Charlie's hunt for his artificial diamond ring - stolen from the shop where he pawned it to buy a car - leads him to Eckman, a ruthless diamond merchant who has been quietly manufacturing cultured diamonds for Vexcor. Not only is Eckman undermining the Betaverse diamond industry, but he's unwittingly working with Vexcor to create enough artificial diamond chips to implant in every Betaverse citizen.
Charlie Jade is a rogue private detective in a world dominated by greedy multinational corporations. When Charlie sees the inactive person of a beautiful young woman he realizes she embodies the impossible: she has no identity, something inconceivable in Charlie's world. While tracking her suspected hugger, the trail leads Charlie to a secret desert facility. A massive explosion propels him into a parallel universe, our own chaotic twenty-first century world where he is both baffled by its differences and seduced by its similarities. Charlie is soon drawn into a conflict that not only involves his home universe and the one he now inhabits but also includes another, a pristine pacifist universe with unsuspected terror at its heart.