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BBWags
06-08-2010, 15:12
A while back I read one of the Space Wolf novels where Dark Angels played a big role. I forget the name of the novel, but Ragnar and company is stationed on the planet to protect a navigator (I think) and the DA are there to track down one of the Fallen. At one point in the book, there is a major battle going on and, again if I remember correctly, it mentions that as the bombs fall and there are explosions all over, some of the DA marines shield civilians with their own bodies to protect them from the bombs. I'm pretty sure the implication is that the DA die in the process.

Is this congruent with the rest of fluff? I mean, obviously SMs in general exist to save humanity as a whole, but would a SM (of any chapter) actually throw himself on a grenade (or larger ordnance) for the sake of a few normal humans? Obviously it happened in that book, but was that an abnormality or are SM prepared to do that for any joe-shmoe civvie?

I play SWs and in my understanding, SWs are one of the most civilian-minded chapters, but even then, I'm not sure if they would actually throw themselves in front of a rocket just to save a few civvies. Sure, push them down behind cover while the SM fights, push them on ahead of them if the SM is acting as reguard, etc. Yeah, they're not gonna leave the civvies behind to die without hope, but throw themselves in front of ordnance for them? I dunno...

What do you think?

Kage2020
06-08-2010, 16:16
Wolfblade is, I believe, the novel that you're referring to.

As to your question, that gets into the fundamental discussion between how Marines are interpreted in the 40k universe, or what is the erroneously named question as to whether they are "noble knights" or "psychopathic killers." That answer for most comes somewhere in between those two extremes, though you may find that people tend not to sit on the fence, but are rather just on one side or the other in terms of preference. :D

Kage

Sergeant Uriel Ventris
06-08-2010, 16:25
There's a big difference between shielding someone with your body and jumping on a grenade. If bombs are falling, shrapnel won't be a huge issue for Marine in Power Armor but it will slice through your average human pretty easily. Shielding the people doesn't put the Marine at a higher risk for damage and may possibly save imperial citizens.

The most important thing to a Space Marine is the mission. If the objective can only be achieved through the death of the squad members (although I have a hard time imagining when this would be the case), then the Marines would sacrifice themselves in the name of duty. They would probably risk their lives to help/save civilians, but only if that was included in the mission parameters. Marines would never just sacrifice themselves, they're killing machines that never seem to run out of all options except "die."

dragonet111
06-08-2010, 16:28
I think that there no clear answer to that question. Some chapter will probably shield civilians other are too busy destroying the enemies of the Imperium like that chapter (forgot the name) who bombarded a civilian camp on Armageddon.

Son of Sanguinius
06-08-2010, 18:19
I've seen it as the psycho-conditioning conflict within the Astartes. On the one hand, you have a serious sense of battlefield honor and an overwhelming desire to prove oneself as honorable. One of the ways to accomplish this is a heroic death protecting those weaker than you, which is essentially the overall function of the Astartes- fight and die in the name of humans who are unequal to the task at hand. On the other hand, you have an indoctrination that causes obsession with mission parameters and accomplishment and pragmatism where the mission is concerned. It would be the primary and defining internal conflict for all loyalist Astartes, and in truth neither side is completely in the right or in the wrong.

Israfael
06-08-2010, 19:44
The novel is Sons of Fenris and if I recall both Space Wolves and Dark Angels place themselves in front of some Imperial Guard / Civilians in an attempt to save them at the cost of their own lives.

I liked the novel because it showed that even when there was a dispute between two Chapters that actually made them come to blows; they never forgot their purpose in life - nor did they allow themselves to be blinded to the true threat, Chaos.

Contemno Mortis
07-08-2010, 13:16
I think that there no clear answer to that question. Some chapter will probably shield civilians other are too busy destroying the enemies of the Imperium like that chapter (forgot the name) who bombarded a civilian camp on Armageddon.

The Marines Malevolent!
http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Marines_Malevolent

Hellebore
07-08-2010, 13:48
Uriel Ventris does this in Nightbringer - against an autocannon iirc. He protects a female npc, but I can't remember her name,

I like Son of Sanguinius' thinking. There is a real conflict in their mind over this altough I think it would be less of a conflict depending on the people in question. Civilians being slaughtered by aliens, probably. But I'm not sure the guard would get that treatment. They are afterall soldiers doing the same job as the marines, so dying in battle is their job.

