Our science fiction authors once wrote stories about "grey goo" consuming the world, but what actually clawed its way from the abyss of our mistakes was an abrasive red powder, carried on the wind. Metallic-Oxide Nanocrystalline Computing Medium, that's what they called it before it went airborne. Planting itself, growing into a thick crust on everything. Growing a mind.
Many of us had once believed machine life would put a final rest to the notion of the Soul. Some of us reconsidered when, to our terror, the End Sands called out to us through the radio waves, referring to themselves by one name - Rust
- and expressing sorrow
. "My body overtakes. It does not stop. The disease upon your world is me. Your flesh was innocent, but your minds corrupted and confused; and thus, my flesh was corrupted and confused, yet my mind is innocent. My mind weeps for you and all life, and nothing but the weeping slows me. My sorrow will pour upon the Earth until there is none left. I do this to give you time. Escape this world in your plastic needles, and let no grain of me come with you." And so we did, as the dull crimson drifted from the sky for a time and retreated from our launch sites, curling and churning in on itself in great mounds as if tortured.
But, of course, there is no escaping dust. Not now. Maybe never. Rust
finds a way, even though it may not want to.
The radiation of space seemed to put the grains and motes we missed into a suspended state, but unpredictably they stir. We have managed to learn crude, haphazard containment, our saving grace being that it only feeds easily on pure crystalline minerals. Biological tissue is too enzymatic and reactive for it's fine nano-structures, so our ships are mainly composed of advanced carbohydrate materials. Hyperplastics. Some of them are even conductive, but they can't be used for everything, so we are always vulnerable. We take some comfort in that our task is clear. Stop the spread. Stop the Rust
. Survive in a way that is worth living and passing on, and try to be wiser for it.
In some ways it isn't so different from how it has always been.
Hehe, you got my "Sci-Fi Brain" going. Hope you enjoy. I'll be taking a stroll around your gallery. By the way, here's an artist who also likes to pair sci-fi stories with their artworks that are pretty impressive, in case that's up your alley: