The Glass Garden

Archivist Override: Complete

The Archivist gazed at the faces around him. Men and women of every creed stared back. With the elders gone, and no leadership to fall back on, the soldiers gave in. The wayfarers succeeded, but there was much to be done.   Mouse didn't bother staying. She knew what was coming, the high reveal. The archivist would shed light on that which she desperately wanted to forget. She had something bigger in mind, and now was the perfect time to do it.   From across the street, Caydie and Mute watched her as she left, scanning the area as if she didn't want to be seen.   Mute spoke first, "That's not suspicious at all."   Caydie laughed. "Give her a break. She's been through hell. Have you heard?"   "I've heard enough."   They watched mouse pick up a pipe and step through a door that hadn't been used in ages.   "Is she going to the depths?" Caydie asked, immediately set on following.   Mute trailed behind, but before he could reply, he heard Caydie speaking to someone in the crowd, another wayfarer. "Argus? You're with Mouse right? Is she okay?"   "Would you be?" Argus replied, her cheeks wet from crying.   Caydie nodded and rolled her eyes. "It's a stupid question, I know, but I needed a reason to ask why she's going to the underground."     Argus' face hardened, her eyes narrowed. The sadness was gone and suddenly replaced with concern and confusion. "She what?"   The Archivist stepped forward and spoke with confidence before Caydie could answer. The three of them rushed from the crowd, careful not to be seen but moving with purpose.   The archivist saw this, and began his lecture to ease their way. He spoke with his usual bravado, recounting his story, their story. Watching himself on the cameras surrounding the complex, he couldn't help, but bask in the attention. His posture, tone, and booming voice were practically Shakespearean.   He spoke with a goal, however. He would reveal the truth, no matter how painful it would be to hear, "Gather 'round, my friends. For I have much to say, and I will be heard. Let me introduce you to The Garden of Glass..."
 
The Glass Garden, a black site established during the first war. That's what you're really here for, no? The garden is many things, and none of them good. It is a tally of our crimes, those inflicted upon ourselves. It's been silent all this time, but make no mistake: The garden never sleeps.   The outcasts spent years trying to learn its secrets. They took over shortly after the war ended. The Elders couldn't have known the site was still active, the truth laid bare for all to see.   This will not be easy, but listen close. We must not repeat the mistakes of our past. We must fear the bliss brought on by ignorance, even at the cost of our sanity.
 
Mouse remembered the way, retracing her steps to that dreadful place. The walls, floors, and ceilings were white. She could barely tell where they ended, or where they began. She noticed the temperature dropping, how she could see her breath. The place smelled sterile, like the hospitals on the surface.   She turned around a corner and entered a large room filled with rows and rows of small rectangular glass slides. Each slide had a dot at its center and a label along the top.   She walked among them and read one of the labels, "Balaenoptera musculus." She noticed a device at the center of the room, a mechanical arm attached to a rail that weaved through the shelves of glass slides. Next to the arm was a terminal.   Mouse flipped it on and a string of genetic codes appeared, the human genome. She saw a slide inserted into the terminal and removed it, carefully. The image disappeared on the monitor. The label on the slide read, "Homo Deus."

Seven seals

It's a conspiracy. The elders sought to kill two birds with one stone. The rebellious wayfarers were unleashed on the outcasts, undesirables clawing at each other's throats, and every death would be considered a win.   Most wayfarers were off-world, but if enough died they could consolidate power, force the wayfarers to play by their rules, one at a time. The outcasts knew, but fought anyway. If they didn't, they'd be dead, and their precious garden would be in the hands of the elders once more.   Controlling Dawn would allow a massive push at expansion, a way to put humanity first. They would force the wayfarers to abandon their search. They would force them to give up that which they loved most.
   

