Five Minutes To Midnight
Not Tomorrow, But Soon
Developments in nanotechnology create the Khaki Plague. The original intention had been to automate the creation of military assets, down to the atomic level, through the creation of a self-replicating swarm of makerbots. The swarm would reassemble inorganic material into the military infrastructure that ground troops could use, removing the need to protect civilian contractors.
It isn’t the Khaki Plague itself that fails, however. It performs admirably on its first deployment. It is only until the trigger to deactivate it is pushed that things go wrong. Elements of the Plague that had mutated to become immune to the killswitch survive, replicate, and interpret the killswitch as an attack from a hostile force.
Without schematics or oversight, all that the Khaki Plague can create is broken parodies of the structures that had been programmed into it: half-finished bunkers, roads to nowhere, and incomplete, shells of tanks, aircraft, and ships. When natural resources run out, the plague quickly adapts to infecting, consuming and converting organic matter.
About Fifty Years Ago
With imminent disaster looming, humanity flees for shelter. The only shelter it finds is the Enclaves, arcologies constructed by megacorporations as factory towns for the twenty-first century. The Enclaves were to be havens for the elite: places where the most talented designers, planners, and administrators could live in a perfectly planned community.
Maybe the other Enclaves turned the waves of refugees away, or gunned them down, but Enclave Nine allowed them in. With no space in the residential areas, the refugees — your ancestors — found space in the industrial sections. Temporary bivouacs and shelters in the maintenance floors, among shipping crates and algae farms, became permanent dwellings.