Wanderer, Weeper, Brother's Keeper

rating: +22

24 votes (+23, -1) 4.7★

rating: +22+x

In a far and forlorn place, a woman hunched over a rusty computer terminal. Bits of its bare metal sparkled between the ochre - reflections from the shafts of light pouring through wind-worn windows and patchwork cooling vents speckling the walls. They lit up the dust-filled air, so thick and heavy that the woman had strapped a mask-and-filter over her face before entering the room.

That had been over a day ago as the stars skipped across the shores of Saint-Cecily-along-the-Sea. Now in the cool night air, surrounded by food packaging and water bottles strewn all about, the woman danced her fingers over the keyboard and stared with bloodshot-bleary eyes at the screen.

It was an investigation and a collaboration and a conversation. A more superstitious person might worship the world behind the words - more superstitious people did.

The woman typed off a message into an ancient-looking chat window. Something like fifteen or twenty open Archive articles were grouped around it like kids around the campfire, round the storyteller.

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/03:42/ID:12931VH - Any luck on your end?

If you squinted (or had a terminal with better screen resolution), you might see a cheery little floating avatar - for lack of a better way to describe her - in the Archives. Peering at you from between columns and embedded images. Smiling at you from her home in the dataspace. The Archives had a soul, or at least they had a keeper. The dataspace talked back.

junajuniper/03:43/ID:12932VH - Yes! At least I think I did? Take a look, Meg.

The articles rearranged themselves with dizzying speed - in distant reality, Meg flinched and squeezed her eyes shut. Too fast, Juna. Some of us can only view your lovely dataspace with our tired old eyes.

When she opened her eyes again Juna was grinning proudly in the center of the screen. It was surprisingly easy to take her presence at face-value after you knew she existed… beside her was a totally new block of text on her screen - a new article. No, seven new articles. All penned a week and a half ago, all attributed to…

'Jersey' Jack Cairlyle. ID looked good. This was the last evidence of his existence, after he disappeared six months prior. Something in Meg's heart curled up and squeezed at the sight.

Her whisper was swallowed up in the cold air and clatter of transport-arachnids on their morning milk runs down the street outside. "Where the hell are you, Jersey?"

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/03:43/ID:12933VH - Okay. So this was his recent archives activity?

jumpinjupiterjuna/03:44/ID:12934VH - Yup! Really cool stuff. I've only read them twice each. I'm trying to make them last.

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/03:44/ID:12935VH - Why didn't I find these when I searched a terminal back in baseline?

Because you didn't ask me to help you that time - is what Juna probably wanted to say. Instead:

junajalopney/03:45/ID:12936VH - Because he did it wrong. He wrote all those wonderful words and - well, there's a defective terminal on the sunny side of - ok, let's just say he basically left it in drafts and never hit publish. I'm reaaaally simplifying it, but it was kind of a simple mistake(s). How long has Mr. Cairlyle been an Archivist?

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/03:47/ID:12937VH - Nine years. This is totally believable, by the way. He's really bad with data entry. Maybe the best wanderer I've ever known. Definitely the bravest. Just really bad at the 'archiving' part of being an Archivist. But,

The screen burned softly in sudden stillness, silence, and then the faint rattle of a locquerie-lady shaking out a rug on a nearby porch. Saint-Cecily-along-the-Sea was stirring back to life as gold-green rays stained the early-morning sky.

juna/03:50/ID:12938VH - But…?

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/04:02/ID:12939VH - This is bad. Let me explain why. People have habits and we usually stick to them. So a change in their data entry patterns can be a sign of trouble. Especially when you have nothing to the contrary… when a precise, consistent recorder goes silent. Or a spotty, always-late man writes down his entire backlog. That's what Jersey did. He's been sitting on some of these entries for years. This feels like someone settling their affairs.

junaofjuly/04:03/ID:12940VH - I hope he's alright.

junajoviality/04:03/ID:12941VH - One more thing. I pulled his viewing activity like you asked. There's been three spikes of activity since he disappeared. First two times was looking at this article:

Blue Static America glows in funeral grey. There's a sharp gasp, a clenching heart, and shaking hands trying and failing to stammer out a reply on the keys.

Meg's blood runs cold. Fifty alternate American states in greyscale, parallel timelines of the distant-and-near past. That's fine. She and Jersey had ranged through worse. But…

juna/04:05/ID:12942VH - Time in each BSA state passes at 50x the speed of baseline. When it reaches the present the BSA timeline resets and everything is lost. If that's where he's spent even part of the last six months - you need to move quickly.

