"Once we were Gods, but what are we now? Wilfully ignorant savages and self-deluded fools, little more than helpless children scattered and lost in the cold dark. But I tell you, we have been Gods and we shall be Gods again."
- — In Defence of the Future: A Logical Discourse, author unknown, banned M36
The Logicians are an alliance of Heretic factions who have long been a thorn in the side of the Calixis and the nearby Ixaniad Sectors. Founded not around a single charismatic figure or dark religion, they find their inspiration in a forbidden heretical text called In Defence of the Future: A Logical Discourse.
Banned now by the Imperium of Man for several millennia, the Logicians are a so-called "progressive" cult, favouring the advancement of Mankind through progress and the acquisition of new technology, believing that they should cast off the oppression of the Adeptus Ministorum, overthrow the High Lords of Terra and put an end to the smothering constraints of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
Ultimately, the Logicians aim to bring about a return to the mythic power of the Dark Age of Technology. Finding adherents through a secret network of ruthless mercantile interests and power-hungry Imperial nobles, they are a haven for Hereteks and rogue Tech-priests, and are highly organised and well-resourced.
Although no daemonic force or apocalyptic agenda lies at their heart, the Logicians are still a phenomenally dangerous group, callous in their pursuit of power and unceasing in the hunt for ever better technology by which to achieve their desired end of ultimate control over the direction of the Imperium's future.
The Logicians are made up of heretical factions and tech-cults who have long been a thorn in the side of both the Calixis and Ixaniad Sectors. Their origins go back considerably further into the Imperium's, and indeed humanity's past. They found their inspiration in a forbidden heretical text called "In Defence of the Future: A Logical Discourse," a work declared blasphemous by both the Adeptus Ministorum and the Cult Mechanicus and banned for several standard millennia. The Logicians are calculating, secretive, and patient in the execution of their plots and intrigues, utterly callous in their pursuit of power, and unceasing in their hunt for ever better weapons and tools by which to achieve their ends.
For centuries the Calixis Sector has known the corrosive influence of the Logician cult, and although the power and reach of this tech-cult and its splinter factions have waxed and waned over the years, the group's presence and its insidious teachings have proven impossible to entirely stamp out. In the past the Logicians have been responsible for countless deaths in the pursuit of power and progress, and once even threatened the stability of the Calixis Sector thanks to their shadowy role in the Meritates Uprising.
Although purged and hounded to near destruction following those dark times six standard centuries ago in the early 41st Millennium, the Logicians have returned, seemingly even more subtle and insidious than before. There are those who argue that the threat they now pose is greater than ever. Some even whisper that the cult has powerful backers among the Calixian elite and perhaps even members of the Inquisition itself.
Tenets, Goals and Heretical Beliefs
The proscribed work around which the cult has its foundation, a document entitled "In Defence of the Future: A Logical Discourse," first appeared more than four millennia ago in the Segmentum Solar, at the very heart of the Imperium, and some say parts of the text itself were copied from ancient and utterly proscribed works buried deep in the vaults of Terra itself, although its author or collator remains unknown.
The book itself promulgates the dangerous philosophy of progress, that the advancement of technology and science should be immediately pursued at all cost and regardless of its source for the ultimate "benefit" of humanity and the restoration of the lost "Golden Age" of Mankind. In such a new age, humanity would again bestride the stars like a colossus, the ancient domains of man would be re-conquered, held, and expanded, and all the threats to human existence posed by the xenos or the Warp could be confronted and crushed utterly.
To this end, the work posits the destruction of the Cult Mechanicus and the overthrow of the "stifling grip" of Imperial authority and an end to what the book refers to as the Ecclesiarchy's "tyranny of lies" concerning the God-Emperor and the Imperial Creed. Instead, the "logical course" for the restoration of order and a rebirth of humanity's destiny among the stars is that power be placed in the hands of a new absolutist oligarchy of "forward thinkers" and those "fitted by vision and superiority" to rule -- namely the Logicians themselves.
