• Mirrortown


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Joshua Horne looked down from the vantage point of his shuttle. He loved one-man jobs like this, especially at this time. No one else was around, apart from a few yellow cargo-taxis, buzzing along like fat, near-flightless bumblebees. Their minimal presence was a comfort, unlike later in the day when they were joined by a multitude of personal vehicles, omnibuses, and hordes of their own kind. Later, Joshua wouldn’t even be able to see the elegant black guidance markings on the silvery mirrored foundation. Then, he would be so busy that he would need to be part of a three-man crew and none of them would have time to look down except at the end of the shift, to try and find somewhere close to the base office to set down.

But for now, it was early morning, the light was soft and the air was cool. Joshua looked down, daring to circle around, enjoying the view.

His controller’s voice immediately crackled in his earpiece, ‘Horne! What’s up?’

‘Oh, nothing, boss. It’s a nice day, I’ve got a minute or two… I thought I’d have a look at the station while it’s nice and quiet.’

A laugh puffed distantly, and Joshua relaxed slightly – control could be a bit of a martinet some days. He was obviously in a good temper today. ‘

‘Well, don’t be all day about it, it’s going to be a busy one-’

‘Will do… Boss?’


‘Is there meant to be a cargo-taxi doing a collection from the Palace?’ It wasn’t a real palace, of course. Space bases tended to be careful democracies that rewarded merit, not breeding or bloodlines. The ‘Palace’ was the central hub of the whole station, maintaining breathable air, filtering dangerous rays from the sun, as well as monitoring all the infrastructure and communications – both on and off base. In short, the Palace’s job was ensuring that life on the station was a pleasant experience for its living inhabitants.

‘What? No!’ His controller’s voice was sharp and anxious, good mood punctured by Joshua’s question.

‘Oh.’ Joshua felt foolish, but couldn’t think of what else to say.

‘What do you see? Exactly?’

‘Um, a cargo-taxi, both doors up. Two men – they look like the special guard – standing watching… On the other side, there’s something that’s being loaded…’

‘What? What’s being loaded?’

‘Dunno, boss. It’s behind the cargo-taxi, I can’t see it clearly…’

‘Maintain your position; circle round until you hear from me again. And keep watching!’

‘Yessir.’ Joshua was perplexed; his innocent question seemed to have stirred up a hornet’s nest. Obediently, he maintained his loop, changing direction when he started to feel disoriented.

Suddenly, a new voice sounded in his ear.

‘Horne? Do you recognise my voice?’

Joshua’s breath caught in his throat. He’d never seen the President in person, let alone spoken to him. But that gravelly, no-nonsense voice was undeniable. ‘Y… yes, sir!’

‘You need to forget this morning. You reported for work, you went up to take your readings, and you returned safely to base. Have you taken your readings?’

‘Uh, yes, sir… It was time, so I ran them a couple of minutes ago-’

‘Good. So now you are coming in to land, and then you are scheduled for five days leave.’


‘Yes, Horne, five days. Then you will come back and continue with your sterling work. Are we clear?’

Joshua’s skin crept up into goosebumps. He felt that he was being threatened in some obscure way. He hesitated for a long moment, then finally, reluctantly, said, ‘Yes, sir, roger that. Coming in to land, then having some time off. As you say, sir.’

‘Good man.’ It could have been his imagination, but the President sounded relieved. Joshua’s curiosity bit through the concern over the veiled threat.

He decided, as he descended to ground level, that he would take the five days leave – and use them to find out what it was, exactly, that he had seen…

Pigment inks on 271gsm satin paper, professionally hand-bonded onto a 5mm cast acrylic panel.

Limited Edition of 30 prints:

  • 10 at 48″ (w) × 20.4″ (h)
  • 10 at 36″ (w) × 15.3″ (h)
  • 10 at 24″ (w) × 10.2″ (h)

Each limited edition acrylic print comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity, and is ready to hang.

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