Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer
He gently places a finger on her hand.
“Now try. Over there. No, don’t look back, you won’t see him. Look in the window. He’s just to the left of Mrs. Bakker, kissing her shoulder.”
Krista stares around the room, at Connor, then at the window. There’s her, there’s an empty chair where Connor should be, there’s Amanda Bakker, and there-
She stares at Connor: “He’s in your shipsuit!”
Connor nods: “Seems he doesn’t have access to a wardrobe in reflection world. Just glad I had a shower before we made that run.”
She can’t help it and looks back. He watches her head tilt and a smile form: “Widow Bakker seems to be enjoying life on the other side.”
He nods: “I’ve seen her with him in the reflections in my room, and in my shower. A couple of the reasons why I’ve painted out every reflective surface at my place.”
The celebrity dinner swirls and shimmers about them, seemingly the only sombre people in the ballroom.
“Take me through it again.”
He sighs: “The first FTL run, when it overperformed and unleashed that anomalous burst of black-body radiation. The evening after I returned, I looked in the mirror in my room and saw my reflection sitting on the bed reading a book. I reported it, but they can’t see him unless I’m in physical contact with the observer. Therefore, they’ve concluded it’s a localised issue and I’m still being subjected to tests while they try and find out how I suppress my reflection.”
She looks up to see Reflected Connor passionately kissing Reflected Amanda. Around them, the event swirls in a proper reflection of the reality she’s in. Just a moment-
He grins: “You spotted it. She died a week ago after a period of ‘erratic behaviour’ that started just after my return from the mission.”
Krista takes a big gulp of her drink.
“How can I help?”
Connor smiles: “I’m not asking for help. I think that’s beyond current science. I’m taking the opportunity to get closer to a woman I’ve been in love with for years, hoping she’ll accept my oddities and we can have some fun regardless.”
She takes a bigger gulp of her drink. Puts the glass down. Pauses. Picks it up. Drains the glass. She smiles at him: “How can I, as a scientist and hopeless romantic, resist that and the mystery you bring?”
He leans in. With a smile, she places a restraining hand on his forehead.
“Easy, tiger. You mentioned ‘oddities’, as in ‘more than one’. I’m almost scared to ask, but what on Earth can top that?” She points toward Reflected Connor escorting the reflection of a dead woman from the mirror image of the event they’re sitting in.
He sighs: “I hoped you wouldn’t notice my slip.”
Krista leans a little closer: “Your secret is safe with me, especially if it’s as interesting as the other one.”
He smiles: “Where the fuck is my shadow?”
She reaches, grabs and downs his drink.