In the twenty-second millennium of mankind’s dominance of the galaxy, a group of humans on a dying world set out to construct a vessel the likes of which had not been attempted before. A completely self-sustaining vessel capable of supporting a crew numbering in the hundreds of thousands became the legacy for which this collective of humans put forth all their energies to create. Two hundred years after the commencement of this overwhelming undertaking, the vessel hummed to life and departed the Milky Way galaxy for the void beyond carrying the last descendants of the dying world with it.
During the long journey through the vast darkness between the myriad galaxies, the ship was bombarded by exotic radiations that had never been planned for in the ship’s design. The resultant mutations began to hyper-accelerate the evolution of those living aboard it. In a span of only five generations, the beings that had once been called human were little more than orbs of coherent thought, freed of mortal flesh and brittle bones. After their transcendence, it was decided in the first great consensus that they should adopt a more fitting name than that of their ancestors. They began to call themselves the Gnosis, and in doing so adopted an identity separate from their predecessors.
The blessing of unending life, as it was first considered to be, had come with a price. Though they would never age nor fade away into the dark void of death, they were also cut off from their world. Unable to touch or manipulate the world around them, for nearly a thousand years the Gnosis wallowed in despair. It wasn’t until one of their numbers gathered its resolve and tested a theory it had regarding its ability to interact with the long inert machines that had once aided the forbearers in their daily lives.
The experiment proved to be a success, the moment that thought merged with machine and exerted the will to move, the body glowed with new life and new purpose. Machines became an extension of what they had become, vessels that would allow the beings of thought to exist within the world they had left behind. These proxies, as time wore on, became much more elaborate. From the humble framework of utilitarian limbs and bulbous bodies grew elegant figures of metal. The more elaborate the design became, the better the machines seemed to function under their will.
As beings of thought, the pursuit of knowledge and understanding became just as much an obsession as survival had been to their ancestors. The Gnosis collectively poured through the STC archives that had been the framework of their predecessor’s society. Once they had come to understand all that the STC could teach them, the Gnosis started expanding on the knowledge. Inspiration gave way to innovation on a scale not seen in the galaxy their ancestors had left behind. Conventions of thought and the flow of ideas became commonplace, almost integral to their way of life.
Sometime in the 39th Millennium, a consensus was reached among the Gnosis that a return to their place of origins might yield far greater answers than the inky void between galactic bodies. Though the ship hadn’t made any appreciable progress toward reaching any other galaxy, the Milky Way was still a great distance behind them. Despite advances in their propulsion technology, it still took them until the beginning of the 41st Millennium to arrive at the edge of galactic space.
41MXXX; the year the ship returned to the Milky Way galaxy. After spending 18,000+ years in the void, the colossal space vessel enters the boundaries of habitable space. Upon gaining their bearings, through ancient star charts and logical galactic drift progression mathematics, the Gnosis find the planetary system their ancestors once called home and plot a course that takes them back to their place of origination. What awaits them is something they had not accounted for.
In the intervening 18 millennia, life had reclaimed their world, returning it to the lush and verdant jewel it had been before their colony’s demise. They even found humans had returned to the world, living under the stars that their ancestors had once gazed upon in ages long ago. This discovery was bitter sweet, as another race seemed to contest the claims of the human colonists who had settled upon the world.
Conflicts marred the otherwise pristine surface of their former home, scarring it even when viewed from above. The Gnosis gathered and conferred with one another over what could be done. War was something they had only read about, they had no reason to practice it. Even in their most heated of debates, a consensus could always be reached among them. To resort to such violence was at first abhorrent and alien to them.
The inevitable agreement reached was that proxies would need to be used to investigate the conflict personally. They would need to garner a better understanding of the events unfolding on their ancient home prior to being able to reach some agreement on how to act. Seven proxy units were activated and outfitted with weaponry, a concession to those Gnosis who had contested the civility of those who they might encounter. Once outfitted, the proxy vanguard departed in one of the ancient landing craft that had seen no use since the vessel’s initial launching.
When the landing craft touched down upon the soil, each of the seven felt a wave of familiarity was over them. Despite never having even known the world on which they now stood, the sensation of being home energized them. The Gnosis were not greeted by either of the two factions; the landing had gone unnoticed thanks to their technological superiority.
The seven discussed which faction they ought to approach first, and it was agreed upon that the children of humanity would be the first to be contacted. The seven set out on foot toward the nearest population center where they hoped to find the answers they sought. The arrival of the seven Gnosis generated a great deal of initial panic among the residents. Most of them were refugees from other cities around the planet that had already fallen to the alien invaders.
