Infinity Chronicles – Outlander Saga – Pt15 – The Wanderer

**The story below is a draft **

He was so tired. The long road taken to this place had, he was sure, claimed another inch of his embattled soul and as he rubbed his shoulder where one of the stalkers had injured him, feeling a stab of pain, he was all the more certain.

Here in the citadel at the heart of the White City they had withstood the Stalker assault just in time for the scientists and engineers to use the information they had decoded from the data drive the golden seer had given him and deactivate the entire Stalker menace across the globe.

What they learned was incredible. Outside the high white walls that gave all who lived here sanctuary technology had all but died in this new dark age of man but here in the city it had only continued to advance. Outside, what remained of humanity knew the stalkers only as a plague come forth from their deepest nightmares whereas here at the Citadel it had been known for some time that the Stalkers were no simple monster but in-fact something far more insidious. Stalkers were humans infested with a nanite virus that was the cause of their changing and warping of their bodies into a macabre blending of man and machine.

For years the inhabitants of the city had strove to break the complex programming of the nanites in an effort to prevent them warping humanity into grotesque fusions of flesh and technology but it had been to no avail. The programming was more complex than anything they had ever seen and seemed to react and change to any attempts to disrupt it, many whispered in hushed tones that it seemed almost alive but the highest members of the science order had discouraged such conjecture. Perhaps they had not been very wise.

The code was alive, in a sense, but not in any one single nanite and not in the hundreds of thousands that infected any given host but each Stalker could communicate with the rest in a rudimentary hive mind and together, especially in dense number like the kind that had attacked only so recently, they became almost sentient and capable of thought. This explained the monstrous sentry he’d had to fight in order to gain access to the secret pathway to city to begin with, it’s collection of many bodies fused together and its proximity to a horde must have raised the collective consciousness to a level capable of higher though. That insight made him all the more satisfied he’d collapsed the rock lode on it and busted what seemed to be its head wide open, it wasn’t going to re-assemble itself after that.

The ministers of the city had questioned him relentlessly over the origins of the drive but all he could tell them was a story he didn’t believe himself, that a strange wandering woman had simply given handed to him mankind’s salvation and sent him on a journey to a destination he didn’t know. Her talk of time and fate he withheld from them, she’d said those words were for him and him alone to hear and he felt he didn’t need to sound anymore crazy than what they must have assumed he was based on his story so far.

And so it came to pass that the City engineers and scientists were able to create a counter-program using the software base also provided on the drive. There solution was ingenious, their code, a virus essentially but far more complex, behaved much in the same way as the Stalker programming but with a different imperative altogether. The Stalker code lived to spread and search out new hosts, increasing it’s nanite count and hive mind intelligence along with it, the new viralitic code did the same but targeted other nanites transmitting itself along the hive mind nanite to nanite and infecting every node along the way. The existing code base had tried to fight back, tried to re-upload itself to it’s former brethren but the new code changed and adapted in much the same way the original virus did when the scientists had tried their own attempts to overwrite it. This new virus was stronger and more advanced and it was on humanities side. From monitors in underground bunkers in the Citadel ministers watched the spread of the virus across the planet converting each Stalker to a human ally in hours and erasing any trace of the old programming and here was the kicker. Once it had achieved maximum