Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

The world demanded immortality at gunpoint from the ones who had it already. A transfusion of the nanotech-laced blood from the wealthy was all it took.

For those without access to transfusion equipment, it wasn’t long before the rebels realized that merely eating the flesh or drinking the blood of an immortal would transfer the tiny machines over to their own bloodstream. A vigorous bout of sex would also work, consensual or otherwise. Those were dark days for the rich.

The problem with taking death out of the equation, however, was that a dam of life formed. The population grew exponentially faster without the mitigating factor of terminal illness or disease. The already glutted seas and landfills overflowed with garbage.

Then the babies started dying. It was what happened when nanotech flourished among the stem cells of the newborn. The nanotech didn’t know what to do with these unfamiliar cells and so they were treated as a disease and shunted out of the body. A new form of cancer, it could be said, caused by health gone wild.

The machines at this point had iterated to a point of their own evolution. Reprogramming them was tried but the majority of the machines already in the bloodstreams of the world merely found the new machines and destroyed them.

A monopoly of machines that could protect themselves were in the blood of the world now.

The trade-off for immortality was humanity. With nanotechnology humming through the bloodstream and repairing all damage to every organ, the only thing needed was the input of raw materials. Anything worked. Food was preferred but if one wanted, one could eat splinters or small chips of iron. Sand washed down with salt water.

Other people.

Humans had become a finite resource. They were like extra-hardy locusts without the ability to reproduce. The population of the earth had nowhere to go but down.

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