Juna's right, of course. This is terrible. This is nearly the worst-case scenario. God, Cairlyle might be dead of cancer or cold and he'll be an old bag of bones-

She swallows hard and lets the panic wash over her. It's trivial, really. Any wanderer worth their salt can stay calm like a flipped switch.

Meg shakes her head and lets her mind wander out of pasture. Just a little bit. Juna's being surprisingly serious about this - she's never seen the dataspace ghost get like this - and it does make sense. Juna's as old as the Archives themselves. She's the daughter of the dataspace. She'll still be around long after Meg and every other Archivist is dust and only their words remain.

Human lives must pass like a blink of a digital eye to her. It was nice of her to be so concerned. And Juna alluded to the previous users of the Archives, and the loneliness after they were gone…

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/04:07/ID:12943VH - You're right. So his third visit was writing all the new limspace entries? God, where do I even start looking?

jackpotjuna/04:08/ID:12944VH - Yes. And I think I can help with that. He visited the Blue Static America article to edit two things that time - the first was updating the Current Timeline Status of BSA Vermont.

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/04:08/ID:12945VH - That narrows it down significantly.

jackpotjuna/04:08/ID:12946VH Uh-huh! And he appended an image of a house by a lake. That's Howardston Pond in central Vermont - thank you so much, again, for uploading all that satellite data.

That was actually a bunch of Archivists' doing - half of the Finders, for starters. Juna had revolutionized the pre-search scan through the Archives. So they'd gone and got a present for the dataspace daughter. She deserved it. It was a nice memory.

Howardston Pond. Jersey had left a trail for her. God, but BSA Vermont's current timeline was so near the reset! If it hadn't already gone past that…

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/04:09/ID:12947VH - Jersey left a trail for me.

jackpotjuna/04:09/ID:12948VH - Looks like he didn't settle all his affairs. Will you try to find him?

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/04:09/ID:12949VH - Of course. If I can make it. BSA Vermont is so close to the reset. It's,

One hand went up to massage her forehead. Fifty times the timeline from Jersey's last chronology update… Meg wasn't great at math, and the bubbling panic was just serving to fog up her mental calculator screen-

jazzyjuna/04:09/ID:12950VH - You have two days before the Vermont timeline resets. I don't have to tell you what happens when it does. Good luck, Meg.

Two days. She had to fight the crowds back to Saint-Cecily's ventral lighthouse, pass back through the threshold, drive like mad to the East Coast and get on an Amtrak to Vermont to cross over into the BSA. She could do it. She could do it! She'd faced longer odds a dozen times on Finders missions.

Meg threw herself into a storm of activity - stuffing half-finished foodstuffs into her pack, pulling up the warning traps from the room's doors, and cleaning up her mess. Despite how urgent every single second felt now - a minute here was over three hours in the BSA - she couldn't compromise on the venturer's code. Jersey wouldn't have. And he'd kill her if he found out she trashed a terminal…

Speaking of, the terminal was flashing with a new message. God, not now, Juna. You sounded like you were gonna leave me to it, like you should have-

junajimminyjingaling/04:11/ID:12951VH - Remember that you can't pass through Saint-Cecily's threshold until the bells from the old cathedral start ringing, so that's a few hours. With that out of the way- I'm really sorry for interrupting you. I know you're running around and trying to get ready to save your friend.

Damn, she was right. God did it feel perverse to have to sit here and wait for a month on Jersey's end - if he was in the BSA right now, which Meg desperately hoped he wasn't.

juna/04:12/ID:12952VH - Are you there?

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/04:12/ID:12953VH Yeah

junajuncture/04:13/ID:12954VH - If you don't mind me asking - can you tell me anything about Jack Cairlyle? It sounds like you'd have lots of stories to tell.

God's sake, Juna. Not now. Shaking hands typed out a little screed - then backtracked to a dismissal - then silence, and a maddening stillness. Jersey's life was still draining away at 50 times the speed of reality and…

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/04:16/ID:12955VH - Why do you want to know?

junajudiciary/04:16/ID:12956VH - Because you Archivists never write about yourselves. You fill the dataspace with your words but the dataspace doesn't know you. You risk your lives and you capture all the limspaces and thresholds so beautifully, and I never get to know you.

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/04:18/ID:12957VH - Okay. Sorry, let's do this another time.

junajudasjollity/04:18/ID:12958VH But what if you don't come back?

