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Warhammer The Unedited History of Rogue Trader Tristan Abrasax (40k SI)

Prologue

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Prologue
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How and why my soul was reincarnated into a universe that I knew as fiction is beyond my knowledge; although I do suspect my second fathers very ill advised interactions with some psyker xenos tech was probably to blame.

What I do know is that my fathers consort, Esmerelda Ambrose, gave birth to me in 802.M32, the eight hundred and second year of the thirty second millenium. Thanks to the death of my father, Morgan Abrasax, three months before I was literally born the holder of a Warrant of Trade signed by one Malcador the Sigillite, Regent of Terra.

Alas, for all the prestige and nominal power that came with my Warrant the sad reality is that there was a reason that I was born in the most secure quarters of the Seraphi, the Unification class Grand Cruiser that had served as the dynasties flagship since we received it from the shipyards of Mars in 775.M30, while it floated alone in an empty system.

My grandfather, Titus, had been a supporter of Drakan Vangorich in the laters rise to power. That had proven handsomely profitable to the Abrasax Dynasty for the century that the Grand Master Assassin ruled the Imperium as Lord Protector but with Vangorich's fall those fortunes had taken a rather drastic downturn. Doors were suddenly closed to us, our agents suffered invariably fatal accidents with alarming regularity, vessels were "mysteriously" lost to the warp, planetary governors were found to be corrupt and replaced.

My father spent most of his reign engaging in a succession of desperate gambles and schemes as he tried to preserve the dynasties power and fortunes. It was one of those schemes that took his life and with his death the wolves that had been circling moved in for the kill. With my fathers death there was no main line Abrasax left among the living and so the great panoply of lesser relations warred amongst one another as they fought over the scraps.

That imminently predictable situation is why my mother had had all of the Seraphi's astropaths killed shortly after they sent news of my fathers death to the wider Imperium. It was also why the Seraphi was sitting in an empty system when I first drew breath and would remain there for the next twenty five years as I was prepared for my role as the Holder of the Abrasax Warrant of Exploration and Trade.

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A/N

Started this when it wouldn't leave me alone as I worked on something else. Decided on a time period that is rarely shown and thus largely empty for me to mess around with. Question time, should I have Tristan be a psyker or not? If I do have him be a psyker, it will be in the Epsilon to low/mid Delta range.

Appendix: Balem Abrasax
Balem Abrasax was born on Terra during the Unification Wars to a family of no note (indeed, no records of them exist). He eventually came to the attention of Malcador and became one of the Sigilites many agents, a role in which he would greatly distinguish himself for his ability to build and run intelligence networks. By the time the Emperor had unified Terra, Balem had risen to become one of Malcadors trusted lieutenants. It was that trust and position that saw him named one of the very first Rogue Traders; tasked with traveling into the greater galaxy in advance of the Great Crusade as a scout and infiltrator.
 

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Nice.

Awaiting the next chapter.

Thank you very much. Keep up the good work.
 

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Any chance that he somehow finds Nuceria first and decides to equip Angron and his gladiators whilst ominously saying it's a "Patriotic Duty" somehow?
 

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Any chance that he somehow finds Nuceria first and decides to equip Angron and his gladiators whilst ominously saying it's a "Patriotic Duty" somehow?
You are a few thousand years off.

Timeline:
Dates have been adjusted in an attempt to rationalize the great many contradictory dates that are nominally canon.
758.M30: Terra is fully unified under the Emperor of Man.
760.M30: Balem Abrasax is raised to the Court of Terra by the Emperor as Lord Balem of the House of Abrasax for decades of faithful service. The House of Abrasax is founded.
767.M30: The Emperor begins his conquest of the Sol system via the capture of Luna by the Legiones Astartes.
771.M30: The Emperor arrives on Mars having completed the conquest of the rest of the Sol system and the Treaty of Olympus Mons is signed.
Malcador founds the Noble Order of the Explorers Militant. Balem Abrasax is named a hereditary Knight Commander of the Noble Order of the Explorers Militant by its first (and only) Grandmaster.
775.M30: The first wave of the Unification class Grand Cruisers leave the dockyards of Mars and the Explorers Militant head out into the wider galaxy as the scouts and pathfinders of the Great Crusade.
787.M30: The Emperor is alerted to the discovery by one of the Explorers Militant of the Cthonia system and its ruler (Horus). The first of the Primarchs is recovered.
805.M30: After three decades of sustained effort, the warmachine of the Great Crusade has been completed and the Crusade truly begins.
000.M31: Horus named Warmaster.
001.M31: In the aftermath of the Council of Nikaea Malcador, as Regent of Terra, reconfirms the right of the Explorers Militant to sanction the use of psykers and clarifies that the Edict of Nikaea applies only to the Legiones Astartes as the Imperial Army and Navy had already been banned the user of psykers.
004.M31: Horus falls to Chaos.
014.M31: The Emperor is interred on the Golden Throne. Guilliman restructures the Imperium while most of the other remaining loyal Primarchs lead their legions on the purge of the traitors from the galaxy.
500.M32: The Ecclesiarch becomes a permanent member of the High Lords of Terra.
544.M32: The War of the Beast begins.
546.M32: The War of the Beast ends. The Deathwatch is founded. Drakan Vangorich assassinates the High Lords and is declared Lord Protector of the Imperium.
546-600.M32: The Imperium recovers from the War of the Beast and under cover of that recovery. Vangorich unleashes the full might of the clades against the Adeptus Terra for the first (and only) time in what would become known as the Great Purge; incompetence & corruption become death sentences across the breadth of the Imperium. According to Assassinorum records, 1,305,978,020,641 members of the various branches of the Adeptus Terra received the final sanction during this 54 year period.
646.M32: Vangorich is deposed and killed, having become progressively more autocratic (and insane) over the previous forty years
646-750.M32: Vanrogich's supporters were largely purged (both overtly and covertly) by the Inquisition and new High Lords.
748.M32: Morgan Abrasax is born.
770.M32: Morgan Abrasax becomes the head of the Abrasax Dynasty upon his fathers death.
802.M32: Morgan Abrasax dies, Tristan Abrasax is born three months later and becomes the head of the Abrasax Dynasty upon his birth.

I've decided that I'm going to make a Codex/Appendix for this fic in which to dump background information and worldbuilding that is relevant to the story but simply doesn't fit well into the narrative. A continually updated copy of this the timeline will be in it.
 
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Chapter 1

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Chapter 1
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I had been reborn as the heir to one of the Imperium of Man's most storied lineages, one that could trace itself back to a student of Malcador the Sigillite and had been raised to the Court of Terra before the Emperor's crusade to unify humanity had left the atmosphere of Terra.

For two thousand years the Abrasax Dynasty had explored the galaxy in the Emperor's name, and at the height of its power, in my grandfathers time, a thousand worlds had owed us fealty. The hundred and fifty years of disfavor that we had enjoyed since that height had seen our domain reduced to half a dozen worlds, a handful of ships, and few allies willing to honor their commitments. That reduction had been, at best, quasi legal but the truth is that might makes right and when a Dynasties enemies include the Administratum, the Ecclesiarchy, and the Inquisition simple survival must be taken as a victory.

The history, the unedited one known only to the most inner circle of the Dynasty, of Abrasax had been the second thing dumped into my head via psyker assisted hypnotherapy; High Gothic, Low Gothic, and the five cants of the Abrasax had come first.

I was the latest product of a human enhancement project that had been ongoing since the birth of Balem's first child, Talia. Balem had been born on Terra in the years leading up to the start of the Unification Wars with the rarest of mutations; he was a naturally stable psyker of significant power. That accident of birth had seen him recruited into the Emperor's black ops division under the command of Malcador and it was at the feet of that most legendary of figures that Balem was taught mastery of his gifts and trained as a spy, assassin, infiltrator, and political operative.

It was in that role that he would come to the attention of Magos Biologis Alexa Ciphus, the director of the Emperor's Biotechnical Division, and eventually be selected as the base template for a grand experiment in human advancement. Talia had been born a year after Balem left Sol and in the two thousand years since Alexa had retained her place as the Abrasax Dynasty's most trusted agent as she remained constantly at its sovereign's side and refined the lines genetics generation after generation.

My mother had been no natural thing, like every Abrasax consort before her she had been carefully sculpted to most genetically complement my father and her very mind and soul had been shaped since the fertilized egg first started to grow in its artificial womb under the careful touch of my fathers own psychic powers. She had been born bonded to him on a soul deep level and shaped to be my fathers perfect right hand.

A tailored genome and having been in a suite of rooms warded by Malcador himself, to designs of the Emperor, to keep the warp perfectly calm inside their confines since literally the moment that I was conceived were only the first foundations of a process designed, and refined over more than two thousand years, to produce stable psykers.

Within moments of my birth Alexa had injected me with a suite of tailored nanites designed to ensure my optimal growth and adjust my genome from one optimized for the maturation process from egg to babe into one optimized for the transition from babe to pre-teen. Within the hour my mother had used her psyker abilities to reach out to my mind and soul and started to mould them.

Even with the benefits of a mature mind already shaped by experiences lived I could actually feel as my thought processes shifted. I became mildly sociopathic as most emotions were weakened, my already strong will was enhanced to one of adamant, and my desire for freedom and self determination became an absolute unwillingness to allow anyone or anything to hold dominion over me.

"My Will, Supreme" was transformed from a personal philosophy into a soul deep commandment.

Every part of that process was designed to provide the best chance of a stable psyker; the right genetic codes gave a leg up and ensured that stability was at least possible while the warded room protected the nascent soul and unshielded, immature, mind from the touch of the natural warp or the influence of every mind within range of the babes unrestrained gifts, the psychic shaping ensured a supreme, almost arrogant, self assuredness that would simply utterly reject the very concept of not controlling one's own mind.

I would spend the next twenty six years in that same, warded, suite of rooms that I had been conceived in with only my mother and Alexa for company. The first five of those years would be spent in a medical vat that ensured optimal growth for my body while my mind was hypnotically implanted with everything from hand to hand combat forms designed to the exact specifications of my adult body to weapons usage to languages to history to various technical fields to seduction. Throughout the entire process I could feel my mother using her psyker abilities to ensure the success of the implantation process, the integration of the data, and its shaping to help produce a mind and personality that could thrive in the role it was destined to hold.

On my fifth birthday I saw my mother for the first time with my own eyes. Esmerelda stood six feet tall with long, straight, jet black hair, eyes of deep violet, and a combination of features that produced a superhumanly beautiful women. Physically she appeared to be the very embodiment of some fictional ideal of a goddess of war and sensual perfection. Two thousand years of continuous refinement at the hands of the Emperor of Man's chief geneticist produced results that were frankly indescribable.

Speaking of said Magos Biologis, I turned from my examination of my mother and looked her over. Her own visage was every bit as striking as my mothers, although her eyes were green and her hair a reddish blond, but what truly made me blink was that without the red robe of the Machine Cult, adorned with the markings of her ranks & honors, it would be impossible to tell that she was a high ranking tech-priest. The knowledge implanted in my mind hadn't included her appearance, although it had included a great deal of information on the Mechanicus, and I had subconsciously assumed that she would be some mostly machine cybernetic monstrosity with metallic tentacles emerging from her body. After a moment's thought it made sense, Alexa's childhood in the foremost of Mars genetor forge cities and her later century of experience working directly under the Emperor had resulted in a tech priest that was far from the norm. In truth she would be declared a heretek if the Cult at large knew even a tenth part of her beliefs or what she regularly got up to

Alexa's greatest goal was to create a perfect synthesis of man and machine. To blur the line between both until they were one and the same, and in the twenty five centuries that she had been alive she had become perhaps the greatest expert - after the Emperor - in biology, nano-cybernetics, and psy-reactive technologies to have walked the galaxy since the Cybernetic Revolt.

