'In a far future when extreme body modification is common, Tek’tek signs up for Anthropology 404 because Sarah is in the class, not because he has any idea what’s going on. As Professor Xi explains with some exasperation:
"For the benefit of those who haven’t done their reading — Sara, you may keep sorting — the purpose of this class is not to study aliens but to study ourselves, our origins, with an anthropological survey of the Originals. The Originals rejected modern technology. The latest they accepted was the steam engine, a contraption so outdated I doubt you’ve heard of it."
Now, most of the Originals live isolated on a reservation, but now, for the first time in centuries, one of them has come to the university. Communication with Enoch is difficult. But he has come because of a dire situation: centuries of inbreeding has doomed the population to death. To find a solution, they have to descend to the Old Stacks. But Enoch’s religion forbids him to accept it' (Lois Tilton, Locus Online).