Imperial machine languages

The Cant Mechanicus refers to the number of strange dialects spoken by the Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus. A few have spread to wider use among the Imperial population and some have been restricted for private and sacred use of the priesthood of Mars.

Universal tech-languages across the Imperium are derivatives and dialects of the STC languages of Binharic Cant and Lingua-technis. The pure STC languages of Hexamathic Code, Noospheric Bleed and Novabyte do not have vocal or dialectic variants as they are deeply embedded within higher mysteries of the STC technology and cannot be vocalized or altered. All five languages have their roots of origin in the forgotten glory of Dark Age of Technology.

Few outside the Machine Cult can comprehend these tongues, let alone reproduce them. Many Tech-Priests have their jaws and throats altered, the better to speak languages that were designed only for cogitators to use. Furthermore, each language is replete with internal self-references and allusions to knowledge that remains unknown to those outside the order. Some of their use is forbidden by anyone not a member of the Cult Mechanicus. Also these languages have words and even entire grammatical structures missing, eroded by the entropy of millennia or forbidden as those parts are corrupted by scrapcode. They have been sourced and re-imagined from alphabets, lexicons and tongues throughout history into an omnibet that only the Tech-Priests truly understand. These meta-languages are the roots of the runes, sigils and icons that adorn the STC machinery interfaces, cybernetic warriors and war machines of the Adeptus Mechanicus. More than that, it is the foundation of the battle cant they chant to empower their minions in times of war.

Myriad other tech-dialects have evolved from the common STC languages among servitors, tech-savants and societies across the Imperium, but most of them are local dialects that are used just within a small area. In example, a singular factorium, an sealed habitation or an isolated forge world. They are a combinations of a dominant local Imperial lingo and a local symbolism and the Binharic Cant or the Lingua-tecnis

Binharic Cant, a common tech-language

  • Language is based on the holy zero and one.
  • Commonly used for a transmission of a bursts of small data packets.
  • It is a holy language that is used in a liturgies and a chants of the Cult Mechanicum. Suitable to transmit Pure Data, but painfully slowly.
  • It is universally understood by an any singular Imperial machine (an Imperial individual or machine with either Mechanicus Implants, Talent: Flesh is weak or Trait: Machine).
  • A precise and robust signal that is perfect for use in combat situations and other encounters, where a digital background noise and a distortion hinders the communication. On a downside it is slow to use when a large quantities of complex data is necessary to transmit.
  • In combat and other emergency situations a same Binharic Cant signal can be transmitted through multiple channels (sound, light, vox, data-tether) simultaneously to ensure a successful receiving of a transmission.
  • A human is able to speak or signal it, but a non-augmented vocalized or signaled binary data transmissions are extremely slow to send (similar to Morse Code).

Lingua-Tecnis, a common tech language

  • A machine-human representational interaction language created to facilitate communication between humans, servitors and automatons.
  • Designed to be learned with ease by humans for interaction with entities of STC machine traits.
  • Can be verbally communicated without augmentation.
  • Can be used in either vocalized form (requires suitable interface), runic symbols or digitally in a data wafer (use of wafer requires suitable interface).
  • Verbal lingua-tecnis is prone to complications in combat and other high interference emergency situations, where a signal distortion is high. It is mainly used vocally to command Servitors, as runes for operating STC machinery or to instruct Automatons with pre-set data-wafers.
  • The data wafers for the automatons are complicated pre-created lingua-tecnis instruction sets. Since the aftermath of the Warmaster Horus’ rebellion, the Legio Cybernetica’s robots have been controlled completely by their masters — not by the bio-plastic cerebra and nerve-like tendril webs of the ancient Mechanicum’s constructs, but by sanctified doctrina wafers, fusions of bio-matter and electronics often in even shorter supply than the robots themselves. No bigger than the cards of the Emperor’s Tarot, these slivers of wetware are entrusted to the Cybernetica Datasmiths that accompany the robot maniples to war. Inserted into the dataslot hidden behind each robot’s chestplate, the wafer’s command protocol will dictate every iota of the host’s behaviour, usually optimising its ability to destroy its foes in a spectacular fashion. Seldom the master of an automaton has all possible command wafers. They are produced by several competing forges and none of them are able to produce every known command wafer. Knowledge to produce certain data-wafers has been lost to the Imperium and remaining ones are considered as precious archeotech. If the accompanying Datasmith wishes to change the behaviour of his charges — for instance to the assault-oriented Conqueror protocol — he must manually remove the first doctrina wafer and insert a new one in its place. Should a maniple of robots find itself in battle mode without a Datasmith, it will continue to prosecute its last doctrina protocol until it runs out of power — something that usually takes solar weeks of unbridled slaughter to achieve. Such risks and limitations are willingly accepted by the Cult Mechanicus, for the act of hardwiring independent thought into a battle automaton is strictly forbidden. 

