MARITAL BLISS
Neil Burns

The usual legal stuff involving SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO/STARBLAZERS. Our favorite navigatorů Mark Venture is getting hitched. Enjoy and comment. Freddo's original characters that appear herein are © 2003 by him and are not to be used without permission. Thanks!

The battered, smoking Yamato limped toward Earth as the exhausted crew looked forward to much-needed time off. The Yamato had finished a long rough encounter with a breakaway Bolar republic who had refused to recognize a treaty that the Commonwealth had signed with Earth and Gamilon. There were significant casualties, but miraculously no deaths. Captain Nova Wildstar had divided her time between the bridge and the infirmary where she helped Dr. Sane treat the Gamilon and Earth patients. As there was a respite and Earth was in the ship's window, Nova stood at Mark Venture's station, her hair and nurse's uniform dampened with perspiration and fatigue etched on her graceful features. A smile played on her lips.

"A sight for sore eyes," she sighed happily. "Mark, take us home."
"My pleasure," the navigator replied, wincing slightly.

Nova noticed and gasped at seeing a sizable red blotch staining Mark's side. Sasha, sensing something wrong, exited the bridge and headed for the infirmary as Nova examined it. The others on the bridge also sensed something was up.

"My God! When did this happen?"
"It's nothing," Venture retorted weakly. "Just a flesh wound."
"Very funny." She turned to the Chief Engineer Yamakazi. "Joseph, please take over for Mark."
"Yes, ma'm," the engineer/ex-pilot replied.

As he walked over to the station, Sasha returned with IQ9 and a floating bed. Both headed toward the station and began to help Venture out of his chair, much to the navigator's protestations.

"Dammit! I'm fine!" Venture growled.
"No, you aren't, Uncle Mark," Sasha gently scolded. "You need to go to the infirmary."
"The beauty of having a clairvoyant on your crew," Nova mused. "Mark, as a nurse, your commanding officer and a friend, I order you to get on."
"Don't worry, son," Yamakazi put in. "I'll get us home."
"Venture," Wildstar joined the discussion. "Take it from someone who's married to her. Arguing with Nova is a losing battle."
"If I have to," Nova smiled wickedly, "I could have IQ sit on you."

Venture winced inwardly at the visual of a 300-pound, perverted "genius robot" sitting on him on the way to the infirmary. He laid on the bed as Sasha turned it toward the door. All right, Nova. You win this time. Yamakazi sat down and put on his pilot gloves.

"Joseph. Take us home."
"Hey, Yamakazi," Sakamoto grinned. "Don't forget to wipe the grease off."
"Hey, Sakamoto," Venture shot back. "When's the last time you got any? And Hartcliffe doesn't count."
"Four hours ago with your bitch, Venture."
"Doubt it. Holly's got standards."
"Right. Then what the hell's she doing with a greaseball wop like you?"
"That's enough," Nova snapped. "We can discuss sexual prowess later. Steven, you have the bridge."

Giving Wildstar a kiss on the cheek, Nova led Sasha and IQ9 off the bridge with Venture on the floating bed while there were murmurings of "how nice it is to be married to the Captain". Sandor cleared his throat.

"Show's over, guys," he intoned. "Mr. Yamakazi, you heard the lady. Take us home."
"Yes, sir," Yamakazi replied.

Back on Earth, the dead crew stumbled down the runway into a very rough approximation of attention before Generals Stone and Singleton and Admiral Yamamani. A few minutes later, an exhausted-looking, bare-foot Nova trudged down in her mussed-up Living Group uniform, peacoat draped on her shoulders, boots in hand and her expression of one not giving a damn who saw her this way. She dropped the boots and saluted the EDF senior officers as the crew arched their eyebrows. Yamamani and Singleton returned the salute while Stone, never a Yamato fan, stared in disbelief.

"Yamato reporting," Nova announced. "The mission was hell, but successful."
"Lovely fashion statement, Nova," Singleton smiled dryly.
"Yes," Yamamani retorted. "I wasn't aware the EDF had a policy on dress-down days."
"Captain Wildstar!" Stone hissed. "What the hell is this?"
"It's called my uniform, General," the Yamato captain smiled with sweet poison. "Unless you prefer I disembarked the ship naked."

That comment got a few chuckles and muted cheers. Yamamani and Singleton hid smiles. Stone was not amused though.

