Crime can be fun! - Editor
Would You Say I Do?
by John W. Lasanich
"Just who the Hell are YOU?"
Blinking rapidly, I attempted to ascertain where I was. Firstly, I appeared to be laying down. Secondly, the surface I found myself on was not comfortable. Thirdly, a wedding dress hanging over me stared in my face. Fourthly (Is that a word? Oh, it is now.) a rather angry brunette women fumed at me. Looking into her blue eyes, I smiled apologetically. "Dear me. I seem to have arrived in a most unusual fashion."
"Get off the table!"
Swinging hurriedly off the table at the scream, I stood, assessing my surroundings. Groaning, I realized I was in a wedding hall. Judging by the appearance of everything, a Terran wedding hall. A further groan issued when I noted it was early 21st century Terran, and the woman appeared in her early 20s. Terrible music during this period would soon assault my senses, if this woman before me did not.
Realizing some form of explanation might be required, I smiled again. "Why hello there, Norville Kaden at your service. Terribly sorry for the unconventional entrance. I seem to have been blasted out of my nap to here."
Rounding on me, the women snapped, "You almost ruined my wedding dress! You made a mess of the whole table!" Eyes flashing in pure anger, she looked into me. Deciding for once to be charming, I said humbly, "Simply your servant Miss, and a mere mistake. Inspection-"
"Get out of here! OUT!"
Running for the nearest exit, I stopped only when a corner hid me from view. Panting and checking for holes, I frowned in thought. Somehow, something yanked me out of a rather comfy chair, dropping me on a rather uncomfy table. Shaking aside the thoughts of how rude, I pondered as I walked.
Two hours, three detours, one loss for words and four old people mistaking me for someone's grandson later, I arrived at lodging. The clerk at the counter looked absolute suspicion at me, as I fumbled for what passed for credits at this point in history. Thankfully, after a complete search of pockets, I produced a card. As she handed me a room card and a takeout menu, I swear the words "Bloody tourists" escaped her mouth in a contemptuous fashion. Smiling charmingly as I departed, I located the wonderful (bland) room.
A ten minute struggle with the phone later (You have to PUSH buttons to make a voice only call?), and I ordered a pizza. Eating in record time, I threw myself at the bed. Bouncing on it, I let the motion jar my thoughts. When that failed, I stared straight into the ceiling for a count.
In my era, temporal travel represented a well documented phenomena. Working for a time agency, traveling through time was nothing new to me. Occupation it happened to be, this represented an amusingly frightening first: Uncontrolled temporal shift.
For the 20th time I attempted shunting myself back to my own time, and for the 20th time failed. Cursing, the same answer read out in my brain. Some force was blocking me from achieving temporal shift, yet for some unfathomable reason I appeared here. The growling accomplished little, except to remind me of a cartoon from circa this period.
Waking up in a heap on the floor, I winced from my rather painful choice of sleeping positions. Stumbling about, I managed to shower. Banging my head on the shower, I reflected about just how humans survived this period of history. Giving up, I dressed, pondering what next to accomplish.
Striding down the street, I let my thoughts wander about. Returning to reality after bouncing off a pole, I laughed. Despite a lifetime of solving complex things, simple items always seemed to escape and amuse me. I headed for a small store I spotted, entering and buying a paper and a coffee.
Making my way back to my lodging, a hotel I believe it is named, I sat down. Listening to the chair creak, I poured over the paper intently. Taking in the info, I smiled, laughing at this century of Terran history. As I continued on, the news turned mundane. At least I noted, reading then tearing the page out with the comics on it, something funny brightened the day.
Turning the last page I saw the notices. I gripped the paper suddenly, seeing a familiar face in the section. Reading over the notice, I saw that the wedding for the woman I met yesterday was to occur today, in roughly three Terran hours. Tossing the paper down, I wondered why I thought this important. Speculation mounted a starship and flew off, leaving me at the spacedock.
Snapping my fingers, a decision arrived. Information needed, and only one way to acquire it. Heading out the door, I laughed, knowing I had but the vaguest of plans for acquiring any knowledge.
Charm working once again, I managed to sneak my way into the wedding hall. Vainly attempting to remember Terran wedding customs and the like, I managed to sneak about the place. A concentrated search provided me nothing, not a clue. Huffing in disgust I trudged down a hall, quite intent on making an exit. A plan to find my way home needed-
"Excuse me, we need a couple of towels for the bride's room."
Turning, I smiled and nodded. Escape plans would wait a moment. Wait they would, as I found myself sucked up into the work team for the wedding. Running through chaos and seeming disordered order, I panted. I vowed in my mind never to mock anyone's job, ever again.
