Nanites are produced and controlled by nano-hives, small items the size of modern cellphones. The nano-hive is a macro-scale builder unit, it produces the desired nanite swarm and acts as a central brain, providing orders to the swarm via an encrypted link. A nanite swarm is produced with enough internal power to function for a preset period, never more than 24 hours. Some residential-use nanites have a lifespan of seconds, long enough to accomplish their task and return to the hive. If the swarm cannot return to the hive and recharge, it will deactivate at the end of that period. Each nano-hive produces a single ‘breed’ of nanites, designed for a specific task. Some common tasks are: surveillance, medical, construction and disassembly, and nano-hunters. Construction nano-hives usually double as disassemblers, since they must harvest raw resources to use for construction. Surveillance nanites are dusted over an area and will record and transmit data from the area on a specific frequency or rotating frequency set as programmed for 24 hours, when they run out of power. Nano-hunters are designed to find and attack other nanites. Medical nanites analyze and repair living tissue and administer drugs.
A nano-hive can construct an infinite amount of nanites, as long as it’s provided with raw material. Standard constructor blocks containing all the elements required for nano-hive production are commonly available.
On the streets and in the black markets, nanites have taken the place of the old standby narcotics of the 20th century. Medical nano-hives can be programmed to create nanites that will generate narcotic substances that have no natural analog, and continuously administer them for up to 24 hours. Other, more sinister creations can remap the users neural pathways in ways that Angels cannot, wiping minds to create servile sex-dolls, or mapping totally new personalities over the original. They can even create “manchurian candidate” style assassins, programmed by nanites to respond violently to certain stimulus. Rumors abound of even more terrifying applications that completely remap the human genome on a molecular level, creating terrifying chimera-creatures. If these rumors are true, the proof has been supressed at such a high level that no one has ever been able to find and reveal it. Blackmarket nanites are sold in individual dose ampules, the nano-hives that produce them kept hidden to prevent the authorities from cutting off the supply.
Nanites can also be used as data-couriers, in a method known as “Ogara Data Sourcing”, or Sourcing for short. Nanite memory modules equipped with mobility units are dusted into a crowd, where they jump from person to person until they reach their programmed target. Once there, they burrow into the target’s skull and tap into their angel with the stored data.
Nanites are also used in fabricator technology. Fabricators are desk-sized units that use pattern programs to turn raw materials into the desired items. A fabricator can build anything that it has a pattern for, although large items, such as vehicles, may need to be produced in parts and assembled afterward. Part of the safety protocols for fabricators prevent the nanite swarm from leaving the fabricator, materials must be fed into the unit for it to disassemble. Patterns for fabricators are purchased via datasea markets, and are usually one-use items. Multi-use and unlocked patterns are available at much higher costs.
After several highly-publicized accidents with self-replicating nanites, laws were put into place forbidding the design and deployment of self-replicators. Of course, this does nothing to prevent criminals and terrorists from employing them. Additionally, it is possible for a swarm of disassemblers to get stuck in “material preparation” mode if connection to the hive is lost, which would lead to the swarm continuing to break down material until it ran out of power. The Nanite Enforcement Authority is responsible for dealing with such incidents.