The next twenty one years of my life would be split between mastering my psyker abilities under the tutelage of my mother, in preparation for the reality of the Immaterium outside this most heavily warded of chambers, and learning the science & rituals of the Machine Cult from Alexa.

A few months after my fifteenth birthday I, like every other Abrasax sovereign since Talia, was formally inducted into the Cult Mechanicus as a Tech-Priest Biologis. Belonging to the Cult granted us a great deal of protection and, more importantly, allowed us to legally avoid virtually all of the strictures on technology possession. One of those benefits, indeed the primary reason that I had been inducted into the cult, came after my body was considered fully mature at twenty five.

That was when I entered a medica sarcophagus and got to experience what Alexa had named The Embrace of the Omnissiah. Without the benefits granted by my psyker abilities, and the moulding that I had undergone at my mothers direction, the month of continuous, conscious, unremitting, agony that I experienced inside that box as my body was rebuilt would probably have broken my mind.

My nervous system was onfire as psy-reactive living metal nanites consumed and replaced my entire nervous system outside the brain. More of the nanites created a honeycomb lattice throughout my bones in a pattern designed to stabilize the immaterium around me. My muscles & ligaments were enmeshed by the nanites so as to allow me moderately superhuman strength, to use the full strength of my body without fear of damage, and to grant me nigh limitless stamina. My skin was likewise laced to act as a vox antenna & receiver, to help with temperature regulation, and to allow radiation absorption. All of my hair was replaced with visibly indistinguishable ultra fine mechandrites that could individually extend approximately three meters from my body and could weave together to produce larger mechandrites. Nanites in my eyes could absorb the entire EM spectrum and thus allow me to see across that entire spectrum, granted me micro & telescopic vision, could act as pic recorders, provided immunity to flash blindness, and operated far faster than human eyes can. My nose was made comparable to a bloodhounds and could act as a chemical sniffer. My hearing would make Daredevil blush, being enhanced to allow echolocation, hear deep into both the infra and ultrasonic ranges, allow sound analysis & discrimination, and provide immunity to deafening noises. My bloodstream was swimming with nanites that flowed freely through the blood and actively destroyed any cells mutated from the approved pattern, removed foreign substances, kept the blood fully oxygenated at all times via removing the carbon dioxide, cracking it, and returning the oxygen to the blood cells, and acted as a super immune system that actively destroys most viruses, bacteria, poisons, and foreign nanites.

All of that was exceptional enough, but the piece de resistance was the modifications to my skull and the neural lace grown throughout my brain. In addition to allowing me to directly interface with machines that supported that feature and actually control all the capabilities the nanites had provided to my body, I also gained what amounted to an internal personal computer that could respond to my thoughts. Still, the true gem was that the neural lace was also a psychic hood custom tailored to my physiology.

Given the psy-reactive nature of all the nanites they readily bonded not just with my body but to my soul as well, drawing the needed power for their functions from the bled off Warp energy of my soul and disposing of any excess energy the same way while also having all of their other functions enhanced beyond what physics would seem to allow as my psyker powers instinctively enhanced them much like they had always done for my body. My nervous system could now not just channel away electricity strikes but could absorb and dispose of even intense lighting strikes while my skin acted like a quasi void shield in that the nanites lacing it could absorb harmful radiation and dump it into the warp at a fairly prodigious rate; a lascannon to the chest wouldn't even cause first degree burns.

The extraordinary pain was far and away a price worth paying to gain the benefits of those nanites. It was amazing what a genius with nigh limitless resources and two thousand years of sustained effort could produce. It was just a pity that those nanites needed to be custom tailored for each individual host and that Alexa was probably the only one living with a deep enough understanding of the relevant fields to be able to create them.

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A/N: Because I absolutely don't care about the Mary Sue claims and feel like pushing the boundaries.

Incase it isn't clear from the text, Tristan is the end result of an experiment designed by the Emperor and Malcador to explore how far the human genome could be pushed and evolved over a sustained period of time and in real world conditions with the end goal of producing a "natural born" human who is as genetically advanced as possible, is a stable psyker of high power, and has a soul that is naturally highly resistant if not outright immune to warp taint. If/when they got a viable result, the Emperor intended to study said result until he figured out how to mass produce it and then start spreading it across the whole of humanity. Alexa's current projections are that it will be another three to four hundred generations to reach that desired goal.

The Abrasax position & rank does serve actual purposes but it was primarily intended as a cover to conceal the experiment.

Next chapter will cover more of that and some of the complications that come with it, but some of the highlights are spoilered below.

The Abrasax have (between their warrant, their noble rank, and various imperial decrees/dispensations) privileges/duties/obligations that piss off a great many powerful entities.

For example, they are authorized to sanction psykers and that pisses off the Inquisition to no end but since Malcadors signature as Regent of Terra is on that decree it is impossible to legally repeal or override and even the Inquisition is leery of the potential consequences of ignoring such things (as it would call into question a great many other decrees that are fundamental to the structure of the Imperium; the Adeptus Terra owes its existence to a similar decree for example).

Then there is the obligation to spread the Imperial Truth on every world within their dominion. That one makes the Ecclesiarchy essentially an implacable enemy. On the one hand they can't advocate for someone to disobey an order of Malcador the Hero but on the other hand it means that the Abrasax planets (and those of the others Explorers Militant that are still extant) are obliged to actively prevent the spread of the Imperial Cult/Creed to their worlds.

Or that as a member of the Court of Terra, House Abrasax is not technically sworn to the Imperium of Man but instead owes personal fealty to the Emperor of Man in his own person (on terms laid out in that fealty oath) and so is wholly outside the remit of the Adeptus Terra.

I think I'll include the appendix entries on the Imperiums structure in the next chapter, but the brief summary is that the Imperium of Man is an entity made up of three separate entities (the Empire of Terra, the Cult Mechanicus, and the Emperor's personal vassals) and the Adeptus Terra is only the ruling body of the Empire of Terra and is the regent of the Empire of Terra, not the Emperor. It is because of this that the Custodes, Inquisition, the First Founding chapters, the Grey Knights, and the Court of Terra are all technically outside their authority.

Appendix:

Magos Biologis Alexa Ciphus:
Birth Year: 241.M30
Birth Place: Forge Mesa, Mars.

The women who would become known as Alexa Ciphus was born as one of the many experiments of Magos Biologis Leonard Detweiler; the Forgemaster of Mesa.

Detweiler was the leader of the Apexists faction of the Genetor Order and one of the greatest masters of the biological sciences on Mars. He was also, like virtually all other high ranking members of the Cult Mechanicum, an utterly amoral sociopath driven to advance his chosen fields of knowledge without regard for anything as droll as morality or ethics. One of his drives was to produce fundamentally better raw material to turn into future tech-priests.

The women who would become Alexa Ciphus emerged from Detweiler's gene-forges alongside a hundred thousand others, each a slightly different genetic variation. Taken from the vats as babes, the hundred thousand were split into ten member groups and cared for via specially designed servitors. Over the next thirty years those ten thousand groups would be constantly winnowed down via constant competition. X-379-5AG384-5-01277 was the ultimate winner of that competition. In addition to still being alive, unlike all of her competitors, she had won a name and a place under the direct tuteluge of the Forgemaster. And thus was Alexa Ciphus born.

In time Alexa would rise from experiment to student, to apprentice, to heir as she proved herself to be everything that the Magos had hoped when creating her. It was that position that allowed her to come to the Emperors attention in the year 670.M30. Mars had always kept an eye on Terra and so when a Warlord with an army of self created superhumans that exceeded anything that the Genetors of Mars could produce began to cut a swath through the rest of the Terran Warlords in a professed attempt to unify the world it should surprise few that the tech-priests would be interested.

Thanks to his prominent position, Detweiler was aware that the Martian Parliament was going to forbid travel to, or interaction with, Terra and so he staged the death of his most trusted subordinate before having her quietly shot to Terra via a drop pod. Four months later a "meteor" crashed to the ground outside the front gates of the Emperor's palace and Alexa Ciphus walked out of the crater.

Her deep knowledge of the life sciences greatly impressed the Emperor and she quickly rose through the ranks of the Emperors nascent Biotechnical Division; becoming its head within five years of her arrival on Earth. Alexa would spend the next century at his side. When she returned to Mars in the entourage of the Emperor, it was as a deeply changed women. While she had gained the knowledge that Detweiler so sought, she had also become deeply disillusioned with the Cult Mechanicus and what she saw as a fundamentally flawed ideology. It was three days after her arrival back on Mars that Leonard Detweiler died of a tragic containment loss while experimenting with an exceptionally lethal virus (The Life Eater virus actually, credited as his last creation). Alexa used her position as Detweiler's acknowledge heir, the knowledge & prestige that she had gained from her position at the Emperors side, and the aid of one of her closest friends (Balem Abrasax) to rapidly gain control over Mesa and turn the Forge of Genetors to her own purposes.

Four years later she left Sol at the side of Balem, having engineered her permanent exile from Mars for the crime of ignoring the ban on travel to Terra, and ever since she has remained the chief tech-priest of House Abrasax and the most trusted associate of its heads. Over the next two thousand years Alexa would help found a number of Forge worlds at the side of the Explorer Militant and would steadily raise adherents of her own philosophy until by the birth of Tristan Abrasax the entire Mechanicus complenet on the Seraphi was made up of her most fanatical followers. She would not make the mistake of so many "radicals" before her, no, she would spread her philosophy slowly, insidiously, and in the deepest secrecy; and between her eons of lived experience and education at the hands of Malcadors protege she was well positioned to do just that.
 
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adam417

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Really like how this one has started out and am eager to see its progress
 

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Did a little fixing up, mostly just edited some stuff for consistency and reworded a few bits to make them read somewhat cleaner.

Oh, and it should be plain by now that this is going to be AU and that I am taking liberties with the setting.

Some of that is for story reasons but most of it is because, frankly, the Imperium doesn't read like something created by a superhuman intellect to act as a lasting human government. Nor does its quasi quantum structure.

So I am rationalizing much of it and at the same time also recognizing that it was a nascent Empire that was supposed to be ruled by an immortal superhuman (one who probably did plan to drastically reorder the entire thing is the relatively near future) until his Warmaster turned traitor and killed him.

Next chapter is probably going to have Appendix entries for pretty much most of those structural points. At least the initial ones.
 

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Nice going so far. Since this is 40K I don’t think the character can even be considered a Mary Sue when people like Magnus, Horus and the Emperor himself exist in the verse.
 
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Chapter 2

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Chapter 2
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"Are you ready?" my mother asked as I stood before the one door in my suite that I had never before passed through.

With a deep breath I gave a firm nod and said "You've trained me well Mother," a quick glance to my left, " Alexa, but it it time for me to claim my birthright."

At that the door opened, silently commanded by either my mother or Alexa to do so for I did not yet have the authority, and I strode through.

The first thing that I noticed was the sudden absence of my psyker abilities. For all that I had lived a lifetime without those gifts, I had spent the past twenty six years with them largely defining my existence. Save when my mother was deliberately attempting to hide from me during training, I had always known exactly where she and Alexa were. My training had refined those relatively crude natural senses into a constant awareness of my surroundings and expanded them into a great many new facets. Even before I had received my nanonic upgrades, a great many of my meditations had been focused on learning and understanding my own body with the goal of mastering and enhancing its natural abilities; after those upgrades, that had only been made orders of magnitude more precise.

