Manuel is 31 years old. He may not be the happiest of men, but he is not the worst off, either. He has friends, a girlfriend, a cleaning woman and a tax inspector. The objects with which he fills his days are an old red trunk, the lighting visit to an underground laboratory and his enthusiasm at receiving certain cybernetic messages, which are signs that are plan is underway. After having found a new master for his cat and after undergoing an unusual test for physical stamina, he tells his family he is going away for an indefinite time.
Taking nothing but the trunk, he goes to an inlet in the north of Lisbon where he boards the Vera Cruz, a 15th century Portuguese caravel. He dedicates himself to a life on the sea according to the only valid laws on board, which are none other than those of piracy.