Earth Myth in The Void Between | World Anvil


What Happened

U1: “Uh, Houston. What’s going on down there. Are you seeing this?”
U2: “Negative, Is something wrong? What do you see.”
U1: "████ ███████ ██████ ██ ██████ █████ ███████ ███████ ██████████"
U2: “No worries . Everything is just fine.”
U1: "That’s not right. Let me try Moscow.
U2: "Don't you dare."
U1: “Tell me what's going on.”
U2: "No."
U1 “Why?”
U2: “Access denied- We broke into heaven”
— Last transmission from earth on record.
The Earth? I wouldn't even know where to begin. The story of the earth is complicated. It's filled with conflicting information, the product of misinformation. What facts we learn can come from unreliable sources, some living right here among us. When the earth fell, we lost our identity. We lost cultures and nationalities. We lost ideas and history. Most of all, we lost a home.   My job as The Archivist of Safeharbor involves picking apart this puzzle, and I've barely scratched the surface. I sift through the ashes, but these flames were thorough. There isn't much around to learn from anymore. To some earth is a myth, a story once containing truth that evolved to take on a life of its own.   We know it's been at least six generations since we left, roughly 300 years. We know we left in a hurry, and we know those who remember are dead set on burying their secrets. So let's begin there. Let me explain what I know, tell you what I believe, and regale you with the wild theories out there concerning humanity's diaspora.

Tin foil hats

For starters, we don't know what forced us from our home. The information is missing from the archives, with evidence indicating it was not only intentionally removed, but those responsible didn't even bother to cover their tracks. We know it was the earthborn, and they couldn't care less whether we know or not.   Some believe we destroyed the planet's environment, along with that of a few colonies in the origin system. Others believe an external force was involved, perhaps an extinction event arrived early on old blue. Maybe someone wanted the earth more than we did, and if they couldn't have it, no one would. Maybe we discovered some horrible truth that made leaving the system a viable option.   There are some who believe theology may grant the answers we seek. Maybe we fell victim to a cruel and angry god, indifferent to our suffering. In the end, it doesn't really matter. The records have been purged, and the earthborn are tight-lipped. I fear we may never know what truly happened.

Fact and fiction

I've spent so long speaking about what we don't know perhaps I should reveal some of the things we do. We know that the earth died quickly. We know it's nestled in a distant system far away from Safeharbor. We know that humans were just beginning to master spaceflight at the time, and we know the majority of those who left were carefully chosen, sequestered aboard arks that were never designed to leave the system. We may have left in a hurry, but it takes time to make a list of those who left.   We know there wasn't an invasion, or at least we feel it's safe to assume. No species capable of it would have been sloppy enough to let so many humans get away. We also know there wasn't a war among ourselves. Humanity was capable of many feats in the art of war, but war is not what consumed us. The records state we were in an unprecedented time of peace. Of course, the records were tampered with before. Perhaps we know nothing at all.   The Origin Exiles speak rather curious tales about the fall of earth. The evidence supports their account. There were many factors that led to our downfall, but a single event sealed our fate. This event was their doing, though the event changes depending on who you ask. "We broke into heaven," they say. They refuse to shed light on what the phrase means. Every human knows it. Whether it references a physical place or is meant to be figurative. The best theory I can muster is this: It seems we ventured where humanity was simply not meant to go.

