In 2019, the last sub-light left Earth with about 200 persons of Eastern European, Russian, Canadian, and Brazilian decent, along with an indeterminant amount of genetic material and other technologies. Their destination is unknown. They ended up finding a planet on the far side of Kzinti Space, around the star Omega Eplsilon Psi (This is around 2100).
They find a habitable planet, and build a station above it. After the station is built, they begin to settle on the world. The world is based on the book Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh. In fact, they are VERY similar. Reseune was formed, and so was Novgorod (the capital). Reseune is a scientific community that breeds humans called azi. They also develop "tapes", which, when played by any human who is in a drugged state, will allow that person to absorb what is on the tape.
Azi are born, and from day 1, they listen to tape. Regular humans are born, and don't
get their first tape until around age 6.
George is an azi.