"Don't you take that tone with me, little girl! You do know you are violating--"
"Come on, Stone," Yamamani interjected. "The kids have been through a rough assigment."
"Yes," Singleton agreed. "It is by the grace of God that we don't have to inform any next of kin that their loved ones didn't come back."
"But there are regulations and standards!" Stone growled. "What kind of example does that woman set flouting the dress code like that!"
"General Stone," Nova intoned, her smile dripping acid. "Like Admiral Yamamani said, we have been to hell and back on this assignment. The crew is tired and we have injured that need to go to the hospital. Right now, I would like a shower and a bed to crawl into and die for a few days. So, unless you have a point to make, get over yourself and go take a flying leap."

Stone sputtered in shock as the crew howled with laughter and cheered their captain telling off the Yamato's biggest detractor. Nova shrugged modestly as even Singleton and Yamamani chuckled. Yamamani especially had a special spot for the crew, having commanded the Yamato during the Danzarian occupation of Earth.

"You tell 'em, luv," Hartcliffe crowed. Bloody bird's got balls. I like that.
"You are dismissed," Singleton ordered. "Please leave before things get ugly. I'll try to cover for you. Again."
"Way to go, Nova," Venture chuckled from his floating bed.
"Thanks," she replied. "How did that jerk get to be a General anyway?"
"Fate works in mysterious ways."
"Come, Mark," Sane interrupted. "You need to get to the hospital. I prescribe at least a month of bedrest."
"A MONTH!"
"I would say at least two," Nova concurred. "Of course, IQ9 can be your personal nurse."
"You're a bitch, you know that?"
"When I need to be." Nova kissed Venture's forehead wickedly. "But you wouldn't want it any other way. Now, get going. I want you well for your wedding."
"Yes, MOM!" The "mom" was drenched in sarcasm.

As the Yamato crew dispersed, they were unaware of Desslok watching from his ship. The Gamilon ruler was on Earth to petition a joint Gamilon-Earth pilot school. He found amusing the familiarity most of the crew had with their Captain and how the spirit evolved from camaradarie to almost familial. Nova is a bit lax in her authority at times. Still, she does possess leadership skills. Later, Nova stumbled into the bedroom where Wildstar awaited in bed. The Golden Couple said nothing as they made a little love, then turned out the lights and descended into a restful, deserving sleep, all the worries and cares of the five-month mission erased from their memory. The next afternoon, Nova, Holly Parsons and Terri Forrester were having lunch at BLUECREST RIVER, a very exclusive bistro that mother and daughter often frequented, especially when Terri would try to fix Nova up with suitable candidates. Parsons felt a little out of place as she looked around. She appreciated Nova's gesture to help her find a wedding dress, but she knew that she and her captain did not travel in the same circles.

"Have you set a date yet?" Terri queried.
"End of summer," Parsons replied. "Looking forward to it."
"Have you picked a dress yet?"
"No."
"What's wrong, Holly?" Nova asked.
"I appreciate what you're doing, Nova. But I looked at some of the dresses in the shop we're going to later. I couldn't afford those in a million years."
"Don't worry. The head seamistress is an old college friend of mine. She can get you a really good deal."
"Right. 5,000 instead of 15."
"Just leave it to me, OK?"
"Yes, maid of honor."

After lunch, the three women entered PRINCESS BOTIQUE where the head seamistress Danielle greeted Nova with a hug. Terri immmediately began supervising the modelling and the fitting while Nova negotiated with her college friend a decent price for Parsons. Later, the three women were at LE BELLE SPA getting a massage. The Adonis-like masseuses kneaded and caressed each fold of skin and nerve as their clients sighed in content. Holly though felt guilty being spoiled while her fiancee was laid up in the hospital with his chest bandaged. She also felt like she was taking advantage of her captain's generosity. Nova seemed to read her mind as she patted the Ensign's hand.

"Holly," she smiled. "It's a special occassion."
"It is," Parsons replied.
"Yes. You're getting married. You deserve to spoil yourself."
"I feel like I'm imposing on you, plus there's Mark."
"Mark will be fine, dear," the older Forrester put in. "He's a tough cookie. Besides, Nova often brings Derek here."
"Really." Parson's eyebrows arched ceilingward. "He doesn't seem the spa type."

Parsons tried to visualize the Yamato's Combat Leader getting a massage or a mud-bath treatment and chuckled. She could also imagine the jokes the other crewmembers would nail him with, especially Sakamoto and Hartcliffe. She then thought of bringing Venture here and tried to visualize him getting "A Day of Beauty" and smiled.