And all of that ignored the most obvious of missing senses, I was limited once again to linear time for the first time in eight years. Time was meaningless to the Immaterium, the very concept of cause and effect only existing in the Immaterium because of the fundamental and absolute belief of all of those countless souls across the galaxy for countless eons that linear time was a thing, and so a psyker could exploit their connection to the Immaterium to see the future. That future sight was no absolute thing, the possibility always existing that even the most miniscule of souled entities would make different choices, but the closer in time & space and greater the psychic resonance of the event the more absolute that it became.

Based on what I had learned and my out of universe knowledge, the plain truth was that Horus was always going to turn traitor and the Emperor was always going to end up on the Golden Throne. Before the moment those decisions were made, differing decisions could have been made. But once those decisions were made they became unalterable as countless quadrillions of beings would be born, live, and die with the reality of those events accepted as truth and so nothing else could happen.

To get back to my point though, seeing one's own future was the easiest type of precognition as the most intimate connection that a psyker has is the one with their own soul and the more substantive nature of a psykers presence in the warp meant the impression was deeper. As I said, the accuracy of precognition was generally a matter of distance and the power of the event.

Seeing ones own future a second or two before it happened was thus not particularly difficult, nor was that future truly fixed. I had learned, after months of painful training, to keep up that precognitive sight essentially subconsciously and not choose bad futures. I could walk through a training hall filled with hundreds of servitors armed with las guns firing constantly in a pattern calculated to allow but a single safe path through and seem to just walk through the room untouched as in the event that I was hit my powers would instinctively twinge and my past self would get the message and reject that path. I thought of it as my body constantly existing in a state of quantum superposition as it experienced every single possible future until it collapsed down into one choice and the process began again.

When I entered the throne room that was all gone. While the wards on my quarters enforced an artificial calm on the warp, those covering the throne room cut it off utterly for any unauthorized psyker; and only the Abrasax Sovereign could authorize a psyker. Until I ascended to my throne, only my mother was actually authorized to touch the immaterium in that room.

After pausing for a few long seconds to get used to the new sensation, I continued forward.

When I emerged from the short connecting corridor it was onto a raised dais facing the right side of a throne perhaps fifteen meters in front of me. The Abrasax throne room was a massive edifice; a hundred meters long from the base of the dais to the entrance, thirty meters wide, and twenty meters tall.

The wall to my left was a space black adamantium alloy that reflected no light and stood unrelieved by anything save the Abrasax sigil done in silver Auramite. Fronting the dais before the throne were seven steps leading down to the equally light absorbing floor, although it seemed to constantly ripple in the corner of ones eye as if shadows were trapped in it. That was a mere illusion, the false ceiling of this room was nought but a projected hologram while every wall save the one behind the throne were meter thick adamantium alloy coated in a clear crystallin sealant and sandwiched between the two was a layer of psy-reactive nanites that could manipulate what frequencies of the EM spectrum they absorbed as opposed to reflected; in effect the walls, floor, and "ceiling" of the room were massive display screens that could be altered to display whatever their master desired.

While I couldn't see it, I knew that above the hologram of an ornate fresco showing Balem fighting besides the Emperor was an equally armored ceiling positively studded with weapons and that a balcony ringed the room. That this room had been designed by a paranoiac with unlimited resources and a deep knowledge of assassination was plain. For all that it looked undefended, I had the full plans for the system inside my head and the room was nothing of the sort. The Seraphi had literally been constructed around this chamber. Its outer shell, that the rest of the vessel was connected to, was another meter of adamantium. Inside that outermost box was the smaller, equally armored, box that actually contained the various rooms of this sanctum. The inner box was surrounded by pure vacuum as it floated ten meters inside the outer box on massive springs that doubled as power and data connection points and was protected by massively powerful void shields whose generators and power plants resided in the outermost layer of the inner box; along with the machinery needed to maintain the inner boxes life support and the like. The only entrance was a corridor that would extend from the inner box to the outer, ending in a solid wall that would transform into stairs leading up to the floor of the throne room.

Inside the inner box the atmosphere was laced with nanites that would infest the nervous system and were able to paralyze, or burn to ash, anyone so infested upon command. The artificial gravity generators were a relic from the Dark Age of Technology that allowed a submeter level of granular control over gravity and could be set to anything from zero gravity up to nearly a hundred times Earth standard; more than sufficient to pulp most anyone unwelcome. Those weapons studding the ceiling of the throne room ran the gamut from the basic lasgun all the way up to a handful of Volkite weapons and even an honest to Emperor Torsion Cannon; even the heaviest of dreadnoughts (the largest Imperial unit that could fit through the door) would be destroyed before they could blink. The dais was protected behind its own, incredibly potent, conversion field; void shields not actually being able to function inside the inner box.

Then there were the sensors; all manner of Auspex monitored the inner sanctum continuously while the nanites lacing the air would communicate when they came in contact with anything, and acted as pressure sensors on the floor.

Still, perhaps the most potent of the sanctums weapons & protections was that the entire structure was a massive psionic resonator. While any soul not authorized would be forcefully denied access to the Warp, the entire structure had been designed for an Abrasax psyker and two thousand years worth of those same Abrasax psykers had channeled their souls through its circuits. In the hands of the Abrasax Sovereign in amplified their powers to the most extreme of degrees.

After taking in the full magnitude of the room as I stood before the throne, I strode behind it and stood facing the back wall. Without saying anything, Alexa laid her hand onto the wall and it split down the middle until an opening a few meters wide was revealed. I stepped through the inky blackness of the hologram covering the opening and saw the Abrasax vault for the first time.

Twenty meters ahead of me stood the dynasties most precious possession, a three meter tall by one meter wide tablet of adamantium alloy and covered in a tracery of golden Auramite. At the very top of the tablet was emblazoned the symbol of the alliance between the Emperor and Abrasax; the golden aquila of the Emperor and Imperium of Man around the silver sigil of the Abrasax. That thin tracery of gold, made of Auramite mixed the the very blood of the Emperor and Balem Abrasax, spelled out the terms of the alliance between the Abrasax Dynasty and the Emperor not merely in words but in the intent behind those words. Any human, well excluding Blanks, who viewed this tablet would be able to read it and know exactly what every word meant regardless of what languages they did, or did not, know.

For a psyker? Even under the warp damping wards that protected this sanctum that tablet blazed with power.

Hardening my resolve I stepped up to the tablet and laid my hand upon it. Instantly I was no longer on the Seraphi, instead I was walking down a long golden throne room towards an impossibly magnificent man seated on a throne of gold. Standing by that rulers side was a robed figure holding a staff topped by a flaming eagle. As I strode towards the throne, my feet seeming to move of their own accord, I passed hundreds of courtiers until I was before the dais. I went to kneel, but the ruler shook his head in negation and stood from his throne; standing nearly fifteen feet tall. He walked down the steps towards me, shrinking with every step until he was my own height when he reached me.

"Why would you kneel Balem Abrasax? Through action and deed you have shown yourself to be an exemplar of all that it means to be human. I conquer not for power or prestige but in the hopes of teaching our fellow descendants of Terra how to reach their own potential, free of all fetters including my own will. I release you from any oath that you may think binds you to my service Balem Abrasax and acknowledge you a Sovereign Man."

At that last, the Emperor extended his arm and we clasped forearms.

I, Balem, spoke next "You do me an honor without compare, Emperor."

He gave a slight smile and shook his head in negation, "Nonsense, I merely acknowledge reality."

"We shall have to agree to disagree, I think." I, Balem, said before continuing "Still, while you may have released me from the oaths that I once swore to you; I swore those oaths to a cause and that cause stands incomplete. I would stand by your side as ally in this cause that we have dedicated our lives to."

"Allies this day and every day hence until humanity stands triumphant." said the Emperor.

I gave a firm nod and used by psyker gifts to cause my hand to bleed before holding it out to the Emperor who did the same. When we clasped hands the world seemed to fall away as our minds and souls communed.

Eons later the connection ended and before us stood the tablet, apparently formed ex nihilo from our blood and power.

"In honor of this pact, I would ask a boon." I, Balem, said to the Emperor.

"Ask and it is yours." the golden man replied.

"I may stand a sovereign man but unlike you, I remain mortal and so in time I will pass. While I will do everything in my power to ensure that my heirs are worthy to stand besides you, it is beyond my power to guarantee it. I will not have myself be an oathbreaker and I pledged an alliance between the Abrasax and the Empire of Man from now until our cause is done. Better for my line to end than for us to be oathbreakers, and so I ask that you do me the favor of judging the worth of my heirs. Any who would claim sovereignty over the Abrasax Dynasty shall take their oath of ascension with you as witness and may you strike dead any unworthy of my line." I asked.

"Granted my friend." spoke the Emperor.

Suddenly I was fully in control of myself and began to speak the Oath. "I am Tristan Abrasax, son of Morgan Abrasax, son of Titus Abrasax, son of Kara Abrasax, ..., son of Talia Abrasax, daughter of Balem Abrasax. By right of blood and worth I claim my place as Sovereign of the Abrasax Dynasty."

I blinked and was back before the tablet with my mother and Alexa at my side. That tablet was no simply thing of the materium, I knew that I had actually been there. When Balem swore the pact with the Emperor it was not merely Balem, it was everyone who would ever be acknowledged as the Abrasax Sovereign. The Emperor judged and all those found unworthy were not merely struck dead, their souls were utterly eradicated; I knew that it had happened half a dozen times since the pact had been made.

I glanced down and on my right ring finger was a signet ring of black and silver. It could be called to my finger with a thought and would dissolve into nothingness when I was not wearing it. More, it contained a sliver of the Emperors power and would strike me dead should I ever fall to Chaos. Contained in the machinery of that simple band were the access and identification codes needed to prove myself the Abrasax Sovereign.

When I turned around it was to find my mother and Alexa each having taken a knee with their heads bowed and a closed fist over their heart.

"I, Esmerelda Ambrose, consort of Morgan Abrasax, pledge my fealty to Tristan Abrasax, Sovereign of the Abrasax Dynasty. I am his to command, body, mind, and soul from this day until the end of days."

"I, Alexa Ciphus, reaffirm my oath to the Abrasax Dynasty and acknowledge Tristan Abrasax as its sovereign."

I gave a wry smile, "Oh get up. I know that the forms must be obeyed but really mother? And Alexa, you've stood by the Dynasty's side for more than two millennia; giving it nothing save faithful service that entire time."

They both stood and gave me hugs of congratulations, however as Alexa hugged me the mechandrites camouflaged as body hair on our bodies made contact and a data packet was pushed into my mind; secrets of the line that were never to exist anywhere save the minds of its Sovereign and its most loyal retainer, and even then that data was heavily encrypted save for the knowledge that the files would only decrypt themselves in the right situations.

"Well let's be about it, we've been floating in this dead system for more than twenty six years and it's about time that we get back to work." I said, striding out of the vault and towards the throne.

As I sat in it, the throne interfaced with the signet ring on my finger and found me worthy. If anyone without that ring sat on the throne they would die in excruciating agony as they were burned to less than dust in both body and soul. In my case, the throne merely added my soul signature to the wards and defenses. Once it was done, I was connected to the ship almost to the point that I was the ship.

Every control run, data cable, and circuit on this vessel was psy-reactive and over the past two thousand years each and every machine spirit on the vessel had been conditioned to see the Abrasax Sovereign as something akin to its supreme deity; existing only to carry out the Sovereigns will. They bowed in joyous supplication as they felt my presence. Even as I acknowledge those machine spirits, I felt the true chaotic fury of the Warp for the first time. Voices whispering promises of pleasure, or power, or secrets, or immortality; feelings of rage, of blood, of hatred, of love, death & life. It was nigh indescribable. That anyone could grow up exposed to that hell and emerge both sane and stable astounds me. Granted, I was more than merely powerful in the warp at the moment but still...

