Cloning a human for the planet Kraal's cosmic zoo probably seemed like a good idea at the time. As an old and technologically advanced civilization, the inhabitants of Kraal had the capability to launch an interstellar vehicle, land a probe on Earth, extract DNA from a human subject, and transmit his genetic data to Kraal, 6.2 light years from Earth. The members of Kraal's unscrupulous ruling elite masterminded the mission of duplicating a human from a DNA imprint for a self-serving purpose. They conceived the project as a way to distract Kraal's citizens from a looming ecological disaster that their mismanagement of Kraal's natural resources had provoked. The resulting runaway greenhouse effect already had devastated most of their world.
Despite intricate planning and elaborate controls, the human specimen, Rick, breaks away from his slanted psychological training and his powerful masters, and challenges the assumptions that are destroying the planet. His success triggers brutal suppression, prompting the previously submissive populace fascinated with the human to arise in revolt. In the process, the masses learn the dark secret about the looming planetary disaster. Kraal's attempt to recover something of its past ecology becomes, deliberately, a challenge to Earth, which is staggering closer to a tipping point in its own impending greenhouse climate collapse.