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Hadrian and The Human Finger


Hadrian had walked the length of several carriages before he found somewhere to rest his weary metals. He was excited, that much was true, for this was his first time away from home. Hadrian was the apple of his father’s eye due to the fact that he was the first of the TickTok family to go to college.

His mother had wanted him to study, ‘RobRep’ – the robotic repair science – she had always wanted a doctor in the family. His father, on the other hand, had pushed his son, ever so slightly, in the direction of ‘EngRob’ – Engineering and Robotics.

As his father had wisely said:

“If we don’t create, we won’t survive.”

But his mother was also correct in stating that a robot family that can’t repair itself won’t survive either.

Hadrian had decided on none of these options – his fascination was not with ‘HistoRob’ – the history of the robots, but with a more secretive line of study. Hadrian wanted to find out about the ‘time before the robots’.

When Hadrian had been about 5 revolutions of the Sun in age, his grandfather had taken him for his first visit to the seaside. They had both oiled themselves to prevent Sun damage, and then they had perambulated along the beach. Moving across sand wasn’t so easy, but perhaps that was half the fun.

It was while his grandfather had been checking for old metal pieces washed up on the shore, that Hadrian had found the special thing. He wasn’t really sure what it was at first, just that it wasn’t typical metal – it was a more pale material, perhaps with a trace of calcium – but a voice inside told him to hide the object and not to let his grandfather see it.

All the way home, Hadrian would take the object out and stare at it, and when he got back to his rest-pod, he hid the object in his old money bank.

He hadn’t the first clue who to ask about it, but he’d heard there was a Bot in Churchill Heights who knew almost everything about everything. This Bot would normally charge a fortune for the help, but Hadrian thought it worth it.

He arranged to meet the Bot around 14 hours past sun-up in a small café at the back of Trans Street. Hadrian paid the Bot two pieces of plutonium, as requested, and the Bot seemed to relax.

“So show me what is so important that we have to meet like this.”

Hadrian showed the Bot the object he had found on the beach. It was obvious that the Bot was trying to hide its surprise.

“Give it to me,” said the Bot.

Hadrian reluctantly handed it over. The Bot turned away and held the object up to the light.

“A-ha!” It said. “Mmmmm.”

The Bot pulled Hadrian over to a quiet corner, and whispered to him.

“It’s what is called a bone. A finger bone to be exact. There are stories, but they are only stories, mind, that a tribe or race lived before the Robots. I have seen them written as ‘humans’ – of course this is all conjecture and they were even called our creators. At that Hadrian laughed a little – only Robots created Robots. Everyone knew that.

“Can I keep it for a few days, and then I will let you know everything that I find out?”

Unsure what to do or say, Hadrian nodded his head.

When Hadrian hadn’t heard anything in half a moon’s cycle, he decided to track down the Bot. He made his way to the small café at the back of Trans Street. It was in darkness, but there was a poster stuck to the window. It read, ‘Due to unrobotic activity this café has ceased to trade’.

Hadrian didn’t know what to make of it all. He kicked about the street wondering what to do next until a small Bot came up to him and handed him a hand-written note (something he had only seen in photos but no one had ever communicated with him by this method).

The note said: ‘After you have read this, destroy the note. The object is a bone from the finger of a Homosapien. They disappeared from the planet a long time ago – more that a 1000 revolutions of the Sun. These were a race of intelligent souls who lived above us and beneath us. Find out what you can for the sake of us all. We will never speak again’. Wrapped in the note was the finger bone. He lifted his head to ask about the Bot but the street was now empty.

Hadrian did as he was instructed. He destroyed the paper and decided there and then he was going to find out about these humans the Bot had referred to. Someone or something out there didn’t want anyone to know about this race. What if they were the Creators?

That was why Hadrian was on his way to college that day. He was going to study HistoRob. At least that’s what he was going to let them think, but his plan was to find out about the race of beings that had once lived in these lands and nothing was going to stop him.

bobby stevenson 2017



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