Arti, the Artificial Kid, introduces himself and explains his persona and his performance art, which he produces assisted by his gang members and drone cameras. In the Decriminalized Zone, rival youth gangs strut and challenge one another, filming all the while. He and his friend and patron, Mr. Richer Money Manies, produce films for people living off-planet on orbiting platforms called oneills (a pun on Irish migrants and “one ills”). The Kid is recognized as the best of the combat artistes.
When one of the ritualized gang combats turns serious, the Kid suspects involvement by the Cabal, a shadowy group that supposedly rules Reverie. It later emerges that the problems are instigated by the evil professor Angeluce. The Kid, along with Saint Anne Twiceborn, a virginal religious fanatic, and Moses Moses, a recently self-resurrected former leader of Reverie, find themselves on the run from enemies. An attack at sea results in the death of Armitrage, one of Kid’s closest friends. Before he dies, Armitrage declares his previously hidden love for the Kid.
Saint Anne, Moses Moses, and the Kid tell their life stories while floating in the ocean waiting for death. They are rescued by a vast floating organic multicelled hydrogen balloon that carries rich mud from the ocean bottom to dump it in the biological stew of the Mass on a mysterious closed continent. In the balloon, they discover Professor Crossbow, the gilled neuter who had overseen the...
(The entire section is 468 words.)