The Find – a short tall story…

The appearance of the forensics tent in the middle of a peat-bank had caused quite a stir at the time but its precise location was soon forgotten or, rather, multiplied into so many ‘real’ sites of the discovery as to render the chance of anyone finding the correct one quite improbable. Similarly, the profusion of rumours regarding what had been found, everything from a hoard of Viking gold via an unexploded secret weapon to the body of one of several notable clan chiefs, provided ample camouflage of the true contents…

In the bowels of the British Museum the team of medics, archaeologists, historians and paleontologists were gathered around the hermetically sealed container. There had been some misgivings when the Official Secrets Act had been produced for each of them to sign but, when it was pointed-out that they were being offered a unique opportunity that any one of a number of their ‘colleagues’ (in truth, competitors) in the academi-shpere would accept in their place they all had found it surprisingly easy to put their belief in the universality of knowledge to one side.

The container, a metallic cigar-tube about five feet long and three feet in diameter, lay humming on the dissecting table. The whole area was illuminated by special ‘cold daylight’ lamps in this humidity (and everything-else) controlled room. The team, each of whom wore a lightweight version of a space-suit, each inserted their own key into the locks arranged around the container and, with a barley audible ‘clunk’, the seal was broken and the top half of the tube began to raise itself a few inches clear on the two-dozen linear-motor driven rods. When it stopped the mobile hoist, a high-tech version of those used to remove the engines from cars, was brought forward and, once secured, the lid was removed.

The team looked into the clear colloidal suspension and had their first sight of Homo Pygmius Lewisii, lying in her foetal position just as she had been found twenty-five centuries after her interment. Her clothes, her shoes, her hair, her skin, were all perfectly preserved but it was not those nor, surprisingly, her miniature stature that made them gasp. It was the pendant hanging from the chain around her neck, the strange symbols on each of the ten buttons of its keypad glowing bright…

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