Go to Prologue
The Marines led the procession to the hall, which was filled by the time Kacey arrived. Every row had one empty seat at the inside end for the Marine honor guard. The Marines took their places.
Kacey removed her gloves and tucked them into her belt. Due to the formal nature of the ceremony, her hat would remain on. Her gloves should have remained on, but because this was a two ring ceremony, she was allowed to remove the gloves and still be in formal dress.
The music for the ceremony would be provided by the keyboard player. There would be three selections for when the two group's walk to the stage. The Marine Corps Hymn for Kacey, a classical selection for Erin and Kate and Erica and Anya and the traditional wedding march for Natalia.
The video screens were down and turned on to show the Space Agency logo. Steps were placed in front of the stage, so that the entire wedding party would be able to climb onto the stage to the flowered arch where the Chaplin would stand.
"Kate what is with the video screens?" Kacey asked
"Didn't I tell you I invited the Joint Chiefs and any former residents of Marcus Prime to witness this momentous occasion?"
"NOOOOOOOO." Kacey drew out the word. "As if this was not a big enough circus, now the brass will be watching."
"Relax Colonel. That is an order." Kate said with a smile.
The Chaplin took his place as the door to the back room opened and Erin walked out. She carried a pillow with Natalia's ring on it. She walked to Kate who smiled at her daughter.
"Looks like it is show time, little sister. Remember do not lock your knees. Deep breath."
"Younger Kate." Kacey said and took a deep breath.
The video screens came on. The Joint Chiefs and several former residents of Marcus Prime watched. Erin took her place at the head of the aisle. Kate stood behind her with Kacey and Liam behind Kate. The music started. Erin started walking. Kate waited until she took ten steps before she started. Once they reached the steps, they turned to wait. The Marines moved out into the aisle and stood at attention . It was not protocol, but Kacey slipped her hand into her father's as they prepared to walked down the aisle.
"Here we go lass. Are ye ready?" Liam asked. He felt the slight tremors in Kacey's hand. Kacey swallowed and could only nod. They stepped off, timing their progress to the music so that they would reach the steps as the hymn ended. At the steps, Liam kissed Kacey cheek as he and Erin climbed the stairs to take their places on the right side of the arch.
The end of the hymn was the signal for Erica to take her place as Natalia prepared for her walk down the aisle. Kacey and Kate waited at the bottom of the steps. They turned to face the back of the hall when the music started again. They watched Erica walk down with the pillow that held Kacey's ring. She was followed by Anya. Kate watched as her wife came closer and closer. Anya gave her a quick wink. Natalia and Patricia would not be visible until Anya reached the stairs. She turned as soon as she reached the stairs, Erica at her side as she waited for Patricia to arrive to walk up the stairs. Kate returned Anya's wink and turned when she heard Kacey's sharp intake of breath,
Natalia and Patricia stood at the back of the hall. Kacey only had eyes for Natalia, who had her hand on Patricia's arm. Their eyes met. Natalia counted on Patricia to keep her in a straight line. At the stairs, Patricia kissed Natalia's cheek and placed her hand in the crook of Kacey's arm. She and Erica climbed the stairs and took their places on the left hand side of the arch. Kacey and Natalia climbed the stairs followed by Kate and Anya. They stood on either side of the Chaplin, The music stopped and everyone took their seats. Natalia handed her flowers to Anya.
The Chaplin started. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered today to witness the union of these two loving hearts. Natalia and Kirsten please turn and face each other and clasp right hands. Who gives Natalia to this union?"
Patricia stepped forward. "On behalf of her mother, I do." She stepped back to her place.
"Who gives Kirsten to this union."
Liam stepped forward. "Her mother and I do." He said and stepped back.
"Kirsten and Natalia, have you come here today of your own free will to honor your eternal bond?"
"We have." The said together.
"Is there anyone present who has any objections to this union?" They held their breaths until the Chaplin continued.
"Kirsten, do you take Natalia as your lawful wife? Will you love her, protect her, honor her, care for her and provide for her all the days of your life?"
"I do." Kacey let out a breath.
"Natalia, do you take Kirsten as your lawful wife? Will you love her, protect her, honor her, care for her and provide for her all the days of your life?"
"Kirsten will you speak what is in your heart?"
"Natalia, since that day on Marcus Prime when I first met you in the rubble of the palace, I found myself drawn to you. In the time since then I have fallen deeply in love with you. We have laughed together, and cried together. You have seen me at my absolute worst and yet you still love me. There will not be a time when I will ever stop loving you. You have captured my heart. I love you with every fiber of my being. You will forever be my only love."
"Natalia will you speak what is in your heart?"
"Kirsten, That day on Marcus Prime, when you picked me up to get me to safety is the moment I started to love you. Even after you dropped me, I still loved you. We will have good times and bad, happy and sad, but we will see them all through together. I will love you for as long as my heart is beating. I was born to love you. I always will." She smiled at Kacey
"May we have the rings, please." Patricia and Liam unhooked the rings from the pillows the twins carried. They handed the rings to Kate and Anya, who in turn handed them to Kacey and Natalia.
"Kirsten place the ring on Natalia's finger. She took the ring from Kate with hands that shook and placed in on Natalia's left hand. "Repeat after me. Natalia please accept this ring as a symbol of my love and devotion."
"Natalia, please accept this ring as a symbol of my love and devotion."
"Natalia, please take the ring and place it on Kirsten's finger." Natalia took the ring from Anya and put it on Kacey's finger. "Repeat after me. "Kirsten please accept this ring as a symbol of my love and devotion."
"Kirsten, please accept this ring as a symbol of my love and devotion."
Their eyes met and they both smiled.
"Kirsten and Natalia have freely given their hearts and have accepted the symbols of their love and devotion. They have vowed in front of God and witnesses to love each other for the duration of their lives. So by the power given to me by the government and by God, I now pronounce that Kirsten and Natalia are married. Let no one tear apart what God has joined together. Kirsten and Natalia, you may now seal your vows with a kiss."
Kacey lifted Natalia's veil, gently pulled her close and kissed her. The hall erupted in applause as the kiss continued. Kate nudged Kacey to remind her to come up for air. They broke apart. Anya handed Natalia her flowers. They turned and looked out at the crowd. The Marines stood and pulled their sabers which they raised and crossed to give the couple an arch to walk under. Natalia took Kacey's arm as the started down the stairs. Anya took Kate's arm and followed. The twins walked down next, with Liam and Patricia following them.
They stopped in the back of the hall to sign the register. Kacey signed her name and watched Natalia sign hers. They had not discussed any name change and Kacey was surprised to see Natalia sign Natalia O'Malley. They stepped aside as Kate and Anya signed as witnesses. They lined up for the receiving line as all those in attendance left their seats. It took over half an hour for the last person to walk the receiving line.
"Only one more line up sweetheart and we can get this party started." Kacey said. I am really hungry."
"For anything special?" Natalia whispered in her ear and licked her earlobe which caused Kacey to shiver.
"You can be a cruel woman, Natalia O'Malley, but as much as I want things other things, right now I need regular food. I have not eaten since dinner last night."
"But I saw the tray your mother sent over."
"It is a long story. I will tell you later." Kacey said and stopped the keyboard player. "There has been an name change. Make sure you tell Steven to introduce us as Colonel Kirsten and Mrs. Natalia O'Malley."
"I will tell Steven. Give us ten minutes then we will introduce you. We will start with Commander and Mrs. O'Malley, then the girls, then Captain and Commander Jensen, then Colonel and Mrs. O'Malley.
To be continued...
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