Shine Cycle Précis: Title Unknown

Title Unknown is the (obviously) placeholder title (that has somehow “stuck” in my notes for more than a decade) of the first planned novel in a brief sub-series of the Shine Cycle set near the end of our world’s future. Today’s post is a brief introduction to this planned work.

The setting is our world’s far future, in the same timeline as the “Game of Life” sub-series, in the late thirtieth century.

The tentative logline for the tentatively-titled Title Unknown is:

In the far future, when enemy mages send an asteroid ahead of their fleet to collide with the Earth, a shy pilot must lead a group of fringe scientists to destroy the asteroid and defend the planet.

As the “Game of Life” sub-series traced the future history of humanity, Earth has become a very minor part of the wider galaxy, having lost its colonies and those colonies having spawned and in some cases lost colonies of their own. But over the course of the thirtieth century, Earth gradually becomes united in Christianity, and grants liberty to those remaining colonies that wish it.

Suddenly, however, mages, astronomers, geologists, and other scientists notice unprecedented significant shifts in the areas of the cosmos that they are studying: the chemistry of the Sun, the orbits of asteroids, and Earth’s tectonics (though that last is commonly attributed in part to some widely-decried and dubious experiments less than a decade before) all seem to spell comparatively-imminent danger for human society on Earth when all was well mere years before.

Our (as-yet-unnamed) protagonist, a shy young pilot who has only just gotten her unrestricted license in the last year and is suddenly unemployed, hears the news and has a few ideas that no “mainstream” scientist or mage has admitted considering. So she gathers a few of her friends to investigate.

One of her friends, a mage, figures out the cause of the problem with the Sun, and announces it in a paper that takes the scientific world by surprise but that further experiments and analysis soundly confirm. Unfortunately, the easiest and most obvious solution would require the combined and concentrated efforts of most of Earth’s mages without other commitments, and other problems are also demanding their attention.

At about the same time, a closer look at one of the asteroids that appeared to be on a collision course reveals that it most likely isn’t an asteroid at all, but rather a ship or battle-station, and its path is being constantly adjusted to avoid an impact and take it into orbit around Earth instead. What’s worse, a large fleet arrives in the system, following basically the same course.

With her newfound influence as leader of the group that discovered the cause of the solar problem and contributed to the new understanding about the “asteroid,” she gets volunteers—and permission—from both Earth’s authorities and nearby colonies to take a group of pilots out on a “military exercise” and destroy the other body heading for Earth, which really is an asteroid. They successfully destroy it, but this leaves a cloud of debris hanging in space following roughly the same course as the asteroid had been, and as they engage both the asteroid-disguised battle station and the following fleet, the debris interferes with many of their most powerful weapons.

Once the battle station reveals itself, the rest of Earth’s fleet comes closer and joins the battle. The “shy young pilot” gratefully gives command back to its experienced commanders, and volunteers for a daring raid on the battle station, which either captures or disables it. Further precision strikes similarly damage several of the “capital ships” of the enemy fleet, and its other ships scatter and flee in confusion.

Which is where the story ends.

The central character is the “shy young pilot,” with a supporting cast of mages, scientists, and other “military types.” Like most of the “Game of Life” sub-series, but without a series protagonist to refer you to, I have a basic conception of the plot (briefly described above), and a bare idea of the protagonist, but little more in my notes just yet. But that’s enough to build on later.

Do you have any thoughts about my plans for (what I still have nothing else to call but) Title Unknown?

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