When the World learns that the comet Apophis will hit the planet in on April 15th 2036, global leadership mobilises to send the “best of us” into space, to save Humanity and begin a new idealistic society. Scientist Shoan Arkin creates the Quantum Program that identifies 288,000 children worldwide who have the optimal personality traits of humility, selflessness and generosity to be Humanity’s 144,000 Ambassadors. Every Candidate is guided by a mentor, every Candidate is shadowed and protected by a heavily-armed guard.
The guards are vital because outside of Quantum Compounds, civilisation has collapsed. Cities are in total chaos, a complete breakdown of law and order. Desperate “Misanthropes” surround the base, looking for ways to hijack or sabotage – anything to get off the planet.
So: our story begins in Cape Town, twelve days before the comet strikes. The majority of the world’s space ships have left the surface and joined the Superstructure in orbit overhead. However, the Calypso, in construction on Robben Island, is running behind schedule and is the last craft to leave. Cape Town has suffered catastrophic social failure.
On the Quantum base, Candidate Odin has not qualified as an Ambassador. He should have: on paper at least, following 10 years in the program, he’s the perfect candidate. Unfortunately that program is designed in such a way that his many acts of selflessness push him further down the list. Therefore, limited time left to be together, Odin wants to leave the
program and join his girlfriend Azra, who he has installed in a safe house in the city.
Five days out though, an Ambassador is murdered, and a seat becomes available on the Calypso. The remaining candidates are now offered a final desperate lifeline to escape the planet, where their instinctive survivalist desires are increasingly at odds with their decade of ethical training. But Odin still won’t go. He wants to stay with Azra. To persuade him to remain in the program, Odin’s mentor Halifax persuades Azra to take her own life…..
…..All the while, the barbarians at the gates threaten the entire project as the time to impact reduces a day at a time. All the characters are pushed to their breaking point as they are forced to examine themselves as they wrestle with their best intentions and their instincts for survival.