It would be fascinating to see a character in a novel wrestling with this dilemma and being punished for it. They always remain a battle brother despite having the experience to move to the 1st Co or become a sergeant because they keep letting their need to protect others get in the way of mission parameters.

Reading how the character rationalises each 'protection' would be interesting - there are 10 of us and only 6 required to complete mission. My death in the protection of 25 civilians will not affect mission success'. Or 'that peasant is a bully and unworthy of saving' and so on.

The conflicts within the character and within the chapter through the character's actions would be quite interesting.

In the end though I think that most marines aren't going to be able to make that decision because there just aren't enough of them. The guard expects and plans for casualties, but the marines would have much lower casualty tolerances due to their lower numbers.They would also know that if they fail the mission here, billions will die. Weighing billions vs the dozens they could protect now would have an obvious choice.

The psychology behind this kind of thing is interesting in itself. Saving someone in front of you is more direct and literal. Knowing your actions WILL save 100 in the future however becomes harder to visualise.

I suppose it's a moral version of 'one bird in the hand is worth two in the bush'.

Hellebore

Son of Sanguinius
07-08-2010, 17:00
Uriel Ventris does this in Nightbringer - against an autocannon iirc. He protects a female npc, but I can't remember her name,

I like Son of Sanguinius' thinking. There is a real conflict in their mind over this altough I think it would be less of a conflict depending on the people in question. Civilians being slaughtered by aliens, probably. But I'm not sure the guard would get that treatment. They are afterall soldiers doing the same job as the marines, so dying in battle is their job.

It would be fascinating to see a character in a novel wrestling with this dilemma and being punished for it. They always remain a battle brother despite having the experience to move to the 1st Co or become a sergeant because they keep letting their need to protect others get in the way of mission parameters.

Reading how the character rationalises each 'protection' would be interesting - there are 10 of us and only 6 required to complete mission. My death in the protection of 25 civilians will not affect mission success'. Or 'that peasant is a bully and unworthy of saving' and so on.

The conflicts within the character and within the chapter through the character's actions would be quite interesting.

In the end though I think that most marines aren't going to be able to make that decision because there just aren't enough of them. The guard expects and plans for casualties, but the marines would have much lower casualty tolerances due to their lower numbers.They would also know that if they fail the mission here, billions will die. Weighing billions vs the dozens they could protect now would have an obvious choice.

The psychology behind this kind of thing is interesting in itself. Saving someone in front of you is more direct and literal. Knowing your actions WILL save 100 in the future however becomes harder to visualise.

I suppose it's a moral version of 'one bird in the hand is worth two in the bush'.

Hellebore

As an extension of this, I find this to be a wonderful root of heresy and sedition. A Marine that deals with this dilemma in his own personal way and then realizes that his Chapter will never accept it would have plenty of reason to go rogue.

DarthMcBob
07-08-2010, 19:30
I think it just depends on what they're protecting them from. Many things that would kill an unarmored citizen wouldn't even be noticed by a Space Marine. Shrapnel, for instance. Or a lasgun blast.

Son of Sanguinius
07-08-2010, 19:47
I think it just depends on what they're protecting them from. Many things that would kill an unarmored citizen wouldn't even be noticed by a Space Marine. Shrapnel, for instance. Or a lasgun blast.

Oh, I think Space Marines would be very much concerned with both of those. Shrapnel is notoriously dangerous, even long after the initial wound is incurred, and if a Lasgun can drop an Ork, it can certainly seriously mangle or even kill a Space Marine if it finds a weak spot in the armor.

Merus
07-08-2010, 22:24
The novel is Sons of Fenris and if I recall both Space Wolves and Dark Angels place themselves in front of some Imperial Guard / Civilians in an attempt to save them at the cost of their own lives.

I liked the novel because it showed that even when there was a dispute between two Chapters that actually made them come to blows; they never forgot their purpose in life - nor did they allow themselves to be blinded to the true threat, Chaos.

You're correct. Members of both chapters die shielding civilians from a missile that gets launched by the Fallen and his traitor guardsmen.

I don't believe this behavior is as rare as people in this thread believe, though.

While some chapters are far more renowned for doing so; the majority of Marines will give their lives in defense of civilians. Stories like Helsreach and even codex examples like The Damnos Incident (which has an upcoming Black Library novel being written about it) show us that Marines aren't nearly as inhuman as people would believe.

Kage2020
07-08-2010, 23:06
That's partially because their Head of IP is ensuring that all the materials are being written to humanise Marines. Soon they'll be forced to lose the title of "Angels of Death" and replace them with the "Angels of Life."

