So Howl, I really like the Mechanicum concept and the Machine God. For all of the ritualistic and baroque tone of the setting the Mechanicum stands out as both not worshipping the Emperor and as a power in its own right. This despite being in the same system with the center of Galactic politics. Also Titans. I want a real one.
How do you see the concept in 40k, and when you speak of it here in more realistic terms how might it differ?
I'll get to this tomorrow. And I'll holler at Richter. He's sort of the high priest.
The Adeptus Mechanicus is at the same time the custodian / provider / regulator of all technology, and a group mired in routine / ritual when it comes to any construction or maintenance.
A Mechanicus Techpriest is at best able to fix anything with enthusiasm. They live for that shit. At worst they're the guys who won't close the cowling and re start the engine on a crashing spacecraft because they haven't finished the proper chants to the fuel distributor cap and applied the necessary anointing lubricants. They do all this to praise the Mahcine God (present in all apparati), and respect the individual anima of whatever projects they are working on.
This is not to say there are not average Joe mechanics running around. To get the flavor, imagine car mechanics as lay-priests, and the whole works like a monastery crossed with a machine shop. More when consciousness allows. Dan Abnett wrote up a great description of these folks in action in the 2nd book of his Eisenhorn trilogy. (solomon Kane in space - check it out if you can)