The general overview
More of a Brainstorm for the story and the direction it's going:
...the character Elssa is a military woman (Aquatic humanoid.) She lives in a water society, since infancy, with species that are distinctly less human looking and more fish-looking than she is, but are quite advanced technologically. She grows up with and then mates with a particularly unlikely, very large, military guy in that society. He has a terminal disease that they have both known about for a long time and he dies at a very early age. She's left alone, turns to weightlifting and bulks up substantially (subconscious compensation for losing her "Protector") While she is skeptical of even the notion of spiritualism there are super natural events that occur that push her to her limits of disbelief. She has a recurring dream of a red bird (which she's never seen) leading her to a tree above ground where she visits the spirit of her lost mate. While seeking spiritual council she is visited by a mysterious boy that claims to be her mate and he vanishes. She is ultimately visited by red fish that seemingly has feathers and guides her to the above water world where she embarks on a journey that turns out to be epic, life altering and earth shattering.
The heart of the mission ultimately will be the material that's left behind and hopefully if we've done our work well the material will reflect or be a slightly over-dramatized version of reality, like a microsm of the idealized version of the world and maybe how things could or should be as well as how much worse things could be. It is interesting to explore how the rules of the animal kingdom might actually mix within advanced societies with language. Of course there will be commonalities that people will connect with, but the rules of the animal kingdom are extremely harsh by our standards so there will be differences too.
I'm not completely settled on this part of the story, but it has me pretty excited actually. I think there should be a world conflict, based probably more from the research I found about the planet more than anything else. The further exploration of the planet Gliese 581c (the planet where our main story takes place) reveals that theoretically the planet is not habitable, because it's too close to that solar system's Red Dwarf Sun and basically the surface of the planet exists in the state of constantly being scorched. Gliese 581d on the other hand could possibly be habitable.
Possibility for how the larger arc could be constructed:
(Even if this is the direction we would go into I don't think would make sense to even really allude to it until all of the societies and characters are really well developed)
There is Gliese 581c where our 7 separate societies are. The ability to maintain life on 581c is quickly eroding...there are three suspended environment islands that create a second atmosphere that protects the planet from the sun, the suspended islands are naturally occurring, but the most advanced society, unbeknown to anyone else on the planet, built city sized structures on these suspended islands primarily to sustain an anthro-made "Energy Shield Sphere" around the islands. The primary purpose of the spheres is bending and processing the incoming light from the Red Sun so that it reaches the surface of the planet. The byproduct of this light bending is that the suspended islands are invisible to the naked eye and slight disturbances in the sky are commonly accepted as a natural phenomenon, like the Northern lights in Alaska.
Onto the World Conflict:
The condition of the suspended islands is quickly deteriorating
Once they have completely deteriorated they will drop causing cataclysmic disasters.
Once the suspended islands are gone and can't the do their original job of shielding the surface from the sun the surface will be untenable.
The most advanced society anticipated this eventuality and was able to locate Gliese 581d with a fairly primitive star telescope/satellite and concluded that 581d is inhabitable, BUT 581d is half the size 581c...which means that everybody can't go.
More importantly... While the most advanced society on 581c knows that 581d can sustain life, can not know whether life exists until they actually go there.
Unbeknown to the most advanced society on 581c there are in fact 3 fully thriving and living societies on 581d that wield magic and have technology far superior to anything on 581c.
Christle's feedback and some more insight on how things might start to look down the road:
I think this'll be a great graphic novel! O: I .. shit I just got so much going through my head for the novel.. it's pissing me off that I can't get it all down at once! XD.. Ruined cities from the scorching sun, overpowered overworked police fighting against its rebellious frightened peoples. The government still hiding what they know and practically starting another holocaust to get rid of the problem persons that keep starting the rebellions. Disorder and insanity slowly dissolving the minds of adults and impressionable children - some of the children actually taking what weapons they know how to use and crating their own havoc out of their own fears and misunderstandings of the situation... dude.. O_O.. I'll be reading this.. The characters in my head are already popping up.. XD..