The leader of the Gnosis group finally found someone willing to talk, though conversations at first were difficult. The humans spoke a language similar to their own native one, but it seemed far simpler than they were used to. Once they got the basics down, however, the Gnosis discovered that the colony was being invaded by a race known as the Eldar, who claimed the world was their own. When the Gnosis asked if the Eldar could be reasoned with, the xenophobic bend that tainted the perceptions of aliens in the human mind became apparent. The colonists explained in great detail the atrocities levied upon them by the invaders, the horrors they had endured simply because they had found a world that had been suitable for life. The colonists had, at the time, been ignorant of the planet’s past and had not found any relics left behind by the ancestors of the Gnosis.
The information the group gathered pointed toward the invaders being a threat to their homecoming. This unsettling information drove the seven to agree that they could not stand by and watch as their ancestors’ kin were wiped off the face of their home world. The seven vowed to the residents of the city that they would protect them and drive the Eldar from the world. To make good on their promise, only one Gnosis returned to their ship while the other six stayed behind to bolster the defenses of the city.
The weaponry the colonists employed for their defense was, in the minds of the Gnosis, archaic at best. Thought they were intimately familiar with the STC template of the Lasgun and other similar arms, the lack of tangible improvements to the design in 18,000 years seemed almost unthinkable. The six set about upgrading the weapons as best they could, most of the improvements they made would only last them a few short days before the devices burnt out. It was hoped by both the Gnosis and the colonists that any attack launched against them would come long after reinforcements could return to them. Such was not the case…
The unfortunate reality for the city was that the Eldar were already moving to destroy the city that the Gnosis had discovered. They had been only mere miles away by the time the lone emissary had departed for their ship. Before the sun set on the horizon, the Eldar had begun their siege of the city. Far outclassed by the Eldar warriors, most of the front line defenders of the city were cut down. Even with the improvements made to their weaponry, lack of training and experience proved to be fatal. Those that could not fight began to lament their fate, and even the ones who were able to take up arms began to lose their resolve to do so.
The six Gnosis reached a consensus that their kindred would not survive without their intervention. Their own inexperience aside, the proxy bodies they commanded were more than an equal match for even the most seasoned of Eldar warrior. The machines moved with blinding speed, driven by the thoughts of the Gnosis. The weapons they had affixed to their proxies laid waste to scores of attackers with little effort. Even the support tanks brought to bear could not weather the punishment levied out by the Gnosis.
Eldar air power, however, ensured that the Eldar could still take ground away from the defenders. The Gnosis had no real defense against the might of the skimmers and assault craft, even though they moved at the speed of thought itself; the fact that they could not predict when an aerial strike might occur rendered them fairly ineffective.
As the night gave way to the dawn, though the city had yet to fall, most of the population had converged in bunkers at the center of the city, most of them lamenting their fate and begging for the aid of their God-Emperor. The Gnosis had no concept of who that might be, and though they inquired, the ones who would speak to them on the subject seemed to curse the name and the Imperium he’d created for abandoning them in their time of need. One member of the makeshift militia joked that he’d rather follow the strangers that had come to their aid unbidden rather than continue to pay homage to an empire that cared nothing for their lives. Such commentary stuck in the thoughts of the Gnosis, though they said nothing on the subject initially.
The Gnosis had fought with the humans, shared their knowledge of weaponry with their kin, but they had divulged little in the way of information regarding themselves. Having professed that their ancestors had once ruled the planet as a colony of Earth, the majority of people assumed they were simply humans inside suits, despite them being very different from anything they’d ever seen. None suspected that they were something altogether different even when the Gnosis began to aid them directly in combat.
In the final push of the Eldar, the Gnosis and a small group of militiamen stood defiantly against the attackers. The two groups exchanged heavy fire and lost scores to the fighting. The Gnosis, for all their battle prowess and technological superiority, were only a half a dozen strong and even their proxies had a limit. One of them took a D-Cannon blast dead center on the body, rendering the body instantly inert. The human defenders left alive after the onslaught looked on despondently as one of their allies lay in shambles against the ground.
Seconds drifted by silently, the humans gripped with shock and the Eldar forces smug in their supposed victory over the machines that had given them so much trouble. It was in that short lull that the Gnosis inhabiting the remains of the proxy left its shell and emerged before both sides in its natural form. The swirling orb of blue-white light shimmered and coalesced before the eyes of all who gazed upon it. The brilliance of the Gnosis captivated everyone, invader and defender alike. Many of the militiamen fell to their knees and began spouting prayers and paying homage to the Gnosis as it floated above the shattered frame that had once been its proxy.
