The Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl has a clone…of sorts. Meet the Grimdark madness that is the Cawl Inferior.
Cawl developed the Cawl Inferior, a device to emulate himself, deep with the Macragge’s Honour. The Cawl Inferior was made to communicate with the Primarch Roboute Guilliman in the Archmagos’s stead, as well as to serve as a backup in case Cawl himself were to die. To facilitate this, the Cawl Inferior contains the sum total of it’s creator’s knowledge. While stated to only communicate using pre-programmed responses, the Primarch suspects that the Cawl Inferior is actually a fully sentient Abominable Intelligence.
A Machine…Of Sorts
Located deep within the Macragge’s Honour, the entrance to the Cawl Inferior starts in the personal quarters of Roboute Guilliman. In a hidden space within the quarters is a gene-locked elevator with built-in weapons primed to kill anyone, besides Guilliman, who attempted to access it. A simple retinal scan allows him in into the elevator, but once inside, the security protocols are more extensive. Arcane devices on armatures extend from the walls to test Guilliman’s body, mental state, and spiritual aura. Once confirmed, the arms withdraw into their recesses one by one. The elevator then descends two hundred decks.
Once at its only destination, its rear doors opens onto a chamber lit by red artificial lighting so dim that a normal man would be effectively blind. The chamber is hot, loud with the chatter of hidden machinery. On the far side of the chamber are a set of complex, three interleaving sets of doors made of metre-thick bonded hexsteel, protected by another set of security tests. The doors open into a second and much larger circular space, lit with the same colour lighting. The inner chamber’s spherical exterior walls were similarly armoured to the doors.
The inner chamber is twenty metres across and the air smells of ozone, sanctified oil, curdled milk and old blood. A grilled floor is suspended over a pit full of humming machines, dividing the in two. the majority of the red light comes through the floor grille. A small door, that leads to the quarters of Astropath Prime Guidus Losenti, is directly across the room from the main gate. This door is also composed of three massively thick doors that open in sequence. Pipes bound tightly by metal staples hang in from the ceiling. The chamber is absent the gothic decorations normal of the 41st millennium, except the Machina Opus emblem on a rondel set into the domed ceiling. At eye level, closed panels line the walls between the two doors, ten on the left and ten on the right.
Behind each panel are the Cawl Inferior’s central components: twenty severed human heads in illuminated armour glass tanks, bathed in clear yellow nutrient fluids. The heads are too individual to have been vat-born slaves, and there is no sign of the penal coding tattoos worn by servitors made from criminals.The neck of each is capped by metal. Small bundles of tidy cables and pipes are linked to these plates, curl downwards under the heads, then up into the machines above them. The majority of the device’s psychic circuitry workings are hidden behind the walls, floor, and ceiling of the room.
The Capabilities of the Cawl Inferior
The Cawl Inferior is primarily programmed to emulate the voice and mannerisms of its creator: Belisarus Cawl. The Cawl Inferior functions via transmitting and receiving hexadecimal codes that activate and/or modify pre-programmed responses to its operator. These codes are immune to decryption as they are incomplete. Belisarus programmed in multiple likely scenarios that he mathematically extrapolated. The linked brains and the logic engines in the greater portion of the chamber contain all eventualities relevant to the tasks undertaken by Roboute Guilliman and the Archmagos. Among these pre-programmed responses are status reports and updates to Archmagos Cawl’s various projects. The Cawl Inferior also contains the sum total of its’ creator’s knowledge, put there to help better emulate Belisarus and as a backup in case the Archmagos were to die.
While the machine emulates its creator well enough that Guilliman often forgets that it is not the Archmagos himself, it often strongly asserts that it is not. It’s responses are so well performed, even seemingly emotional at times, that the primarch doubts it is as simple a device as it claims to be, suspecting that the Cawl Inferior is a full Abominable Intelligence. Guilliman wonders if the device is capable of, and has been, lying to him to conceal its (and its creator’s) intentions. When Guilliman stated his intention to meet with Archmagos Cawl himself, the Cawl Inferior claimed that such a meeting may not be possible, that it did not know its creator’s current location, and shut itself down.
Operations of the Inferior
All interactions with the Cawl Inferior are performed via voice commands. Activation of the Cawl Inferior requires both the presence of Roboute Guilliman, and Guidus Losenti. The process begins when Losenti commands the initation sequence (the voice command being: ‘By the will of the Omnissiah, engage initiation sequence.’). The device requests the identity of the users, first Losenti then Guilliman. After both have stated their identities, the device performs a gene scan on both, via a band of green light that passes over them. Once gene scan is confirmed, the device requests a code from Losenti, and projects a sound dampener over Guilliman to prevent him from hearing Losenti’s code. If Guilliman attempts to read the Astropath’s lips, the device temporarily blinds him with a las-strobe. Once Losenti has stated his code, the sound dampener is lifted from Guilliman and he states his own code (which is a sequence of nonsensical words that change depending on the date). Once the machine confirms the codes, the main series activation sequence begins.
The panels in the walls retract to reveal the twenty servitor heads. Thin lines in the metal walls, begin to glow with golden energies, circuitry engraved into the tanks’ glass glimmer similarly, and the faces of the heads start to twitch. As the activation process continues, the psychic energies in the room become more intense, paining those who are sensitive to them. Losenti leaves to avoid this energy and to provide Guilliman with privacy.
Energy runs more freely around the channels engraved into the walls, extending its web outwards from the heads until the whole room is a traced with a golden glow. As the energy network expands, it hits upon hidden sigils in the fabric of the room: warding runes in the secret techno-arcana tongue of Magos Psykana and others of xenos origin start to glow as well. The twitches of the servitor heads intensify into a frenzy of silent screams, as the fluid in the tanks bubble rapidly. Eventually the process completes and the machine calms.
The Cawl Inferior greets Guilliman with a preprogrammed greeting. Interaction with the Cawl Inferior from this point resembles that of a normal conversation. The servitor heads silently word everything said by the machine.
Cawl has an identical “Cawl Inferior” aboard his own flagship.