It took the evacuation of Houston for us to change our ways.
After a few centuries of industry took its toll on the planet, the southern United States, along with many other parts of the world, grew so hot as to be unlivable. The land seemed to be mad at us. When we all watched those people fleeing Texas like a line of worker ants, some by car, others by plane, most on foot, all the naysayers were finally quieted. Something had to be done.
And just like that, maybe when the bosses realized there was no profit to be made if nobody had any place to live, new technologies started to pop up. All those crazy inventions you’d see on the news sometimes suddenly didn’t seem quite so crazy, and all the corporate money that had been spent tearing up the land now went into them. Trees were planted by the millions. Native flora began to appear on everything. And I mean everything: skyscrapers that used to reflect sunlight and confuse passing birds looked like trees unto themselves; rusty city bridges suddenly had shrubs and moss growing off their sides; and the fossils of old factories became gardens of food, flowers, whatever they said we should be growing to clean things up again.
Above all else, though, were the cyborgs.
In case you haven’t been reading your scifi, cyborg means “cybernetic organism.” So a cyborg is like a living thing, but all full of machinery and gubbins. We made big ones to churn up landfills and little ones to filter the air; mouthy ones to eat up plastic in the ocean and clever ones to help us plant trees.
That was a long time ago, back when my granddad was a kid, and now things are looking up. Our planet is back on track. The land doesn’t seem so mad any more, but the cyborgs do.
I don’t mean mad mad, like they’re angry with us. I mean it in a more old timey kind of way: it’s like the machines have all gone crazy. And once again we, humanity, are left to clean up the mess we made. That’s what the Scouts are. That’s why they’re here.