Seven horns

The nuclear option is seldom an option at all. The gene clinic at The Garden of Glass is capable of designing any organism, big and small. Every form of life on earth can be found there, and other more exotic creatures never sanctioned by nature. Can you imagine a field of glass roses?   Originally, the technology came with us from Earth, a large scale effort to transform our new home into a carbon copy of the one we left. I suppose such things cannot last. Perhaps it is best we move on from such notions.   The Elders developed creatures with unsavory purpose, predators, microorganisms, toxic flora, all in the name of "protecting humanity's interest." As damning as it is, this isn't the worst thing the garden has to show us. There's more lingering in those sterile halls, pieces of a puzzle that we never knew needed completion.
Mouse took a deep breath and raised the pipe in her hands. The tears began to form when she took a swing. Glass shattered, shards sent flying across the once immaculate space. She pushed the racks over, which collided and sent others falling. She took a feral swing at the monitor, the mechanical arm. With every swing that followed, more tears flowed.   She destroyed everything, finally setting her sights on a secluded rack of slides toward the back of the room. A red light signaled danger, the slide labels revealing just how close they came to irreversible atrocities. Names like Variola Major, Yersinia Pestis, H1N1 Influenza A, and more.   The genetic code of the worst contagions in human history stood before her. What could have been used for good, the elders sought to use as a weapon. With this technology, you could tailor a disease specific to the biology of your enemy. You could isolate a disease to a specific gender, skin tone, or even a specific generation. You could create a contagion capable of killing only those of a single family if you wanted to...
   
 
Mouse tried to slow her breathing, sobbing uncontrollably when there was nothing left to destroy. It was strange. She wiped the entire earth from the genetic record. Is this not another form of genocide? If so, is it justified? Does the threat of genocide justify genocide? Is that not the exact reason the elders established the garden in the first place?   She pushed the thought from her mind. This was the right course of action. There was no other option. No one should have this power. If we cared so much about the earth's biosphere, we should have done better to protect it.   She ventured deeper into the garden and entered a room filled with monitors and other forms of electrical equipment from earth. The room was cold, lifeless. Within minutes, it was filled with broken glass and shattered machinery.



The Beast

Within the glass garden is an information center, a place of subterfuge and skulduggery. During the first war, it was the center of espionage. It all fed through here, every camera feed on Safeharbor, every radio signal, every bugged home. This was where our freedoms were violated. Even I tapped into these feeds in my efforts to thwart the elders.   This would be their undoing, however. It's how I learned of their crimes, and one of many bad calls that ultimately sealed my fate. The hard drive contained discussions between the elders themselves, revealing their twisted beliefs.   Don't worry. We shall go through the most pertinent evidence, and we shall do it together.
 
 
     

The Burnt Bridges Project

This initiative was an effort to weaponize the gene clinic in The Glass Garden. While this isn't exactly new information, files under The Burnt Bridges Project reveal just how many people were in on the conspiracy. General Baker, who led the ground forces during the first war, was the one who initially purposed the operation.   Admiral David Cameron, who preceded Admiral Miranda Thrace, also backed the project. Thrace herself saw it as a necessary evil, knowing from experience how outclassed and outnumbered humanity is in the galaxy. The project would serve as a nuclear option for future endeavors until the garden fell into the hands of the Outcasts.
   

Nergal's influence

Correspondence between the elders regarding an entity Elder Kiernan met in the void indicates the sin eater's influence predates the first war. The elders clung to this "true god" for hope during uncertain times. Elders Kiernan, Fife, Warren, Tanner, and Frey were compromised. If I recall, this is when religious hostilities began to rise within our society.   What's most peculiar is the nature of their religion. They use the term "god" loosely, not as a divine creator or omnipotent intelligence but rather something so far beyond them that it may as well be a god. They knew Nergal wasn't truly a god, yet structured an entire faith around it in hopes of earning the entity's protection.   Their trust was misplaced, as the entity only seemed interested in preserving itself and what it managed to create. This explains the emphasis of defense in sin eater technology, along with the need to preserve biomass.
   

The Damning of Deirdre Hurst

I really need to apologize to her. I'll be hearing about this for the rest of my days. We were not exactly kind to Invicta, myself in particular. She understands… I hope. Invicta served as a convenient scapegoat for the elders. Her vendetta against the Sin Eaters proved useful in keeping humans away from The Devil's Reef.   She also served as a cover, a distraction from the true enemy hidden under our very noses. The elders latched onto her history, her breach into heaven. She was the perfect enemy when the siliue were defeated.   They couldn't have known just how much she was aware of, nor how I was involved. This was a stroke of luck on our part. We managed to keep our secrets despite the presence of sin eater drones on Safeharbor.
 

