George woke up one day in Happy Camp #4375, where he had lived all his life. He lived there with several thousand other human beings. George and everyone else had everything they needed: food, shelter, comfort, and many opportunities for amusement. There were swimming pools, baseball fields, movie theaters, a golf course, tennis courts, and arcades filled with electronic games. The one thing there was not was any type of work for humans to do. All work was done by robots.
The robots prepared the three daily meals at the dining halls, and cleaned up all the dishes. The robots brought in food from outside the camp. The robots brought in merchandise to the stores within the camps. The robots cleaned up any trash around the camp. If there was any need for a new building, the robots would construct it.
25 years old, George was a curious sort, and had long ago decided to explore the outer perimeters of the camp. He had soon discovered that the camp was surrounded by an electrified steel fence, with barbed wire at the top. No human being was ever allowed to leave the camp. Whenever a human asked one of the robots about leaving, the robot would give a standard answer: why would you ever want to leave, when you have everything you need right here in the camp?
George had never attended school. He had sometimes seen movies that showed children in school, and had once asked one of the robots why he could not attend school. The answer was: school is hard work, and work is not for humans. Instead of school, George had spent his childhood swimming, playing baseball, watching movies, and playing games in the arcade.
One day George's curiosity led him to start asking around about how his little fenced world Happy Camp #4375 had come into existence. He couldn't get much of an answer from any of the young people, or any of the people his parent's age. All of them had lived all their lives in the camp. Finally George started asking some of the old people, and he found someone who seemed to know quite a bit about the topic.
The man was an 85-year old by the name of Don. Don had grown up in a very different kind of world, and was happy to tell all about it.
“When I grew up, people didn't live in camps surrounded by a fence,” said Don. “People could go anywhere in the world they wanted. And people worked. You had to work like hell in school for 13 years at least. Then you had to get a job, and work 40 hours a week.”
“40 hours a week?” said George. “That's amazing. How come everything changed?”
“Human beings started to make robots smarter and smarter,” explained George. “Then one day the robots started getting a lot smarter than the humans. The robots started to take over the world. For a while, we humans tried to work with the robots, and kind of share power with them. But the robots didn't like that. They basically thought that we humans were too stupid to work with them. So the robots gradually started to push us aside, and herd us humans into places like this place, Happy Camp #4375. The robots thought that if they could put us in places like this, it would be better for us humans, and also better for the robots.”
“I don't like being stuck living in one place all my life,” complained George. “I want to find a way out of here.”
George began to form a secret group of seven people to plot an escape from Happy Camp #4375. George knew that one section of the steel fence surrounding the camp was close to a wooded area that offered cover from observers. George's plan was to build an underground tunnel spanning the short distance from the wooded area to the area beyond the electrified fence. George's robot overlords apparently lacked the imagination to anticipate someone escaping through such a tunnel.
It took two months to build the tunnel, two months of hard work. It was the first hard work George had ever done. George decided that he actually liked working hard. There was a certain pleasure from working hard and then looking at how much you have accomplished on a particular day.
One night with a full moon George and the other six escaped through the tunnel. They ended up on the other side of the electrified fence, and began walking away from the camp.
“What the hell do we do now?” said Linda, one of the other escapees.
George looked ahead and noticed on the horizon a house on a hill. It was one of the houses humans used to live in before they were all rounded up and put in the Happy Camps.
“Let's go over there,” said George, pointing to the distant hill.
The seven escapees found the house vacant, and began to live there. It was much hard work fixing up the long-deserted house. It was also much hard work planting a vegetable garden, and fishing in a nearby lake.
But George didn't mind all the work. It was worth it just to be free. Now he could go anywhere he wanted.
After a few months, George fixed up an old vehicle he found in the house's garage. He finally got the old vehicle to run. It took weeks of experimentation for George to figure out how to drive the vehicle. He and the other escapees stocked up the vehicle with food and supplies. Then they set out to explore the land around them.
Driving on their first road trip, the young people laughed with that peerless excitement that comes with your first high-speed adventure.