Will Clarke



The travellers were weary. They always were. They could never stay in one place for long.

They had just arrived, scavenged for some supplies and then they’d be off soon. Because they had to move so often, their lives were usually painful, repetitive and short. But they needed to move. It wasn’t for their sake, it was for the sake of their people. Everything was at stake. They had no choice. They just needed to move on quickly.

They never returned to the same place twice. They knew that if they did, or even if they settled into a routine, even a loose one, they would get caught.

Energy was their main limitation. With energy they could move. With energy they could grow food. With energy they could keep warm. Finding suitable matter to generate energy wasn’t usually difficult but sometimes they came across polluted landscapes. The matter there would jam their equipment. It was almost impossible to predict how polluted their next camp site would be. The travellers lived within thick concrete walls under hundreds of feet of bedrock. Their collection-bots worked constantly and made sure to return before the travellers left. The travellers chose their next destination as randomly as possible; next up was 15:48 16th September 8684. They hadn’t been there before. They should be safe there as long as nothing was waiting for them.