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Navigator[52]

Navigators (Homo navigo[1]) are a strain of abhumans[2f] responsible for guiding human ships through the Warp, via the use of their specialized third eye. Without the Navigators fast voyages beyond the closest systems would be impossible, thus being one of the most valuable assets.[3b] The majority of them comprise various Houses of Navis Nobilite, highly influential within the Imperium of Man.[2g] The status as mutants and members of the elite causes Navigators to rarely interact with other members of imperial society.[4b]

Overview

Biology

Genetics

The origins of the Navigator gene are shrouded in mystery,[2g][5] rumored - even by Navigators themselves,[6] but firmly placed within the Dark Age of Technology,[2g][5] some sources state them to originate in M10,[7] M15,[5] M19[8b], or M22,[9] in any case predating the re-emergence of psykers in mankind.[5] It is unknown if they evolved on their own, or were manufactured by genetic engineering,[2g][10c] even if the consensus leads to the latter being the case,[7][11] both reasoned as the responses to the mankind’s need to perfect the Warp travel.[2g] Since their appearance they began to extend their influence due to their crucial service within human society, forming noble houses that with waxing and waning times ultimately grew in wealth,[7] escaping the grasp of industrial and trading cartels,[10d] eventually establishing Navis Nobilite well before the advent of the Imperium.[12a] It is of note that in M41 many held a belief that Navigator gene originated from the time just before the Great Crusade which took place between late M30 and early M31, manufactured by the Emperor himself.[2g] Some Ordos amongst the Holy Inquisition suspect that the ancient stasis vaults beneath the mansions of the Navigator’s Quarter on Holy Terra contain records of the true origin of the Navigator gene.[3e] The aforementioned gene is easily lost through its recessive trait, and can only be saved for the future generations through intermarriage, lost when bred with ordinary humans.[7][10c]

Navigator's skull crossection, showing how the pineal eye connects to the brain[51]

The primary trait of a Navigator is their pineal eye, nested in a socket on their forehead.[3a] While it perfectly fills the sensory function as any of his normal eyes do, it is also extraordinarily able to open a miniscule Warp gate within it, from there stem all the Navigator’s powers. Although a state of the eye being open in a commonplace way of lifting its lid doesn’t cause the gate to open, confusingly the term “fully open” is applied when the latter happens. During the opening of said gate, Navigator is able to glimpse the Empyrean in its true state,[2g] although their mind converts this image to a more mundane approximation, only in age the allegory recedes to ring closer of the true horror of the Warp.[2b] Nonetheless the ability to observe the Warp is crucial in their function as navigational officers, allowing them uniquely to have some semblance of assurance of their position within it. While the eye always appears within a genetically pure newborn, in some cases it is located deep within the skull, requiring trepanning surgery and/or a cybernetic shutter for it to be brought to its proper spot. Those surgeries commonly occur during Navigator's adolescence.[2g] If, even with both of the parents being Navigators, a newborn has his Navigator gene dormant, and no Third Eye to speak of, it's called a Typhlotic. Even if the child is a barren fruit of the line, they aren't known to be harmed, and are kept around, although the specifics of their role in the house are unknown.[13b] Notwithstanding the Navigators' toleration of their unfortunate typhlotic kinfolk, the appearance of them within a lineage is considered a threat to the house's survival. Across the history there were few known houses who slowly but surely lost the ability to produce purestrain genestock, and at some point not even spending their whole fortune on bloodbrokers and unsound marriage arrangements is able to save the house from falling back into baseline humanity, without any such useful abilities their ancestors possessed.[3f]

Navigator with a cybernetic shutter uncovering his underdeveloped pineal eye[20c]

Due to unspecified reasons Navigators normally keep their Third Eye hidden, covered with a bandana or any other decorative piece.[7] It is noted on one occasion that Navigator only kept her Third Eye hidden when outside the safe haven of the spaceship, freely unveiling it while stepping aboard, with the notion of doing so only speculated by her peers to come with familiarity of this environment[14a]. In a stark contrast, Navigators of the Elutrian Confederacy proudly flaunt their third eye, more even, instead covering their mundane eyes, considering them to be of no importance to their status.[3l] While the most prominent of the Eye's powers is known to be extremely lethal, it is under a full conscious control of the Navigator, being utterly harmless on its own without the Navigator's decision to otherwise be.[2g] Psychically inclined individuals however can still sense the eye even if covered, although no one but the most powerful of psykers do note the effect,[15] and most of the baseline humans often doubt the existence of this mythical eye, until in a rare occurrence they are given a chance to see it.[7] It however is often met with disappointment as it ends up being an unimpressive peculiarity,[14a] if not a reason to brand and detest them as a mutant on the first occasion of noticing the eye[14b].

