Major Story Arcs
Laurel Kennedy starts working in the government of UNOW (the world-wide confederacy of countries) after Orion Assante becomes the Grendel Khan, ruler of the world. She rises quickly and becomes one of his main advisors after Sherri Caniff dies. She is smart and influential, and influences events to benefit herself. She is the first main interior insidious force within Orion's government, and takes over more and more power within the government as Orion's energy is sapped with old age.
When Fadi, Orion's most trusted remaining advisor, lays on her deathbed, she implores Orion to have an heir. Orion finally agrees. Laurel makes sure she is the one to provide this necessary step; they get married soon after.
However, their doctors determine that Laurel cannot have any more children; the birth of her previous daughter, Crystal Kennedy, now a teenager, caused permanent reproductive problems for her. Orion decides to have himself impregnated using the advanced technology of their time. Laurel is unhappy with this but can do nothing.
Orion has the child, Jupiter, and bonds with him, deciding that he will be a fine heir. Orion dies five years later. Laurel says Jupiter is still too young to rule, so she will rule in his stead as Regent until he gets older. She sends Jupiter and Crystal away to a compound in the Dakotas, where they are essentially under house arrest.
Laurel's rule undercuts much of the good that Orion had done for the world in his time. Her relationship with Crystal becomes more distant and fractious, as she gets tired of being cooped up and ignored. Then out of the blue, a mysterious warrior known as Grendel Prime breaks in and steals Jupiter away from the compound. Even worse, it seems that the warrior is rescuing Jupiter to protect him from Laurel, not to ransom him.
Laurel and her Intelligence Minister, Heath, try to hunt down Grendel Prime and retrieve Jupiter. They send multiple squads of elite Red Devil soldiers after them, to no avail. Laurel isn't worried about Jupiter personally; she just knows that her own hold on power depends on being able to symbolically rule through his name until he is older. She loves to luxuriate in the trappings of the elite, spending time getting fitted for gowns and fancy baths. Still, she is an able strategist and coordinates her resources well, keeping Grendel Prime on his toes. She finds out that Grendel Prime may be part of the Project Athena, a secret plan Orion was working on before his death.
Finally Grendel Prime manages to trick Laurel and Heath into thinking that he and Jupiter were killed. Laurel has to announce to the world that Jupiter, the heir to Orion, is dead. The world begins to become much more difficult to govern in his absence, and Laurel starts to lose her grip on both her power and her sanity. Heath learns that Jupiter is still alive, but doesn't tell Laurel, and starts to take over the day-to-day ruling of the world as her mind starts to drift.
Crystal escapes the Dakota compound after hearing rumors that Laurel wants to arrange a marriage for her to keep her hold on power. Laurel is distressed to hear that she is gone, but as her mentality has been reduced to the point where she is playing with dolls in her robe, she doesn't do much about it. Finally, after Laurel throws a tantrum in the kitchen about cauliflower in her food, Hath packs her up and sends her to the Dakotas herself.
Heath then rules for ten years, and Grendel Prime and Jupiter stay underground, training. Finally they decide the time is ripe for Jupiter to ascend to the throne. Grendel Prime and some rebels take over Heath's seat of power, while Jupiter, Crystal (whom he met in the wilderness), and some other rebels break into the Dakotas. They confront Laurel, who has completely degenerated into an old, insane crone. They show her a hologram of Orion, in which he tells her that he knew about her scheming the whole time. Jupiter goes on worldwide television and forces Laurel to tell everyone who he really is.
Jupiter becomes the Grendel Khan, and is happily accepted by the populace. He has Heath undergo ritual suicide, and tortures Laurel to death.