The Nine are a bunch of "sock-puppet" like creations that each contain one of nine aspects of humanity. They were created in a time of darkness so that life can go on after humanity was destroyed by the machine. The story starts with 9 (the ninth creation) waking in an abandoned house. He climbs to the nearest window, opens it, and finds an acopalyptic world outside. Humanity has been destroyed. Ruined cities are all that remain.