Watching out for the next human fuck-up.
A group of scientists found shelter in the north—their current base, the global seed vault. Once built to collect and store the crops of the world, it became one of the few remaining sources of diverse seeds, and the custodians were here to protect them.
Limited access – no trespassing
The current base of the custodians, the treasure vault formerly known as global seed vault
Once the ice shield started to melt again, these seeds had become a precious good, so the custodians developed a practice of propagating them. During the long dark winters, they had plenty of time to run plenty of experiments. Before the first planting season in years, they opened their treasure vault to trade some of the seeds and the plants they stored, grew, and nurtured.
C1 and C2 treating plants in their hidden greenhouse
Even so, they were custodians for a reason, and they were on a mission: no seed shall be wasted in degraded soils. Farmers requesting pre-dragon crops needed to prove their worthiness by providing a proper soil sample and a convincing, regenerative farming concept. The time of good old agribusiness was over.
C1 is testing a portable device to analyse current levels of degradation on a glacier – the next test will be with soil samples
This year’s Day of Open Doors went very well. Not many humans appeared and applied for seeds—only one Mainland indoor farmer, to be precise. C1 was very happy with the scant number of visitors to the treasure vault—the less trouble and attention, the better. C2 and C3 seemed a bit disappointed; they were looking forward to interacting with applicants, even if this meant refusing their pledges.
C2 needs some time alone – these odds can be a pain
Northern fulmars are hunting for fish and leftovers. Birds play an important role in the custodians' approach.
C1 could feel C2’s resentment, but how could he possibly entertain the idea of opening the vault to a bigger audience? Humans destroyed the whole planet. Why should they be given the opportunity to fuck it up again? He was already picturing a new, extensive era of muddy Agrilogistics*, and this thought tasted bitter. Still, he felt a bit bad for C2 and proposed a vote on how to move forward, either by (A) keeping the operation small and protecting the treasures or (B) opening the vault and going out into the world.
C2 could already guess where that vote was going, so he raised his hand floppily for option B. Unsurprisingly, he was the only one. The odds always stuck together. It was not easy to spend years in a remote fortress with thousands of seeds, plants, and two odds.
*Agrilogistics: An agricultural program, running and maintained since 10,000 B.C., at the start of the warm phase during the Holocene: the time when humans transitioned from foraging and hunting to farming and storing. /Timothy Morton, Dark Ecology
The custodians' purpose is to serve the planet and regulate human activities.
Therefore they installed a great variety of measuring devices to monitor environmental well-being.
C1 was happy to finally conclude this vote, there was something more important on the schedule. A flock of snow buntings was approaching the archipelago and the team had already prepared snacks for them.
C1 and C3 are getting ready the feed the birds
Bird confect with traceable biomarkers on molecular level, tailored for each species` unique taste
Created with Midjourney
Microscopic view of the organic tracking module
In a recent effort to identify regenerated, habitable, and fertile land, the custodians fed seeds with biomarkers that could be tracked and traced over long distances. With this innovation, they could monitor the birds’ movement and see where they settled in hopes that it would reveal something about the world beyond their horizon.
The odds are testing a prototype for geo-feedback technology
Time for stretching – C2 and C3 performing their daily exercising
The custodians were often perceived as strict and rigid, cold and unforgiving. Most humans couldn't see how deeply they cared about the world and the beings that inhabited it.