Summarized by Jean Lorrah
Copyright (c) 2000 by Sime~Gen Inc.
The human race has mutated into Gens, who produce life force, and Simes,
who must consume that life force in order to live. To keep from
killed, Gens murder Simes on sight.
Into that world is born Zeth Farris, the son of Rimon Farris, Sime, and
Kadi Farris, Gen, who discovered in FIRST CHANNEL how to share life
force. This is Zeth's coming of age story.
All his life Zeth is hailed as a symbol of the future, when Simes and
living together will be the norm. He is almost grown when
opens, expecting to change over into a Sime at any moment, a channel
Sime vigilantes attack Fort Freedom. They try to cut off the
arms so they will die in changeover, but only Zeth's best friend Owen is
mutilated before they are rescued.
Abel Veritt, the community's spiritual leader, gives Zeth the task of
helping Owen learn how to live normally. Owen establishes as a
the potential of a powerful Companion, but is not allowed to train as
Then one day Abel takes Zeth to the border to tell him Fort Freedom's
deepest secret: the adult Simes have never been able to stop
completely. A wagon appears in the distance--a Gen woman bringing
daughter in changeover to the border. The woman is Abel's
Hope. Born in Fort Freedom, she established as a Gen and was sent
the border to safety. The changeover victim is Marji Carson.
Marji reaches breakout of her tentacles--she is a full-grown Sime in
need with no control whatsoever, and she goes after the only Gen
there: her mother.
When Abel tries to stop Marji, she attacks and nearly kills him, leaving
Zeth to protect Hope. A channel arrives just in time--no one is
From Hope and Marji, they learn of Mountain Chapel, the community
Gen side of the border where Gen refugees from Fort Freedom live under
tolerance. The town is dominated by a fire-and-brimstone preacher
Maddok Bron. He teaches that Simes are demons--and to have one's
turn into a Sime indicates some terrible sin.
The citizens of Fort Freedom send gifts and messages to their Gen
on the other side of the border.
Owen, frustrated at not being able to be a Companion, becomes a liaison
between the two communities. To his surprise, Maddok Bron is
listen to Owen's stories of life in Fort Freedom. However, the
believes Owen may be duped by demons--he is far from ready to trust
A Raider Band once again makes its way toward Fort Freedom. The
Territory government refuses to send its own army to help this oddball
community, so Zeth takes it into his head to go across the border and
help from Mountain Chapel.
Of course what Zeth doesn't realize is that he is hardly thinking
because he is in the first stages of changeover. By the time he
Mountain Chapel, what's wrong with him is immediately apparent to
confidently says he will bring Zeth safely through changeover, serve his
First Transfer, and show Maddok Bron a Sime who is no demon, but simply
normal, healthy young man.
When both Zeth and Owen emerge alive and well from the room the preacher
locks them in, it is the Sign Bron has been looking for. The
Simes and Gens living together without killing are obviously true.
heat of religious fervor, the Gens of Mountain Chapel ride to save the
Simes of Fort Freedom. But they are nearly too late.
Zeth's parents are so badly injured in the raid that first his mother
and then his father, having lost the only person who could have saved
dies horribly. After all the years of not killing, in his death
Zeth is left as the best channel in Fort Freedom--young, untrained,
grief-stricken. His confidence is shattered by the fact that his
killed--he now believes that it is only Gens who can prevent the
Simes, even channels, cannot trust themselves not to take lives in their
need for life force.
Zeth's depression plays right into Maddok Bron's hands. Bron,
sincerely--the worst kind of fanatic--has concluded that Simes are not
demons, but helpless beings created to test Gens. Gens must
Simes. Being able to provide transfer proves that a Gen is in a
Then Abel Veritt succeeds in refusing the Kill...and dies. Owen
Zeth to snap out of his funk, but with the last support of his life from
his childhood gone--all within a matter of months--Zeth sinks deeper
Maddok Bron takes over spiritual leadership of the combined
communities. Now he is determined to prepare himself to serve
any Sime, even a channel, by providing transfer to Zeth.
Bron and Owen become rivals--but Owen won't play games. He goes on
his regular trips to the Gen side of the border--where he is arrested as
Mountain Chapel is in big trouble--word has gotten out that they have
going back and forth across the border, and that there have been Simes
With Mountain Chapel and Owen in trouble, Zeth finally snaps out of his
depression and comes up with a solution: they can't move Mountain
but they can move the border!
At last Fort Freedom is doing something the local Sime Government can
behind--but the Gen Militia is not going to give up territory without a
fight. In the ensuing battle, Zeth is driven to face his worst
nightmare. Bron, all good intentions but no way a match for Zeth,
transfer. Owen is unable to reach them in time to stop the
Zeth shens himself rather than kill.