UVG • Red Sky • Mythos • Plot
An archaic mystery cult preaches an underlying mechanical logic to the unfolding of the universe. It encourages humans to ascend to the machine, abandoning emotion and attachment, and becoming creatures of pure logic and burning rage. It is not very popular or coherent.
—Reports, The New Provinces
We found the mechanicist caste of the decadent Ebéteen living in abject delusion. They had made themselves acceptable to their mutation-riddled masters by closing their minds to reason and embracing a narrow-minded mystery cult as their raison d’être. They had replaced sense with a shuttered worship of the protocols and algorithms invented by their ancestors before the flesh god’s disciples had stolen their lands and their minds.
—Ioïá Terzyë, Kom III, Reasonable Anthropology Division
Let them keep their clockworks and their machine dreams. Their minds want to drown in the code of cogs and clicks, to blind themselves to the eternal life of the Living God. So, let them. Let them.
And yes, if by sculpt and prod, we encourage their minds to be more like their beloved machines? So what then? Have they not by their own free will refused the bounty offered by the Living God? Well, why keep that door open?
After all, we need someone to keep the boilers running.
—Repoyedt, Luminary **, Water Administration
Beneath the ponder gyre of the sky, gyre the corpse machines. In their flesh swim the cell machines, on engines smaller they run. On other engines, those engines draw, on other devices below. Machine upon machine they ride. Flicker dream, the movement of machines. Emergent.
We are the waveform of the inscrutable machine. The clocks will not tell the time to those who will not see the clocks within clocks.
You are an illusion. A momentary convergence of gyres.
—Gospels of Yefilt, Also the “Tiktoktikon” (derisive)
Rumours of the Clockwork Faith
- It is all steam fetishism and nonsense.
- There are more profound mysteries, hidden from the uninitiated.
- It is no faith at all, the trappings of religion and dogma merely there to hide the machine code’s true magic.
- Once it was a science, but the ceaseless aeons have corrupted it to ritual and cargo cult.
- The clockwork is a lie, to divert attention, from the deeper codes hidden in plain sight.
- The faithful are no longer humans. They replace their minds and flesh brains with synthetic golem replacements. They use machine scarabs and silkworms and animalcules to rebuild their brains just so, within their own skulls. Quite like a real brain, but in truth teeming with tiny machines.
- They carry on the line of an old machine brain from another universe.
- They are performing a secret calculation. When it is done, the Given World will end.
A Clockworked Plot
- A haze lifts from the mind of Vorhad Zahadeni. As the living flesh god dies, it is like a branch of reality reverts back into focus. The empty rituals suddenly carry directions once more.
- The Zahadeni code family meets and compares the branches suddenly clear in their minds once more. It is incomplete. Other branches must be compared.
- The Izvoreni code clans send pull requests to one another. Their archaics twitch and shudder as they run the weight of messages from one another.
- Lemma hunters are dispatched to retrieve the mindsets from service archaics. Many were destroyed in the fighting, more were lost in the plunder after, enough remain.
- Archaics, golems, remnants of a more elegant age are left gutted shells, half-human, their lemmas plundered. Whispers talk of slender masked giants groping through the night. But what comes of that? Those who owned the archaics before are dead, those who stole them … well, who cares when a thief is robbed?
- Unad Davedeni is the first to put together the strands of lemma and golem mind to hear the old machine’s flicker-song again. The repeating signal. The beacon.
- A troop of Izvoreni scavengers is gunned down by the Iksan levellers. The crystal rifles’ puri-fire glasses their delicate expanded brains and smokes their extended carbon limbs to ash. Scavvy long-legs, joke the Iksans. The code clans tremble. Too close.
- The code clans approach the new governors and offer help. Run the machines and build new ones. Build flickering eyes to catch stray flesh-twisters, heat-ray prismatics to blast interlopers, service lithics to haul and assemble, suits for the patrols. Deals are struck.
- Quietly the beacon is decoded. Instructions, duplicated and triplicated, to build a receiver for the Old Message. The first message (?).
- What does the old machine have to say now, in this world made new?
The final truth will be revealed.There is no cheese where the time bandits fly.
Thus, they always lied.