This planet is black, shiny like obsidian.

Any spore smart enough to engulf the sentient race that created it is potentially smart enough to learn what space travel is if some malfunctioning probe or ship crash-lands on it. Therefore, it has long been illegal to send artifacts above a certain technological level into nanopocalyptic environments.

This makes studying post-nanopocalyptic civilisations difficult. All you can do, usually, is scrutinise endless photographs of their river valleys taken from hundreds of kilometres up.

But this planet has no atmosphere. The bots ate it.

And its cities are built on grid patterns.

Ridged ground streaks past me, too uninteresting to waste film on, too distant right now to get good footage of. I focus ahead, to the east. Urban build-up increases as I approach the city spikes on the horizon. Roads get denser. I aim my antique camera downwards, resisting the temptation to adjust the focus and speed settings we bashed out back on the ship.

Buildings flutter and then erupt on either side of me.

"I'm r—"

Photographed from this angle the people seem like dolls handcrafted in impossible detail from glossy black marble, carefully arranged alongside matching vehicles and street furniture in a glossy black marble street between two rows of towering glossy black marble skyscrapers.

I wore a pressure suit with no propulsion capabilities, in a finely calculated freefall. From my vantage point, less than fifteen metres above the nanoscape at perigee, I caught on film every petrified shoelace, button, hair and eyelash in that artifical canyon, while falling along it at fifteen kilometres per second.

"—olling."

The road broadens, narrows, wanders alarmingly left and right, then vanishes, dropping away to dry ocean bed. The camera is spent. I begin the second half of my hyperbola.

This was created as part of Raz de Equites, an Everything2 quest. The title was selected from a set list and there was a limit of 300 words.

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