The Delos Project by James I. Schempp
The date is four, four, four-forty four. Four hundred and forty-four years after The Event that wiped out all civilization with the exception of a small cadre of scholars who have banded together to form The Institute. Working in their varied disciplines, they are trying to rebuild human civilization, in concert with each other through Ceda, the Central Data Banks. The full members of the Institute, the Officially Recognized Persons or Pers, are protected by the Institute Compact which gives them full freedom to inquire into whatever project they choose. Per Jaq, a Historical Anthropologist has chosen to investigate a new phenomenon, a birth defect known as Mastoidally Induced Retardation, which he is convinced did not exist prior to The Event. What he learns about these MIR children leads him to the realization that mankind is doomed to be replaced by a new species of humanoids, and the only way to prevent this is by preventing The Event from happening.