The doctrines and arguments contained within the work expound the need for utter ruthlessness in order to attain the "glorious coming age" to which humanity is heir, and goes on to advocate the forging of a secret empire within the body of the Imperium itself as the agency of its overthrow, and the unrestrained pursuit of conquest and victory through the arts of technology and science at any cost. The work supports this dangerous creed with numerous worthy-sounding and elaborate justifications for any needed enormity of slaughter or sacrifice to gain the ends it glorifies, regardless of the cost in human life or freedom. In short, to attain such a living, tangible paradise -- a future on which the universe itself is held in the palm of Mankind’s hand -- no price is too high to pay in the present. It is, the book contends, a matter of simple logic.
Cult Structure and Activity
Like many widespread and successful heretical cults, the Logicians operate a largely cellular structure to their organisation and are bound largely by doctrine and shared goals rather than a rigid hierarchical structure. Some in the Inquisition argue that the cult's only true members are the oligarchs that govern and fund its many independent cells; however, for such an organised and well-funded group, additional manpower is seldom a problem. These cell directors, or "Techtrarchs" as the Logicians call themselves, are often mercantile lords, trade officials, guild masters, and in rare instances, rogue members of the Adeptus Mechanicus who have allowed themselves to be blinded by their own lust for power and profit.
Due to their high standing in Calixian society, the Logicians are very circumspect in their activities and highly organised, often acting far removed from the cult's activities on the ground. They prefer instead to operate through small units of highly trained agents, specialists, and mercenaries to carry out their plans and protect their interests.
The cult's activities are principally centred on the acquisition of power. Power to them is political influence, the might of such forbidden arts as science and technology, and, of course, wealth. To this last end, the Logicians secretly nurture and fund coteries of Hereteks and Renegade Tech-priests who have the purpose of developing advanced tools and weaponry with which to fight their battles, boost their wealth, and ultimately make them powerful enough to overcome the Imperium from within. The Logicians provide these Renegades and recidivists with the backing, manpower, and resources (regardless of how unethical or abhorrent in nature) to pursue their projects, insane theories, and dark desires -- just so long as the Logicians profit from the results of their labours.
As a part of this doctrine of power through technological superiority, they are also heavily involved in the study and replication of captured xenos-tech and in particular the pursuit of archeotech -- the ancient relics of humanity's advanced science in millennia past. They have no love of the alien and follow a recognisably Puritan Monodominant perspective. They simply have no compunction in taking whatever the xenos might have of value and using it to their own ends. The cult strives to maintain a widespread and efficient intelligence-gathering network in order both to shield it from outside intervention and to keep it informed of matters and discoveries of interest. Likewise the cult's suspected links to local planetary organised crime groups, archeopirate factions, and the more disreputable of Rogue Traders are also noteworthy, as the Logicians see these outsider groups as perfect avenues by which their goals can be reached, as well as eminently disposable lackeys to be used and abandoned as the need arises.
The fundamental tenet of the Logicians, as enshrined in the great text, is the acquisition of power through unrestrained technological advancement. The great arrogance and sin of this work is as obvious as it is dangerous to anyone who believes in the Credo Omnissiah or the Imperial Creed, and it would lead Mankind back to the terrors of the Age of Strife if it were allowed to bear fruit.
The Iron Techtrarchs
Over recent solar decades one particular faction within the Logicians of the Calixis Sector has grown to power, known as the Iron Techtrarchs. If the rumours among recidivist crime lords and the testimony of interrogated cult members are to be believed, these Techtrarchs form a ruling council of sorts (the number of which varies depending on the source, ranging from three to as many as a hundred members) for the Logicians of the Calixis and Ixaniad Sectors. This council operates in concert to determine policy and coordinate long-term planning for the cult’s diverse cells. It also administers the Logicians' seemingly massive commercial and financial resources to their countless individual plots, expeditions and experimental projects, as well as to punish the failure of their underlings. Failure is a thing they will not tolerate.
Although several high-ranking Logicians supposedly linked to the Iron Techtrarchs, have been exposed and purged in the last decade, conclusive proof of this elusive group has never been found. This lack of proof has led some factions within both the Adeptus Arbites and the Inquisition to doubt the existence of the Iron Techtrarchs, believing them to be either a simple vainglorious myth or a deliberate fabrication of the cult’s leaders to paint themselves as part of a wider and "all-powerful" conspiracy -- the better to inspire loyalty and obedience in their followers. Were the Iron Techtrarchs to exist as the rumours claim, then they would have to be made up of highly placed members of the greatest Imperial noble houses or commercial powers of the two sectors. They would need to have amongst their number ranking members of the Adepta or even the Inquisition in order to wield their rumoured power and resources claimed for them and remain hidden -- a prospect that fills some Inquisitorial factions with the deepest unease.
