We all huddled close to the fire while Brad and Nefu kept watch outside. This was our home, at least for the time being. The fire was needed, but its burning also gave us away to marauders. We all had to be ready to kill or to flee. The collapsed remains of this house provided some shelter from rain and snow, less shelter from wind and cold. Brianna and Leiti worked at trying to heat the contents of canned goods they had scavenged from the remains of a nearby tumbledown.

Grizzled, stinky, old Izzy, who had been sitting, staring glassy-eyed into the fire suddenly spoke with uncharacteristic clarity.

“People were once so clever that they could consult a handheld panel and it would tell them what the weather was like anywhere in the world. They could ask the panel any question and answers would appear. They could see each other and talk to each other even though they were on the other side of the world, or even off the world, in space.”

He paused. We all wondered if what he was saying could have been true. Then he hung his head and spoke again.

“We were so very clever. I wish we had been wise.”