Borrowed time

The only way the two can share a secret is if one of the two are dead. This adage appears to be flawed. The earthborn are an entire generation, all privy to the truth, yet none can bear to speak it. What cruelty, what unbearable experience could so efficiently haunt one's memory?   Those who want to know, Wayfarers and myself included, urge our elders to regrow a spine as soon as it is convenient. They aren't as young as they once were. The earthborn are slowly fading behind that thick black curtain we call death. If they all die, it would take finding earth to learn the truth, and that assumes theirs an earth left to find.   We know it hurts. We see their faces every time we ask about it. They are deeply scarred by the earth's passing. Their faces soften, their eyes glaze over, and some linger in a depression for weeks. It got to a point where we just stopped asking. We accepted their lies to spare them from their demons.
“I told you to leave.” The archivist said, turning from the woman.
“Not until I do what I came here to do.” Invicta replied, stepping forward and handing him a small electronic device.
The red lenses on the archivist’s face flashed. “Is that a hard drive?”
“It contains recordings we found on a derelict ark that never made it to Safeharbor, recordings from earth’s surface when it began its voyage.” The archivist eyed the drive, took it, and scanned it using every method he could think of. Invicta laughed, shaking her head, “I wouldn't try to pull one over on you. You should know that by now.”
The archivist plugged the drive into an old earth computer, the lenses flashing repeatedly as he explored the drive. An audio file played, echoing off the chamber of the archive. What he heard were screams. He heard the sounds of terror, pain, and rage. Something muttered in the back of the audio, a viscous roar that bubbled in the static.
“It seems there was a rogue signal intercepted by the ark.” The archivist said.
“We know that. What does that signal sound like to you?”
The archivist shot his head up, then back to the floor as he pondered the implications. “It sounds like laughter.”

Cover image: by ActionVance


Author's Notes

Archivist Trigger Commands
The Archivist is capable of responding to "queries." Using the following commands, one can request information, and The Archivist will respond.

  • Pose Query: [insert topic here]
    Express desire for information
  • Focused Query: [insert topic here]
    Ask for more information on a subject related to a posed query.
  • Forced Query: [insert topic here]
    Demand an answer if refused and the Archivist is capable of answering.

Please Login in order to comment!
Dec 19, 2020 18:13 by Jacob Billings

Ok. Let's dig into the conflicting bits of the opening to start. Firstly, while I liked the whole mentioning of the separation of humanity from their culture, I feel like you should mention something about how it brought humanity together as they faced the unknown of the expansive universe. Secondly, you call 6 generations 300 years. If I recall correctly, humanity has extended their lifespan which would, in general, suggest that generations would expand a bit more into, maybe, 600 years instead? Not sure on that, but something to consider.   What are earthborn again? I know I should know, but it's either those from the generation first born on earth or those still being born on earth. The latter of which makes little sense.   I like the repetition of the "maybe this happened." Also, the whole idea of theology within this world is super mindboggling to me. For humanity to have been thrust into the unknown, realizing their insignificance within the universe, one would expect any remaining semblance of religion to be crashing and burning at this point. I guess humans will always cling to an explanation, however ridiculous it may be. I'd be curious to see the state of religion within your world as, considering the current focus on earth, religion would have suffered following the experiences that humanity faced within the wider universe.   "To regrow a spine as soon as it's convenient" Seriously, I love the Archivist. There's so much sass, these articles have to be so fun to write.   I'm so curious what happened to the earth and the fact you've made it clear you're never going to even tell your audience is killing me. So, I guess congratulations? Anway, this was a super interesting article. I'd love to know a bit more about the earthborn, especially what state they are in considering the fact none speak of the earth anymore. For that to have happened would suggest that the previous events were enough to scar even the most courageous of humans.

Dec 19, 2020 18:17 by Jacob Billings

So. Uhh. I read this before the surrounding quotes. Those add a nice touch to the article, especially the last one. However, I'm still seething about the fact I'm probably never going to know what happened. The odd theory that comes to mind is humanity, though in a time of unprecedented peace, was in pursuit of a weapon so great that no war would even survive. Possibly even a biological weapon. And, instead of controlling it, they "broke into heaven" unleashing the destruction that destroyed the earth.

