(Index Astartes: Ultra-Marines by David Wise & Rick Priestley (White Dwarf 97))
Captain Asata made his way up the winding steps to the fortress's uppermost battlements. He was not surprised to see the elegant form of Astropath Illiyan Nastase staring out sightlessly from the edge of the ramparts. The half-human psyker never failed to unnerve him. As he approached, the shrill voice of the bastard pierced the hot evening air. 'Captain Keorn Asata', he announced, without turning his head, 'your footfalls are as distinctive as an Ambull dancing upon a tile roof.'
Asata fingered the hilt of his intricately inlaid sword but thought better of it. Instead he spat venomously at the dry, sandy ground. 'You have picked them up?' He growled as he leant against the hewn stone of a battlement.
'They were faint,' replied Nastase. Too faint... I think they must have taken more casualties than anticipated.' He turned his strangely delicate Eldarian face directly towards Asata. The marine was all too aware of those unnaturally alien features, the long aristocratic nose, tight but large lips and of course, the characteristic sharp ears. Like all Astropaths Nastase was blind. His empty eyes were hidden by dark plasflex hemispheres, just falling to conceal the puckered scar tissue around his eye-sockets.
'These new recruits don't seem to have the right stuff,' said Asata with disdain. 'Dammit, when I first arrived here I didn't even get the privilege of the Ambull hunt. No, my initiation took place at the hands of the Tyranids, I've still got the scars from that battle and do you know something...?
Nastase awaited the end of the anecdote. It was a story he had heard countless times before.
'Do you know something? They still made me go on an Anibull hunt as soon as I was out of the Apothacarian...'
Chapter Ultra-Marine of the Legiones Astartes was founded during the inter-legionary wars of the thirty second millennium. Tradition places the date at 4001001.M32 - the very first day of the millennium. The chapter is therefore over eight thousand years old, making it a chapter of the third founding. Upon its inception, the Emperor gave the chapter the number 13 - formerly the number of one of the treacher-legions now banished to the Eye of Terror 'without number and name with all honours erased'.
Along with their number, the new chapter received the gene-sperm, implant zygotes, rituals, and other paraphernalia of indoctrination previously entrusted to the banished 13th legion. The chapter's founder was Roboute Gulliman whose bones now lie in the Reclusiam on Macragge.
The Ultra-Marines were incepted as a mobile legion based in a vast fighting fleet. The legion distinguished itself in the first Tyranic War (thirty fourth millennium) and subsequently in many other major conflicts. Following the last Tyranic War (ended 745 of the current - forty first - millennium) the chapter was entrusted with the overlordship of what is now their home. This is the planet Macragge in the Vendors system. With the possession of the planet went the title of Imperial Commander and Lord Macragge as well as the right to be honoured as 'Adeptus Astartes' and to be addressed by those of equal rank as Adept. Both titles are reserved exclusively for the Adeptus Terra. They are only used by marine chapters which are also planetary governors.
Macragge is an inhospitable planet. Over four-fifths of its surface is covered with deep dust-oceans. Although they are uninhabitable by man, the oceans are a major source of protein rich micro-organisms as well as larger 'shrimp like' creatures called dustkrill. These are farmed by giant factory vessels called dust-harvesters. This provides not only the basis of the inhabitants' diet but also Macragges's sole exportable commodity. The remaining fifth of the world is solid rock, rising above the dust oceans in two main land masses called Westenland and Gullimanos.
The fortress-monastery of the Ultra-Marines lies in the Marabar plains on the continent of Westenland far north of the equator. Macragge has a breathable atmosphere whose oxygen content sours during the warmer months due to the activities of oceanic bacteria. The prevailing temperatures are extremely hot during daylight, falling to below zero at night. Moisture content is almost zero within the areas bordered by the dust seas and very low even in the continental interiors. Both rain and vapour clouds are unknown, although clouds of air-borne dust sometimes obscure the deeper oceanic regions. Sealed suits must be worn within the proximity of the oceans to avoid lethal desiccation.
