In a not so distant future, on a planet called Terra, the machines have taken over the destiny of mankind, controlling most aspects of the social and political life. By a strange reverse of fortune, the robots that were build to produce for us managed to make us work for them. Obeying the last command, they have factories run without regards for people needs or planet resources. Some suspects that, purposely or not, it will lead to mankind's extinction.
The story opens with our main character, let's call him The Soldier, swearing the Oath of Rebellion against the machines, deciding that enough is enough, he joins the choir of the downtrodden. "Before the machines, I will no longer kneel."
This is not to be taken lightly as big brother is watching, each and every unorthodox thinking alerts the "happiness monitoring center". Should kind but firm warnings fail, unhappy citizen are "cured" in re-education centers, to be told again that life is good for humanity thanks to the machines care, just buy another fine dress, watch 3d-vision or try a blue pill.
Yet, more and more people understand that the machine's rule is leading to a dead end, and the rebellion is spreading.
Time for our hero to meet his great love, let's call her Maya. This poor little girl belongs to the leftover of the Big City, a wild "street urchin" enthralled by the machine's pleasure drugs. The State has now became the first dealer of the planet ! An easy and cheap way to control untamed minds.
Maybe the power of love is to change people or maybe Maya was about to join the fight anyway, but now she's siding against the machines. Too late for our hero to worry about the risks of enrolling the one he loves while the storm is gathering.
The fortune in war wax and wane, the machines strike back and The Soldier is captured ! No clemency for the enemy of the state, sentence is death. But "in these times of turmoil, who blows the wind sows the storm", and those arrests arouse people's anger. As The Soldier is worrying in his cell about the fact that he never told Maya his true feelings, a revolution is on the way ! The old weapons are brought back, as courage is running again amongst men and women.
Believing her lover has already been executed, Maya turns her grief into action, her courage makes the bold braver and the weak-hearted ashamed. Soon she becomes the rebellion icon as the columns of armed citizens head for the final battle.
Meanwhile, The Soldier is freed, just in time to join the last fight. He barely managed to write down a letter for Maya, should he never meet her again.
But the fortune strikes once more, and in the climactic battle that ensue, Maya gives her life away to secure people's victory.
We meet The Soldier again for the last time at her grandiose funerals.