Today, Loremasters, we take a look at the process that creates entire Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes–today we lecture on the Foundings of the Astartes.
Gather round Loremasters, today we gather to discuss the backbone of the Imperium, the Adeptus Astartes. We know that there are many varied organs that go into the creation of a single Marine, and that a single Marine can turn the tide of battle if they should happen to be in the right place at the right time. Not to imply anything heretical–but rather, an entire battlefield can be the right place, and every moment the right time, when you’re a genetically engineered super soldier with capabilities far beyond even the most steadfast human.
But what binds these Brothers together? Why are they in Chapters, and how is a Chapter created? Keep these questions in mind–for the Imperium is beset on all sides by darkness and devastation, and riddled with heretical thoughts from within. It will take an entire world of soldiers in ‘the right place at the right time’ to answer humanity’s great dilemma. Here’s how they come to be.
A Founding is an occasion when several new Space Marine Chapters are created. A Founding does not occur at any set interval, but is ordered when it is deemed necessary. As Chapters are occasionally completely destroyed, Foundings are often meant to ensure that a thousand Chapters exist at a time. This also means that many Chapters are created during unstable times of strife and rebellions that have caused many Chapters to lose the knowledge of their Founding or even the millennia of that Founding.
It’s true. We know there are two Chapters of Marines whose record has been lost completely, and that’s from the first founding alone…what other long lost Chapters might be out there to this day, isolated by unceasing Warp Storms, still holding out hope despite being cut off from the Imperium.
At the beginning of the Great Crusade, the Emperor created the Space Marine Legions after He had lost His twenty sons. Every Legion was made at least 10,000 Marines strong bolstered by the very best equipment and armoury the Imperium could offer and packed up with unflinching loyalty to the God Emperor of Mankind. This event, the creation of the Legions, is known as the First Founding.
Of course, we all know how well that worked out. Apparently if you have enough soldiers who are engineered to push beyond the extremes of human behavior, you get the entire spectrum of human behavior–from heroism…to heresy.
Following the Horus Heresy’s aftermath the Primarch of the Ultramarines, Roboute Guilliman, wrote a mighty tome of wisdom that included strategies and tactics for the Space Marines. The Codex Astartes‘s, as the tome was known, most lasting and significant decree was that those then existing Space Marine Legions were to be divided into Chapters of 1,000 Marines strong. This was to ensure that no such rebellion as Horus Heresy was to happen again because no one man could command such a terrifying force as 10,000 Space Marines again. It also made Space Marine forces more flexible and tactical on their own as every Chapter was fully independent and self-sufficient fighting force.
The creation of new Chapters can only be ordered by the High Lords of Terra, and it is said ultimately only from the Emperor Himself, although the actual process of creation is performed by the Adeptus Mechanicus.
The gene-seed used to create new Chapters is stored by the Adeptus Mechanicus, originally tithed from existing Chapters. New progenoids are created using human test-slaves. Zygotes are grown from gene-seed and implanted into the slaves; these then develop into progenoid organs and are removed. A single slave is used in this way to create two progenoids, which are then implanted into two more slaves, and so on. One thousand sets of organs – the notional number of Marines in a Chapter – are created, after more than half a century of constant reproduction. Some Chapters’ geneseed is mutated in a way the zygotes grow at a faster rate and therefore are able to recover more rapidly from heavy losses of Marines within their Chapter.
Each Chapter created during a Founding adds its own unique character to the entire process–meaning that some Foundings have more luck than others when it comes to churning out Defenders of Humanity.
The Twenty First Founding was the largest Founding of Space Marine Chapters since the Second Founding. It took place shortly before the Age of Apostasy, in 991.M35. The focus of the Twenty First Founding was perfecting and removing deficiencies in flawed gene-seed. The Twenty First Founding is also known as the Cursed Founding, because of the appalling bad luck that seems to dog the Chapters created. Worse still, some Chapters have developed genetic idiosyncrasies, mutations that strain the tolerance of the Inquisition and threaten the Chapter’s survival.
And sometimes, we simply know that there was a Founding, and little else besides:
The Thirteenth Founding or Dark Founding was one of the instances where new Space Marine Chapters were created. The details of the Thirteenth Founding are almost completely unknown; it is unknown to the Imperium how many, and which Chapters were created, and if they still exist. This Founding is the only in which the Adeptus Terra does not possess the original gene-seed of the founded Chapters.
Now, Loremasters, at this point you might be feeling concern that entire chapters’ worth of gene-seed seem to have gone missing at some point in the history of the Imperium, but let me reassure you, those Chapters are doubtless still out there, fighting alongside the other heroes of the Imperium, just like their brethren of the Indomitus Crusade.
The Ultima Founding is the most recent Space Marine Founding, created at the direct order of Roboute Guilliman following his resurrection shortly after the Thirteenth Black Crusade. This Founding is one of the largest and most significant, as it consists mainly of the new Primaris Space Marines. Moreover, the Primaris Marines from the Ultima Founding will be used to refresh and reinforce depleted Chapters in addition to creating new ones. The Ultima Founding is at the forefront of Guilliman’s Indomitus Crusade.
And there you have it, Loremasters. The creation of a single Space Marine is difficult, but with care entire Chapters can be created to ensure that humanity’s future is secure. Each Founding marks another era of strife turned aside by the sheer force of the Emperor’s will.