Shine Cycle Précis: Pax Nova

Pax Nova is the fifth planned novel in the “Alternate Universes” sub-series of the Shine Cycle. It will take place in and around the New Roman Empire, early in the starfaring phase of its history. This post is a brief introduction to this planned work.

Pax Nova is set in a time of New Roman history when the empire has spread beyond one planet, and perhaps even beyond merely one system, but has come into a senseless conflict with the Sigyni, a race of four-winged bats native to a nearby system.

The Quester arrives on a New Roman colony in a lull in the conflict; he immediately recognizes the signs of an ongoing war, and once he learns where he is and makes plain that he does not intend to fight against them, he asks the New Roman local commander to explain the conflict from his point of view.

Not long after his arrival there, however, Sigyni ships raid the colony—in retaliation for New Roman attacks, not that anyone in this colony could know that. The Quester helps the colonial garrison fight the raiding party off, but then begs and borrows a small ship, in which he sets off to visit the nearest Sigyni outpost to learn that side’s point of view and try to begin negotiations toward peace.

Once he arrives and makes his intentions understood, he finds Sigyni commanders readily willing to welcome him and explain the grievances that caused them to continue prosecuting the war, and what they feel an acceptable peace treaty would need to include. But since they have not been fighting for gain, they readily agree to accept a temporary truce so that such a lasting peace treaty can be created.

He returns to New Roman space with the truce offer, which the local commanders agree to honor at least until they receive further orders. Higher-level commanders arrive, and the Quester arranges for them and the Sigyni envoys to meet, and exposes any on either side who do not intend to negotiate in good faith. With that promising beginning, the details of the treaty are quickly hammered out, starting with peace but also including a first trade agreement and arrangements for cooperation in exploration and the like.

While the diplomats are quibbling over the final wording, the Quester slips out, and on to wherever he will next be needed.

The central characters that I’ve identified so far are the Quester, the local New Roman and Sigyni commanders, and those commanders’ superiors.

Do you have any thoughts about my plans for Pax Nova?


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