Originally for 28, this was the beginnings of what eventually became Black Powder Red Earth 28mm. There’s a lot of this, I’ll add select excerpts that I think were cool.
<<report authored 5.990.981.M40. EYES ONLY. Transmission prohibited. Invoke ambient calculus decryption methods, and ensure autodestructive protocols are followed after reading. Dire retribution awaits disobedience.>>
<<This is likely NOT representative of this manufactorum as-is. Any contact must be sanctioned by the highest authorities, and cleansed of any impurities of truth. As you have been made aware, the research and progress undertaken on this manufactorum must remain a secret. Even to the Omnissiah.>>
“Have you ever wondered, my child, why we consider the flesh to be weak? After all, so many of those we fight alongside—who themselves are content with their pliability—find solace in consolidating what little power they have, what little strength they can coax forth from sinew and bone.
The truth is that even the Machine God knows fear. Even the Omnissiah has doubts. Cogs and triggers and cables and tendrils. On the scale of infinity—a scale we hope to tip in our favour—even our augmented forms will have the same fate as the meat we seek to escape. Our progenitors knew this. Our brothers deny it.
It is not power, or knowledge, or the glorious sound of steel grinding on steel that elevates our world above the manufactorums that operate unburdened by secrecy.
It is fear.”
—Voltax Amperius, Tech-priest of Sabrefish
Unremarkable in many respects, utterly unique in others, Sabrefish is an orbital manufactorum whose name is unaccustomed to revelation. Hardly known to any outside the Ordo Malleus—and even then, known mostly only to those who constructed it—this acrid tower of Xenarite smoke and hatred exists permanently in the shadows of Fury XXVIII.
Built to withstand, resilient and silent, Sabrefish has never known the light. Anchored to the dark side of Fury XXVIII by a series of space elevators that, even with the most advanced technologies the Xenarite Mechanicum can throw at it, are slow and prone to failure (the only weakness in an otherwise impregnable construct), the manufactorum deals in secrets.
Chief among these secrets is the Gothic Phantom. Centuries of vicious interrogation by adept Inquisitors, centuries of painstaking research by the brightest minds of the Xenarite Mechanicum and centuries of tormented fodder for the factory lines have resulted in the construction of this magnificent battle-barge: though it might seem innocuous—as innocuous as an Inquisition flagship can be—the Gothic Phantom harbours a heretical secret inked in blood and punctuated with terror.
The protection of this secret has been a costly endeavour. Over five billion souls were swallowed by a drastic protective measure put in place by the Inquisition who oversaw the project—by drawing in mass from light years around, and bombarding the larger of the twin stars in Fury XVIII’s binary system, they gently encouraged the formation of a young, but hungry, black hole.
As a convenient side-effect of the extinguishing of billions of lives, all communications from the system were either corrupted or negated outright, and all travel—whether realspace or warp—for light-years around was placed under moratorium. An inexplicable blackstar event isn’t something to be disturbed, even by the finest and hardiest craft the Imperium can muster. And this meant the Xenarites could develop their catastrophe in relative peace.