Nanomech Left behind by his childhood friend, Aiben ekes out his existence as a cybermancer acolyte and part-time starship mechanic on a backwater world. He leads an uncertain life, until one day, the Zenzani Protectorate invades his home and destroys everything he has ever known. Aiben soon learns that the molecule-sized machines, which augment his body and mind, have a centuries-old plan for him involving nanotechnology, genetic manipulation, and hyperspatial thought. Now, along with his companions, an old soldier and a sentient mechanoid, he takes his journey to a world of fabricated prophecies. There he navigates the treacheries of war and espionage to find an ancient weapon and a long-forgotten people that will bring his past crashing into his future and seal his destiny forever.