BEGINNING BACKWARD FORWARD
If you remember from Unicorn Jelly, all native life in Tryslmaistan is essentially a crystalline shell filled with a goo composed of self-replicating units. They are not nano-scale, rather they are meso-scale. The size of small bacteria, say. Slimes are the masters of their particular type of these... mesoforms... that make up the inside of their puddle-like sac. Slimes are like flat bags of mesoform goo that can reconstruct matter on the molecular level... rather like semi-intelligent patches of nanotech replicator machines would be in our world. That is how Slimes can make buildings, alter rock to food, and convert most anything into something else.
It is also how a Crystal Basilisk can reproduce, by spearing another creature with a mesogoo filled spine, injecting it with said goo, which converts what it encounters into a new Crystal Basilisk. Unless stopped, of course, by some means. Thus Chou.
These natural mesoforms can be repurposed, redesigned and programmed... at least by high-tech splays, and of course by the far future HumanoJellese in Stormfall splays. Slimes are useful, but when the principle of native life is reverse engineered into a controllable liquid... the result is the ability to manufacture anything, from useful machines... to lost limbs, or even reviving the dead. After all, human cells are just mesomachines themselves, filled with nanomachine organelles. You want nanotech? Look at your own hand. Every cell in your body is a mesomachine filled with nanotech. DNA, RNA, mitochondria, the endoplasmic reticulum... nanotech. Molecules acting as machinery.
Chou is a hybrid because she was infected with Crystal Basilisk reproductive mesoforms, and very partially transformed. In her very old age, as her immune system failed, the original Basilisk mesoforms once again got the upper hand, and -as we saw at the end of Unicorn Jelly- proceeded to complete the job of eating her flesh and turning it into a new basilisk. Before the monster could get loose and eat her friends (and it would truly have been a monster after being mingled with red life and mutated), she detonated a home-brew chemical bomb strapped to her chest. She had prepared for just such a problem, years before. The last thing we see of Chou, is what is left of her hand reaching for the switch on the bomb, and then a single, soft, 'click'. Boom. Unicorn.
The 'Grey Goo' scenario is one of the dangers of nanotechnology. Self-replicating nanomachines could be very useful, yes. But, if they were just programmed to replicate, with no goal, and no termination command built in to tell them when to stop, they would become a planetary cancer, and turn the entire earth, and all matter upon it, into more nanomachines. It would be as though the entire earth, and everything on the earth, were melted into a viscous grey goo, a thick soup of crawling, replicating nanomachines. Nothing would be spared. End of the world. It is a real risk, should nanotech be developed one day. Or so goes the thought, anyway.
TO SAVE HER A Unicorn Jelly Story
By Jennifer Diane Reitz
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