Hereteks, Progressives and Renegades
Arguably the real power base of the cult is the diverse number of Hereteks, scholars and even Renegade Tech-priests within its ranks. This relatively small but potent group carries out much of the cult's real activities, and each serves in its own way to contribute to the Logicians’ power and knowledge. They are a diverse group, often operating in cells either as individuals or small cabals on a single project, usually being quite ignorant of each other and their activities, and answering only (to a greater or lesser extent) to the Techtrarch that has sponsored them. They vary a great deal in power, knowledge, and specialisation, ranging from promising Hereteks recruited from within organised crime groups or merchant guilds who might specialise in technology salvage, drug manufacture, or weapon crafting, to disbarred medicae and scholars of forbidden lore on the run from the authorities.
Outcast members of the Cult Mechanicus are a particular prize for the cult as few are able to match their skills and learning. Having already broken some ban or Edict of Mars, they are often drawn to the Logicians for protection while fleeing destruction by their own kind. In many cases, the loyalty of these individuals to the Logicians is questionable, to say the least, a fact that the Logicians view as an acceptable risk. Though there are some true converts to the cause and fanatic adherents to the Logical Discourse among them, many serve only through an alliance of convenience, bartering service and experimental data for protection, concealment, and the opportunity to pursue their obsessions uncontested.
Where possible, the Logician cult prides itself on directly employing only the best as its agents, and beneath the Techtrarchs the cult cells are made up of skilled organisers and administrators, as well as specialists such as pilots, scribes, financiers, and information-brokers. Most of these operate under a variety of cover identities to ensure their Techtrarch's bidding is carried out. The ranks of the Logician cells are rounded out by a hard core of professionally trained killers and soldiers, all of the highest calibre and thoroughly tested for competency, ruthlessness, and loyalty to the cause.
These militant agents are one of the most marked features of the heretical tech cult, as their skill and efficiency sets them above many of the foes that the Imperial forces must face when dealing with petty insurrectionists, criminal gangs, or fanatic cult zealots. Highly motivated, tactically skilled, and well equipped, Logician cult agents have repeatedly proven to be the bane of unsuspecting Enforcer groups and ill-prepared Inquisition Acolytes when the cult has been encountered.
Project Ashen Tear
In the last several decades the Logician cult in the Calixis Sector has been repeatedly linked to a shadowy organisation of assassins, operating primarily within the Josian Reach area of the sector. Recent intelligence gathered by the efforts of Inquisitor Srax-Rhame has indicated that this assassin cadre known as the Ashen Tear is actually little more than a "cult within a cult" of the Logicians themselves. The Ashen Tear project was created to give the cult a purpose-built resource of living weapons with which it could strike directly at its enemies, removing with surgical precision any individual obstacle in the cult’s path, or deal with anyone that would betray it. In structure, the Ashen Tear appears much like an Imperial Death Cult, somewhat an imitation of the great Officio Assassinorum itself. Its killers are selected from a young age and put through gruelling physical and psychological conditioning, harsh enough that few are likely to survive to attain their majority.
As fitting the Logicians' doctrines, those that graduate to active service are further augmented with numerous discreet implanted cybernetic and alchemical systems to boost their abilities, making them extraordinarily dangerous combatants and highly adept stealth killers. While few in number, the Ashen Tear assassins represent a new and powerful weapon in the Logicians' arsenal, although some, like the infamous Moritat Reaper Esme Blackheart of Inquisitor Srax-Rhame's retinue, have taken great delight in besting such "faithless pretenders" when encountered.
Servants of the Logicians
The Logicians are something of an elite force as heretical cults go, made up of professional agents and adherents chosen for their high degree of ability, ruthlessness, and loyalty above other factors. The Logicians' doctrines place their faith in the superiority of technology and skill and favour specialisation in their servants.