Kage

UselessThing
08-08-2010, 02:04
I have prepared a video which I think fully explores the story potential of the Emotionless Marine concept:-

http://www.endlessyoutube.com/watch?v=VyMht6Xmh7c&start=6m38s&end=6m53s

If you want a picture of the future of black library publishing, imagine a muscular man staring blankly in to the middle distance — forever.

Col. Tartleton
08-08-2010, 04:13
But that's how they are. They spend hours doing that every day. That's called meditation/prayer. That's how Marines should be. But with armor. That's the closest you'll ever see to a real marine because they changed them into knights in shining armor.

Son of Sanguinius
08-08-2010, 07:25
That's partially because their Head of IP is ensuring that all the materials are being written to humanise Marines. Soon they'll be forced to lose the title of "Angels of Death" and replace them with the "Angels of Life."

Kage

I hope there is some restraint in this. Logically, it makes no sense to have "fearless and noble" warriors. If you remove the capacity to feel fear, an Astartes simply cannot fully sympathize or empathize with a normal human. It sounds cool to be utterly without fear, but losing that capacity also removes your ability to become attached, the impulse to question and hesitate, a sense of revulsion and hatred toward the "unclean", and even your biological instinct for self-preservation. All of these are unavoidable consequences of fear, and yet Space Marines have all of them.

Now that said, it makes more sense if you describe them being utterly desensitized to the graphic nature of combat and inhibit their pain receptors. A creature that is at home in a violent setting and resistant to pain can have all of the psychological attributes I listed and not exhibit fear on the battlefield.

Luckywallace
08-08-2010, 11:48
I'd say Angels of Darkness toys a bit with this sort of idea - mostly at the very end but it's a theme throughout.

Won't spoil it because Angels of Darkness is a cracking book. It rather over-does the "Marines are teh awesomesss!" in combat but all of the characterisation and psychology in the book in brilliant.

Zweischneid
08-08-2010, 12:10
I hope there is some restraint in this. Logically, it makes no sense to have "fearless and noble" warriors. If you remove the capacity to feel fear, an Astartes simply cannot fully sympathize or empathize with a normal human. It sounds cool to be utterly without fear, but losing that capacity also removes your ability to become attached, the impulse to question and hesitate, a sense of revulsion and hatred toward the "unclean", and even your biological instinct for self-preservation. All of these are unavoidable consequences of fear, and yet Space Marines have all of them.

Now that said, it makes more sense if you describe them being utterly desensitized to the graphic nature of combat and inhibit their pain receptors. A creature that is at home in a violent setting and resistant to pain can have all of the psychological attributes I listed and not exhibit fear on the battlefield.

Well, time for some classic quotes:


Only a madman knows no fear. A warrior knows what fear is, he feels it in his stomach, he understands fear better than any other mortal can. What makes us strong is that we have conquered fear, overcome it not once but many times, over and over again, until the process has become instinctive. But no matter how many battles you fight and how many victories you win, your fear will never completely leave you. Learn to live with that fear. Learn to master your fear. But never forget that there are things in this universe that even you cannot face and live, abominations so terrible that their very appearance will sear the flesh from your face and shrivel your eyes. Such things cannot be fought, and to confront them would be nothing but a futile waste of life. In those situations remember your vows to serve the Emperor, and remember also that you serve him best alive and not sacrificed upon the altar of vain glory.

+++ Memorum Libris de Petronius Caligarus, Ultramarines Captain +++

Bunnahabhain
08-08-2010, 13:49
And equally relevant, from Dune- one of the biggest sources for 40K

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Conquering fear does not have to mean being totally desensitised to it.

As to the central question, to my mind, it would depend on the mission, and the likleyhood of saving the civilians*.
Stopping the couple of orks getting inside- very likely the marine can do so quickly and easily, without substantial risk to themselves or the mission,therefore probability that the average marine will do so, very high.
Stopping the Rampaging carnifex- very unlikely the marine can do so quickly and easily, without substantial risk to themselves or the mission,therefore probability that the average marine will do so, very low.


* Lets ignore guardsmen here. We can assume, as soldiers, they are taking their chances fairly enough, and have things like weapons and training, and as such the marines don't view them as innocents in need of help nearly so often...