Noospheric Bleed, a restricted tech language

  • Pre-requisites: Forbidden Lore: Adeptus Mechanicus or Archeotech and MIU implant.
  • A machine to machine interaction and a digital reality description language. Able to transmit Pure Data.
  • Used to perceive and interact within Noospheric space, STC digital environment invented during the dark age of technology. Interface is incorporated to a titans, an automatons, a digital cogitators and many other STC systems.
  • It’s use was widely re-instituted by Mechanicus priesthood before  the Great Crusade as Noospheric Space that was able to proces Pure Data provided resistance against Scrapcode that was able to alter an unprotected Novabyte command lines of the STC technology.
  • Can be used to interact with mechanical entities, both Imperial (an individuals or an objects with a machine trait) and non-Imperial (an individuals or an objects who have Machine Trait and are able to comprehend the Pure Data).
  • Impossible to transmit or understand without a MIU or equal interface capability.
  • Breaking a Noospheric connection abruptly may cause momentary disorientation for those who are still connected to shared Noospheric Feed.
  • Perfect for a transmissions and procession of a large quantities of Pure Data without a loss caused by a data-compression.
  • Extensively used by the Scitarii and other troops of Adeptus Mechanicus. A Magos Dominus is positioned to the top of a Noospheric hierarchy and is able to perceive it’s surroundings through sensor- and data-feeds of surrounding troops connected to Noospheric Space.
  • Was lost from humanity during Age of Strife but was recovered after unification of Terra and Mars.

Hexamathic Code, a restricted tech language

  •  Pre-requisites: Forbidden Lore: Mechanicus or Archeotech and Forbidden Lore: Warp or Xenos
  • A descriptive language to isolate, analyze and interact with signals and data emitted from the Immaterium, from a Scrap Code infected Imperial machine or a non-Imperial technology.
  • It is necessary to master this code, if one wants to build a warded connection between Imperial and Warp infested or Xenos technology.
  • Can be used to hail, to scan and to interact with Xeno entities with machine trait.
  • Impossible to vocalize.
  • Manufacturing of a warp engine, gellar fields and other warp related star vessel components require this code to stay functional, when operating.
  • The code has hexagrammic warding embedded within it that aims to filter and dampen a harmful signals and a malignant influences of non-Imperial data sources or the corruption caused by the Warp. It also prevents  a possible target, who is communicated with, for acquiring knowledge about other holy machine languages of priesthood of Mars.
  • Techsorcists are specialized sect of Adeptus Mechanicus, who have incorporated hexamathic code filters to their techsorcist mechadendrite, and are able to to connect and to analyze non-Imperial or corrupted forms of data with some protection.
  • Knowledge of this language was lost from the majority of humanity during the Age of Strife, but it was preserved on Mars or recovered during ? by ?. It is probable that several pre-Imperial societies conquered by the Imperium during the Great Crusade and after have retained this knowledge as use of integrated xenotech and STC machinery requires mastery over hexamathic code.

Novabyte, a forbidden tech language

  • Pre-requisites: Forbidden Lore: Archeotech +10.
  • The core programming language of a STC technology. It can be used to alter functions of a cogitators, a data-cubes and other Imperial machinery and components.
  • The kernel of all complex Imperial STC technologies is infused with a Novabyte command lines when they are produced at factoriums. It is forbidden for a tech-priests to make alterations to those pre-programmed command lines.
  • Tech-priests who have mastered Novabyte are expected to use their knowledge only to purge Imperial STC systems from heretical modifications and the corruption caused by  scrapcode.
  • It is forbidden for a tech-priests to use the Novabyte to program something new. Mastery of this language  must only be used to analyze, restore and reboot functions of preordained holy STC designs.
  • The holy command language of the Machine God, that can be used only for the glory of It’s work and exclusively by It’s servants. If non-mechanicus are know to master or use Novabyte, even just to purge faulty Imperial systems, they are hunted down and slain by the Priesthood of Mars.

Evolved tech-dialects

Binary Chatter, Rogue Trader page 94
The Explorer has optimized his use of Lingua-Tecnis for controlling servitors. He receives a +10 bonus to any attempt to communicate with servitors, and any vessel upon which he serves receives a +1 bonus to Crew Morale due to increased servitor efficiency.

Version of Lingua-tecnis that is heavily infused and altered by a glossary of the Imperial Creed. Used by a Cherubims, vat-servitors specifically design by the Mechanicum for an ecclesiarchical use. +10 bonus to Command skill checks when dealing with the cherubim.

Factorium Cants
Several distinctive tech-dialects that has been developed by generations of workers and supervisors who have been serving on a factorium production line. In oldest factoriums this work has continued without pause for ten thousand years. This Lingua-technis tech-dialect is perfected to appease a sluggish machine spirit of mass production engine. To sensory input of Magos Dominus commanding the factorium this dialect almost resonates in ways similar to a music. Grants +10 bonus to tech-use skill checks to operate and repair particular factorium line.

Lingua Astrotechnicus
Language of techmarines that has roots in the binharic cant. Memorized data-hymns of purification and liturgies of maintenance, which are used to keep the favor of a machine spirit, that is being worked with.

Lingua Diabolis
Language which hereteks of the Adeptus Mechanicus use to converse and commune with scrap code corrupted machines and the ruinous powers and their manifestations.

(Secret Tongue) Tech: Rogue Trader page 86, edited for Ultima Tectum campaign
This coded Binharic Cant includes a high and a low frequency sound waves and an tight-beam optical pulses. It’s root language is the Binharic Cant.

(Speak language) Explorator Binary: Rogue Trader page 87
Very similar to Lingua-Tecnis, but this tech-dialect of the Explorator fleets has diverged from its parent tongue; the Mechanicus permits its use, but frowns on it for official discourse. Questors and other field operatives use it to keep conversations private from their planet-bound brethren.

Sources: Rogue Trader core book, Codex Mechanicus 7th edition, Lexicanum

Other Ultima Tectum campaign’s Mechanicus articles.