What would you do if you had to investigate a murder
you would gladly have committed yourself?
For readers looking for more information about what happened to the Earth after the Anihilation, and the answer to why the Oku wore shields, here are a few answers.
Imagine that in about the year 2450, nuclear war erupts on our Earth, a war that was is destructive that North America is ripped open from its mountains to its plains, that the seas rise in fury and flood China, lowland Africa and India, and that the Earth itself is tipped off its axis so that the greater part of its once fertile zones are turned to cracked desert. Following this Annihilation, it takes hundreds of years for the new ecosystem to stabilize, for the toxicity from the poisonous and radiation to die back to tolerable levels, and for the small pockets of life that remain to begin to expand again.
Around 2900, humans from various points of the compass gather on what was once known as the Anatolian Peninsula, which, thanks to the shifts of latitude and weather, has become one of the few truly welcoming regions left on Earth. These humans, coming out of Africa and Russia, blend their cultures quickly, developing a lingua franca and calling themselves the Oku (the Peaceful) and their city-state, Okucha (Land of Peace). They alone among Earth’s survivors have preserved the treasures of humanity from before the Annihilation: mathematics, science, medicine, history.
The Oku commit themselves to recreate the best of human society. For many years they wear protection against the remaining radiation, including face shields. When, around 3100, the need for such protection is deemed insignificant, they continue to wear their shields as both the symbols of identity they have become, and to remember their past. Aware of how close humanity has come to being snuffed out entirely, they forge such lessons into every aspect of their society, so that such a monstrous thing will never happen again.
About the year 3200, humans from what had been northern Europe make their way over the New Mountains in search of a new, more temperate, homeland, willing to fight for what they want. Unlike early waves of incomers, these folk, who call themselves Rasakans, are illiterate, and preserve Earth’s past history only as myth and story. But despite their marauding traditions, they are no match for the technological superiority of the Oku. The Oku, committed to a peaceful Earth, allow the Rasakans to settle on the fertile lands north of the Bosporus, though they impose conditions, which include disarmament and the presence of Oku administrators as well as organizational and travel restrictions. In return, the Oku set about educating the Rasakans, with the goal of eventually re-uniting as one people.
The Oku Science Conservatory, which has steadily been developing pre-Annihilation technologies for re-introduction into Oku culture, successfully fabricates the Artifice, the jewel of Old Earth science, kindling it on March 29, 3212. The Artifice creates a time Continuum, which allows non-metallic objects and certain humans to travel through time back to any time after the date of the kindling. They build a handful of Vessels and begin to attune Retrospectors, who must undergo ten years of biological modifications to travel in time. In accordance with Oku tradition, they are careful to use the flex technology, as it is called, for principled reasons: historical research and forensics only. They fiercely guard the flex technology, for they know its power if misused. Eventually a second Artifice, operated by the Civil Protection Force, is kindled, providing two ways to enter the Continuum.
In the year 3317, following some thirty years of discontent and secret weapons manufacture, the Rasakans invade Okucha, destroying the Conservatory and half of Oku City in the first year of this new war. Though Oku losses are heavy, the balance of military might is leaning their way when, in 3322, the great Oku General Omari Zane inexplicably surrenders to the Rasakans. The Rasakans occupy Oku City, though as they flee, the Oku disable the CPF Artifice. That is the situation when Zane is himself killed, and Merit Rafi, the last Retrospector left alive, captured and forded to work for the new Joint Protection Force by Rasakan Authority, is dragged into the limelight to investigate the murder. And so the story begins.