Meg watched the urban sprawl give way to forests and vales, sights and colors streaming past the window and growing dark as the world went still. Late night train out of Washington D.C. and rolling north and nearly into Vermont.

She'd have to still her own mind soon, to cross into the Blue Static America - the whole train was her threshold, and the calm waters of her mind were the key. Yet now she had affairs to settle; hunched over a beat-up little laptop, typing a delayed-send message and the closest thing she'd ever written to a will. Just an answer to a question. Just a prayer in the wind that she'd pluck from the sky if she was fortunate to return on this train back to reality.


Sorry about leaving so suddenly. 'Jersey' Jack Cairlyle was a Finder - we're both Finders, actually. I don't think we've ever written what Finders are in the Archives… so here goes. Jersey's a problem solver, a rescuer, he's not a steady writer but he's the bravest guy with the biggest heart. The Archivists have no paramilitary stuff, we don't have armed teams or reaction forces and if the Devil followed us through a threshold we'd call the White House and pray. But…

There are a few of us with weapons and experience, that will range out with a rifle in one hand and a protective trinket in the other and our brother at our shoulder, to rescue an Archivist in danger. There aren't more then ten or twenty of us in the Finders at a time, there's no membership rolls, we each do what we're willing to do - some limspaces are just too damn dangerous. If nobody likes you, nobody's coming to get you. That sort of thing. But we've pulled off some real miracles in our time.

We'd track the trail of a vagrant across a shifting desert and a castle-filled sky, and Jersey would have the rifle and I'd have the instruments and some spare bullets. Finders always operate in pairs, minimum, and you trust your partner with your life. I paired with Jersey more often than not. A lot of Archivists owe him their lives.

It wasn't enough. Not for a man like Jersey, not nearly enough. But she just didn't have time, and frankly, nothing would be enough. This would be released from the holding server in one month if she didn't cancel it - and then she hit SEND and snapped the laptop shut.

Meg leaned back in her comfy Amtrak chair, letting her eyes slip shut as the cabin lights dimmed. The words of the Blue Static America article danced with the shifting scenery in the twilight hours, and drew her in…

In order to access BSA, one must achieve a certain transitory mental state while aboard an active metro or train. You must be on the verge of drifting to sleep, face pressed against the window, almost hypnotized by the passing scenery. Distant trees, mountains and lakes, moving slower than the clouds. Closer: fields of crop quickly coming in and out of sight, in a hurry but not a blur. Just beyond the window: the rails, gravel and train signs, shooting by.

As you are about to fall asleep, you notice the skies turning gray, landscapes losing their color. Suddenly you realize…

It wasn't just the twilight gloom - the world was cast in monochrome grey-black. Patches of blue static burned on the tops of the trees, on the back of the nearest cabin chair, in the clouds hanging dark in the sky. In the cars passing by.

She was still on the Washington D.C. to Vermont Amtrak. Soon they'd stop at her station, she'd get off and rent a car, and follow her printed directions to the house on Howardston Pond. Try not to gawk too hard at the blue static and get arrested by the BSA-CIA.

As far as thresholds went, this one might be the strangest yet.

Keep a low profile in the BSA. Don't draw attention. Don't place a dozen winning bets on sports to get rich. Don't point out the blue static to any locals. Don't make friends with the locals. This is a limspace - a deceptively, seductively familiar limspace - but a limspace all the same.

Meg wasn't a wide-eyed rookie that had just stumbled through a gap in the world. She didn't have any problems. She was a wanderer and a weeper and her brother's keeper. One of the unofficial mottos of the Finders - she hadn't told Juna that, had she? Juna loved those details. She was okay with summaries but she always wanted more, the whole story, vivid enough to paint a picture and capture a moment in the dataspace sky…

She'd walked the dead deserts and listened to the song of her death screaming in her ears. She remembered calmly loading magazines for Jersey, running and shooting a twelve-armed graveyard stitchwork entity till it stopped moving. They'd walked the highest trails of the Eterfol Mountains and kneeled under the gilded Penumbra courts of Middenground. She'd felt the red rage boiling in her heart and chilled it true with the chants learned in the Monastery of Thrice-Crowned-yl-Iyusuf. Meg wasn't having any problems with greyscale America.

And then all her experience and quiet self-assurance melted away like a spring thaw when she rang the doorbell to the house on Howardston Pond, and a precocious little girl opened the blue static door and flashed a monochrome smile.

"Hi, miss! Are you Meg?"

