Teleported to the Merica Desert of Terra by a space ship thirteen-year-old Lexa awakens to find her memories gone. Befriended by Kel and Dril, she joins their caravan. The only clue to her identity is a web-like tattoo on her hand.
At the Temple of Rasheed, Lexa discovers the key to deciphering several of the old languages – among them, English. While crossing the Ashville wasteland they find a cyborg named Iva. As they try to outrun mutant creatures Lexa and Kel become separated from the others. They find water and fend off a desert amoeba. After days of travel they reach Figaro Pass and find it blocked. They enter the Gordian Maze and use Lexa’s knowledge of English and their wits they solve every puzzle and claim their reward – a blue diamond. At the Way Station they find their comrades.
Within a month they enter Manhat. Lexa and Kel go to a hotel, but no sooner have they checked in than Dril calls asking them to meet him. They arrive and find Kel’s boyfriend. While Kel and he go for a walk Lexa waits by the park gate – and is picked up by an android for social services. She begs to be allowed to leave, and finds something the Examiner loves – Star Trek. She strikes a bargain – her freedom in exchange for an ancient mall full of Star Trek models.
While Lexa races back to the hotel, Kel’s past returns to torment her. Iva appears with two androids from Slave Management – Kel is an escaped slave. Dril and Lexa meet – and race to Long Island Spaceport so Lexa can hop the next ship to Planet Cyclo. At the last moment Lexa gets off her flight – she’s suspicious of how she was caught.
After a few vid-phone calls they discover the truth about Kel and Iva and hurry to them. Lexa sacrifices the blue diamond to buy her friend, but that now means she will be trapped on Terra. Kel gets her and Lexa jobs on a cruise space ship going to Cyclo, the next link in the chain of clues about her identity.