Uplifted

Anyone who happened to be watching the exact point in space would only have seen a slight visual distortion against the stars. In the blink of an eye, the gravitational force of a star was generated over just a few short kilometers, compressing the fabric of space-time into a temporary singularity. The reverberation of that mass, when the remote graviton pulse wave that had tricked the physical laws of the universe subsided, produced a connection between two non-corresponding locations in the universe: a wormhole.

The event horizon immediately set off early warning sensors on the world below, basking in the radiance of its warm, yellow sun. Local forces were mobilized, but before they could act, the Sansha auto-replicating virus batch was already relayed and being broadcast from every major structure in the system ― stargates, stations, and even planetary networks. The invasive programming quickly overwhelmed the inferior systems of the civilian infrastructure, local garrisons, and, though they would not admit it, most of the Gallente Federation’s navy ships.

Then the wormhole let out a searing burst of white light, and they came through, bulbous metallic vessels covered in wicked, uneven spines. Hundreds poured from the shimmering portal, covering light years of distance in a single instant to cloud the skies above the helpless planet. Almost fishlike, darting in loose formation and changing direction simultaneously, they spread out in all directions. With synchronized releases of focused electromagnetic blasts, they smoothly wiped all defensive structures and communications satellites from orbit. For many people on the surface, the sudden glare of golden laser beams lancing across the night sky was the first sign that Sansha’s Nation had arrived.

When it had secured the entire lower orbital altitude, the armada held position until a second wave of ships emerged from the wormhole. These new vessels were different, though, lacking the bulky warp drives that took up so much space in the combat vessels; instead, their cavernous cargo holds had a very specific purpose, housing rows and rows, layer upon layer of holding cells designed to store humanoid “passengers.” The ships dropped through the atmosphere unimpeded, by squadrons, a perfectly orchestrated meteor shower.

The hypnotizing spectacle of the massive bronze ships, still glowing from the heat of atmospheric entry, turned to panic as they slowed to hover several hundred meters above the ground. A horrible grinding rolled forth from each one as gigantic bay doors slid open, unleashing a barely visible cloud of buzzing creatures that glittered as they caught the light. Undetectable except in vast quantities, these tiny cybernetic parasites drifted down over every population center, almost weightless, wafting in through unshielded windows, exposed ventilation systems, even exhaust ports that lacked the proper filters used on more densely populated worlds.

Before the victims below could understand what was happening, the nanites had already passed through the outer layer of skin, navigated the bloodstream, and attached themselves to the base of their spinal cords. When enough of the insidious little things had amassed in a single person, they begin to emit rhythmic electrical pulses ― not enough to disrupt higher brain functions, but more than enough to overpower the simple neural pathways below the neck. People screamed and shouted, struggled in vain, and cried pitifully for help, but their bodies wouldn’t respond.