Nikephoros Galen

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This page details people, events, and organisations from the /tg/ Heresy, a fan re-working of the Warhammer 40,000 Universe. See the /tg/ Heresy Timeline and Galaxy pages for more information on the Alternate Universe.

Nikephoros Galen, The Grim Sower

"It is a testament to my burning hatred for Sachs that I am eager to join forces with a monster like Galen to bring him to justice."

-Gaius Martinus Vira, the Reaper.

Notorious heresiarch, biomancer and Chaos Lord, Nikephoros Galen is responsible for countless acts of omnicide across the Galaxy. Even the most well-learned members of Ordo Hereticus would be hard pressed to name many Traitors who managed to cause so much harm to the Imperium. Originally a high-ranking Genetor in the Twelfth Legion, Galen was primarily responsible for creating new forms of plant life and modifying existing ones to make them better suited to harsh conditions. It wasn't long before he started entertaining the thought that Humanity also needed gene modifications if it wanted to survive the horrors of the Galaxy. His research in this field, while originally benign and purely theoretical, eventually lead him astray and drove him insane. Convinced that humans needed to adopt the evolutionary advantages of plants, he created the Green Men - horrible amalgamations of man and plant that should not exist by natural law. His attempt to force the whole Legion to convert into Green Men eventually lead to his exile and rise to one of the preeminent warlords of the Eye of Terror.

Origins[edit]

The genesmith of Monsanto[edit]

What was to become one of the Galaxy's worst nightmares had fairly humble beginnings. Nikephoros Galen was born on Monsanto, an unremarkable Agri World the inhabitants of which eked out a living by supplying their more industrialised neighbours with food and other agricultural products. The ever-growing demand has eventually forced the barons of Monsanto to resort to geneurgy in order to increase the output of their plantations. After a period of trial and error, the experiment was considered a success. With its agricultural yield nearly quadrupled, Monsanto entered a new era of prosperity, although this gilded age was soured by the voices of dissidents, stating that the planet's gene-spliced food was to be blamed for the alarmingly increasing rates of mutations and birth defects.

Galen was one of those protesters. As the only child in a family of physicians who ran a maternity hospital in the planet's capital, he was exposed to the genetic catastrophe unleashed by the unscrupulous barons since his earliest years. Hardly a day passed without a weeping young mother leaving the premises of their clinic with a drooling, oozing blob of flesh in her trembling arms. His father's research pointed unambiguously at the gene-modified food products as the source of this curse of freaks, yet he was wise enough not to embark on a fool's crusade against the planet's autocratic rulers. His son, however, was filled with naive idealism so typical of young people and decided to throw down a challenge to the whole system.

This endeavour was bound to end like hundreds of similar movements before it, with its message ridiculed by the corrupt media and its leaders rotting in prisons or stung to death by hunter-seeker killer bees employed by the baronial security forces against their loudest enemies. And so it was all the more surprising that it didn't, whether it was due to Galen's righteous personality, the impeccable evidence he presented or his leadership skills, allowing him to build a vast network of non-violent protesters across the globe. Realising that they couldn't silence this annoying upstart without provoking the public ire, the barons opted for an alternative approach.

Although Galen suspected a trap when he was suddenly invited to the court of one of Monsanto's most influential barons, he realised that this was the opportunity he had passionately been working towards all these years. He was bracing himself for an exhausting confrontation as he scaled the grand stairs leading to the baron's private quarters, but instead of the monster he had pictured in his mind, an intelligent and understanding man greeted him as he entered the meeting room. The baron listened closely to all the demands and accusations the young doctor threw at him, agreed with much of what he said and then offered him a chance to set things straight together. Galen was offered the position of high geneurge in Monsanto's biggest agricultural corporation, so that he could help weed out the defects in modified plant DNA that caused mutations and birth defects. Seeing this as an opportunity of a lifetime, Nikephoros agreed without much deliberation.

In the wake of Galen's unexpected switching sides, several other prominent members of his organisation received high positions in large agricultural holdings. The positive publicity for the barons was overwhelming; for a time, even their harshest critics believed that they were witnessing a shift towards more ethical agriculture. Of course certain malcontents accused Galen of selling out to the enemy, but those were largely marginalised and ignored. Meanwhile, Nikephoros himself made a most disheartening discovery as he was learning the ropes of his new job: ridding the gene-modified plants of potentially malicious DNA was a nigh-insurmountable task. Due to stark differences between human and plant gene code, the effects of their interaction were extremely unpredictable, but consistently disastrous. He toiled day and night in front of the gene anvil, taking dangerous energetics to compensate for a lack of sleep, and yet his labours were all in vain. The system crushed yet another noble soul who thought he could change it.

In the Legion[edit]

Or, at least, so it seemed. One day, a magnificent colossus of green and red, akin to a flying mountain, pierced the clouds over Monsanto, signifying the dawn of a new era. This was nothing else than Valetudinarium, the fabled flagship of the Life Bringers - the glorious Twelfth Legion of the Imperial Space Marines. They have come to educate and enlighten the peasants of Monsanto, to reunite them with their long lost family and share the glory of Mankind with them. Impressed and not a little intimidated by their unexpected guests' displays of power, the barons equivocally decided to join the Imperium they represented in spite of their lack of enthusiasm towards suddenly having to pay a 'tithe'. But the Life Bringers made sure that the advantages of joining the Mankind's growing domain far outweighed its shortcomings. Members of the Legion well-versed in geneurgy, known as the Genetors, took it upon themselves to ensure that the world's plantations were more than capable of meeting the quota set by the tithe and still leaving their owners with an impressive surplus. Working closely with the leading local geneticists whose ranks included Galen, they radically transformed the local crops, increasing their annual output, making them more nutritious and pleasant to the taste, and, most importantly, rendering them completely harmless.