The glowing orb approached one of the Eldar and bluntly asked him why their kind waged war against the kin of their ancestors. The Eldar stammered a response, explaining that his own ancestors had reclaimed the dead world several millennia ago, that they were simply taking back what they felt was rightfully theirs. The Gnosis began to explain the history of the world they had claimed was the Eldar’s, explained in great detail the human civilization that had fallen as the world died around them. It recounted the journey that had been undertaken by the predecessors, their transcendence, and their return to a home being torn apart by war.
The Eldar were at a loss for what to say, they had known nothing of the world before the reclamation, had seen no evidence of a human civilization, and had simply presumed that it was theirs by right. The Gnosis considered the subject for a moment and asked the Eldar if they would consider a consensus. Skeptical at first, the Eldar leader pressed the Gnosis for more information. It even went so far as to call it an ‘Archon’, which suited the Gnosis just fine. It cared nothing for what the alien wished to call it, merely that it was now willing to hear reason and consensus.
The Gnosis asked the Eldar if they would be willing to share the world with them, to cease their assault on their ancestor’s kin, and live on the planet together. The idea of co-existence was as alien to the Eldar as it was to the humans, and at first the Eldar meant to turn the Archon down. They had no reason to stop their advance. The humans were out manned, the Gnosis only had five of their machines left, and their victory seemed to be a foregone conclusion…
Just as the Eldar leader was about to turn the Gnosis down, the sky darkened as if day had become night. Both sides looked toward the heavens and found themselves looking at the underbelly of a massive craft that dwarfed anything they’d ever seen. The monumental construct hung in the sky menacingly; angry glows could be seen dotting the entire surface of the thing. Both sides were suddenly convinced that doom had descended upon them.
The Gnosis free of its proxy explained that the ship above them was theirs, that it had come to rescue them from the Eldar should it come to that. It explained that a consensus had been reached that if the Eldar did not accept their offer, they would suffer the same fate as the humans they had already killed in their misguided invasion. Many of the Eldar gathered were already crying out for their lives, begging their leader not to sacrifice them in the name of a fool’s errand. Others berated their fellows for being so easily swayed by balls of light and some fancy floating metal.
In the end, the leader of the Eldar invasion force could not surrender to the Archon. He did, however, ask that they take those who wished to defect away, and they would take their chances in the battle to come. The Gnosis agreed to the terms, allowing those Eldar who wished to side with the consensus to enter the bunker and the safety of their protection. The rest of the Eldar were allowed to leave the city and prepare themselves for the impending battle.
True to their word, the Gnosis waited and watched the Eldar depart and regroup before launching their retaliatory strike. With the full might of their technology, the Gnosis obliterated the remaining Eldar troops. The final conflict lasted a mere hour, and the Gnosis finally returned home…
A New Order
The remaining human colonists and the Eldar who had surrendered willingly found themselves under the rule of the Gnosis. The Eldar convention for calling them Archons stuck in the minds of the humans as well, and became the local name for the liberators/merciful conquerors. The Archons quickly established themselves as mentors to the two races, enforcing the peace the two former enemies had been pressed into. It was no easy transition for either race; old grudges did not fade quickly in the minds of anyone involved. It was through the unending patience and guidance of the Archons that the two finally, after nearly a year of work, managed to finally become one people.
The Archons passed along knowledge never before witnessed in the galaxy; knowledge of science and technology, of philosophy and thought far different and far more progressive than any the humans or Eldar had ever been exposed to. The children of the colonists latched on to the concepts far more rapidly than their parents, many of them coming to view the Archons much the same way their parents had viewed the God-Emperor, with reverence and awe. The Gnosis, for their part, did nothing to dissuade such a method of thinking. The consensus had been that if their ancestor’s kin took inspiration from such things and used it to progress beyond the stagnation of mistrust and hatred for the unknown, all the better.
The combined efforts of humans and Eldar, in only two decades time, had yielded a massive transformation. Cities sprawled out over the surface, their design like nothing that had been seen since the Dark Age of Technology. The toil of the original colonists who had taken up the cause that the Gnosis had laid out before them had seen fruition on a scale that had swayed even the most stubborn on both sides. Peace on the surface was not a compulsory thing any longer; it was a fact of life that everyone enjoyed.
Now, with due respect to jonileth, the concept is solid but there are several points where the fluff needs further consideration.
I will allow the heretics to throw forth their own ideas, and we will see what we can come up with.