Of additional mentions are: an increased longevity of Navigators, who even without juvenat treatments can easily live up to around three or four hundred years[7] and the fact that no Navigator can be born a psyker, although classified as psykers in some instances, they can't possess any standard psionic gift, inherently lacking any psy rating.[2i]

Mutations

Due to eugenic programs within the Navis Nobilite, which aim to create manifold strains of their genepool, each trying to perfect a unique aspect of their powers, they are plagued with further deformative mutations. Their constant Warp exposure increases the likelihood of additional activation of different parts of the Navigator genes, or even some proper Warp mutations, causing deformations to a visage already estranged to that of a normal human. Any Navigator expresses at least few of those mutations at birth,[2g], and members of the same house tend to share the same mutations as their kin.[10c] Some are still able to pass as humans when obscuring their forehead,[16c] some children still are absolutely devoid of any mutation, groomed by their elders to become the facade of the house in public relations, the Navis Scions, attracting fellow humans with their exotic beauty and regaling them with the tales of their adventures. When inexorably they acquire those mutations, many strive for cosmetic surgery to mask their recent disfigurations.[12c] Although unlikely it isn’t out of the realm of possibility for a one individual to gather the majority of the mutative expressions of their genome.[10c] Those whose malformations have extended so severely are known to be kept secret by their houses, not allowed to the eyes of the public, sealed either in their luxurious estates or in exclusionary tabernacles aboard their ships.[4b]

Among the mutations considered normal for a Navigator are:

  • additional joints allowing for natural contortionism[2j]
  • extreme height[2j]
  • either unnaturally thin or uncomfortably bloated silhouette, sometimes creating a withered form of loosely hanging flesh[2j]
  • grotesquely pale skin[2j]
  • translucent skin[16c][10c]
  • skin covered in scales[17d]
  • visage marbled with veins[2j]
  • complete lack of body hair[2j]
  • all eyes turned black solids without iris, allowing for increased vision in the dark[2j]
  • enlarged eyes with diminutive other facial features[10c]
  • enlarged ears[17c]
  • membranous growths stretching between limbs and/or digits[2j][16c]
  • skin stretched to the point when a nose is nothing but a pair of slits, ears are but small holes, and eyes unable to blink[2j]
  • bones of fingers grown and hardened to form talons[2j]
  • thousand small teeth as sharp as needles[2j]
  • translucent white blood[2j]
  • quickly knitting wounds and bone breaks[2j]
  • movement with fluid and sinuous grace[2j]
  • prematurely aged appearance[10c]

Across the aeons throughout the Age of Strife many Navigator houses perished, and for some time many theorized that a few of some rogue Navigators survived in some dark corner of the galaxy. This hypothesis was confirmed in the most horrifying manner. It is true that among the stars some survived stranded from their kin, however abused by their peers in eugenic programs not concerned with their subjects' well-being, their offspring fruited to nigh feral and devoid of human mindset Navigator Abominations. One notable individual of this kind was said to possess six atrophied limbs, sprouting from an elongated and grotesquely thin body, it had no mouth to speak of, nor any other facial features save its Warp eye, the last remnant of what allowed the witnesses to recognize it as a member of one of the strains of humanity, which was not even viewed as human among its people. Navis Nobilite policy to deal with those Abominations is a merciless purge.[19c]

Paternova metamorphosis

Throughout their naturally long lives many Navigators never stop to grow in size, and when their ribs may enlarge to allow for growth of internal gills, they become what is known as an Heir Apparent, separate from the patriarch or matriarch of their houses. Not all Navigators end up evolving to this degree, and few of the elders might not become Heirs. Heirs of different houses feel unshakeable disdain towards those of the different houses, actively assassinating each other before the next stage of their evolution kicks in. In both hierarchical and biological sense above the entirety of the navigatorial nobility rules alone the Paternova, who is the ultimate form that the Navigator can take,[7] while able to live for up to a thousand years he still is inexorably mortal,[17a] and upon his death throughout the galaxy all Navigators feel their powers wane, at this point Heir Apparents loose many of their normal brain functions, and while they grow even larger with their gills somehow gaining an ability to breathe vacuum or any poison or water, they become feral beasts keen on extermination of any and all other Heir.[7]

