphere scouts out a chosen area within 15 kilometres of the docking station, a process that can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours depending on the distances involved and the level of stealth asked of the sphere component. Upon the eye’s return, the docking station produces perfect three-dimensional holomaps of the scouted area that can be downloaded to standard data-slates. Within the Calixis Sector, only the Adeptus Mechanicus brethren of the Lathes are known to be capable of producing such devices. Rumour has it the Inquisition has access to ultra-quiet sky eyes that incorporate camouflaging materials, which they use to scout out the interiors of rooms and buildings before entering.
The sky eye drone is a Minuscule object that can sustain only a single point of Damage before it is destroyed. It has the Flyer (8) trait. Attempts to detect the sky eye either by sight or hearing are at a –30 penalty.
Cost 1,500, WT 4kg/case, Very Rare
Lathe-pattern Refractor Field
Refractor field devices see service with highly ranked and trusted Imperial agents of all kinds. No smaller than a pistol ammunition clip, they disperse the energy of an attack throughout the total area of the field effect. They are noticeable when activated as they surround the user with a hazy glow of light, making them easily detectible in lowlighting or at night.
Protection Rating 30, WT 0.5kg, Very Rare
These small, matte-black boxes do not attract attention. However, they are constructed with psy-inert ceramics, and filled with delicate circuitry that at least partially creates the affect generated by an untouchable. They are issued to members of the Inquisition to provide protection against psyker and warp-spawned opponents. They can be worn around the neck or affixed to armor, but can only shield one person.
Null-blockers behave like any other field, except that their field ability only applies to psychic powers. When the wearer is affected directly by a psychic power, he may make his field save. If he is successful, the power has no affect on him. Of course, the field is useless against indirect attacks from psychic powers, such as dropping a large stone on the wearer from a great height using telekinetics.
Protection Rating 60†, WT 0.5kg, Extremely Rare
†Protects against psychic powers only.
Lathe-Pattern Power Maul
A light, slender, and elegant model of power maul, this unusual weapon (crafted only on demand in the Calixis Sector) has a spiked handguard and a long, straight, un-weighted haft. It must be handled more like a sword than a club, which some users find frustrating, and critics have labelled the weapon fussy and difficult to master. However, the Arbitrators manning the Precinct Fortresses of the Lathe Worlds find that the slender profile is highly effective in the dense manufactorum corridors. Those who take the time to familiarize themselves with the pattern’s idiosyncrasies declare it one of the fi nest examples of a power maul. The apparent fragility of the design is misleading, and the versatile power field is more than capable of inflicting the same damage against opponents as models with a more brutal heft.
The user may switch settings once per turn as a Free Action. This weapon is so well made and finely balanced that it adds +5 to the user’s Weapon Skill when attempting to Parry.
Low Power: Melee, 1d10-1(+SB), I, PEN 0, Shocking, WT .5kg, Cost 2,100, Very Rare
High Power: Melee, 1d10+5(+SB), I, PEN 5, Power Field, WT .5kg, Cost 2,100, Very Rare
Navitus-Pattern Percussion Mallet
Never intended for combat, the Navitus-Pattern Percussion Mallet was designed to enhance the brute strength of the user in any task that required a hammer—anything from beating weld-nails to hammering dents out of hull plating. Used widely among the menials that toil endlessly within the forges of the Lathe Worlds, Percussion Mallets are relatively common, although finding someone willing to sell one and risk the Adeptus Mechanicus’ wrath is often a far harder task.
The Navitus-Pattern Percussion Mallet doubles the User’s Strength Bonus when calculating Damage (or increases the users Unnatural Strength multiplier by 1), and can be used as a Thrown Weapon.
Melee, Thrown, 6m, 1d10+2†, E, PEN 5, Unwieldy, WT 4kg, Cost 3000, Rare
†See item entry for additional rules.
Although the more stringent members of the Mechanicus Priesthood consider it heretical, this transparent material is fast becoming a necessary part of the day-to-day operations within the Lathe Worlds. Viscous and highly conductive, core-gel acts as a surrogate for Electoo-inducers and MIU links, giving those who lack these forms of implants access to cogitators and datacrypts.
It is most often found on Lathe-Het, where the gel has become almost mandatory to access the older and more decrepit data-crypts with no longer supported interface technologies. A character can use an application of Core-Gel to access machinery that would otherwise require an Electro-Graft or MIU interface, even if he does not possess these implants. Core-Gel decays quickly, and must be cleaned away and reapplied every hour. Each canister of core-gel contains enough for two applications.
