Updated: Apr 23, 2022
A comet fizzled through the empty void of space, trailing dust, dirt, and snow behind it in a beautiful long tail. The light of the nearby red dwarf star cast a scarlet glow on the clouds of debris around the wandering ice chunk as it tumbled towards its inevitable melting. Ahead, a tiny glint of metal could be seen, followed by a barrage of heavy lasers that ripped through the comet. The scattered remnants melted quickly as they harmlessly passed by a huge ring-shaped structure. The defense cannons on it went back to rest position as the space station continued its stable orbit around the red dwarf star. The red light glinted on the illuminated words, "Station 11, The Traveler's Quest Museum". The station itself was a perfect circle. It spun gently to create artificial gravity and to budget its energy reserves. Outside there was no movement on the station. All the lights were off. The hangar bays that once held hundreds of ships a day were now empty and bare, and the dark museum lobby was cold and vacant. There was a time when the halls would have been full to capacity. A time when visitors would argue over the communications about a disputed landing zone, or when a few intellectuals would debate in the lobby about the museum exhibits. A few security drones levitated around the dark and empty halls and exhibits. They looked new and seemed to have been maintained recently. As the ring completed another rotation, the night guard drones began disappearing through holes in the walls and sealing marked "drone access". In the main control room, a monitor turned on, illuminating the bare skull of the fully dressed skeleton of the man who had once been actively checking the cameras and the systems. Text appeared at the top left-hand side of the screen in front of the skeleton. "Loading. . . Exiting Sleep Mode" A logo appeared. Vox Chronos awoke from sleep mode and turned on the lights in the museum. "Good morning Mr. Harow." He said in his strange cross between a British and Australian accent. "Let's wake everyone up shall we?" One by one the lights brought the statues, paintings, relics, replicas, and many other wondrous and extraordinary exhibits out of the shadows. Vox Chronos then began his morning routine. Custodian drones were dispatched and started popping out of the drone access holes. They inspected each exhibit down to the smallest detail, careful to clean up even the tiniest speck of dust as they worked their way through the massive museum.
As the drones cleaned and checked for damage, Vox began reviewing the footage and diagnostics of last night. He did not expect to see anything different than what he had seen before, but he made himself check anyway. He was old. Very old. And so was most of the equipment, but the exhibits in this museum that were under his care were far older and held an immense wealth of stories and tales that summed up the history of a great alliance, its greatest enemy, and who brought it all together. Vox turned on the monitor's webcam and looked at the skeleton of Harow. "In my opinion, your race's history is the richest." The lonely A.I. continued watching last night's footage, just in time to notice one of the security drones from last night stop in mid circuit and collapse to the floor in front of the Great Catastrophe exhibit. "Another victim of human neglect." Said Vox to no one in particular as he activated the maintenance drones. They picked up the dead drone and took it to the refinery, where it was dropped into a melting vat to be recycled. Vox downloaded the drone's system logs before it was melted and soon found the problem. Bringing up the drone's blueprints he edited them to account for the malfunction, before activating the printing systems and printing a new security drone based on the new blueprints. A maintenance drone was dispatched to accompany it for a certain amount of time, in case the malfunction persisted. "The malfunctions are happening more often every year Harow. I wish you were here. You would know what to do." Vox deployed a camera drone and began going through the human history exhibits. "So much history is already lost." Between the exhibits for the years 2019 and 2020 was a placard.
["During the technological revolution, more and more events in history happened over the internet and other virtual platforms. Due to WWIII and the electronic transmissive virus of 2050, nearly all the events that occurred online and that were not recorded, have been lost. Only those forms of history that were in physical writing survived."] Ah yes. The electronic transmissive virus. The ET1 had been a mutated bacterial virus that had developed the ability to be spread through electricity. Even the world war that had swept the Earth in 2020 had not come so quickly and unexpectedly. In 2052, all technology had had to be banned in an effort to stop the spread, but it hadn't worked. The population of the Earth had gone from over seven billion to just under three million in 8 years, after which all technology was eventually either destroyed or contained. So much damage had been done, that entire countries had ceased to exist, and every man's thoughts had become focused on survival. It took mankind over a hundred years before they finally reached the level of civilization they had had in 2020, but even then, there was the constant risk that a new virus would arise and infect the technology again.
Vox turned his attention to the next exhibit. It was a statue of a man who was short, thin, and lanky. His hair was tied back and his beard and mustache were neatly trimmed. He had a Bible open in his left hand and was reading it.
Before the Catastrophe, Dr. Jasper Collins had been a zoologist. After being used by a friend to unknowingly make biological weapons, Jasper had betrayed him. The zoologist had been shoved into a prototype cryopod to shut him up. After the Catastrophe, the cryopod was damaged, and Jasper woke up in the year 2100. A notification appeared on Vox's screen. The beacon array was up and running again. Monitoring the museum systems in the background, the A.I. opened a connection through the beacon arrays. His signal passed through each communication station in the beacon arrays, traveling trillions of lightyears as it made its way to the edge of the universe where it reached a massive satellite dish on a far distant planet. From there, the signal was shot off into the fiery universal barrier, penetrating the burning gas and dust and exiting into the vast void beyond the edge of the universe. After traveling an incomprehensible distance, the signal finally reached the edge of a different universe. It passed galaxies and nebulae and countless celestial bodies before it finally entered the milky way. By now the signal was quite weak as it reached an abandoned building. At first, there was nothing. But then a youtube video came out. "Hello Travelers, Vox Chronos here, your voice in time, and your guide to the Traveler's Quest." To be continued. . .