The Archivist of Safeharbor Character in The Void Between | World Anvil

The Archivist of Safeharbor

Yours truely...

My father was against my meanderings at the archive. The Archivist did nothing. He just stopped telling my father I was there. He created a backlog of excuses and potential covers. My personal favorite was when I was 16. My father appeared while I hid away behind old machinery.
My father demanded to know where I was, and the archivist replied, "Perhaps A young man of particularly low moral fiber has miss caydie firmly in his clutches. I hear such activity is quite common among our youth."
I've never seen my father go red in the face before. I couldn't help myself. I laughed and it was far from quiet. I got caught. The archivist shared in my humor, but My father did not. He forbid me from returning, threatening the archivist in ways I never expected from such a soft spoken man. The archivist nodded. "Of course. Right you are sir. She's better off with her peers anyway. Did you know that the population of Safeharbor is 79 percent Male?"
And just like that, The archive was my sanctuary. I trust that The Archivist with my life. He's a genuinely good man.
— Interview of Caydie Kines
Oh? It's you. I apologize. I was lost in thought. I do that quite often. What shall it be today? What wonders shall I reveal? What terrors do wish to know to avoid? It's okay. Speak up. You've followed my words for some time now. I like to think of you as a friend. So tell me, what brings you before me today? Shall we discuss The Battle of The Pillars? Stargazing then?
Me? Why would you want to know about me?

The Archivist

I'll tell you what I can. I came to the archive shortly before the 1st war began. This is my home, my heart and soul. I belong here in the archives. As far as my body's construction, I'm not entirely sure. It's not of earth. This is Safeharbor steel.   There's a part of me that wonders if I was always here. Perhaps I was a rogue AI built by the species that made this place. I don't think so, though. We may never know. Personally, I don't even want to know.   When I first arrived, I was not trusted by those who saw me. One day I wasn't there and suddenly I was. "Who is this stranger?" They asked. I couldn't give them a name. They forced their queries and every time I replied, the sounds emerged, but without order, without harmony. I don't know my true name.
"The archivist guards the archive with ruthless efficiency, particularly Data module theta. Don't go near it. It's out of the way for a reason. If he is to be believed, the archivist has no idea why he guards it more than the others. I think that's where he stores himself. Perhaps it acts as his brain?"


What? Does it insult you? Does it bother you that I count myself among your species? Despite a body of steel, and lenses for eyes, I am human, or maybe I hope I am, at least. Perhaps I was? So many memories, and most of them aren't even mine. These vaults are not to you what they are to me. For me they are like having another mind, another body. I wish I could explain what it's like to exist in code.   No matter. I hold the keys to our future and our success. I opened the way to the archive. I am the only way it can be used. The archive has the technology we need to thrive. I'm sure of it. Why would I bother if I didn't count myself as human. Why not just keep it to myself? There are two thousand moving parts in this body. All of them are dedicated to humanity.   I've had this debate with myself for ages. It puts me in quite the existential crisis. What am I but an immaculate fabrication, a perfect lie? Of course, we both know there's more to it than that.  

Look and Feel

Despite his mechanical form, he seems to genuinely feel emotion, or empathy. He has been known to get offended when forced to answer a question he doesn't want to answer, something only possible with the "Force Query" command. He respects the Hephephobia most humans suffer from, but he makes it clear such things are not appreciated.

The archivist stands at nearly 6 feet. He's humanoid, dressed in rags with cloth literally draped over his skinny metal frame. It hangs off of many sharp edges along his body, rust caking on the exposed metal. His head has numerous sliding arms with metal shears that move as if to emulate expression. His eyes are little more than lenses flashing red light from his face.

His voice comes from a speaker where the mouth should be. His head is always shrouded in cloth to protect it from the elements, as he often enjoys watching the rain. His movements are fluid, deliberate and not without grace, but the occasional grind of rusted metal echoes off the chamber in the archive when he moves with haste.