Once I had gotten used to the constant testing of my souls fortifications I reached out with my neural interface. As the members of the crew reached a safe stopping point in whatever task they were doing, I triggered their own nanite provided neural interfaces and they suddenly perceived themselves as standing before the dais. My name and the knowledge that I was the Abrasax Sovereign was dumped into their mind, and as it was their mental projections kneeled one by one and repeated the same oath that my mother had sworn. Even as they did, I used the administrative access to their nanites provided by the throne to wipe the other control and encryption codes from their nanites and replace them with new ones.

The two hundred, seventy nine thousand, one hundred and eighty one others who called the Seraphi home had been every bit as carefully sculpted and conditioned over the past two thousand years as I myself had been. The Abrasax line might have been the crown jewel of Alexa's work but it was far from her only one, and those who populated the Seraphi were something like cousins to that crown jewel. Raised in a communal creche, they were exposed to all the hypno-indoctrination that they could safely absorb until they were implanted with their nanites at the age of twenty and assigned to their jobs. Impressive by the rest of the galaxies standards, those nanites were but the palest of shadows of my own bespoke set.

Still, the crew was beyond merely fanatically loyal to the Abrasax Sovereign; they were conditioned into a loyalty comparable to the future Sisters of Battle to the Emperor. Even then, within my nanites resided the needed control codes to cause their own nanites to instantly burn them to ash; a thought, a wireless broadcast, and they would die.

It was telling that the only members of the ships company that my mother had killed upon my father's death were the Astropaths. Yes, they were the only ones who could communicate beyond the dead system we were located in, but they were also the only ones who hadn't been indoctrinated into loyalty over thousands of years. Even the Navigators were ours body and soul now after my grandfather, Titus, used his influence with Vangorich to buy a reprieve for a Navigator House the Assassin had marked for death. House Pytheas had objected rather strongly to Vangorich's coup and had been using their positions among naval and rogue trader vessels to attempt to coordinate a counter coup. The assassins response had been a genetically tailored airborne virus that would spread totally asymptomatically among the human population until it infected someone with the unique genetic markers of House Pythes; for them it would cause a most excruciating death. A slight modification to the standard immunization package that Imperial Guard and Naval personnel all received was all it took to make every new recruit a patient zero.

Titus had seen an opportunity to achieve a long held goal of the Abrasax and so cashed in a large favor with the Lord Protector to secure the genome of the virus and his agreement that he would leave alone any member of House Pythes who was under Abrasax protection so long as Abrasax guaranteed that they wouldn't move against the Lord Protector. From there it was no issue for Alexa to design a defense against the virus or for Titus to drop the right words into the right ears for some of House Pythes to come to him.

In the end House Pythes twenty two surviving members had pledged eternal fealty to the Abrasax Dynasty and Alexa had received a new project; the first fruits of which were the current generation of Navigators.

-x-x-x-
A/N
Next chapter we get into Tristan's plans. And yeah, two thousand years of sustained painoia and planning by a dynasty at the very top of the Imperium of Man really does have some impressive results. Others might press gang random hive world citizens into their crews to fill out the numbers (and to be fair the Abrasax also did plenty of that), but for the crew of the personal ship of the dynasties sovereign? That's just asking for infiltrators and problems. Much easier to, for example, claim some empty world, plot down a relatively small population, indoctrinate them for fanatically loyalty to the dynasty over a few generations, replace the crew with them wholesale, and then just have them breed so as to have future generations of replacements. Abrasax just used a slightly more refined process.

A bunch of appendix entries this time.
The Noble Order of the Explorers Militant:
The Noble Order of the Explorers Militant was founded by Malcador the Sigilite in 771.M30 for the stated purpose of scouting the galaxy in advance of the Great Crusade. Its membership was drawn almost entirely from among his more senior and independently minded agents. Whatever the official cover, the reality was that the Explorers Militant were essentially the Imperiums foreign intelligence service.

With that truth in mind, it should be no surprise that those Explorers Militant were lavishly equipped by the Mechanicum with bespoke cruisers designed for long endurance independent operations and equipped with a panoply of specialty technology.

The first wave of Explorers Militant received their ships and left Sol in 775.M30, decades before the Great Crusade would truly begin.

No new Explorers Militant have been created since the Emperor was interred on the Golden Throne as only He and Malcador had the authority to do so. In the two thousand years since the orders establishment most of the members have died off and only a dozen of the Explorer Militant lines are still extant. The initial inspiration for what would be the Rogue Trader.

While the Explorers Militant were granted a great many privileges by Imperial Decree, the most relevant are as follows:
1. By the Emperors grace they may travel the breadth of his domain and are given leave to make port in any system that owes him fealty. Provides absolute freedom of travel to any system in the Imperium (even ones that the Inquisition has barred travel to) and visit any worlds they desire. Combined with their charge to explore beyond the bounds of the Imperium, this is comprehensive.

2. All members of the Noble Order of the Explorers Militant are sanctioned to use psychic powers as they see fit in the pursuit of their charge.

3. A Knight Commander of the Order may induct others into the order as Squires and Knights sworn in his service (and may remove from the Order any who are so sworn).

4. A Knight or Knight Commander of the Order may own, operate, or captain Warp capable vessels.

5. All members of the order have the right to declare information secret from all who do not outrank them in the Order. In effect this means that the hereditary members of the Order (the Knight Commanders/the ones who actually hold the Warrant) can declare information secret from all save the Emperor & Malcador (and any Custodes actually) - although there is some debate whether or not an Inquisitor is legally allowed to demand the information.

6. All members of the Order are removed from the jurisdiction of all save the Order, the Custodes, and the Emperor. There is some debate whether or not this puts them beyond the Inquisition, the general consensus is that it technically should but that in practice trying to argue the point may well just get you shot without anyone giving a shit and that the Inquisitor could always go to the Custodes and ask them to deal with the offending individual (which the Custodes would almost certainly do) . All members of the Order have right of high, middle, and low justice over any lower ranking members of the order. A Knight of the Order may kill any Squire of the Order at any time for any, or no, reason while a Knight Commander may do the same to any Knight. In practice, they don't kill one anothers forces unless it is clearly justified as that will just lead to retaliation.

7. Knights & Knight Commanders can claim worlds in the Emperor's Name. Worlds so claimed are part of the Emperors personal domain and thus also fall under the jurisdiction of the Adeptus Terra.

Notably, freedom to trade with worlds inside (or outside) the Imperium isn't actually granted. Freedom from jurisdiction and freedom of travel cover much of that in that an Explorer Militant can travel anywhere and simply ignore any Adeptus Terra laws/regulations relating to trade but that doesn't protect their counter parties (and the Administratum has threatened to make it illegal for anyone under their jurisdiction to do business with Explorers Militant before.

There are other, lesser, privileges and all of these tend to involve a lot more legalese and loophole closing

Governmental Structure of the Imperium of Man:
The Imperium has undergone a great many restructurings over its life. The first was its founding relatively early in the Unification Wars when the Emperor transitioned from Warlord to Emperor and formally established the Empire of Terra as a polity on Terra. The second was the restructuring he carried out in the waning days of the Unification of Terra. The third was the formation of the Imperium of Man via the alliance of the Empire of Terra, the Cult Mechanicum, and the Emperor of Man (in his own person). The fourth was the creation of the Council of Terra. The fifth was Guilliman's Reformation in the immediate aftermath of the Horus Heresy. The sixth was a more gradual process that started with the disappearance of the Primarchs and could be said to have ended with the creation of the Ecclesiarch as a permanent member of the High Lords. The seventh was Vangorich's Great Purge and later removal.

With each of those restructings legacy artifacts were created. The most extreme, and prevalent, example of this came with the Emperor's internment on the Golden Throne and the death of Malcador. With both of them no longer able to issue decrees there became a number of orphaned organizations, positions, regulations, duties, and privileges that no one had the authority to modify, grant, repeal, etc. While the High Lords of Terra might claim to, collectively, be the Emperor's Regent they don't actually hold that position legally speaking. While they have a great deal of authority as the inheritors of the Council of Terra (the High Lord of each branch of the Adeptus having nigh limitless authority over their branch and only the Emperor or Malcador having the authority to overrule them being one of those artifacts), their remit beyond the Adeptus is nonexistent.

Another such artifact can be seen in adoption of the Codex Astartes. Before the Heresy the Council of Terra had no authority over the military. The military chain of command went the Emperor -> the Warmaster -> the Primarchs and the Lord High Admiral of the Imperial Navy & Lord Commander Militant of the Imperial Army. When Horus turned traitor he was removed from his position and the Lord High Admiral & Lord Commander Militant were added to the Council while the chain of command for the Legionies remained Emperor -> Primarch. When the surviving Primarchs (or Legion Masters for those Legions without a Primarch) accepted the Codex they reduced their legions to only a thousand members and created, as new organizations, the successor chapters under the authority of the High Lords of Terra as a collective whole. Notably, the actual legions technically still exist as the "chapters" bearing those names (such as the Ultramarines or White Scars) aren't actually chapters and they are still under the old chain of command (and thus NOT under the technical authority of the High Lords).
The Imperium of Man is nothing more, and nothing less, than the sum total of everything that owes the Emperor of Man fealty in one of the Emperors many separate personas. Upon its founding the three facets of the Imperium were the Empire of Terra, the Cult Mechanicus, and the Court of Terra.

Empire of Terra:
The formal name of the polity that conquered Terra (and later Sol excluding Mars) in the Unification Wars. Could also be likened to being the Dynasty of the Emperor. Ruled by the High Lords of Terra as the Emperor's Regent.

Court of Terra:
Established by the Emperor during the Unification Wars, it has been closed to new members since the establishment of the Imperium of Man. Twenty Three Dynasties, including that of the Emperor himself, make up the Court.

The founding members of the Dynasties were all individuals who most impressed the Emperor during the Unification Wars. In his own words, they were exemplars of humanity and his ideal of what it meant to be human. While His viewpoint might be skewed and/or say interesting things about his psyche, it was the Emperor's stated rationale for why he was recognizing them as sovereign entities. Essentially, they were people who had shown (to his satisfaction) themselves to be the embodiment of what he was trying to teach humanity to become and the whole purpose of why he was building his Empire.

That all of those individuals immediately pledged eternal alliance with the Emperor and later unanimously agreed to obey him in most things as the head of their alliance (the Imperium of Man) is immaterial. ;)

In reality, the Emperor had plans for all of those lines in the future and each one was elevated for its own unique reasons (the true reasons probably known only to the Emperor and, perhaps, Malcador but even the quasi true reasons are known only to the Emperor and the sovereigns of those lines).

The most important peculiarity of the Court of Terra is that it exists outside the Empire of Man and thus the Adeptus Terra. The Dynasties of the Court are sovereign entities in their own right, sovereign entities whose Sovereign's have sworn their personal alliance and/or fealty to the Emperor (not the Empire of Terra or the Imperium of Man). The relationship between these sovereign Dynasties and the Empire of Terra/Imperium of Man depends entirely upon the specific treaties negotiated between those entities and the Dynasties. In practice, all of those treaties were negotiated/renegotiated essentially concurrent with the Treaty of Olympus as part of the formal establishment of the Imperium of Man.

The biggest factors of relevance from those treaties are as follows:

1. The Dynasties are sovereign entities in their own right and, like the Mechanicum, are free to claim any world not already claimed by another recognized sovereign (The Empire of Terra, the Cult Mechanicus, the other Dynasties of the Court of Terra) in their own name/as part of their own sovereign territory.

2. Mutual support clauses. All of the constituent sovereigns of the Imperium of Man are sworn to come to the aid of any member against any foreign entity upon the request of any member. What exactly counts and the exact contours are delineated in the thousands of pages of the treaties.

