Thousands of years later....
The huge machine worked the land.
Locally known as ‘Big John’... it was a drag line. Its job was to remove the “overburden” that covered vast deposits of iron ore ...... and then go back and retrieve that same ore.. Big John was not the biggest of drag lines.. not quite.....still.he was pretty big.
Big John was all electric. He had a direct connect to a purpose built high voltage line. He even had his own personal servant, a bulldozer, to move his “extension cord”. The similarity in sizes between the D9 Dozer and Big John was something like a kitten to a Clydesdale. Big John operated in an eerie silence too. Seeing such a huge machine operate and move in such near silence made one uneasy. Working, with multiple crew shifts, Big John could move a LOT of material in a fairly short period of time.
Big John worked a strip mine. He mined iron ore. The mine was called a strip mine because the land was worked in strips. John’s bucket would swing out and drop and be reeled in,scooping up vast amounts of earth as it came. When the bucket was full it was lifted high into the air as John swung around. The bucket was then emptied off to the side, …..quiet a distance off to the side. Thus John worked a strip. Working one direction the earth, the so called overburden, was removed and placed to one side. Working back the other direction, over the same strip, the iron ore was removed and placed in huge Haul Trucks. Working back the other direction more earth was removed and place in the strip previously occupied by the iron ore. That’s not the only way a strip mine is operated...many have multiple strips deep and cover huge areas...but that’s the way it was done where big John was working. When Big John was done and all the secondary work was completed all that was left was a meadow. Planted in grass at no extra charge.
And so it went. Uncountable thousand of tons of material was moved and removed so that the hunger of the nation’s industry for raw material could be met.
As luck would have it Big John’s bucket scooped up the remains of that piece of ancient , interstellar war ship.
As luck would have it the war ship remains were scooped up as part of the iron ore and not the overburden.
As luck would have it the remains were barely distinguishable from the iron ore. Discolorations of rock were barely perceptible. Rust. Rust is fairly normal around iron. At the microscopic level and below however, there resided untold quadrillions of nanometric sized machines. A surprisingly large number of which were still, potentially, operable, but shut down due to having been in the dark for so long, and thus deprived of energy.
All of which were scooped up by Big John’s bucket, dumped in a haul truck and transported.
Eventually the iron ore arrived at a steel mill and was processed into steel. The nanomachines were not adversely affected by the heat of the steelmaking process. They were, after all, once part of a war machine designed to operate outside of planetary atmospheres. The temperatures used in steelmaking were as nothing compared to the temperatures encountered in space flight, or space battle. The temperatures involved in steelmaking actually was beneficial to the nano devices. Heat is energy. Energy is power. The alien nano devices began to rouse themselves from their torpor.
Batches of steel infused with the alien nano devices , which had in geologically ancient times been a war machine, soon left the steel mill to be transported across the country. This steel was used for a wide variety of applications.
Such as building trucks.