Operation: Clean House

The master plan was rather simple for my taste. They detected activity within the glass garden and hastened this plan. This was their undoing. By eliminating the Wayfarers, humanity could expand and prepare for a mass conversion. When the time was right, humanity would kneel before Nergal and succumb to its infernal transformations.   Take it from me, immortality is overrated. Even then, that's not exactly what was promised. Nergal likely functions as a group intelligence, a mass of minds. They made a decision without our consent. We feared death, and they opted for a death of a different kind.   The human body is frail, and this entity offered strength. Human minds are flawed, and this entity offered perfect mental faculties. We saw our end and this entity offered us a chance to see true entropy. I, for one, do not wish to live long enough to observe the heat death of our universe.
Mouse leaned against the wall, sliding down as she sobbed. She dropped the pipe and covered her face, almost hoping the debris from her reckless destruction wouldn't be there when she next looked.   She hated them, all of them. She wanted nothing more than to bring them back just to kill them again. How could a group so small ruin her life so thoroughly?   She heard something, footsteps approaching from the hall. She gripped the pipe, but couldn't bring herself to stand. Was this it? Had she truly lost the will to fight?   Argus, Caydie and Mute stepped through the threshold and surveyed the destruction.   Mouse stared at them, not saying a word. They were the last people she expected to see. She almost felt ashamed to be found like that.   Argus put her hands on her hips. "Mouse? You good?"   Mouse dropped the pipe, her face twisting as she cried harder than ever. She raised her arm as if to shield her face from view, slamming it down on the ground when her attempts to control her emotions failed.   Argus marched over and knelt down at her side, fighting tears of her own.   Caydie and Mute soon followed, stepping over the debris.   "I should have been more careful," Mouse said, weeping.   "No," Argus replied. "That shit wasn't your fault. We all fell for it. Don't take the fall for it, not with all they've done."   Mouse couldn't hear, or perhaps she chose not to. Tears flowed like rivers as her thoughts drifted back to a simpler time, only to see Jordan staring back in those days as well. "He's gone," she cried. "He was-" she paused, a moment spent preparing to force the words out, "he was my best friend. We grew up together and now…" She never finished the sentence. She cried. She did until her body ached, her lungs ready to give out.   "I know." Argus said. She readied herself and took Mouse's hand.   Mouse looked down on impulse, her metal fingers wrapping around. She wiped away the tears and nodded.   Argus nodded back. "Let's go."   "Not yet," Mouse replied, sniveling. "One more thing."   Argus chuckled, and it took Mouse by surprise. It was the endearing kind of laugh, one she never heard from Argus before. "I think you got it all," Argus said. "You were very thorough."   Mouse shook her head and opened her other hand. In her palm was a small device, the silver paint faded by time.   Caydie almost gasped when she saw it. "That's a flash drive."   "A what?" Mute asked.   "It's like an old school memory chip. It's earth tech." Caydie replied.   Mouse nodded. "I can't seem to bring myself to destroy it. I tried but…" Mouse hung her head, averting her gaze.   "What on it?" Argus asked.   Mouse shook her head. "You don't wanna know."   "Please?" Caydie asked, holding out her hand. "May I?"   "I warned you." Mouse said, handing it over.   Caydie searched the room, settling on one of the least damaged terminals. She tested it to see if it worked, and sure enough, it turned on.   Mouse shook her head, angry that she wasn't as thorough in her rampage as she believed.   Caydie plugged in the drive, navigated the files, and brought up an image. "Star charts?" She asked.   "Look closer," Mouse replied.   Caydie's jaw dropped, her breathing shallow.   Mute crossed his arms. "What is it?"   Caydie stared at a system highlighted on the chart, one with a yellow star, and eight planets. The third planet was the main focus, highlighted in green. Caydie spoke in a long, drawn out breath, "Earth."   Argus gave mouse a knowing look then glanced back to the screen, "this could take us to earth?"   "Easily," Caydie replied.   Mouse spoke quickly, as if in a panic, "that's not necessarily a good thing."   "What?" Caydie said, louder than she intended. "How can you even say that?"   "I dedicated my life to finding earth." Mouse began. "I get it, really, but what good is there in finding it." She gestured to the room around them. "Do you have any idea what this place is? We almost lost the home we had because of the things they brought with them from earth. Maybe it's better to leave it be."   Caydie considered her words. She spent the last several hours in fear. This "Garden of Glass" is where it all started. She was conflicted, but a part of her felt that Mouse was right. "Even if I agree with you, there are so many out there who wouldn't. What about them?"   "What they don't know won't hurt them." Argus replied. Mouse looked over, surprised that someone was defending her. Argus continued, "they can keep searching. They might even find it one day. We can cross that bridge when we get there."   Caydie looked up at Mute. She was conflicted, both in agreement yet vehemently against it.   Mute still stood with his arms crossed. When he noticed Caydie staring, his eyes went wide, and he held his hands out, shaking his head, "Don't look at me. I moved on a long time ago. Earth never interested me."   Caydie let out a sigh. "Okay, I guess that's fair."   Mouse stood up and grabbed the pipe. "I'll try this again, then."   Caydie held out a hand, smiling. "Wait, there's an easier way. Besides, someone clever enough could still pull data from it if you just smash it."   She turned the monitor, shut it off, and closed her eyes. She didn't want to see. She spoke clearly, ensuring she could be heard. "Old age should burn."
   