3. All silica anima are to be destroyed upon discovery at any cost unless the Emperor personally determines otherwise and absent said determination, failure to do so (much less producing AI on your own) is considered grounds for the termination of all of the treaties. Essentially, everyone agrees to destroy all AI and anyone who makes any or fails to give AI destruction their whole hearted support.

4. No sovereign may forbid its citizens from doing business with citizens of other sovereigns. Essentially, the Adeptus Terra can't order a planetary governor to not do business with the Mechanicus and so on. This is not absolute and there are lots of exceptions buried in the fine print of the treaties.

5. No use of Psykers unless they are sanctioned by the Emperor.

The treaties used to deal with the Imperial Truth/the religion ban as well but that got loopholed around. What is relevant is that the Oath of Ascension that every heir to a Dynasty must swear to take their place as that Dynasties Sovereign includes a provision binding them to the propagation of the Imperial Truth and bans on all religions that haven't received special dispensation from the Emperor (i.e. only the Cult Mechanicus). And a sovereign breaking their Oath of Ascension is death for them and their entire Dynasty unless the Emperor decides otherwise.

Notably, the Custodes have carried out that judgement at least once since the Emperor got put on the Golden Throne.

The sovereigns of the Dynasties are properly titled as Prince/Princess while other members of the dynastic bloodline are Lords/Ladies. Only the Emperor may claim an Imperial title (i.e. no calling yourself an Emperor or Empress).

History of the Mechanicum of Mars:
The Mechanicum of Mars is the formal name for the sovereign entity that would unify Mars under its banner during the Age of Strife and then establish a great many daughter colonies across the stars before unifying with the Empire of Terra under the banner of the Imperium of Man. It would most properly be classified as a theocratic empire ruled by a priesthood.

The smallest political entity on Mars is the Forge. Each Forge is essentially an independent city-state. The Martian Parliament is composed of the Forgemaster's of each Forge. One of the Forgemasters of the Martian Parliament will be selected, using an arcane formula of weighted votes, by the vote of the Fabricator-Generals of every Forge World to be the Fabricator-General of Mars.

When the dual, and almost simultaneous, tragedies of the Cybernetic Revolt and an impassable Warp ended the Golden Age of Technology and birthed the Age of Strife; Mars escaped relatively unscathed.

For whatever reason, the Cybernetic Revolt on Mars took the form of the sudden and complete shutdown (and erasure) of every single Man of Iron connected to the Martian data network. Every other human world saw the Men of Iron turn actively hostile and, in the ten minutes before the Men of Iron were all destroyed, north of 99% of the entire human population of the galaxy was actively and deliberately killed by their rogue AI. Mars, in contrast, "merely" saw virtually every machine on the entire planet shut down suddenly, with no notice or preperation, and large portions of the controlling software of those machines erased.

The survivors of Mars would be unified by the Cult Mechanicus, a religion born out of the chaos following the collapse. In that unification would be established the Mechanicum of Mars as the planets government.

The Mechanicum then began sending out colonies and expeditions to worlds that seemed likely to advance their quest for knowledge. These expeditions were initially done with slower than light sleeper ships, but relatively early on in the process the plans for a very early generation Warp drive were recovered. From a time before humanity figured out how to fully pierce the veil between the Materium and Immaterium, those recovered plans provided a drive that was incredibly slow compared to traditional warp drives (as in dozens of times light speed instead of thousands of times light speed) but also avoided actually entering the warp and was thus virtually immune to the chaos rendering that realm impassible at the time.

Most importantly, each of those expeditions took with them a special type of servitor created from psykers that was linked to the High Altar of Technology back on Mars. Thanks to those links, each expedition could remain in relatively consistent contact with Mars (and through her one another) and share technical data. In this way they established a relatively unified empire with its constituent member worlds spread far and wide across the breadth of the galaxy.

Then came the Emperor of Man and his unification of Sol, outside of Mars, under the Empire of Man. In addition to being a credible candidate as the Omnissiah of the Machine God and having access to a great deal of technology from the Dark Age of Technology, he also had an army at his back that could inevitably conquer Mars if he chose to pay the blood price. Religious ideology combined with pragmatism and thus was the Treaty of Olympus Mons signed and the Mechanicum allied with the Empire of Terra to form the Imperium of Man.

Adeptus Mechanicus:
The administrative bureaucracy of the Empire of Terra responsible for interfacing between the Empire of Terra and the Mechanicum of Mars. In the millenia after the Horus Heresy it has, in common parlance, been expanded into a catch all term for the Mechanicum, Cult Mechanicus, and Adeptus Mechanicus.

Citizenry in the Imperium:
Citizenship in the Imperium is a tiered system with four tiers recognized by the Adeptus Terra.

Tier 0: Slaves/possessions. The vast majority of the human population, this tier is made up of everyone who is not a member of another tier and their position is law is as the property of a higher ranked citizen.
Tier 1: The vast majority of the Adeptus Terra. Generally not inheritable. Granted to, and possessed by, the rank and file of all the various branches of the Adeptus (Administratum, Imperial Guard, Navy, etc.). Also granted to everyone registered as born on Terra.
Tier 2: Inheritable out to three generations. Granted to, and possessed by, the Nobilite Adeptus (essentially everyone titled Lord something in one of the branches of the Adeptus Terra). Technically the rank of even the High Lords of Terra, assuming that the individual holding the position doesn't also hold another tier of citizenship.
Tier 3: Members of the Mechanicum of Mars.
Tier 4: Those personally sworn to the Emperor; the Court of Terra (inheritable), the Custodies, Inquisitors. Can create individuals as Tier 1 citizens and can make that citizenship heritable.

Each tier has its own duties, rights, and privileges defined in the Lex Imperialis. The biggest jump from Tier 0 to Tier 1 is that you become recognized as a citizen and so can file complaints with the Adeptus Arbites, are obliged to tithe, can be a recognized signatory to contracts, can own property, and technically can't just be killed out of hand (you are still at the bottom of the barrel, all of the higher ranked citizens can generally find a way to make killing you on whim basically legal if they really want).

Tier 2 citizens are basically the middle management of the Imperium and up. Most of the power wielded by citizens of this tier comes from the specific position(s) that said individual holds in the Adeptus Terra. Honestly, this tier really only exists so that the various Adeptus can easily write regulations to be applied to the masses at large.

Tier 3 citizens are the Adeptus Terra designation for members of the Mechanicum of Mars. These individuals can hold dual citizenship, indeed many do, but Tier 3 tends to supplant any lesser citizenship tiers in that it really only exists to more easily facilitate the implementation of the Treaty of Olympus Mons.

Tier 4 citizens are much the same as Tier 3 in that it is largely just an Adeptus Terra internal designation so that they can more easily write rules for their own (Tier 1 & 2) citizens in relation to those individuals.

Nobility in the Imperium:
The Adeptus Terra recognizes three courts of nobility; the Court of Terra, the Navis Nobilite, and the Nobilite Adeptus.

The Court of Terra has been closed since the Emperor's ascension to the Golden Throne as a new member of the court can only be recognized by the Emperor. The Court of Terra's membership is virtually entirely made up of Houses that swore fealty to the Emperor personally (as opposed to the Empire of Terra) or distinguished themselves in His service during the Unification War. The most important peculiarity of the Court of Terra is that it exists outside the Adeptus Terra and so is bound only by the personal decrees of the Emperor or his regent (Malcador) and whatever the terms of the individual Houses Oaths of Fealty were/are.

The Navis Nobilite is made up of the Navigator Houses.

The Nobilite Adeptus is far and away the court with the largest membership. Its highest nobles are the High Lords of Terra (think of them as the Royal houses) and each branch of the Adeptus has its own lesser lords. For example, a Planetary Governor would be akin to a Baron of the Administratum and would owe fealty to a sub-sector Governor who would be akin to a Viscount of the Administratum, owing his own fealty to a Sector Governor who would be akin to an Earl of the Administratum, owing his own fealty to the Segmentum Governor who would be akin to a Duke of the Administratum.

A given individual can hold multiple titles. Planetary Governors, for example, have a title from the Administratum to rule the world and a separate one (of relatively low rank) from the Imperial Guard to command at least some IG forces.

There are also planetary nobilities but the Imperium does not recognize these and as far as the Adeptus Terra is concerned these "nobles" are no different from any other rank and file human (i.e. slaves belonging to the planetary governor unless they hold Imperial citizenship).
 
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AAGAUCAAUGGA

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So both the Mother and Alexa had to know he is a reincarnate, since they were shaping him in the Warp from such a young age and would have felt him being more experienced then he should have been, is he only alive now because the father of the main line died? Shouldn't Alexa have samples she could use for artificial insemination, if indeed any child of the line hasn't been designed from both sperm and egg?
 

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So both the Mother and Alexa had to know he is a reincarnate, since they were shaping him in the Warp from such a young age and would have felt him being more experienced then he should have been, is he only alive now because the father of the main line died? Shouldn't Alexa have samples she could use for artificial insemination, if indeed any child of the line hasn't been designed from both sperm and egg?
Neither are actually aware, although Tristan spent a fairly good deal of his life thinking that she was.

It will be explained later in the story but as extreme as Tristan's conditioning was? That has nothing on the conditioning of an Abrasax consort. Tristan wanted the information kept secret and didn't want her to know, so her own powers erased it from her mind even as she was integrating the implanted information with what he already knew.

When Esmeralda said that she was his to command body, mind, and soul she wasn't joking. Her conditioning is so deep that her soul would literally tear itself apart if the Abrasax sovereign commanded it, every time she connected with his mind her own was shaped and adapted by her own powers to more perfectly align with what he desired for someone in her role.

And no, the heir must be conceived while the father (or mother) still lives. The initial conception must be natural for the best outcome soul wise, then the fertilized egg is extracted from the mother, modified, placed into an artificial womb, and then the mother (and father if both are available) basically spend every moment of the next nine plus months deep in meditation channeling their own energy into the soul to increase its natural power.

The consort for an Abrasax is produced via much the same process, a daughter (or son) of the consort line is selected before having their eggs/sperm genetically modified. Then they conceive a child with the Abrasax in question, the fertilized egg is removed, further modified to best complement the Abrasax in question, and placed into an artificial womb. The Abrasax will then spend its gestation time in deep meditation using their psyker powers to shape the future consorts soul to best complement the Abrasax. Post birth they will, like Tristan was, have a great many memories implanted (although unlike Tristans there aren't merely knowledge dumps with minor personality shaping) that are all designed to produce the desired personality, thought processes, and mental functions; have those memories integrated into their mind by the Abrasax, who again ensures that the desired outcome is obtained. Then comes the nanite package which, again unlike what Tristan received, has the neural lace constantly tweaking and adjusting the mind to cause it to better serve the Abrasax (and thanks to the psy-reactive nature of the nanites and the soul shaping, the consorts own powers are used to help the nanites adjust their mind and reshape their soul to better complement their adjusted mind).

An Abrasax consort is designed to be the Sovereign's executive officer, right hand, voice, etc. They are that Abrasax's Malcador and extreme measures are taken to ensure that a Consort is not merely loyal unto death but is loyal to the point where they would willingly allow daemons to consume their soul and torture them for the rest of time if that is what was required to serve the Abrasax's interests.

In the case of a consort to a dead sovereign, much of that loyalty and conditioning will transfer to the heir.
 

cyboot

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how come there aren't lots of abrasaxs and their consorts still around? alexa managed to stick around for 2000 years and as far i know even relatively low ranking people in the 40th millenium can still get rejuvenation to live a few centuries. so with alexa there and inducting every abrasax into the cult shouldn't they have access to the same rejuvenation as her? or did all those before the MC get themselves killed young and their consorts followed them into death? after all 2000 years wouldn't be all that many generations if you live for centuries and you don't have a dozen generations alive at the same time.
 
