Martin Lessort, an official at the controls Ministry, is passionate about «Babylon», a 3D online virtual game. Despite the warnings of Loumia, his girlfriend, he gradually sinks into dependence. Virtuality takes precedence over a much less captivating reality. But how far is he willing to go to triumph over the enigmatic ancient city ?
539 BC, a man runs through the maze of streets of Babylon. Pursued by guards, he takes refuge in a warehouse but ends up being caught. Brought to the hanging gardens where the annual Akitu feast takes place, he is immediately thrown into a pit where a lion is about to devour him. He then strikes a stone slightly overhanging, carrying a mysterious inscription. The decoration fades immediately into thousands of sequins.
The man finds himself in a shimmering blue room, wrapped in a tight-fiting suit that he loosens. Naked, he pushes the door that overlooks an apartment with geometric furniture, open on the sleepy city. Paris, 2050 : Martin Lessort finds his real life again, in an empty city, populated by tramps, robots and policemen…
The next day, accompanied by Teddy, his colleague at the Ministry of Controls, he decides to learn more about the legendary Babylon and goes to consult the files of the Louvre’s Antiquities Library. As soon as he returned home, sure of the information gathered, he rushes into the playroom. He manages to mingle with the Akitu procession but after some random attempts to reach the tower, he fails again, narrowly escaping a group of malicious and terribly seductive nymphs.
In the apartment, Loumia waits for him and makes a scene, accusing him of squandering in this game the money of the couple and neglecting their few moments of life together. Martin cashes in quietly.
The next day, at the Louvre Library, he meets Miroslav, a researcher who helped the game’s designers. The latter proposes him confidential information, in exchange for money. Martin agrees. Back to the office, Teddy helps him to decipher the documents provided, at the expense of the clients who wait behind the glass window. As they get excited about plan of the ancient city, their leader, Hector Laffont nicknamed Balou, enters, yell at them and leaves with the documents.
In Babylon, that same evening, Martin gains ground. Approaching the tower he crosses the priest Klanesh who offers him six elixirs of power vials which four are mortal. The choice depends on a series of riddles. Then he helps her to join the temple of Etemenenki.
On the outside, Loumia tries to convince Teddy to talk to Martin in order to bring him back to reality. The couple’s money melts like snow in sun. She worries about the consequences if Martin lets himself be caught by Babylon. But Teddy takes the side of his friend, persuaded that he is the only one, with the help of Miroslav, to be able to win.
Martin climbs the first floors of the tower. After a skirmish with the guards, he is joined by Balou, his leader, who, thanks to the stolen documents, has reached the same stage of advancement. They try to cooperate, to take advantage of the situation. At the top, a guard blocks the entrance to the monument. Martin offers his elixirs to his leader but he chooses the wrong vials and immediately succumbs. Martin then tries to oppose the goalkeeper alone but fails in turn.
At the office the next day, the opposition between Martin and Balou took on a new dimension. The leader’s revenge was fraught with threats. But Martin has other concerns: Loumia has left the apartment. He decides to wait for her after work and invites her to the restaurant. Loumia makes him promise not to return to «Babylon».
The same evening Teddy returns to the Louvre library where Miroslav helps him to decipher the Klanesh’s riddles that Martin transmitted to him.
At the restaurant, Martin and Loumia engage in a philosophical debate on the meaning of an existence in real life and in a virtual world. Martin emphasizes passion, Loumia values the real with his doubts and imperfections. Everyone remains on his positions.
During the night, Martin cannot resist. Loumia sleeps deeply. With the information that Teddy gave him, he is sure to reach the treasure. He have to try something before she wakes up. In Babylon, with the help of Christian, a player he has met before, he manages to enter the tower. They find there Sharane, the girl designated for the sacrifice of the Akitu (a player probably). They pass a first level which allows them to go down into the treasure room. While Christian and Sharane fill their pockets, Enkourou, the guardian of the place, proposes a new enigma to Martin. Four exit doors are possible.
Christian chooses one, Sharane chooses another, Martin decides to follow her. Bad choice: it is the door of hell. Nergal and Ereshkigal receive them on a piece of ice…They are prisoners, condemned for eternity.
In the apartment, a bailiff interrupts the game. His colleague, gloomy and sarcastic tries to bring Martin back into real life. Loumia is in tears, furious. She definitely leaves the apartment. The bailiffs leave to Martin two days to replenish his account or the furniture will be seized.
Having missed the morning’s work without a valid apology, Martin gives his boss a dream motive to dismiss him. He no longer has a choice, only a victory in the game can save him. At the Louvre Library, looking at the Miroslav registers, Martin finds the business card of the game designers, left there a few years earlier. Their offices are in Paris , 22 rue de Babylone…
Then he persuades Teddy to try to visit it. With the codes and passwords held by the Department of Controls, they have access to almost all housing. By night, they manage to enter the premises. But nothing is really accessible to them and they must resolve to leave empty-handed. Martin has nevertheless spotted a geometric table in the background of a wall poster to the glory of the two game designers : may be this is the key that he lacks.