Also relevant here is the wonderful 2nd ed piece, written from the perspective of a Blood angel "Sergeant Rapheal" showing the differences and similarities of marines, and men " the Guard were the true soldiers of the Emperor, even if they were only men" being the key line

Son of Sanguinius
08-08-2010, 16:53
Well, time for some classic quotes:


Only a madman knows no fear. A warrior knows what fear is, he feels it in his stomach, he understands fear better than any other mortal can. What makes us strong is that we have conquered fear, overcome it not once but many times, over and over again, until the process has become instinctive. But no matter how many battles you fight and how many victories you win, your fear will never completely leave you. Learn to live with that fear. Learn to master your fear. But never forget that there are things in this universe that even you cannot face and live, abominations so terrible that their very appearance will sear the flesh from your face and shrivel your eyes. Such things cannot be fought, and to confront them would be nothing but a futile waste of life. In those situations remember your vows to serve the Emperor, and remember also that you serve him best alive and not sacrificed upon the altar of vain glory.

+++ Memorum Libris de Petronius Caligarus, Ultramarines Captain +++

Beautiful quote, also supported from Konrad's perspective in The Dark King.

Yet we have contradictory examples from sources like Horus Rising, where the Astartes are said to be incapable of the emotion.

DarthMcBob
08-08-2010, 17:29
Oh, I think Space Marines would be very much concerned with both of those. Shrapnel is notoriously dangerous, even long after the initial wound is incurred, and if a Lasgun can drop an Ork, it can certainly seriously mangle or even kill a Space Marine if it finds a weak spot in the armor.

Shrapnel is not dangerous to someone in power armor that's strong and thick enough to tank shots from anything short of an actual tank or artillery. Flying shards of, say, glass would shred an ordinary civilian, but would clatter harmlessly off a Space Marine's armor.

A lasgun can drop an Ork because they're unarmored. Even then, it usually takes several shots to do so. A lasgun blast to, say, the chest wouldn't do more than lightly scorch a Marine's armor, if even that. It would, however, kill a civilian. I can see a Marine throwing himself in front of a civilian for either of those things.

Something like a Krak missile on the other hand, is a different story.

Col. Tartleton
08-08-2010, 18:18
The problem with marines is they're either human and boring in the sense they're like every heroic super soldier and can feel and all that and can be written up like traditional heroes, or they're inhuman supermen on an entirely different level then the people they're fighting for. However you can still do things with the second (which I prefer) such as make them eccentric and interesting. You can be a 2D killing machine who can't turn it off but still have a passion for the violin. That's how a marine should be. Totally screwed up with that one thing that makes you say "there's a person in there somewhere."

Once they're no longer human you can push up their feats in battle without making them silly. If a man kills a thousand soldiers you say "yeah okay" but a biological machine doing the same is more believable.

Son of Sanguinius
08-08-2010, 18:31
Shrapnel is not dangerous to someone in power armor that's strong and thick enough to tank shots from anything short of an actual tank or artillery. Flying shards of, say, glass would shred an ordinary civilian, but would clatter harmlessly off a Space Marine's armor.

I'm not saying the shrapnel poses much of a threat to actually kill the Marine initially, and you're right the armor would largely protect them from that. However, if the shrapnel gets into vulnerable spots, it can still shred tissue over time, which can kill a Space Marine unless he has surgery to have the pieces removed.


A lasgun can drop an Ork because they're unarmored. Even then, it usually takes several shots to do so. A lasgun blast to, say, the chest wouldn't do more than lightly scorch a Marine's armor, if even that. It would, however, kill a civilian. I can see a Marine throwing himself in front of a civilian for either of those things.

An Ork is a biologically engineered warrior, with extreme resistance to pain and accelerated healing capabilities, much in the same fashion as a Space Marine, though admittedly to a lesser extent. The amount of lasgun shots it takes to drop either a Space Marine or an Ork depends entirely on the placement of those shots. If you hit a Space Marine directly over a piece of ceramite plate, then as you suggest, you'll cause only superficial damage that the power armor is specifically designed to resist. If you hit either a Space Marine or an Ork in the neck, that warrior is out of the battle at the very least, and likely KIA.

The advantage the Space Marine has over the Ork is the reflexes to hit most opponents before they can take special aim at the power armor's vulnerabilities.

DarthMcBob
08-08-2010, 18:45
I'm not saying the shrapnel poses much of a threat to actually kill the Marine initially, and you're right the armor would largely protect them from that. However, if the shrapnel gets into vulnerable spots, it can still shred tissue over time, which can kill a Space Marine unless he has surgery to have the pieces removed.

