The Art of Being Human

Dalton, South Dakota, 2099. The War is over. But the battle has just begun.

World War Three has come and gone, and left in its wake a society of fragmented, independent city-states in the surviving regions of the former United States. Dalton, previously Rapid City, is one of the largest and most successful of these, with a rebuilt economy, restored power sources, and self-sustaining agriculture. Its current government, the Citadel Council, seeks to remain isolated from the outside world after the tragic events of the war.

Avoiding the larger world has not saved Dalton from trouble inside its walls. Dalton is home to one of the largest populations of Mixeds, human-animals hybrids created before the war. These hybrids are considered subhuman and are relegated to a servant class, treated as animals and abused without any fear of repercussion. Their continued protests and calls to be recognized and given comparable rights to the unmodified humans have been consistently met with rejection. An underground movement seeking equality and justice for the enslaved hybrids is growing within the city, but repeated government sweeps that all but destroy any attempt at resistance have damaged morale in many of the older Mixeds.

Tess Callaghan,¬†the daughter of a high-level city official, rescues an abused giraffe-Mixed¬†servant boy, Alex, and becomes part of the struggle of Mixed rights as a result, teaming up with a protest group led by her old friend Anja, a passionate and determined young lion-Mixed who is seeking a nonviolent way to change the government policies. Anja and her team struggle to hold onto their hope in times growing increasingly more volatile, Tess’s family deals with the repercussions of her choices, and Tess finds herself in the heart of rising tensions as a charismatic and dangerous new leader begins taking control of the city, and the world as she knows it begins to collapse around her. Faced with the choices of protecting her family or standing up for justice, Tess is forced to make a choice that will haunt and define her.

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