The Soft Lands

The machines in the Lake enter a period of dormancy. Sometimes they don’t awaken and new machines replace them. The dormancy, and what we know of the replacement machinery, take place in the Soft Lands, areas of Western Pest through which the nanites build, maintain, resize, and shift tunnels of diamondene, from ten centimeters to a meter wide, but always less than ten meters deep. The tunnels near the surface will not bear a person’s weight, and breaking through one means death. 

Broadly, the Soft Lands like the Lake draw sections of a Julia set, and this equation’s graph sets the area to which, give or take a few meters at the edges, the Soft Lands confine themselves. This includes the islands in the southern half, which correspond to the Julia set graph. Even with the shifting shores, the larger is a way station for smugglers, the smaller a szálbot charging station.)  

Parts of the Soft Lands remain intact and unoccupied save by wildlife.  Some are even overgrown. In others, the land or buildings have fallen into tunnels; this often closes the tunnel (one reason they shift) and it decays into carbon sand.