Vegetation is present only in very simple forms. Primitive fungi grow beneath the ground, opening small cracks and fissures and even living within the crystalline structure of the rock itself. This causes spectacular colouring of the normally red rock formations. The best known of this are the Rainbow Caves in the equatorial regions of Gullimanos. Although initially devoid of higher life forms, ambulls and crawlers, which were imported for experimental purposes, have escaped and established themselves on both continents.
The chapter has fought in every Tyranic War to date (Tyranic Wars - wars fought against Tyranid Hive fleets). The Ultra-Marines were one of the three legions which took part in the final assault on Hive-fleet 'Behemoth' (745 of the current millennium). This is the only known record of the destruction of a Hive-fleet.
Although now based firmly on Macragge, the chapter's fleet remains in good repair. The space-going expertise of the Ultra-Marines is used to good effect, attacking and destroying Ork raiding ships and Eldar pirates. Macragge's hyperspatial locality on the eastern rim of the Imperium means it is a useful supply base and jumping-off point for Imperial servants moving beyond the psychic-light of the Astronomican.
In the current year (987 of the forty first millennium) the Ultra-Marines are led by Imperial Commander Adeptus Marneous Calgar, the fourth Lord of Macragge. Following a skirmish against Hive-fleet 'Perseus' in 976, Calgar lost all four limbs as well as large areas of body tissue and his left eye. Now fitted with bionic replacements, he is more machine than man. The chapter's last action against the Tyranids was a skirmish with Hive-fleet 'Perseus' in 983 before it drifted out of the Imperium and disappeared.
The Masters of the Order are important officials. Some perform a purely administrative role. Most, however, are also warriors and many are heroic figures held in awe by the order's young neophytes. A mastership may be held in conjunction with the captaincy of a company. Currently only Captain Asata also holds such a post; he is Captain of number 2 company 'strength is power' as well as the Master of Ordnance.
It is not unusual for a mastership to be held by a non-brethren - i.e. someone who is not a space marine. In the past, Masters have been ordinary humans (or even morphs or half-humans). Although falling within the feudal jurisdiction of the Lord of Macragge, non-brethren are not marines - some (such as those covered by the general category of 'staff') are slaves owned by the order.
The following offices are currently as indicated on the chart below. Masters are entitled to wear the ceremonial floor-length collared cloak in the colour shown on the chart. Some Masters have been known to wear these into battle! The collar badges are woven in gold and are replicated on the Master's powered armour.
The cloak of the Commander is a valuable heirloom. It is made from the fur of an unknown alien creature. This is primarily a golden brown colour speckled with white. The lining and hood are scarlet.
THE WARRIOR COMPANIES
Except for the number 1 company, each company is led by a Captain aided by a Lieutenant. Each company is divided into ten squads of a sergeant, a senior trooper and eight ordinary troopers. Within each company Sergeants have seniority according to their squad number - number 1 squad being the most senior and number 10 squad the least senior. In battle the ten man squad is often divided into two five man fighting units under the command of the Sergeant and senior trooper. Every company also has its own Chaplain. Chaplains are members of individual companies, holding a 'spiritual rank' equivalent to the company's Captain. They have no military rank. In battle they fight as individuals, exhorting their brothers to greater deeds of valour.
The chart below summarises the traditional honour-names of each company as well as listing the names of current Captains and Lieutenants. The company's honour badge is painted on the marine's shoulder armour above the chapter badge, and occasionally on the helmet as well.
* Number 1 company is led by the Lieutenant-Commander. The current Lieutenant-Commander is Cha Lee.
** Keorn Asata is also Master of the Ordnance.
*** Number 5 company held the honour Steadfast until its ritual decimation and erasure of all honours following the Doiman Chain campaign in 986. This punishment deprives the company of its honour name and badge - the company is referred to simply as number 5 and no honour badge appears on the company's armour. The company will be awarded a new honour name and badge when it is judged to have redeemed its defeat.
Companies 1-9 are organised identically as described below. In practice, casualties may affect the numerical strength of units: individual squads maybe combined as a result. All troops are trained to perform in any of the types of squad. The distinction is a tactical one rather than being indicative of different training or ability, although special assault squads are always made up of the most experienced marines.
