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venusianfurs
22-06-2005, 13:10
What happens when they get really old?
Given their potential life-span, this would be 300-400 years (not including warp travel) or so, or possibly even longer; by that stage they'd have to have made commander of some kind, if not chapter master, the dropping life expectancy of their job making this extremely rare, so what then? Do their faculties diminish with time, if nominally? Could a chapter master get too old to continue fighting, or even senile? Would this mean internment in a Dreadnought becomes the only option? The rareness of this would probably fit with the nature and numbers of Dreadnoughts.
Would self-sacrifice or some kind of terminal penance be preferable?
Or maybe given enough time a marines body would eventually start to reject his implants - further signs the Emperor's genius was progressive, his work far from over, and entombment or death becomes the only way forward?

charlie_c67
22-06-2005, 13:20
Nope, there's no known degradation in their skill or ability. Examples of old old marines are Ulrik from the SW's (400ish), Cassius from the UM's(300ish) and the most famous old fogey of all Dante (1100ish).

wilting_laughter
22-06-2005, 13:22
Nope, there's no known degradation in their skill or ability. Examples of old old marines are Ulrik from the SW's (400ish), Cassius from the UM's(300ish) and the most famous old fogey of all Dante (1100ish).

Actually 1100 years is how long dante has been chapter master, he's older than that. But there's a blood angel special character who is older than him; who was his sergeant when he was a scout or something.

charlie_c67
22-06-2005, 13:46
Who's that?

malika
22-06-2005, 13:46
Maybe a special character from the 2nd edition perhaps?

TenTailedCat
22-06-2005, 13:47
He's not part of current fluff, I think he was 2nd ed? Unless he's been updated in WD?

EmperorsChamp01
22-06-2005, 14:41
well there was this guy in the book "Angels of Darkness" he was a chapter master for the dark angles and he fought aginst the Lion and was flung in to the warp and emerged from it on a desolate planet. I dont think thats in the fluff though.

Wiseman
22-06-2005, 15:03
that wouldve been a fallen though wouldnt it? AFAIK marines dont have an expiry date on them, if they did then old age wouldve killed Bjorn, as he is more then old enough, and even a dreadnought wont prolong old age, it will help with injuries, but old age is something you cant stop.

TenTailedCat
22-06-2005, 15:09
That's Dark Angels, not Blood Angels...

Ageing happens becuase our cells replace themselves constantly and over time minute mistakes and imperfections happen in the course of replication, these imperfections are tiny, but the imperfect cells survive and are in turn replicated, eventually the repilications of imperfect cells develop their own imperfections - thus our bodies degrade over time.

It could eb well possible that Marine engineering has processes and therapies to monitor and correct these imperfections, which would explain their vast lifespans. Technically speaking it might be possible to halt aging altogether if (for instance) a Dreadnough has the right onboard equipment.

charlie_c67
22-06-2005, 15:15
I know the oldest marine of all! It's Luthor of the DA's at 10,000+...

McMullet
22-06-2005, 15:17
I think aging is really one of those things that we don't really understand; there are theories (like TenTailedCat describes) but it's far from certain.

It seems that Marines certainly have increased life spans, and presumably the way they've ben re-engineered is such that they die before they become senile or weaker. A bit like the Dunedain in LOTR/The Silmarillion - they know when their time is up, and just lay down and go to sleep before they become witless vegetables. I think that once they get entombed in Dreadnought, they become effectively immortal though, presumably because they spend so much time sleeping (thus their physical bodies don't degrade so much [/shaky logic]).

Xhalax
22-06-2005, 15:22
even a dreadnought wont prolong old age, it will help with injuries, but old age is something you cant stop.

I agree with you there. Bjorn is old and he's getting a touch dothery in his old age. That's why they're reluctant to wake him up too much as it's said that he's getting harder to wake up and that he might be getting a tad confused (bad choice of words).
But he's had a fair old innings.