Additionally, the cult seeks to increase its forces with a variety of "disposable" lackeys who may be entirely unaware of who they truly work for and makes extensive use of Servitors (including combat types and cyber creatures) where appropriate to its needs and resources. Beyond this, depending on the nature of the Logicians' activities when encountered and the machinations of their Renegade technologists, far more deadly agents and techno-arcane servants may be in evidence. Several of these are detailed here:
- Logician Crucible Agents - For their most secret intrigues and most dangerous covert infiltrations, the Logicians employ covert agents who have been specifically psycho-conditioned, chemically enhanced, and mind-wiped of everything but their loyalty, their mission, and what their masters wish them to know. The Logicians maintain a few of these specialists for their more delicate infiltration procedures. They refer to these as "Crucible Agents," referencing the burning away of their old personalities and identities to create the mentally empty state needed so they can be filled with the cult's purpose. Of all the Logician forces, it is these agents that fill some Inquisitorial factions with the direst suspicion, as aside from the Holy Ordos themselves and the higher powers of the more militant Adepta, few within the Imperium have the skill or resources to create such exquisitely empty-minded living tools.
- Ashen Tear Assassin - The use of the Ashen Tear Tech-Assassins is a relatively new but powerful development in the Logician arsenal. Each augmetically hardwired killer is more than a match for most of what they might encounter and delivers death with an enviable cold precision.
- Renegade Tech-Priest - The Logicians count among their ranks a small number of Renegade Tech-priests. These rare individuals are often skilled and experienced members of the Mechanicus who have, for one reason or another, rebelled against their masters. The life expectancy for such unlicensed and outlawed Adepts is short, and many are forced to flee into the underworld in the hopes of evading the wrath of their erstwhile brothers. For the most radical, the Logicians' offer of protection and resources in return for their service is a small price to pay for survival. A few human lives lost here and there is entirely irrelevant.
Logicians in the Calixis Sector
Although its threat has by no means been a constant one, the Logician cult in several incarnations has long been a foe of the Imperial authorities in the Calixis Sector. Some of the oldest case files in the Tricorn Palace archives on the sector capital world of Scintilla deal with plots and incidents connected to the Logicians, dating back as far as the Angevin Crusade itself, including the exploitation and theft of several sophisticated relics recovered during the wars that forged the sector into being.
The Inquisition is not the cult's only foes. It is rumoured that within the oubliettes of the Mechanicus Panopticon orbital in the Lathe System there exists an entire vault of castigation, furnished and equipped using only materials crafted from the bones and re-tooled implants of Logicians and their apostate Renegades taken by the Tech-priests over the years.
As can be imagined, the roll of crimes and blasphemies that the Logicians have tallied in the two millennia since the Calixis Sector's founding in the 39th Millennium is a long one, ranging from simple thefts, murders, abductions, and political intrigues to forbidden experimentation causing the deaths of tens of thousands, and even the fomentation of a full scale rebellion that for a time threatened the stability of both the Ixaniad and Calixis Sectors. After several centuries of near-silence, the Logicians have returned in force, and although their wider goals remain undefined, their doctrine is as unchanged as their heresy.
The Meritech Wars
Without contest, the greatest danger that the Logicians posed to the Calixis Sector was during the Meritech Wars that threatened to destabilise both Calixis and the bordering Ixaniad Sector between 211 and 226.M41. The Merates Cluster is a grouping of a dozen barely habitable worlds caught in the empty void of space between the two Imperial sectors, claimed fully by neither and largely considered more trouble than it is worth. The stellar cluster was dominated by the scavenging Meritech Clans, Voidborn families who maintained ramshackle caravan fleets that plied the space between the sectors, mining, trading, salvaging, and fighting off attacks by corsairs and marauding Ork vessels as best as they were able. Over the years the clans grew stronger and began to monopolise much of the border trade between the two sectors, and the size and sophistication of their fleets grew to be a serious concern to the local authorities. Unfortunately, other crises and events pressed and the matter was left to fester.
It finally came to a head when a Battlefleet Calixis patrol squadron of frigates pursuing suspected pirate activity in the cluster were ambushed. All but one frigate was destroyed by clan warships -- the Merates Uprising had begun as the clans seceded from Imperial rule. The Meritech Clans quickly took an aggressive stance and launched scores of raids and strikes deep into both sectors, causing widespread panic and discord. Their vessels were small, but their advanced jamming systems and compact yet powerful weaponry made them more than a match for their Imperial Navy counterparts. In addition, their boarding parties were made up of heavily cyber-augmented shock troopers that smashed through the Imperial opposition with ease.
