The events take place in 2142, when the world is very different from the one we know today. Since the Warming, a terrible period of global warming in the 21st century, the way people live has changed dramatically, as they are now forced to spend most of their lives indoors. The world has evolve into a giant datasphere, where all people and things are permanently connected.
Above all, artificial intelligence robots have become a part of daily life: according to a study, there are nearly 11 billion A.I.'s on the planet. AIs have long since passed the Turing Test, and become virtually indistinguishable from human beings. They are capable of autonomous behavior, speech and even human-like emotions and feelings. In this society, robots are intended to serve humanity: there are AIs dedicated to everyday tasks such as managing buildings, others which exist to fight gladiatorial combats for entertainment, even sexbots for companionship and pleasure. Belladerma is a leading manufacturer of AIs, and an entire industry has grown up around the overhaul and reprogramming of robots. AIs are also know an robots, sentient beings, and djinns.
Public and private research - though the two have become inseparable in practice - continues to develop ever more human-like AIs. Jeanine Salla, for example, an ex-member of the Aragon Institiute of Technlogy (AIT) and now Professor of Computational Psychology at Bangalore World University, is leading work on simulating human emotion in AIs. In the private sector, Donu-Tech, where Evan Chan worked until his untimely death, and Cybertronics, are developing commercial AIs specifically adapted to certain tasks or environments.
However, the integration of AIs in human society has provoked strongly conflicting views. While the Campaign for the Freedom of Robots wants to liberate them from the daily drudgery and humiliation of their subservient roles, groups such as the Anti-Robot Militia are dedicated to the physical destruction of AIs. They are spurred on by the fact that from time to time an AI malfunctions, and takes its revenge on the society which created it. In this case, the Sentient Property Crime Bureau (SPCB) is charged with tracking down the robot criminals, but it is in competition with private agencies, such as Rogue Retrieval, who are the modern day bounty hunters. The irony is that they use specifically programmed AIs, such as Diane Fletcher, to track down the rogues...