Dec 19, 2020 18:59 by R. Dylon Elder

So its kind of strange. A generations is a VERY bad way of measuring time. Usually, Generations are defined by the years it takes for children to be born and grow up to have kids of their own. from what i gather it's 20-40 years. I then took extended lifespan into account and kept the figure at 40-50, which accounts for sociological stuff too, In sociology, researchers look at generations a bit differently. According to the dictionary, this term refers to “a group of individuals born and living contemporaneously.” Think millenials, and baby boomers. Since there is an extended lifespan, contemporary time periods will change as well. I also dont want to make humans other than the exiles TOOOO long lived. so i figured 300 would work. Not sure how it works in practice. May change eventually. Course, the figure can always be wrong... ;]     I'll change it to "earth born humans," which is all it means XD   Ohhhhh, i really need to do that article. Religion is definitely in a weird place for humanity. When your interacting with a race that believes their ships to be literal and figurative gods, religion can be murky. Many of the old world religions have either died out, or evolved into new forms. I have many ideas for this and that article will be coming soon!   absolutely. The archivist is SO FUN. I love being able to play around with his narration.   I'll do an article on the earthborn for sure. To be honest, I really don't know if I'll ever truly reveal it in full. The mystery is so critical to the setting, yet i want there to be an element of closure. it may not be fully revealed but details will trickle through that allow one to make their own decision, with that little layer of doubt lingering behind it. I've even toyed with the idea that its possible earthborn simply can't speak of the earth, no matter how hard they want to or try. I've even pondered finding a way for ALL of these theories to be true. Who knows...   That is a good theory, for sure. It could have been a weapon, or some other kind of tech, that did the earth in. I can't say either way, though. XD

Mar 3, 2021 01:31 by Jacob Billings

Spotted a typo upon rereading: "and that assumes theirs an earth left to find." should be "there's an earth"   Also. I've rediscovered my theory comments and I think that they shall be of use in the discovery of how humanity Broke into Heaven. (Also, I think I'm going to twist your prompt a little bit as, since it's basically fanfiction, I'm going to make it a more active retelling than just theorizing. What an interesting way to get community engagement.)

Mar 3, 2021 02:58 by R. Dylon Elder

Oooooo doooo itttttt! That's exciting. That's perfectly fine!

Dec 19, 2020 22:56 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

What happened? What haaaaappppeeeeeneeeeddd?? It's so interesting that none of the eartborn will speak of it. It must have been traumatic.   I love the quote at the beginning. So ominous and really sets the tone of the article.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Dec 19, 2020 23:05 by R. Dylon Elder

Thanks so much!!!! I'm glad the opening worked. It certainly was. Somuch so they lie about it just to get em to stop asking.

Dec 20, 2020 14:10 by TC

God. What a great myth. The fact that we'll never really know what happened has me kind of sad, but I can't deny I'm also a huge fan of all the possibilities this opens up from a story telling point of view, and a worldbuilding one.   I don't think I actually want to know what happened, I'm much more interested in the idea of getting more information spread through articles, maybe lost and muddled records springing up, myths that are metaphors of what might've happened, that kind of stuff. Anyway, great article and great work as always!!

Creator of Arda Almayed
Dec 20, 2020 14:11 by TC

(also dropping the link for this if you feel like submitting ^^)

Creator of Arda Almayed
Dec 20, 2020 14:31 Private by R. Dylon Elder

OOOOO I just might! thanks for dropping the link. Also YES! tha'ts exactly what i plan on doing. If I'm being honest, I don't even wanna know what happened. I don't know what happened at all! It's the first time ive made a world and not wanted to answer a question, simply cause I love speculating so much. No one answer would be satisfying, no one solution capable of meeting the hype. As such, a lot of the information will be scattered, hinting at the truth, but so murky it could never provide answers without speculation. The head canon be strong with this story lol Thanks so much!

