Jess was born a prisoner, grew up a prisoner, and at 16 knew he would die a prisoner. When his turn comes to try to break through the traps protecting a spaceship it seems his day to die has come. The ship, and others like it, have already claimed hundreds of prisoners' lives.
Instead he manages to avoid the traps and gain access to the ship with two other prisoners, beginning a frantic flight to freedom. Soon Jess finds himself loose in a brutal universe ruled by the Empire and riddled with pirates, slave traders, and worse. Can Jess manage to learn the rules of the universe and the capabilities of the ship he has stolen in time to stay alive?