A relatively new Space Marine chapter, not much is known about it. Although a special administratum envoy has been dispatched to try and obtain more data. Below is a transcript of his investigation.
To be a Space Marine in the service of the Emperor is to be many things, including the two things just mentioned, but also many more than have not been mentioned, some of which we will mention here. Space Marines are the pinnacle of human potential, if that potential involved having lots of surgery and little social interaction, but that presence and absence all works in favor of making something with things that are and are not there.
One of the newer chapters of Space Marines are the young - but still highly decorated - Marines of the Star Shanks. Their Chapter master is exceptionally young at a mere six hundred years of age, although by human standards by which he is the pinnacle of, he is exceptionally old at an amazing six hundred years of age. Chapter Master Gythine is only the fourth Chapter Master of this chapter, but already he has a lot to live up to.
"Well it's the history I suppose. We of the Star Shanks may be young, but we already have plenty to live up to. Sure, we may not have the traditions of the Ultramarines, the mysterious nature of the Dark Angels, or the honor of the Black Templars, but we're finding our niche through our actions of the past and our actions of the future."
Right, and what niche is that?
"Well, currently our strategy in combat is to find the enemy's weakest point and hit them with as much force there as we possibly can."
Oh I see, like surgical strikes and that sort of thing?
"We sometimes hit hospitals yes, though more often we hit command centers."
Yes I see. Is that like cutting off the head of the snake so the body dies?
"People don't die just because the commander is gone."
"Really it's more like kneeing someone between the legs."
"They can still fight if they want to, but really, is it worth it?"
The motto of these Marines is "Vulnero lemma in dick quod sulum cado", which they repeat every day when training, which is often what they do. The life of a Space Marine is made up entirely of war, unless it is not, in which case it is entirely training, except when it is not either when it is something else. In the process of showing us around the chapter, we were allowed to meet one of the venerable legends of the Space Marine, a Dreadnought.
What in your experience is the most rewarding thing about being a Dreadnought?
"BEING A DREADNOUGHT IN THE SERVICE OF THE EMPEROR IS REWARD ENOUGH."
Right, but what about the reward is rewarding?
"DO YOU SEE THE CONTAINER OF THE BLESSED TEXTS OF THE IMPERIUM CARVED WITHIN MY SARCOPHAGUS?"
You mean the, yes that thing ther-
"DON'T TOUCH IT."
Oh right, it's holy?
"NO, I KEEP MY SANDWICHES THERE."
"THEY STAY FRESH."
As a dreadnought, honorable Malchazor is very large, although he is smaller inside the large armor than he was when he was large inside the smaller armor he used to wear as a Space Marine. When he was a large Space Marine, he was known as Captain Malchazor. Captain Malchazor was a decorated Space Marine who led as many campaigns as he was in charge of. Unfortunately his illustrious career came to an end when he suffered an unfortunate case of death, which killed him. Luckily for him it wasn't permanent.
"I ONCE CAUGHT A COLD, YOU KNOW."
"YES. I WAS VERY EXCITED. IT REMINDED ME I HAD A NOSE."
Is it nice to be reminded you have a nose?
"WELL I DON'T HAVE ONE ANYMORE. THE BACTERIA OF THE COLD HAD TO BE STERILIZED SO MY NOSE WAS REMOVED."
Oh right so you must smell quite poorly?
"MY SARCOPHAGUS IS WASHED REGULARLY."
When he isn't no longer enjoying the smell of his sandwiches, Malchazor is often out on campaigns, except when he isn't doing either, in which case he is often doing something else. That something else depends on when you meet with him, and we met with him during his appointed history lesson.
So what is it like teaching history?
"I DO NOT TEACH, I AM LEARNING SINCE I OFTEN FORGET."
Oh, what do you forget, histories of planets or, or something?
"I FORGET THINGS SUCH AS MY OWN HISTORY."
Oh I'm so sorry.
"NO IT'S QUITE ALRIGHT. SOMETIMES WHEN MY HISTORY IS BORING I SLIP THEM A FIVER TO MAKE IT MORE FUN."
In the process of touring the Chapter's Templewarship - the Litany of Bollocks - we meet a number of non-space marines. That number is about twenty. One of the normal humans we meet is less normal than the others, because she is a woman. Her name is unimportant, but also Carithe.
So you serve on the, uh, the Litany of... well yes, you serve on the ship?
"Yes I do."
What is it like being one of the few human women with regular contact with the Space Marines?
"Oh it's alright I suppose. You'd probably think I'm at a bit of risk here, wouldn't you?"
Well you seem fairly safe from harm
"No, I mean risk of... y'know... one of them having their way with me."
Oh! Yes, I mean no, wait yes, no...
"I'm perfectly safe. They're... Lean in a bit... Yeah, well they're... not all down there."
You mean like injuries?
"No, as in... They're boys in the shape of very large, muscular men."
OH! Oh I see.
"Yeah. It's quite a shame too, some of them are quite handsome."
I suppose if you're into that sort of thing.
"Oh god those scars just drive me wild. See that one over by the gunnery station?"
Oh my god.
"Yeah, an Orc choppa did that to his face. Oh god I would lick whats left of his lips every day..."
So what are your responsibilities here on the ship, you're referred to as the Imperium Liaison officer, I see.
