Author : Julian Miles

I’m sitting on a rock on Hezbolla XIV. It’s a damn comfortable rock, overlooking an expanse of tundra without salient feature between me and the horizon in all directions. This is why I chose it. After four months of headlong flight, I can stop and have a cup of tea.

A rock situated at the remotest point of the least-inhabited planet of the furthest and most anti-Dominion star system at the distant edge of the outer rim, which is on the far side of the frontier systems.

They said I’d never escape. They said that eluding them was impossible. She said that even if I ran, I would be my own downfall.

A phone rings.

After I land from the jump that hurls me and my tea from the rock, I look about frantically. There is nobody in sight, no vessels in the skies.

The phone rings again.

I creep forward and peer under the edge of the rock. In a little depression, there’s a Nanga Starcom. Tucked into the survival bag next to it is a Leroo Rothfruit bar. I straighten up with the bag in my hand and a sigh gusting from my lips as they curve into a smile.

The phone rings for a third time.


“Hello Curtis. You certainly got there faster than I expected.”

“How did you find me, Gloria?”

“You’re OCD, darling man. You couldn’t just hide. You had to hide at the exact point that is furthest from Dominion influence.”

There wasn’t really an answer I can give to that.

“So here’s the deal. I know you’re there. No-one else does. When you get bored, give me a call.”


“Well, firstly to have someone to talk to. Secondly, I may have a job offer. Either covert, or things may have changed. You were right, after all.”

“If I was right, why am I hiding by a rock over a million light years from home?”

“You’re always right. You always notice things. But, darling, you have the most appalling timing and no discretion at all.”

I’ve got no answer to that one either.

“Are you still there?”

“Yes, Gloria.”

“Do you have – no, of course you have everything you need. That would have been a silly question.”

“I have a question.”

“Go on then.”

“What if they find me?”

“They could only do that if they – oh, damn. Scrambled comms but unscrambled office.”

“Gloria, my love. I brought a two-man envirodome.”

“But they know where you are.”

“Leave now. Leave fast. Head for the last place that I stopped at before I came to this planet.”

“How can I be sure where that was?”

I grin: “Because I’m OCD, attentive, indiscrete and right. Move, woman.” I close the connection. She’s lovely. Scatty at times, but lovely. It’ll be good to share my cave with her.

Cave? Yes. The rock was only a stopover. Because I knew that they knew that I’m a little bit fixated.

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