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Humanity is at a crossroads.

A horrible war has nearly broken the world economy and unleashed the morally complicated issue of genetically modified people onto a planet not ready for the consequences. The world’s governments have joined forces to stop the downward slide and protect the normal population from these new and terrifying competitors.

But the genie is out of the bottle. Despite all efforts to criminalize the practice, thousands of genetically modified babies are born every year. Those with the means can order any number of designer packages for their child. If you are rich, you can ensure that your offspring will be faster, stronger, healthier, and better-looking than the rabble. For a pile of cash, your custom-built wunderkind will be born better-prepared to compete in the cutthroat marketplaces of the twenty-second century than those left to the whims of heredity.

But what to do with these children? Genetic modification was not their choice, after all. It is decided that while the crime belongs to their parents, their gifts will belong to the people. Excluded from private employment and elected office, this separate (but equal) group of human beings are required to share their gifts with society as a whole via public service. Of course, not all of them are amenable to this arrangement.

Enter the Wardens. This elite force is tasked with ensuring that the crime of “Modification for Advantage” gets punished, and those people who are thus gifted find their way into public sector jobs. They are formidable, feared, and hated by all parties.

This is the story of one of them.