What? An unfamiliar thrill of panic surged up Meg's spine. She settled that down the next moment, but it wasn't enough - a little sliver of something sallow fell in her stomach, and caused her to shiver.

God, what does she even say to that? Is this some trick? An un-recorded facet of the Blue Static America, where it used your memories or used some allegories, or…

Before she could say something evasive and beat a retreat, a young man appeared in the door and scooped the girl up into his arms, smiling apologetically.

"I'm sorry. She asks every lady that comes to our door if they're 'Meg', so you've got the good company of the USPS driver, the delivery girl, that one, wait…"

Meg was doing a terrible job of masking her face - and she was staring. This wasn't Jersey, unless the BSA could make you younger instead of stealing your years away, but he looked startlingly, horrifyingly familiar-

"Wait," the man stopped, scoffed, and then smiled broadly. "Are you actually Meg? I thought the old man was just pulling our leg this whole time, are you…?"

There was another man behind him now, bent and wrinkled, his hair half-grey with age. Meg's blood ran cold.

'Jersey' Jack Cairlyle reached up and shook her shoulder with diminished strength but below an undiminished grin. "Hey there, Meg. Long time no see."

"What's good, Jersey?" she responded automatically, robotically, like another woman's voice coming from her mouth. Her throat dry all of a sudden.

"Want to grab a couple beers and watch the sun set?"

Meg could only nod dumbly. Like a distant dream, there were still voices…

John, I'll just be talkin' to my old friend for a little while. Take the grandkids outside, would you?

Alright, dad. Katy will be grilling on the dock, keep an ear out.

Yeah, yeah. Mary, why don't you show our guest my second-favorite chair?

Meg was calm again. She had to be. Some limspaces would kill you if you couldn't shake off the mimicry of your mother calling for help in the mad-touched mists - or your brother from another mother at the end of his life, with a wife whose wedding you never got to attend, kids you never got to be the cool aunt to, so many missed years as to nearly break your heart…

Her heart was broken, she wouldn't lie to herself, but she'd keep it together till she made it back to baseline.

With that thought to steady her mind, Meg took a long sip from a can of cheap beer and broke the silence in the porch, watching Jersey's family down in the grassy strip by the water's edge.

Far above, on the horizon, the timeline was breaking apart as it neared the present baseline date. Towering tendrils of blue static the size of mountains clawed their way into the sky…

"So you went and had a family, huh?" Meg said neutrally, looking straight ahead. She was really trying not to sound accusatory. "You settled down."

"Didn't think I would," Jersey shrugged. "BSA Vermont was just gonna be a vacation, but I met her… she's worth it. I don't have any regrets for the past decades, Meg. Please know that."

"You're not the kinda guy to tolerate regrets, Jersey." Meg's turn to shrug. But why…? "But why here? You know I gotta ask."

"I know," he nodded once, pursed his lips. Hard question, but he must have answered it long ago. "Fifty timelines streaming by. Really easy to not get attached, they're not real-"

He leaned forward, a kind of fire in his eyes. "But they are real. They're as full of life as any, Meg. If I went back to baseline, I couldn't recreate what I'd found here. What I'd made. It wouldn't be the same. Once you put down roots, once they catch the soil…"

Another Archivist lost to a limspace. Those were the happy searches, when the Finders found someone with a good life and no desire to return. But she never thought she'd find Jack Cairlyle among their numbers.

"I know it's going to end soon. I've made my peace with it. I've still had so much joy… I'm sorry you missed it all. I didn't want you to find me and drag me back. Now it's too late for that."

"How'd you manage it? Three visits to baseline, and the rest here, is that right?" Meg was all business now, just like old times - two Finders exchanging information. If she blocked out the tremors in Jersey's voice, she could close her eyes and imagine… "What the hell did you do for a living all these years?"

Jersey snorted in amusement. "You know how when you cross a BSA state's border, you pop into the next state's timeline? I just did that. I broke the rules. I made a lot of money off baseball betting in 1950s Boston. I told Katy I was traveling for my 'job'."

"Hah! Jersey, breaking Archive rules. Can't believe I've lived to see the day. We'll have to expel you for that," Meg said, trading wry smiles with the old man who felt like her old friend again. "Among other reasons."

"Yeah, well, about the visits to baseline," Jersey's smile disappeared. "The first two were me trying to bring someone out. Believe me, if I could - but you can't. You can't bring BSA folks out of the BSA. Can't even travel with them across to the next state. But I tried." He shook his head sadly.

