The rolling hills filled with leathery trunks, moss growing on rock, and miles of trees shaped like bronchioles were a memory of the past. The younger ones would never know them. Now everything was scorched and salted earth, dust, and death everywhere. Now the water was an uninhabitable plastic soup. And they knew the Civilized would eventually eat it all, any vestige left of their humanity included. So they knew the only possible reaction to this toxic Civilization was disgust.
And they knew this bile would eventually overwhelm them and they knew the delusions of progress the Civilized reviled in were not an option. Only rebellion. And they stared at this “human experiment” and refused to self-medicate. And they stared at this world of smooth machinery and “progress” and could not delude themselves any longer. And they accepted the world as it is, they felt no desire to obscure reality with delusions.
And they remembered the life of the past Earth and they did not see a futile expenditure of energy. And they saw the more noble beings that had survived and they were in awe, each of them precious. And they saw Civilization for what it had always been, an ever-expanding blob of consumption, digestion, and destruction.
Nor were they able to stand idly by nor could they allow such bile free rein. They repelled the myths Civilization propagated; they saw humanity as the weak undeserving creature it was. And they knew its pettiness and vanity would force it to destroy itself. Eventually.
And they looked at the ancients who knew they were just another link in the great chain of being. And they saw it was only the “Civilized” that deserved their contemptuous gaze because they were fools. And this gave them purpose.
Some took it upon themselves to be the apostles against Civilization. And they reminded people that this human experiment is a failure. And they reminded people that for all the talk about progress humanity has only progressed in the production of junk. And they told them they had become maggots, propagating and eating the flesh of the Earth until nothing would be left.
Some became warriors, they took it upon themselves to overthrow Civilization, they saw it as the only option to save the Earth. Some took it upon themselves to design and augment creatures, make them capable of fighting back. Some took it upon themselves to seek help in the night sky, maybe beings from outer space would make it all better. And some took it upon themselves to exit Civilization and start fresh somewhere else, far far away, to leave Earth and start a new world.
And some saw all these efforts as futile. Why salvage doomed humanity that deserves no saving? The Dead Apes. They remained here to bear witness. They would witness the fall and document exactly how and why it happened. They would document every single decision, every single person who had ever made a choice that brought this death upon the Earth.
No words had ever been invented to describe the evil that had been perpetuated for such evil had never been possible, but their actions would never be forgotten.
And they would make sure that after the fall if another Civilization arose they would know every sin that was ever committed. And they would make sure their monstrous deeds would be recorded for all to see until the universe collapsed onto itself.
And they would make sure that if ever another Civilization arose, it would be a wiser, gentler, more generous one. And if it wasn’t… They would make sure it would NEVER arise.