Giltran #3

In which the Archmagos digresses upon the challenges of cloning, and reviews his handiwork.

If you have the right tools, cloning isn’t difficult. You take some genetic material, use it to create a single cell, put that cell in the right environment, give it a little push and the rest more or less takes care of itself. Wait eighteen or so years, and you have an adult human body that is an exact genetic match for it’s source material.

The catch is thus; a basic clone is a useless sack of flesh, barely even fit for spare parts. No mind, no muscle tone, and the whole process is so dreadfully slow. The latter two issues are effectively solved problems – the technologies for stimulating muscle growth in lieu of exercise and speeding the growth of tissue have been mature for millennia. But the mind is trickier.

A clone that is…unformatted, for lack of a better term, has basic autonomic functions only. It’s heart will beat, it will breathe, etc, but naught else. The firmware of humanity comes pre-installed, but hardware with no controlling software cannot perform tasks. The installation of simple software leads to single purpose servitors, the likes of which the False Mechanicus of the Imperium of Man creates in dizzying numbers. But a sentient mind is infinitely more complex, and provides a challenge even for the greatest adepts of the Arts Biologica.

Biologica has never been an area of interest to me, but let me simply say that the process of implanting mind and memory did not prove a barrier to my work. The less I say about this the better, as there is one particular rogue Apothecary who would be very cross to learn that his methodology isn’t as secret as he believes.

I turned away from the tank containing my fully grown clone and consulted the cogitator standing beside it. Logging data from the implantation process scrolled down the display, which I scanned rapidly before reaching the end of the feed. Dated mere hours ago, the message I had been awaiting stood starkly in bright green text. I could practically feel the smugness of the cogitator’s Machine Spirit as I read it;

++++IMPLANTATION OF MEMORY ENGRAMS COMPLETE. ESTIMATED FIDELITY: 98.3%. ALL UNIT TESTS PASSED, WAKE-UP SIMULATIONS GREEN.++++

I smiled at the sight. Implanting memories is a slow process, and I have many thousands of years of memories, so this copy of my own mind and body had taken many weeks to create. It was in itself an achievement the likes of which very few men in the galaxy can boast. But it was merely a precursor, a lengthy preparation to provide optimal conditions for the final implementation of a thousand years of work.

It was time for me to make history.

Giltran #2

In which the Archmagos crosses the street, and engages in ritual.

Common wisdom dictates that a story should start at the beginning. This is, of course, utter nonsense. If you trust common wisdom, then you will always fall to common misunderstanding. The beginning of a story is a subjective matter, and the choice of where to begin ultimately provides the framing for the rest of the tale.

For example, I have chosen to begin this story on the day of my first expansion. Prior to that point in my life I had accomplished much, and the records of those feats are detailed elsewhere. This is not the beginning of my story. But given the effect it has had on the rest of my life to date, it is nonetheless the perfect place to start.

I stepped outside to walk the short distance between my hab and the workshop. The greenish morning light bathed the streets, and stepping upon the ferrocrete sent distortions rippling away from my shoes. Bemused, I crouched down for a closer examination. At the touch of my hand, it again rippled like water and felt wet to the touch, though it left absolutely no residue on my fingers. Repeating this experiment in the shade of a nearby vehicle produced no such effect. Seemingly, the morning light was indeed liquid, at least where it touched upon ferrocrete. Such are the delights of life upon a Daemon World.

The workshop was another large and blocky structure, much as the same as any that can be found on Vrykul. It is not a decorative place, but aesthetics were not a factor considered in the design of the sprawling industrial sectors covering it’s surface. The buildings of the Hellforge are supremely functional, and there is inherent beauty in that.

Stepping through the open doorway, I doffed my greatcoat and tossed it to the floor beside me. Mere moments later, a nurgling wiggled its way out of an improbably small hole in the workshop floor and waddled over.

“You know I hate it when you do that,” it said, it’s angry facade quite ruined by the small smirk it couldn’t quite suppress. It’s voice had an odd quality to it that I can only describe as nasal, though that isn’t quite correct. It was as if its vocal chords were coated in phlegm- which was almost certainly precisely the case.

“Yes, I do. Good morning, Squelch.” I replied, also trying to keep a grin off my face.

Squelch turned from me to the coat with a loud “Harrumph!”, and began gathering it up for storage.

Squelch is an odd little thing. It is the only nurgling I have ever met that insists that things that things be tidy. Not clean, mind – that would run directly counter to its nature – but tidy. This exchange was something of a ritual for us, established over long centuries. Now that the pleasantries were out of the way, I could get it work.

“Anything abnormal overnight, Squelch?” I asked over my shoulder as I strode over to a large glass tank in the corner of the room. It ignored me, busy with the coat. So be it. I peered into tank, the liquid and figure within lit from above.

I studied myself, suspended in the liquid within the tank.

Giltran #1

In which Archmagos Giltran begins as he will almost certainly continue; with excessive pseudo-philosophical digression.

It never rains on Hellforge Vrykul. That simple and physical fact isn’t particularly remarkable, even among worlds in realspace. But it was the thing that most often struck me about the place, no matter how much time I spent on its chaotic surface. After a few thousand years you start to miss the little things.

I distinctly recall watching the sunrise on the day that my second life began. I had made it a habit to climb to the roof of my hab block in the morning, and watch the light creep across the hard edges of the industrial landscape. No two sunrises are the same on a Daemon World. The sheer malleability of reality in such places allows (or perhaps demands) that the sight, once beheld, is never repeated. There is poetry in that, I think.

On the morning in question, the dawn had a turquoise tinge to it, and the illumination flowed across the rugged transport lanes of the hellforge more like liquid than light, as though the speed of light itself was perceptibly lower than normal (insofar as the concept of normality can be applied to a place so steeped in the forces of the Warp). I abandoned superstition long ago, but I took the sight as a reminder that the realms of possibility are only bounded where we are willing to accept boundaries.

Back then, anyone would have told you that I, as I am now, am an impossibility. In fact, some people still insist that I am, as if I am undertaking an elaborate ruse for no greater purpose than my own aggrandizement. But I am not impossible.

I am proof that anything is possible.