"Then I realized - every visit to baseline was costing me time I'd never get back. I mean, every single thing we do in life is like that, yeah? But it's a lot more front-and-center when time's going at 50-times speed. I decided I'd make the most of my time with my family. And so I did."

"But that last time…"

"That was for closure. That's legacy. Those are my last memories of my old life. And I did leave that trail for you, because you deserved some closure. I know I hurt you, and I'm sorry."

"Only for a month, Jersey. That's how long we've been aware you were actually missing." Meg spoke softly now, soothingly. She hated seeing Jack Cairlyle like this, small and old and wrestling with his regrets in a rocking chair. It was an insane sight.

"But at least you got your backlog into the dataspace. Never mind the BSA, that'll live forever," Meg continued, trying to get the conversation going again. It worked.

Jersey was talking slow now, which was what he did when he wanted the words to stick. Scorchwords, he'd picked up that term on a stormy islet in the tempest-tossed waters not far off the mad tangle of the Moorich Woods… scorchwords. Words that burned and stayed.

"I've thought about this a lot, Meg. We've talked about this. Remember that tent when the rose-storm howled for a week straight and we couldn't find the threshold through the petals after?"

She just nodded. It had been one of their first Finders searches as partners. All they found were bleached bones and a half-destroyed journal, and the conversation had turned to death and legacies. The deepest fears shared in the lamp-lit dark. They'd had an unshakable bond after that.

"We're Archivists, we're mundane people in baseline but we see…" Jersey waved his hands vaguely, struggling to find the words.

"We live fuller lives than anyone else," Meg said softly, retracing the memory word-for-word. "We're witnesses to such strange and wonderful sights. We do more and see more… we live. That's what you said. We live so fiercely. We live to the fullest."

"Etched in our memory. We've carried the memory of dead worlds, of dead peoples, and living ones-" Jersey stopped, and clutched at his chest - a surge of emotion through a tired old frame. It nearly broke Meg's heart every time she had to look over and be reminded of all the missed years.

"We hold those memories and then we lose them and they're gone, just driftwood drawn back out into the ocean. They fade too, and despite the lives we live, those end too. I mean, nobody likes thinking about this. It sucks. But that's just how it is."

Jersey sighed and ran a shaking hand over his chin. "Is it any different, in the end, than these folks in the blue static? Fifty states on a timeline loop, each filled with people whose lives pass in the blink of an eye to us. But there's gotta be a limspace where time goes slower and we're a blink to them, right?"

"Maybe that's where one of our missing Archivists are," Meg said, in spite of herself. "If they found a limspace like that they wouldn't know it yet. They come out a month later and baseline is…"

"Nuked to oblivion? The sun's gone supernova? Still living on, but everyone you know is gone?" Goddamit, there was Jersey's stupid rhyming again.

"You're still a third-rate poet, Cairlyle," Meg laughed, feeling her gut twist at the emotional whiplash. "God, don't tell me you got your wife with that crap."

"Well, lemme tell you, it didn't hurt. I had an 'exotic aura', right? I was a bona-fide modern adventurer, and she'd never left Vermont…"

"Oh God, spare me. Want me to run down there and tell her about your little escapades in that Neptune bar? You were a real charmer in your youth, she ought to know about it."

"Stay right there, Meg. I swear to God - if this is how you say goodbye - but she'd just laugh. Katy's my better half. Let me tell you about how we met…"

But the good times couldn't last. Meg dimly remembered the tent under the rose-storm, when the conversation steered back to death and legacies…

"I'm sorry to force this upon you," Jersey said. Against the chair, his hand was shaking. "To bear my memory. That's what this is about. I wanted you to see my family, see our joy."

"And see the blue static climbing into the sky to swallow it all," Meg said, with the kind of bluntness she knew Jersey would appreciate. He didn't lie to himself. "You want me to go back to baseline with the memories."

"They'll live in your heart, we'll live in your memories," Jersey said, and somehow made that sappy-as-hell sentence sound so heart-breakingly sincere. "And I know those will fade too, some day, and me and my family will be gone for good. But for a few years, at least… I'm sorry."

Another silence - except it was not silence. There was wind whistling through the slats of the porch. There were children's voices outside, playing and laughing. Meat searing on the grill, waves lapping against the shore. And blue static boiling so fiercely into the horizon's sky, so vast and terrible that your mind tried to imagine its noise.

