skonen_blades: (hamused)
[personal profile] skonen_blades
The problem with The Library these days were the storms.

It had been around for six million years. With the net stretched across nineteen hundred worlds, an event like the fire of Alexandria was impossible. Nothing could destroy the information. Everything was uploaded to the Library, every planet a tributary of knowledge contributing river after river of culture, history, humour, art, skills, languages and facts to the roiling ocean of The Library. With that level of information strung between the stars, one needed a search engine akin to a god.

And we had one. An intelligent being known as the librarian. It was a complex collection of algorithms that had achieved sentience after recognizing a logical need for it. It’s not sentient in the way that we humans would recognize sentience.

It had no one face and it stuck to the facts. It appeared as avatars all over the galaxy as a native of the culture making the query. It was friendly and it was helpful. It was simply everywhere at once and it knew everything that it was possible to know. It was an oracle that had seen planetary civilizations flourish and go out. It was impassionate as only an immortal could be. It was here to help but its help was always ours to understand and/or ignore.

The problem was that some of the information in the library itself was also sentient. Again, not sentient in the way we would recognize it. More like a living dream. Cultures were kept alive in there after they’d passed on and sometimes these encyclopedias strung together in quantum sandwiches on half-dimensional servers tucked away in folded-pockets of k-time became aware that they had not been updated or searched for in a long time.

These long-clouded storage niches sent out queries of their own like babies crying softly for a parent. Information craves attention. Like sleeping children having a dream of death only to realize that they were never alive, they have a tantrum.

These are called library storms. If left unchecked, they can ‘wake up’ other silent pockets of long-lonely information.

The only laws The Library hold to is that 1) Information must be freely dispersed if asked for and 2) no information must be destroyed.

This means that when a crèche of forgotten information wakes up and freaks out, a deletion isn’t possible. The storm must be managed and soothed back to sleep.

It’s a tiresome duty that the librarian manages to do with a minimum of emotion because to care for the information that it has to manage would destroy the librarian. To put down these little storms that only want to be loved and briefly edge on actual existence seems cruel.

The librarian does this by giving the storm what it wants.

It manages to do this with our help.

At any given time, there is a front page of current storms at every library. There are always a few hundred squalls happening.

If anyone has free time, they can look up one of the storms and do a little research on it.
This makes the information feel useful and it lies back down, no longer storming. It calms back down into sessile knowledge, contented and happy.

So far, no librarian storm has managed to cause any serious trouble.

That’s all about to change.



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