Dec 20, 2020 15:10 by TC

My pleasure!   And awesome, I'm so excited! I actually do the same in my world a little, although my mysteries aren't on the same scale as this one haha ^^. I think the speculation is the best part of mysteries, and I agree that its doubtful any answer could meet the hype (and I mean that in the best possible way, creating a such a mystery is no easy task and you're doing a brilliant job with it!!)   I might send you over my own theory about what happened, written from an in world point of view if you'd be interested? I think it could be a fun thing to do ^^

Creator of Arda Almayed
Dec 20, 2020 15:32 by R. Dylon Elder

0.0 that would be an honor. That's such a great idea! Holy crap. Id love to gather theories written in world and feature them in quotes! if you'd be ok with that, of course.

Dec 20, 2020 15:39 by TC

With pleasure!! I'll get onto it as soon as I can then :D!

Creator of Arda Almayed
Dec 21, 2020 01:51

I really like the this, it reminds me of that Fallout controversy over who fired first. Like this one guy saying that it was the US, this other person saying China, a random dude yelling about countries like Russia and England, and finally this one theorist who looked so far into the topic and went, "OH MY GOSH GUYS, IT WAS VAULT-TEC!!!"   It also reminds me of The 100(spoilers) where throughout season 1 and 2, we know there was a nuclear war that forced humanity into space or underground, but we don't know who fired first and we don't know why. Old rivalries? Territory? The Argentinians invading the Falklands, again(far fetched, but good example).   Yeah, this is just amazing worldbuilding and I love it!

Dec 21, 2020 02:14 by R. Dylon Elder

Ooooo I do love me some fallout. Thanks for such high praise, I'm glad you enjoyed it! That means alot to me.

Dec 21, 2020 16:49

Prepare for SPITBALLING!   I tried googling an AI that could decipher the blacked out portion of the message based only on how many letters each word has. No luck. I'll have to di it myself.   assuming the first three-letter word is "the"...   it is way harder than I thought to come up with the real text from a block of censored black bars.   OKAY! so that won't work. Let's take it from another angle. laughter, combined with the fact you said I was 'close' earlier. You say the Eden worship their ships as literal and figurative gods; maybe one took on a life of it's own and destroyed the planet? However, you explicitly stated no race would be sloppy enough to let the humans escape, but it would be significantly harder with only a single ship...   An AI uprising could be in the cards, but I don't see that happening slowly enough for folks to cobble together a cluster of ships, ramshackle as they were, to get into space. That's if they managed to keep the sentient viruses away from their nuclear launch codes...   Maybe something akin to a CTE, which is weird to suggest because earth is already pretty nice planet and we (almost) certainly don't have any ancient strains of bacteria beneath the surface that rely on completely different conditions to come to life. Maybe an asteroid containing a contagion of some sort, but none of this fits the 'laughter' heard in the recording.   In some ways, humanity and the Eden are the same. Both posess (or at least USED to posess) gene manipulation technology. Are the Eden really a long-lost humanity? How do the Origin Exiles treat Edenites?   I wonder if the same gene therapy that gave humanity its new quirks also created a beastial psuedo-human race that tore through the world like a zombie apocalypse. but, then, why would their maniacal laughter be transmitted over tecchnology they would supposedly have no command over?   I fell like it's all very tricky, because you are simultaneously saying that whatever happened happened slow enough that everyone had the time to carefully deliberate whether or not to leave, and retrofit the arks for interstellar travel. but fast enough that everyone who did leave left in a hurry. With the timing so precise, were the humans simply kicked off the planet? Perhaps another entity, Eldritch, AI, or Political, took over earth and ruled it with a cackling, iron fist. The only question would be, why would Earth itself mean so much to it, and the escaping humans so little?   Well done. I have effectively made zero progress with all this speculation, and the last days on earth remain a complete mystery.

