2 GoodGymers made their way 11.0km to help an isolated older person in Camden.
- Saturday, 3rd of June 2023
It was a sunny day in 2023 Belsize Park when an alleyway nearby a tennis court filled with sounds and flashes of electric discharge. A man and woman materialised out of thin air, shocking the tennis players with their lack of tennis-court-appropriate outfits. "Give me your T-shirt, shorts, trainers and glasses", said the male stranger with a deep, robotic voice to one of the players. The astonished athlete gave up his apparel and ran away. The stranger woman picked up a piece of chalk and scribbled "GoodGym" on her partner's t-shirt. There were no extra-small female tennis players around, so the duo had to get the woman's outfit from a charity shop. They haven't found sunglasses for her which was disappointing but could not interfere with their mission.
The arrivals looked like humans but both were cybernetic assassins known as Terminators, initially programmed to hunt and terminate people. They have time travelled from 2029 London to fix the grim future in which neither the machines nor humans dominated the world - it was the plants that eventually took over. Six years into the future, a Great Rewilding project backed up by suspicious funding was destined to go wrong. Despite the lack of community engagement in the initiative and alarms raised by environmental experts regarding the organisers' methods, the project went ahead and left the entire globe covered in a network of invasive weeds, Earthnet. Earthnet roots ran deep into the soil, sucking the nutrient-rich water, leaving nothing for both indigenous vegetation and crops needed by humans. The starved humanity lost its drive to automate mundane jobs, so the machine learning algorithms never passed the point where the AI didn't need people anymore.
Androids K-800 and S-1000, who came back to 2023 to prevent that future from happening, were the only surviving models of machines with powerful AI enclosed in lethally fit bodies. They no longer bothered about eliminating humans as Terminators and became Ex-Terminators whose only goal was to destroy the sprouts of Earthnet.
S-1000 and K-800 visited dozens of gardens across London to locate the one that would become the source of the mutant bulbs used in the Great Rewilding. Their search brought them to Ms K's flat whose garden was at the back of the building. To get into the backyard, S-1000, who was made of liquid metal and could assume any shape, turned himself into Ms K's friendly neighbour and knocked on the door. Ms K, convinced he came to help her with the weeding, let him into the back garden. Meanwhile, the less advanced K-800 who was just a robotic endoskeleton covered in synthetic human tissue, took advantage of the distraction. She jumped over the fence to get into the garden and hid behind the dense ivy.
Ms K explained to S-1000 that she wanted to get rid of everything that grew in her backyard which she referred to as "The Beast". The lady didn't have any tools, so everything had to be pulled by hand. "No problemo", said S-1000 and started the extermination of the green alkanet that plagued the right side of the garden. When Ms K disappeared in her flat, K-800 came out of her hide and started pulling out Herb Robert that had grown on the gravel. She also discovered a grass-type of plant she could not find in her database, so she identified it as a weed and pulled out every bunch of it she could see. The weed left behind clusters of bulbs which K-800 found difficult to remove. That might have been the mutated plant that was behind the development of the Earthnet!
The last enemy of the Ex-Terminators in Ms K's garden was ivy that covered the ground and the fences of the garden. When the androids used their powerful arms to pull it, they almost took the fence down, making a bit of noise.
"What is it? Is it a cat stuck in the fence?", the neighbour's voice asked.
"No, I am a human, helping with the garden here", replied K-800 mimicking a girly voice she overheard in the area.
"Ah, that's ok. Thank you!", responded the neighbour, "Just watch out for the fence, it's rather flimsy".
Having dodged being uncovered by the neighbour, the Ex-Terminators ran out of luck. Pulling the ivy raised clouds of pollen and dust which made S-1000 sneeze. The force broke his camouflage as he morphed back into a man in a GoodGym t-shirt. The noise alerted Ms K despite her problems with hearing. She appeared at the garden door and discovered two strangers in her backyard.
"Who are you?", she asked, astonished. It was the time for plan B.
"We are from GoodGym", S-1000 said, "We do good while getting fit. We run, walk and cycle to help people like you".
"Well, thank you very much!", exclaimed Ms K, "The garden looks so much better now! You must be those young volunteers that Age UK said they will send. Can I have your names, so I can give you praise for your brilliant job?".
"Kash", said K-800.
"Sevan", added S-1000.
The Androids didn't know that but they just earned a good reputation for a human-led organisation that had the power to help individual people as well as whole communities to improve biodiversity in London. It was the spark of GoodGym's golden age and society's shift into community-led environmental projects. It was the rise of the future where Earthnet would never develop.
Report written by Kash
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