(Medics by Rick Priestley and Graeme Davis (White Dwarf 102))

MEDICS

The Marines tensed as they heard the faint hut unmistakable sound of an approaching Mole Mortar shell. Battle-brother Draeg was already moving before the earth began to bulge upwards - hurling himself flat onto the rising shell before his brothers even saw it. He was only fully aware of his action when his world exploded in white flame that hurled him down into darkness.

It was the feel of cold air on his face and the acrid smell of burnt flesh that revived him to a dim awareness. He struggled to ignore the pain of his shattered body and made his remaining eye focus on the figure that knelt beside him.

'Your wounds are too grave, brother.' He heard the Medic speak, as though from a great distance. 'Do you desire the Emperors Peace?' The Medic raised the carnifex, and Draeg was dimly aware of the click as the bolt was drawn back into the firing position. With what remained of his life. Draeg tried to speak. The Medic seemed to understand.

'The others? They are whole, Brother. You saved them. Your name is entered in the Book of Honour.'

Draeg nodded weakly. and closed his eye. His gene seed would return to the Chapter.

All Marines pick up a certain amount of medical knowledge during the course of their initiation into the Chapter, but only those who show an aptitude for such knowledge are chosen to study the sacred rites with the Chapter's surgeons. It must be stressed that Field Medics are primarily soldiers whose duties have been expanded to include the practise of medicine, rather than specialist surgeons who have been given military training. Such individuals are first and foremost warriors, and greatly honoured ones at that. Only champions and heroes are ever initiated into the ways of the Apothacarion - such is the importance of their duties. For it is the Medics who must maintain the bodies of their comrades, in a similar way to that in which members of the Adeptus Mechanicus service and maintain support equipment and vehicles. Without the selfless devotions of its Medics, the fighting forces of the Imperium would soon be eroded to the point where they were incapable of fulfilling their duties.

The duty of the Medic, my Brethren, is a sacred one. We embody the Emperors divine will and his holy purpose. We bring death and we bring life. Let those true to Humanity's cause give thank for our work. Let the impure bow down before our swords.

Extract from an address on the completion of Medic training attributed to Surgeon-Commander Grigor Markhava. Widely distributed as an exemplary text after his heroic death during the storming of the Bourne slave-pits on Gabin 240 (2150982 .M41) when he gave his own blood to save the life of Lieutenant Commander Anders Belman at the height of the fighting.

It is possible that a casualty's injuries maybe so severe that he will succumb to them irrespective of the treatment available. In these cases, the Medic has the solemn duty of administering "the Emperor's Peace" - euthanasia - to those warriors who deserve it. The Medic's medi-pack includes a special humane-killer for this task, called a carnifex - a solid spring-loaded piston of metal. This is applied to the sufferer's temple, its powerful spring hurling the piston through the Marine's brain and killing him instantly. Any Marine suffering from a critical head or body wound may be despatched in this way if the player wishes (only the medic on the spot can judge whether a Marine is going to survive his wounds). The Medic achieves this automatically once in contact with the sufferer.

Another vitally important duty which the Medic must perform is the recovery of Progenoid glands from fallen battle brothers. As explained in White Dwarf 98, the recovery of the gene seed encoded within these glands is vitally important to a Chapter's survival and prosperity. Progenoids may be recovered at the same time that the carnifex is used.

Do not fail your Brothers. Though their bodies die, their spirit must return to the Chapter. That is your charge.

- Medic Credo

In Nostra Mantis - Progenies Futura

There was a slight sucking sound as the Progenoid was removed.

'Rejoice, Brother.' whispered the Medic. 'Your gene seed returns to the Chapter.'

Medics in the Army are no less honoured than their Marine counterparts. They are not concerned, of course, with the recovery of progenoid glands, and their training is somewhat less sophisticated, since their patients do not have the enhanced physiology of Marines. Nevertheless, they are always both heroic fighters and dedicated servants of their division. In recognition of the value of their services, Army Medics are often seconded to the Administratum after 20 years service.

In addition to their medical duties, all Medics participate fully in combat, fighting to the best of their considerable abilities. They always operate as independent characters and are never attached to squads.

Marine Medics are often armed with chain swords and bolt guns or pistols, while those in the Army usually carry laspistols and chainswords. This is in addition to the standard equipment carried by the rest of the force with which they fight. All medics carry a standard medi-pack to allow them to perform the rites of diagnosis, and to administer drugs such as frenzon, etc.

The Medic ran the Medi-Pack's sensor over what remained of the Marine's leg.

+ + + EXTENSIVE FLESH LOSS + + + ARTERY SEVERED+ + + RETRIEVABLE

A fine probe slid smoothly from the pack, piercing the flesh just above the wound. The pumping blood turned from red, through orange to yellow, forming a crust which covered the wound completely. The crust hardened rapidly as the probe withdrew.

+ + + REPAIR COMPLETED + + +

To increase their mobility, Medics are often equipped with jump packs, or mounted on bikes. Additionally, the ubiquitous Rhino AFV is commonly fitted out as a mobile field medical station where more severe wounds may be treated. Such vehicles are, of course, clearly marked with the Imperial Medical symbol.

Regulation Battledress for Marine Medics is all white, apart from the helmet which retains appropriate Chapter colours, and the right shoulder pad bears the medical symbol. Some Chapters, however, use variations on this theme, e.g., Iron Hand Medics wear the normal Chapter colours - apart from the right arm, shoulder and medic- pack.