The servants of the Machine God recognize no impossibility, no limitation of mere organic existence. Defying a galaxy of war and gods thirsting to grind down every last vestige of civilization, the architects of this star-encompassing machine strive to go beyond the constant battle for mere survival and to create a wonder of technology to outlast everything even the unnatural forces of the Warp could ever create.
The construction of the Machina Mundi is an exercise in arcane arts and knowledge, an attempt of creation in a universe governed by entropy. To the priests of the Cult Mechanicus Cambria, it is the ultimate worship of the trinity of the Machine God, the Omnissiah and the Motive Force.
Coronal plates are constructed around Sidus Brumbana, linked together and raised layer upon layer to form the skeletal structure of the stellar engine.
These plates of continental-size are forged out of matter siphoned directly from the outer worlds and sent closer to the star in perpetual strands to feed the ever-hungry constructor facilities. Vast arrays of Makro-circuitry and industrial colonies encrust the skeletal rings and satellites in baroque patterns of rockcrete and steel, entire manufactorum complexes and world forges.
Sidus Brumbana burns at the heart of it all, its light caught and redirected by cosmic mirrors to be devoured the system-wide machinery. The fusion fire of this star fuels the process of its own capture, as more and more strands and rings of machinery are spun around its glowing form.
The bulk of this structure is measured in Martian masses, its productivity in the daily energy output of the sun. It is a machine recalling the might of a much older humanity, at the height of its power when the Forge World Cambria was constructed.
Orbiting closely around the burning star are vast technological realms. The Machina Mundi are thin shells constructed just above the star’s coronal sphere, feeding off its energy and growing ever more with the influx of resources for their construction.
To organics, they are largely uninhabitable. Endless legions of shielded servitors and automata populate these realms instead, maintaining the machinery spanning a surface surpassing any planetary world in scope.
Mundus Machina Aleph
The innermost of the machine world form the stellar engine’s core of steel and mirrors. It is dedicated to the purpose of capturing the energy of the star in its various forms. First and foremost, it captures the visual light, casting a wide shadow over all the rest of the system. But the Mundus Machina Aleph also shields other spheres against the worst of the radiation and picks up exotic particles from the stellar wind.
Mundus Machina Beth
The second inner sphere of the stellar engine refines raw materials and utilizes both energy and resources for component production. Most of the local industry is devoted wholly to the furthering of the construction of the stellar engine, creating machine parts in accordance with the ancient designs foreseen by the Omnissiah. But Mundus Machina Beth also harbors great forges where the base-hulls for ships, engine components, and reactor shields are produced, to be shipped to distant fleet yards where shipwrights finish and sanctify the construction.
Mundus Machina Ceph
The currently outermost layer is Mundus Machina Ceph, a world still aglow with the orange hue of cooling metal. In this region, new plates and rings of the stellar engine are constructed and here the raw material from the bleeding worlds is captured and refined. To any mere organic human, it would be an industrial hellscape of cosmic proportions. But to the techpriests of the Cult of the Stellar Engine, this Mundus Machina is their hallowed home and the Great Work of all their existences.
To inhabit the Machina Mundi is to live as an insect under the heels of giants. The Stellar Engine was not created to play host to humanity, but to be the perfect manifestation of technology on the grandest scale. Settlements and habitats of tech-priests, worker legions, and other organic enclaves exist on all layers of the stellar engine, housing many billion souls in total. But all of these are unquestionably temporary homes, irregular growths atop the mechanical perfection of the prophet's pristine design.
Those living on the Machina Mundi do so as cogs of the machine, strictly monitored and controlled by the stratified hierarchy of the Adeptus Mechanicus. This world of steel is too pure to allow organics to breed freely or to die in random patterns of sickness and injury. Humans are grown where they are needed and shipped off-world when their usefulness is exhausted. Completely indoctrinated and absolutely loyal to the grand designs of the Omnissiah, those leaving the Machina Mundi forever go either insane quickly or make for formidable recruits in the skitarii legions.
