Bionics in the Imperium are mechanical or technological substitutes for biological limbs or organs. Generally the replacement is stronger, more durable or effective than the original, or gives its user completely new abilities.[Needs Citation]
The use of bionics is widespread in the Imperium. However, bionics are expensive and mostly limited to valuable servants of the Imperium, such as veteran warriors or skilled adepts, high-ranking Imperial officials and Inquisitors, as well as Planetary Governors who possess the required wealth.
- 1 Effects and distribution
- 2 Examples of Imperial bionics
- 3 Related Articles
- 4 Sources
Effects and distribution
An individual may have artificial limbs and organs to replace diseased or damaged parts, or simply to improve their abilities. Bionics include partial and full replacements of body parts, brain implants, cybernetic weaponry and other devices. Although bionic parts are mechanical, many of them do use the user's bloodstream, nerve endings, etc., so damage to one may be as debilitating as an injury to the original part, although in general the bionics are much more durable than their organic counterparts.[Needs Citation]
There is no standard level of bionic technology throughout the Imperium - many bionics are clumsy and inefficient replacements, while the best can replicate or even improve upon the performance of the original limb or organ. Inquisition bionics are among the more sophisticated and can reverse what would otherwise be fatal or crippling injuries.
Personnel in practically all branches of the Imperium use bionics in some capacity. In most Imperial Guard Regiments, only officers will have access to bionic equipment. On the other hand, there are a few regiments where virtually every soldier is bionically enhanced. Also, the Iron Hands Space Marine Chapter are infamous for making extensive use of them, almost to the point of removing all flesh in favour of machinery. Even some particularly wealthy members of the Imperial citizenry can afford, and have been known to use, bionics.[Needs Citation]
Examples of Imperial bionics
For the wealthy or privileged, bionics can replace diseased or aged organs and therefore offer an increased life span. Practically any organ can be replaced, even parts of the brain. The simplest are mere replacements, while the more advanced increase the functionality and performance of the organ beyond its previous capacity.[Needs Citation]
Such is the level of technology in certain parts of the Imperium that bionic senses can replace eyes, ears, noses, and even touch and taste. More advanced bionic senses can even produce effects of synaesthesia.[Needs Citation]
Bionic eyes can increase a subject's visual spectrum, allowing the ability to see heat, energies, etc., as well as incorporating targeters and resistance to the effects of blinding flashes. The addition of digi-weapons into bionic eyes is also not unknown for high-ranking individuals.
Bionic hearing can improve normal hearing to the point where the user can hear living creatures breathing, hearts beating, etc.[3b]
Implants come in all shapes and sizes, from memory upgrades for the brain to implant weapons. Some of the more esoteric are listed below. The Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus are infamous for making use of extensive bionic implants, and some of the more exotic ones they create are used solely by them. This list is by no means exhaustive.[Needs Citation]
A psi-booster increases activity in the part of the brain responsible for controlling psychic ability. A person with one of these is usually a proficient psyker and has greater control over his powers compared to someone of the same ability without a psi-booster.[Needs Citation]
Mind Impulse Unit
A Mind Impulse Unit (MIU) is a neural link between a sentient brain and a piece of equipment, allowing an individual to control and monitor a system by thought alone. MIUs are most commonly used in Dreadnought armour[3a] and the gigantic Titans of the Adeptus Mechanicus but are rarely seen elsewhere. Other uses include hands-free equipment operation, such as for shoulder- or wrist-mounted gear (including weapons). In some rare cases the weapon is carried normally; the MIU allows the user a greater intimacy with their weapon's internal workings, such as ammunition count or barrel temperature. This is sometimes found amongst the Skitarii tech guard of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Wireless MIUs also exist, although they are exceptionally rare and are used to control mechanical familiars or certain types of servitor. This type of MIU is most common when the user cannot perform a common task themselves (perhaps being too large to fit somewhere) or when they prefer to stay out of harm's way.[Needs Citation]
An implant weapon is one that has been grafted onto an existing limb, replacing a hand or occasionally the entire arm, and is controlled by a simpler MIU than needed for a more sophisticated device. The obvious benefit of finer weapon control is substantially offset by loss of hand or arm functionality outside of combat. This bionic is thus not especially practical, and is usually intended to intimidate, as the surgery used to graft them onto the user is often quite crude, leaving gruesome suture scars frightening above and beyond the "body horror" qualities of the implant itself. Another reason for implantation of bionic weapons is the user not being expected to need his arm for other tasks; this approach is most often seen in the cases of pit slave gladiators or certain types of battlefield servitor.[Needs Citation]
Mechadendrites are mechanical tendrils used by the Adeptus Mechanicus to aid them in construction, maintenance, and research. These bionics contain small motors and actuators within their armoured shells and wave about the Techpriest almost with a life of their own.[Needs Citation]
Using crystal technology made possible this sophisticated tattoo via creating a functioning device between layers of skin. It is quite useful, because with it every citizen with sufficient money can have symbols on their skin that light up and flash. Skinplants could be either light-sensitive, permanent fixtures, or controllable. The most common skinplants is a wristwatch that can be activated with light touch – so a digital display activated beneath the skin. Some people even get skinplants on whole limbs or even their entire body. The emitted light is enough to see in darkness for nearly 10cm, so skinplants on arms became known as ‘thief’s light’, providing sufficient light to operate objects, pick locks, etc.[3b]
Similar to skinplants, Electoos also utilise crystal technology, but are much more complex and elaborate. Beneath the skin of recipient is placed an inert layer of conductive material. On this film the crystal stacks are built up and waste material is dissolved out. The electoos could then be attached to this and programmed to function as any control or monitoring device. The electoos could be used for carrying secret information, personal information, data banks and so on. Further, some electoos can contain reservoirs of chemicals, such as antivenom, which can trigger automatically when necessary.[3b]
One sort of electoo is metallic strips bonded subdermally to enable tech-priests to channel limited amounts of energy; an extreme example are the renowned electro-priests, who turn themselves into crackling fonts of electricity in battle. Electoos enable the user to directly absorb electricity from equipment or power sources and then expel it, with sometimes devastating results.[Needs Citation]
Electrografts are another special form of electoo inserted directly into the recipient’s cerebellum. This is implemented by cutting away part of the skull and creating the electoo directly on the brain tissue and covering the cut cranium with synthetic material. Electrografts could alter the creature’s memory, knowledge, and personality. It is an easy and quick way to learn new languages, operate machinery, etc. Unfortunately, this could also cause problems with memory, personality disorders, and occasionally total mental breakdowns. After insertion an electrograph could be reprogrammed almost indefinitely, although too frequent reprogramming increases the degenerative process.[3b]
Rite of Pure Thought
The Rite is considered an extreme measure even among some Tech-priests. The creative, emotional, illogical right hemisphere of the brain is replaced with a cogitator linked directly to the logical left hemisphere. This frees the recipient of any irrationality and illogic.
An implant used to neutralise toxins and drugs administered to or by the recipient, targeting anything stronger than caffeine. Used in the treatment of addicts.
- 1: Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition), pg. 70
- 2: Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (4th Edition), [Needs Citation]
- 3: Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader:
- 4: Inquisitor Rulebook,[Needs Citation]
- 5: Exit Wound (Short Story) — No Good Men (Anthology), pg. 75
- 6: Impurities (Short Story) — No Good Men (Anthology), pg. 147
- Soul Drinker (Novel)
- Fanatic Magazine No. 5