Beware the Water Dragon

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We all had nicknames for him (it? them?), but it turned out that mine was the one that stuck. It was a military project, of course; they all are these days. As far as we know, it was the world’s first successful foray into the world of nanomechanics. “He” was six hundred thousand individual machines weighing a total of a gram and a half, suspended in ultra distilled water to keep them from replicating. Every day he looked different–bored maybe, and who could blame him?–but usually he seemed to prefer a spiny snakelike configuration that could move like lightning. We kept him trapped in there for one reason, but it was a pretty good one; if he ever escaped, life on earth would end approximately four months afterward. Well, biological life, anyway; water dragons would be doing just fine.

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