Sometime in the near future, Lionel, a computer nerd, lives alone with his sick cat, Buddha. His flat overlooks the high street where only a few rundown shops remain in business, including his Caribbean friend, Mr Barber. Lionel, mixed-race, born in Kenya, was adopted by a white family. But, apart from his gorgeous, abrasive sister Lilith - his best friend and harshest critic - his family have deserted him. Lionel plays games because he's a coward who can't handle human interaction, Lilith says, before one of her frequent disappearances. But when Lionel puts his headset on, and enters CoreQuest he becomes Ludi, a fighter, a lover. He's free. Here he doesn't need to face his past, bullied by his adoptive brothers, and the shocking childhood event he refuses to remember. Still, the 'real' world won't go away. Nor will Crystal, the haunted girl who needs to be saved from the brothel opposite his flat. Soon nothing adds up.