With the last shreds of humanity they are drawn to each another and then devoid of those sentiments start to fight among themselves. With each Heir dead, all others only increase in the ratio of their transformation, until only one remains who with his senses returned is crowned the next Paternova, reinvigorating the shared powers of Navigators with the linking of his mind. During those elective periods of Paternovas, Navigators powers are impaired, and Warp journeys take longer. However obscure his role is, no one doubts the importance of Paternova for the Navigators' biology, described by them nebulously as the guiding father whose powers transcend the Warp itself.[7]

In society

The wider Imperial society commonly shuns the abhumans within their midst, while true that many are able to find their niche outside the scope of common man sight, only the navigators enjoy not only acceptance, albeit often begrudged, but nigh universal wealth among the mutants of any kind.[4b] Many factions, be it political, commercial or private, strive to secure a deal with one of the noble houses of Navis Nobilite.[2f] Some fortunate enjoy complex bonds of honour, debts and patronage, like Imperial Navy or naval aristocracies.[20b] Rogue Trader dynasties are often tied for generations to specific Navigator dynasties, creating lasting bonds of familiarity.[12d] Even if Warp travel is crudely maintainable without Navigators[2m] their contracts are often one of the most desirable acquisition after the spaceship, and a few mercantile powers of Imperial Commercia are known to maintain relations with some Nobilite families.[2f]

Navigator participating in an on-board skirmish[17b]

Due to their status as a mutant, many navigators lead sheltered lives, which their high status can allow.[20a] While the reaction of a common citizen to a sight of a navigator may prove threatening to a Navigator,[14b] some react either in amusement[12c] or indifference. It doesn't stop many Navigators to try and hide their nature from the public,[14a] and even if the Imperium might tolerate them, those who don't are found in each of its corner.[4b] Some Space Marines chapters like Black Templars[21] or Red Scorpions[22] openly loath contact with their Navigators, who were it not necessary would be directly opposed in their inclusion aboard their ships.[21][22] This behaviour is exhibited even among common man of the Imperium, and while many Navigators get a perverse pleasure from strolling down the corridors of ships where they serve, on other vessels Navigators seclude themselves to their private spires, choosing not to interact with others,[23b] there is at least one instance of Navigator being forced to do so by overtly xenophobic crew.[24]

Notwithstanding the stigma of the mutant, the proteges of noble houses called Navis Scions revel in attention, as it is their trade to be an approachable face of their lineage, and in both truth or lie improve the social connections with Imperial society, though often restricted to its higher partitions,[12c] with an intent of gaining reputation and thus more wealthy and influential clientele.[3j] In legal matters the whole Nobilite relies on the protection of Paternova whose word is highly held, often against this of any member of the Holy Orders of the Inquisition.[3e] As long as the Paternova doesn't brand Navigator or their whole house as renegades,[2h] they may feel as safe as any high ranking noble within the Imperium can. And while many Inquisitors wait with their decision to persecute even a single Navigator,[4b] some more radical Inquisitors[4a][25] or Ministorum members[4b] in their pursue to eradicate the heretic, the mutant and the witch are known to indiscriminately exterminate even those the most vital to the workings of the Imperium.[4a][4b][25] Nonetheless, even if the ship's captain is found guilty of treason against the Emperor, the Navigator is granted immunity from any capital punishment that will be incurred on the rest of the crew in their shared guilt.[26b]

Navigator alongside the captain and his other officers[28a]

Aboard spaceships, while the crew might have their varied sentiments towards the mutant at the helm, including officers[24] the captain however often keep amiable bonds with the navigator.[12d] Whether out of necessity[3d] or genuine trust,[12d] the navigator is recognizable as one of the most important[2a] and staunchly loyal[27] persons on board, often nicknamed the captain's right hand.[2a] Due to their importance towards faster than light travel many mutinies have been made null due to Navigator's unwillingness to cooperate with the mutineers.[54] There were instances of the Navigators instigating the rebellion or even taking over the ships in question, which however were so rare insofar and pursued internally by the edict of Paternova[28b][26f] to not scar the Nobilite's general reputation.[27] Due to the Navigator freedom of choice of employment[2k] it isn't on the whole wise of captain to fall out of favour with them, since at any given moment they may relinquish their contract and just decide to abandon the post at the nearest rendezvous with a point of transit,[3d] essentially stranding the crew until another Navigator can be recruited.[2b]