Number 10 company (Fleet of will) is equipped as a reconnaissance unit.
In fact, the current strength of the chapter is marginally less than full. Apart from recent battle casualties, the dishonour of company 5 has reduced the chapter's numbers somewhat. See the entry under Cha Lee for details of this particular event. Company 5 has only 3 tactical squads. Company 9 is generally used as a reserve unit and comprises the youngest and least experienced Marines. Because its troopers are frequently re-allotted to other companies it is usually at less than full strength and currently has no special assault squad and only 3 tactical squads.
Special Assault Squad (Scalpers): All members of the special assault squads are veterans. They are subject to hatred of Tyranids. All wear powered armour with cameleoline. In addition the sergeant has a bio-scanner and an adapted infra-vision helmet visor. The unit has 2 las-cutters with 6 suspensors each (no move penalty).
Assault Squad (Hunters): All wear powered armour. The sergeant has a bio-scanner and an adapted infra-vision helmet visor.
Heavy Weapons Squad (Crushers): All wear powered armour. All heavy weapons have targeters. The sergeant carries both a bio-scanner and an energy-scanner. The squad has four suspensors.
Tactical Squad (Flayers): All wear powered armour. Each tactical squad carries two targeters and two suspensors.
Reconnaissance Squad (Stalkers): All wear powered armour with cameleoline and have helmets adapted to infra-vision. All are equipped with flight packs. Each squad carries two bio-scanners and two energy-scanners.
The chapter maintains a large number of fighting vehicles in its extensive workshops on Macragge, as well as a permanent force on board the fleet. These latter are stored in drop-ships and can be mobilised as swiftly as the Marines themselves.
Normal squad level action will vary according to the situation. A great deal of training revolves around small action combat within and without spacecraft.
Example: In 982 number 4 company 'Purity of purpose' was involved in a fleet action against Ork forces in Gurun System. The Ork flagship was forced down onto Womo (Gurun 4) by fire from chapter vessels 'Guardian' and 'Warshield'. Number 4 company was immediately launched in drop-ships from their station on the Ultra-Marine's flagship 'Gulliman'.
The heavy weapons squads (crushers) took up positions behind a rock outcrop to provide covering fire. The special assault squad (scalpers) rushed towards the fallen craft under the cover of their comrades' fire. They were met by the bodyguard of the Ork Admiral and thrown back after heavy fighting. Seeing the initial wave falter, the captain in command, Tiy Newman, led the remaining assault squads (hunters) into the ship. Following brief fighting, the remaining crew were driven out before the guns of the marine reserve (consisting of the remaining tactical squads (flayers)). Marine losses were 4 men of the special assault squad, 12 other marines and Captain Newman who died fighting the Ork Admiral.
Medical staff are regular Apothocarion surgeons and doctors. Individuals undertake tours of duty as required, usually serving for the duration of a campaign. Only full brethren are sent on these dangerous missions: they therefore have marine profiles and equipment. Field-medics hold honorary ranks of Captain, Lieutentant, Sergeant, Senior Medic and Medic. The last two are equivalent to Senior Trooper and Trooper. However, these ranks are far less formal than within the fighting chapters and a campaigning force may have only two or three layers of command.
The medical staff have the use of two specially provisioned heavy hoverers. These have a vehicle mounted medi-kit, auto-drive, autofac, ejector seats and communicator. They are armed with three forward firing bolt-guns and a turret mounted multi-melta.
As with medical personnel, a chapter's field-communications staff varies according to the mission. Communications Officers, Astropaths and Psykers all fall within this section. The primary role of psykers is to maintain inter-stellar and inter-planetary communications. On the battlefield psykers provide psychic support as required.
All communications personnel are drawn from the Librarium staff. The Librarium is the nerve centre of any marine fortress. The three groups outlined above differ in the following respects:
Communication Officers are brethren (i.e. fully initiated marines) who have technical expertise as well as battle experience. A Communication Officer will usually have held the rank of at least lieutenant before re-training in the communication role. Communication Officers are in charge of all aspects of communications as well as the psychic members of the force. A Communication Officer may also be a psyker (see below).
