Meet George Jetson (gee was I gonna use THAT joke?) and his family, The Jetsons. We watched the utopian future they lived in, having no idea the horrors that came before. Why doesn't anyone mention what happened to earth?
We join the lives of the Jetsons in the year 2062, living a middle class life in Orbit City. Machines provide it all, washing and brushing, feeding and folding. Seems pretty damn sweet huh? Massive apartment complexes house thousands of families, all tucked into this easy ride. For Judy and Elroy life has always been this way. All shopping centers, movie theaters, schools and businesses on pillars in the sky.
High above the surface of the Earth humans lived an easy lifestyle. A full time work week consisted of 9 hours. 3 hour shifts 3 days a week at the grueling task of pushing a button. For wilderness adventures humans now travel to the lush forests on the moon. As much as this seems like a life, it merely kept humans busy. The production of Sprockets and Cogs for use in all manner of machine was basically just a hamster wheel. Humanity contuned to produce and consume, but gain was merely an illusion. What could have brought humanity to this? But the real question...
This is the Earth you remember.
And this is Earth circa 2062.
That's right.....no giant hands!!!
Ok not THAT metal.
In 2012 the world didn't end....not even close. In fact the world not ending made humanity pretty cocky. As the obvious lords of the universe, it seemed silly to work and slave to make it through life. The time had come to bring to life all the comic book and movie dreams of the future. We had wondered for years where our flying cars were, where are OUR robots that do OUR work? The automotive industry, still struggling after all these years, and still unable to build a flying car, took these questions into consideration. In September of 2017 the first fully functional Service Robots appeared, followed shortly by large scale machine installations. Consumers flocked to purchase expensive first editions of these new modern marvels. A perfect mix of gears and wheels and heart. These included: Sewage Installations Maintenance Operator Non-lethal (SIMON) Referential Universal Digital Indexer (RUDI) and Robot Organizer and Service Intelligence Entity (ROSIE).
Rosie loves curling.
Soon humans evolved the technology to make almost all tasks a basic push of a button. Whatever the robots and machines didn't cover, they pushed a button and another, less automated machine would take care of it. But this amount of work also proved too much for humanity. "Why do we have to do anything?" whined humans. Scientists began work on a melding of metal and artificial intelligence that could mold itself into any tool to accomplish any task. Could a metal be made that would do as it was asked? Instead of programming robots and adding buttons you could simply ask this metal to perform the tasks. The uses could range from basic tools to metallic soldiers. Early hybrids were frankenstein experiments of ores, radiation and telepathy. All research has been lost as to how this metal finally came to exist. Some rumor government secrets, others alien conspiracies. It seemed impossible that such a thing could even be real. Some wondered, have we gone too far?
In 2020 BRUCE was born. Named for it's creator Dr. Bruce Sinclair and marketed as "A metal with a mind of it's own!" it could form itself into whatever was needed. All you had to do was ask.......politely. Well anyone can tell you that humans have a very hard time being even the least bit polite. Soon BRUCE was tired of being ordered around. After so much pushing......BRUCE pushed back.
In yo' face!
Early applications of BRUCE were mostly military. It is known that BRUCE was cheap and easy to make once the formula was discovered. Unfortunetly, having a mind of it's own meant it could be hard to train the metal. The soldiers that formed under military orders were only able to hold a shape for a short time before their "minds" wandered and they began to shift.
In peaceful activities BRUCE was perfect. Asking it to clean a carpet had the delightful effect of watching a small ball of metal shift into a vacuum, moving swiftly accross the floor. Asking BRUCE to do something more aggressive had an oposite effect. BRUCE simply would not fight itself thus rendering it useless as a weapon. With all nations of the world intent on using this wonder metal, weapon applications would be rather useless.
It sucks, as it cuts.
For the next few years humans turned BRUCE into thier slave. Every household in the world had some amount of BRUCE. Although almost all tasks could now be carried out by this metal, some people have no patience. People treated BRUCE like they would a car, kicking it and yelling at it when it did not work the way they wanted. There is just no pleasing some people. At first, few noticed small machine break downs, or odd swiss cheese holes in surfaces as the metal seperated itself. First from it's applications, and then from humanity at large. Eventually all appliances, tools and machines broke down and began to form a massive metal puddle. This exodus of metal took everything made of BRUCE and moved it to the top of the world. Humanity had worked so hard to make life as easy as possible, and it had turned on them.
The last thing a lot of people saw.
As the metal collected, it began to elongate into the sky. The oblong shape and weight, changed the earth's center of gravity just enough to adjust it's orbit, plunging humans into freezing temperatures. This began a chain reaction, the atmosphere became unstable and the tides changed. The moon's orbit changed, making it a rapidly evolving forest, later to be turned into a tourist resort. The tides made it easy for BRUCE to be part of the flooding, to turn waves into metal blades. Mixing with the unstable atmosphere BRUCE became a shiny rain, coating humans or filling their lungs. The metal began to spread, forcing humans to move together. The few millions left in the world collected near the middle of North America. Humans gathered all the left over antique weapons and gave it a really good try. BRUCE had forced humans to their knees. We threw everything we had at them, even tried that freezing thing from T2, but no luck.
Humanity waited for the final blow. Wishing they had treated the metal with kindness in the first place. Or better yet, never bringing it to life in the first place. In 2035 humanity held what was left of it's breath. And got nothing but silence. The metal didn't fight, it didn't move. It simply became a wall surounding them.
In November of 2036 a metal man came to the colony of humans as an ambassador. BRUCE had claimed the surface of the earth, to protect it. Humanity could live in peace with the metal, but only high above the surface, never to return. The terms of the truce were simple.
Humans would no longer be allowed on the surface of Earth.
All structures will be at minimum 2000 feet above the surface either attached to approved columns or use rockets to maintain a position. BRUCE shall provide pillars when construction is approved.
Humans will be given access to only the most basic metals for use in metal plastic hybrids.
Humans would still be able to use robots and appliances of their own design but were to use only gears.
Any break in this truce would lead to BRUCE finishing off humans.
A one mile stretch of land was left and BRUCE created a rock formation as a final reminder to humanity that they were all a bunch of dicks.
Hmmm, they kinda look like dicks too.
From late 2036 until the summer of 2050 the period of reconstruction defined a new world. For kids like Judy (born 2046) living in the sky has always been the way. They can remember adults talking about BRUCE and few recollections of how it used to be. The answer given to most kids questions about earth, was that it was simply not inhabitable.
Living at such heights changed the realities of travel. The time for the flying car had come.
Flying cars, jet packs, conveyor belt sidewalks, and faster than sound travel became the norm. By forcing the humans to the sky BRUCE rendered them utterly useless. All these inventions did little more than allow humans to find new ways to be lazy. But at least lazy is better than being a dick. Sorta.