As a polity Navis Nobilite is held a highly influential faction,[4b] which is known for patronage of both persons[12b] and projects,[3e] mostly concerned with matters of explorations[12h] and settling[18b] or re-establishing footholds of interstellar routes,[29b] funding expeditions to unknown space,[12h] bringing colonies back into the Imperial fold,[29a] quenching rebellions in Imperial systems with their private armies.[30] While each house acts as its own separate entity, they all are legally obliged to have an agreement of Paternova to back their decisions up, although this only comes to question when the consensus of allowed actions is broken,[3l] which might end up with the transgressing project being well in motion before Paternova relays their decision. One such enterprise of the expedition out to Canis Major dwarf galaxy was considered insane by most of the other unaffiliated houses, however when Paternova dictated their edict the fleet was already outside communicative range, and whether their plan to establish a micro-empire in the alien galaxy ended in success or failure is investigated only by the members of this misbehaving house.[3g] On the other hand Navis Nobilite keeps both their secrets[2d] and monopoly on space travel[31c] with absolute ruthlessness,[2d][31c] it can ruin a career of an aspiring Rogue Trader or even cast their whole noble house into abyss of history if they were found to be in possession of one of secrets of the Navigator houses. Among them the knowledge of lineages, breeding programs and prominent Novators.[2d] It is unlikely to stumble upon this knowledge accidentally, as Navigator houses don't speak in gothic among themselves, instead cultivating among themselves unique dialects of forgotten antiquity,[2c] and if somehow someone was even to glimpse upon their mapping system they'd be confused with utterly alien from imperial methodologies with divergent divisions of the Imperium in subsectors mapped and named only in accordance with their systems.[19a] Similarly, Nobilite has their eye out for any technology or method of travel that would verge on their territory,[12e][31b][31c][4c] many are outlawed whether on a technical breaking of Imperial laws[31b][4c] but some just simply as a favour from the Administratum.[31c] Those that they aren't able to outlaw often are aggressively outbid off the market[12e] and people who acquire any of those items bring upon themselves the ire of Nobilite.[31c]

Each member of Navis Nobilite debates conditions of their contract with the fleets' owners on their own, there is no standard agreement only that the employer grants a set share of whatever profits they come to earn in their enterprises towards the Navigator's house, with the navigator's own additional stipulations.[3d] The most deserving Navigators might be given a Free Charter, able to lease their services with utter accordance to their own free will.[32] The loyalty of Navigators to the Imperium is a well noted, and it is not a surprise how few rogue naval powers there exist, if only due to it boiling down to the matter of the coin.[2n] While loyal to the Imperium, their individual employers aren't always a subject of utmost loyalty, some houses choosing to employ their members as spies who'd pick up anything that might allow Nobilite any leverage within further deals.[31a] However there are many houses that either fall into relative poverty or out of favour of Paternova, essentially blacklisting them to any available employers. The so-called Shrouded or Beggar houses are forced to the brinks of the known galaxy, where they develop a special sly and opportunistic outlook, that forces them towards less than legal compacts with shadier individuals. Renegade houses, even if they didn't start with contempt towards their extended kin, most end up in spite towards that society that pushed them out. Casting aside their prior allegiances and restrictions of Imperial dogma, they fully devote their services to whatever power of discord, criminal or heretical is the highest bidder.[2h]

Abilities

Navigator[49]

In a stark contrast to psykers who release the immaterial energies into the realspace, Navigators, although in possession of certain powers, are chiefly limited in their influence on reality to wherever their third eye can reach its sight. Those few powers visible outside the Warp emerge from their superb and more innate control of the empyrean energies within this alien dimension, than any of the most talented and the most learned psykers of the realspace could muster. As the psyker primarily enforces his will on the reality, the Navigator does that in the unreality. Able to not only see this horrific dimension in the most true state, but also make its currents obey their will, slightly altering them to their and their allies' favour.[2g] However, the soul of the Navigator often differs little from a psyker to a daemon, shining brightly into the Immaterium, inviting them in.[33a] Additionally any limiters of Warp powers also hamper the abilities of Navigators, for example Drukhari technology that restrains all psychic abilities, stop also any of the abilities of the Third Eye.[34]

