From a post to DAVIDWEBER.NET forums on 6/18/2011

Beowulf and the 'super soldier' gene-mods

    As far as Beowulf's giving you "super soldier mods" if you live on a high-grav planet, they don't see it that way for several reasons. One, of course, is that Honor's mods predate the Final War and that the genetic codes for them (and for similar mods) are already widely dispersed through the genetic pool. Looked at one way, it's a case of the genie (you should pardon the expression) already being well and truly out of the bottle, so incorporating similar mods into an existing individual or population isn't really adding anything that doesn't already exist in its billions (or trillions) throughout human-settled space. The other reason they don't see it that way is that the hand-to-hand combat which Honor's mods (or any other high-grav mods) would normally impact is the least important aspect of combat in 1920 PD. Oh, it is going to be important in some cases, as Honor herself has demonstrated on more than one occasion, but it isn't going to be a sufficiently significant factor to qualify people like Honor as "super soldiers" in the greater scheme of things. Now, specific mods to enhance lethality, like poison-secreting glands in the finger tips for assassination work, or the incorporation of biological nanotech for combat purposes, would be very much against the Beowulf Code, even though everyone is fully aware that it is practiced clandestinely and available on the black market if you're willing to pay enough and run the risk of acquiring it. No Beowulf geneticist or physician would support that sort of weaponization of biotech for an instant. Indeed, one thing I haven't yet settled --- I've reduced the possibilities to about three scenarios --- is how Beowulf is going to respond when it realizes the extent to which Mesa is prepared to deploy bioweapons and/or genetically modified/enhanced spec ops types. Obviously they'll be prepared to develop counter agents and repair therapies for any bioweapon they identify, and to figure out ways (hopefully) to counter the assassin nanotech, but will they find themselves forced to become more like Mesa in order to fight fire with fire? And to what extent will the revelation of the Alignment's internal logic affect Beowulf's thinking? Will Beowulfans find themselves actually beginning to wonder if the Alignment might not have had at least a few valid points buried in its sociopathy?

    Tum-te-tum-te-tum, I suppose.