In the early years of the 21st century, Earth received a Visitor from beyond the stars. This enormous, mysterious vessel and its alien Entourage destroyed human society as we know it. As humanity struggled to recover and integrate with galactic society, history was marred by a series of wars, atrocities, and economic collapses.

Now the Solar System has stabilized. The Engines rule Earth and many of its colonies with an iron fist. However, on the station Mea Culpa, a collection of iconoclasts, criminals, and scholars work to advance humanity and our relations with the aliens.