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The Culture Explores Warhammer 40k

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The Premise - Intro post to the versus thread that this originated from

A small fleet of Culture Vessels crosses the vast expanse between the Galaxies and arrives at the outer limits of the 40k Galaxy.

Setting themselves the task of converting the ENTIRE 40k galaxy and all its factions to their way of thinking. How do they fare?

The Culture Fleet consists of a single Systems Class GSU (controlled by 3 Minds), a single GSV (controlled by 1 Mind) and a pair of GCU's (controlled by 1 Mind each) . With 300 million starting population of assorted Pan-Humans & Drones.

How does the Culture proceed? Do they go in guns blazing, sit back and manipulate or something in between?
It should be fairly apparent that space combat wise the Culture would dominate totally, but this isn't (necessarily) about blasting the opposition to atoms.
How do they deal with unyielding threats like Tyranids, Orcs, Necrons, Chaos etc?
What about the more approachable factions (for dialogue anyway) like Eldar or Tau?
How long would it all take or are they doomed to corruption by Chaos from the outset?

Hyperspace, Grid Energy and all the other fancy Culture technology work perfectly fine and according to its own rules in the 40kverse.
The Culture begins with zero knowledge of anything to do with the 40kverse. No knowledge of Chaos, of Psychics, The Warp or anything. A complete Blank Slate.
Conversely, no one in the 40kverse knows anything about the Culture, not Chaos, not Eldar Farseers, no one.


Story Structure

The structure of the story is in varying parts. Each Part will have a head post that describes overall developments in the Culture fleet (usually technology and First Contacts); each part is 3 weeks long and events are placed to within 1 week accuracy.

Each part will also have a number of subsidiary bits, usually grouped by the race it happened to (but special events also exist), each of those bits consist of events during the 3 weeks of the Part it happened under (eg. the Tyranids update happens in part 6, and "Week 3" in that chapter refers to the 3rd week of part 6). These all happen concurrently and sometimes reference events happening in other bits.

Later in the fic, Hypothetical parts occasionally appear.  These are thought experiments involving a major change to Culture policy and can be considered to be non-canon for the purposes of this fic.  Aka. they didn't actually happen. 


This fic's interpretation of the Warp

It follows strange physics, one that recognizes patterns. Instead of the rules operating on atoms or fundamental forces, the rules operate on patterns. Patterns are the building blocks of things in the Warp.

The soul is one such conglomerate of patterns. Patterns themselves are indivisible but they can be unraveled to release the energy contained. Aggregates of them, like a soul, are, obviously, separable into pieces. Patterns are made of Warp energy and can interact with the Warp to move or affect raw Warp energy or other patterns. Patterns can also appear from Warp energy or other patterns.

Patterns have a position in the Warp. Where a pattern is can distinguish between one pattern somewhere and another identical pattern elsewhere. These positions in the Warp correspond to positions in the Real.

The Warp is atemporal. The Warp is immutable and the passage of time in the real is not represented as changes in the Warp, but as the trajectory of patterns through it. Patterns in the future and in the past can affect the present, they are all there and it never really goes away.
Nevertheless, there are restrictions that the Warp follows with regards to time. I haven't worked this out yet, but it should line up roughly with the restrictions on time travel.

The Real

Warp phenomena happens when the Warp energy temporarily rewrites the rules of the universe. Patterns in the Warp have specific patterns of matter or energy in the Real and a very large number of them deal with organic brains. But things like lightning bolts (that aren't lightning) are generated by the Warp imposing a pattern on the Real.
Manifested Warp patterns in the Real are subject to what rules of the Real that still apply, but the more patterns that manifest, the less rules remain.

Too many Warp patterns, and bam, you have a Warp rift, a place where none of the Real's rules apply any more and the Warp enters the Real.

The Soul

Psykers and psychic sensitivity is how much of "you" is in the warp. Each person, a bunch of matter that processes other matter and energy in the real, attracts patterns in the warp as they form. By default, each arrangment of matter in the real will have a certain amount of Warp pattern associating with it, but by circumstance or deliberate control, more or less patterns can aggregate around the corresponding position of the real material.
This is highly sensitive to how the being develops and genetics, being the controlling developmental program, plays a very large part.