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Emperor Tippy

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how come there aren't lots of abrasaxs and their consorts still around? alexa managed to stick around for 2000 years and as far i know even relatively low ranking people in the 40th millenium can still get rejuvenation to live a few centuries. so with alexa there and inducting every abrasax into the cult shouldn't they have access to the same rejuvenation as her? or did all those before the MC get themselves killed young and their consorts followed them into death? after all 2000 years wouldn't be all that many generations if you live for centuries and you don't have a dozen generations alive at the same time.
From the Prologue:
Alas, for all the prestige and nominal power that came with my Warrant the sad reality is that there was a reason that I was born in the most secure quarters of the Seraphi, the Unification class Grand Cruiser that had served as the dynasties flagship since we received it from the shipyards of Mars in 775.M30, while it floated alone in an empty system.

My grandfather, Titus, had been a supporter of Drakan Vangorich in the laters rise to power. That had proven handsomely profitable to the Abrasax Dynasty for the century that the Grand Master Assassin ruled the Imperium as Lord Protector but with Vangorich's fall those fortunes had taken a rather drastic downturn. Doors were suddenly closed to us, our agents suffered invariably fatal accidents with alarming regularity, vessels were "mysteriously" lost to the warp, planetary governors were found to be corrupt and replaced.
Chapter 1:
For two thousand years the Abrasax Dynasty had explored the galaxy in the Emperor's name, and at the height of its power, in my grandfathers time, a thousand worlds had owed us fealty. The hundred and fifty years of disfavor that we had enjoyed since that height had seen our domain reduced to half a dozen worlds, a handful of ships, and few allies willing to honor their commitments. That reduction had been, at best, quasi legal but the truth is that might makes right and when a Dynasties enemies include the Administratum, the Ecclesiarchy, and the Inquisition simple survival must be taken as a victory.
Generally how things worked is that the Sovereign would have however many children. If he particularly liked one of them then he would create a Consort for them, one would not be created for the Heir.

Upon the Sovereigns death the Heir would ascend to the throne and create their own consort. The siblings of the new Sovereign (save his heir until such time as one was produced of his own body) would then be shipped off to rule planets/captain ships and establish their own lines. They would be genetically modified so that any of their children would not be psykers. It should also be noted that all main line Abraxas are conditioned for absolute loyalty to the Sovereign (the one exception being edge cases like Tristan where he was the only heir and when he was born there was no Sovereign).

A main line Abraxas can expect to live five to six hundred years (potentially more), the descendants of the cadet lines can expect natural life spans of around four hundred. In both cases, most juvant treatments are worthless for them as they basically have the best iteration of juvant treatments already worked into their genetics. It is also not that uncommon for them to die relatively young. Once the succession is secured, a great many sovereigns left their Heir on Seraphi to manage much of the family business while they took their personal guard and went off gallivanting around the galaxy, or throwing themselves into wars against the enemies of humanity. The tablet records their deaths, so there is no doubt when it is time for the Heir to ascend.

As for Alexa, fairly unique circumstances are in play with regards to here extreme age. I mean cloning and soul transference simply won't work for an Abrasax psyker; there bodies and souls are tied too closely together and even if you got around all of the instinctive protections worked into their souls and managed a transfer, the clone bodies would burn out in a matter of days.

But what happened to the Abrasax is a good object lesson in the risks one takes from playing the Game of Thrones. They made enemies over the centuries, a great many of them, who were just waiting for a chance to stick in the knives. Backing Vangorich had seemed like a good play, and it had been until he went nuts and was overthrown. Even then the Abrasax were too powerful to even be officially censured; but there is a great deal of difference between official censure and some secret orders handed down to the Officio Assassinorum. Or for another Explorer Militant being encouraged to start pirating Abrasax ships; after all, it is entirely legal for a Knight Commander of that order to determine that an Abrasax sponsored Knight is deserving of death while the Astropaths & Navigators on the ship decide that tragic warp interference prevented their distress calls when they were attacked by pirates of some description. And if the other Explorer Militant just so happens to find a vessel with no legally authorized captain on board, well then per Imperium policy it can be seized as salvage.

So the Navigators or Astropaths are encouraged to take a bribe to let another Explorer Militant know exactly where the ship is going to be and suddenly it is jumped on and captured.

Between the Administratum, Ministorium, Assassinorum, and Inquisition along with other dynasties, navigator houses, and various other individuals/organizations of note; a great many powerful entities could find common cause in sticking the knives into the back of a rival/old enemy/competitor.

The various cadet branches may have had founders who received the full Abrasax package as potential future Sovereigns but those founders progeny were comparatively lacking and were also lacking in the pressures that apply to the main line. Some second son of a cadet line five generations divergent from the main line may be nothing special (at least at the level of the mid to high nobility) but he is still and Abrasax (or at least close enough) and so nepotism would ensure him an easy life in whatever field he wanted. Want to join the Navy? A few words in the right ear and he is invited to attend the local Naval college and upon graduation will be commissioned a Lord Captain of his own shiny frigate. Or the Guard? It's no problem to get him attached to the staff of the ranking officer of a Sector or even Segmentum. And the family always needs its own high ranking agents. Or they can just be lazy and basically live on their inheritance.

The Serephi has always been the true heart of the Dynasties power and has always remained their failsafe. It was always one of the families contingency plans to, in the event of the Imperium turning at least quais hostile and the main line in danger of extinction, jump into deep space in an empty system and simply park the ship there until a new sovereign was ready. The ship has everything that they will need to be able to rebuild, assuming that it is advisable. There is also another plan to stick the main line into stasis and just park in the middle of nowhere for a millenia - using solar power and careful crew management they can actually remain self sufficient for that long - and thus hopefully wait out whatever the problem is; after all they still have their legal rights and privileges and the ability to prove them to be theirs.
 
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Chapter 3

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Chapter 3
-x-x-x-

My advisors and I had always known that I was going to take my place on the Abrasax Throne when I was ready, and that until I had the Seraphi was going to be doing nothing but floating in deep space light hours from a dead star in an empty system. That had not been up for debate; what was done after I took the throne had, in contrast, seen a great deal of it.

Ultimately, we faced two large problems. The first was a lack of information about what was occuring on Terra or amongst our peers in the highest reaches of the Imperium's governance. Without knowing the current dispositions of our enemies, rivals, associates, and allies it was simply a fool's gambit for the Seraphi to show up in Terran orbit.

The second of our two problems was a lack of dependable resources. My father had already made use of most of the resources that the Dynasty had carefully concealed away for just such a rainy day in his quest to regain our power; the million man army of loyal Abrasax guards buried in stasis under the surface of a dead world with nothing save an alpha-numeric designation had been awakened - only to be destroyed by an Ork horde when attempting to wrest some human ruins from their control two years later. We still had the stasis facility but that had been the families emergency troop reserve gone.

The small fleet of vessels parked inside of asteroids floating in dead systems had likewise died an ignominious death when my father attempted to wipe out a relatively minor xenos polity with a dozen or so systems to their name and had rather drastically underestimated both their cunning in turning the great array of focusing mirrors in orbit around their stars from power generation to a more offensive use - even void shields would fail under enough focused solar energy. To add insult to injury, spies on his vessels had alerted the Administratum to the event and a few years later the Navy and Guard had shown up to exterminate the xenos and claim their worlds for the Imperium.

Carefully husbanded secrets and vaults filled with enough wealth to buy systems had gone much the same way. In truth, about the only resources that Morgan hadn't squandered were ones that he couldn't squander. Orus was one such resource.

Discovered as a marginally habitable world by Talia Abrasax in 221.M31 when she first surveyed the Selem system, it had been made a test environment for terraforming a world via genetic engineering. A space station with the needed equipment had been put in orbit and a crew of Alexa's apprentices left there to carry out the process and Talia had left. Every few centuries the Seraphi would visit in order to see the progress, exchange the tech-priests, update the stations genetics databases with any new species that had been discovered (and gene mapped) in our explorations of the galaxy, and then leave. On the last visit, towards the very end of my great grandmother Kara's reign, the world had been a veritable paradise ready for final seeding.

I have few doubts that my father would have trader away that system, but it is hard to find buyers for a world whose atmosphere will cause skin to liquify and veins to break down within minutes. Great grandmother had decided that Orus should be a private family retreat and vacation destination and so had ordered the atmosphere laced with an engineered bioweapon. The genetics of the Abrasax, and our closest retainers, had been modified to produce tailored oils and white blood cells; those oils would interact with the bacteria that pervaded the atmosphere of Orus to produce a natural skin care product while the blood cells would break them down into energy.

If the construction servitors and tech-priests that great grandmother had left behind had done their jobs then we should arrive to find a space port and a city built for ten million already constructed, along with a great deal of processed raw materials from the mining operations on Tas, the planets lone moon.

We needed more manpower if the Dynasty was going to be rebuilt and that meant a secure location, free from potential infiltration by others, to breed them. More, I needed to produce my own Heir and personal guard before I started exploring the greater galaxy and both of those were twenty year undertakings best done without any warp travel. Thus the decision had been made to travel to Orus and use the Seraphi's crew complement as the world's seed population.

Reaching the Selem system had required Warp travel. Travelling through the Hell that is the Immaterium is relatively dangerous at the best of times and tends to be highly unpredictable even with a skilled navigator and the best of ships. Warp travel in the Seraphi could be like that of any other vessel, or it could be made both near infinitely safer and more dangerous at the same time.

This ship was purpose built from conception up with the active input of both Malcador and the Emperor to be commanded by a psyker. In the pursuit of that purpose its every circuit and wire had been made psi-reactive, its hull and frame laced with wardings, and its every component designed to complement that purpose. The end result was a vessel that seemed to meld itself to its master on an even deeper level than a Titan and its Princepts were melded. When sitting on the Abrasax Throne, the Seraphi became the Sovereign's battle armor as it boosted him from a Delta grade psyker into a solidly Alpha class psyker. Like everything else involving psyker powers, that boost was a double edged sword.

On the one hand, it was that very boosting that allowed the Abrasax Sovereign to actively shape the Warp around the vessel as it traveled through the Immaterium, allowing far faster and safer travel through the warp. On other other hand, that power made them a beacon for the denizens of the Warp and every second of its use was a constant battle where a loss of focus would be catastrophic.

And so it was that mere hours after my ascension, I could be found sitting in the Throne and carefully reaching out my mind and soul. I allowed myself to be spread throughout the circuits of the Seraphi in a perfect synthesis of mind, technology, and soul; my neural interface tying me into the purely electronic datasphere of the ship while the psi-reactive nature of the materials that had gone into the construction of those devices allowed my soul to become one with the various machine spirits and the gestalt entity that was the Serpahi itself. Once the ship had been bound to my will, I reached out to the crew. They were, one and all, the end product of a conditioning program that had lasted two thousand years and was primarily focused on making them extensions of my being; literally bred for fanatical loyalty and absolute submission to the Abrasax Sovereign their souls allowed themselves to be subsumed with barely even a ripple of hesitation or protest. Simultaneous with that, their own neural interfaces interacted with the cogitators to create something akin to a gestalt consciousness; not a true gestalt but something like it.

When I was done binding the crew, the Seraphi was nothing less than the purest extension of my will; a perfect gestalt entity that would respond instantly to my desires in much the same way that the well trained body of a gymnast would respond to their minds commands. And so with a bare thought I reached out to the twenty Navigators who called the Seraphi home and had the necessary nanonics, I reached out to the Warp Drive whose machine spirit had been carefully shepherding the Abrasax into and out of the warp safely for two millenia, I reached out to the Geller Fields who had protected us for just as long, and I reached out to the Immaterium myself. What opened before the Seraphi was no chaotic warp rift spewing the Immaterium into the Materium willy nilly, it was instead barely a ripple as the vessel seemed to simply phase through the boundary between the two realms.

