Author : Sam Clough aka “Hrekka”, Staff Writer
It’s just like they try to teach you in biology.
Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.
Municipalis, Europa, Munchen, EDF, Umbra, Generatrum, Gigas.
The common or garden Generatrum Gigas. Very roughly, that’s ‘Giant Generator’. Self-replicating automata are absolutely great unless you impose severe limits on them. And make sure there’s no easy workarounds.
‘Europa’ may have been true once, but no longer. Municipalis don’t respect political borders: these things walk around the world. Not fast enough to stay in perpetual daylight, but fast enough to snatch eighteen hours or more of light a ‘day’.
And they’re damn tall. And some of the subspecies can float.
About the only people who gained anything purely positive from the whole evolutionary technology revolution were the damn taxonomists. Whole new species sprouting in a whole new kingdom of life. And sprouting far quicker than anyone anticipated.
The new breed of taxonomist are an aggressive bunch. For the first time in years there’s something new and fresh in the field. Now they’re all out in the world. They’re the new heroes: the new household names. Charles Maltz, first human to document the speciation of mineral extraction drones, as they evolved from general extraction to specific ores. Donald Powell, first human to enter the wreckage of Dungeness and find evidence of emergent radiotolerant forms of common municipalis. Kate Finnigan, first human to cross the pacific with a seagoing umbra solar platform. Alexei Khostov, first human to gain the trust and acceptance of an enclave of dimachaeri combat frames.
The oil is gone. Most metal, too. The machines are extracting the last of it from Africa. Taxonomists have already witnessed predatory forms attacking and breaking down slow-moving members of umbra and the other lumbering solar families. Entire mechanical ecosystems are appearing.
The most remarkable discovery has been a symbiotic relationship found on the african savannah. A solar platform allowed several small velite combat frames to draw power from it regularly in exchange for defense against the small, fast edo family predators that would try to disable and disassemble it for parts. The combat frames were obviously several generations into the relationship: when discovered, their catabolic furnaces were already atrophying, forcing them to continue protecting the solar platform.
The Royal Society is bringing together research from everyone it can contact: they’re preparing to publish a new book. Systema Metropolis: the Systema Naturae for the modern age. The project is one of the few positive, creative efforts that has occurred on a worldwide scale in years.
The world is slowly dying, choking on the pollution of twelve billion minds. The ennui of the world is dissapating now that there’s finally a new frontier. There is romance, there is excitement. There are heroes once again. For the first time in a long time, the future is not quite so bleak.