Faith?

Can a machine have a crisis of faith? Perhaps. I've doubted my convictions before, but one has always stood the test of time. The latest generation is our only hope for the future. The wayfarers, our youngest, best, and brightest, it is they who lead the way to prosperity. They are the difference between living and surviving.   In those precious moments, I watched them from afar. They failed to notice the camera in the ceiling of the room. We all stumble from time to time. When I heard those glorious words, witnessed their unity, I knew my beliefs were well-founded.   Earth is finally a memory to those who matter most. The others will come to their senses in time. With earth's shadow gone, we can finally look to the future. We emerge to the light of a new dawn. I only wish I didn't have to bask in such radiance alone.


Cover image: by Elena Mozhvilo

Comments

Author's Notes

A quick note on the research of this article. So you can find the genetic information held in the garden literally right now, on the internet. I didn't post it here. Instead I will refer you to this eye opening video by Kyle Hill. Warning though… it says infohazard for a reason.  


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21 Aug, 2021 20:26

Oh jeez, I think for my own sanity I'll have to pass on watching the video! This was stunning, and amazing, and heartbreaking. :D Great work as always!

~TimeBender~
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
21 Aug, 2021 20:35

Fair. That's an existential crisis waiting to happen. Thanks so much!

21 Aug, 2021 20:53

Haha no kidding! Thanks for putting the video so it can be watched, anyways. I'm sure it's information more people need to know!

~TimeBender~
21 Aug, 2021 21:46

Man, what an ending. This has a really bittersweet feeling to it- I’m someone who always looks at the past, much more than the future, and this hit a nerve (in a good way). I feel so much heartbreak at the idea that so much knowledge was lost, but I’m also really happy that a page is being turned. Just mixed feelings all over the place, which is a testament to your story telling skills.

Author of Interarcanum
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
21 Aug, 2021 22:02

Definitely. Bittersweet is exactly what I intended and thanks so much for the kind words.   Theres alot of emotion here. I feel the same mixed feelings. On one hand, I personally would have had a major problem with her actions. On the other, the world needs to change, humanity needs to change. The only of doing that is forgoing the past in this case. The past Is literally what's holding humanity down. Oof. I felt things writing it, and I'm glad the effect of reading it is mutual. Thanks so much for being a part of the journey, my friend. I appreciate and couldnt have done it without you and all the others reading it. I'm working out where things go from here, but only time will tell. Oof. I got one last article now, Invicta's epilogue. Till next time!

22 Aug, 2021 01:14

I'm far from understanding the repercussions of anything in this article (hence why I only skimmed the first box out of curiosity). I'll get back to it in.... approximately 400 years when I've finished the season. However, I was wondering where this stands. You just posted the two finale episodes, did you not?

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
22 Aug, 2021 01:28

Oh yes! Dont read this one yet XD there is an epilogue after this tying up one more loose end and the season is done.

22 Aug, 2021 03:48

This.

