They realised things were falling apart, that's why they did what they did. For the good of all, for civilisation, for truth, enquiry, freedom and all that. As I constantly remind myself.
Not that much of all that remains. I see only fragments in the places I visit, pockets of something resembling life before. I persist, however, travelling from town to village, answering the questions they have for me. Keeping the illusion alive.
Truth, enquiry, freedom and all that.
It doesn't stop the headaches though, or the dreams that follow. One night equations I cannot comprehend, the next classical philosophy I do not understand, the next the life of some minor twenty-first century notable I could not care less about. I've found some mention of this leakage in the scholarly journals stored in here, but they're oblique references only, conjectures regarding potential pitfalls with the method. The main body of the text is concerned with the problems of downloading the data, building storage capacity, immediate results. As I said they were running short on time. My problem is yet another area where the oil dried up and the weather turned before the research could begin. Add it to the list.
I have met one other like me, and she spoke of yet more walking the land as we do, trying to halt the decline. We talked long into the night of how we accessed the works, our visualisations of the Library so different yet the mechanics, the subtle mental processes that allow us to manipulate the data, so very similar. She too had heard whispers of labs still up and running, whole colleges and universities reconstituted, but whispers are all they are. I've chased down too many dead ends to be bothered with such fairy tales.
We parted the next morning in the knowledge that our futile task will continue until the day we die. Every work ever written stored in our heads, still not enough. The accumulated knowledge of millennia like a half-finished skyscraper, bare steel fingers grasping at the sun.