First paperback edition cover
|Cover artist||Daniel R. Horne|
|Publication date||January 1992|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and Paperback)|
|Pages||344 (paperback edition)|
|ISBN||ISBN 978-0-441-25126-1 (paperback edition)|
|Preceded by||Virtual Mode|
|Followed by||Chaos Mode|
Nona is the woman ordained to bring the anima, the force of female magic, to her home planet of Oria, which is part of a fractal universe. In order to summon the Megaplayers, a group of musical giants, to help her, she dances by a sea cliff and unwittingly becomes the new anchor person.
After Colene, Darius, Seqiro, and Provos arrive in Julia Mode, Nona and her friend Stave prompt them to report to the nearest despot castle. Though the despots attempt to discredit Darius, rape Colene, and steal Seqiro, the four companions escape captivity and rejoin Nona and Stave. They help Nona travel to Jupiter, where she again seeks the Megaplayers. Angus, a native of Jupiter, advises Nona on how to bring the anima and ferries the party back to Oria.
Nona, who must stand on a specific rad to summon the magic of the anima, has no idea how find the correct one. Colene and Provos travel back to Earth in order to learn enough nomenclature to allow Colene to help Nona number the rads. While in the Earth mode, Colene rescues an abused girl, Esta, and her uncle, Slick, from a life of crime and despair. Though Slick and Esta plan to flee the country together, a police pursuit forces them to seek refuge on the Virtual Mode.
Meanwhile, Darius, Seqiro, Nona, and Stave have been forced to hide from the despots in the underwater caves of the rabble, a community of quasi-humans who are able to transform their bodies. Though the rabble initially plan to force all four companions to remain until they breed with one thousand rabble each, they agree to free Darius, Seqiro, and Nona if Stave will remain for four thousand breedings. Nona promises to allow four thousand rabble to live on the surface after she brings the anima, whereupon they will release Stave.
Colene and her companions return to Oria and reunite with the rest of the anchor persons. Colene helps Nona find the correct rad while the others distract the despots, and Nona successfully invokes the anima, shifting the magic of Oria to favor women. Nona joins the party on the Virtual Mode, and they return to Provos’ anchor, where Provos plans to adopt Slick and Esta as son and granddaughter. Provos releases her anchor, and Colene, Darius, Seqiro, and Nona slide through the Virtual Mode to the newest anchor, Shale.