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The Storytellers conduct forums to present stories from other worlds. They find humanity’s extraterrestrial adventures enjoyable albeit somewhat ridiculous. Their latest gathering concerns events on a planet called Xavier. Throughout the story, they interject information and observations like a Greek chorus.Devon works with the lifeforms native to Xavier. He has reservations about how humans are changing the environment and disturbing evolution. He explores the seemingly unlimited potential of animals called xavirytes. Brief encounters with so-called Conspirators, a group of citizens plotting against the government, change his life’s trajectory.The Xavier colony flourishes but has various socioeconomic strata. Jerrick and Philippa have been forced into the lower rungs of society. Marstek leads the colony and enjoys the company of his friends Corcoran and Verdan.Citizens of Xavier can win the Lottery. Winners are sent back to Earth as a reward for their hard work. Devon’s mother and Philippa’s parents were Lottery winners. Devon is surprised when his name is announced. He has a nightmare that touches on the troubling aspects of Xavier that he has observed. The dream ends with Devon becoming a fugitive after seeing the Lottery is a cover for culling the colony’s population.The next morning, Devon arrives at the Lottery Station. A stranger warns that he is in danger. Devon prevents the staff from drugging him and escapes. Devon hides in UnderCity, a part of Xavier where the underclass tries to survive, assisted by a reluctant Philippa. Philippa contacts Verdan for help. He once tried to help her and, to her surprise, is Devon’s friend. Verdan spirits Phillipa and Devon to a farm. The farm becomes the launching point to answer Devon’s concerns. Where do Lottery winners go? Is there another colony on Xavier? Who are the Conspirators? Are ships still coming from Earth? Why are only children brought as new colonists?Devon and others head into the uncharted wilderness. The team traverses the landscape and gains new perspectives on the planet, the star system, and their relationships. One team member dies in an attack by genetically-manipulated xaviforms. The group finally reaches Cara Verde, a colony they didn’t know existed. A civil war is brewing. Recruited into the Cabal, the opposition party, Verdan and Philippa confront the despotic ruler. This leader learns his police chief has been doing cruel things in the ruler’s name. He joins forces with the Cabal to return Cara Verde to a democracy.Devon finds a third colony where Lottery winners have been shipped to be used as slaves to raise genetically-altered xavirytes that produce an energy crystal. The crystals are sold to Earth to profit the police chief. The chief also kidnapped Cara Verde children to continue the illusion that new colonists were arriving in the Xavier colony. Scientists in the third colony altered xavirytes using human DNA. These homo-xavirytes evolved rapidly like all native species and have acquired rudimentary human intelligence. The homo-xavirytes thirst for the hemoglobin in human blood; they crave iron to feed their developing brains. The team rushes to tell the Xavier colony, but the homo-xavirytes are already there. Devon realizes an indigenous parasite is their only hope if they can figure out how to deploy this biological weapon.

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