I had thought about that, but then decided I needed to move to the main story a bit quicker. May not have been the right idea. When you have the story and back story in your head, and “know things” it’s often hard to see things from an outside perspective.
I think feedback like this, discussion of what makes transitions better is why I want to do a beta program next time. And you need multiple points of view on this. One danger of using local friends is that they may know too much of the story in advance of reading, and don’t get the true “cold opening” experience.
I am thinking to do some of the backstory as an add on short story here on the site and may end up adding it to a later edition of the book. Or perhaps in the “Extended Director’s Second Final Extreme Re-Edit Edition” of the complete series. Assuming a convergence of books and movies happens by the time there can be a “complete series edition”