And, pray tell, what vulnerable points in the armor of a Space Marine are there that shrapnel could get into? And kill them? Please. Space Marines can survive having their heart's shredded and their insides turned to paste. They can ingest poison and acid. Shrapnel poses about as much of a threat to them (assuming it could somehow penetrate their nigh-invincible armor) as a splinter in your finger does to you. Only remove all possibilities of infection.


An Ork is a biologically engineered warrior, with extreme resistance to pain and accelerated healing capabilities, much in the same fashion as a Space Marine, though admittedly to a lesser extent. The amount of lasgun shots it takes to drop either a Space Marine or an Ork depends entirely on the placement of those shots. If you hit a Space Marine directly over a piece of ceramite plate, then as you suggest, you'll cause only superficial damage that the power armor is specifically designed to resist. If you hit either a Space Marine or an Ork in the neck, that warrior is out of the battle at the very least, and likely KIA.

The advantage the Space Marine has over the Ork is the reflexes to hit most opponents before they can take special aim at the power armor's vulnerabilities.

And where, I ask again, where are these alleged vulnerabilities in the armor that a lasgun shot could get into? Also, their necks are armored, and extremely tough anyway. A lasgun shot there would be unlikely to kill them. How exactly are you supposed to aim at them anyway? They move at such speed as to dodge bullets. You're lucky if you can get off a shot that takes them in the power armor at all.

And you've yet to convince me that there are any vulnerabilities that would make a Space Marine reluctant or at least hesitant to shield civilians against shrapnel and lasguns with his body.

Son of Sanguinius
08-08-2010, 19:54
And, pray tell, what vulnerable points in the armor of a Space Marine are there that shrapnel could get into? And kill them? Please. Space Marines can survive having their heart's shredded and their insides turned to paste. They can ingest poison and acid. Shrapnel poses about as much of a threat to them (assuming it could somehow penetrate their nigh-invincible armor) as a splinter in your finger does to you. Only remove all possibilities of infection.



And where, I ask again, where are these alleged vulnerabilities in the armor that a lasgun shot could get into? Also, their necks are armored, and extremely tough anyway. A lasgun shot there would be unlikely to kill them. How exactly are you supposed to aim at them anyway? They move at such speed as to dodge bullets. You're lucky if you can get off a shot that takes them in the power armor at all.

And you've yet to convince me that there are any vulnerabilities that would make a Space Marine reluctant or at least hesitant to shield civilians against shrapnel and lasguns with his body.

Don't overestimate Space Marines. No mortal vertebrate can survive having its "insides turned to paste". No mortal vertebrate can survive having its vital organs sliced up by shrapnel, even with accelerated clotting.

And it seems I won't be able to convince you if you think Space Marines can dodge bullets, drink acid, and deflect laser beams with their necks. We're getting into Chuck Norris territory here.

DarthMcBob
08-08-2010, 20:51
Don't overestimate Space Marines. No mortal vertebrate can survive having its "insides turned to paste". No mortal vertebrate can survive having its vital organs sliced up by shrapnel, even with accelerated clotting.

And it seems I won't be able to convince you if you think Space Marines can dodge bullets, drink acid, and deflect laser beams with their necks. We're getting into Chuck Norris territory here.

Ok, I exaggerated a bit with the paste thing, but they can still lose one of their hearts (they have multiple) and keep on truckin'. What shrapnel do you suggest could penetrate their power armor, and where? I have yet to get any specifics on these weaknesses that you claim it has.

Space Marines can spit acid, remember? They have a special gland to make it. In Soul Hunter, Talos (an un-mutated Night Lord) gets ready to spit it, but thinks better of it and swallows it instead, with no more ill effects than slight stinging. This is the same acid that can dissolve ordinary mortal flesh.

Space Marines have armor on their necks. That is why I say that a lasgun blast there wouldn't kill one.

And explain to me what weaknesses to shrapnel or a lasgun blast a marine has that would prevent him from imposing, say, his armor-covered chest between a civilian and these things.

Son of Sanguinius
08-08-2010, 21:52
Ok, I exaggerated a bit with the paste thing, but they can still lose one of their hearts (they have multiple) and keep on truckin'. What shrapnel do you suggest could penetrate their power armor, and where? I have yet to get any specifics on these weaknesses that you claim it has.

Neck, crotch, back of the knees, inside the elbows, at the arm pits, wrists. These are spaces left without plate so that the power armor is capable of full humanoid movement. No doubt they have a resistant and flexible material over these places, but certainly nothing that is assured to stop razor sharp projectiles moving at extreme velocities.


