In the chaos following World War III, the Patriarch of the Church of the Resurrection rebuilt Earth's society into a collection of over 500 independent city-states. With alien technology that gave him complete control over the Earth's orbital space, the Patriarch outlawed war, and introduced the Constructed Reality MMORPG Primacy Online. He only allowed the city-states to engage in military conflicts with one another inside of the game. City-state leaders that attempted to ignore Church Canon were destroyed, along with their armies, by the Church's orbital particle cannons. For more than a thousand years, there have been no wars fought on the Earth's soil.
The release of Primacy Online VI: Legacy of Balor signals the beginning of World War IX. Each city-state will lock 50,000 draftees into cryogenic capsules and upload their minds into a character sheathe in the game. Until the armistice conditions have been reached, they will play Primacy Online in War Mode, with the death of the character sheathes meaning their real deaths, but this time there is a twist to the World War. Every still living perma-banned cheater from Primacy Online will be a special draftee for World War IX. They will be organized into a special contingent in the service of the Church of the Resurrection.
Patrick Armagh is terminally ill. Like a large number of other Primacy Online players, he is afflicted with an incurable nervous system disorder. He has less than five years to live and should be exempted from the draft, but five years ago, he was given a permanent ban from Primacy Online for cheating. Along with the other perma-banned cheaters, he will be forced to play Primacy Online VI: Legacy of Balor in War Mode, but Patrick's actual method of cheating was never discovered.
Morgan Danan, Speaker of the City of Mann, and the acknowledged number one player of Primacy Online has deal for Patrick. With her help and his undiscovered cheat, he has the chance to become a virtual God within Primacy Online. When you are already as good as dead, there is nothing better than the chance to spend your last days as a living god.
What could possibly go wrong?