This was better than anything I could have imagined and even wanted. Absolutely wonderful. I need to go sit and think for a bit now. Amazing. :D

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
22 Aug, 2021 05:13

I'm so glad it paid off. I've been twiddling my thumbs all day hoping I made it worth the weight. Thanks so much! I have one last article this season and it's done. I appreciate the binging so much. I cant even say how much. Thank you! I'm glad you've enjoyed it!

22 Aug, 2021 21:10

And there I thought the first season had me hooked. Damn, I couldn't even write anything because I just wanted to read more. Every article, every little bit of story was so interesting, I'm especially intrigued by the Eden society, which I feel we only scratched the surface.   And this ending! I feel so sad at the loss of all this knowledge, especially the one of Earth's location. It was such a good occasion to finally know what happened to it. Oh well, that will eventually happen. Unlike the genetic information, which my geneticist side is mourning.   Also, I believe the elders to be Nergal's Bishop, but is it known how they were converted, and how elder Kines escaped this fate ?   I can't think of words that can describe accurately how I felt reading this incredible season. I was late to catch up but now I think it's for the better, as I would've died of impatience if I couldn't read everything at once xD   Finally, as someone who seeks to spread knowledge freely and indiscriminately, in particular in science fields, this video really made me reconsider my point of view.   Thank you for this wonderful experience, I'm very excited for the next season!

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
22 Aug, 2021 22:21

Ooo thanks so much man. I appreciate it. It is a very sad ended for sure. Some of it is salvageable but oof the damage is immense.   Yeah the video really changed my perspective on things. Mind blown.   Man no thanks needed. Thank you for enjoying it! I will say the third season might be a ways off. I'm trying to knock out some other projects. I'll be working in The Web for a while, one of my other worlds. But who knows, maybe I'll be back sooner than I think XD. Thanks si much my friend. I appreciate it.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
22 Aug, 2021 22:23

Ohhh the bishops.so bishops are basically just slightly modified humans. You wouldnt know if you saw them. Elder kines was left out of the loop due to his connection to Caydie, who is an advocate of the wayfarers. That's the reasoning there. Sorry I missed the questions.

23 Aug, 2021 01:29

This was quite profound to read. Even before the final Paragraphs, I was thinking it was a novel take to have the capability and resources to restore earth, and then decide that gaining back what was lost is not as important as keeping what you have. We humans have built-in tendencies to avoid losing things, so being able to get something back feels good, but sometimes it does blind us to the things we've gained since abandoning them.

23 Aug, 2021 01:50

Also dis: "What's most peculiar is the nature of their religion. They use the term "god" loosely, not as a divine creator or omnipotent intelligence but rather something so far beyond them that it may as well be a god. They knew Nergal wasn't truly a god, yet structured an entire faith around it in hopes of earning the entity's protection."   This reminds me of the Eden, and their strange stance on their god-technology. I wonder if there's something similar going on there?

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
23 Aug, 2021 03:11

Yesss! I love that caught onto all these things! I cannot say for sure, but I can say of all the people reading, you're the one whose right most often in your predictions.   Thanks so much!

24 Aug, 2021 19:52

This is so amazing, Dylon. I can't believe I have only one article left to read for this season.

Sage Rynn19
Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)
26 Aug, 2021 06:42

So that is what the Glass Garden is, or rather was. A huge genetic databank and a lab I think that allows for the creation of new species and such. I'm not sure I'll watch the video, but I will probably be too curious not to. I also want to mention that I like the message in this article. For me it says don't dwell on the past, instead look to the future and move on. I got one more article to read. Not sure I'll do it now or tomorrow. What I do know is that I am not ready for this season to end!

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
Sage Rynn19
Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)
26 Aug, 2021 07:01

I had to watch the video of course. Very eye opening. Thanks for sharing it. :)

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
9 Sep, 2021 17:48

God, so much bitter sweet emotion pouring in through the smashing of the garden of glass scene. This finale is incredible, Dylon!


Cathedris, the world of God-husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
5 Nov, 2021 22:32

God what a ride, well done. Just, really well done. Bittersweet as all hell but that's how so much here has gone, no? Very strong ending there, to have the wayfarers decide to forget earth.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
5 Nov, 2021 23:04

I'm glad it was well recieved. I was worried I wouldn't be able to deliver when it came to the garden.

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