While the most of those abilities are in need of being learned and honed, they derive from the Navigator's inborn ability, not incurring any peril of using them, as opposed to the abilities of the psykers. All Navigators no matter their talent and education possess both a power to sense psychic phenomena alongside the most basic and the most lethal of the powers unleashed from their eye, the so-called Lidless Stare.[2i]

Warp sense

Many psykers are endowed with sensibilities towards their direct surroundings, able to discern Warp signatures of other people on whose souls they cast their gaze. The Navigators are also able to veer into their peers' minds, detecting irregularities both correlating with their innate peculiarities[15] and those of the chaotic origin. So can they see the tracks left in the Materium of portent psychic use, able to see ephemeral remnants of psykers' and daemons' tamperings, allowing them to track such individuals and discern their position.[2i][35] Sometimes even sensing ancient events that simply leave only faint empathic echoes of the people who once been at the place in question.[26h] However even without observing the Warp directly, Navigators can uniquely sense stellar and immaterial phenomena in light years of their surroundings.[13a][36a][2i] Accurately sensing any Warp instability, especially approaching Warp Storms,[36a] they are acutely aware of any ship translating in or out the Immaterium in a given radius,[13a] detecting battles that take place in the empyrean,[36a] and detecting approaching dangers to themselves. In the void they can sense hidden threats, concealed ships, void creatures and minefields or more mundane obstacles like asteroids or space debris.[2i] Warp-seers employed by Navis Nobilite are tasked with investigation of any of those anomalous warp events noticed by their star-faring masters.[36a]

Warp navigation

Navigator consulting a map[26a]

The main defining characteristic of Navigators is their famed ability to pilot ships in the Immaterium, it is done so with the use of their third eye.[2g] After the gate within is opened, the Navigator is able to see the Warp as it is in reality, albeit with their mind providing a comprehensive allegory to the incomprehensible. Still, the more the Navigator spends in the warp, the allegorical view fades, and the true reality of it starts to settle, nonetheless never fully allowing for comprehension of its whole nature. The most often used approximation reported (though not limited to) boils down to that of steering a marine ship on an ocean,[2b] thus inviting a common use of various marine terms to explain Warp phenomena encountered.[19b] The ability to steer in this sea takes years to develop,[27] while observing their elder siblings or parents while they pilot the ship.[15]

No sane Navigator is ever bold enough to claim that any Warp travel is safe, even if they spend decades without an incident,[3i] thus they also spend much time to be assured of their survival beforehand. They first peer into the void to look for imminent threats, create prognostic temporal deviance of their travels' estimated passage and employ often occult rituals of divination, syncretic to a house or even the person. Those might boil down to reading of the runically emblazoned bones, entering a trance state with a servitor recording their rambled prophecy or reading entrails of specific animals. When all is found satisfying to Navigator's precautions, they excuse any non-Navigatorial staff that might be present in their seclusion,[3h] leaving around only younger members of their family for them to learn their craft.[15] Then they begin a process of entering a trance like state, and melding with a machine spirit of the ship.[3h] When meld is finished the Navigator sends through the cogitators an order to raise the Gellar Field to entomb the whole ship,[37b] excluding their chamber. This signalizes the ships captain that he might start the process of translation into the Warp. Having entered the Empyrean, it floods through the Navigators' bridge, allowing them to become active part of their unreality.[3h] The elder one at the helm is left with the sole command of the ship,[15] since only they can now be fully aware of their surroundings and react appropriately.[3h] They open their eye, and they see their truth of the Warp. Of note is there is no need to lift their circlets obscuring the Eye, as for its warp-sight it is not in any form an obstacle.[38b]