Adept
22-06-2005, 15:40
The way I understand ageing is thusly:

1 - Our cells die.

2 - During the first part of our life, our growth hormones compell our body to manufacture replacement cells.

3 - During the second part of our lives this replacement process slows down, and we slowly die. Our skin cells die off and our skin gets weaker, our bones grow frail, we take longer to heal, we cannot fight disease as effectively, and so on.

The problem with marines is - None of the Marine Specific implants do anything to manipulate cell replication. We can only assume it is a by-product, or some synergistic effect of a combination of the organs, in that the amount of growth hormones in the body is regulated and maintained, meaning only injury or disease will kill a marine.

TenTailedCat
22-06-2005, 15:42
The Index Astartes article on Marine induction mentions Gene therapy which Marines undergo throught their lives, as well as chemical and hypno therapy. One can only assume that preventative measures (with regards to ageing) are part of this therapy.

venusianfurs
22-06-2005, 15:46
Thanks for the input, all, but there are still a few questions: if space marines do not age as normal people perceive it, just wax strong indefinately, then they'd all be destined for god-like immortality - can that really be right? I'd always thought Mehpiston and so on were by far exceptional, not the norm. Moreover, without trying to inject too much 'realism' into it, they're human beings - genetically enhanced, but still human, they've surely got to age sometime.
Plus remember a big part of Chaos Space Marine fluff is that they don't grow old becuase they're in the Eye, where time does not exist - indicating they wouldn't just live forever anyway.
I think to assume there must just be some means of accounting for eternal health is a big leap - it never actaully says this, so there's no reason to doubt they grow old.

charlie_c67
22-06-2005, 15:49
Well, they might grow wrinkles (except the BA's) but if any organ failed it's likely to get replaced asap when the battle is over. Don't think marines can possibly die in their sleep. Bit like orks really.

TenTailedCat
22-06-2005, 15:51
I don't think a space Marine could live forever, there's a bit of fluf fin the Space Wolves codex which says "Few Great wolves ever die in their beds" which impies that some do in fact die "in their beds" which indicates old age, as illness to a marine is like walking to a fish - it just doesn't seem to happen.

Cloudscape_online
22-06-2005, 15:56
The tech priests of mars have some incredible technologies availible to them, what's to say that they don't have the technology to bio-engineer 'Patch Update' virus cultures that infect and repair (or destroy) any defective cells? They'd last longer, but eventually their cells would stop reproducing.

TenTailedCat
22-06-2005, 16:00
The Techo-Magi rejuvenate themselves in these giant vats of some vile substance or another, but it only works on their bodies, their minds continue to degrade, which is how the Cult Mechanicus got into blood sacrifice, censor swinging, chanting and the like, and is also part of the is so ireason why the AdMech is so insular. These guys are so unhinged that they guard their technology and refuse to hand their knowledege down to their 'successors'. But then I think the very oldest of them live for anything up to three of four thousand years.

None of this ties in with the Space Marines very well, perhaps Marines anti-ageing therapies were developed independantly of the AdMech?

McMullet
22-06-2005, 16:05
Perhaps they age very rapidly, but only when they reach a certain point. One of the theories re. human aging is that we're actually programmed to die from old age (presumably to make way for our offspring, not a very nice thought though :eek: ). So Marines could have the aging gene suppressed until they reach a few centuries of loyal service, at which point they start to very rapidly deteriorate. Maybe the deterioration is firstly in the area of self preservation instincts, which would explain why so few marines die in their sleep - as soon as they feel the cold hands of old age upon them, they get filled with battle lust and go off to a glorious end.

Adept
22-06-2005, 16:10
I think we'll just have to put this down to another erroneous use of the 'rule of cool'.

