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- "Pain is the wine of communion with Heroes!"
- — Rethoricus of the Imperial Fists
The Pain Glove is a device of arcane technology used by the Imperial Fists Space Marine Chapter and their Successor Chapters as a tool for education, meditation, penance, punishment and even torture. Present in every Reclusiam and Chapel that the Imperial Fists maintain, this bulky machinery takes the form of a large cylinder in which hangs a body glove made of electro-fibres. The suit will cause pain to anyone who enters it by using electrical pulses to stimulate the nerve endings of his skin.
Rogal Dorn, the Primarch of the Imperial Fists Legion, was a firm believer that pain helped scour both the body and the mind of impurities. He was not alone in that belief; Jaghatai Khan and his White Scars ritually scarified themselves, while Vulkan and his Salamanders ritually branded themselves as acts of devotion. However, Dorn was disinclined to damage his body needlessly and sought a way to inflict pain without harm. His first success was a contraption that delivered electrical discharges to his body through the neural interfaces of his Black Carapace implant.
The Pain Glove is a refinement of Dorn's first device. Once the user enters the hatch in the flank of the cylinder, the machine animates and the body-glove wraps itself around him. The user will then find himself suspended in the middle of the cylinder, at a sufficient distance from its walls that he cannot touch them as he flails once the glove is active. The bodysuit itself is a flexible but resilient compound of electro-fibres that is studded with bio-monitors. The only hard surface is the neckpiece, a large collar equipped with more sensors and chemical injectors. The collar serves both as a neck brace, to prevent the user snapping his neck when his muscles spasm, and as an opiate-blocker to inject chemicals into the brain stem so as to prevent the user from passing out and ensuring that he remains conscious and lucid for the whole duration of the procedure.
Once an operator stationed outside the cylinder, often a company Chaplain, starts the procedure, an electric current will flow through the suit and stimulate all of the user's nerve endings. This will often make him feel like he has been dipped in liquid flame. The bio-monitors will keep a vigil on the user's life signs as the machine operates, and stop the Glove immediately at the first sign of heart fibrillation. The readouts from the sensors can also be used by the operator to tailor the wave frequencies and intensity of the current to the user's tolerance to prevent the user's body from shutting out part of the pain. A skilled operator can maximise the pain inflicted, even at low power settings, thus lowering the risk of harm while keeping the efficiency of the procedure at a peak.
The Pain Glove has various settings, each of them tailored for specific usage and users. They include:
- Educational - The lowest setting and the only one that can be safely used on unaugmented humans. A Chapter's Aspirants and Neophytes take turns in the Glove at this setting while the company Chaplain lectures them on their Chapter's history, values and faith. The younglings must learn to focus despite the pain, and absorb the teaching imparted.
- Meditational - A low to moderate setting, it is the equivalent of the educational setting for the superhuman physique of full-fledged Astartes. At this level, the pain often becomes unbearable and concentration often becomes impossible. Battle-Brothers request time in the Pain Glove at this setting either as a mark of devotion, or when they want to meditate on a particularly vexing subject.
- Penance/Punishment - A moderate-high setting, that inflicts pain to an Astartes for the sake of inflicting it. Often, the Sergeants and officers of the Chapter will enforce stints in the Glove on those under their command as a punishment for small failures. Any Battle-Brother can, however, request a session at this setting from his company Chaplain whenever he believes he must atone for some event or personal failure.
- Torture - This is the highest setting of the Pain Glove and is only administered to captured Traitors, Heretics or xenos to break them and force them to confess or deliver information. This setting requires careful monitoring by an experienced interrogator, for it can quickly prove lethal even to an Astartes.
- Index Astartes II, "Emperor's Fist - The Imperial Fists Space Marine Chapter", pp. 12-17
- Sons of Dorn (Novel) by Chris Roberson
- Phalanx (Novel) by Ben Counter