Helper12 works as a Baby Helper in Pre Ward, the place where babies spend their first six months of life before they're tracked for vocations and sent to training. She does her job well, and she stays out of trouble. But one day, the Sloanes, Society members who enjoy all the privileges of their station - family unit clearance, a private dwelling, access to good food and good schools - come to "adopt" one of the Pre Ward babies. The Director makes a deal and the Sloanes walk out with a brand new child.
They also walk out owning Helper12 - the Director sells her to them, and there's nothing she can do but go. At the Sloanes, Helper12 enters a world where people should be able to enjoy life - with high position and riches come the opportunity for individual freedom, even the chance to love - but that's not what she finds. The Sloanes are keeping secrets. So is their biological son, Thomas.
Helper12 has some secrets of her own; she's drawing, which is a violation, since Baby Helpers aren't tracked for Art. And she's growing to love the child she was bought to care for - at the same time that Ms. Sloane is becoming disenchanted with her impulse baby buy.
When all your choices are made for you, how do you make some for yourself? Helper12 is about to find out.
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