Before I could comprehend, the time for the ceremony arrived. Finding myself in the reception hall, I added the finishing touches to the tables with a flourish. Smiling in childish delight, I marched off to the kitchen, checking to see if I could take a break. Receiving approval, I threaded my way to a spot to think.
Reaching the spot I located in my travels, I looked about and realized I could see the wedding. Moving quietly, I saw the groom and minister standing. Skin crawling, I hated the sound of the organ player mashing keys. Just then the bride arrived, slowly marching up the aisle. This time she actually looked happy, unlike upon my first encounter. Smiling, my attention wavered as a sound caught my ear. Frowning I turned about in the dim light.
Seeing something in the dim light, I advanced towards it. Tripping, I landed beside a bound and gagged figure. I noted three things instantly.
First, the person I untied was wearing a tuxedo, and in his early 20s.
Second, more than just this person where occupying this room, all bound and gagged.
Third, this man in the tuxedo looked awfully familiar.
Leaping, tripping and landing at my view into the wedding I stared hard. The ceremony underway, I stared at the groom. I stared again, after a good head shake.
Standing beside the bride, the man on the floor looked on expectantly. Slapping myself, the vision wavered. Slapping myself again, the vision finished wavering, solidifying for me. Choking a scream down, I noted to my dismay a mess of Chindith masquerading as the groom and members of the wedding party.
Acting, I grabbed the real groom and hauled him to his feet. He was still groggy as I hunted around for a weapon of some sort. A frantic search produced a half empty bottle of water and a yo-yo. Moaning I grabbed the real groom and propelled him towards the door leading into the ceremony.
Finding the lock tripped, I reverted to Plan K, kicking the door open. Yelping from the pain, I staggered into the stunned assemblage. Shock, astonishment and outright anger greeted my unannounced arrival. The father of the bride rose, advancing on me menacingly. I chucked water on him as he did, waiting for the holoshield to short and show him for what he truly was.
Jumping aside as the bride's father lunged, now madder for getting a soaking, I realized my mistake Turning, I threw the rest of the water on the father of the groom, just then heading for me. Sparks flew and wedding party and guests scattered, some fleeing. The bride herself stood her ground, staring in something beyond contempt and disbelief. Everyone present looked on in horror and amazement at the unmasked Chindith before them.
Flashing my credentials before the Chindith, I addressed them sternly. "By order of the Galactic Temporal Code, I order you to vacate this planet and temporal location."
My words produced little effect. At this point, the remaining Chindith unmasked, inspiring more panic. Drawing a breath, I steeled myself for serious dramatic acting.
The bride rushed past and grabbed the real groom. Staggering into her arms, he focused on her, saying, "Oh Kella." Turning from the sight of them kissing madly, I returned to the matter at hand. Most of the humans managed a masterful retreat, except the bride, groom and a handful of guests. Sighing, the Chindith glared at me in unison. Having dealt with them before, I knew I could expect the glare, and possibly being converted into melted flesh.
Speaking rapidly, I made the yo-yo appear. "This device, when activated, pulses non Terran lifeforms. Sadly, for such beings as Chindith, your molecules shall suffer cellular inversion." Stopping before my acting skills received the test of a lifetime, I waited. Fighting the urge to climb on the ceiling, I opened my mouth.
"I don't give a flying damn what you are...leave my wedding!"
Kella's sudden shout caused everyone present to jump or scream. I managed both, looking in disbelief as the Chindith present clustered together. As a body, they teleported right from view. When I blinked again, Kella and Jonathan ran to free the remaining members of the wedding party. Kella's father, muttering away, went to round up the guests.
All I could do was stand there, and laugh.
Roughly an hour Terran Standard Time later, Jonathan and Kella said, "I do." Standing at the back of the hall I smiled, watching the proceedings. Everyone filed out past the freshly wed couple, leaving me for last.
Approaching them, I shook their hands. Smiling sheepishly, I said, "Terribly sorry my dear girl for breaking in like that. However, I concluded you may not want to marry an alien, let alone live with one."
Kella smiled just then. She put a finger to my lips to stop me from saying another word. She looked through me again, saying, "I am afraid of an explanation of who and what happened. I wish to convey my thanks to you."
I nodded and bowed to them. My temporal locator beeped, causing me to smile. "Home, headed for, is I. Before I go, I believe tradition says I owe you a gift." With that statement, I handed them each a card, thoughtfully bought before my arrival at the hall. (I thought I would need them to gain admittance. All's well for a happy accident.) Waving, I faded from view, going home.
Laughing over the entirety of the misadventure, I registered a single regret.
Missing the expressions of shock upon opening those cards.