Dec 21, 2020 18:48 by R. Dylon Elder

Oooo you bring alot of good ideas to the table here. I cant say what's right or wrong though XD   One of the best parts of this is you have no idea what information is accurate. This is a huge head cannon thing. It's all about who you trust, who you don't, and that changes literally everything. Take that first quote there. It's a transcript. Those black boxes could easily be falsified by the earthborn who purged the earth from the records. The laughter could be some thing else entirely if you're not trusting of the archivist, and oof, what about trusting invicta. The biggest problem with figuring out the mystery is knowing who speaks the truth and what individual things mean, and I love it!     As far as the Eden, the exiles avoid them... well, like the plague. They don't want to deal with the Eden wanting vengeance for the destruction of one of there ships. And the Eden certainly will send armada to kill a single ship if need be. Not a healthy life choice. As such, they tend to not deal with eden's. Plus eden is a misunderstood human ally. The exiles see kind of kinship in that.     Thanks again. In glad the mystery intrigues and excites!

Dec 22, 2020 05:36 by Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)

You have me on the edge of my seat with this entire project. I'm enjoying every article, and the mystery of what happened to Earth.

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
Dec 22, 2020 21:46 by R. Dylon Elder

Thank you!!!

Dec 22, 2020 23:43 by Catoblepon

I NEED to know what happened! The curiosity is killing me! D: I NEED TO KNOOOOOOOOW

Visit Daeliha, Iphars, Khulgran & Shattered
Love to code, but this one is driving me crazy!
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Dec 28, 2020 01:03 by Grace Gittel Lewis

Theory: some earthling datamined the universe to figure out what the future was like so the developers had to get rid of earth to avoid leaks.

Dec 28, 2020 06:56 by R. Dylon Elder

XD that is potentially one of the most meta theories ever!

Jan 6, 2021 21:23 by Stormbril

This is fantastic! Love the quotes, love the story to it, love the mystery. Great great stuff :D

Jan 9, 2021 19:31 by R. Dylon Elder

Thanks so much storm

Jan 9, 2021 13:26 by Angantyr

This one screams mystery. I both hate it and love it for the short form. Hate, because I would love to know more of what happened there and love, because it adds so much drama, where there are more questions than answers.   I got confused in the "Tin foil hats" part. I think the title suggests a link between the theories about 5G or similar, maybe some confusion, conspiracy theories? I cannot be sure if that is right and I fear it may not be as clear in some years, when the memory fades. Some explanation, even vague would be nice, imo.   The connection of heaven and hell is a nice touch. It comes up a lot of times in japanese anime, e.g. in Neon Genesis Evangelion, where people find one being and mistake it for another, or specifically in Owari no Seraph, where a demon says that "Angels are more terrifying than demons". This piece reminds me of that, with respect to the theory of "breaking into heaven".   I suppose there are no ways into scanning ones ming, is it? :)

Playing around with words and worlds
Jan 9, 2021 15:04 by R. Dylon Elder

Ooo thanks so much for your comment! I certainly want it to be as vague as possible and it is indeed a love/hate thing. I'm in the same position. I love the mystery, but I also know I can never answer the question and expect it to be satisfying for those who read it. It's one of the first problems I ran into with the setting. Instead, I decided to make it more of an invitation. I probably need to make that more clear, but that's what the tin foil hats section is kind of meant to be. It's all speculation.   I've wanted to watch evangelion for a while. May have to lol. That sounds awesome. Faith plays a big role in the setting. I love the idea of Angel's being scarier than demons.

Apr 27, 2022 01:33 by Lilliana Casper

Finally, an article about Earth! And... it doesn't give many answers. Well, I suppose that that message at the beginning hints that there was definitely sabotage in control areas, but that's not much, especially since we know the Origin Exiles were involved. I wonder how long it will be before some unsympathetic Wayfarer or similar decides to keep asking for information, regardless of how the Earthborn feel. I can't even imagine how traumatic the event must have been for them, but it is frustrating to not know what happened.   I wonder what else that hard drive might contain. Can the Archivist gain any clues from such a short transmission? I see that Invicta is the next article, so hopefully, I'll get some answers about that. Great job!

Lilliana Casper   I don't comment much, but I love reading your articles! Please check out my worlds, Jerde and Tread of Darkness.
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