In the oppressive city of Kindred, circa 2052, Lance Canela tries a little too hard to fulfill the classic image of a private detective. Living in the shadow of the enormous Arcology and barely scraping by, he's happy to sit in his office all day, reliving the adventures of his hardboiled heroes from a century past. But when the wealthy Fiona, a woman he thinks is the femme fatale he's always waited for, knocks on his door, Lance gets a taste of life-or-death reality as he faces off against ruthless goons for the first time.
Shaken by the experience, Lance lays low for a few months until a new case thrusts him into the world of the super-rich high atop the Arcology, and that of the impoverished masses living at its base. In search of a missing girl with only the name “Ascended Employment” to go on, Lance must reconnect with Fiona and navigate the world of the wealthy to find her. Fiona, however, has problems of her own, and her past is more intertwined with Ascended than anyone could predict.