Archivist Young passed the awl over the panel and stood back as the door to the airlock slid open. Twirling it around like the magician they had seen on the tapes, Young appreciated how the old tool had been fitted with the chip that unlocked the repository. No archivists had needed such tools for hundreds of years, but since the re-use rule had passed the team took great delight in finding creative ways to re-purpose things.
This awl had been found the last time they had been on a research expedition to the red zone. In anticipation of impending disaster a team of scientists, archivists, curators & librarians had worked together to move all of their physical collections off planet. They had finished just in time, before the Knowledge Wars had started. It was still something talked about in hushed tones and usually only after a few whiskies. Other smaller projects had been trialled on earth. The salt mines had proven too insecure and the Antarctic repositories? Well it was best not to dwell on what a spectacular disaster that had been.
Every now and again information would come through to central archives that information had been left behind and a team would be put together to investigate. Young lived in hope that one day they would hit gold, and they would find a collection from the time just before the wars, before everything had been purged. They still had a collection of the old computers, and a few of them spent spare afternoons tinkering with them and hoping one day they would have a use for them.
Once the airlock had finished the cycle of dust extraction & other decontamination protocols, Young quickly moved into the repository and kicked up, gaining speed until in position at a window in the section where the taxidermied animals were kept. Someone with a wonderful sense of humour had positioned a Giraffe so that it was looking out the window. If you timed it just right you could see the earth as it rotated past and share in the best of all cosmic jokes.
To be continued…..