A whipping sound whistled through the air… Followed by a thud as something solid hit the deck.
Aboard the Hippocrasian Agglomeration, a space station in high orbit around Morwen VI, the Magos Biologis turned their attention to the glowing vat and set about manipulating the cogitator. Lights flashed, cogs whirred and fluid pumped through the glowing tubes. Reciting the Litanies of Awakening, the fluid started to drain to reveal a humanoid shape within the vat. Cables and flexibles started to withdraw from the humanoid as the respiratory organs emerged from the viscous fluid. Blue sparks of energy punched into the body causing it to convulse and become… alive.
As the humanoid drew a gasping breath, the Magos ran multiple computations through their mechanical mind. Would this be the one? In an instant, they corroborated and cross-checked the data in front of them. Streams of data indicated that this subject was an exact molecular reconstruction that could prove their theorem.
Over the previous centuries, the Magos had given their all to the Omnissiah in both their inward and outward function. Fully augmented, little remained of their human form or identity and they were binary in their views of the galaxy. Yet there was a minor non-compliance in their cyber-neurological impulses.
The Magos felt… hope.. desire… longing? No, those were human emotions. The Mechanicum has no need for these inefficient disabilities that afflict standard humans, yet looking at the humanoid figure breathing its first life, the Magos felt progress in the name of the Omnissiah.
The naked humanoid hunkered in front of him, chilled by the venting gases and not fully cognisant of its surroundings. Knowledge is god. God is knowledge. The pursuit of knowledge is to become closer to the Omnissiah. Moving closer to the humanoid, the Magos instantly calculated all of the possible permutations to achieve their goal.
Gliding up to the shivering humanoid, with the exact molecular structure they had intended, the Magos fiercely gripped the shivering, scared visage in their mechanical pincers which emerged from the dark folds of their hood and voxed. + NAME?+
The shivering mess glanced around hesitantly, ‘ I am… I think I am… Where am I… I’m Lukec Reetchli.’
+ACKNOWLEDGED+ canted the Magos. +EMPLOYMENT?+
Glancing nervously around the gloom, the humanoid quietly whispered, ‘I work with books. I like books. I keep books. I look after books. I’m a… I’m a…’
+IMPERIAL LEXICOGRAPHER+ Not a question.
Brows furrowed deep in concentration, the humanoid stuttered. ‘Yes. I was an archivist for the planet’s data-slates and ancient lexicons.’
+AFFIRMATIVE. REPORT THE LEXICON YOU WERE TRANSCRIBING AT 992 M41.549+
‘I… I don’t remember… I don’t remember where or when I am… I’m confused… Why am I confused?’ stuttered the humanoid.
+THAT WAS THE DATE YOU DIED. REPORT WHAT YOU WERE TRANSCRIBING WHEN YOU DIED?+
‘When I… I died… I’m dead… Why am I here… Where is here…’ shrieked the humanoid, starting to get more and more agitated.
The Magos reviewed the data and information. There was a 100% match in genetic and molecular make up. Their creation should have instantly recreated the individual, immediately before they were consumed by the fire. The Magos’s analysis and data clearly confirm that the humanoid was transcribing an ancient piece of vellum onto data-slate immediately before dying, caught in the flames of an orbital bombardment. Reviews of pict-corders and cogitators from the burnt world suggest, with 99% accuracy, that the lexicographer was transcribing hard copy blue-prints taken directly from an extinct Standard Template Construct machine. It was obvious that the humanoid was unaware of the content of the archive at the time of transcribing, but that information had to be contained somewhere in their physical make-up. If only the Magos could replicate the exact molecular composition at the time of death, they might be able to extract the information that would propel them on the path of glory in the Omnissiah’s name.
There was something missing from his calculations, equations and computations. What made a human, human? The Magos has identified the building blocks required to recreate the humanoid, but had so far failed to isolate the essence of its… spirit… soul? How did one engineer a soul? How did one create spirit? Just because it hadn’t been done before, didn’t mean it couldn’t be done.
The humanoid started to look around wildly, body spasming with natural adrenalin and artificial stimms, looking for answers to questions it didn’t even know it had. Intelligence started to ebb away to be replaced by a feral flight or fight mentality. The Magos made some minor adjustments to his cogitator and turned his focus to the next glowing vat.
Without looking directly at the curled up humanoid, the Magos raised a whip-like, point-tipped mechadendrite towards the previous subject whilst canting +SUBJECT 17,095. MAYBE YOU CAN PROVIDE THE ANSWERS I AM LOOKING FOR. BLESSED BE THE OMNISSIAH+ as a whipping sound whistled through the air, followed by a thud as something solid hit the deck.
About the Author
Bob Church has been immersed in the 40K universe since 1993, coinciding with the release of 2nd Edition. Nearly 30 years later, the stories contained within the Codex Imperialis and Wargear Book remain foremost in his brain. Whilst serving his country as a submariner tech adept, he immersed himself in the 40K universe and is keen to contribute to this epic library of stories.