In Sanguinam

Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim, dark future there is only war.

In Sanguinam

Postby Iscander Straw » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:04 pm

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EXCERPT 427; INQUISITION LEVEL 8 REQUIRED
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SCRIBE NOTE 72: While the writings of Magos Oskorei became increasingly erratic towards the end of his life, In Sanguinam, his treatise on the deterioration of the Blood Angels geneseed retains a lucidity and rigour that once epitomised his work in the Ordo Biologis. That this material was subsequently suppressed and Oskorei circumscribed is a tragedy as the insight within this work is a work of great scholarship and ---

[SCRIBE POSTSCRIPT 235: Original scribe was purged at this point for subjective heresy. Here commences EXCERPT 427]

...And so we find ourselves asking not why the Administratum often refuses to create more Chapters from the Sanguinial holotype, but rather why it has been used at all. Surely, the gene seed is cursed beyond redemption, and the degeneration of those 'blessed' by its gifts an abomination in the name of the Emperor, in all His grace?

And yet, and yet... The lack of action taken against the former Legion and its successors by the Inquisition suggests the matter is far more complicated, though certainly the censure of the Knights of Blood suggests this tolerance has its limits. Why are the Admininistratum willing to tolerate these half-cursed supermen? Perhaps it is in part due to the illustrious past of the original Legion, and the glorious tragedy of its Primarch, who died in defence of the Emperor. But this can only go so far. No, there is another reason why the Blood Angels remain at the heart of the Imperium, and it must surely be one that transcends the harm wrought by the Black Rage and the Red Thirst.

For what if the Blood Angels' gene seed is not in fact tainted, but quite the opposite? That it may, in fact, be the purest gene seed of all? This is not as absurd as it may at first sound. After all, the Chapter recruits its neophytes from the afflicted scavenger tribes of Baal Secundus and Baal Prime, and they enter the Chapter in a ragged state that is nigh-on mutated or, at the very least, ravaged by hardship and radiation poisoning.

Of course, once they are recruited and complete their transformation into Space Marines, they emerge from their caskets (chrysalises?) as pure, handsome and superhuman. The gene seed purges and heals, like the enhanced immune system it is, and continues this process throughout the life of its host. The extended lifespans of the Blood Angels and their successors hint that such an enhanced cleansing process has its benefits.

The problem is that the gene seed does this only too well. As the Blood Angels age, their bodies are exposed to cosmic radiation, strange diseases, the Warp and the constant breakdown and regeneration of their cells, leading to any number of tiny abnormalities. These would seldom pose a problem ordinarily, but the Blood Angels' gene seed is too exacting in how it interacts with its host. So it is that the gene seed and the implants created from it try desperately to cleanse the bodies of their hosts, but can no longer keep up with the sheer weight of 'imperfection'. The Red Thirst, a subconscious and dysfunctional attempt to purify the flesh by consuming 'pure' blood, is both an attempt to ward this off and a symptom of the Blood Angels' altered physiology beginning to break down, melding with ancient race memories and leading to a kind of dementia which leads to violence, hallucinations and finally animalistic madness.

Hence the Black Rage. The greater this is, the more the gene seed seems to be fighting against outside influences, like an immune system over-reacting in a perverse and destructive allergic response.This is demonstrated by the greater acidity of secretions from the Betcher's Gland and the enhanced hypertrophy of those who 'progress' to the Death Company. The Flesh Tearers Chapter, bombarded with jungle parasites and diseases on their home world, are under the most pressure and so show the greatest dysfunction. The erratic behaviour of the Angels Encarmine and the ongoing 'curse' that befalls the Lamenters, as well as other 'quirks' manifested by other successor Chapters, fixated on blood, bloodshed and creeping insanity, also seem to validate this hypothesis. Where entire squads or even companies have fallen to the curse, it can be surmised that a combination of psychological and physiological pressure experienced in equal measure amongst the Space Marines creates a domino effect that claims all or most in its reach. Fortunately, this is rare, though rumours of such an incident taking place during the recent Armageddon campaign continue to have currency.

