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.