The story takes place two generations after near-apocalypse. Humanity has turned back an alien invasion at great cost and is now working to repopulate and to build safeguards against future invasions. To the first end, cloning has become a major industry, and the Mazarin family are at the top of the heap. To the second end, science, technology, and warfare academies have sprung up everywhere. The most elite of those is where we find our characters. The school gets plenty of private donations from industrialists, including Neville Mazarin himself. This is a school for commanders, so obviously it’s where everyone wants their child to go. Tuition is astronomical, but there are a fair number of scholarships available. Some students are there on recommendation of an industrial titan or politician. It’s unclear why others are there, especially the ones who seem to have little interest in classes.
The boarding school is part of a self-contained city that can, thanks to alien technology, move, although this is not frequently done due to energy costs.