In Earth Year 2353, the alien Mentakans invaded the Sol system, and humanity suddenly found itself fighting for survival against a brutal, vicious enemy. By mid-2354, the Venusian colonies had been wiped out, and Earth was at the point of surrender, leaving only the humans living on Mars to resist the invasion and repel the aliens. The Martians found themselves at a physical disadvantage however, due to the weak gravity of their terraformed homeworld. The Mentakans were stronger, and the Martians were incapable of fighting in Earth’s gravity, which was almost three times that of their own world, without the use of cumbersome exoskeletons.

Slowly losing the struggle and becoming desperate, the Martian government authorized the creation of the Valhalla Program to modify select soldiers with cybernetic implants that would make them stronger, faster, and more deadly. These extremely well-trained killing machines were used for special operations on Earth with a goal of breaking the Mentakan’s grip on the mother planet. Only female volunteers were taken at first, as they were considered easier to convert than males. Known as Valkyries, these supersoldiers quickly helped turn the tide of war, giving the Martians a much-needed advantage over the Mentakans, and soon Earth was free.

With the war over, the Valhalla Program ended, and Martian leaders, newly independent from Earth, began to grow concerned about how to integrate the Valkyries into normal society. Remembering the AI War, many people feared that the cyborg’s strengths and abilities as well as their conditioning towards violence made them too dangerous to be allowed freedom, and a compromise decision was made to “clip” surviving Valkyries, disabling as much of their tech as possible to bring them back to a more normal level of human ability. At least that was what the Valkyries were told. It soon became apparent though that clipping meant crippling or even killing in some instances, and the remaining unclipped Valkyries refused to submit to the process. Those that resisted were labeled dangerous to society and branded as outlaws, and they were forced to go into hiding, living on the run as the military, law enforcement and bounty hunters began to track them down.

Cwynhild’s Loom tells the story of Cwynhild Faer, the most notorious of the renegade Valkyries, as she attempts to stay one step ahead of those who hunt her. Together with her loyal friend, Jake Edwards, a former military pilot whose Valkyrie wife was killed while being clipped, and aided by Amon Thorn, the robotics genius who designed the Valhalla Program, she works towards aiding others of her kind, with the eventual goal of leaving the solar system and finding a new homeworld.

See also: AI War