Such a towering sight, boiling and writhing through the clouds, must make some noise; but it was just there in ghastly silence. The children's laughter was louder even if the static made any sound at all.

"I can't find the words any more," Jersey finally, slumping low in his chair. Meg was transfixed on the blue static wall - when she finally tore her gaze away, she found Jersey looking down at his kids and grandkids with a soft smile.

"But you don't regret this." A statement of fact.

"No," he shook his head. "I've done well by them. Not many folks get to know the date of their end, right? So I've lived every day to the fullest. And even if you ask about the kids and grandkids, like, 'why would you bring life into this world only to see it end' kind of question-"

"That's just what we do in baseline. BSA's just a little faster," Meg finished the sentence.

"Exactly," Jersey nodded. "And to us, it's not faster at all. It's just life."

So she'd carry the memory he gave her. She could do that. It wasn't fair, but - to hell with it.

"Hey, I know you gotta go soon, God knows I don't want the BSA to claim you too," Jersey said, sounding strangely uncertain. "But could you come down to the water and eat dinner with my family? I've been selling 'em stories about you for decades now, said you'd be visiting soon… I promise the blue static hot dogs don't give you cancer or nothin'."

Okay. So she'd damn well remember every smile, every laugh, every bit of joy and personality in Jersey's kids and grandkids. She'd get a small slice of what he loved so that he'd choose to end here. She'd burn them into her memory and carry them back to baseline. Scorchwords.

One last time 'Jersey' Jack Cairlyle helped his partner out of her seat. One last time, a pair of Finders walked down to the water and broke bread together, and shared their stories.

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/19:34/ID:48215QR - Hey Juna, you there? I'm back. Safe and sound.

joltawakejuna/19:34/ID:48216QR - I'm really, really glad to read that. Did you find Jack Cairlyle?

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/19:37/ID:48217QR - Yeah. He's been in the BSA this entire time, he was really old and had a family. We made peace with each other and said our goodbyes.

juna/19:37/ID:48218QR - Oh no. I'm so sorry, Meg.

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/19:39/ID:48219QR - Thank you, but please don't be. He was happy where he was and how he ended. He's happy that I'm happy to keep venturing into limspace, so don't worry about me going anywhere. We talked a lot.

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/19:45/ID:48220QR - We did some thinking, and I unfortunately did some more thinking on the Amtrak back. We're all going to dust one day, right? I know you asked us to 'Don't Die' and we're doing our best, but- well, you know. Even with all the wonderful things we do and see as Archivists and wanderers. Jersey and his family will live on in my memory for a bit longer - exactly as long as I live, in fact - but that's not forever. The second-hand memories with the stories of Uncle Jack I tell my kids, hopefully, that's not forever either. All the stories and lives we carry in our heart, we can't carry them forever.

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/19:47/ID:48221QR - But we can cheat. We've got one thing over the rest of humanity - we've got the dataspace, Juna. What we write in the Archives, the things we pass on - that'll last forever. The dataspace is, as far as anyone can tell, infinite. It exists outside baseline, so all bets are off. That's insane. That's really special.

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/19:51/ID:48222QR - I'm sorry to ramble on like this. But I realized something - everything I tell you - YOU, Juna - that's immortal. I read exactly what you wrote when you first contacted us Archivists:

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/19:52/ID:48223QR - "[…] you can rest easy knowing at least one person is seeing what you record. That nothing will be lost forever. I’ll keep it here, in me, any scrap and every upload you want to share."

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/19:54/ID:48224QR - So if I tell you everything about Jack Cairlyle and his wife Katy, sons John and Jeremiah, daughter Jill, and all those grandkids I had to write their names on a pad - you'll remember them. They won't just be forgotten words in a cold library, you'll remember them. You're the daughter of the dataspace. You'd treasure them. In a way, they'll live forever. The closest anyone in human history has ever gotten to living forever.

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/19:56/ID:48225QR - So I'll tell you absolutely everything about him, if you'll listen.

jumpingforjoyjuna/19:56/ID:48226QR - I'd love to.

Oh, she would. Juna was doing that thing where her avatar poked up between the columns, smiling wide - that thing she did when she was really happy with some new writing.

wandererweeperbrotherskeeper/19:57/ID:48227QR - Great. Okay, so there was this bar fight in Neptune in the Boiling Sea, and I'd heard there was this idiot Archivist that got himself in 'hot water' with a local posse - I'm snickering, by the way, that was the first of his godawful puns I ever heard - and by the time I got there…

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