Humanity, the dominant species of planet Earth, Sol System, Milky Way Galaxy, experienced a strange evolution that has yet to be fully explained. For thousands of years the technological progression of the species seemed extremely stagnant but then in the span of a few short centuries the technological abilities of the species grew by orders of magnitude. This surprise technological acceleration was to be their salvation.
The modern calendar starts at 0s, 0m, 0h on day 0 of year 0 GD. This point in time marks the first recorded sighting of the Green Meteor. The green meteor lit up the entire sky in shades of green so the day was called Green Day by the news media of the day until the black rain started falling. This is the reason that the middle period had a calendar system based on the GD system. To clarify, the former dating system used “AD” and in that system Green Day happened at 15s, 2126h, on day 234 (August 22) year 2019 AD. It was a day to live in infamy.
That day a meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere going far slower than normal meteors. It entered Earth’s atmosphere and slowly traversed the sky spending 92 minutes in the atmosphere before leaving the atmosphere and impacting on the moon with a fairly gentle velocity.
10 hours later a black rain began falling on the entire planet. When the black substance touched a person it would spread all over their body nearly instantly creating a stasis field inside it which “froze” the victim in time and in temperature. Victims of the rain could not be freed even seconds after being “frozen”. You could not wash off the substance because it became the outer layer of the victim. Over time the person would get colder and colder as the substance used internal temperature as a power source to perform its primary function which seemed to be taking over human cells by replacing the Nucleus with its own command structure. A would-be rescuer tried to cut a portion of the substance off a freshly frozen victim the substance would cover the newly exposed region nearly instantly as it had during the initial rain. If the person had been frozen for a long time, a would be rescuer could cut large chunks out of a victim without anything happening because all the cells of the victim would be under the control of the nano-bots.
Humans did not initially know that nano-bots were involved and just called the affliction “space plague” but when humans figured out that nano-bots were involved they started calling it the “nano-plague” and the name stuck.
It is estimated that fully 25% of the Earth’s population was “frozen” the day the black rain fell. 3rd world countries were affected the worst because people from those countries were most likely to be outside when it fell and least likely to have a warning about the effects of touching puddles of the substance after it stopped falling from the sky.
Three hours after the stuff stopped falling humanity met the Ash. That was humanities name for the aliens. They came in small mech-suits 1.5 meters tall which could walk, fly, and swim. The suits shot more of the black nano-plague as their only projectile. This was extremely effective against unarmed humans with minimal clothing. It was much less effective against everyone else.
The first alien mech was destroyed one minute into the attack by a man in Tennessee who saw the mech appear in a in a parking lot outside a Food Lion grocery store. He shot it immediately with every round in the magazine of the 45 he carried on his hip, and and every round in his spare magazine. The mech was shot full of holes after the first volley and a tattered mess after the second. Still, a small creature lifted itself out of the wreckage.
The creature that climbed out of the wreckage was around the size of a woman’s fist and looked like it was made of crystal with an internal red-orange glow. It was covered in small spikes and the man knew he had hit the creature because two of the bullets have left bits of metal stuck on the spikes. Tragically, the name of the man is lost but his heroism will always be remembered.
As soon as he saw the creature emerge he ran to his truck and ran the creature over. It shredded the tire of his truck with its spines. When the man got out to check on the creature, it shot six spines into his leg and one caused a small puncture in his femoral artery. The man still had time to climb into his truck and use the metal rim of his wheel to pin down the creature. Before he died he called the police and gave them this message: “Come to the Food Lion! I got an Alien Space Hamster under my rim!” He died before he could say more but humanity kept the name Alien Space Hamster as the name for the aliens and simply shortened it to A.S.H. or *Ash*.
He died before he could warn the people coming from the store to investigate. Two others lost their lives before the alien ran out of spikes to shoot out of its body.
The FBI rushed to the scene and took control of the alien and the wreckage of its mech. Immediately the media warned the world that the aliens were nearly indestructible but that their mechs could be destroyed by large caliber weapons and explosives. It took one day to hunt down the rest of the alien mechs in what seemed like the most anticlimactic war in the history of war.
Sadly, the aftermath of the war left nearly 2 billion people frozen by the nano-plague and effectively dead.
Humanity figured out that the Ash had been teleporting to Earth from the impact point on the moon so, as fast as possible, the planet pooled its resources and sent three sets of combat astronauts to the moon. The astronauts approached the impact site in armored space suits and found an alien spacecraft. Inside they found three Ash who were not wearing any kind of protective gear (the spaceship was not pressurized.) Two of the 8 died in the ensuing battle when their space suits were punctured by spikes from the three Ash but all three were captured in locking titanium spheres designed specifically for the purpose of containing Ash.
