Top Deck. Lunar Deck. Command Deck. Deck 1. More properly known as the Cathedral.
The Lunar deck, or Cathedral is where the command staff including the Navigator and Astropath have their work stations.
It is styled after a gothic cathedral and is the centre of the worship of the Celestial Emperor as manifested by navigating His space. Reminiscent of traditional gothic cathedrals the floorplan is shaped like an enormous cross. The ceiling is extremely high, and the symbolic supporting beams are carved to represent the angelic forms of the Primarchs. The walls are decorated by backlit stained glass representations of the trials and triumphs of the Emperor, and of the Primarchs and perhaps other noteworthy saints. The long arm of the cross is where worshippers may gather to pray and observe the captain and crew at work. A force barrier separates these worshippers from the business of running the ship.
In the centre of the crossed arms the captain’s chair, or throne is placed. Around him the crew have their various workstations, including the three large wheels that control the ship’s pitch, yaw and roll. These wheels must be manned at all times. Behind and above the command staff positions large view screens show external views and larger displays of the significant activity, as directed by the captain.
In the right arm of the cross floorplan is the Navigator’s cradle. This reclining couch is equipped with arms to restrain the navigator, and attachments to link his mind to the will of the ship and sustain his physical body with nutrients and to expel waste while he concentrates for the days, weeks or months that he must navigate the immaterium. Around him are places for his acolytes, servitors and other support staff who constantly monitor his health and activity. Without them, he would starve to death, or worse.
In the left arm a similar arrangement exists for the Astropath, though that exulted member of the crew is not required to remain on alert during the entire course of the trip through the immaterium. Indeed it might prove dangerous as the forces of chaos may attempt to corrupt him. On the other hand he is expected to maintain a good vigilance while travelling in real space. In this apprentices who he may allow to take shifts in the cradle assist him.
At the opposite end to the ‘bridge’, at the base of the long arm of the cross, a mezzanine floor typically occurs. This is the viewing platform of the owners of the ship, or other noteworthy guests or passengers. By tradition, ordinary crew and passenger worshippers enter through doors directly below this platform facing the bridge. It is considered extremely rude when leaving the cathedral to raise your eyes and look at the viewers above. Because of the long distance from the viewing platform to the actual command activity, optical enhancers, similar to opera glasses are provided. The reason for this extreme separation between owner and operator is to differentiate the command structure.
Access to the command area is by concealed doors that lead to elevators directly to the relevant crew apartments, and to the engine compartments. Access to the worshippers’ area is by elevators located on either side of the ship, connecting to a transverse corridor leading to the centre line. Access to the mezzanine viewing gallery is via concealed passages from the owner’s apartment.
Overall, the Cathedral, or command space of a voidship, is a piece of architecture of extreme beauty. It is simultaneously a space of ritual and worship and also a place of deadly earnest work. The highly ritualised nature of operating machinery, communing with the machine spirit of the voidship and its millions of components, and venerating the Emperor as lifegiver, guarantor of safety in the treacherous warp, comes together to create a harmonised religious experience both for the command staff and for those other off-duty staff and passengers that come to witness it and pray.
Forward of the Cathedral on the same level is the library. This domed structure is five stories high and open to give a truly expansive view. This is the library of all technical and religious manuals, arranged around the walls on every level both on exposed mezzanine platforms and in internal rooms. Circular staircases lead up through the levels. The ground floor is laid out in study desks. In the centre of the floor a raised dais squats as the workstation of the Chief Librarian. From this position he can see all the exits and he acts as the guardian of peace, ejecting anyone who is too rowdy. He alone has the keys to every door: those seeking access must convince him to release a key.
Numerous rooms sprout from the library at every level. These provide private chambers for study or meetings. Passages, too, radiate away from the library and it is rumoured that any part of the ship can be reached from here, but this secret is known only to the librarians.
Other libraries exist in many parts of the ship with more specialised (or generalised) listings, but this library is considered ‘The’ library. The others are just collections.