"Do not fail your Brothers. Though their bodies may die, their spirit must return to the Chapter. That is your charge. In Nostra Manus - Progenies Futura."
- — Apothecary Credo
A Narthecium is a tool of a Space Marine Apothecary's trade, containing implements specially designed for treating the Astartes' genetically-engineered physiology and for performing first aid without having to remove the patient's power armour.
The Narthecium is either built into a bulky gauntlet module or incorporated on articulated armatures that protrude from the wielder's backpack. Containing anti-venoms, healing agents and stimm packs -- as well as having built-in surgical equipment and chainblades -- this device can be used by the Apothecary to crack open armour, carry out transfusions, repair torn ligaments, plug holes in organs and close terrible wounds.
It also comprises various counterseptics, skin patches, transfusions and other compounds engineered for the Space Marines’ physiology, and several stasis tubes for storing any recovered gene-seed taken from a dead Space Marine's Progenoid Glands.
In battle, an Apothecary carries a number of specialised items of equipment, integrating a variety of tools into his single, wrist-mounted Narthecium unit. The Apothecary may have crafted many of these tools himself according to his own needs.
He uses a high-powered laser scalpel or an adamantine-toothed chainsaw to cut away ruined armour so that he can treat a battle-brother's wounds, and he administers the panacea of drugs stored within the unit using long syringes.
The Narthecium also includes a pistol-like tool to deliver the Emperor's Peace by piercing the battle-brother's skull and brain with a metal piston. This is messy and often inefficient, though it will kill the mortally-wounded Astartes with little pain.
The chainblades and drills fitted into Nartheciums allow the Apothecary to crack open even Terminator Armour to reach a fallen brother's progenoid glands. It is essential that these are recovered, as they contain vital gene-seed without which the Chapter cannot survive.
For this the Narthecium has a carbon-alloy Reductor, a tool optimally designed for the extraction of Progenoid Glands quickly for secure storage in the Narthecium's dedicated cryo-receptacle.
The Narthecium also contains a highly secret concoction of poisons that react swiftly with a Space Marine's biology, causing massive heart failure. Even the existence of these poisons is a secret known only to the Adeptus Astartes and high-ranking members of the Adeptus Terra.
Other, non-Codex Astartes-compliant Chapters use their own variants of this equipment. Blood Angels Sanguinary Priests carry the Acus Placidus, a wrist-mounted pistol for euthanising those Blood Angels too seriously wounded to recover.
- Acus Placidus - A wrist-mounted pistol used to bring the Emperor's Peace to mortally wounded Blood Angels by that Chapter's Sanguinary Priests.
- Exsanguinator - This device is used exclusively amongst the Sanguinary Priests of the Blood Angels Chapter. It is otherwise identical to a Narthecium in all respects. An Exsanguinator is both a sophisticated medical device and a close quarters weapon. It is also used to harvest the gene-seed of fallen comrades and contains implements specially designed for treating Astartes physiology, just like its more common Narthecium counterpart.
- Fang of Morkai - The Fang olf Morkai is a variant Narthecium carried by the Wolf Priests of the Space Wolves Chapter. It is a multi-bladed tool like other Nartheciums, but also carries an extensive supply of potions, balms and herbs intended to aid wounded battle-brothers based on the herbal lore of the Fenrisian tribes.
- Hagen Pattern Narthecium - The standard Apothecary's Narthecium includes a chainblade and carbon-alloy Reductor, and an apothicarion drill for piercing armour. The Hagen Pattern is a deep bore version, which features a saw-disc in a lower position to where a chainblade would usually sit. The main focus of this version is for piercing armour and retrieving gene-seed as quickly as possible. The Hagen Pattern drill is larger and stronger than standard, and is designed to be able to work on Terminator Armour as well as standard Space Marine Power Armour.
- Codex: Space Marines (9th Edition), pg. 32
- Codex: Space Marines (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), "Command Squad", "Armoury of the Space Marines - Special Issue Wargear"
- Codex: Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 88, 125
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 55
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 16, 24
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 68, 173
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pg. 102
- Warhammer 40,000: Index Astartes - Apothecaries (Digital Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000 Munitorum: Narthecium (Digital Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade - Rogue Trader Store: Hagen Pattern Narthecium