A thousand years after the sun has died and taken most of the earth with it, the magical safety net that saved and sustained a tiny portion of the world begins to display signs of erratic behavior, threatening to throw what little is left of the world into another dark age. Worse, the fluctuations may be stemming from the war-mongering nation of Karitaas’ attempts to create a super-weapon by manipulating the energy released by the Net. Brothers Rhys and Tilden are part of a resistance force bent on sabotaging the Karitaas government, but face trials from within when their loyalty is questioned for saving rather than eliminating a volatile young test subject named Wynn from a weapons facility. They find themselves on the run with a wild and unstable girl they barely know, hunted by both former allies and long-time enemies. The world begins to crumble around them as they come to realize that the girl, their mission, and even the government’s experiments are not what they seem.
Breakdown and summary:
In The Wellspring, the world is our own, but far, far into a retrograde future: the sun has been dead for a thousand years, but a small portion of the world has survived thanks to the Net, an energy store put in place by a group of sages known as the Final Nine. The crisis comes in when the Net begins to show signs of failing–very few of the remaining inhabitants realize or are willing to accept that the Net was meant to be a temporary fix to the immediate problem of the dying sun and that its energy resources are finite and already thinly spread. The inhabitable portion of the world is slowly shrinking, and the nine Springs, the conduits that siphon energy down to the earth from the Net, are fluctuating to alternately produce dangerous highs and lows in energy levels, slowly turning viable areas into either irradiated wastelands or life-starved barrens. Since this has been happening very slowly until story-present, past generations have been able to ignore the decline with very few negative repercussions, in fact, some higher-energy areas began to produce individuals with special abilities–afterall, how could it be a bad thing to have a child with the ability to heal others or breathe underwater or shapeshift at will?
Unfortunately, as time has passed some have become comfortable enough with the properties of the Net to begin tinkering with it, hoping to create weapons or restrict the flow of energy in areas of their choosing. One nation in particular, Karitaas, has shown moderate success in weapon development and has begun to expand, annexing other countries and subjugating those that resist. Naturally a resistance movement has sprung up in response, calling itself simply Three Camps and running large scale sabotages of the Karitaan government’s research and military operations: they are ambivalent as to the theory that resources are depleting and instead focus heavily on the imperialism of Karitaas as the main source of the world’s troubles. Lastly, there is a small shadow faction run by the near-immortal daughter of Obiet the Ninth, the last of the Final Nine who designed the plan for the Net: she aims to restore a sun system and true balance to the earth, but finds herself at odds with both Karitaas and Three Camps at every turn: Karitaas is not willing to give up their shot at complete control via energy consumption, and the few rebels in-the-know in Three Camps are unwilling to sacrifice their military edge (most rebels possess special abilities and hail from smaller, higher-energy nations annexed by Karitaas–the return of true balance would likely mean the end of superhuman trends in human development). While this woman has the means, she may have lived too long and fallen too far out of touch with her own humanity to sympathize with innocents caught in the clash of wills as she squares off against those she sees as enemies of the earth.
The story focuses on environmental concerns on a large scale, and on a small scale, the sometimes ugly realities of human instinct and the fear of change.
We were given too much time.
The Final Nine knew the world could not last, even after they sacrificed themselves to save it. To save us. They gave us time, but far too much.
Each generation in the thousand years since the Net was forged has squandered their opportunity to finish what the Nine started. The Net That Caught The Star sustains us, gives us life and light, but it cannot reclaim the wastelands on our borders and even the gifts it gives a few, powerful though we may be, cannot replace what was lost. Only I, who have been here since the beginning, remember the feel of sun on my skin or the calm of failing light at the world’s edge—so far away then, now pressing in from all sides as the wastes threaten to add our green land to their dead.
It has fallen to me, the first daughter of Obiet the Ninth, to remind the world that this was not meant to last.
All content contained herein is the express intellectual property of Phoebe Copeland.