The year is 2314.
Earth survived World War Three and came out stronger. Humankind has begun to explore their solar system, sending manned flights out to Jupiter, Saturn, and beyond under the aegis of an international astro-exploration initiative known as the Galaxy Garrison. With bases all over the world, the Garrison trains new generations of astroexplorers and sends them up equipped with the best technology Earth has to offer.
Sometimes, however, their best isn't quite enough. One year ago, a mission to Kerberos, one of Pluto's moons, ended in disaster. All three crew members of the Kerberos Mission—pilot Shirogane Takashi, and scientists Samuel and Matthew Holt—were lost along with their ship in what has officially been deemed 'pilot error'.
All three were graduates, Matthew Holt only the previous year, of the Galaxy Garrison Academy, based in Arizona.
Right now, one class of cadets is running team exercises in the flight simulators. Their 'task' is a rescue mission to Kerberos. It takes nearly five months to fly out there in real-time, so the simulators have skipped all the way to the interesting part at the end: reaching the moon itself, finding the planned landing site for the original mission, and attempting to make contact with the missing crew.
Kerberos looms before them in the viewscreen as the simulation begins.