Organic beings have a pattern of material that affects the Warp in ways that attract patterns. Metals do not and a being made of metals does not affect the Warp. Intelligence, the ability to process information and representations of things (aka. concepts), attracts even more Warp patterns.
This conglomerate of Warp patterns is typically called the Soul.

A soul affects the body as much as the reverse. Kill the person in the real, and the patterns in the Warp will disperse. Kill the soul in the Warp, and the corresponding effects of the patterns will affect the real (usually killing the person).
In fact, in some cases, not all of a person's intellect resides in the Real, some of it is in the Warp. Souls interact with each other, usually to no major effect, but they can sense each other and communicate this to the brain in the Real.


Psykers are organic people with a conglomerate of Warp patterns that can create other Warp patterns, including one that makes the Warp intrude into the real to impose a pattern. This may or may not be deliberately controlled, often not.

Races have inclinations (Eldars are more like to interact with the patterns corresponding to the future) based on biology that changes what patterns in the Warp are most likely to occur.

Blanks are the reverse of psykers, they have very few or no patterns associated with them in the Warp because they attracted a pattern that undoes other patterns.
Their ability to drive psychics crazy or make normals disgusted with them is because of the soul. They have none or very little to interact with in the Warp and consequently creep people out unconsciously due to the lack of that interaction.
Their invisibility to psykers, resistance or plain immunity to Chaos corruption, immunity to purely Warp effects, are all explained by this. But clearly, if you hit them with a lightning bolt, even a Warp lightning bolt, they still die.

Machines and devices that use the Warp are also possible. Those that manipulate the Warp by using arrangements of Real materials that attract Warp patterns can acheive Warp effects. (eg. Null Matrix generators, Gellar fields, D-Cannons) Copies these devices in the Real alone will work, since they manipulate the Warp for their effects.

Devices that partially exist in the Warp use both arrangements of the Real and patterns in the Warp together to acheive an effect. (eg. Eldar Wraithbone, Webway travel, Psychic weapons, Warp drives) These require both a Warp and Real construction method to make them, so it can get very complicated and often needs another Warp + Real device to do that.


Future Sight - Interpretation, terms and stuff

1. Future sight sees the possiblities of the future. Future-paths refer to the chain of visions that describe a path through various branches. The lower probability of a future, the harder it is to trace.

1b. The Farseers are able to 'vision' on demand and focus on a time and place if they wish. This lets them 'vision' their way around the timeline to trace paths and branches. Obviously, they're highly practiced and very good at it. The lower probability some future 'vision' has of coming to pass, the harder it is to tell which other 'visions' lie in the past of that future 'vision', making them very very hard to track.

2. Future vision is 100% accurate. There are no false visions (although false interpretation is perfectly possible), all future-paths refer to a future that can happen provided the correct branches are taken. It is not comprehensive, however, so while it is impossible to make errors in future visions, the Eldar don't see everything and certainly not all combinations of branches. They may not see some branches or some futures, and they might only have a vague idea or partial list of needed actions to cause a certain future.

2b. A branch refers to a set of Eldar actions at a certain point. Obviously, no one else has branches unless they also have future vision. This is how they can tell the Culture has no future vision, since they don't see any Culture branches.

2c. Some branches are 'chance' branches, which means the factor that decides it is a small effect outside Eldar influence. This is basically chaos-theory (the one that small effects in the right places have major effects).

3. Visions are limited in spatial and time resolution. They cannot steal tech by visions nor discern the working process of anything more complicated than say a steam engine. Culture effectors work too fast and invisibly for them to detect. Culture FTL is also nearly incomprehensible, Eldar cannot track Culture vessels through hyperspace, they can only detect the rough position of their vessels relative to various worlds. The large scale visions, like they used to try to discern what will happen to the galaxy, detects the overall minds in the galaxy. This is mostly war, because this is Warhammer 40k, but the visions are very sensitive to the emotions of the people concerned in the vision.