Nearly always the first duty of the pilot is to locate the Astronomican, the Emperor's beacon on Terra, with its radiance and angle of approach divine their current position and in the end the proper route towards their destination.[3h] Its light encompasses the chief part of the galaxy (~50,000 ly radius)[10a], nonetheless it is not the only point of reference within the Immaterium, albeit the best.[3h] Astropaths can send dim temporary beacons, by which the Navigator might locate the rest of the fleet[10a] and follow the Navigator Primaris, the elder at the head of the fleet,[12g] those beacons are discernable in a radius of 10 light years.[10b] Although it isn't absolutely necessary as the Navigator can discern tracks in the Immaterium, and follow them in case they got lost, or otherwise in need of tracking someone without their knowledge.[2i] Servants of the dark gods are able to create crude imitations of the Astronomican, supported with a constant sacrifices of brains and blood of slaves, an example of it was an infamous Beacon of the Damned.[38a] Still even without the help of the beacons, the Navigator isn't entirely helpless: there exist charts of Warp travel routes that they were able to consult with prior to the journey; experienced Navigators often know many of those routes devoted to their memory;[3h] and they are able still to consult Navis Primas,[2e] psychically registered map of routes known and kept in secrecy by their house or any other house they know the engrammatic codes of.[3h] Above it, they can be assisted with Warp Antennas, massive force staves strengthening the signal of the Astronomican, Warp Sextants, an array of sensors sending the Navigator the data through the cogitators and his submersion tank,[23a] Witch Augurs that sends information of other material vessels nearby in the Immaterium[31d] or Runecasters, which prescience helps the Navigator to avoid Warp Storms.[2l]

Throughout the sea of the Empyrean, there are multiple dangers natural to this environment, Warp Storms,[3h] Warp Reefs and Warp Shoals made out of rampant and hard to predict eddies of the Warp.[19b] Recent stellar phenomena like supernovas, or new black holes might put the Warp into a disarray,[38a] gravity wells,[26d] Warp shadows[39a] and temporal disruptions[26c], some star clusters[3c], even binary systems[26d] all those might steer the Navigator way off their target, while they try to evade both stationary and predatory elements of the Warp.[3h] Some of those phenomena might be artificial,[2p][20d] sometimes suspected to purposefully hide and protect regions of space from being violated by human presence,[2p] others still are but accidental, like the satellite relay surrounding all the planets of the Threnos system, which blast Imperial liturgies through all frequencies making this region impassable for Navigators, causing irritation even by its proximity. Due to that, no one entered the system for millennia.[20d] Navigators tend to avoid all of those, however some posited possibilities of traversals of such basal danger as the ubiquitous Warp Storms,[2o] and some in acts of desperation or greed chose those routes. Many of their ghostly ships trapped in the timeless sea for eternity.[39b] Yet, still some of the dangers come seeking the ship directly, warp presences of many kinds, that might appear to the Navigator in a shape of monstrous predatory animals[3h], often Navigators report to at least hearing cries of Flesh Hounds in the Warp.[33b]

Besides his ability to steer the vessel from any danger, the Navigator is able to influence the Warp surrounding it,[2g] while able to create small vortexes that may keep them on route, they may as well create whole Warp Storms with their power, use the prescient waters of the Warp to position their ship in an optimal attacking position when forced to battle within the Empyrean or obliterate the trail of their ship confusing those who might track them.[12f] Alternatively if employing a Mimic Engine, they are able to change their trail signature to aid in any potential subterfuge.[31e]

Warp eye

Navigator killing a horde of orks with the power of her eye[3m]

The only use to the Imperium of the Navigator's pineal eye is its aid in Warp navigation, however it also possesses qualities that are rarely exploited in practice, able to summon powers that although powerful rarely outweigh the risk of losing a Navigator by forcing them into perilous situations that would require them. On its own the eye does nothing, Navigator's extra optical apparatus, and still some find it unsettling to look at,[2g] especially psykers, who can see its Warp gate even when it's closed.[15] However when the Navigator chooses to open the inner gate, or even accidentally glimpses at someone when having it inadvertently opened, it unleashes the power of the Warp in its cone of vision. Young Navigators, the least experienced in handling their bizarre anatomy, can only unleash the full potential of the Warp - Lidless Stare - while reported that some can survive its blast for a split second, unprepared or found wanting perish all, their mind driven mad and evaporated in an unmeasurably minuscule time.[2i] It is however an instant death, which when provided with worse alternatives is able to be perceived as merciful. One of the few survivors described it as if the sea of warp, distant, yet all-encompassing bubbled to the surface of the materium to swallow him with its paradoxical nature, dismayed as to how the barrier between the worlds in that very moment was as thin as the lens of an eye.[40] It is the main reason why inmity of a Navigator or in the worst scenario,[41b] a possession of one by a daemon is an extremely hazardous ordeal.[41a] For there is nothing stopping that creature from unleashing this highest of the horrors upon one's soul, fracturing its fleshy vessel in an instant.[41b]

