(excerpt 15. If you missed the previous installment, scroll down the blog to catch up)
I stopped off on Kryllium's largest moon, a good place to purchase black market weapons and explosives. It was also a good place to find hired guns - what I had to do would be difficult to accomplish alone. I locked in on my favorite refueling spot, Gasteroids, and settled into an empty parking space. I shut down the cruiser and got out and stretched my legs. As usual the joint was jumping with travelers from all over the solar system. People-watching at those inter-stellar convenience marts was always very amusing.
A couple got out of the ship parked next to me. She wore a tight-fitting tube top and low-rise jeans, revealing a tattoo of Cassiopeia on her lower back. He chewed space tobacco and wore a baseball cap with the logo of the popular synthetic lubricant Celestoil used in modified space vehicles.
A young, progressive looking couple with piercings in every visible orifice got out of a small, light blue cruiser parked on the other side of me. There was a bumper sticker on the back of their vehicle that read, “Stop Celestial Warming - Fly a Hybrid.”
Strangers from faraway places brushed past me as I approached the entrance to the store. I grabbed a couple packages of beef jerky and proceeded back to the maintenance closet door. I knocked three times. Two knocks echoed in response from the other side.
“You're out of peach ice cream,” I said loudly.
The door swung open and Rick grabbed me by the hand. Smiling as he pulled me in the room, he gave me a big bear hug. “Parker, how the heck are you?”
“I'm good, Rick. It's been a long time.”
“Too long,” he answered. “What brings you out this way?”
“I can't give you any details. I need two good men and enough weaponry to storm a small city.”
Rick laughed. “Same old Parker. Never does anything half-hearted. I'll have everything ready for you tomorrow. Meet me back here in twelve hours.”
I laughed. “Same old Rick. Get you anything you need in under twenty four hours.”
We both laughed.
I decided to get some much needed rest while I waited for my mercenaries and ordinances. I returned to the Dormez-Vous, climbed on board, set the alarm and lay down on the bed. The constant chatter of people coming and going and vehicles firing up and flying away was like white noise: it lulled me right to sleep.
* * *
I stood next to her in front of the minister on the mountain top mesa. The plateau was so high that often times it was shrouded in storms. On this special occasion, however, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Doves flew overhead, butterflies fluttered about in the meadow and cotton-tailed bunnies wriggled their noses as they observed our ceremony. I wore a dapper black tuxedo. She wore a magnificent, flowing white gown with full-length lace sleeves and a veil fit for a queen.
“I Janelle, take you Parker to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have .........” The words she spoke faded out as I stared into her eyes. She was the most beautiful bride – the most beautiful woman - I'd ever seen. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she recited her vows to me. Mom and Dad sat in the front row, so proud and happy. Mom cried while Dad held her hand. Next to them sat my sister Carmen - so happy and full of life. It was good to see her again after all those years.
We'd reserved the Honeymoon Suite at the Inn on the Mesa. Perched on the edge of the cliffs, the resort sat majestically above the aqua-colored sea 40,000 feet below. The outer wall of our room was made of glass and artfully curved to provide a sweeping view of the spectacular sight. I carried my wife across the threshold and laid her on the bed. I poured two glasses of champagne and we toasted our new life together. After finishing the bubbly, I proceeded to remove my shoes and tie. I was intoxicated with the anticipation of making sweet love to my bride. Janelle undid the clasps on her dress.
“I love you, Parker.”
“I love you, Janelle.”