Following the devastating effects of climate change, famine, disease, and nearly two hundred years of war, by the year 2450, the world has finally enjoyed two centuries of peace, while the population of the planet has stabilized at three billion. One central government, the World Federation of Nations, administers the judicial needs of all nations through its General Assembly and funds scientific research dedicated to restoring the planet's fragile ecosystems. At a principal research facility, located in Melbourne, Australia, a scientist is assaulted and vital data stolen. Almost simultaneously, four other facilities around the world are similarly compromised. After a series of shocking murders, Federation investigators realize they are dealing with a dark conspiracy that stretches across the globe. They enlist the support of the scientists and their sometimes capricious cats – mysterious creatures bred in special centres.