TenTailedCat
22-06-2005, 16:11
Perhaps they age very rapidly, but only when they reach a certain point. One of the theories re. human aging is that we're actually programmed to die from old age (presumably to make way for our offspring, not a very nice thought though ). So Marines could have the aging gene suppressed until they reach a few centuries of loyal service, at which point they start to very rapidly deteriorate. Maybe the deterioration is firstly in the area of self preservation instincts, which would explain why so few marines die in their sleep - as soon as they feel the cold hands of old age upon them, they get filled with battle lust and go off to a glorious end.

There's precedent for that too - also in the Space Wolves fluff when an 'old wolf' has his 'wyrd' come upon him he goes out looking for death in battle, but I'm not sure if this is unique to that chapter...

pnweerar
22-06-2005, 16:20
As far as the Empire is concerned, a Space Marine ought to be a consumer durable. The investment in each one is fantastic, and their performance makes them very much a premium product. The longer one lasts, the better.

Barring the Space Wolves, if Space Marines did eventually die of old age, then the Empire would do best to use them up in key but suicidal missions before they expire, just like how we finish off a carton of milk before it goes bad. If they don't, that's years and years of time and money down the drain anyway.

Given that we don't see this kind of "walk out into the Wild Zone and meet your maker," culture, I would imagine that Space Marines tend to live forever, or just die enough that its not really an issue.

Someone mentioned an SM that lived for 10K plus years? Frankly, if someone is going to live for a thousand years, then what about their design means that they'd die of old age at all?

Navin

TenTailedCat
22-06-2005, 16:22
Luthor living 10,000 yars is an excetion, since he was possessed by the chaos gods, and I'd imagine the DAs use all sorts of methods to keep himbreathing. Bjorn the Fell Handed is in a dreadnough and they ony awaken him every 1,000 years or so, and he doesn't stay awake long even then. I don't think a regular marine could live forever, not even the Blood Angels.

Gaebriel
22-06-2005, 20:22
Hmm, in the short story Deathwing, the Dark Angel's 1st Company Veterans decide it's better to go down fighting, than to die of old age soonish (a few centuries of age indicated).

I don't know, if Black Library publications are considered canon, but perhaps this gives a hint.

Technically, I don't think old age is too much an issue with Space Marines, because most of them will die before that anyway - it's a tough job, and only the most exceptional live longer.

Randallw
23-06-2005, 08:47
In Warriors of Ultramar Ventris believes Chapter Master Magyar must be at least 700 because his face is covered in wrinkles.

grazer
23-06-2005, 09:21
I tend to agree w/ Gaebriel in that these guys face a ton of battles. I don't really see the Emperor giving them much of a rest, seeing as how they are such valued troops, the Emperium most likely wants to get the most out of them. Sure an occasional marine may live to be several hundred years old, but that is rather exceptional. This thread has basically mentioned a scant few per chapter, which is not entirely unreasonable as all of the aforementioned are high ranking officers who have proven themselves in battle throughout the ages. Thus it sounds to me like they die in battle before in bed.

Whether or not they know their time is coming and choose a glorious death is unkown really. It sort of makes sense that they know their time is coming and thus go out in a blaze of glory, but if that were the case then their would be Death Company like groups for every chapter.

Randallw
23-06-2005, 13:27
If I may just interject again, I just thought what if the long age of the Mortifactors is caused by a diet rich in ....um, protein :D

charlie_c67
23-06-2005, 13:35
Mmmmmmmmmmm Braaaaaaaaaaaains

It could be argued that all marines get enough protein. However it is also said that the Blood angels tend to have the oldest marines not interred in dreadnaughts.

Randallw
23-06-2005, 13:49
Apparently drinking blood is better than eating the hearts of your enemies. ;)

charlie_c67
23-06-2005, 14:03
And sleeping lots while your blood's purified. Or are they the 40k equivalent of the monks of cool?

Rich
23-06-2005, 17:09
The answer probably is that marines can live for hundreds of years, but rarely get the opportunity because there is always another battle/near suicidal mission for them to embark on.

Its worth remembering that the Primarch fluff mentioned that the Primarchs could not live forever, so their 'children' almost certainly can't either.

