The massive destruction caused by the effects of global warming had only allowed for select pockets of humanity that had survived mainly due to their specific locations and to the ingenuity they had in coping with the effects of the mega-disaster. And a few generations later, these pockets had developed to contain some of the ‘natural’ systems from what was left of their immediate environment, so that the few species of fauna and flora that survived were allowed to evolve by adapting to the changing conditions and letting the natural-selective process take its course. And so it grew – a kind of a rebirth, or regeneration of Homo sapiens and the other surviving species.

And then – very much later, it was the kind of futuristic society that we have read about in those science-fiction stories where cybernetics virtually reigned supreme. Automation and robotics were heavily advanced and the general population were almost somnambulistic in their makeup and behaviour. And for good reason too, as there was little left for them to do – their ‘smart’ homes, ‘smart’ vehicles and ‘smart’ entertainment certainly saw to that.

Governance was supremely democratic – in a manner of speaking, that is. Everyone could enter their views on any aspect of their lives and these would be automatically processed through the channels that sifted and compared and assessed as programmed by the elders, now long gone, who set the system up for the future generations. The ‘system’ was programmed to evolve along with the succeeding generations and whatever knowledge that was garnered by the ‘investigative authorities’ that consistently probed the outer and inner worlds for information. These ‘authorities’ were, of course, condensed virtual brains that were housed in android type beings and their numbers were restricted to five entities – each one in charge of their respective responsibilities: Natural Systems, Literature and Art, Law and Justice, Governance and finally, the one that processed all the information and made the decision that would be upheld for any particular purpose – known to all as ‘Almighty’.

War was a thing of the past, and all that was known of that aberration were the various records that somehow remained to be preserved for the future. Virtual footage allowed Robin to be right in the middle of a raid in Baghdad or a sortie from World War Two along with the fighter-pilot at the controls of a Hawker Hunter, so he knew all about that part of his ancestors’ history and couldn’t believe such things could ever have happened.

It was a pretty good existence, thought Robin, after watching some of the unbelievable actions that took place in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. There was no poverty, no disease, no war or aggression expressed in any way, food was readily available and what he had read of concepts of Utopia pretty much fitted where he was at. However, the constant niggling he had at the back of his mind that there was something amiss wouldn’t go away. And then, just after he had watched a movie from the past, something sparked in his mind and he figured that the only problem with this world was that there was no element of privacy. Everyone and nearly everything was monitored and could be viewed by the authorities – their guarantee of security to all. All, he figured, except what was thought.

And so he sat in his cell and was thankful, that at the very least, he had complete control and could bar access to his thoughts. They couldn’t control or monitor what he thought – and that, to him, was the ultimate freedom.

The Almighty, on his throne of precious metals, was gently reminded by the giant viewer that flashed the combination of signals indicating imperative viewing. And as it absorbed the message its compassionate nature determined that it would be for the benefit of the race to allow Robin’s period on earth to lapse.

The message remained on the viewer – it was from the thought-wave monitor from Robin’s cell and it read:

But they can’t control or monitor what I think – and that, is the ultimate freedom…