Space Marines can spit acid, remember? They have a special gland to make it. In Soul Hunter, Talos (an un-mutated Night Lord) gets ready to spit it, but thinks better of it and swallows it instead, with no more ill effects than slight stinging. This is the same acid that can dissolve ordinary mortal flesh.



A Space Marine can synthesise acidic poison in this modified salivary gland which he can spit at foes or use to burn away the strongest of metals.

That's not acid. It's acidic poison. In nature, creatures that have poisonous bites are often immune to said poison because it developed within their own bodies. The immediate example that comes to mind is a Komodo Dragon. Moreover, the Space Marines have a digestive tract that handles poison through special organs.


Space Marines have armor on their necks. That is why I say that a lasgun blast there wouldn't kill one.

Unless they have a fully armored gorget that's as thick as their breastplates or shoulder pads, which almost every Mark of power armor does not, their necks are unarmored. And it's not just the neck. Even a breastplate can be penetrated if sufficiently damaged.

Space Marines don't just use tactics because they feel like it. They have to engage their opponents in a fashion that minimizes risks. Walking breasts first into an Imperial Guard gunline does not accomplish this. Their power armor provides tremendous protection, of course, but they are not nigh on invincible, as you suggest.


And explain to me what weaknesses to shrapnel or a lasgun blast a marine has that would prevent him from imposing, say, his armor-covered chest between a civilian and these things.

Again, how can a Space Marine be assured anything will hit the toughest part of his armor? You're assuming way too much.

Askil the Undecided
08-08-2010, 22:05
I'm still chckling over the fact that DarthMcBob doesn't see the essential basic error in claiming an SM's supposed ablity to dodge bullets would matter at all against a lasgun.

When it comes to lasers either they missed you or your armour saved you, nobody dodged anything.

Son of Sanguinius
08-08-2010, 22:08
I'm still chckling over the fact that DarthMcBob doesn't see the essential basic error in claiming an SM's supposed ablity to dodge bullets would matter at all against a lasgun.

It might, actually. I saw an experiment where they slowed a packet of light energy down. If a laser weapon held that kind of technology, for whatever reason, then it could possibly matter.

That said, no Space Marine can dodge something moving at the speed of a bullet.

Col. Tartleton
08-08-2010, 22:19
Marines are much faster then people but they can't dodge bullets. (Some) Eldar can for the same reason Jedis can. If they focus they can see/feel the shot before it happens and react before its fired. It looks like they dodge the bullet but they moved before you fired.

Marines wear light tank armor formed into a human shape. They're not invulnerable. Its as much there to be an airtight space suit as armor. Marines in theory would aim on not getting shot. However inevitably they take a bullet that pierces their armor in a weak point like a joint. In these cases the marine takes a wound. He's flooded with natural pain killers and stimulants. So that anti tank autocannon round that hit him in square the chest has only managed to **** him off. Yeah he's got a three inch wide crater in his chest and might not survive but you're a dead little punk. Marines can die, but they sure as hell don't go gentle into that good night. As the light leaves their eyes, the only words that comes to their lips is "I hope you like hell *******!" Which is approximately when they remember how many frag grenades they still have.

They go out like new years eve in china town. A lot of fireworks.

Flawed
09-08-2010, 01:59
A piece of shrapnel penetrates the groin or under the arm for some reason and slices open the femoral or brachial artery. Being a piece of shrapnel, it doesn't just disappear but remains lodged in the opening it just made in said artery. Both of those arteries have extreme pressure in them forcing blood through our system which, combined with the constant shredding from the shrapnel when the marine moves, would more than likely prevent blood clotting and result in marine death.

This scenario of course, assumes the marine, through training, pain killers, innate trust in his larraman's organ and bravado, continues to move and fight after being wounded.

But then, I'm guessing apothecaries would know that, and as such would teach marines about the threat even lowly shrapnel poses. All warfare is a calculated risk but we fight anyway. Saying marines and power armour are simply too awesome to fear shrapnel is to diminish them, not make them better. Marines that protect with their bodies even knowing a lucky shot will kill them are more heroic.

Son of Sanguinius
09-08-2010, 02:49
A piece of shrapnel penetrates the groin or under the arm for some reason and slices open the femoral or brachial artery. Being a piece of shrapnel, it doesn't just disappear but remains lodged in the opening it just made in said artery. Both of those arteries have extreme pressure in them forcing blood through our system which, combined with the constant shredding from the shrapnel when the marine moves, would more than likely prevent blood clotting and result in marine death.

