Shine Cycle Précis: The Covenant

The Covenant is the sixth planned novel in the “Game of Life” sub-series of the Shine Cycle, following The Invention. Today’s post is a brief introduction to this planned work.

As in the rest of the subseries, the setting of The Covenant is our Solar System in the, by now fairly far, future. It’s the mid-twenty-sixth century, a few decades after the events of The Invention. The main and point-of-view character is still Alice Hansen, also known as Alatumbra, by now quite old even as mages go.

The tentative logline for The Covenant is:

When the U.S. and other nations formally ally themselves with the Light, and Gondolor tries to stir up dissension in advance of his next invasion, Alice Hansen aka Alatumbra must hold the alliance together until reinforcements arrive.

Earth’s nations, and their colonies throughout the system, have been generally at peace, and much energy has been invested in interstellar exploration, trade (the generation ship launched before The Cross reached Elven Council space, and hyperspace explorers find the New Roman Empire), science, technology, and art. Not everything is rosy, though, as this period also includes the first instance of interstellar piracy. And, just this decade, many nations of Earth have asked to join the interuniversal alliance led by the Shine and Wild Empire as full members rather than as protectorates.

In “the wider war” outside our universe, with time passing more quickly, Gondolor has yet again escaped from his imprisonment. This time he was freed by force by a large fleet, which he then leads to Earth’s solar system to try to disrupt this step in the development of the alliance opposed to him.

Alice Hansen receives word of this incoming fleet, and passes it on to the leaders who had gathered for the treaty signing, as well as assurance that reinforcements are being gathered and will be en route very soon. But the leaders quickly become worried about their safety and that of their districts, and begin murmuring about taking their national fleets and leaving the conference to defend their homes in person instead of joining forces, awaiting the reinforcements, and standing their ground.

Messengers then begin to arrive from around the system, some with reports of preparations for attack, but others with news of natural disasters or political unrest. Alice realizes that some of these are Gondolor’s agents, trying to stir up trouble amid the delegations, and she speaks to several of the more wavering delegates individually, then to the delegation as a whole, urging them to remain firm and committed.

In a brief recess, just short enough that the delegates can’t go very far and come back, she works with her team of analysts and mages to unmask the enemy agents among the assembled staff, and she sends messages of her own to friends among the defense forces throughout the system to improve their preparations for the coming attack.

At last, a first wave of reinforcements arrives in advance of the enemy fleet, in the form of escorts for Alliance leaders coming to sign the treaty. Alice, as the most senior delegate, oversees the official signing of the treaty, releases the delegates to go home if they wish, and sends off official copies of the treaty by fast couriers to Elvida, New Rome, and other treaty partners. But because the enemy fleet is expected to arrive in the system very soon, even the delegates who had been most uncertain remain.

Gondolor’s fleet arrives, and Alice sends her escort up with the rest to meet it, then with the mages among the visiting Alliance leaders follows in her own ship. After initially breaking against the invaders’ line and being driven back, they reform and bring Gondolor’s fleet to a halt. The enemy fleet then begins to flee, as further reinforcements for Earth’s allies come in behind them, and Alice Hansen leads the allied leaders in capturing Gondolor as he attempts to flee.

Do you have any thoughts about my plans for The Covenant?

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