To say that Galen was impressed by the art of the Genetors was to grossly understate it. Their leader, a genetic engineering savant by the name of Wilmut Sachs, became his idol overnight. It instantly became his deepest dream to be able to travel the galaxy alongside these superhuman scientists, bringing relief to the inhabitants of hundreds of primitive worlds not unlike his own. When the Life Bringers announced their intention of recruiting new members from Monsanto, Nikephoros knew that it was his chance. His friends and relatives laughed at his intention of joining the Legion: the Space Marines were, after all, the Galaxy's ultimate warriors, and physically underwhelming Galen couldn't even punch anybody without dislocating his wrist. Yet this apparent setback didn't stop the young man from pursuing his dream, and with his characteristic determination he set about perfecting his physique. Yet in spite of all his intensive training, by the time the Life Bringers opened up enlistment camps, he was still merely a relatively fit doctor.

In any other Legion, he would have stood no chance; but to his luck, this was the one that arguably valued research abilities above everything else. Having looked through his track record, the Life Bringers recruiters deemed Galen an invaluable asset to their Legion's ongoing genetic research. After a short period of training, Nikephoros received the geneseed of Johannes Vrach and was officially welcomed in the ranks of the Emperor's finest. Although he received the combat training necessary for every Space Marine, his main area of competence was creation and modification of plant life for the Legion's needs. With cutting edge technology and databases containing knowledge gathered across the Galaxy at his disposal, he quickly proved to be one of the most prolific Genetors in the Legion and soon fulfilled his dream of working directly under Wilmut Sachs. They soon established a close and friendly relationship, which was highly uncharacteristic of the morose High Genetor.

Although he created or perfected countless specimen of plant life during his tenure with the Life Bringers, it is arguably the Sea of Corruption that he is best remembered for. Technically not a sea, but a jungle of chemotrophic vegetation, the Sea of Corruption purifies toxic or polluted worlds by consuming the toxins contained in the soil, air and water and releasing clear water and fresh air suitable for humans. The Imperial worlds that are now inhabitable thanks to the Seas of Corruption count in the hundreds.

The Great Crusade[edit]

As time went by, Galen's discontentment with High Genetor Wilmut Sachs and his methods began to grow. In an act of defiance against his teacher, Nikephoros severed all ties to him and began to work on a universal panacea of his own. Eventually, he discovered that he could create Space Marines immune to all disease by merging plant and human genes together. This project, dubbed 'Green Men' by his friend Tribulus Bercilak, ultimately became Galen's downfall. When the Genetor injected himself with his own Green Man genetic compound, he died at this very instant. What was reborn in his stead had little in common with the Galen of old. Now a cruel, calculating monster, he hatched an insane plan of exterminating all life in the Galaxy in order to replace it with perfect new creatures he and his fellow Genetors created. His madness eventually lead to his exile from the Legion and the establishment of the Green Men as a separate Warband.

Current situation[edit]

Nikephoros Galen, The Tree of Woe

Luckily for the Imperium, Galen is no longer an active threat. After a great campaign of terror colloquially known as the Great Sowing he ascended to Daemonhood and turned into an abominable hybrid of a man and a tree. Thankfully, he didn't get an opportunity to unleash the power of his new form on the Imperium, as during a meditation that followed his arrival to his homeworld, he took root in its soil and turned into a colossal daemonic tree known to the Green Men as the Tree of Woe. Some Inquisitors assume that this was a punishment from the Ruinous Powers for having fought their influence back in his Life Bringers days, although, as it is always with the Chaos Gods, the line between a boon and a punishment is blurred to the extreme.

Unfortunately, even though he can no longer personally lead incursions into the Imperial space, his toxic influence still plagues the realm of Mankind. The Green Men are very keen on founding and nurturing the so-called Galenic cults that worship Daemon Prince Galen as the God of Plants. Their common tactics entail landing on a Garden or Agri-World in secrecy, causing great droughts with their meteorological sorcery, unleashing hurricanes of genetically modified locust on the crops and causing the trees to wither and rot by poisoning the land with herbicides. Once the locals get desperate enough to sign a pact with the Ruinous Powers, the Chaos Marines reveal themselves and start preaching the Green Gospel of Galen. In exchange for an eternal fealty to the God of Plants, they gift the impoverished farmers with the seeds and saplings of their wonder plants that yield fabulously, can grow in any conditions and even defend themselves against the locust. Soon after their introduction these aggressive plants choke the local crops with their roots and replace them completely. But this is only the beginning, as after that they actually start replacing humans. Rapidly encroaching on their settlements, they eradicate all human life with great clouds of pollen akin to chemical weapons. Eventually, the whole world turns into a toxic jungle that can sustain no life except for that grown in flasks by the Genetors of the Green Men.

Although Galen is not a true deity by any stretch of the imagination, rumours persist of unique species of Daemons who answer the summons of Galen's deranged worshippers. Those include walking trees with leering faces and branches ending in swords, gibbering mounds of moss that corrode everything they touch and giant rolling tumbleweeds with tens of hands protruding from them, all of them clenching pitchforks, scythes and sickles. Although the Grey Knights may possess information confirming or denying the existence of these horrors, they are understandably uneager to share it with anyone.