I suppose I shouldn't be telling you this. I know he wouldn't have wanted me to. He wanted to keep it a secret, for a very good reason. But I don't have very long left, and I can't let the truth die with me. He's already passed. I'll be dead before anyone knows, and no one else is still living, so it can't hurt them or me now. I guess I'd better start from the beginning...

It is the year 2004 and I am eight years old. I declare to my parents I want to be a scientist, because I want to help people. They smile at me, and glance at each other. I don't notice the meaning in that glance.

It is the year 2011. I am fifteen years old when I realize. The world is dying. Animals, plants, people, the whole Earth is becoming extinct. Climate change is killing our Earth. Strange weather, natural disasters abound. Humanity is killing itself. The war on terror, the splitting of Sudan, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the death of bin Laden, religion is causing such deep divisions. We are turning on each other, and the Earth is turning on us. We've neglected and abused it for so long; it no longer wishes to nurture us. I am fifteen when I vow I will make a difference. I think we can do something and save the world. I think I can do something.

It is the year 2014. I am eighteen years old and I have just graduated high school. I am going to university to study science, then to do a PHD. I still want to be a scientist, and I want to solve climate change. I cast my vote for the very first time. I feel like I'm making a difference.

It is the year 2020. I am twenty-four years old, and the world has just been changed in a way I cannot imagine. We are now in the grasp of a single dictator, a despot, a tyrant. No one knows who he is, or how he did it, but with an army of robotic minions, he now rules every last corner of this Earth. I bury myself further into my thesis, in two years, I'll be done, and then I'll make a difference. I'll help to save this world, and I'll join a resistance movement, and we'll get our freedom back.

It is the year 2021. I am twenty-five years old. Living under this dictator, called the Philosopher King, has not been that bad, surprisingly. There is little freedom of speech, everything is censored, but of course, there is underground communication. Religion is not banned, but it must be practiced privately, and is not part of the government. Resources are distributed fairly, with high taxes and redistribution. It's not quite communism, but it's quite close. You still get payed for skill, but then lose much of your earnings to tax. No one goes hungry, though. The money raised from tax does seem to come mostly back to the people, though I'm sure he's taking a large chunk. The Philosopher King is always emphasising the future, heavily restricting emissions, introducing vigorous breeding programs for endangered species, removing many cars and planes, as well as heavily emphasising research. All scientists who work for him, the state, get more funding. I refuse to do so. I will not do so. It sounds like life is a lot better, but, though I guess the Philosopher King is a better dictator than most, he is still a dictator, and we are not free.

It is the year 2022. I am twenty-six years old. I am known as Dr Nicole Flores. I'm a young scientist, fresh out of her PHD, working on a zero-emissions fuel source...