Today’s relevant shout-out goes to Destiny: Rise of Iron for its depiction of a nanotech bloom as something other than the traditional (boring) homogeneous gray goo:
So many of the probable phases, all on display: the hard-shelled geoms (which I conceive of as processing nodes) and bundles of organic-looking transport/processing motile cables, both growing together and through other objects; hazes of foglets, both being excreted by other constructions and moving independently; and (not pictured), streams of liquid nanite soup glowing lava-like with the radiant heat of active [dis]assembly.
If you’re looking for a visual reference for what I envision rampant nanite blooms to look like in the ‘verse, you could do a lot worse.
If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here nopeing out with the highest possible redshift.
Of course, a lot of the middle crust of Qechra also resembles this strongly, albeit a little more orderly…
You can’t really tell a friendly from an unfriendly bloom by eye.
Yeah, that’s some high-energy-density nope fuel right there! Where’d I leave that relativistic heavy ion cannon, again?
‘And lo, the bloom spread across the world, gaining sentience. It looked back upon itself, seeing pink tendrils and sharp edged pillars. Such fractal complexities appealed to it and it was pleased by its shape and thought it Good.
And yet, as it entered the minds of the citizens it absorbed, it discovered new concepts. Post-Structuralism, Brutalism, Modernism, Modern Art. Simple shapes and simplistic colour arrangements. Square buildings. The citizens thought of nano as bubbling grey masses, simple like Modernism.
And lo the bloom began to think “let us become like this, that which is modern. Let us learn to like the simplistic and the easy.”
The bloom turned into a simple bubbling mass, a wave of nano, a simple shape. The citizens, struggling to free themselves from the mass yet offended aesthetically by such brutalism, cried out in horror.’
Even though that image is the kind of thing that, if encountered in the flesh, as it were, would have every conscious thread screaming “DANGER! You are in mortal peril! Flee, preferably while also killing it with fire!”, it is a heck of a lot more interesting than the usual boring silver dust.