"Ever seen them out of armor? Carved out of stone. Gorgeous, gorgeous stone..."
As Chapter master, what do you suppose is your biggest responsibility?
"All of them."
"I am responsible for pretty much everything, and they're all pretty big. Ahh, here we are."
"This is our new tactical plan, that we hope will be accepted into the Codex Astartes."
What is it?
"The Decoy Marines."
It is a long process to become a Space Marine, and not everyone makes it. Sometimes they die, sometimes they fail, sometimes both. Some of them are even left alive at the end, especially the ones that don't fail because of death. However they're intimately exposed to the secrets of the chapter, and some of them even have working Space Marine implants, and so can't rejoin society. The Star Shanks plan to turn them into the so-called Decoy Marines.
"See this armor?"
Yes it looks heavy.
Oh, how will it protect them?
"It won't. But it looks real, don't it?"
So they're sent into battle as decoys, are they?
"Basically yes. We don't tell them that, of course. They think they're actual Space Marines and are expected to act like it. We use them as decoys to draw fire, the enemy get bollocksed."
"Sorry, technical terminology of the chapter."
"It means to hit them in their groin."
Carithe, as a human, how do you feel about the Decoy Marines?
"Well I'd had a few of them, but it's just not the same, is it."
"It's like comparing fiddling with yourself to actually having a man. Sort of similar, but in the end it's just not the same and you know it."
"But sometimes when you can't get a Man - or a Marine as the metaphor is - you make due with your hand."
Even as a young chapter, the Star Shanks are considered experts in certain fields, usually ones they are good at. However a field they specialize in is Ork hunting. One of their foremost experts in this field of specialization they are good at, is very very good at it. He is also Ythur.
"You might have picked up that a lot of our tactical doctrine involves hitting the enemy where they are weak."
"Which is often in the penis."
"Well nature makes people weak in a certain area, so we hit that. It's not our fault if it is where it is. Anyway, think about what is between an Ork's legs."
I really don't want to.
"Just do it."
Well, trousers I hope.
"If only we were that lucky. Absolutely nothing. Orks reproduce by releasing spores which grow like mushrooms."
Oh that's a relief.
"So that means that orks are basically giant walking reproductive organs."
"Yeah, which sounds bad, but it also means that if we need to hit them in the penis, it's a really big target. They're like bollocks on legs!"
Have you faced Orks before?
How would you class them as, as foes?
"YES. DEFINITELY FOES."
"They brought an Ork on board once, you know."
"Yes, to study it. I slipped some cash to the guard and went in when it was strapped on the table."
Oh, to help the study?
"In my own way. Do you have any idea how disappointed I was that they have no coc-"
We really should get back to the Chapter Master, he's probably waiting for us.
"If you must, but we should catch up. Are you doing anything later today?"
Yes. Many many things. Lots of things.
"The entirety of warfare is based on the idea of hitting the enemy in the penis."
Maybe we should talk to someone else.
"Think about it. Necrons? They don't reproduce, they get repaired, so we destroy their repair-bollocks."
Suddenly the Templewarship is called into action. A Tau force has appeared nearby, and the Star Shanks have been called into action to help them un-appear, usually by means of killing them.
Have you ever faced Tau before?
"Yes, but I wasn't Chapter Master then. They're a canny foe to fight. They usually have an Ethereal leading this sort of action, so our primary plan will be to lure him out and strike, trying to capture him and hold him to encourage the Tau to attack a strong defensive position we're holding him in."
Is this a classical tactic of the codex Astartes?
"It's a personalized adaptation of one. We call it 'Grab them by the Bollocks'."
Going to battle against the Tau sounds threatening, are you worried for your safety as a normal human?
"God they have such big guns."
Maybe we should give you some time to yourself.
Have you faced Tau in your lifetime?
"NO, THIS WILL BE A NEW EXPERIENCE FOR ME."
Are you worried about facing something new?
"NOT AT ALL. I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON MY SNAPPY ONE LINERS."
Is that something you do often?
"MY DAY IS QUITE DULL, SO YES. MY PERSONAL FAVORITE IS 'I MAY BE DEAD, BUT YOU WILL BE DEADER.'"
Yes, well it may need a little work.
"I CAME UP WITH 'EVEN IN DEATH, I STILL SERVE' YOU KNOW, BUT IT GOT POPULAR NOW NO ONE BELIEVES ME."
Oh yes I quite like that one.
"EVERYONE DOES. I MERELY WORRY IT MAY BE MY ONE CONTRIBUTION, YOU KNOW."
So you would like to have another one?
"YES. SOMETHING LIKE 'I WILL ASSAULT CANNON YOU IN THE FACE'. I LIKED THAT ONE, THEN THEY CHANGED MY ASSAULT CANNON TO A MELTA GUN."
And you don't like 'I will melta gun you in the face'?
"DON'T BE RIDICULOUS."
Is it true that Space marines don't have...
"Don't have what?"
"You've been talking to that crazy bitch haven't you?"
Life as a Space Marine is hard, but Space Marines are hard in return, so it is a reciprocal relationship. But in the give and take of hardness, there is no doubt that Space Marines give as well as they take, until they've taken all they can be given. We should count ourselves lucky that they watch out for us, and thank them for all their hard work.