|Jess Goodwin concept sketch|
The Machine Spirits
The Cult also believes in the existence of machine spirits, minute fragments of the Machine God descended into every machine in existence. These fragments of their deity naturally command a great deal of respect, and they are also believed to be directly in control of the machine's operation. This means that techpriests and others they instruct generally make many ritualized advances to their machinery in order to insure their spirits are compliant and respected, and thus that they operate properly. These rituals often include many operations of a potentially mechanically useful nature, such as lubricating an axle, securing a screw or similar, but also operations of no immediately visible value such as sacrifices, chants, libations and the like.
The Quest for Knowledge
The ultimate goal of the Cult Mechanicus is to understand the Omnissiah. The communal and personal attempt at this is known as the Quest for Knowledge, and followers view this endeavour as paramount and more important than any other concern. Generally, the Quest is pursued by scientific and exploratory endeavour. The Cult believes that all knowledge already exists, and it is primarily a matter of time before it can be gathered together to complete the Quest.
The Sixteen Universal Laws
These Laws are the guiding beacons to all Cult Mechanicus on the Quest for Knowledge and are the central ideas and beliefs of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
01. Life is directed motion.
02. The spirit is the spark of life.
03. Sentience is the ability to learn the value of knowledge.
04. Intellect is the understanding of knowledge.
05. Sentience is the basest form of Intellect.
06. Understanding is the True Path to Comprehension.
07. Comprehension is the key to all things.
08. The Omnissiah knows all, comprehends all.
09. The alien mechanism is a perversion of the True Path.
10. The soul is the conscience of sentience.
11. A soul can be bestowed only by the Omnissiah.
12. The Soulless sentience is the enemy of all.
13. The knowledge of the ancients stands beyond question.
14. The machine spirit guards the knowledge of the ancients.
15. Flesh is fallible, but ritual honours the machine spirit.
16. To break with ritual is to break with faith.
There are numerous religious factions within the Adeptus Mechanicus, including the Khamrians, who pursue the forbidden science of artificial, or "abominable" intelligence which has been forbidden since the catastrophe caused by the Iron Men who attacked humanity during the Dark Age of Technology. The Omnissiads, who seek to summon the Machine God into a physical avatar; and the Organicists, who see biological enhancement using genetic engineering as equal to the more common cybernetic enhancements for which the Tech-priests of the Mechanicus are best known. Some of these sects are accepted as legitimate interpretations of the Omnissiah, others are persecuted by the broader Cult Mechanicus as heretics.
The portion of the Adeptus Mechanicus that split off to serve Chaos and the Traitor Space Marine Legions during the Horus Heresy is called the Dark Mechanicus. These Chaos-worshiping Magi seek to combine the power of the Warp with that of the Machine God in the name of the Ruinous Powers. They are also responsible for constructing the majority of the war-machines for the Chaos Space Marines. Such creations include the Stalk Tanks of the Blood Pact, the Hell Talon fighter-bombers and the gargantuan Harbinger bomber. It is also believed that some Dark Mechanicum Adepts have split into the Chaos faction known as the Obliterators.