The planet Northworld, named after Captain North who was in charge of the colonization of the planet, is missing. The Consensus rules the entire universe except Northworld, and the Consensus wants the control of Northworld back, or to at least to find out what happened. Commissioner Hansen is sent alone to visit the missing planet.
Hansen first arrives in Diamond, a peaceful world. The people of Diamond forbid any weapons. Hansen encounters a warm welcome from the curious people, but Hansen finds that the weapons he carries begin to disintegrate in Diamond; however, he does not stay in Diamond long. He then travels to a very different part of the Matrix called the Open Lands. There he is greeted by Walker (who later reveals himself as North). Walker, taking on the appearance of several talking animals, gives Hansen advice and tries to gain his oath of allegiance, but Hansen refuses. Instead, he decides to go out on his own, entering into the land filled with warfare.
Hansen is originally ignored by the battling warriors and left for the slaves, but he perseveres and follows Lord Golsingh’s army back to his town where he wins a place in the army. The people, though they live in primitive conditions with little technology, have very sophisticated powered armor. Hansen describes his impression of the world: “The whole thing was barbaric and pre-technological; whereas the warriors’ armor was extremely sophisticated, though idiosyncratic.” Nothing provides insight into how this can be. The smiths that repair the armor claim that the armor cannot be fixed solely with human skill, but the smith must instead mentally enter the Matrix to repair the armor. As Hansen discovers, the armor is not understood by the people.
Often setting aside his original objective of finding North, Hansen begins to become a part of the society. Hansen learns the customs of the society and he teaches the warriors how to fight in teams and so become more effective, but not without obstacles. Previously, the warriors had little tactics, but through the guidance of Hansen, the army is turned into a successful force that would be able to conquer the opposing merchant army in a quest for peace for the war-filled land — a dream that is a priority for Lord Golsingh.
Meanwhile, the gods of the land encounter many problems and friction. All the worlds of the Matrix are threatened by destruction. Diamond has been destroyed by Ruby, a militaristic and heavily armed world of the Matrix, and the gods decide that Ruby's distruction will eliminate the threat to the Matrix. After the battle with the merchants, Hansen finds himself in a room similar to that in which he was briefed on his mission by the Consensus. It is here that Hansen meets the gods that rule Northworld, the head of which is Captain North. Hansen is told to destroy Ruby in retaliation for the destruction of Diamond. In the process, Hansen must be made into a god so that he can enter into Ruby from inside the Matrix.
Public transport won't come cheap for local soccer fans; Minibus taxis and buses will charge commuters up to R50 to be taken to stadiums.(News)
Apr 17, 2010; BYLINE: Thabiso Thakali Football fans using Gauteng's minibus taxis and buses to stadiums in June will have to bear the full cost...