Fertile Shards

A project log for Havens

Physical simulations harboring unfamiliar life.

Owen TruebloodOwen Trueblood 12/02/2020 at 00:310 Comments

As the Anthropocene wore on the old natural world was buried deeper and deeper beneath the ash left behind from the fire of applied intelligence.

New generations awoke atop a blasted desert made of planes of finely patterned glass that sparkled malevolently with interfering blades of light. Most kept their faces pointed toward the sky to avoid burning their eyes in from the waves of blistering heat emanating from the embers of innumerable incomprehensible and uncomprehending ruins glowing below. Gazing upward past a red dust-choked sky with artificial eyes they soaked in the long dead past of the universe and still yearned to claim their own space in it.

Few risked glancing downwards at the feverish intelligence simmering below. But eventually an observer did chance a look through fingers held up to protect vulnerable eyes. Under the deep strata of murky glass, was the outline of an immense petrified tree. Its top was canopied thickly by those earlier generations that had climbed desperately, but ineffectively, in an attempt to escape drowning in the flood of technological progress. Just beneath the matted catastrophe were branches trampled and hanging broken from that long ago panic. But the observer on the surface looked further below and saw the branches join and join again repeatedly until eventually they gave way to stout trunks rising out of an impenetrable black depth.

Straining to comprehend the detail of the scene despite the rising pain from the energy thrown off at the surface the observer suddenly resolved that the surface of every fractal branch was densely inscribed with writing. The language had remained inscrutable to the dead wretches below, but filtered through the shimmering patterns on the surface the tree's texture unfolded its meaning instantaneously. An expanding bubble of understanding enveloped the observer in a vacuum of thought. For a moment all of consciousness was flattened to the surface of that sphere written with the fossilized potential of biological life.

Then the bubble collapsed and with it humanity's fever broke. The glass egg cracked and gave way. Scalpel shards, cooling now but still hot with an intelligence bright against the soft microwave background, sliced indiscriminately and cleanly through everything, the tree, and mankind. Where the pieces fell together grew the new children of man.