Astropaths - are Imperial servants, members of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, posted to marine units as part of the Imperium's complex communications network. An Astropath may hold office within the chapter, but is not a marine and is ultimately subject to the will of the Adeptus Terra.
Psykers - some psykers are judged sufficiently strong to remain whole rather than suffer the transformation into an Astropath. Such men are recruited into the various Imperial services. Some are recruited by the marines and undergo the complete bio-chem ritual which turns them into marines. Some chapters integrate psykers into company level, but the Ultra-Marines place all such individuals within the Librarium. That is not to say they are unused to combat. Psykers perform a vital role as psychic support troops for their brother marines.
Lord of the Ultramarines Marneus Calgar
Calgar was amongst human prisoners rescued from Hive-fleet 'Locust', in the year 947 of the current millennium. His age was then estimated at 14 years based on translucency tests of molar eruption and epiphyseal fusion of the long bones. This makes Calgar 44 years old at the time of writing. Calgar was subjected to the usual tissue compatibility and psychological tests, passed with flying colours and was recruited into the order as a neophyte in the armoury. Calgar took his vows in 951 and was fully ordained as a brother marine in 954. He quickly rose through the ranks and was elected Master of the Household in 973 and Commander in 977 following the death of Decon, the Third Lord Macragge. Following a severe mauling in 976 Calgar has not taken part in any actions personally.
His bionic hands are actually very complex devices incorporating a variety of weapons and other gadgetry, including Jokaero digital weapons, knives, lights and communicator.
Lieutenant-Commander Cha Lee
Cha Lee has commanded the Ultra-Marines in battle ever since Calgar suffered his terrible injuries. Lee was taken from Ulmor as a child in 945. The chapter was engaged upon its pursuit of Hive-fleet 'Locust' at the time. The population of Ulmor was largely wiped out by the Tyranids before the Marines' arrival and the subsequent Battle of Ulmor. Those few inhabitants surviving the conflict were screened for recruitment and re-settled in the Rastaman system.
Lee rose to full Captaincy in 981 and became Lieutenant-Commander in 986 following the death of Lieutenant-Commander Muk Mukyoun in a flyer accident over the Iracund Sea (the dust-ocean lying to the west of Westenland). Cha Lee is noted for his extreme fits of temper and uncompromising punishment of failure and disobedience. It was Cha Lee who ordered the ritual decimation and disbanding of honours from number 5 company (hitherto Steadfast) following an unsuccessful mission at Grox Station 27 in the Dohnan Chain in 986.
Chief Librarian Astropath IlIiyan Nastase
Illiyan was born to a human mother on the world of Badab following the expulsion of the tyrant there in 912 of the current millennium. His father was an unknown Eldar mercenary. The youngster was gene-tested at birth in accord with the law and subsequently taken into Imperial custody. He was reared in the government compound by the Imperial Mission which took over the running of Badab after the war.
Along with other potential psychics he undertook the journey to Earth in 924 where further tests led to the eventual soul-binding in 925. From that point Nastase was recruited into the Administratum as an Astropath. He attained the ranks of Secundus, Prefect and eventually rose to hold Consulship for four years, helping to run Terra's advisory Senate to the Master of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica. Following this he undertook four years service with the fleet, a further two years with the Dark Angels Marines and was appointed as chief of the Macragge interstellar communications link under the jurisdiction of the Ultra-Marines (965). Nastase is now 76 rears old (current year 987) but, thanks to his parentage, shows few signs of age.
Master of the ApothacarIon Hulm Singa
Singa was taken from Crows World following a brief campaign against Eldar pirates in the system. He undertook initiation at the relatively early age of 14 (973) and began to study medicine after two years combat training and one year active service. Proving a skilled administrator, as well as a first-class surgeon, Hulm gained full Mastership in 986. He has an acute if rather unnerving love of chainswords, having the idea firmly set in his mind that this is the only way to remove troublesome armour when attempting to deal with a wound.
