Disassembler Swarms, Black Goo
Disassembler Swarm
Image from Steve Bowers
One of the common classes of goo swarms The broad definition includes black (disassembler nanotech) goo, as well as macroscale swarms - even some forms of scorched earth policy in conventional warfare. Such swarms render infrastructure and personnel unfit for use, sometimes breaking them down completely for use as feedstock by swarms of assemblers.

Disassembler nanotech is very good at destroying organic material, especially biological systems, and certain non-biological materials as well, since they can use the chemical energy stored in these materials as fuel. But some materials, such as hard metallic surfaces, are too well-bonded to be easy targets for nanotech disassemblers. A typical nanotech black goo swarm will run out of stored energy quite quickly when faced with such materials. The development of magmatter storage loop technology has changed this state of affairs, and a disassembler swarm equipped with tiny magmatter storage units can disassemble large quantities of even the hardest material.

Note that swarms combining several of these formal definitions' have been described in the literature, from beings which physically destroy other beings and take over their living spaces, food, tools, etc. to beings which snake their way into a position to control the media of a given planet or system and then start a dramatic evangelical campaign...
 
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Development Notes
Text by John B and Steve Bowers

Initially published on 31 December 2007.