For a time the whole Calixis Sector reeled with the shock of the Meritech assault and several worlds threatened to fall into civil war as rumours of the rebellion spread. While the powers of Ixaniad bickered and withdrew to defend their own borders, a newly enthroned Sector Governess took charge in Calixis. With the backing of the Calixian Conclave of the Inquisition, she rallied the defence with merciless intent, purging the Lucid Court on Scintilla of dissenters and rivals in a single bloody night. Her plan, rather than fruitlessly chasing a hundred smaller threats, was to simply and mercilessly strike a blow from which the enemy could not recover. Regis Sectora Myram Harvala, in what is remembered to this day as the Proclamation of Scant Mercy, ordered the Sector Battlefleet to mass into an "armoured fist" and smash directly into the heart of the Merates Cluster. With the might of her armies pouring in behind, no pity, quarter, or mercy were given to any found there.
As the seventeen-year-long purge of the cluster went on, Inquisitorial investigations revealed that the Logicians had been both the instigators of the crisis and the source of the clans' newfound technological might. It appeared they viewed the war that had cost millions of lives as little more than a massive series of field tests. The Logicians had manoeuvred their conspirators into highly-placed positions within the logistical effort behind the Imperial response, seeking to profit from whichever outcome might follow.
The Inquisition's wrath was terrible, and in conjunction with the Mechanicus faction known as the Divine Light of Sollex, they systematically hunted down and scourged the Logician influence from Hive Tarsus on Scintilla, Fenksworld, and dozens of other commercial operations and military vessels where it had taken root. In the latter stages, much of the Merates Cluster was laid waste as an Imperial Navy task force hounded the remnants of the Meritech Clans and their Logician masters deep into the Ixaniad Sector, causing a major diplomatic incident and conjuring up the spectre of inter-sector conflict -- had the Calixian Conclave not called upon the authority of the seat of the Inquisition of the entire Segmentum Obscurus to intervene. In the aftermath of the Meritech Wars, it seemed that the power of the Logicians in the Calixis Sector had been broken, and so it remained at least for several centuries.
The Infiltration of the Josian Reach
Over the last several centuries, the Logician heresy has once again begun to feature in the incidents and intelligence monitored by the Adeptus Arbites and the Inquisition in the Calixis Sector. Reports and contacts have been registered from various worlds and locations, tracking a definite pattern over time. It is spreading toward the sector core across the Josian Reach, with isolated incidents reported as wide afield as Sinophia and Endrite. This latest infiltration seems markedly more ruthless in its execution and callous disregard for human life than ever before, with its plans now featuring a "scorched earth" policy in covering its tracks and concealing any tangible evidence of its activities from the Imperial and local authorities.
New developments within the cult have also come to light, such as the role of the so-called Iron Techtrarchs and the use of the assassins of the Ashen Tear, as well as a distinct tendency toward mass-casualty events such as powerful explosions, diversionary terrorist attacks, and even indiscriminate bioweapon releases. All of these are used to protect the Logicians from assault and mask their escape when confronted. The pattern of Logician activities so far has been one of covert action to remove opposition and infiltrate local authorities in order to pave the way for cell groups conducting horrific experimental tests, the focus of which seems to be forbidden fleshworks, weapons development, and augmetic research.
Inquisitor Srax-Rhame of the Ordo Hereticus has made it his goal to confront and destroy the Logicians. In recent years he has put forth the theory that the Logicians are operating on some sort of rapidly accelerating timetable, seeking to quickly develop an arsenal with which to engage in some future war or prepare for some coming intrigue of importance to them -- worth taking the risk of breaking their centuries of long silence. Whether or not the notorious firebrand Srax-Rhame is correct, it is certain that the number of contacts with the cult has increased drastically in the last decade and that it is moving toward some dark and heretical purpose of its own.
The Fenksworld Gene Atrocity
One of the most notorious incidents of tech-heresy in living memory, known popularly as the Gene Atrocity or the "Blight of Nova Castalia," can be firmly laid at the door of the Logician cult and has set the murderous standard for all of its activities in recent years. A powerful cabal of Logician cells, deeply rooted in the underbelly of Fenksworld's linked trio of hive cities, had created a network of gene-labs, holding pens, and testing arenas to conduct a dreadful program of secret human experimentation. The group sought to extract weapon-worthy chemicals and powerful augmetic drugs, as well as create chimerical bio-constructs from the monstrosities found within the depths of Hive Volg.
