A Wedding Tale

Printer-friendly version

by Edwin Cintron

From the journal of Iseabella Shimout, or as we all know her, Granny Shimout.

I was not always a Shimout, I was born Iseabella of the Timeon Starfire Clan. I grew up abroad my family ship the Dark Passion. Oh those were the days when the Frontier was young and the space clans ruled the star lanes. The only drives capable of accelerating a craft to the velocities needed to enter the Void were nuclear impulse engines, similar to the original Orion rockets that were used by the first colony ships that left earth. Tons upon tons of fissionable were needed, and the clans grew rich mining the asteroids for radioactive elements. Thorium breeder reactors cooked the radioactive waste into usable fuels while our asteroid ship yards labored to supply ships to human worlds of the Frontier.

But we did not imagine that our love of freedom would spell our downfall. When the humans of Kidad Ad came to us for aid to over throw their Vrusk ruler, we supplied then with the weapons and support they needed. Oh so proud we were. The Vrusk manager of the world fled in disgrace and would gather the pirates of the Frontier to attack the worlds of man. It was the Captain Morgaine of White Light that brought us the warning and moved the clans to join the militias of the flatlanders to meet Haztzck Naar's fleet at Timeon.

The battle itself would be costly, we knew not how Haztzck Naar welded the scum of the Frontier into an effective fleet.  But he did and the Clans took the brunt of the losses. I watched as my own father died of radiation burns from a particle beam that swept through our battle bridge. I wept but hid it behind the mask of rage.

We battled our way through Haztzck Naar's fleet, grappling his flagship with our tow lines. I lead the boarding party only to find another clan had beat us abroad. That when I saw him! Unarmed with a score of dead pirates floating around him, Mercury of the Shimout clan. The Shimout were a clan of techs and scientists, workers of the breeder reactors of the clans, not warriors and yet Mercury stood untouched among our enemies.

I lifted my polarize visor to get a better at the young fool, and our eyes met. A Vrusk warrior drifted into the corridor and in a blink of an eye, Mercury's legs wrapped around its neck. I heard a loud snap and watch as Mercury smiled.

"Oh angel, what are you called? You must be a Valkyrie come to carry the souls of my cousins who have fallen. It would be worth dying to have you cradle me in your arms."  His voice came over the radio. I could not help but smile as no man ever dare call me beautiful. To flirt as a battle raged showed such bravo, and my heart skipped as he gazed at me.

"Are you mad, do you not see the battle that rages around you." I replied.

"If I am mad, it's you that drive me so. Marry me." He roared, causing me to blush.

"I have no time to waste with you, I seek Haztzck. He’s to pay for the death of my father." I screamed, hoping to bring the young Shimout to his senses.

"Wait here, my love and I will bring him to you. A bride gift." He replied and disappeared down the corridor.

I do not understand why I held my marines at that air lock. He was one man, unarmed against Haztzck's crew. Maybe it was the clanman respect of a grand gesture or maybe it was a desire to see if Mercury could live up to his boast. We soon found ourselves pressed as the pirates counter attack in an attempt to drive us from their ship.

We fought with lasers and vibro blades and then the fighting stopped. A chorus of Vrush's wails filled the comm channels as Mercury arrived with the broken body of Haztzck, his limbs shattered and barely conscience. Mercury drifted and placed Haztzck at my feet. The remaining pirates on board surrender and the pirate ships scattered, but I stood still as the eyes of my clan folk starred at me and Mercury.

"What will it be angel? Is my bride gift worthy of your heart. Or do you have another wish? " he broadcast as he attempted to bow, which in the micro g of space turned into a somersault.

Shouts of “marry the fool!” and laughter filled the radio waves, and was interrupted as a flood of White Light marines along with Morgaine enter the ship. Starring around Morgaine eyes caught the sight of struggling Haztzck drifting in front of me. He motioned to the marines to retrieve him, but Mercury floated across their path.

“Out of the way boy, we going to take Haztzck Naar, back to White Light to meet justice!”, barked one the marines.

A laugh came from Mercury's comm, “Seem that the fair lady there has first call on that, you’ll

have to get through me if you want to change that.”

It was a tense moment, as the Marines from White Light starred down at Mercury. Around them Clan men ready themselves for what appear to be another battle; instead Morgaine’s laughter filled the comm channels.

“You have jets boy, don't see why we cannot have a captain’s court right here and now and dole out a sentence that will insure that justice is met to the little lady's liking.”

“Stop we have one small matter to settle,” I was surprised to hear myself say, “Captain Morgaine, could you do me the favor and marry me and this mad man,” pointing at Mercury.

“Why not, seems that way no one will get away from their fate.” Morgaine chuckled.

The wedding took place on Haztzck Naar's own flag ship with the remaining Clan ships gathered around it.  When it became apparent that the ship could not support all the well-wishers, those that could not fit abroad, gathered in their vac suits, and stared in through the view ports from outside. My mother wept not just tears of mourning for my father but also tears of happiness. She whispered over a secure channel that she never imagine that I could find someone who could win over my fierce heart. Morgaine had a wedding march piped in from his ship's comm that mingled with the banter of marines and clan folk.

My Uncle drifted over to my side. His eyes wet with sorrow. “You’re really going to marry this popping jay? Do you love him?” he asked with the tone of parental authority that came with him now being the patriarch of the clan.

“Yes!” I lied, “ Love has nothing to do with it. The Clans need this, let them remember that today was more than a day for weeping over our dead. Today will be remembered as the wedding day of Iseabella Starfire to Mercury of Shimout clan.” Of course I loved him, Mercury won my heart the minute our eyes met.

My uncle smiled, maybe he knew my heart or he was just smiling at my cunning.

Morgaine escorted the young Mercury, who seem to hesitate as my uncle guided me forward.

“No escaping boy, you and Haztzck are doomed, sure as a photon at a black hole horizon.” Morgaine laughed.

All grew quiet when Morgaine began reciting the wedding vows, the whole time Mercury smiled. We both said the “I do's” trembling with anticipation to the cheers of the clans. Instead of a feat, there was a captain’s mast, where Morgaine and the heads of the clan judged Haztzck and the members of his pirate band that were captured. There could be one verdict, and when it was pronounce Haztzck met it with silence.

“Death by spacing,” uttered Morgaine.

The pirates were lead to the main airlock, along the way clan men and women slashed at their vac suits with vibro blades, I even took my vengeance on Haztzck. Forty-two cuts, one for every member of the clan lost in the battle including my father. By the time we got to the lock their suits were tattered and they were bleeding from nicks made by blades that cut too deep. We all watched as they were jettisoned, the space around the flag ship became filled with a cloud of bodies and crystallized blood.

I drew little comfort at the sight, it did not ease the sorrow of my father's death. Mercury leaned and our helmets touch and I could hear him say, “Let's go, we’ve had enough of death for today.”

We searched and found Haztzck's cabin, and as we entered the ships acceleration alarm sounded. Some kind soul had figure out what our disappearance meant. No flatlander really understand that zero gee sex is more of art learned by long practice with a partner, for a newly wedded couple it would be more of hindrance than a pleasure. We both couldn't help to giggle as we stripped from out vac suits and felt the pull of g force as the engines fired.

When we finally emerged from the cabin the next day we found a crew of volunteers laboring to convert the Vrusk warship for human use. We were met with smiles and good nature taunts and I took command of the helm. “Where to my love?” I asked Mercury who simply smiled and pointed to toward the vast deepness of space.

That is how I became a Shimout, and over the decades I would know joy and sorrow, but it would always seem as yesterday that Mercury and I met over a battlefield, with him stealing my heart.