Force Query: Lorne Smith

"Oh, you did not just say that."
The archivist panics, such a strange sight to see from a machine. He looks around to see if anyone heard the name, then rushes forward. His face is inches from yours, the dead eye lenses flashing red light.
"Promise never to say that name again. Lorne Smith was a young man who arrived on Safeharbor aboard the arks. I discovered something in the archives. Data module theta was more than information. Do you wanna know what it was? In that data vault lies the consciousness of an entire species, the species that built these ruins. Now, my superiors, they found out. They found my secret and demanded that I purge the drive. Who knew what other things this planet had in store that could seal humanities fate. I don't blame them, but that doesn't make any less wrong.
I refused. I would not commit genocide on the orders of terrified old men. Course, I was the only one with the knowledge to do it. They tortured me, and when I would not break, they placed me in a strange cylindrical vat. When the machine was turned on, I was unmade. You couldn't imagine the pain. This was more than the body being destroyed, piece by piece. This was the mind. The spirit. If such a thing exists. This species found a way to take the mind behind flesh, and graft it to a more sturdy frame.
I woke up in this body. A bird in a steel cage. They told me to erase them. They used their forced queries. I can always choose to deny it, and so I did. I lied. They never expected me to have free will... the curse that it is.
I can still hear them. They talk to me in the streams of data. It's how I know so much. I don't regret it, but I often wonder if I did the right thing. I sacrificed my humanity for it and what even am I? Oh, and what of my soul. If such a thing exists. What does it even mean to have one? Would you indulge me? What do you think? Am I not the same person I was. Am I not the same person or am I merely a copy? If the latter, i can't help but wonder if a perfect lie could still possess a soul.


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Dec 7, 2020 17:07

Oooh... I been waiting for this one.   I'm debating whether or not to listen to the podcast section. On one hand, I am curious. On the other, would it simply be more fun just to guess? Would it be better to maintain the mystery and be able to speculate on all of the possibilities than to be constrained to a single truth? PHILOSOPHY!   It makes a weird amount of sense to me that a being with all remaining knowledge of humanity would consider itself kin. I also love his personality from the story. (I think he may have taken it personally that her father wouldn't want her to browse his archives) He seems like a great person to go home to after a long wayfaring expedition and turn in all of your new data, and a fellow you can go to to celebrate the limited achievements of humanity in this massive universe.   Can the archivist access the entirety of the archives remotely, or does he need to physically access different databanks in order to bring you the information you need? I ask because you mentioned him moving with haste in the side bar, and I was wondering why he might do so.   ...Is he running from a bunch of folks he just pranked?

Dec 7, 2020 19:27 by R. Dylon Elder

You should definitely listen to it. It answers all those questions. Nothing too groundbreaking is revealed but you are right. It is one mystery marked off the list. I could see that being a downside. Xd thanks so much.

Dec 7, 2020 21:20

Wow. Dat's some nice audio. I love the ambience. Maybe cut down on the dramatic pauses a bit. Sometimes it feels like a bit much. I immensely enjoyed listening.   I'm wondering what exactly a forced query is if he can deny it anyway. What sort of consequences does it hold for... what should I call him now? Lorne? Archivist? Archie?   Getting philosophical for a moment, I don't think a soulless automaton could pull off the incident in the first quote. (;   On another note, If you ever need another actor I would love to participate in one of those audio tidbits if you're interested. I have a mic, recording closet, and everything.

Dec 7, 2020 22:26 by R. Dylon Elder

Yesssss dramatic pauses were a little much. The result of lots of cutting XD thanks though! And yessss we will once we figure out how this story is going to work. I will definitely take you up on that offer! Definitely archivist. Lorne will grind some gears XD   I'll clarify the forced query in ther article. The reason he was made that way is cause it was believed a forced query would force compliance. This is incorrect and he was able to lie about purging the drives. Now everyone believes forcing a query makes him comply to a request.

