The year is 2030. The place is Centerville, a typical city.
Clifton Pembroke is a young professional with a promising career in the field of "disability advocacy." He helps people raise their disability profile-a single index that encompasses every variety of injustice and disadvantage that may befall an individual.
Raising one's disability profile can bring a host of benefits, including subsidies and preferential treatment. But some people are no longer satisfied with these benefits. They assert that their very birth was an injustice, that a fundamental travesty has occurred, that in fact they should have been a different person.
They even know who that other person is, and they intend to receive their just compensation-by obtaining the legal right to seize the other's identity.
Clifton becomes entangled in ethical dilemmas that run to the core of what it means to be human. In choosing sides, he must make difficult, even dangerous decisions. In his search for answers, he gropes in the darkness until he meets the people who are building the workshop of the second self.