Once inside the warp, its denizens began attempting to breach our defenses but they found themselves stymied. This was not one psyker, however artificially powerful, attempting to hold them back; it was instead two hundred, seventy nine thousand, one hundred and eighty one human souls who one and all denied those daemons with every fiber of their being and believed with equal surety that we would enjoy a safe, fast, issue free journey through the warp. The Geller Field and Warp Drive were constantly adjusted and tweaked based on the insights of the Navigators and my own precognitive abilities to more perfectly achieve our goals.

For twenty hours I maintained that gestalt from my throne, until we seamlessly phased back into the Materium a light hour out of Orus. Our trip was without issue and only worthy of note because it was my first such trip, but in those twenty hours subjective we had traveled more than four thousand light years and when the navigators checked the time via the Astronomicon only a bare hour had passed in the Materium.

With a final check I carefully ended the gestalt and decoupled my mind and soul from the Seraphi, becoming once again only Tristan and no longer the Abrasax Sovereign.

"Well done, Tristan." my mother said as she gave me a hug. I hugged her back, briefly caressing her soul with my own in acknowledgement, and headed off to my quarters to sleep for the next twelve hours; the crew all knew what they had to do, one of my last acts in the gestalt had been to pass them along after all, and I needed rest.

-x-x-x-
A/N
Not super happy with this chapter, but I suppose that it is good enough to move on with.

Warp Travel:
Void Skimmer class Warp Drive: The earliest iteration of human FTL drives, a Void Skimmer doesn't actually enter the Immaterium; instead it rides the very boundary between the Materium and the Immaterium. This is also the type of drive used by the Tau.

The disadvantage is that it is quite slow, a hundred or so times light speed at best. The advantage is that it is virtually immune to Warp instability/interference, and has predictable travel times.

Used by Mars in the Age of Strife to establish their Forge Worlds, has not been used since.

Imperium Warp Drives: Creates a Warp Rift, an opening between the Materium and the Immaterium, and then flies through.

Geller Fields: Psychic technology that takes an area of the Immaterium and essentially forces it to behave in whatever manner the Geller Field "believes" that it should behave. The Materium's laws of physics programmed into the Geller Field generator (with modifications to allow for FTL travel) and Warp power (provided by the Warp Drive) is used to enforce the Geller Fields "will" onto the Immaterium.

Guided Warp Travel: An Imperium vessel makes use of a Navigator to view the currents of the warp, identify which ones are most advantageous to the journey, and then make minute modifications to the Warp Drive to essentially raise "up" or "down" layers in the warp to catch the currents; conceptually think of it more as sailing a vessel from the Age of Sail than driving a modern motor boat. The disadvantage of this method is the need for a living navigator to make use of it, the advantages are a substantial increase in safety, speed, and accuracy.

Unguided Warp Travel: An IoM vessel traveling through the Warp without a navigator. This is essentially a dead reckoning method of travel. Augurs are used to view the warp in a given area and make predictions about it, then a course of travel is computed. The vessel then enters the Warp, travels the computed course, and returns to real space where it spends some time figuring out its location in the galaxy and repeating the process. Time in the Warp is very minuscule as each jump is on the matter of a handful of lightyears (fifty or so on the most capable vessels) but a great deal of time is spent calculating the location and the next jump. In practice, this allows speeds of around 1,000 to 2,000 c.

Psyker Assisted Warp Travel:
A sufficiently powerful, and skilled, psyker can (with the appropriate technology) interface with the Geller Field generator and substantially increase its power as without a soul the generator is inherently limited in both its potential power and in its ability to adapt to the Immaterium from moment to moment. If the Warp Drive is also appropriately equipped then a gestalt can be created between the psyker, navigator, warp drive, and geller field for the best possible results. The advantages of this method are greatly increased speed, safety, and accuracy along with much more controlled Warp Rifts; the disadvantage is that it is reliant on the psykers focus as his losing focus will essentially collapse the geller fields for at least some period of time.

Selem:
Location:
Segmentum: Segmentum Solar
Sector: Sector Silesia
Subsector: Mefacane subsector (inside the Mefacane Nebula)
Affiliation: Abrasax Dynasty

System Details:
Star: Sol like (G2V)
Planetary Bodies: 6 planets, three moons, one asteroid belt
Selem-1: Orbits extremely close to the star, surface temperature of nearly a thousand C
Orus: Habitable planet, 1.1 G (slightly smaller diameter than earth), 400 day year with ~25 hour days.
-Tas: Orus's moon, very similar to Luna
Selem-3: Mars like planet, orbiting approximately 20 light minutes from Selem.
Selem-4: Gas giant, orbited by a cloud of asteroids that are slowly collalessing into a ring
Selem-5: Gas giant
-Selem-5m: Moon, Titan like atmospheric/surface composition
Selem-6: Neptune like planet orbiting at a distance of ~8 light hours.
-Selem-6m: Moon

Located approximately 420 light years outward from Sol. Discovered in 222.M31 by Talia Abrasax within the first decade of her reign.

Orus:
Segmentum: Segmentum Solar
Sector: Sector Silesia
Subsector: Mefacane subsector (inside the Mefacane Nebula)
System: Selem System
Population: Initial population ~280,000. Breeding greatly encouraged, resulting in rapid population growth.
Affiliation: Abrasax Dynasty
Class: Paradise World initially.
Tithe Grade: Aptus Non (Dynasty World)

Orus was discovered as a marginally habitable world when the Selem System was first visited by Talia Abrasax in 222.M31. At the time its atmosphere was not survivable without a breathmask while its native flora & fauna were not edible (or otherwise of much use) to humans. Talia, upon consultation with Alexa, made the decision to use the world as an experiment in terraforming.

A constellation of servitor-satellites equipped with extensive Augur arrays was placed in orbit around Orus to keep it under continuous close surveillance, a moderately sized space station outfitted with extensive genetic manipulation equipment was built in orbit, and several of Alexa's apprentices were assigned to the station with orders to produce an idyllic world. With that done, the Seraphi left the system and would return every few centuries for progress reports.

The Genetors started the terraforming process by genetically engineering several of the local species of plants to capture the various undesirable gases in the atmosphere and expel more desirable gases, steadily tweaking the multitude of species on the world until they had an ideal atmosphere for human habitation after nearly eight hundred years of effort. Over the next four centuries they used very carefully tailored strains of the lifeeater virus to steadily kill off the planets existing flora & fauna and replace them with the desired variants. It was then that the planet was determined to be ready for final seeding and so the last four centuries were spent populating the planet with the desired wildlife and letting things stabilize and reach equilibrium mostly naturally. At this time a large number of construction servitors (along with several tech-priest overseers) were placed on the moon, Tas, to begin construction of the needed resource extraction infrastructure for settling the world and then the initial city.

Servitors on the moon extract a great many materials from the lunar regolith, although titanium is the primary element of relevance. The titanium was then refined and processed into various materials (I-Beams, pipes, panels, etc.) before being accelerated down a long electrically powered track until it achieved the needed velocity to escape Tas's gravity well and arrive in orbit around Orus; where it would be gathered by other servitors and dropped down the planets gravity well to the sites selected for construction.

A spaceport and city (along with needed infrastructure and hydroponics facilities) with sufficient living space for a population of 10 million have been constructed; and a lot of building materials remain stockpiled in orbit.

As of 828.M32 the planet is a paradise world ready for human habitation. Notably, all of its local wildlife has been modified with a true breeding mutation to detect a unique pheromone tag of the mainline Abrasax and will become near totally docile in their presence. Per the wishes of Kara Abrasax and her desire to make Orus a private retreat for the Abrasax line, the atmosphere was laced with a self sustaining engineered bioweapon. The genetics of the Abrasax, and our closest retainers, had been modified to produce tailored oils and white blood cells; those oils would interact with the bacteria that pervaded the atmosphere of Orus to produce a natural skin care product while the blood cells would break them down into energy. For everyone without those modifications (or the appropriate urgents and vaccine), their skin would liquefy as its constituent cells found themselves incapable of bonding to other cells while their veins would suffer a similar fate; they would be fatally dosed with a single breath and invariably dead within two minutes of initial exposure.

The plants and animals chosen for the seeding of Orus were selected from the vast repository of genetic data that the Abrasax have collected in their two thousand years of exploring the galaxy for a combination of usefulness and beauty.

Tristan Abrasax made the decision to settle Orus in 828.M32 with the crew of the Seraphi as the initial population. Those ~280,000
 
Chapter 4

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"... and so we are actually above the projections for most raw materials." Alexa said, wrapping up her report on the initial survey of how Orus had fared in the four centuries since an Abrasax had last visited.

"So to sum things up; the city for our retainers has been completed, the underground hydroponics facilities have been working at capacity for the past thirty years and a billion man years of food are sitting in storage, we are still woefully short on medica vats thanks to Father raiding the stockpiles and our lack of some of the needed raw materials, the lunar mining operations are nearly 50% above projections thanks to lower than anticipated attrition rates among the servitors - caused by a design tweak that substantially increased resistance to solar radiation - , and the seeding operations appear to have been an unqualified success?" I asked, clarifying more than four hours worth of detailed reports into a paragraph.

"Essentially, yes." replied the Magos.

A nod, "Good. How long to move the crew down to Refuge and what are the population growth figures going to look like? Keep in mind that I want every child geneprinted and injected with tracking nanites until they are developed enough for safe implantation of the nanonic neural interface, so I assume the biggest limiter on population growth is going to be the rate that we can sustain the implants.", as I spoke I wirelessly shot her a file detailing my plans to use the nanonic neural interfaces for more traditional virtual classes as the memory implantation procedures that we normally used to educate the Seraphi's crew would simply take far more infrastructure than we had for what would likely be relatively marginal gains.

"We've already cross loaded the cables for the orbital elevators to the orbital station and the local tech-priests have the initial crawlers already built. The cables should be connected to their anchor points within the day and once that is done we can start moving people down at a rate of approximately ten thousand per day, call it a month to fully unload the crew. Once our onboard manufactorum produces less primitive crawlers that should improve by an order of magnitude, but production will take more than a month and we have higher priority projects." Alexa replied.

"A month is fine for the unload, but your estimates on growth?" I asked again, earning a shrug from the tech-priest.

"My genetors have been instructed to provide fertility injections, the one for triplets. I've already started both our servitor vats and those already in system on producing the models most useful for child rearing. Our crew always skewed female heavy, we have approximately 200,000 at the moment. At one pregnancy per year and triplets with each pregnancy we should have Refuge at capacity in approximately eighteen years. My current plan is to have Refuge expanded from the one mountain and instead hollow out the entire chain around the lake, based on my initial calculations that should be able to support half a billion in relative luxury.

"Slowing the breeding program to match child rearing capacity, we should hit that number by 900.M32." she answered, causing a slight wince from me.

"That's an extraordinarily skewed ratio of children to adults, how will the indoctrination and education programs handle it? Loyalty is more important than raw numbers." I asked as I ran my own calculations.

"A marginal decrease in the loyalty figures but not much of one. Nanonic neural conditioning on growing brains is less effective, and has a higher error rate, than the vat based procedures; but the efficacy is still within ten percent of the vats. The pheremonal submission triggers will also breed true without any loss in efficacy. The biggest drop off will be in the metaphysical conditioning, even after two thousand years of passive soul shaping that will break down within five generations without reinforcement." Alexa explained.

