Who are They?
The Children of Mekhane (also known as Mekhanites or simply The Children) are a new-age religious organization based on the principles of both human and alien spiritual teachings, improvements upon nature’s designs, and spiritual unification through the advancement of technology. Their symbol is the Tau Cross.
Their physical influence spans a little more than a dozen solar systems, upon which most of their tech is produced and The Mekhanite Council, the ruling body of the church, dwell. Their spiritual influence is far larger, however. Enlightening stellar communities and setting up chapels and churches all across SolGov space and beyond.
Mekhane itself is not a god in the traditional sense. The Children define Mekhane as the spirit behind the technology they create and utilise. They are seeking to create the “Perfect machine” through the church itself, but it is not yet finished. Children of mekhane are the cogs and wheels within it, working eternally towards perfection. “Children of a god that has yet to be born.”
The Children are not, however, a religion with a strict code of beliefs, Followers are encouraged to believe whatever they wish provided they also believe in Mekhane and the church’s goals. Many religions have found common ground with the Children, and it is not uncommon to find Children of Mekhane who are also devout believers of other faiths. The church encourages Mekhanites to incorporate their own spiritual teachings and rituals into the rituals of Mekhanism.
An announcement from The Grand Architect, following a massive data breach that shook the foundations of the Children's faith, announced a radical new direction for the religion, bringing them more in line with more traditional religions. While the congregations are still open to and encouraged to bring their spiritual beliefs to the fold, the ordained members of the clergy are now required to devote themselves only to Mekhane. Whether this change will unify the church, or divide it further, remains to be seen.
What do They Want?
The church's primary goal is to unite all sapient races across the galaxy underneath the wing of technological progress. Many factions throughout the galaxy find technology alarming and unacceptable. Mekhanites reject such in their teachings, promoting that all technology is beneficial, provided that it is used with a responsible mindset, and the tools to control it are strict enough to discourage misuse. Because of this, actions required to operate the majority of their technology are designed to be similar to rituals and litanies of less technologically inclined spiritual movements – for no other reason than they believe such routines fortify and temper one’s spirit. To put it simply – it looks like magic, because Mekhanites believe that church routines and rituals make people more spiritually invested in what they are doing as a way to prevent misuse of tech.
How Does One Become a Child of Mekhane?
Simple followers such as members of the general congregation are required to undergo a process of lesser baptism. The specific ritual may vary slightly from chapter to chapter, but requires the applicant to lay naked on an altar while a priest recites a prayer to join the Lesser Cruciform to their body. Most baptisms are joyous events, and are closed with some kind of celebration or party. Most members of the general congregation own some form of Tau Cross, either as a necklace or a pin, and have a Lesser Cruciform within them to aid in resurrection and the use of Mekhanite technology. Such followers are invited to join in rituals performed by the Priests, but don’t hold any power in the religious structure.
To become a part of the Church itself, one must undergo a ritual of true baptism, during which a “Cruciform,” an exceptionally complex and mysterious device that Mekhanites say contains and protects one’s soul, is installed into the body of the fresh Acolyte. The process is rather painful and somewhat gruesome, since the device is placed upon one’s chest and digs its connection pins into their ribs (or their equivalent if the acolyte is not a human). This commitment is not to be taken lightly, because removing the device is an exceptionally complex and painful process that has to be done in the span of several days (or weeks). Violent removal of the device would almost certainly kill the Acolyte.
Due to the nature of the device, inability to remove it, and the obfuscated nature of its manufacturing and inner workings, cruciformed Mekhanites are rarely invited on highly sensitive jobs like security or major scale naval vessel management.
What's the Upside?
Aside from pride and a deep sense of belonging to something greater, you gain access to two things – advanced and coveted Mekhanite technology and practical immortality. The cruciform implant, aside from being required to access Mekhanite technology (and carrying some other powerful modules within itself) allows one mind and body to be perfectly restored through the Cito-Revitalization Basin in case of injury or death. One’s mind and body are perpetual while the (rather robustly armored) device is intact.
Why are They on The Northern Light?
NanoTrasen has taken a keen interest in the organization for several reasons:
First, Mekhanites actively try to normalize technologies that NT really wants to capitalize on and SolGov refuses to approve.
Second, Mekhanites promote obfuscation in their manufacturing process and engineering deployment. NT, ever obsessed with corporate secrets and the monopolization of the market, actively tries to make them feel like they are allies in the hope that the church will one day share their secrets. (thus far NT has been unsuccessful).
Third, NT wants to appeal to the general public and shift away from the appearance of a dry and soulless corporation by in-corporating some spirituality into their routine. Religion and faith have always been a popular way to influence the public in your favour, and NanoTrasen is attempting to apply this to increase the loyalty of their workforce.
Finally, The Children offered NT their services. Repairs, lawsuit settlements and paying off SolGov inspectors have created a massive dent in NT’s yearly budget. As a result, Hydroponics, pest control, biomass production, partial medical care and crew morale fell upon the shoulders of Mekhanites.
How do the Other Big Players Feel About Them?
NanoTrasen openly endorses and supports the Children as they fit their general vibe and their altruism can be exploited for corporate gain. SolGov is wary of them for many reasons, almost all of them being about losing control over the population (such as free transhumanism, technological obfuscation and openly available immortality), with several member republics and nations outright banning the organization in their space. However, more recently, open protests have made some of them reconsider their stance.
The Lazarus Foundation openly shows their disdain for the Children. While they agree that technology and knowledge must not be locked away from the public, they consider putting it behind “voodoo magic babble and alcohol fueled orgies” idiotic. They loathe the secrecy and obfuscation of Mekhanite technology, claiming that the moment they lose a schematic, they won’t have a chance to restore that technology, because nobody understands how the hell it works (even though some call this hypocritical as Lazarus hides behind its patents in the same way).
The Free Trade Union is rather neutral about them, as it is about most factions. Their money is good, their vat-grown veggies are good. The biomass they sell is cheap and everyone else will pay a premium for it. Life’s pretty good for a trader.
Aegis withholds judgement by court order.
How Do The Children View the Other Players?
The Lazarus Foundation - The Children of Mekhane, while officially promoting cooperation between all factions, has been known to take jabs at The Lazarus Foundation, pointing out the hypocrisy of their protests against the church, and decrying what they call the "selfish greed of holding people hostage with medical debt."
NanoTrasen - The growing relationship between NanoTrasen and the Children of Mekhane has proven to be extremely beneficial for all parties involved, and while the Children have expressed some concern over NanoTrasen's seeming recklessness when it comes to deploying new technologies, they concede that no advancement can happen without some risk.
The Free Trade Union - The Children of Mekhane view the Union in the same way terrestrial colonies view inclement weather. They're wild, uncontrollable, and fickle. They may bring bountiful harvests, or starvation and ruin dependant only upon their whims. But ultimately, complaining about them isn't going to change their existence, as they are simply an inevitability.
Aegis Security Solutions - [Redacted Per Court Order]