I am a photographer, and I am a long way from home in search of a picture.

My career, many would say, is all but over. I'm sure you've all seen my most famous works. Chaotically sculpted clouds like stirred continents; delicate, multicoloured rings thousands of kilometres broad yet razor-sharp; marble moons by the dozen... those are the mainstream pieces. There was plenty more which never made it to the galleries. "Marketing". No less interesting to the right eyes, I say.

That tour is over now, and I would have come home and retired a long time ago, but an opportunity arose which no artist could ever turn down.

"Back up," says the Sun. "I want one with everybody in it."

I'm a long way from home.

Further from home than anybody else in the world has ever been, in fact. I'm not even in the world anymore. The world is a dot from where I'm standing. Floating. Drifting. Going nowhere at seventeen point two kilometres per second. It's cold. And dark. The Sun just about counts as a bright star at this distance; I can make it out if I squint. Her children? Drowned out. Glare at the point of light for long enough and she might wobble enough to betray Jupiter and Saturn.

Far enough, I guess. So I squint. Fooooocus. Skim just enough energy from the embers of my nuclear pile to power the shutter...

Oh, wow. She was right. This one came out great. Better than I expected! Hey, guys. You have to see this one.

Can you hear me?

I said you have to see this photo. It's got everybody in it.

I said it's got everybody in it! I don't think anybody blinked!

How about now?


I should probably turn back. They'll want to see this.

I should probably turn back because I have the picture I wanted and that was the only reason I came, and it's cold, and it's lonely, and it doesn't echo no matter how loudly I shout.

On the other hand, what kind of artist would I be if I didn't go as far as I possibly could before giving up?

Maybe I can get some of the background stars in.

Maybe I can find somebody else to show my photos to.

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