Prowess of the Stellar Engine
Even to the expanded and refined minds of tech-priests, the true scope of the stellar engine is not easy to grasp. Too quickly are they blinded by the sheer glory of the Omnissiah made manifest in the constructions that are the Machina Mundi and their components of truly cosmic scale.
In its current state, the Stellar Engine of Brumbana I effectively captures between twenty-five to thirty percent of the total energy output of the star. This amounts to, in all planetary terms, an virtually unlimited supply of energy which only highly exotic or colossal mechanisms can truly utilize to its full potential. The Stellar Engine harnesses energies the likes of which are used to manipulate the very fabric of time and space, to form matter out of the raw radiation of the cosmos or re-arrange celestial bodies at will.
The only bounds to the productive output of the stellar engine are the priorities of its own construction, the resource-influx of exotic materials and the demands of the Imperium. Entire world's worth of manufactorii and fabricator complexes, forges and automata cradles are set all around the Machina Mundi. They produce constant streams of complete machines and components, technological goods and refined materials.
The greatest challenge for the Adeptus Mechanicus does not present itself in the acquisition of hardware at this point but in the operation of all these machines. For this titanic construction to function, it requires the computation of raw data the scope of which easily outmatches any physical dimension of the system. This is the greatest hurdle for most forge-worlds and the Imperium as a whole. Computation is an absolute necessity, and at the same time the greatest danger to all humanity, as the rebellion of the Iron Men has shown.
Without relying on abominable intelligence, the Adeptus Mechanicus is often forced to resort to methods of far lesser efficiency. At the heart of every computation must be the intention and guidance of a human mind, and human minds are needed to tame and control the ghosts in every machine.
Under many circumstances, this limits the machines of humanity greatly. The Stellar Engine, however, simply overcomes such limitations by brute force, overwhelming any crippling inefficiency through sheer numbers of cogitator units and the nigh unlimited amounts of energy which can be invested in every operation.
In this way, the computational prowess the Stellar Engine offers is by some measure the greatest asset for the servants of the Omnissiah.
The priests of the Machina Mundi rarely even contemplate the possibility of external forces infringing upon their work. To the architects of the stellar engine, any form of military conflict, the notion both victory or defeat are ultimately insignificant distractions from the infinitely more important work of continuing the construction. This is one of the reasons why the outer worlds, the Fortress Brumbana I and the Castra Machina are devoted to the defense of the system and kept separate from the inner work.
But, in the event of an actual incursion of enemies of the Omnissiah, the priesthood would never hesitate to unleash the full might of their machinery to smite any invader. The tools at their disposal in such an event, however, are nothing so simple as conventional weaponry, macro guns or lances. Certainly, uncounted numbers of these could be rapidly created and deployed all over the structure, but their force would bare be significant when compared to the power of the stellar engine as a whole.
Harnessing the power of a star, the engine is fully capable of redirecting it according to the whims of the Machine God and delivering its power in any form the priesthood wishes. Whether this is the acceleration of millions of relativistic projectiles, creating an unprecedented phalanx of essentially supersized nova-cannons, or a more primitive redirection of the star's plasma into a single beam – every option would be viable and capable of snuffing out vast fleets of enemy vessels in an instant.
As are so many worlds in the Imperium, the Machina Mundi are virtually impenetrable by any conventional means, short of an attacking force of similar size and disposition to the Stellar Engine itself. Such titanic clashes of one sun against another are not unheard of in the chronicles of imperial history, but not the primary danger to such a world.
The priesthood and imperial commanders are fully aware that the mightiest fortresses most often all to enemies from within and fail against unconventional tactics, infiltration, and sabotage. For this reason, the Adeptus Mechanicus does indeed invest huge resources into maintaining a fiercely loyal force of the ordo assassinorum, elite skitarii legions and intelligence networks all around the system. These measures are so precise, that it is said not a single body even as big as an interstellar grain of sand can manage to penetrate the perimeter of the Machina Mundi unnoticed.
