Life After Near Death


Life After Near Death by David Macfie

At breakfast on the day after the meteor shower, Jamie and Jenny announced their decision to get married to the rest of the humans. Immediately Peter and Gillian and George and Elizabeth broke into delighted peals of laughter.

George quickly explained their reaction.

“Liz and I had dinner with Peter and Gillian last night and we also decided that under these circumstances we should get married also. So there are three weddings to plan. I believe that as captain of this ship, even though he isn’t human, Komando-Ka could perform the ceremonies.”

“Congratulations everybody,” chipped in Laura. “I’m not an expert but I think George is correct. As a sentient race the Taurians would be accepted into earth alliances and our laws would be applicable to them also. So we would be able to motivate the validity of the unions easily. We should just organize some sort of marriage certificate.”

“I can do that,” offered Amy. “For reasons I don’t even understand myself, I carry a copy of my marriage certificate everywhere with me. I’ll set up certificates today.”

“And I’ll organize for the commander to perform the ceremony,” said Jamie, with the hugest grin.  “When should we have the weddings?”

“All at once, today,” replied the three brides, simultaneously.” Then they looked at each other and, blushing furiously, they all burst into joyful laughter.

Jamie immediately got up and, still grinning, he made for the door.

“No time like the present,” he said over his shoulder. “I’m off to see the commander.”

In no time, Jamie had explained the whole thing to Komando-Ka, who was delighted at this evidence of an acceptance of their situation in the three couples.

“That’s great. Congratulations. I’m happy for all of you,” said the Taurian leader and agreed immediately.

“Our laws mirror yours in giving ships’ captains the authority to perform marriages,” he explained. “So the unions will be recognized by us as well as by humanity. I insist that the arrangements be left to me and my leaders and may I suggest that the ceremony take place on the bridge under the transparent canopy at four this afternoon. Then the reception may follow immediately afterwards so that the celebration will have the romantic star-scape overhead.

“That would be wonderful” agreed Jamie, eagerly. Then he rushed back to the others with the news.

Under these circumstances, normal routine was suspended and the humans scurried about, with their personal robots, helping to prepare the couples for their big day.

At half past three the wedding party was ready and Teacher and the other robots were in attendance. With Teacher’s help six beautiful rings had been made and the ship’s equipment had produced suits for all the human men and really attractive dresses for the ladies. The humans had been blown away by the capabilities the ship had available to meet their every request. Somehow, there were even flowers for bouquets, button-holes and corsages. At three forty five, Teacher received a message that the bridge was ready and the humans were escorted to the lifts and up to the bridge.

Only Jamie had been there before so none of the others knew what to expect. When the lift doors opened even Jamie was astonished. The bridge had been transformed into a wonderland of vegetation including small trees and flowers as well a lush green grass. There were two tinkling streams with pools and waterfalls and goldfish swimming lazily in the crystal clear water. There were even small song birds flitting to and fro, alighting where it took their fancy and adding sound effects to the idyllic scene. As one, the humans gasped in amazement and then exclaimed in awe.

“How on earth did they manage this?” asked Jenny. “It’s so beautiful, it makes me want to cry.”

“It’s amazing,” agreed Gillian. “And it’s exactly the sort of place I wanted to get married in. How could the commander have known that?”

Komando-Ka and the other four leaders were standing in a small glade that had been created with a low circular platform in the center. Behind them were the other nine Taurian crew members. All of them were in full ceremonial dress outfits of a silk like material that emphasized their powerful physiques and their height. Feeling like gawking tourists, the wedding party moved slowly to the glade looking all around so that they missed nothing. Comfortable couches had been introduced in various places and secluded by artful use of living screens. All in all, the setting was magical. The humans spread out into the glade and the three couples stood before the Taurian group. Jamie bowed respectfully and his action was reflected by all the others.

“Komando-Ka you and your crew have excelled themselves. This setting could not have been more perfect. We are exceedingly grateful for the time and effort you have expended to make this occasion memorable. It is wonderful that our weddings have been treated with such respect.”

The Taurians beamed with pleasure at Jamie’s words and clapped in appreciation at the humans’ pleasure and happiness.

“We have one last surprise,” said the commander. “We know that all of you have been in contact with your friends and relatives and told them about your situation and today the three couples informed theirs about the impending weddings. Without infringing on your privacy, we took the liberty of contacting these people and inviting them to participate.”

He pressed a button and a large screen rose from the floor behind the Taurian group. It was big enough to dwarf the humans and the Taurians. It flickered into life to reveal a large hall filled with people seated at tables arranged for a banquet.

“You should see all of the people that you have contacted present in the hall. They also have a large screen that shows them the whole bridge. There is surround sound there and here so we will hear them and they will hear us.”

The humans were gaping at this new innovation and quickly the people in the other venue began waving to their family in the human group, who started to wave back as they saw their friends and loved ones. Komando-Ka waited patiently until the greetings had been exchanged. Then he brought the three couples forward and began the service.

It was concluded in a manner that was so similar to the earth equivalent that nothing was confusing or difficult to the participants, who had decided to be their own ring bearers. The commander repeated the ceremony separately for each couple, adding an individuality that was appreciated by the three couples. Finally all was done and the commander pronounced each couple man and wife. Amy produced the certificates she had prepared and they were duly completed then the newlyweds signed their names in the large tome-like register of the ship’s records. The guests on earth rose to their feet and gave a round of applause and shouted their congratulations. All around the hall champagne bottles were opened and this activity was mirrored by the robots in attendance on the bridge. Soon, all the humans and Taurians had glasses in their hands. The liquid in them looked remarkably similar to what would be expected.

Komando-Ka raised his glass.

“I propose a toast to each of these couples, Jamie and Jenny Calhoun, Peter and Gillian Bishop and George and Elizabeth Montgomery and wish them many rewarding and happy years together. May they all achieve their highest goals in all aspects of their lives and spend their time together in love and harmony forever.”

Everyone enthusiastically drank to that and the party began. The drink in the glasses tasted uncannily like real earth champagne, so after an initial sip the humans relaxed and began to enjoy the festivities. The big screen remained and the humans approached it and interacted in a more intimate manner with their friends and relatives, who all expressed wonderment at the fact that they were able to participate in an event that was taking place so far away under a sky that twinkled with stars. In the end, it was a great celebration that was enjoyed by everyone on both sides of the great divide. As the evening was drawing to a close, Jamie and Jenny approached the commander, who was standing talking with his son. This time Jenny took the lead.

“Komando-Ka, Pantando-Ka, we wish to thank you once again for all that you have done for us today. It has been truly wonderful and we will never forget any detail of it all. Your care and concern have been warming and your thoughtfulness at including our relatives and friends was a masterstroke. With one action you have reassured those here and those who remain on earth, at the same time. We will not forget this kindness as long as we live.”

“It was our very great pleasure, Jenny,” replied the commander with a grin. “I must admit that we also had a good time and certainly enjoyed the party as much as you did. Our best wishes go out to all of you and all of your people back home.”

Jamie bowed to both Taurians. “Good night, commander. Good night, Pantando-Ka. Thank you again.”

The two bowed back, with as much respect given as was received.