SGR 0245+05, a dangerous magnetar within close galactic proximity, shows signs of erupting just as the Earth is in a magnetic reversal and losing its magnetic shield. Professor James Templeton, a brilliant but maligned astrophysicist who alone predicted the eruption of “+05”, is summoned to Washington, DC, by Dr. Jacqueline DeFazio, his former lover and head of NASA’s Space Life Sciences Division, to consult with high-ranking governmental officials about the prospects for a major starquake in “+05”. He tours one of over one hundred American underground mini-cities that were built in the preceding decade based on his scientific predictions and is astounded by the realization that NASA and Dr. DeFazio were following up massively on his predictions of doom, even as they were attacking him in public. The magnetar strikes almost immediately after the high-level briefing and before he and DeFazio can reignite their relationship. Templeton is trapped in DC but manages to return home after a harrowing cross-country trip across a dystopian America in the initial stages of societal collapse. After two hundred years, the restoration of the magnetic shield leads a small number of underground survivors to eventually resurface to a feudal world of warring tribes.