Cost 500, Rare
Lathes Mechadendrite Stabilizers
The Lathes are known for mysterious and frequent gravity shifts, which can overcome even experienced Tech-Priests when they are in areas not properly shielded with additional grav plating. Years of study indicated that replating the myriad facilities would be impractical, so many in the far edges of the system began surreptitiously developing a radical mechadendrite design to aid in their work. Instead of adding additional manipulation capabilities, pairs of gyroscopically stabilized, heavily clawed talons can anchor a Tech-Priest firmly onto a surface, where he can conduct his furtive research more peacefully. Though somewhat heretical, more and more are appearing across the Lathe Worlds.
Lathes Stabilizers require a Half Action to activate or deactivate. Once active, if the Acolyte remains in place, he counts as being Braced and gains the Sturdy Trait. The Acolyte also ignores modifiers to his Movement in areas of High, Low, or Zero Gravity and in areas with Tremors or other uncertain stability, as well as gaining a bonus to Climb Tests. The Mechadendrite Use (Utility) Talent applies to this Mechadendrite.
Cost 300, Adeptus Mechanicus Only
Lathe-pattern Jump Pack
Jump packs are large backpacks containing powerful turbofan or rocket engines. A user triggers a jump pack to lift high into the air and then swoop down as part of their assault. Jump packs are also useful in leaping over high obstacles and reaching rooftops in a single bound, but without training most users will seriously injure themselves in crashes. Though bulky, loud, and somewhat dangerous to use they are ideal for the maximum in personal mobility on the ground or even in the void.
Jump packs require the operator to have the Pilot (Personal) skill. A standard jump pack allows for a safe, guided fall from any height and, with a thruster boost, make an unlimited series of short jumps (landing at the end of each Round’s movement). Alternatively, the pack can duplicate the Flyer (12) trait for up to a minute at a time.
A jump pack’s power supply will last for about an hour of strenuous operation before requiring replacement.
Weight 25kg, Rare
These weapons are believed to be of ancient human design, discovered in the deep data vaults of the Lathe Forge worlds in the Calixis Sector. Though not as powerful as many other devices, they are suitably impressive, especially to native populaces or xenos barbarians. Made of ceramics and glass, when triggered a micro-beam of ionizing energies is focused on the target to create a large electrostatic charge differential between the target and the gun’s spiked barrel tip. The longer the trigger is held , the larger the charge created. When the trigger is released, a powerful bolt of lightning leaps from the gun to the target, accompanied by a huge thunderclap.
Add +2 Damage and +2 Pen for a every Half Action spent aiming the weapon before it was fired (to a maximum of +4 Damage and +4 Pen). Note: this still grants the aiming bonus as well.
Basic, 60m, S/-/-, 2d5+4, E, PEN 4, Clip 2, RLD Full, Overheats, Shocking, WT 0.5kg, Near Unique
Thunder Hammer (Lathe Pattern)
Huge hammers featuring oversized heads, these weapons store energy and then release it in a violent explosion upon impact. The tremendous concussive force released is equivalent to a concentrated grenade explosion, strong enough to punch holes in vehicles and knock those nearby to the ground. Though extremely cumbersome to wield, they are often used by Ministorum priests to both smite the wicked and invigorate the faithful. Lathe patterns are lighter than most Imperial versions, designed for use by unaugmented humans. They also have only a single concussive front.
Melee, 2d10+4(+SB), E, PEN 10, Power Field, Unwieldy, WT 15kg, Very Rare
Lathe-Pattern "Rockhound" Void Suit
Void suits are protective suits worn by the workers who make their livelihoods mining asteroids, carving comets for ice, cold ship repair work, or any of the other dangerous but lucrative professions to be found in the void. Unlike most heavy void suits, the “Rockhound” is lighter and allows more user dexterity, an essential trait given the nature of their work. The models feature a solid torso carapace over layers of thin but tough voidproof fabrics with extra padding on the knees and elbows. The helmet is large, and completely clear. It sports a backpack to provide a re-breather and power supply. The main feature of the suit is the cold-gas micro-jets which surround the torso carapace, to be used for locomotion in limited or absent gravity. Each suit also has a variety of storage pouches, attachment points, and belts for carrying any and all of the tools and supplies a void worker might need. Most users customize their suits in a variety of eye-catching ways, the better to identify each other at a distance. Many miners, for example, will decorate their suit with symbols indicating rich strikes, or banner poles showing their home vessel.
Each suit can sustain the user in the void for 15 hours of operations, and includes a vox-link, suit-patch kit, helmet, protective eyewear including a photo-visor, and a clip harness with ten meters of line. The suit also applies a -5 penalty to the user’s Agility Characteristic while wearing the suit. The micro-jets grant the user the Fly (3) Trait in low or zero gravity situations.
WT 30kg, Scarce