If the Navigator chooses to hone their eye's power, they are able to modulate its output to the point where it can be used as a non-lethal tool, the third eye is thus able to utterly immobilize any creature its sight falls upon. It is especially useful against psykers, additionally debilitating them against the use of their powers. Daemons still are damaged by it, loosing coherence in this sight, slowly deteriorating back into Warp energies they were formed with.[2i] Further lesser emanation can simply shock, or otherwise stupefy a person, inflicting upon them visions of dread forcing them to either flee or suffer a severe melt-down.[12f] Only those who learned to more amiably manifest the warp eye are allowed to enter into a Navigator duel, requiring for Warp eye to not deal a lethal blow, which due to the readiness of the youth to be chosen as a representative combatant of a house, implies this ability to be taught relatively early in life.[3j]

Navigator choosing to mutate a subject of his power[12f]

In between the instant death of the Lidless Stare and a mere defensive weaker emanations of the third eye, there are some who can easily be considered cruel, a Navigator can easily decide to punish a person with moderate exposure to the Warp, bathing their flesh in the empyrean light inviting both scarring and chaotic mutations. The choice to corrupt so another does not come out of nor result in a healthy mind, leading the Navigator in question into a bottomless spiral of insanity. Some however use slightly more power, arguably able to suffer no costs to their mental health: it is a registered practice of some of the more pious of the Navis Nobilite houses to use their Warp eye to unleash non-lethal but still scarring radiation out of their eyes. While it does not cause mutations, it melts the flesh and ashens thus exposed bones, the cruellest of them choosing the intensity of Warp fire to rise and suffering to lengthen. It is dictated that this power of the Third Eye was bestowed upon them by the Emperor and by this sign of his edict, they may prosecute his enemies with its cleansing flame. It is thus, among those zealot houses, considered a fitting punishment for the errant members of the Nobilite.[12f]

Ultimately as the last reserve Navigators can release what is known as the Red Tide, although its power instantly evaporates flesh of anyone it falls upon, its primarily use is to damage other solid matter that might be an obstacle to the Navigator, as well as able to kill those that hide their eyes from meeting the Warp eye's gaze. It's also considered detrimental to a Navigator, so unless they want to commit the final sacrifice, it is for their best not to maintain it for longer periods. The most skilled Navigators are able to release the Red Tide for but a sliver of a second, allowing for the blast to still be able to kill the subject, and the damage to the Navigator be considered negligible and repairable.[12f]

Other abilities

Limited in scope and number, Navigator possess few abilities some might accredit to a psyker. One of those is the ability to summon a Cloud in the Warp that would obfuscate his presence from a psychic inquiry, albeit not making him physically invisible, the Navigator can also extend this ability to people close by, but only by extreme control of this talent. The other two abilities are tied to a way his third eye perceives the Warp, in which the concept of time is just one of physical dimensions. For the first, the Navigator is truly precognizant if only for short periods in the future, and only really knowing possible outcomes of the events, not a firm and unchangeable future, still able to avert many of those minute tragedies that might end them.[2i] Some Navis Scions are known to exploit people's naivety, with full knowledge of their lack of further foresight, and act as soothsayers to the exorbitantly wealthy to wow them with those short snippets of prophecy and increase their standings with the wider nobility.[12c] The second power allows the Navigator to step aside in time to an adjacent timeline, able to move themselves outside of danger by just walking away from the version of the reality where they'd be harmed. This power while amazing is small in scope, and even those small exerts might damage causality enough for the reality to collapse and shatter their very body. The Navigator might escape a horrible death that might have befallen them, towards a death that inadvertently will.[2i]

Of physical unique abilities, most are concerned with the individual mutation, although they all share the ability to offset the fatigue of their bodies and put away the need to sleep. Although it isn't absolute, and Navigators must eventually sleep, otherwise risking falling into a comatose state, it still allows them long vigils during Warp traversals, forcing the captain to swap them in their duty within relatively longer intervals than others of his crew.[12f] Notably elders who transformed into Heir Apparents are invariably able to breathe in water, toxic gas or even vacuum of space with their gills.[7] Multijointed Navigators all are contortionists, able to perform feats of extreme body elasticity and acrobacy, those whose digits hardened to claws or whose teeth are naturally sharpened are getting small benefits of always carrying some sort of weapon other than their third eye.[2j]

