Malise has a problem. She's come downwell to Earth after spending too many years in deadly space combat. Her muscles have wasted away, her past is a confused torture of events she'd like to forget, and her brain is wired up to data-fat – addictive military hardware strictly illegal on Earth. She came back for a rest. But there can be no rest for the only woman who can save the world.
Years ago artificial intelligence probes were sent into the solar system to mine planets inaccessible to Man. The operation was highly successful – until the AIs stopped communicating and started breeding. Now a mass of highly intelligent machinery hundreds of miles wide is heading for Earth. It's indestructible and it wants more metal. And no-one knows how to stop it.
Locked away in Malise's head is a blueprint for survival which she doesn't know is there. And when she meets Snow, who offers her the chance to escape into the dreamy, virtual world of cyberspace with the help of a revolutionary new data-fat, she doesn't want to know.
But sometimes there is no choice...