Alix Wilder has never won a computer game championship. He's never been kidnapped, built a flying trash droid, or invented shoes that defy gravity. All Alix knows is a terrible life at the orphanage repairing droids for Headmistress Oda McBride. Alix spends most of his time slaving away in the basement workshop, and he has no hope for a better life.
But everything changes when Alix wins the Deadfire championship game online and starts an internship at Gametek, Incorporated. There he meets Tara, a girl with a steel alloy chassis, Leo, a kid who insists on being the life of the party, and Bolat, a bully with greasy, flammable hair.
When Alix finds out that Gametek's newest virtual reality game, Battle Rage, includes pain, virtual death, and memory wipes, he tries to share his discovery with his friends.
But nobody believes him.