Barghest is a science-fiction story set in a future where Earth has had a bloody, disastrous first contact. An alien species attacked the planet, and humanity barely managed to survive their victory over the invaders. Humanity had been struggling: wars, famine, environmental disasters, and achievements in science that came faster than morality could catch up. After the repulsion, advanced alien technology is reverse engineered to allow a massive leap forward in space exploration – and a fighting chance against an enemy that continues to attack. Earth unites under a single government, the Sol Confederation. The world Congress and the Sol Coalition military forces spend the next century fighting across star systems in a war that appears to have no purpose other than to wipe out humanity.
Congress and the Sol Coalition have acknowledged that the war cannot be won without taking drastic measures. Birth rates on Earth and reenlistment numbers cannot keep pace with the death toll. Trillions of credits have been invested in researching new technology and strategies that might turn the tide. The most controversial, and consequently most confidential, of those projects is genetic engineering. Although humans have reaped the benefits of medical advancements since before the invasion, it was only to improve the quality of life: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Tay-Sachs, and hundreds of other physical and developmental disorders – genetic diseases – have been wiped out. For some leaders on Earth, the next step is an obvious choice. To save their species, they must create a new one.
Success is expensive and long-awaited, but there are those who argue it is not a step towards peace. Super-soldiers, created in a laboratory, designed and raised to obey the Sol Coalition and defend a society that has spent generations shedding undesirable traits from their DNA. Faster and stronger, bred for war, those soldiers were created to fight and die on behalf of humans that would shun them – if their existence was made public. The secret research project could give Clara Maker what she desires most – a life without war. Or, it could rip apart the fragile unity Earth developed against a common enemy.
What makes humanity human – genes, culture, birthplace, common ancestry – and what inspires the connections that make one person willing to die for another?