The final chapter of Barghest, Part II posted last week and I’m already working on Part III. As I did between I and II, I’ll take a few weeks off while I flesh out the next installment of Barghest and get things ready for you. I’ll also be working on fine edits for I and II, in preparation for publication through Kindle Serials. Amazon has been the right fit for me so far for e-publishing, and I am excited to see how will work for serials. In the meantime, catch up on Barghest (recap below) – or if you already have, reread both parts to find a few hidden secrets that will continue to play out. If you see anything that makes you question the future, please let me know. I love your comments, messages, and tweets!
Spoilers for Barghest below.
In Barghest, Part I, Clara Maker saw combat for the first time and faced humanity’s enemy: Cullers. The aliens have bony, armor plated bodies and lethal serrated scythes on their forearms. Their intent is nothing short of extinction for the human race – although the reason for their crusade is unknown. Maker barely lives through the experience, but the psychological toll will remain with her long after the scars heal. A brief encounter with a mysterious leader of a special operations team saves her life, but only leaves her position within the ranks of the Coalition more uncomfortable. She is left with the certain knowledge that while her government may require her to serve in the military for a short time, she is not meant to be a soldier. Larger political moves cut her planned return to Earth short, and she makes the heavy decision to re-enlist in order to preserve her family’s livelihood.
Part I also details how the Sol Coaltion, through a top secret project run by the Ministry of Science and Research, has invested in a weapon to end the Culler War. A legion of genetically engineered super soldiers – human DNA blended with that of an alien predator – psychologically programmed to protect humanity and kill the enemy. Malak is the leader of the Keres Legion, his pack. Although he excels at his mission, he is torn between what he was created to do, and what his instincts and logic tell him he should do. For the time being, following orders keeps his people fed, clothed, armed, and doing what they do best. The moment the objectives of the Sol Coalition no longer align with his, there will be a reckoning.
Political machinations unfold slowly in the background of Maker and Malak’s action. The Prime Minister, Helen Maker and Clara’s grandmother, has been manipulating the government and it’s servants toward an end that only she seems to understand. Whatever goal she is reaching for, her calculations do not exclude even her own blood.
In Part II, Maker has come into her own as a highly qualified translator and communications officer. Unfortunately, her training and skill cannot keep her out of danger. She falls into one terrible situation after another, and only survives by the barest margin through luck and determination. Between the vindictive superior officer dogging her steps and the constant fear that she may face the enemy – and come up lacking, Maker begins to realize that there may be more to her unlikely and narrow escapes than she previously thought. The Cullers seem to have targeted her specifically, and after a far too close encounter she has to wonder if there is a serious flaw in her genetic code. She believes she may be able to communicate on a para-sensory level, and she is absolutely certain that she does not want anyone to know about it.
Across the Dark and hundreds of light-years from Maker’s Earth, Malak has grown frustrated with his position within the Coalition hierarchy – or, rather, outside it. Although he is their most effective tool, at every turn he finds himself strangled by the regulations of a human organization and their paradoxical disregard for the value of human lives. The death of one of his own only makes him question his purpose more. Fighting to save a species that is not his own will eventually get everyone he protects killed. A mission years in the planning is nearly compromised, and he is left with a decision. He has the authority and duty to eliminate any threat to the Sol Confederation – and anyone with knowledge of his mission or his team. In this instance, he would not even have to pull the trigger. Walk away, and fulfill his mission objectives. Walk away, and agree that no one human life was worth his time, his effort. A human that had no place on the battlefield – was more hindrance that help in his eyes – and yet still fought tenaciously for her comrades. Malak saves Maker’s life, but it only leaves him in turmoil.
The former Prime Minister still works behind the scenes to set pieces in place for a game that few others even know exists. She had coerced vast budget allocations for weapons, ships, and a particular research project which concerns only humans that can speak Culler. One which causes symptoms very similar to what Maker endures: headaches, nausea, and nosebleeds that worsen over time. When a new, independent and powerfully popular president is elected to lead the Sol Confederation, Helen reveals to him that not only is she aware of the location of the Culler homeworld, she may very well know why they attacked Earth and started a century-long war. Informing the President of the existence of Malak and Keres Legion is a footnote in comparison.