The Junker Model of BehaviourThe basic structure of Chapter culture is derived from the "Junker model of behaviour" belonging to the "ancient Prussic code" of Terra. The model demands dedication to meticulous detail in both military affairs and individual conduct. In military affairs, fastidious attention to detail is a hallmark of the Chapter's superlative planning and preparations. Similarly, every detail of an individual battle-brother's conduct is structured by the quest for flawless discipline and the obsession with punishment as penance for the smallest inadequacy, failure or infraction. 3b In each case, the Chapter's genetically programmed obsession with will power and order are the guiding principles.
Perhaps as a result of the Junker model, the Imperial Fists tend towards a stern disposition, even in comparison to other Space Marines. Upon first encountering the Imperial Fists, Captain Garro of the Death Guard remarked that "they seem a somber lot," to which Captain Iacton Qruze of the Luna Wolves responded in the affirmative, adding that he had served with a Veteran Imperial Fist for a year-long campaign who never once smiled. For these reasons, the Imperial Fists earned the nick name "the Stone Men" during the Great Crusade.7
Honour DuelsAs part of their Junker tradition, the Imperial Fists practice Honour Duels, a ritual imparted to the Chapter by a handful of Terran battle-brothers.2 Honour Duels serve to settle disputes between members of the Chapter. The duel itself consists in two battle-brothers being stripped to the torso, dawning protective eye-wear and having their feet locked into blocks at a fixed range. A third battle brother acts as a judge, presiding over the duel wearing a black robe and helmet to conceal his identity. Salutes between the contestants and judge commence the duel and the two battle brothers engage each other with tungsten epees, ending at first blood drawn from the face. The ritual distributes honour to both battle brothers: the bested Marine accepts responsibility for the dispute and apologises, thereby honouring the victor, while the resulting scars of a loss are looked positively upon by other members of the Chapter, thereby conferring honour upon the loser. 3d 3g 6d
ScrimshawThe Imperial Fists are known to practice Scrimshaw using bones from the hands of their dead. After battle, Space Marines who distinguished themselves in the recent combat are awarded the skeletal hands of fallen battle-brothers,3e the individual bones of which are adorned with carvings, designs, and otherwise ornamented. Scrimshaw is undertaken solemnly by Marines of the Chapter and seen as an opportunity to practice mental discipline, focus, and attention to detail. Finished scrimshaws are worn as jewelry and ornamentation, particularly by officers.3f
Pain and PunishmentThe Imperial Fists have developed particular cultural practices which tend to their obsession with conquering pain and penance. Chief among them is punishment that makes use of a device called the pain glove, which is both imposed by superior officers and self-inflicted. The pain glove encases the whole body and stimulates pain neurons, causing excruciating pain without inflicting any physical damage. The function of the pain glove goes beyond simple punishment in the sense of negative-reinforcement and includes positive spiritual value. Marines endure the extreme pain of the device by disciplining themselves to meditate on the glory of Rogal Dorn, thereby perfecting their spiritual communion with their Primarch.6a
So central is pain to the culture of the Imperial Fists that the Chapter seems to have developed a philosophy on the subject. As recited by anonymous Chaplain, "Pain is...a lesson that the universe teaches us. Pain is the preserver from injury. Pain perpetuates our lives. It is the healing, purifying scalpel of our souls. Pain is the wine of communion with heroes. It is the quicksilver panacea for weakness - the quintessence of a dedicated existence. Pain is the philosophic vitriol which transmutes mere moral into immortal. It is the Sublime, the golden astral fire!"3c
RecruitmentThe Imperial Fists take their potential recruits from many worlds, among which are Terra, Necromunda and Inwit. On each of these worlds they maintain a Chapter keep. However they have no special rights as to where they recruit their neophytes.
Once recruits are selected, their criminal record is examined, and they undergo a battery of tests: musculature, psychological profile ("Psychosis level"), psychic level, eye reflexes, intelligence, the ability to shoot, pain resistance, dexterity.
Recruits spend six months in the fortress-monastery where they learn proper Imperial Gothic through a hypnocasque before undergoing their initiation in the "tunnel of terror." In the latter, they face extreme heat, cold, empty space, etc. The severity increases along the way. If the initiate passes, he becomes a cadet and the symbol of the Imperial Fists is marked on his buttock. Then begins the indoctrination, training and the actual surgery that will make them Marines.
To celebrate the introduction of the Preomnor implant, cadets eat poisonous plants, venomous animals, etc. For the Omophagea, they consume meat (some of the meat they eat is human flesh) and must divine from the meat a few details about the actual animal.
After the initiation ceremony, the cadet's family is informed that their child has become a Space Marine.3
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