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- "Tranters, primes, 'lthic cells, hand rippers, I can get 'em all, reconditioned and good as new—even a batch of good slaught. Great wheel o' the steel god crush me if it’s not so… The price? Let's not quibble about the price. You see, I know this up-hive guilder rolling in gelt and he needs a little intel you may have the knowing of yourself…"
- — Obadiah Plex, Hive Magnogorsk Reclaimator
Reclaimators are the the most-skilled and certainly least trusted of the Adeptus Mechanicus' minor ranks of Tech-priests. It is their task to redeem raw materials from old and damaged systems, to scavenge parts and be tasked with the endless cycle of minor repairs needed to keep a starship flying or a hive city’s infrastructure from collapsing under its own weight. By necessity, a Reclaimator’s skills begin to stray into a higher understanding of machinery and technology than most of their brethren and many learn to worship the Machine God in a fragmentary and superstitious manner, marking them apart from their fellows. Reclaimators themselves are often sent into dangerous or unsafe areas with little direct supervision, and they scavenge and salvage a good deal more than their masters know. As a result, most Reclaimators have a well-deserved reputation as suspicious, shifty characters who sell their skills and the items they retrieve or repair for a good profit on the Imperial black market. Many have links to criminal gangs and more than a few are willing to resort to robbery and even murder to build up their spoils if they think they can get away with it.
Technology is a thing little understood in the Imperium of the late 41st Millennium and its workings lie shrouded in mystery and superstition for most of humanity. The Adeptus Mechanicus holds undisputed rights to the secret lore of science and technology, but the Tech-priests themselves are comparably few in number when set against the teeming billions of the Hive Worlds or even the isolated crews of starships plying the void. Such people rely on technological infrastructure in great profusion simply to live, be it a hive water-recyk system or a ship’s thermal heaters. The ongoing low-grade maintenance of such petty systems, along with the day-to-day workings of the more sophisticated parts of a manufactora’s machinery and the like, are left to an army of technomats, functionaries, duct-crawlers, voidwalkers and work-prefects gifted by their Mechanicus masters with just sufficient knowledge to perform their tasks with due deference and supplication to the Machine Spirits and nothing more. Of this disparate group, arguably the most skilled and certainly least trusted are the Reclaimators.
In the Calixis Sector, Reclaimators are common in the reaches of the hive cities of Scintilla, Malfi and other worlds, as well as on the great Chartist vessels and numerous small trader ships. Despite their vital purpose, however, they rarely enjoy a good reputation, although in some places their ill-renown is more deserved than others. In the depth of the Sibellus underhive, it is well organised networks of Hereteks and "reks" that are the real power behind the infamous narcogangs. On war-ravaged Tranch, the men and women who make up the numerous Reclaimator scav-packs that prowl the ruins are often little more than murderous bandits weighed down by dead men’s plunder and broken trinket-fetishes. Among the Void Born it is no different; the wreaker crews of breaker-ships and junkers are considered untrustworthy and accursed of their kind and the void families tell dark stories of death-scows, haunted vessels filled with scavengers driven to cannibalism and madness by want or by uncovering something best left alone in their desire for valuable salvage.
In one place in the sector, perhaps perversely, the Reclaimator is held in high esteem, and that place is Volg. In this most nightmarish of hives, the Reclaimator’s knowledge is a vital part of sustaining life against the myriad hazards the hivers must struggle against on a daily basis. Given very little to work with in the massive hive city’s environs, the Reclaimators of Volg have a reputation for coming up with nearly miraculous (if often crazed and dangerous) solutions to keep things running, and ever more inventively salvage weapons to drive away the bloated, mutated things crawling up from below. Some point to their unusual designs and the local worship of a debased form of the Machine God by the Reclaimators in the shape of "Ironskull" as evidence of the influence of rogue Tech-priests exiled to Volg as punishment in times past.
Becoming a ReclaimatorEdit
Hive and Void Born poor Imperial citizens with a technically-minded bent, or those who fancy themselves as dealmakers and traders, often start their careers as technomats and Reclaimators before focusing on more "lucrative" work. For those born in the iron canyons of a Forge World’s macro-industry, the path of the Reclaimator and perhaps ultimately the Heretek is a natural one to follow. Likewise, the Inquisition sees Reclaimators as a useful resource. Often a cut above their lowborn kind in terms of intelligence, a Reclaimator can make an excellent agent for infiltrating criminal gangs, contacting cult groups and passing unobserved through the hive and underhive, whilst their Void Born brethren are just as useful aboard ship or working orbitals and dockyards.
Path of Tech-HeresyEdit
The most gifted and reckless Reclaimators learn too much, either through acquiring knowledge forbidden to them through stealing data, by daring the tech-heresy of invention, or the blasphemy of reverse-engineering. In doing so they become something far worse, they become "Hereteks." Subject to the harshest of penalties under law and the wrath of the Cult of the Machine God, Hereteks are outlaws who use their skills to arm and equip criminal gangs and even Chaos Cults and mutant Renegades, as well as supply the various underhives with a wealth of illegal drugs and forbidden technology for profit, or more rarely to fund their own dangerous experiments. The more common Hereteks and those that pursue other, rarer tech-heresies such as the creation of artificial sentience (or the Silica Animus as the Machine Cult names it), illegal bio-constructs and the use of xenos-technology, are subject not only to punishment by Imperial law and the persecution of the Inquisition, but also bring down the wrath of the Adeptus Mechanicus itself. Of those that pursue such anathema in the Calixis Sector, most notable are several militant sects of the Mechanicus such as the Secutors of the Auxilia Myrmidon and the Divine Light of Sollex, both of whom care little for legal process or collateral damage.
- Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG), pp. 76-77