Compared to many systems and their wonders in Sector Gondwana, Brumbana I has little to offer in terms of ancient history. It was an unremarkable system for much of its existence, reasonably rich in resources but spared from strip-mining during the early ages, as more profitable systems lay so close in the same constellation.
Only after the Great Crusade, when the young Forge World Cambria set out to re-conquer the Ringworld and establish itself as the Sector's dominant force, was Brumbana I officially claimed by the Adeptus Mechanicus and as such rose to prominence.
It's destiny to become one of the great works of the Omnissiah in this sector, however, did not become apparent until the emergence of the Mechanicus Architectrix Asaph Martialis Omicron, who would foretell the creation of the Machina Mundi after recovering arcane blueprints for the Stellar Engine upon the Ring of Cambria.
The Prophet „Vates Architectrix Ancharia Martialis Omicron“
In the forty-first Millennium, little concrete knowledge remains about the origins and early organic life of the individual to become the perhaps single most important architect and prophet of the Cult Mechanicus Cambria.
The chronicles her life begin when Ancharia Martialis Omicron was named high explorator and sent to lead a crusade to a distant region upon the Ringworld Cambria. This region, formerly uncharted and beset by toxic fogs and nebulae, held one of many ancient ruins yet to be uncovered by the Adeptus Mechanicus. To be sent to such an operation alone is a testament to the high standing and respected station she must have enjoyed already during that time.
The crusade was fought against a particularly vicious clan of techno-barbarian abhumans, whose entire organic being had fused with life-support machinery in the toxic fog. Each of them represented a horrid abomination, an affront against the Omnissiah. And as she went and conquered a region worth the surface area of many natural worlds, the prophet's hopes to find technology yet untainted by the barbarian tribes waned.
Still, the Ancharia Martialis Omicron pressed on diligently where the resolve of others might have faltered. Where another might have ordered the entire region to be laid to waste by fire from afar, to move on to glory more easily claimed, she continued the crusade with careful calculation and unswerving methodology. Her persistence was to be rewarded a thousandfold by the Omnissiah.
At the heart of the toxic nebula, Ancharia Martialis Omicron found the center of the technobarbarian's worship. And like so many things spoiled in the galaxy, at its heart lay something pure, something ancient and too powerful to ever be corrupted by the ruinous powers.
Humanity had swayed from the light, the organics had failed the former masters of machine and so the last guardians of the ancient archive had succumbed to the weakness of their flesh. In their misery, they had forgotten everything except the import of the thing they had been guarding. The object of their heretical worship, however, was no dark god nor Xenos artifact, but a true marvel of technology, a future envisioned by a human mind during the Dark Age of the Technology.
There lay the plans for the Stellar Engine, blueprints for the Machina Mundi, still wrought in the golden light of the Omnissiah, locked in perfect stasis and protected from the foul corruption of the flesh by millennia-old energy barriers and incorporeal armor.
This put an end to Ancharia's crusade and while her forces moved on the cleanse the region from all evil, she became the prophet, the Architectrix, a soul wholly devoted to the unraveling of the ancient plans laid before her by techno-crypt.
A century passed, before the prophet herself comprehended the plans in their full scope and a century more for her to convince the arch fabricator and high councils of the Forge World to approve a motion to put these hallowed plans into action.
Finally, in the third century since their discovery, the first components of the Stellar Engine were forged upon the Ringworld Cambria and shipped in a grand procession, a fleet carrying no less than ten billion souls, to their destination at Brumbana I. With that act, construction on the Stellar Engine began and it never has ceased since.
Image of the Sun: solarsystem.nasa.gov/resources…
Codex Gondwana: brass-and-iron.fandom.com/wiki…
Warhammer 40k fanart.
An equally big megastructure set against it would do the trick! An Ork Waagh could overrun it.
But, as with all huge fortresses, the more likely danger lies within. heresy, corruption, sabotage. Just because it's nigh impenetrable by conventional means doesn't make impossible to defeat - not by a long shot!