The Machinama cult is among the most widely held beliefs amung the 'new' religions of the deep. It was founded by Nevin Templin-Smyth CEO of The Templin Group, a very powerful hydroponics company. It was a clever way,he thought, to encourage workers to work harder and perhaps to inhibit union growth. He was soon overwhelmed by his own creation.
A charismatic worker, known today only as "Spark" took the basic concept and took it far beyond the bounds that the corporation had intended. Only making things worse by martyring him. Spark's followers quickly dispersed through out the under sea, spreading the word of Machinama.
The Founder (The Marx to Spark's Lenin): Although bearing the title CEO, Templin-Smyth was raised in money, and was the sole heir to his families powerful hydroponic company. The title CEO might suggest that there was ever any doubt about the role Nevin might hold at the company, and that would be untrue. Nevin was given the company and the title upon the death of his parents, independent of any merits or achievements he may or may not have earned. Unlike most of his peers though Templin-Smyth was not a blue blood. His parents Dame Gwenyth Smyth and Sir Ashlee Templin had not been able to conceive a child of their own, and thus in their 40s they adopted Nevin as an infant.
Nevin was provided with the best education, and was dearly cherished by his parents. Nevin was an energetic youth, and an athletic young man possessed by the type of self confidence that you find in handsome, rich young men who are the only child of their middle-age parents. He was famous in the tabloids of the day for his hard drinking, and his numerous affairs with the women of the stage. He was not a studious or serious young man. Despite graduating university with a history and philosophy certification, Nevin was never anything more than a dilettante. His views on academics at the time can be seen in an op-ed piece that he wrote for the "The Jetstream" (the Rawlwick student newspaper) two days before he graduated. He wrote that "History, mechanics, philosophy, and the natural sciences are all nothing more than art. They are creative endeavors with no more intrinsic value beyond whether or not the audience cares for them."
At the age of 23 Nevin was financing an artist commune that occupied a full three kilometers of abandoned mine tunnel when he received word that his parents had died. They had been victims of the Tudor Cricket Club tragedy. The chief atmospheric operator at the Tudor club had a stroke while operating the gas exchange apparatus, and the gas balances in the dome became toxic before anyone noticed the fallen technician . This would not have been a problem if the evacuation had been orderly, but the audience for the cricket match panicked. Several people were trampled, and Nevin's parent suffocated while waiting outside an exit.
Nevin put all his considerable energy into the Templin Agrocorp. He expanded the company to acquire more and more smaller companies eventually forming the Templin Group. The financial merits of these acquisitions were questionable at the time and it seemed that the Templin group might fail. But when Nevin was 43 one of his research teams introduced the automated gas regulator design that is now standard in all domes and large vehicles. Templin-Smyth's wealth reached an unfathomable level from the sales of that device, and Nevin took an interest in philosophy.
Nevin introduced Machinama, a philosophy that proposed better living through mechanical invention and a utilitarian lifestyle. Nevin urged people to embrace only the functional aspects of life. He suggested that emotions, pleasure and even art were superfluous. "Humanity is itself a problem, the fatal flaw in our species is that we are too animalistic. This is why humanity is no longer on the surface of the earth. We betrayed technology, by using it for destructive purposes. Technology should not be used to further our biological impulses. Our natural flesh will either fail us or pervert us. We can not let our biology determine or destiny."
Some say that Nevin's teachings were a means only to exploit his workers, but he spent a great deal of his personal fortune to promote his own ideas. He never pointed to his own life experiences as justification for his beliefs. Nevin focused more on his own conclusions not the events of his life that lead to those beliefs. His ideas have had traction, in part because they offer the promise of transcendence, and can be seen resisting the heavily stratified social hierarchy. Today, Nevin's role in Machinama has been pushed to the realm of the academic. His writing are still referenced by the adherents of Machinama, but generations have built upon and reinterpreted his teachings. Perhaps as Nevin feared human nature as perverted the Machine again.
Professor Johnathan Straw, holder of the Templin-Smyth chair of philosophy and mechanics at the University of Rawlwick, rose from his chair in the front row of the 800 seat auditorium. The jacket of his expensive blue wool suit had been delicately cut to allow for the tank of pressurized gas on his back. Unlike a breathing apparatus the hoses from this tank fled down into his dark blue trousers, and the valves of the shining bronze apparatus on his back hissed as it sent powerful streams of gas down into Straw’s pneumatically powered prosthetic legs. With each step as Straw climbed the short stair case to the podium misting white jets of cold gas shot out of discrete openings in the sides of his pants. As he shook hands with the Dean before taking the stage shadows crossed over Straw’s face.
He looked up through the
classglass ceiling of the auditorium, and saw the campus's school of manta rays passing over the top of the building. Beyond them was the noon day sun, still out shining the artificial lights of the auditorium even through 40 meters of water. ‘We will replace you yet,’ he thought quietly of the cosmic light source before turning to his audience of 400 academics all in black gowns with differently colored hoods and caps signifying their place the university. It was tradition that the Templin-Smyth chair not wear a hood and gown, and one of the few aspects of the appointment that Straw did not relish. The Templin-Smyth estate endowed the chair to challenge the established academic dogma and promote Machinama thinking. This was Straw’s first seminar since accepting the chair.
