Standard Template Construct
A long long time ago, the EMPRAH declared that we have to spread humanity across the stars. He foresaw that humaniti would need the resources of a galaxy to withstand the trials of the future: mad gods created by overindulgent jackholes, gun-toting walking foot-fungus infections, and emo robots with plasma weapons.
"But you eminence," asked some foolish minister, "only a fraction of 1% of our population has the skills and knowledge to survive outside our urban hives, nevermind on worlds that haven't been terraformed yet!"
"Don't worry; I have a plan. For the past century I've been seeding book publishers with the idea of writing self-help books with names like '... For Dummies' and 'An Idiot's Guide to ...', and I invested in a manufacturing company in the Ikea Norse Hive when it was called 'Sweden'. Centuries later these and many other ideas will bear fruit in a push-button turnkey E-Z Bake oven colony procedure tool I will call "THE STANDARD TEMPLATE CONSTRUCT" and it will enable the most humble among us to reap the benefit of the stars!"
"... E-Z Bake oven, your highness?"
"Ah, an idea before your time. Actually not one of mine; clever little thing. I liked the frosting that came with the cake mixes."
Every colony-ship of humaniti carried an STC with them, with easy-to-comprehend blueprints and instructions for everything that a colony would need, from how to use local resources to harvest terran food or irrigate deserts, to the architecture required to build mile-high hive archologies or tap a planet's core for the magma pumps needed on forgeworlds. This also had the intended effect of making sure that manufactured goods were compatible between colonies across the Imperium of Man, and that the cultures would stay the same and no colony would become so different as to seem as aliens to other humans. This is the reason why everyone across the Imperium speaks the same language, among other similarities between disparate colonies.
However, the STCs were created millennia ago. And there was a Dark Ages between then and now. And some damn fool idiots decided to 'port the STCs to Windows ME to make sure it would be "more compatible with the smaller devices colony ships will be carrying. As a result, no STCs have survived to the modern era. All that's left are the short passages that have been copied religiously from generation to generation in each colony, but only what that particular colony needs... if it hasn't been corrupted by thousands of years of transcription. Discovery of a new outpost of humaniti is a prestigious discovery, as there's a chance that there may be parts of their STC that were preserved better than others, or even whole pages that are unseen elsewhere.
Revelations from recent STC recoveries
Scientific discovery after a dark ages can be equal parts research and archeology, as a culture reclaims knowledge it has lost. The Adeptus Mechanus is particularily interested in finding new STCs to fill in the gaps of their knowledge, to de-mystify parts of their manufacturing rituals, and to issue new and improved tools to the Imperium.
Among the recent discoveries from recovered STCs:
- the Land Crawler all-terrain soil cultivator vehicle
- an artificial sweetener that doesn't have an aftertaste like foot sweat
- the Castigator class Titan
- the HXT-37 voltage transubstantiation cable for using 'AA' batteries in 'AAA' music players