Master of the Ships Christo Columbine
Christo comes from a lesser Navigator Family whose fortunes have declined somewhat over the last couple of hundred years. Faced with family bankruptcy, Christo sold himself into slavery and was bought by the Ultra-Marines. The position of slave is not an especially dishonourable one for a Navigator. Columbine is accorded respect but is expected to fulfil his role to the best of his abilities. Christo was too old to undergo initiation when he joined the Ultra-Marines (the upper limit is 18, subject to the individual -16 is usual). Christo is now (current year 987) 40 years old.
In 979 he joined the co-ordinating division of the Librarium and took over the Master of Ships in 982 - the first recorded instance of a non-brethren holding the post in this particular chapter. His heritage has left him spindly and his hands and feet are large and webbed.
Master of the Forge Samuel Dexter
Dexter was born to one of the chapter's female slaves and, according to a tradition that all such children belong to the chapter, underwent tissue compatability and psychological tests at the age of 12. Dexter was formally recruited as neophyte at 14 and underwent initiation to full brethren at 16 (the year 966). His long study of runic manuals has instilled a wide understanding of robotics. It was Dexter Who created many of the special features of Commander Calgar's bionic limbs. Dexter's pursuit of robot research has caused friction with Captain Asata who would sooner see the effort expended in replacing dreadnoughts lost during the skirmish on Burbeck's Asteroid against the Orks in 985.
Master of the Ordnance Captain Keorn Asata
Asata was recruited from a hive-world street gang during a recruiting mission in 950. He was 13 years old when captured, and following tissue comparability and psychology tests was earmarked for partial cerebral reprogramming. Although successful, the process has not entirely removed his rough edge. A ruthless warrior with a naturally alert temperament and rather brash manner, he is highly suspicious of Pyskers and regards Nastase with more than a little trepidation.
Master of the Household Fimor Dour
This is the most highly regarded of all the Masterships of the Order.
The Master of the Household is responsible for the day-to-day running of the fortress-monastery, acting as private secretary to the Commander as well as administrating such mundane things as food, hygiene, repair, construction, slave relations and non-brethren recruitment. This is a hard but rather boring task. It is seen as providing the necessary training for future Commanders. Fimor is already 45 years old and has occupied his current post since the 'Perseus' engagements in which he fought valiantly. Fimor is an uncompromising administrator and business man whose combat heritage is often forgotten by younger and less respectful brethren.
Master of Sanctity Tow Takka-chow
The Master of Sanctity is responsible for all the religious aspects of the order. Tow Takka-chow must ensure that the chapter's chapels and religious shrines are maintained, and that the moral life of the chapter is sound. Although a marine of great devotion, and irreproachable past, Tow is not a cleric - and not an official of the Imperial Cult. The performance of ritual and other religious duties are undertaken by the Reclusiarch Caberra. Tow's duties are purely secular, although he is ultimately responsible for making sure the Reclusiarch and Chaplains are doing their duty, and that the chapter remains beyond moral reproach. Tow is almost eighty years old, and is the oldest of all the current Masters. He has not fought in battle since the attack on Hive-fleet 'locust' in 947.
Reclusiarch Leo Caberra
Leo Caberra is not a marine bust a priest of the Imperial Cult sent to ministrate to the spiritual needs of the Ultra-Marines. He does not fight in battle, although his famous speeches and blood-curdling threats of retribution have probably contributed to winning more battles than the average army!
Number 1 company has no captain. The captain of number 2 company is Keorn Asata. Captain Uriel Ventris is captain of number 3 company
Each of the 10 companies has a lieutenant.
Each of the 10 companies has its own religious leader called a chaplain. Chaplains are responsible for the spiritual welfare of their company. It is the chaplain that leads the daily prayers, performs the necessary rituals, makes sacrifices and maintains the company's chapel and cult regalia. The chaplain's own spiritual direction comes from the Reclusiarch of the Order. This is Leo Caberra, High Preacher of the Imperial Cult. In battle the chaplains are always ready to show their faith by deed as well as by word.
ULTRAMARINE DAILY PROGRAMME