Having lived her entire life in the isolated state This Great Nation of Ours, Sauska Morin has seen her two older brothers return from military service in urns before their nineteenth birthdays. Forgoing the option of motherhood as a means of citizenship, she has decided to take the route of civilian-military service. At sixteen, she has been accepted into the student program to become a cryptanalyst or codebreaker.

Coinciding with this event, the South have renewed their military efforts near their border, straining the already tightly controlled country. To meet the new conditions, teenage boys as young as fourteen are to be recruited to serve. Mathew, Sauska’s younger brother is sent into service before she can qualify to help him from afar.

On top of all this, she is beginning to see faults in the world she lives in. An acquaintance left crippled and ushered into the shadows by the government; families striving for citizenship being negatively affected by how they can achieve them; and a friend that cannot handle it at all.

Coming to the conclusion that maybe the institution that has housed, fed and educated her may not be as great as she envisioned, she is directionless. What can one person do against an entire way of living? Save as many people from another bomb? Or only save those closest to her? Sauska must decide what path she must take for herself and for the benefit of others.