The Ephesian Schism
The Adeptus Administratum was originally created by the Emperor of Mankind as the Imperial Administration, the first bureaucracy for the newborn Imperium of Man, during the closing days of the Great Crusade, following the Ullanor Crusade of the 31st Millennium.
The Imperial Administration was placed under the control of the Regent of Terra, Malcador the Sigillite, who was titled with the esteem rank of Chief of the Imperial Administration, and is recognised today as the first Master of the Administratum. As the single largest part of the Adeptus Terra, the bureaucrats of the Imperial Administration were to be responsible for the assessment of tithes, the distribution of resources, and essentially every administrative function the Imperium required to operate.
Today, uncountable and ever-changing quantities of offices, departments and divisions deal with almost every facet of maintaining a galaxy-spanning empire of a million worlds, and every sector, world and citizen is subject to their scrutiny and intervention.
Within the Imperium, the agents of the Administratum are an innumerable and ever-present facet of interstellar commerce and politics, with the largest concentrations found on worlds with a particularly high military presence, high tithe requirements, or large-scale commerce. In particular, extensive Administratum offices on more developed worlds house hundreds of thousands of archivists, ordinates and prefects, who scrutinize sector-level operations with a keen eye and unwavering adherence to ancient doctrine.
Typically, the Administratum takes little direct action in regards to matters of law or violations of it within the Adeptus Terra, as such matters are the concern of the Adeptus Arbites. However, the attention to detail that characterizes much of the work of the Administratum often discovers criminal acts where they would otherwise go unnoticed, detecting pirates from reports of missing ships and locating smugglers from incongruous audits and tithe manifests. In situations such as these, the Administratum tends to hand matters over to another Imperial Adepta so that appropriate action can be taken. Even once others are involved, the Administratum continues to observe, ensuring that everything happens by the book and as efficiently as possible.
By virtue of wider necessity, even at the sector scale, the Administratum enacts collective decisions that will affect millions, even billions every day. Such actions are arrived at by a simple and utterly impersonal process of procedure, precedent, tradition, and cold calculation based on long-established criteria – heedless of the level of suffering or upheaval that they will cause at a local level.
Likewise, the absolute importance the Administratum places on the minutiae of its nightmarishly complex bureaucratic system and the strict adherence to regulations, forms, protocols, and due process, can itself be the source of great friction and dissatisfaction at all levels of Imperial society.
Worse still can occur when error creeps into the system, such as when the consequences of inaccuracy, lost data, or simple incompetence manifest themselves. Though exceedingly rare, it is quite possible for the Administratum to simply “lose a world” thanks to administrative error, condemning it to isolation and privation, or wrongly apply a tithe grade and thus render a world an asset-stripped wasteland. It might even misfile a request for emergency aid, which consequently arrives years, even centuries, too late. The trouble that such errors can inflict on a personal level are not hard to imagine; indeed, many individuals have had their records mangled, lost, or misregistered. For such unfortunates, unless very powerful, the consequences can be as shattering as they are impossible to rectify.
Of course, the lack of personal enmity involved in the Administratum’s actions means little to those who may find their lives turned upside down, their families suddenly displaced or shunted wholesale to a strange world, their protections removed, their property seized, or themselves simply left to starve. As a result, the Administratum is both hated and feared by all strata of Imperial society.
Many, even in the other Imperial Adepta, find them hidebound, petty, and obstructive. It is quite possible that through its work, the Administratum will breed bitterness and discontent that can explode into outright rebellion or provide an opening for darker forces to gain purchase.
The Administratum is also a shockingly parochial organization, its Adepts blindly ignorant of the nature of the world around them and naive of its many pitfalls and dangers. This naivety in itself can leave the Administratum’s myriad local offices and workers vulnerable to individual canker, deception, and infiltration, and in any organization where human greed, ambition, vanity, and hubris may be found, worse still can bloom. Ironically, the organization’s greatest defense against corruption is its own vast complexity and inertia. This makes it woefully difficult to derail or subvert in any widespread or meaningful way. If a thousand Adepts have to be purged simply to ensure the accuracy of a particular tithe-repository’s records, so be it.
For the Administratum, nothing, not even the lives of its servants, is personal.