Dec 7, 2020 19:06 by Jacob Billings

Ok. I'm a bit behind on this, but holy cow I loved that opening quote. It's hilarious and gives a nice touch of personality to the Archivist. It's also interesting as it suggests a greater fondness for Caydie's desires compared to her father's. Speaking of which, you don't capitalize Cayde in there are one point.   Ooh. Is the suggestion of this article that the Archivist is the narrator of everything that you write and that, with your soundbites, your voice is meant to be that of the Archvist's?   To balance out the sidebar, you could move the quote in the middle of the left side content to below the sidebar. It might not be as purposeful, but it would still give the right feeling to the article and solve that problem. Or you could find something else to add to the sidebar.   Ooh. The idea that the Archivist only has a semblance of freedom with the Force Query being a method of forcing information out that otherwise would remain secret. It's also cool because, especially with the ending soundbite, you add to the idea that the Archivist is able to have a semblance of emotion -- as mentioned in the sidebar -- which is a really cool aspect of the AI.

Dec 7, 2020 19:32 by R. Dylon Elder

Yup yup yup! The archivist is a narrator for the articles. Caydie is the narrator for the story. Were still working on the sound aspect. That was a huge pain to record and there slare still some problems in there. Were ironing it out XD thank you for the kind words.

Dec 8, 2020 00:00 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Whooooa, the audio section is so cool! I love it. You did such a great job with the emotion and stuff.   I really like the revelation about 'forced queries'. I shall now be giving them slightly more of a side-eye when they appear.   I've been looking forward to this article and it does not disappoint.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Dec 8, 2020 00:11 by R. Dylon Elder

Thanks so much! Editing audio is a pain XD I'm glad it was well worth it. We will get better as we go.   Thanks so much!

Dec 8, 2020 14:43 by Catoblepon

I really loved this article, I love the archivist! And the audio? Goddamnit that is so cool! You to did a great job with the audio!

Visit Daeliha, Iphars, Khulgran & Shattered
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Dec 8, 2020 18:43 by R. Dylon Elder

Thanks so much! I'm glad you liked it. It was a lot of fun. Definitely something I want to do more of.

Dec 9, 2020 02:26 by Grace Gittel Lewis

NICE. Didn't disappoint after the leadup to this! Lots of fun can be had when you've got a single character like this in control of such an important thing...

Dec 9, 2020 03:01 by R. Dylon Elder

Indeed. This one took ages. The audio was a real pain. But I'm glad it turned out and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Dec 9, 2020 03:22 by Grace Gittel Lewis

I didn't listen to the audio due to the spoiler warning, is it spoiling some future reveal or is it just a minor thing and cool to get into now?

Dec 10, 2020 04:25 by R. Dylon Elder

It's more of a "choose to reveal the mystery," kind of spoiler. Its not a huge spoiler for future content. I invite you to listen!

Dec 16, 2020 04:02 by Grace Gittel Lewis

Finally got time to listen! That was great! Only note I'd give for next time is to make sure everyone who speaks does so at the same volume, and that music isn't too loud. The Archivist (who had some cool filters btw) was a bit quiet among everything else.

Dec 16, 2020 04:08 by R. Dylon Elder

OOOO yes. I did notice that. If I turned it up too high, the filters started crackling. It's the same thing that happened in the trailer for the actual project. I'll be tuning it to make the volume more equal. Thanks so much! I appreciate it.

Dec 15, 2020 13:26 by Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)

I really enjoyed this article, but the audio is what made it even better for me. So good!

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
Dec 16, 2020 21:12 by R. Dylon Elder

Tha k you! I'm still playing around with it but hopefully I'll get a formula down as I continue getting better.

Dec 17, 2020 06:16 by Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)

I'm sure you will. :)

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
Apr 21, 2022 01:58 by Lilliana Casper

I laughed so hard at Caydie's memory. The Archivist planned that, didn't he? I am extremely curious about Invicta and who that is, but I'll patiently wait for that article. Hearing about Lorne was shocking and saddening. How awful. However, if he can disobey the focused queries, why did he answer the one about Lorne? Just wanted to? Great work here!

Lilliana Casper   I don't comment much, but I love reading your articles! Please check out my worlds, Jerde and Tread of Darkness.
Apr 21, 2022 01:59 by Lilliana Casper

My mistake there, I meant forced query, not focused.

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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