Does the consumption of blood therefore exacerbate this self-destructiveness or alleviate it? The answer is a combination of the two. Blood contains essential lipids and nutrients that can be absorbed by a Space Marine's Preomnor, with useful genetic data assimilated by the Omophagea and any contamination extracted quickly by the Oolitic Kidney. Sadly, the benefits acquired from drinking blood are offset by the inevitable hypoimmune response of the Blood Angel gene seed, and so any benefits are eventually cancelled out, though this doubtless does not discourage the many blood drinking rituals said to take place amongst the sons of Baal and their descendants.

If this is true, then it is almost certain that Sanguinius knew of it. This explains his willingness to both conceal and tolerate the black rage in the ranks of his legion, as it reflected not corruption but rather a perverse kind of purity. This would, of course, be cold comfort to one who valued human life so much. It may be that the Blood Angels' gene seed, derived from Sanguinius himself, was perhaps ultimately incompatible with human flesh - being in a sense too perfect in form and function. Whether Sanguinius' own mutation - his wings - triggered this auto-immune process is uncertain. His enhanced Primarch physiology could have endured and even thrived via the rigorous immune response to his condition and the toxic environment he was raised in, but such efficiency may have been too much for a human - even a Space Marine - to ultimately bear.

A darker possibility exists. What if the Black Rage and the Red Thirst are simply an inbuilt self-destruct mechanism intended to prevent far worse mutation or heresy to take hold? If true, then Sanguinius would have had no part or knowledge of this and would certainly have been horrified at the possibility, meaning that this 'safety measure' was introduced to the Blood Angels' gene seed at the highest level. If so, the implications are considerable, not least that while Sanguinius' loyalties and spiritual purity were beyond doubt, the possibility of his passing on mutation to his 'sons' may have been seen as a potential threat. Rather than disband his Legion and remove him from service, it may have been decided that the Black Rage and the Red Thirst, not to mention what Sanguinius assumed were necessary and covert mercy killings, were a price worth paying in order to maintain one of the Imperium's greatest servants and his Legion. If so, it puts the tragedy of the Blood Angels and their successors into a new context - far from being a curse, the Red Thirst and the Black Rage may simply be cruel necessity at its most callous and unforgiving.

And of those who transcend the curse of their heritage, who master the Black Rage and humble the Red Thirst? They would surely be beings of the highest accomplishment, rivalling their sire in power as they unlock the full potential of their gene seed. Or they could be the grimmest of fiends, no longer limited in their monstrosity. Or perhaps they will be both Angels of Blood and Devils of the Flesh. I speculate no further, 'lest this enquiry leads me astray...

[EXCERPT ENDS]

[SCRIBE POSTSCRIPT 236: Oskorei's death, 64 standard years after writing In Sanguinam, was both ignoble and bizarre. His attempt to evade capture ended on the bleak mining world of Rymer V, though it was in a manner perhaps fitting for one obsessed with enigmas and speculation. Before he could be apprehended by Inquisitorial/Skitarri forces, he was seized and tried by a lynch mob headed by local representatives of the Ecclesiarchy who whipped up local miners and camp followers into a blind fury upon hearing of his heretical experiments. Confined to a cell prior to his execution by fire, his body was found bloodless and cold the proceeding morning. According to eyewitnesses, the corpse had what could only be described as a look of grim satisfaction on its face. How his killer was able to access a windowless, heavily guarded cell remains unknown, and, beyond two precise puncture wounds on his throat, no other injuries were found on his body. Given the nature of his research and the sensitivity of his corpus, I have requested this data to be placed under Sigma VII-THETA level security and have alerted the appropriate authorities. As the reader will surely agree, some matters are best left in the dark. - errare haeresium est.]

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[END]
Iscander Straw
 
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