"And attempting the gestalt outside the protective confines of the Seraphi is a bad idea, even if I was willing to attempt to perform it with that many individuals. Still, it will be good enough for our tier three forces." I answered with a nod of acceptance; they would be good enough to raise an army and the crews of my future fleet from, even if they wouldn't be acceptable for service in the Sovereign's personal forces.

My mother injected then, "Speaking of children; you need an Heir, Tristan. Your life is most probably all that stands between the Dynasty's survival and the scrap heap of history."

I grimaced slightly, even with all of the conditioning that I had undergone since being reborn in this hell 'verse there seemed something decidedly unpleasant with impregnating a scion from a line engineered solely for the purpose of siring Abrasax consorts, having the fertilized egg removed from the womb and extensively modified, conditioning its very soul as it gestated, having the body, mind, & soul further modified and conditioned over the next twenty years as it was grown to maturity to literally be the most perfectly complementary individual for me, and then having a child with what was genetically my own daughter simply so that said child could undergo much the same procedure.

And yet... the sad fact was that I couldn't actually say that it was a bad idea given the universe that I found myself in. Utterly amoral to the point where virtually any moral, ethical, or religious philosophy from my previous life would classify it as evil to the point of demonically monstrous? Probably, but the odds of any less extreme process producing an individual who could handle the responsibilities that came with being the Abrasax Sovereign were incredibly slim.

"You just want a grandchild to spoil, mother." I said with a joking smile, even if I knew that it was her conditioning to serve the Abrasax line that was most probably responsible for her pushing the point. Before she could reply though I turned to Alexa and said "I trust that you've already selected the most compatible mother?"

When she gave a firm nod I gave a sigh and said "Very well, have her prepared and sent to my quarters tonight; there's no point in putting it off. And we may as well start on the High Guard as well. Mother, you can oversee things for the next week or so while I go about ...producing... the guard."

While sex might be fun, spending a week doing nothing but fuck as you impregnated women after women merely so that their fertilized eggs could be removed and modified into super soldiers for your army both took quite a lot of the fun out of it and made one feel like nothing but a prize bull put out to stud.

After a moment's hesitation I decided that it was time to share an idea that had come to me when I first learned the particulars of the High Guard conditioning.

"Mother, Alexa, I would like your opinions on an idea of mine.", feeling their shared interest in whatever I had come up with I continued "One of the biggest problems that we face is a lack of information on our peers, and solving that means sending an agent to Terra. I'm inclined to send you mother; you have the rank & training while your psychic gifts and nanonic enhancements would significantly ease your way. The problem isn't even getting you onto Terra; we can just arrive in the outer system of one of its smaller feeder agri worlds and shoot you in on a smart paint equipped drop pod. Once you make planetfall it would be trivial for you to stowaway on one of the regular transport ships to Terra.

"No, the problem isn't getting you onto Terra. It is being able to communicate with you while there, and more broadly speaking it is our inability to keep in reliable contact with any of our current or future holdings; and that is the problem that I want to solve."

Mother gave a hesitant shrug, intuitively understanding that I was talking about some broader topic but not grasping it yet. "Recruiting Astropaths direct from Terra will be difficult, especially if we want ones that won't be spies for the High Lords, but we could recruit then via our Mechanicum agents."

Alexa gave a wry chuckle before saying "I think he means something a bit bigger than that, Esmerelda. Even with the soul bond to the Emperor, Astropaths aren't anything like truly reliable; the only reason that we use them is that the only other option is courier vessels."

"Oh." said my mother, turning back to me with a much more speculative look on her face.

I gave an almost shark like smile "Not the only option. Mars keeps in contact with its Forge Worlds using the Alter's of Technology, and the heart of those is a psyker derived servitor. It was actually the fact that they can communicate with sufficient accuracy to transmit detailed technical information that inspired the idea.

"Well that and the nature of the soul bonds of the High Guard. Imagine that we take, say, half a dozen genetically identical fertilized eggs all conceived at the same time, implant them into the same artificial womb, and from that moment of conception on I use my psyker powers, perhaps boosted by the Throne, to encourage not just a soul bond between the group but an actual merging of their souls.

"Once they are born we move them to individual growth vats and then, again, treat them all identically while continuing to re-enforce the soul merge. The end goal being to make everyone of them as identical in mind and body as possible. Once they are mature we give them the nanonic neural and psychic enhancements and move them each to individual sarcophagi designed to further enhance their powers and shield them from the denizens of the Warp. The end goal is to produce a psychic entity that is one soul spread across multiple bodies. Then you enter a message into the sarcophagus; it is encrypted and uploaded to the psyker via their neural interface. If you have managed a deep enough soul merge, especially if you actually manage to make it one inseparable soul, then what one mind knows should instantly be known to all of the minds and thus can be downloaded by whatever the destination sarcophagi is, decrypted, and displayed while nanites keep the message from ever transitioning into the psykers long term memories.

"If you mirrored the array with another, entirely separate, set of psykers then you could compare the messages that each has received and request clarification if both arrays don't provide the same message. There will also be none of the interpretation issues that plague astropaths given that every member of an array will have an identical mind, and by making their natural language a variant on machine cant we can further increase specificity."

Having explained my idea I waited for comments, and was unsurprised when Alexa spoke first.

"It should work. Or at least you have a theory that is compelling enough to test. Your arrays will be much more limited than Astropaths in that you won't be able to communicate anywhere without a node, and less protected against Chaos interference given the lack of soul bond to the Emperor; but those issues can be at least somewhat mitigated and if it works then you might have just solved a problem that stymied even the Emperor."

"If it does work then this changes things rather drastically. Consistent, reliable, communication would be an incredible competitive advantage for us; although we would have to keep this an absolute secret of the dynasty. Unless we are willing to share our psyker conditioning techniques, we will be the only ones able to produce these arrays; and we are not powerful enough for the High Lords to allow us such a potent monopoly." my mother said, focusing on the socio-political issues involved.

I gave a firm headshake "No, sharing those techniques violates the strictures that Malcador placed on us at the start of this experiment. Once we have our position sufficiently secure, I will reach out to the Custodes. We should be able to produce conditioned psykers who are themselves able to produce the Arrays and provide them to the Custodes where they can oversee the process inside the secure areas of the Imperial Palace. If they are the ones introducing them to the Imperium at large then no one will question it, nor will they dare to pry into the process.

"At least assuming that the idea pans out in the first place."

-x-x-x-
A/N
You know, I really actually do think that something like those Astropathic Arrays is actually entirely within the Imperium's ability to produce in both 30 and 40k.

High Guard of the Abrasax / Abrasax High Guard:
The High Guard of the Abrasax are the personal bodyguards of the Abrasax Sovereign.

Every Abrasax Sovereign must create their own guard as the High Guard are soul bound to their Sovereign and will not survive the Sovereign's death.

The creation of a High Guard starts with the Sovereign conceiving a child with a scion of the High Guard breeding lines. Once the egg has been fertilized, it is removed from its mother and implanted into an artificial womb where it will undergo extensive genetic modification. Every High Guard is a stable Mu level (the minimum required to sustain a true soul bond) psyker with their only gift being an instinctive twisting of probability around them that makes them "lucky". The Abrasax uses his own psyker powers to shape the developing soul from the very beginning of the process, the best results are achieved via using the Throne to sustain a link between all of the High Guard (or developing High Guard) and the Sovereign so as to ensure that everyone of them is born with soul bonds to all of the rest.

Thanks to the strength of the Abrasax psyker, the High Guard can consciously communicate telepathically with their Sovereign over a relatively short range (maxing out around the level of low orbit of a planet) while they seem to instinctively coordinate with one another to perfection and recognize one another on sight. The Sovereign can draw on these bonds for additional power and even shunt psychic attacks down them and onto the Guards instead of suffering from them himself.

The developing High Guard will remain in the vat until they are fully physically developed at the age of twenty and will then each receive the Embrace of the Omnissiah nanonic upgrade package. During those twenty years of development, all of the needed memories, training, and knowledge for their role will be implanted into their brains (with integration assisted by the Abrasax).

Astropathic Array:
One of the first innovations of Tristan Abrasax, a number of genetically identical siblings are created simultaneously using the same process used to produce other Abrasax telepaths.

From conception to birth a psyker encourages these developing minds & souls to bond to one another on the deepest of all possible levels. After birth they are grown to maturity in medica vats, exposed to identical stimuli via hypnotherapy and with a psyker again encouraging the identical development of the minds and the soul bonds. Upon physical maturity all of the Array members are implanted with nanites that replace their nervous system with one of psy-reactive nanites, lace their brain to allow for direct neural interfacing/acts as an implanted computer, and produce an implanted psionic hood.

They are then moved into life support sarcophagi that act as psychic amplifiers and are warded to protect them from the dangers of the warp. In addition, these sarcophagi interface directly with the astropaths nervous system.

Information is imputed into the sarcophagus and the psyker shares it across their Array mates where it is outputted. All information is encoded by the sarcophagus using a code known only to that Array's sarcophagi and never exists unencrypted inside the astropaths mind (or in the Warp). The neural lace allows the astropaths mind to operate at near light speed while the soulbonds among the group are so deep that it is one soul with multiple bodies, this means that anything known to one is instantly known to all. Their implants keep the various trains of thoughts separate.

General Abrasax policy is to mirror every Array and pair the sarcophagi of the mirrored Arrays so that any message is exchanged twice (once across each Array) and can thus be error checked at both ends. Astropath A1 receives a message, it is checked against that received by Astropath B1. If both messages are identical then each is re-encrypted and sent back where it is decoded and the output checked to ensure it matches what was sent.

This is much more reliable than traditional astropaths and has much greater bandwidth but the downside is that a given Array can't be expanded after it has been created (although the death of individual Array nodes has no real impact beyond the lost node no longer existing; the oversoul is simply slightly more concentrated in the remaining bodies) and that one Array member can only contact other members of their own Array.

The entire Array can be soulbound to the Emperor if they are all presented before him at the same time. Doing this makes the link virtually immune to chaos interference. A soulbound Array can also be connected to a regular Astropath who then reaches out to send an Astropathic message to another regular Astropath who is also connected to an Array. While bandwidth is drastically lower, this reduces miscommunication to virtually nothing as all Arrays (at least all Arrays soulbonded to the Emperor) are specifically designed to be virtually identical in how they perceive the world.
 
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Gaouw

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So, Quantum Entanglement from the PoV of Psykers?
Neat idea. Will there be any other ambitious projects in the Abraxas Family's future? Such as, I dunno, healing and/or resurrecting the Emprah? Because that will put so many wrench in so many factions plan.
Thank you for the great story. Keep up the good work.
 

Gaouw

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I just had a thought:

Since the timeline is around M30 or so, will MC had an encounter with The Beast? Because I think it happened around that time. (Apologies, I don't have an encyclopedic memory regarding W40 timelines).

Because that should be interesting. Having an intelligent conversation with a race known not for its intelligence, that is.

Anyway, I really can't wait for the next chapter. Keep up the good work.
 

marsolino

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I just had a thought:

Since the timeline is around M30 or so, will MC had an encounter with The Beast? Because I think it happened around that time. (Apologies, I don't have an encyclopedic memory regarding W40 timelines).

Because that should be interesting. Having an intelligent conversation with a race known not for its intelligence, that is.

Anyway, I really can't wait for the next chapter. Keep up the good work.
If I remember correctly the Beast was the one who conquered Terra and sent orks planetside to talk with the High Lords right? Maybe the MC can help during the battle somehow and regain favour with the Imperium if that's the right time period
 

Nyarlathotep

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The Beast didn't conquer Terra, or, you know, there'd be a new Eye of Terror where it used to be.
 
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