The Beowulf family dominated the Heorot colony from the start. Nominally democratic, it became less so over the years and as technologies failed, it moved from a restricted democracy to outright oligarchy and dictatorship. The standard of living declined as the colonists lost skills and knowledge and more power accreted around the Beowulf family.
Heorot is a relatively small and cool terrestrial world, with the majority of civilization clustering around the equator. There are three major continents – Geatland, Midgard and Vinland – with a number of sub-continents.
Compounding matters was the fact the Beowulf family saw itself as a family of heroes, ones that needed villains – so they created them. Most were groups funded and encouraged by the Beowulf family and its retainers - and they were “safe” (for the Beowulf family) to deal with, thanks to their technological edge. But the process slipped beyond their control once a group called the Grendels recruited among the military.
Among these recruits was Edward Hunter Rose, a promising special forces officer, slated for command. Dissatisfied with what he had seen, and the waste of the Beowulfs reign, he took the Grendels further than the Beowulfs (or the Grendels) ever expected.
Knowing the fate his recruiters planned for him, Rose killed them and took the funding, leaving no trace. Then he began recruiting. His first was a dissident Beowulf – Laurence 'Larry' Stoehler-Beowulf. Long overlooked and as deeply frustrated as Rose, he was an eager recruit. Larry had great gifts for socializing, finance, accounting organization and networking, things that proved even more valuable than his family connections over the years.
Using Larry as a cut out and a source of intelligence, Rose managed the recruiting of Christine Spar and Epstein “Eppy” Thatcher. Christine's role was similar to Rose's – throat cutter, sneak and red handed killer. Eppy was the organization's computer and procurement expert, and when need arose 'mad bomber.'
After a few years, they emerged as the Grendel Clan, independent of any government handlers and proved a match for the Beowulf family and gained ground. Rose never revealed his identity until the end, acting only as The Grendel and proved a very effective tool of stealthy terror, assassinating numerous supporters of the Beowulf family and several Beowulfs as well.
As they became more successful, they gained more recruits, especially from within the military, and it erupted into a civil war. Which then turned nuclear, biological and nanotechnological.
The war wracked the globe, even affecting the Skraelings on Vinland. But when it was over, the Grendels triumphed over the Beowulf family, and then promptly turned to fighting each other since by this point, only Spar and Thatcher were left alive and both were scarred and exhausted by the decades of war.
Centuries passed until Orion Assante, Rex Grendel, unified the disparate Grendel clans with the assistance of the mysterious cyborg called Grendel Prime and halted the colony's headlong rush to extinction, using whatever means available to him. He tamed a world of feudal interests, nuclear warfare and technological plagues. Relentless in his efforts, he halted the slide and even stabilized the situation. In his track, he left the Grendels – a new class of military elite. Dedicated to following theor Rex Magnus' principles of excellence and sacrifice, they adopted the name of their predecessors.
Achieving the rank of Grendel is something to which both men and women aspire. The dogma is one of personal excellence over personal gain, and only the hardiest are considered deserving of the honor. A Grendel's life is one of honor and duty, ritual and denial, action and initiative. Their prime directive - aside from being a "peace-keeping" force - is to search out and destroy any instance of both nuclear technology and nanotech weapons (a scourge on their world at one time).
They are forbidden to own more property than they can carry and are expected to die for their failures at any time. A Grendel's word is accepted as law in any dispute. As a symbol of their office, they are required to retain a piercing weapon of some kind, and, in fact, most Grendels prefer hand-held weapons as a form of public testimony to their skills.
For applicants to be marked as Grendels, they must undergo a rigorous battery of testing in addition to presenting many examples of personal valor in the field. Only then will they be granted their ceremonial blade and the right to publicly bear arms. Then, usually receiving the tattoo or branding of their chosen clan, they join for the first time in reciting the Grendels' sacramental oath.
As with any philosophy, the theory is only as good as its actual practice. From the days of their earliest beginnings, the Grendel forces have existed in a tightly woven fabric of localized clans. Each group is distinguished by its own markings as well as specific rites and traditions, and only the Grendel-Khan himself is held in higher esteem than one's own clan. As a result, special interests are always at odds from group to group and political maneuverings abound. Maverick Grendels are few and generally distrusted by even their own kind. The security of a flock is one of the only nods to human emotional needs recognized by a Grendel. Excellence, its attainment and continuance, is the highest ideal of any clan.
Technologically, Heorot is a mishmash. Hover vehicles coexist alongside hydrogen cell powered wheeled vehicles and animal powered transport. Hover cycles, cars and trucks using either induced charges or magnetic fields are common (and still turned out by surviving automated factories). Medical technology slid back to the 21st century across the globe. Energy weapons are rare, largely restricted to lasers, particle beams and dissociation beams. Others can be found (String=<6), but they are rare heirlooms from the early days of the colony. Chemical firearms are common and found in a great variety. Melee weapons are fond everywhere there are Grendels on Heorot, even energy melee weapons (vibratory, smart, electrified, thermal). Nanotech applications outside of the clan militaries are rare, but Weak Stealth can be found alongside nanoweave greatcoats and enhanced boots.
Everyone save the Skraelings worship The Grendel, the original Grendel Clan, Rex Grendel and his enigmatic Grendel Prime as paragons of excellence that all should emulate.
The Sacred Oath
The Sacred Oath
With Grendel's sword
The Warrior arose
And conquered the World
With Fury and grace.
In Him was I born
In Him shall I die
In Him shall I lose
Name, station and face.
Death over weakness
Death over despair
Death over personal gain.
Death over dishonor
Death over death in life
Death over fire with no flame.
All this I pledge thee
O Grendel, great Khan
To serve and protect
Over death's endless tide,
With your word in my heart
Your eyes in my face
And your tooth in my hand
By my side.
Old Worlders of Heorot
Skraelings, or First Peoples as they prefer to be called, were a suppressed minority of Heorot for its early history, but once the colony collapsed in a war, they gained their own power and held it against the Grendels and their forces. Today, they control the continent of Vinland and many islands. Some of them have adopted Grendel traditions and rites, much to the disgust of their brethren.
Some of the Heorot colonists (allegedly lead by Laurence Stoehler-Beowulf) took advantage of the chaos of the civil war to isolate themselves on Midgard and deliberately divested themselves of technology they could not sustain. Today, they control Midgard and occasionally raid against the Skraelings (and band together with them when the Grendels raid them).
The Grendel Society
The Grendels dominate Heorot, but unlike most nobles they are open – anyone willing to serve and fight for them can become a Grendel. However, due to selective breeding and the advantages of growing up as a Grendel gives one significant advantages over those that don't.
Requirements: Biotech>= 3, Cognitech>= 2, Metatech>=3 and Nanotech >=3
Benefits: Hunter Warrior Profession. This functions as Soldier and Police professions.
Core Value: The Pursuit of Excellence. Grendels pursue excellence at all costs.