A tragedy shook the entire world in April of 2117. Over a period of ten days, a virulent plague swept across the globe infecting millions. The symptoms were all the same - a bizarre mingling of flesh and metal that left the survivors disfigured and mostly insane. And most horrific of all was the revelation that the plague was very specific about its target - only children between the age of 6 and 12 years old were affected.

The nanoplague began in Hong Kong and crossed Asia in a matter of hours. Once infected, a child could carry the virus for as much as 36 hours before displaying symptoms. Thus, the virus bypassed many containment and quarantine attempts across Asia and Europe and became a worldwide pandemic in less than a week. Over .01% of the world's population of that age group were infected. Roughly 95% of cases were fatal.

Those who did survive, however, were quite unusually affected by the nanoplague. Those infected by the nanites found their bodies laced with hexite, a "supercarbon" spoke-molecule form of high-strength and superconductive material. Much like a symbiotic organism, the virus restructured and enhanced its host bodies in different ways. Some found themselves turned into living antennas, able to interpret other's electrical brain activity. Others could instinctually access wireless computer systems. Still others could form a sheathe of hexite upon their skin for superhuman strength and durability.

The "cybergeneration", as it came to be known, is a phenomenon unique to this century. Some nations have deported all survivors of the nanoplague, while others (such as the U.S., Angelus, and Australia) welcome them and offer all the benefits of a citizen. Distressingly, these children often find themselves a lonely and freakish drop in the sea of humanity. Some nanotechnology experts have suggested that roughly 375,000 children worldwide compose the cybergeneration, but it is too early to tell what will happen next. Some of the biggest questions remain: will the nanites "breed true" once the cybergeneration starts having kids of their own? What will the cybergeneration's life expectancy be if the nanites can continue to survive and maintain their unusual body chemistry? Will the cybergeneration eventually outnumber normal humans?

Other questions abound regarding the virus's origin. Hong Kong and Chinese officials have repeatedly denied any knowledge regarding the nanoplague, despite plentiful evidence that the nanoplague began in that city. Obviously, the nanoplague was some kind of tailored, weaponized nanovirus. Experts have provided many theories, and the most widely accepted school of thought currently indicates that the nanoplague was released on accident. It is most likely that the nanoplague was intended to target a specific portion of the world's population, perhaps even a specific racial or national group. The side effects of the plague upon the cybergeneration children suggests that at some point, the virus either mutated or was re-programmed somehow to give a chance for survival to its victims.

The legacy of the nanoplague will haunt all of mankind for years to come. Those who suffered the loss of a loved one share the pain parents all across the globe who cry over far too many small graves. Those who survive face the challenges of a world that considers them strange at best and monsters at worst.