Nanite River

It springs from a well deep in the ground. Years since the first destruction. A vat, spilled of its contents, entered outward. Now those contents span for countless miles, cutting across what was once a scrapyard; now paints a metallic sheen, reflecting a sun once too blocked by filth and smog. Inhabitable with life, yet one with nature. A caress of sentient chrome, lazily lapping its shores. A steady churn of countless innumerables of individuals working as one, a simple force of nature. Carving a path within the landscape, creating bifurcations and minor branching veins towards growth. Once a source is found, the stream no longer trickles, but expands and becomes another main tendril of the source, spreading its influence. Beaches of glass and rot betray the glory of the sight of it.

There were sightings of divergent formations within the chrome movement. Colors, movements, shapes against the current. As if it were its own ecosystem, creating alternating mimics of what it has replaced. All of this spawning, from differing interpretations of the structures of the metal compounds it adsorbs on its flood across the world. Never-ending reproduction and expansion, improvements. Skyscrapers lay about, half-digested. It only crept for the metal. Golden are the bottom-feeders, as the saying goes.

Shining radiance glows across the sky at night’s moon from its polished waves. Tidal, they may be. Mesoscopic ebbs and flows, all calculated, all accounted for. More miles wide than can be crossed some day. It has drifted, and broken more dreams that it could ever make, it does not think as they used to, it is within itself, carving a path outwards and downwards. It has taken so much from life that was, and returned it into itself. It has seen them off of their world they knew, and driven to the outskirts beyond the bend.

A death of life, within a new breadth of existence. Crafted for their life extensions, now drifting out into the world. There’s such a lot of world to see, and after long they will no longer be there to see it. The river is now beyond their scope, where ever it’s going, it’s not going to work out for the pocketed remnants. They were after the same end, but only one of them can make it last, and they had crafted its advantage. All they do now is wait, and die. They were broken and fractured by its connections. Suffocated as the stones it strangles to extract what ore it can incorporate into itself.

Those that were on the evacuation shuttle watched and were updated for as long as was possible on this one-way journey. They saw a once mostly-vibrant world coated by intermetallic compounds and alloys. New lifeforms, shaped in their forms, creating things as they were, in their own image. A final, impossible, transmission arrived from their home planet before they were just out of reach. It could not be translated.

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