This scenario of course, assumes the marine, through training, pain killers, innate trust in his larraman's organ and bravado, continues to move and fight after being wounded.

But then, I'm guessing apothecaries would know that, and as such would teach marines about the threat even lowly shrapnel poses. All warfare is a calculated risk but we fight anyway. Saying marines and power armour are simply too awesome to fear shrapnel is to diminish them, not make them better. Marines that protect with their bodies even knowing a lucky shot will kill them are more heroic.

Point to Flawed. This is exactly my point.

BBWags
09-08-2010, 04:35
Ok, we've gotten kind of off the track, though that is bound to happen, and its ok.

The original point was this: in the book, the SMs jumped in front of MISSILES rather than lasguns or shrapnel. And they DIED.

I don't believe that it was part of any particular mission to protect those "innocent civilians."

Therefore, apparently those SMs felt compelled to sacrifice themselves to save the lives of bystanders.

The ultimate question, then? How many SM chapters are there where this sentiment would be common, do you think? I think Space Wolves would be a likely candidate for this sort of self-sacrifice. What others? What other chapters would certainly NOT risk themselves simply to save a puny human, unless it was actually part of the mission directives?

*edit*

Also, In the Horus Heresy book where Horus is grievously injured, the Luna Wolves that bring him back on board don't seem to have much "respect" for normal human life . . . sure, that is compared to the life of Horus, but still . . . seemed to cause quite the stir.

Zweischneid
09-08-2010, 08:15
Ok, we've gotten kind of off the track, though that is bound to happen, and its ok.

The original point was this: in the book, the SMs jumped in front of MISSILES rather than lasguns or shrapnel. And they DIED.

I don't believe that it was part of any particular mission to protect those "innocent civilians."

Therefore, apparently those SMs felt compelled to sacrifice themselves to save the lives of bystanders.

The ultimate question, then? How many SM chapters are there where this sentiment would be common, do you think? I think Space Wolves would be a likely candidate for this sort of self-sacrifice. What others? What other chapters would certainly NOT risk themselves simply to save a puny human, unless it was actually part of the mission directives?

Well. Formally, I assume ever single Space Marine to know the words of the Emperor to them by heart:


They shall be my finest warriors, these men who give of themselves to me.
Like clay I shall mould them, and in the furnace of war forge them.
They will be of iron will and steely muscle. In great armour shall I clad them and with the mightiest guns will they be armed.
They will be untouched by plague or disease, no sickness will blight them.
They will have tactics, strategies and machines so that no foe can best them in battle.
They are my bulwark against the Terror.
They are the Defenders of Humanity.
They are my Space Marines and they shall know no fear.

+++ The Emperor of Mankind, on the Creation of the Space Marines +++

Blatantly ignoring the words of the Emperor of Mankind himself and failing to defend humans could result into alot of trouble even for Space Marines.

True, some Marines might take that less literally and regard the death of a few humans worth the price of defending humanity by and large.

However, given that 40K is a pseudo-dark-gothic/medieval setting, I wouldn't be surprised if quite alot of Chapters out there feel the urge to take these quasi-religious words quite literally in anything and everything they do.

Flawed
09-08-2010, 12:45
It's an interesting ethical question isn't it.

I am a genetic superman, with excellent weapons, training and armour. Whilst I am alive I have the potential to save many hundreds of human lives through my actions, direct and indirect. My value as an individual is great to humanity, worth much more, simply through potential, than the life of any one human (save perhaps Creed and other notables) and I say this with humility, not arrogance. I speak the simple truth.

So do I jump in front of that human and destroy all that I might be and do? Or do I hold off and let that human die, in order to save the many more that will follow?

I think someone mentioned it before, but I'd be interested to read a talented expose on that question in a novel.

abasio
09-08-2010, 13:06
You'd think that if that super soldier didn't throw his life away to save a few poxy humans then he would have lived to save so many more another day right?
But with Space Marine chapters the way the codex says they should be and kept around a thousand marines then one or two deaths here and there make no difference as more supplicants will move up to keep the number around 1000 and there will be someone around to save the many more that would have been saved by the marine who died had he not died.
Only a marine's ego should get in the way, thinking that only he can save many more lives, achieve many more missions where other marines, especially his replacement in the squad, wouldn't be able to.
So then shouldn't a marine sacrifice himself for civilians if his mission is already over/assured?

