When Blaire is sixteen years old, he is kidnapped from a life of luxury and privilege on his home planet of Teballai. His captors call themselves the FOEs (Freedom Organization of Elites), and the leader of the group who kidnapped Blaire is named Amalek Nikat. Amalek explains that Blaire unknowingly supported a system of tyranny and abuse, and that the whole planet of Teballai is controlled by an intergalactic group of scientists called ARCHON. ARCHON established power on Teballai through the use of mind-reading technology and robotic soldiers; now, they wish to spread control over the entire galaxy. Only the FOE soldiers are brave enough to try and stop them.
After six years of training, the FOEs release Blaire as a soldier ready to fight for freedom and independence. But Blaire’s first mission is to return to his home planet, which presents extreme risks. Amalek admits his own doubts about whether Blaire is ready for such a task, but as a former inhabitant, Blaire is one of the few people who can withstand the toxic air in its atmosphere. So Amalek has no other choice.
Blaire wants to atone for his former life by restoring freedom and proving his worth as a soldier. But his mission has hardly begun when a group of Teballai scientists capture him and subject him to a brain experiment. Blaire reunites with an old friend, another Cypher-P named Veramus, who helps him escape. But Blaire now carries a special piece of ARCHON technology in his head, and it enables him to read people’s thoughts. Initially, he is too ashamed to tell Amalek about his ability. But his power also enables to see the darkest thoughts of his companions, and the shameful secrets of the FOEs themselves. The longer Blaire keeps his power secret, the more he wonders where his allegiance really lies. Eventually he must decide whether he is willing to give up such control in the name of freedom, or join ARCHON to pursue ultimate power.