17th Shekray, 3310 after Digitalys settlement. Cruq.

Satisfied with himself Cruq led Lyma through the fields. He had successfully injected himself with a new batch of the nanites, and even had given it to their children, without any ill effects. They had to keep it under wraps as the matriarchy would surely disapprove of it.

“I have made contact with a friend in the scientific community.” Lyma said, her hand brushing the leaves and fruit of a nearby bush as they strode through the fields. “She has agreed of giving me aid in our paper.” 

Proudly nodding Cruq looked around. 

There had been another spot he and Lyma had often visited as children, they even had built a tree house there.

It was the spot where he had proposed to her.

“Take a look.” He finally sighed as they had reached the oak like tree. The house was still there, although it had fallen into disrepair. 

Warm autumn sunrays shone on it, and them. But not as warm as her smile as she laid eyes on the tree house. 

“Why have you brought me here?” 

“Here I first proposed to you, here we two agreed to our matrimony. So I figured this is the perfect place to renew our matrimonial vows.” 

He took her hands in his, and locked eyes with her. “I hereby vow to always cherish you, care for your needs and wants, to the best of my abilities, and beyond. Lyma, I hereby vow to stay true to you, as your husband.” 

Stunned Lyma stared at him. She had forgotten the date. 

Their anniversary! 

“My dearest Cruq, I vow to always uphold you, support you in your need, and catch your fall. My heart belongs to you, and I shall always stay true to you and our matrimony, as your wife.” She recalled her vows word by word. 

Gently he touched her forehead with his. Producing a necklace from his pocket with one hand. 

A small pendant showed two harpy hands holding each other around an egg shaped gem. “Happy anniversary.”

“Two hands and an egg?” Jane giggled, Hylia didn’t seem to be as amused as the human woman. “It’s wonderfully romantic, kinda cute.” she added. Longing for something romantic from Wolfgang, but the most romantic gesture she could expect was dimmed lights, her favorite dish on the table and romantic music playing.

And that got old, fast. 

“Maybe you should tell your man to be more romantic, instead of giggling with an almost tangible yearning over gestures from people who are dead.” Hylia winked, a habit she had picked up from the humans. 

Walking down a path in the beta ring’s garden, the two enjoyed the simulated wind. “You must read on, to understand the meaning of the word ‘Digitalys’.” Hylia sat down in the Orchard, underneath an apple tree.

With a glad glance she looked around at the tall grass, just moments ago she had surprised the young human woman by appearing out of it.

For a brief moment both had experienced how life must’ve been 65 million years earlier on earth.

14th Hakiray, 3315 after Digitalys settlement. Cruq.

Waving a tablet computer in her hand Lyma rushed towards the tree house. Underneath the tree Cruq had built a bench, on which he sat.

From afar he could make her out, the tablet’s surface reflecting the noonday sun as she waved it in excitement. 

From her demeanour alone he knew what had happened. What had failed three time prior. 

The nanites got approval. 

In earlier attempts his name always had shown up in the proposal. In the first one it was him and Lyma, then it was Lyma and him as the authors. In the third attempt it had been her with him as aid. 

As an excuse in the third attempt, the matriarchy had brought up concerns of the networkers. Even though his nanites didn’t even remotely do what the implants did. 

For the fourth attempt they had taken him out of the picture entirely, sold the technology as hers alone.

No recognition, no fame, no memory for posterity. 

Lyma’s nanites they would be called.

Although glad that the salvation for the devastation caused by genetic engineering had finally gotten approval, that he and Lyma had won a great victory, he felt a bitter aftertaste.

“It is approved.” His voice echoed this bitter aftertaste.

“Don’t ruin our, no, your victory here.” She scolded him, still catching her breath. “We both know that it is you who deserves credit for saving Digitalys from the doom brought upon it by its denizens. Your conscience is clean, and I am honored to be the puppet that brought into the light of day.” Cheering his mood up with her words, she handed him the tablet with the news.

“Synthesis of your nanites will begin shortly, large scale implementation will commence next season.” She gave him the abridged version, before he could read it. 

“Great news.” Smiling, the bitter aftertaste vanishing, he put the tablet down. “In two months the greatest threat to our society will be gone!” 

11th Jekram, 3366 after Digitalys settlement. Yrag.

Watching thunder strike the ocean in a few kilometres distance to his position, Yrag stood on the shore. The bolt moved along the dome shaped outline of an invisible forcefield, created by a grid of emitters designed to shut off nanites.

His grid.

“We have lost communication with the matriarchy.” Jujy approached him slowly from a small building in his back. It had the likeness of a lighthouse, but was a satellite relay station, the two lived in. “I hope it’s just the storm, but of course it is more likely they had suffered the same fate as the rest of the mainland.” Another bolt of lightning followed the shield’s outline before striking water.

“They’re sludge.” He replied. 

Both had seen the effect of Cruq’s nanites, rampant in the wild. Only a few years after global implementation the nanites got out of control. 

Replicating out of hand. 

Originally they replicated and destroyed sequences 2210 and 531, but soon they replicated despite also consuming other materials.

Other DNA molecules, other molecules, all sorts of material. 

In affected areas soon the soil, streams, lakes, soon the ocean and even the air became laden with nanites.

Trying to fend off the sludge, as the silvery mass of microscopic robots was called, both he and Jujy had risked their lives.

Only by exposing the sludge to intense bursts of magnetic fields did the nanites in it become inert.

Fleeing them they had retreated to the island. A community of roughly five hundred lived on it. Like the eco rebels fifty years before, the islanders refused splicing, but also Cruq’s nanites. Jujy had spoken to the local government, oddly enough composed of females and males, to set up the grid, with success.

“G-type stars are so rare, we find one with a planet suitable for colonisation, we do so. And what did it bring us? We destroyed this one.” He gazed out at the ocean. 

Most colonies were on tidal locked planets around red dwarf stars, only few planets were like Digitalys. 

“Not all is lost my love, we have the haven.” She pointed at the island in their back. “For now.” He added, his eyes squinted, focusing on a shadow in the water.