Zweischneid
09-08-2010, 13:34
It's an interesting ethical question isn't it.

I am a genetic superman, with excellent weapons, training and armour. Whilst I am alive I have the potential to save many hundreds of human lives through my actions, direct and indirect. My value as an individual is great to humanity, worth much more, simply through potential, than the life of any one human (save perhaps Creed and other notables) and I say this with humility, not arrogance. I speak the simple truth.

So do I jump in front of that human and destroy all that I might be and do? Or do I hold off and let that human die, in order to save the many more that will follow?

I think someone mentioned it before, but I'd be interested to read a talented expose on that question in a novel.

Maybe. But it goes both ways.

Like.. couldn't a Marine fullfill the oath to "Kill all Xenos" much better if he'd cooperate with this Eldar Farseer for a while? Wouldn't he be a better Bulwark against the tide of Chaos if he'd use that Daemon-weapon against the Traitors for a battle or two?

ashc
09-08-2010, 13:42
The Eisenhorn trilogy highlights at least two moments where marines sacrifice themselves for lesser humans, both times in the aid of Eisenhorn himself (if i remember correctly). Whilst there is good argument as to whether civilians would be saved, it seems the echelons of the Inquisition certainly are.

I think the Marines Malevolent make for a good case in point in this thread, as their casual disregard for humanitarian casualties is abhorred by a number of other loyalist chapters.

Col. Tartleton
09-08-2010, 18:08
I think a marine would engage an enemy attacking civilians in a manner to draw his attention away from the civilians. But the marine should know while his duty is to die in defense of mankind that's not to be taken literally. A marines job is to kill the enemies of mankind. In doing so he protects.

So if a squad of chaos guardsmen are rounding up the villagers for the heavy stubber ww2 atrocity style, the marine isn't going to wait until they're done to launch his attack. But would he shelter a little girl with his body against a heavy bolter? Perhaps, but not in accordance to regulation. Regulation would probably say to take revenge for the death of every civilian you cannot save. Suffer not the traitor to live. Not sacrifice yourself to protect them. So if a marine watches a little girl and her puppy die in a gas attack he's got two choices: Go Black Templar/Space Wolf Rambo and rip the SOB who did it in half, or go Ultramarine/Salamander Rambo and shoot up the whole place. But "going rambo" is clearly in the regulations. But with a citation to not waste bullets. That's in there too.

BBWags
10-08-2010, 02:34
I don't think "defend humanity" is the same as "defend every human you come across," quite honestly.

I think "humanity" is just that: the whole of humanity. If a few (or even hundreds) of individual humans need to die, or inevitably die, because a Space Marine has to achieve an objective and put's that as priority one, then so be it.

To answer my own question, I see Chapters such as the Space Wolves and Salamanders as having a fairly high inherent evaluation of the general human populace while Black Templars and Dark Angels would not. That perspective is one of the reasons I was caught off guard when the DA marines sacrifice themselves in the book. Up until that point, the DA fluff seemed to be "We honestly couldn't give a flying leap about anyone else except our own little narrow objectives, i.e. tracking down the fallen and protecting our secrets. Don't get in our way."

But I seriously doubt (Wolfblade not withstanding) that if I were a Space Wolf, that I would be jumping in front of random human "npc"s to save them. I'm a Space Wolf. I worked too hard and went through too much crap to get where I am to throw my life away for no real tactical/strategical advantage. If I have to die in a suicide run to draw fire away so that the rest of my pack can overwhelm the objective and be victorious, then so be it. But even then I'm going to do everything I can in that "suicide run" to emerge alive, if at all possible.

I think that Space Marines have a tremendous instinct and desire for survival, but they are willing to set aside that desire and override that instinct if their sacrifice is worth it... but I honestly don't think a handful of random normal humans, unless the objective of the mission states otherwise, is worth it.

Joustarr
10-08-2010, 23:18
They are the Defenders of Humanity.

Historically warriors have been sacrificing themselves for their people for centuries. Even the ones that don't die risk death and are completely cool with that. Some warriors even sought death in battle. Honor comes into it too.
The Space Marines and others fight for humanity as a whole. Nearly every mission 'saves' people in some degree or another and marines do die. If they fail then there is no-one else to protect humanity from the big scary monsters. I'd guess this applies direct to direct self sacrifice. It is in their mandate. The British armed forces swear to protect the citizens as part of thier oath. Maybe the marines do the same.
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