Electric Anthropology

By the time a more advanced race dwelling among the distant stars traversed the black gulf of space and landed on earth, they found the species that had reached out into the endless void in the hope they would find they weren't alone in the darkness. The civilization that heard this cry took the initiative as a sign humanity was a species that desired mutual prosperity and cooperation and were at once eager to respond to the call.
The grand cities that had once been the steel citadels of humanities most complex social institutions were quiet ruins, and all that remained of the simian creatures were their slightly curved vertebrates and hollow skulls.
There were some salvageable remnants. The globe was littered with intact artifacts still serviceable long after it's creators vanished.  All the information generated by humans had been digitized and inscribed into the microchips of plastic devices. Everything any researcher could ever know about the enigmatic homo sapiens was locked away behind the blank polymer interface.
It was surmised electricity was what would activate the highest runes and the interstellar anthropologists set about finding a way to send a jolt of power through the corpse. The explorers were able to establish an electrical grid primitive by their standards but enough to reanimate the now stagnant digital universe.
When they peered into the electronic eyes, they saw a world frozen in time. Human history was already chronologically cataloged, and data on any point was easily accessible. They were even able to see the very moment when humans disappeared from this realm forever. There were glimpses of the divine, moments of creation, compassion, things that almost seemed impossible. But these were buried in a mountain of cruelty and chaos. The most disturbing epoch was the last stage in their decline.
They worshiped demagogs simply for being more narcissistic than themselves and celebrated themselves with digital monuments which they spent all their waking hours growing and maintaining. They integrated themes fully into an artificial world where they could indulge their worse impulses. Even after their extinction their figureheads inhabiting the information stream were still self-exultant and dangerously selfish ambivalent creatures.
The expedition launched from the stars departed from the quiet planet disappointed. They shut down the power and silenced the demigods.  They left the human artifacts in the dust and never returned. The last physical remains of humans and the word they built would be eroded away by time and completely forgotten by the rest of the universe.

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