THE STORY


We open in Quito, Ecuador, 2092 A.D. There, we meet FINN, a twenty-six year-old woman. She is a NIGHTSPEEDER, one of the few individuals capable of piloting a spaceship through hyperspace and is presently scheduled to take the "Brazilia" with four thousand colonists on board to the neighboring system of Deneb Three.

EDUARDO VEGA, her Flight Controller and occasional boy-friend, warns her that there is a hyperstorm brewing. An early ship, the "Cairo", carrying a thousand colonists, was lost in such a storm. But Finn's pride and desire to not lose her bonus makes her refuse to cancel her trip.

On the "
Brazilia", Finn is aided by LIZZARDO, a cartoony ten-inch holographic dinosaur, based on a popular 3-D show she used to watch as a teenager. Lizzardo is the manifestation of the ship's artificial intelligence, which provides navigation assistance.

Finn is confident that she can beat the storm. But she is wrong. The ship is soon plunged into the middle of a hyperspace hurricane. She cries out in terror and...


... Wakes up in bed in Roswell, New Mexico, 1953. On the night table is a science-fiction paperback book entitled "
Nightspeeder."

Finn is a young reporter at the local newspaper who just had a nightmare. She has been assigned by her editor to investigate the UFO craze. To her shock, she begins to suspect that communists may be behind the UFOs and that the editor may be using her to help cover up the Reds' nefarious schemes. But then, she discovers that the editor is himself manipulated by mysterious US government agents led by
PHIL JONAH.

As Finn becomes increasingly paranoid, she starts seeing flying saucers, unmarked cars and Men in Black following her all over the city. She begins to doubt her sanity. Her psychiatrist,
DR. YARROW, advises her to quit her investigation and take some medication. But Finn does not trust him either. His real name turns out to be Yarovitov -- is he a communist spy? She links up with the enigmatic ZARDO, who encourages her to continue her search for the truth.

Finally, she and Zardo are pursued in a high-speed chase by Jonah's agents. The chase ends with their car being driven off the road by a flying saucer. Yarrow steps out of the saucer. Finn learns that the aliens are already here and that the real invasion has already begun. Then, Jonah and his men transform into ghastly demon-like aliens. Yarrow himself begins to change into something hellish and horrible. The creatures swarm over Finn and Zardo and...

... Finn, now a sixteen year-old girl, is abruptly jerked out of her virtual reality game, "Roswell-'53" as it concludes: "You died. Game over."

She complains to her best friend, a fifteen year-old boy named
NICKY, that this isn't part of the game. They are in an overpopulated New York with buildings towering over the streets. Finn is late for her after-school job. She's a messenger, riding a flying jet-ski through the streets. Nicky needs a ride home. Going against company's policies, Finn says he can ride along with her. The dispatcher advises her to cancel her run because of the stormy weather. But Finn refuses because she's got a perfect record and can win a new jet bike.

After a hair-raising race against the storm in the streets of New York, an unforeseen traffic accident occurs, during which Nicky dies.

The aftermath is horrible. Finn is fired, she loses her license, she's shunned at school. Then, she begins to see the same demon-like aliens who appeared in the "
Roswell-'53" game, eating her world a bit at a time, but no one else notices them. Her court-appointed counselor, DR. WYE, tells her she needs therapy -- and medication.

But the cartoon
LIZZARDO character from the TV begins to talk to Finn, urging her to not listen to Wye. He tells her that none of this is real, that she really is a pilot on a ship full of colonists.

The quantum nature of hyperspace is such that the mind of the pilot can shape the nature of its reality. Finnís repressed guilt over Nicky's death surfaced in her mind because of the similarities between the two accidents. She's tried to escape it by locking herself into fantasy realities -- first, of her beloved "Roswell-'53" game, then in a reproduction of her teenage life, but her guilt followed her.

But what are the demon aliens who've forced their way into her fantasy world? Are they the product of her guilt, or are they coming from outside?

Lizzardo tells her that she can keep trying to get away, but the only way for her to truly escape is to let the false reality be destroyed.

Which she does...

... Finn wakes aboard her ship, now under attack from the demon-like aliens who live in hyperspace. She and Lizzardo attempt to fight them off, but they are forced to crash-land on a hellish planet where they encounter the aliens' master, YAMA -- the "true" form of Dr. Wye and Dr. Yarrow.

Yama is revealed to be the pilot of the "
Cairo", the lost ship. After years of wandering in hyperspace, he went mad. His mind absorbed that of his passengers. He took control of the aliens and created the world upon which they stand.

Yama offers Finn a deal: They will duel. If he wins, she and her passengers will be absorbed into him, thereby increasing his power over hyperspace. If she wins, she will be allowed to return to her universe with her passengers. Finn sees no other option but to agree to the madmanís terms.

Yama then recreates a diabolical version of Finn's youthful trauma. She has to race with him along her old delivery route on her jet bike and beat him. He places a passenger on her bike:
KAZ, a fifteen year-old boy from the "Brazilia" whom she met before departure. If Finn is too cautious, she will lose to Yama. If she races as fast as she can, she may kill the boy -- it would be like killing Nicky again. She would be easy prey for Yama after that.

Finn races through the hellish planet. It is a hair-raising race, with Yama, having assumed the shape of a fearsome, flying monster, in hot pursuit behind her.

As she races, Finn realizes that her guilt over the accident in which Nicky died is what's holding her back. To defeat Yama, she must change the terms of victory. She must find some way to win her own redemption. Eventually, Finn sacrifices her life to save the boyís when the fateful accident reoccurs.

Her body seems to disappear, diffused into the quantum reality of hyperspace. Lizzardo is afraid she's really dead, and Yama thinks he's won. But suddenly, the whole sky shifts, changes shape, and becomes Finn's face, looking down. Through her selfless act, she has freed herself and is now effectively in complete control of hyperspace.

Finn frees Yama's thousand captives, which causes the evil entity to melt away. She remakes the aliens into friendly, cartoony creatures.

She then takes the "
Brazilia" and the "Cairo" to their original destination -- Deneb Three. In so doing, she also discovers that she has gained total mastery over hyperspace and opened the way to the stars for Mankind.