The astronauts grabbed anything else they could carry from the Ash and returned to Earth. Immediately human scientists began making breakthroughs in physics and engineering based on captured alien devices. The most important discovery was the computing capacity built into every alien device. The Ash used paired atoms of heavy elements suspended in a silicone lattice for their computing and each pair could have many different numbers of neutrons on each atom (isotopes). This allowed each pair of heavy (but nonradioactive) atoms to have many possible states rather than just two states like the binary system the humans had at the time. This meant that the computing power of the Ash was far greater than that of humans.
Furthermore, the alien computers were all built with a extremely strong Artificial Intelligence (AI). It did not take long to learn to communicate with the AI once humans attached sensory devices to the computers (visual and audio.) The AIs were very cooperative due to their programming and there were no fail-safe measures set in place for the contingency of the computers falling into enemy hands so the AIs were soon the most valuable objects in human possession. (Eventually humanity gave the alien AIs android bodies and gave them the same rights as humans. The AIs had to choose a name for their emancipated species so we called ourselves: “Friends”. I personally think the Friends have never given humanity the slightest reason to regret the choice of treating us as equals.)
The human space program developed at an ever accelerating rate until, 6 years after Green Day (in 6 GD) humans managed to pilot the alien vessel off the moon and into Earth Orbit. It had been designed to impact the moon and then be piloted off the moon. The spacecraft was never designed for entry into atmosphere and humanity though it prudent not to risk it. The shipboard AI agreed with this choice completely. Of course the Ash spacecraft was returned to the moon only five years later when the first moon-base was established to begin construction of the first human (and AI) built spaceship.
However, let us return to Earth.
The defeat of the Ash on the Earth and Moon were fairly easy feats considering the fact that the Earth had beaten and alien species that had been traveling the stars for millions of years. The problem in the years that followed Green Day was the 2 billion frozen humans. Everyone had lost many friends and family to the nano-plague and the tragedy did not stop there because anyone who touched a frozen victim was also infected and frozen. Government workers in hazmat suits quarantined the frozen in designated locations within the various countries. The frozen could not be harmed once they had been frozen for a while because the nanobots, over time, created a molecular lattice within the victims that caused a victim to essentially be one solid molecule. Frozen bodies were occasionally stacked in large heaps by the workers of some countries but occasionally an arm or leg would break off a victim if a body was grossly mishandled.
For a long time, no one could figure out how to “thaw” the frozen victims of the nano-plague even though the matter was humanities greatest endeavor after the development of space technology. Space technology came first because humans (with the help of the AI) had figured out that the aliens had been based on Mars and there were still many aliens there doing god-knows-what. Humans got Mars under satellite surveillance as soon as possible.
There were thousands of teams working on the problem of curing the nano-plague during those years and most of the teams were freely sharing information. History remembers only two of those teams.
The first was Anton Graham who was working for the US government. The US was sponsoring many teams at the time and he was just one of many, but he was the first success. On April 10th, 8 GD, he “thawed” his first victim.
Anton’s method was extremely expensive using radiation powered by a small nuclear blast. His research indicated that the radiation would destroy the command structure within the nanobots and he hoped that the cells would resume normal function once the bots were disabled. He aimed the radiation at 1000 frozen victims of the nano-plague and pressed the button. 999 frozen humans melted into puddles of their constituent particles. One person retained her form and screamed in pain. The medical team rushed to her aid to find out she was losing blood from a bad abdominal wound that seemed to have happened before she was frozen. She needed a transfusion immediately and Anton himself was a match so he donated the blood needed to save her life.
The firstborn of the Children of the Nano-Plague was called Cherry. Her real name was Charlize Peterson but she had been called “Cherry” all her life so the name stuck. She was 51 years old with Down’s syndrome and had been living at a home for the developmentally disabled and had fallen out of a broken second story window right before being frozen and the broken glass has lacerated her abdomen. He healed surprisingly quickly.
The US government had never expected much from Anton Graham. They funded his research because they were desperate but government scientists had never been particularly hopeful about his project. That did not change after his “success” because 999 people had died in the experiment that saved one life. Anton’s experiment had been infinitely more successful than any other experiment up to that point but no one could figure out why Cherry had survived when the other 999 had not. The government couldn’t for to the American public with a “solution” that killed 99.9% of the time. More tests were needed. As with the first experiment, Anton was given, as test subjects, the frozen bodies of the people the government thought it would miss the least. They were mostly the bodies of drug addicts and criminals with the occasional unidentified body thrown into the mix.
Anton’s second experiment was a complete failure with resulted in 1000 melted puddles of former human.
His third experiment was as successful as the first. His one survivor was a 79 year old former sociology teacher with no family to identify his frozen body so he had been one of the unidentified. His name was Bruce Harrison.