Notable individuals

Trivia

  • Orks make a use of their brand of navigators[16a][3k] which are invariably simple Weirdboyz[3k], navigating the Warp through crude intuition and primitive divination[3k][16a]. Their exploits allow for the same short Warp jumps the Imperium makes without the use of their Navigators. As still, they are prone to accidentally letting their vessel lost.[16a] However, they can move through Warp Storms at speeds that baffle even the most experienced Navigators.[26e] Most Orks forego the use of Ork navigators altogether.[8a]
  • Aboard Eldar corsairs' ships the function of a navigator is served by a Void Dreamer, who above simple acts of divining the way through the Warp is able to ward the daemons from the vessel akin to Gellar Field.[36b]
  • Kroot manage to navigate Warp to a similar degree of finesse that Imperium can without the use of Navigators, a fact that remains a mystery to the Imperial investigations.[42]
  • Warp Witches, are human breed of psykers that are able to replace Navigators in their position, albeit in a crude manner, and never truly approaching Navigator's gift, they nonetheless allow a piloted jump, when no other means is available.[2q] One of renegade Navigators was known to employ a whole coterie of those, to guide his pirate fleet.[28b]
  • Horendeusly mutilated individual human known as Sendak Voltrasse was granted uniquely an ability to navigate in a way any Navigator can. His stretched flesh fused to his suit, removed eyes and an obsidian sphere embedded in his chest, engraved with blasphemous tongue might be connected to this power.[26g]
  • The cost of the Navigator is nigh always too costly for most of the fleets, that is why commonly found Chartist captains of the Merchant Fleet, came to rely successfully on series of maps depicting the stable routes in the Immaterium,[43] while more reliable, it is nowhere as fast as a piloted jump made by Navigator, requiring multiple stops for confirming their positions in galaxy[2m], many of those maps they possess were made by Navigators themselves, although rendered on paper[3i] instead in psychic abstract[3h] of Navis Primas[2e].
  • Within the imperium there exist technologies that allow ships to travel without the use of Navigators, however they are often turned illegal or pushed towards obsoletism, most often due to the Navis Nobilite houses' desire to hold their monopoly over space travel. Among them there exist: Prognosticators, considered a heretek that allows for calculated jumps no other cogitators are able to provide;[31b] Klenova Class M Warp Engines, which although legal and still produced, is currently litigated against by the Nobilite, and use of them brings ire of the houses upon the particular fleet owner;[31c] Immaterios Novis, a purported tech of Xeno Hybris, said to utterly replace the need of Navigators, with faster short jumps, a matter of particular interest to many parties;[4c] Void Abacus, archeotech from the Dark Age of Technology, allowing for unpiloted jumps to be at least 4 times longer, while the Navis Nobilite can't outlaw them against the will of Mechanicum, they devote their means to acquire and destroy any Abacus that ever surfaces.[12e]
  • White Scars Space Marines chapter is noted for possessing high numbers of Navigators, uniquely turned into full brethren. Those Navigator Space Marines are rarely committed to battle.[16b]
  • When the Navigator dies, with their third eye inner warp gate open, the gate is maintained for an indefinite time, although whether natural decay factors in is unknown. Nonetheless, thus extracted eye can become a weapon in the hands of those careful of its danger.[44]
  • During the so-called Carnivoration of Cel, three noble houses of the Askellon Sector exhibited an indirectly cannibalistic practice by feeding their stock of mhoxen with animals injected with cerebral extractions of ritually slaughtered Navigators. This manipulated mhoxen flesh was said to grant the nobles purity of senses, allowing to fully appreciate other flavours. The practice lead to rampant mutations within those houses members.[18a]
  • Psycharus Worm is a Halo Device resembling a brass grub, however when exposed to a source of warp energies it animates and exhibits terrible intelligence, alongside the power to animate the dead and use them as its puppets. When exposed to a Navigator it instantly jumps towards their warp eye, in return for opening the warp gate, granting them its power and dark alien murderous desires.[37a]
  • Even if considered one of the few creatures in the known universe able to stand against influence of the warp with some surety, Navigators are nonetheless still touchable by chaos, and to shield themselves from it they are known to acquire Eldar Dreamstones, which above that help alleviate nightmares that can plague some Navigators after their shift of work.[45]
  • The concept of Navigators in 40K is very similar to the Guild Navigators of the Dune universe.

Images

See also

Sources