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."
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.
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.
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.
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.