“My colleagues,” Straw began in deep gravely voice that did not match his lithely child-like ginger haired visage. “Machinama is a not belief in the divinity of machines or the superiority of technology over humanity. Machinama’s doctrine is about the power of humanity and the limitless power of the human mind. This is where the advocates Eugenics have it wrong…”
A dozen boos and hisses erupted from the crowd of supposedly sophisticated scholars. Straw addressed the dissenters in the department of Evolution and Speciation, “I know that it may seem from the outside that the two disciplines are not universally exclusive, and that esoteric fights such as ours should are nothing more than ivory tower pretensions. But life beneath the waves is not just a metaphorical bubble, we have finite resources for now and limited room for academic and technological investment.”
Straw rotated his gaze to lock eyes momentarily with the other department heads before continuing. “Biological evolution stopped when man first picked up a spear, when man first learned to make fire or when man wrote his first word. The Roman’s did not conqueror the world because they were bigger or more evolved than the Germans or the Slavs but because they had superior technology. For evidence from history,” he gestured at Professor Vardan “look no farther than the rise of Illyrian Emperors. They were not of Roman stock yet they came to power once they had access to the technology. We are alive now not because of biology, but because of our technology. Humanity has evolved as far as it can on the biological tract. Evolution is still a viable theorem, but we must embrace a technological evolution. Machinama doctrine promises that by embracing the machine we can continue our rise. Through the machine we can transcend…”
Spark is considered the first human to have a soul and the first saint,however as the practitioners see this as an inevitable growth of the machine age, he is held in surprisingly low regard do to his relatively low intelligence. Man at this point is a dvine machine
The doctrine of the church is about science and technology, that man can overcome with the divine machine. It also promotes creative scientific thought and hard work. Because of the work ethic inherent in the religion, it is very tolerated by the powers that be. Worshipers are called Gears. Many Nymachikku( steampunk androids) are programmed to at least pay lip service to it. Churches are as big as the charisma of the head of the local branch, not exceeding a moderate regional level.They can be as mellow as Anglicans and as fanatical as Muslims on jihad, though the extreme is not considered well among non-members Most church leaders are called Professor and are considered divine. Nearly all Professors are elevated to sainthood. Most Gears are polygamous. While there are no universal books or practices, most of the following are dogma to all:
1 Machines are the apex of man's creation and should only be used for its intended purpose, thus a jack hammer should not be used as a weapon just as a gun should not be used to open a lock.
2 Invention of machines is highest form of science and the makers of them are divinely inspired. Prayers to the Kallium inventor are of highest priority. Interestingly, Spark is only considered a minor saint.
3 The cult will make Saints out of local engineers who die in the use of machines
4 They believe in reincarnation and they will come back as a higher form of life unless they are sainted. Sinners against Machines will come back as sea farmed crabs and are sometime brutalized in ceremony (just as machines 'come back from the dead") The hierarchy(as well as how each of these is held in esteem) of reincarnation is
Non-scientific or engineering intellectual
5 Initiation is by ingestion of a shot of motor oil and a very small manufactured item, most often a coin
6 Machines MUST NOT be recycled into something it was not intended to be , if it is not salvageable it must be melted down, jury rigging is NOT an option
7 Emotions should be kept to yourself, shouting is vulgar, as is swearing.
8 Drinking alcohol to excess is frowned upon and over eating is not the norm
The cult is not organized above a local level, it operates in cells. Dogma varies widely, but a few ideas are central to all chapters(called Cogs)
1 The Machine is God-No one may harm a machine or cause it to function at any level below perfect.
2 To be Machine is God- Emotions are the work of the devil
3 Spread the Word- Others must believe (This can be interpreted as just preaching or torture and beatings)
In order to join the cult a recruit must undergo a ritual that includes the drinking of a quart of oil and eat as many small metal parts as possible. They must then work a triple shift in a any sort of technical field, the more complex the better. Drugs are often administered to make the process go smoothly. How you do, then leads to your placement in a Cog. If the individual does well enough , that place could even be Chief Cog of the cell. a number is given to the innate and that is their permanent rank
FOCUS OF WORSHIP
Kalium processors and power plants are big ones as are oxygen production. Some cells hyper focus on obscure and some do all
PLACES OF WORSHIP
Mainstream cultists want to place their chapels in Kallium processors, Kallium power plants or oxygen production facilities. Often tolerated by the powers that be, due to the fanatical and pristine nature these places will kept in by the cultists. The non mainstream will worship in submarines, crawlers or in the ocean in suits.
They are not centered around a calendar but are tied into a major overhaul on a major piece of machinery. They day before is a day of rest and very minor feasting. If you cannot participate in the main overhaul it is expected that you perform maintenance on at least the simplest of machines. Worshipers are expected to work double or triple shifts and will refuse pay, however since perfection is looked for, if you are not performing at above average efficiency, you must stop.
VIEWS ON NYUMACHIKKU
The mainstream Machinama view them as a masterpiece, like the Mona Lisa. They will allow them to be owned and used but NEVER would tolerate mistreatment of them.Use as weapons or making them disposable will bring the Gears to great anger and perhaps violence. The non-mainstream will hold a variety of views. Some will see them as abominations that must be destroyed. Some will view them as actual angels and even fall down in worship. Whatever the view it will be STRONGLY held.
THE CULT AS ENCOUNTERED IN PLAY
The cult wants the party to join, to them this is not optional
The cult is battling a local union, and the union is looking for help
The cult has completely taken over a habitat and need to be forcibly evicted
A few Cogs are beneficial, fanatic machine fixers who want to be your friend, Yes Please!
Encounters with angry cultist over battle damage