Hellhound: Depredation

The blue dot in this image marks the spot of an energetic pulsar -- the magnetic, spinning core of star that blew up in a supernova explosion. NASA's NuSTAR discovered the pulsar by identifying its telltale pulse.

The Keres Legion has repeatedly demonstrated their value to the Sol Coalition, with successful operations that no human special forces unit would have considered taking on. Their time in the shadows, however, is coming to an end. While the military elite attempt to use the Legion to intimidate the enemy and inspire Coalition forces, Malak and his soldiers continue to look for a weakness that could bring the Culler War to an end. A device has been discovered that could be a weapon of mass destruction or a new transportation that could move Culler troops light years in an instant; either outcome would be a crushing blow to the Coalition defense of Earth.  Malak has the ultimate power to carry out his orders – even to eliminate witnesses of his actions.  When given the opportunity to make his own choice, he will have to examine his own honor and determine what comes first – the mission, or his instincts. Anonymity has given Malak license to kill, but recognition may give him the opportunity for freedom. Or it might make him expendable.

The Sol Confederation, and their military forces, the Coalition, were created in the aftermath of the Culler Repulsion from Earth in the mid-twenty-first century. Since her birth in 2129, Clara Maker has never known anything but the government that stretches across star systems, protecting her species from annihilation. The government that her own grandmother has helped to shape. Two years of service in the Coalition is mandatory in order to become a citizen of the Confederation, and Maker has enlisted for a ten-year term in order to gain additional rights and privileges for her family. To protect her friends. She cannot imagine a galaxy where the Coalition is not necessary. Or one where the Confederation is not using every means possible to end the war. She cannot begin to imagine what means the Confederation has employed to defend humanity. When confronted with the Keres Legion, there will be no denying what her government is willing to do. It will be up to Clara to decide her own limitations. Morality. War. Death. Choice.



Star Map for Barghest, Part II: Depredation. Galactic Image sourced from the NASA Image and Video Library. Click to enlarge map.