Wreathed in a buzzing cloud of small, independent drones, Meghan stepped into the sunlight for the first time in more than a year, and tears flowed from her eyes. Not so much from the brightness, and not from the knowledge that she would probably be dead within 72 hours. They came from the knowledge of her cowardice.

The drones couldn’t keep all of the nanopathogens away, but there was a chance they would keep her alive long enough to see another sunset or two over the Channel Islands. Long enough to apologize to the sea and the sky and the two billion or so people her creations had already killed. Easier than it would be to keep trying to fix things. Easier than looking at all the people that expected her to.

A cowardly choice. She turned and looked back at the pressure sealed hatch and knew it was already too late to go back.