Unfortunately for the Logicians, matters spiralled quickly out of control as several test subjects escaped to wreak havoc in the maze of access tunnels between the hives, attracting the Inquisition's direct involvement. It remains unclear whether what happened next was an intentional act of mass-murder on the Logicians' part, or a further uncontrolled experimental disaster, but a powerful mutagenic virus was unleashed. Many of those that came into contact with it quickly died, their bodies twisting and boiling in biological meltdown as the viral agent ran unchecked within them, but a small percentage were transformed into insane hybrid things -- pale horrors from beneath Volg wrought from the flesh of men.
Fortunately the virus was a victim in part of its own mortal virulence, and its immediate and present threat triggered the swift and brutal action of Inquisitor Srax-Rhame and the Fenksworld planetary government, which swiftly contained it. Ironically, the relatively affluent hive of Nova Castilia suffered the worst from its privations with around 100,000 casualties, while the sweltering industrial hell of Magnagorsk suffered barely half that total. As for the nightmarish Hive Volg itself, the effects were barely registered above the norm for that dark metropolis's daily death toll.
The Coscarla Incident
The most recent Logician plot to come to light has also involved the covert operation of monstrous bio-experiments on living human victims. More troublingly, this experimentation has occurred in the depths of Hive Sibellus on the sector capital of Scintilla, proving just how far the cult's network has spread across Calixis. The Logicians' experiments in this case were thwarted by the actions of a team of freshly recruited Inquisitorial Acolytes. However, wider investigation, prompted by the unravelling of events in the Coscarla Division, have indicated that the cult cell was but one part of a larger conspiracy on Scintilla that remains to be exposed and destroyed, lest another gene atrocity be unleashed at the very heart of the Calixis Sector.
Ordo Hereticus Departmento Analyticus Threat Briefing
The Logician cult and its attendant heresies of technology and doctrine are a clear and present danger to the stability of the Calixis Sector, the faith of the masses, and sacred auspices of the Priesthood of Mars. To be found guilty of being part of the cult, in its service, or even to have unlicensed possession of a copy of the Logical Discourse is enough to warrant a death sentence under Imperial law -- a fate marginally more merciful than what the Adeptus Mechanicus prescribes for the crime in its own autonomous holdings. Within the Inquisition, the direct persecution of the Logician cult is the chief responsibility of the Ordo Hereticus, and it is a task they shoulder gladly, as its anti-Imperial, secularist, and subversive agendas provoke the most profound loathing and antipathy in the Witch Hunters' ranks.
Owing to the cult's tendency to delve into the forbidden lores of alien science, unrestricted progress, and the ancient past, both the Ordo Xenos and the authorities of the Adeptus Mechanicus are also bitterly opposed to the cult's activities. Finally, since the days of the Proclamation of Scant Mercy, both the Adeptus Arbites and sector Enforcer cadres have the stated duty to take extreme measures against the cult whenever it is encountered.
Given the power and breadth of the forces ranged against the cult, it is perhaps surprising that the cult is not only still present within the sector, but seems to be increasing steadily in power and reach. It is a testament to both the highly resourced and focused nature of the Logicians' conspiracies and their sheer ruthlessness in maintaining their covert activities that they continue to operate despite such opposition. However, some fear privately that the cult may have secret backing from some Renegade factions within the Adepta or the Inquisition itself.
All Inquisitorial forces in the field are briefed to expect a highly proficient and skilled enemy in the Logicians, one that will flee if not cornered, often inflicting huge death tolls while doing so in order to cover its operatives' escape. Accordingly, (and with perhaps uncharacteristic subtlety) the Ordo Hereticus' standing orders, issued at the vociferous petitioning of Inquisitor Srax-Rhame, is to match the Logicians' intrigues with intrigues of the Inquisition's own. Already on Scintilla and other worlds in the Calixis Sector, the threads of a vast web of covert actions, espionage, and lies is being woven to ensnare the wider cult. However, when this web draws tight, the Ordo Hereticus will stay its hand no longer, and the Logicians will burn.
- Dark Heresy: Disciples of the Dark Gods (RPG), pp. 40-51, 62, 192