In some future world, soldier-seaman Varian is approached by a strange old man (really a robot) who urges him to So search for Guardian--a super-computer left over from the ""First Age"" and ""Last War."" So off goes Varian--with lovely Tessa, who's been much abused by men; with soldiers-of-fortune Stoor and mute Raim. But when the questers locate Guardian, they become its prisoners, each of them treated to mythic hallucinations: Varian recreates the Judgment of Paris; Raim sees his deceased wife; Stoor's loyalties are tested by Zeus; Tessa relives the Pandora's Box legend. And they're also subject to banishment, transformation, and assorted ordeals. Finally, that strange old robot (really a cyborg) tells them that ""the Guardian is insane"" (even undergoing psychoanalysis, perhaps), followed by the Guardian's own confession--which reveals its secret great sin, its guilt, and its wish to. . . be human. An episodic, humorless, and gnarled clichÃ‰-fest--delivered in dull, talky chunks and only half thought-out.