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Mass Effect 2 Squad Bio: Grunt

March 14 2010

Mass Effect 2 Squad Bio: Grunt
by Samodean

This week’s character is The Savage, the Krogan Berserker Grunt.

Last week, we learned about the reasons for the Krogan Genophage. This week, we’re going to see its effects on the Krogan species.

As part of his mission, Shepard is sent to the planet Korlus by The Illusive Man in search of the Krogan Wardlord Okeer. Okeer is rare among the Krogan for his use of science and technology. While curing the Genophage was his original goal, that is no longer Okeer’s purpose. Instead, he is creating tank-bred Krogan. If merely surviving birth is all it takes to become a real Krogan, then Okeer feels the Krogan species as a whole is weakening. Instead, he would rather take his tank-bred Krogan, unconcerned with reproduction, and prove that only the strongest Krogan should survive.

Okeer is willing to do anything for his dream. He worked with the Collectors to obtain genetic information. He promised an army of Krogan to the Blue Sun mercenaries to secure funding. This is what led Okeer to Korlus, he had become an outcast among the Krogan.

In time, the Blue Suns’ Captain Jedore realized she had been played by Okeer. He never intended to give her the army. The Blue Suns attacked, and Okeer opened the tanks. Thousands of Krogan, deemed imperfect and rejected by Okeer were used as cannon fodder, all to protect his one, true, perfect specimen.

When the battle reached it’s conclusion, Okeer sacrificed himself to protect his “perfect Krogan,” entrusting the specimen to Shepard’s care. If Shepard chooses to release the Krogan, he will have to demonstrate his strength in order to earn its service. The Krogan chooses the name “Grunt” for himself. One of the last words in Okeer’s final message in the tank, Grunt feels it is perfectly descriptive of his purpose.

Grunt truly is the perfect Krogan. Engineered from the genetic information of the Krogan’s greatest Warlords, imbued with the memories of great battles, and indoctrinated with Okeer’s philosophy, Grunt was bred to kill, and is more than capable of the task. What Grunt lacks is direction, a purpose. He knows from the tank that he hates Turians and Salarians, but he doesn’t know why. It is Shepard’s responsibility to guide the young Krogan.

Grunt is a terror on the battlefield, proving to be a worthy addition to the Normandy team. However, in time, he begins to grow restless. He becomes edgy and irritable, even by Krogan standards. When he’s fighting, everything is fine, but when idle, he is overcome with increasingly violent urges. Fearing that this is some sort of illness, Shepard sets course for Tachunka, the Krogan homeworld.

This begins Grunt’s loyalty mission, “Rite of Passage.” Shepard and Grunt arrive on the war-torn planet and are given a cold greeting. Aliens are rarely permitted on the planet, and Grunt is seen as a lesser being, a dog that deserves to be put down. Shepard’s reputation is the only thing that gets them an audience with the Krogan Chieftan, usually Urdnot Wrex, depending on events of the first game. The Chieftan explains that Grunt is not sick, he’s merely coming of age. He needs to undertake the Rite of Passage to become a full adult. Of course, this is met with resistance from another clan leader, Gatatog Uvenk, stating that no tank-bred Krogan is worthy of the Rite.

Ultimately, the decision is up to Clan Urdnot’s Shaman. Shepard must get Uvenk to back down and talk the Shaman into allowing Grunt to undertake the Rite. The Shaman explains that Grunt does not have to take the Rite alone. He can bring his krantt, those that are sworn to fight in his honor. The mark of a true Krogan isn’t birth or personal strength, but rather earning loyalty and respect. If a warrior cannot find anybody willing to fight and die for him, then he is no Krogan, and unworthy of the Rite.

The Rite is fairly straightforward. Grunt and Shepard are taken to an old, bombed-out Krogan city, demonstrating the height of Krogan strength and a knowledge of what the species will return to in the future. Activating the “Keystone” gives a short speech about Krogan history and summons several waves of enemies, ending with a battle against a Thresher Maw. While it is only necessary to survive the Thresher, Grunt can become the first Krogan since Wrex to actually kill one during the Rite, earning four mating requests for Grunt… and one for Shepard.

After successfully completing the Rite, Uvenk shows up and offers Grunt a place in his clan. Grunt may be tank-bred, but his strength is unquestionable, and he would be a great asset to Clan Gatatog. Grunt refuses. He was nothing more than a tool for Okeer, he will not be a tool for Gatatog. The dispute is settled the same way as all Krogan disagreements, with one party dead on the ground.

With the Rite completed and Uvenk defeated, Grunt has finally earned his place in Clan Urdnot. Among other things, this allows him to serve under a Battlemaster. Grunt chooses Shepard as his Battlemaster, saying “Shepard has no equal.” Given a place, given a purpose, given a clan, Grunt now has direction in his life. He has a reason to fight and kill, and his outbursts are over.

Grunt is easily one of the best characters in combat. He is the only character other than Shepard capable of carrying the Claymore Shotgun. Unlike Jacob, Grunt excells at getting up close in combat. His Fortification skill can double his armor and his character-specific passive gives him a massive boost to health and regeneration. Grunt’s near-invulnerability makes him a popular choice for Insanity difficulty.

Grunt may not be as deep as some other characters. He is, after all, only a few days old. However, it is interesting to see his reactions to the events playing out before him. Without preconceptions or secondary loyalties, Grunt is the one member of the Normandy crew that will always give Shepard the truth. And the one that will always have his back.

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