Hell's Angel
23-06-2005, 19:25
Sheesh, the process of extending life in the Imperium of Man is discussed in the Eisenhorn Trilogy... They undergo gene therapy, and take a drug that slows the aging process. The drug even had a cheesy name like 'agex' or something.

Forgotmytea
23-06-2005, 19:35
Yeah, I'd say they live for a very long time - many Space Wolves in particular are really old, and then you can always encase them in Dreadnaught Armour when they near death if they're great enough... :)

So yeah, thanks to the "agex" (? Never read the Eisenhorn trilogy) process & the general genetic modification, they probably live a long time. Depending on whether they die in battle or not :p.

-Forgotmytea

wilting_laughter
23-06-2005, 19:40
Dante must be very lucky. It has been estimated that a human who did not age would not live any longer than 1200 because theu would eventually die of unnatural causes. Considering Dante is a Space Marine he should have a much higher risk of dying on a regular basis.

Rich
23-06-2005, 20:39
Dante must be very lucky. It has been estimated that a human who did not age would not live any longer than 1200 because theu would eventually die of unnatural causes. Considering Dante is a Space Marine he should have a much higher risk of dying on a regular basis.

Which suggests he must be incredibly hard - to have survived so long, he really must be incredibly skilled.

TenTailedCat
23-06-2005, 22:37
Funny how for someone so incredibly hard in the most close combat oriented chapter he only has WS6 *grumbles*

Edit - don't take the Eisenhorn trilogy too seriously. They're set in 'Abnett-verse', where every tom, dick and harry has an anti grav vehical for going shopping, servo skulls are a consumer item and a hundred other idiocies that I cannot even be bothered to enumerate take place.

chaospig
24-06-2005, 21:57
well there was this guy in the book "Angels of Darkness" he was a chapter master for the dark angles and he fought aginst the Lion and was flung in to the warp and emerged from it on a desolate planet. I dont think thats in the fluff though.

that was cypher

captainhatred
01-07-2005, 09:45
2nd ed. The shroud of sanguinius is cared for by the blood angels most senior sergent. Cleutin holds that rank at present time, and is so old that it is said that he was the sergent in charge of comander Dante's scout squad when Dante joined the chapter.

captainhatred
01-07-2005, 09:55
added note. Luthor was never implanted with the gene-seed of the dark angels chapter because he was too old., when the Emperor came to caliban. He was surgically altered, to become an "elite warrior of the imperium." so technically he was never a Space Marine.

panda
02-07-2005, 16:06
The drug you're looking for is called "juvenat"

IG88
03-07-2005, 01:52
Hate to be off topic for a minute, but where can I find all this great Dark Angels background? I started playing during the Great Fluff Depression of 3rd Edition, where Cypher is just introduced like, "Well, Cypher, he's just this guy, you know." Is it in Codex: Angels of Death? I've really got to get a copy of that.

Back on the topic of aging, I read a little bit about how DNA comes with a built in timer (the p51 gene or something) that contains a strand that shortens each time it's replicated. When the strand run out, stuff stops replicating and the organism dies*. I'd assume that the "gene therapy" Space Marines undergo either halts or retards this process to give an extended lifespan. Beyond it being pre-programmed into our genes that we have to die, there's no real biological reason we can't keep living forever. If the Imperium has figured out a way to modify the human body to accept all the neato extra organs Space Marines get, I'm sure they could tackle the problem of old age killing us.



* Off topic: I read that it's believed that due to mutation, cancerous cells replicate themselves without shortening the strand on the p51 (or whatever) gene, causing uninhibited growth (along with other factors, of course). A branch of cancer research is dedicated to seeing how to get the gene death clocks in cancer cells to tell them to stop growing, hence curing cancer. I hope they figure it out soon, as it could would be quite a boon to both cancer treatment and anti-aging research. But then again, who wants to live forever?