Posted on Sat Jan 2nd, 2021 @ 11:18pm by Lieutenant Commander Stephen Jacobs & Freya Sandison
Edited on on Thu Sep 30th, 2021 @ 9:41pm

Mission: Prologue
Location: London.
Timeline: Date 2393-11-01 at 1400

With long relaxed strides, Stephen walked along the Embankment glancing across the Thames at the old seat of government. He was glad to have a few hours free from what was fast becoming a tedious round of meetings but although enjoying the exercise, he wasn’t enjoying the drizzle of this dull November day.
Pulling his collar up and hunching deeper inside his coat, the word ‘Exhibition’ caught his eye and slowing his steps, he looked up at the building then into the lit window where an easel gave scant information. ‘Art Exhibition. Today. 10.00 --17.00’
{Why not?} he asked himself and stepped through the doorway to be greeted by light,warmth and a small grey haired woman already getting to her feet from her seat behind an elegant desk.
“Good afternoon Sir. Welcome to the Piedmont Gallery.” she said as she approached.
“Thankyou.” Stephen replied looking past her towards the sound of muted conversation from an open room where people were milling about.
“Would you like one of our catalogues?” she asked offering it in a way he could hardly refuse.
“This is the second exhibition Mr Piedmont has arranged and like the first, all the artists are amateurs although their work has been especially chosen by Julian personally.”
She smiled at him expecting that he knew who Julian Piedmont was and that he would understand that the artists in question had had a rare honour bestowed upon them.
Stephen gave a nod and smile in return. The name rang a bell although he had no clear idea of who the man was.
“Please come this way.” she said leading him towards the room. “Have a wander around, take your time….and enjoy.” she ended with a practised flourish.

“Thankyou, I will.” he assured her.

He took a few steps into the room, getting a feel for the atmosphere then opening the catalogue. Inside the cover was a photo of Julian Piedmont with a brief outline of his career, achievements and various accolades. This exhibitions aim was to draw attention to amateur artists who, he thought, showed flair and promise.
Stephen looked at the photo seeing a slight hint of conceit in the mans expression but his generosity in promoting young artists was applaudable nevertheless.
He looked around before starting his tour along the nearest wall.

The paintings were titled with a number alongside. Details of the artists name and background were inside the catalogue but Stephen soon gave up looking up each one, concentrating instead on the paintings.

Some were remarkably good, others he wouldn’t have given house room to {But its all down to personal taste} he thought looking at a mishmash of clashing colour entitled ‘Pathway to Peace’ and didn’t even want to begin to try to work it out.
One or two held his attention but none as much as ‘Reflection’ did.

The painting was a water colour, small in size being no more than four inches square and at first glance it was unclear how it got the name for there was no lake, pool or mirror as might be expected by the name but on closer inspection he had the answer.

The subject was a flower head, a delicate thing hanging from a slender stem with outer petals turning back on themselves, pale pink above a deeper shade below with long stamens from its centre, all so exquisitely done.
On one of the outer petals was a single raindrop, fat and full, caught in the moment before it would fall and in that tiny space was indeed a reflection.

He had leaned closer, intrigued when suddenly a quiet voice asked:
”What do you think?” and looking to his right he saw a young woman much shorter than himself was standing beside him staring at the raindrop much as he had done.

“ I think it remarkable.” he replied looking back at the painting. “ So intricate yet, so dainty and the droplet ..the reflection….”
He shook his head slightly as though to express his disbelief that something so fine could be captured by a brush and paint.

“Can you see who it is?” she asked

“No.” he replied slowly frowning a little.

“It could be the artist? she suggested. “ or maybe….it’s you?”
He looked at her taken by surprise at the idea and saw her lips curve to a wide smile.

“You could be right.” he replied turning his attention back to the miniature flower. “It’s indistinct...deliberately so.” he added glancing back to her.

She nodded and was about to speak when a heavily set man wearing a pale grey suit raised a hand, flicking his fingers imperiously beckoning her as he called a name from a few yards distant.

{The man himself} Stephen thought recognising Piedmont,

“Please excuse me.” she said looking up at Stephen. “ I’m needed.” She tilted her head in direction of Julian, gave a small smile and turned away.

Stephen watched her for a moment then looked back once again at the painting thinking that she was right, that the reflection was deliberately vague that he could indeed be looking at himself but that he would never know.
He smiled to himself, liking the idea and the thought behind it deciding there and then that he would buy the painting.
Glancing back he saw that Julian now had his hand under her elbow, propelling her towards a group of people with a proprietary air. It was a shame, he would have liked to have spoken to her more but...he looked back at the painting...he would definitely purchase this before someone else could snap it up.

*** End Log ***