"He doesn't," Nova smirked wickedly, "but he likes the mud bath."
"Really?" I smell blackmail photos here.
"
In fact, I took a few pictures of him enjoying the mud bath without him looking."
"I see." Bingo.
"Poor darling doesn't know. They could come in handy in the future."
"Mark is right. You are a bitch."
"Only when neccessary, dahling." Nova gave the "Darling" a Zsa Zsa Gabor drawl.
"Well, now that I feel better, what's next on the agenda?"

Meanwhile, Wildstar and Dash were visiting Venture in the hospital with contraband-namely, beer and the entire seven-year SOPRANOS collection. The three Yamatoites were enjoying the fifth season when Desslok entered, a perusual smile on his face as he observed the goings-on. Dash waved him over and offered him a beer. Desslok accepted and sipped it, finding it tasty but rather bland compared to the fine wine he was used to.

"How are you, Venture?" the Gamilon leader asked.
"Fine," Venture smiled. "I'm stuck here for another week, then another month or so to recuperate."
"A small bird, to use one of your idioms, informed me that you are getting bonded?"
"End of the summer," Wildstar put in, sipping his beer.
"You are not participating in the preperations?"
"Hell, no!" Venture snorted. "That's the bride's domain."
"Exactly," Dash agreed. "I just want to pick out my tux, if the wedding calls for one. If my future wife wants to deal with the other shit, she's welcome to it."
"Des, I regret to inform you that my parents decided not to invite you. Nor did Holly's."

Wildstar and Dash arched their eyebrows at this announcement. Desslok merely shrugged the slight off.

"Our worlds have been allied for six or seven years," he purred, "yet there is still distrust. I am probably going to be busy then with Gamilon affairs anyway. So, I believe the expression is 'it is no skin off my back'?"
"I'm glad you understand. I'm really sorry about this."
"It is no slight. I have already been to Wildstar and Nova's bonding ceremony."
"All right," the nurse interrupted. "Visiting time is over. The patient is not supposed to be drinking alcohol in the first place."
"Sorry," Dash shrugged. "My idea."
"Well," Wildstar smiled. "You can always come to the bachelor party."
"Thank you," Desslok replied. "I think I will decline. Did Nova approve of yours?"
"She accepted it. Besides, the girls gave her a bachelorette party."

It was a warm day and the wedding party was having a rehearsal on Baker's Hill, a lush mound next to Hero's Hill that overlooked the monuments of the fallen crewmen and Captain Abraham Avatar. Venture and Parsons decided it would be a civilian wedding, hence no honor guard, and a traditional Italian ceremony. Wildstar was the best man and Nova was the maid of honor while Sasha was designated the ring-barer. The priest, Father Italo Verdi, was a family friend who went to school with Colleen Venture. As Verdi was in the middle of the oaths, a giant black ship flew overhead and landed nearby. A minute later, two slender figures approached in military-style attire. One had dark wild hair while the other had copper-colored hair falling to her back with a skull resting above her forehead. A slight scar ran diagonally down her left cheek. It was Emeraldas and Harlock. The Yamato crewmen who were invited greeted the pirates warmly.

"Hello, Venture," Harlock greeted. "Nervous?"
"Not really," Venture smiled. "I'm actually looking forward to it."
"How are you, Holly?" Emeraldas embraced the bride-to-be
"I'm fine, Em."
"A little friendly warning, Mark," the Pirate Queen smiled. "Break her heart and I will break every bone in your body."
"Don't worry," Venture smirked. "I promise to take good care of her."
"I'm counting on you. I would hate to have to make her a widow."
"Why are you here?" Colleen Venture inquired.
"Well," Harlock replied. "We were in the neighborhood and thought we'd drop in."
"Besides," Emeraldas added. "We heard Mark and Holly were getting married and wanted to pay our respects."

There were murmurings as the crowd wondered why pirates were at the rehearsal. They also wondered why the Yamato crewmen, especially the bride and groom, were friendly with them. Certainly, they were not coming to the wedding. Colleen especially refused to have "undesirable elements" participating.

"That is fine," she stated, "but you two are not invited."
"Really," Emeraldas replied.
"Yes. It is the same with Desslok. No offense, but I don't want any undesirable elements at the wedding."
"Oh, come on, mom," Venture put in. "They're friends of ours."
"Of yours, Mark. Not mine."
"That's your perogative," Harlock shrugged. "Emeraldas and I aren't offended."

The pirate took a very thick envelope out and handed it to Colleen. Emeraldas did the same. Both envelopes were near bursting with money. Colleen looked at the envelopes and at the two pirates.

"I believe this is the custom. Correct?" Harlock asked.
"Yes, it is," Colleen replied.
"Mark told us. Our crews send our best wishes."
"I hope it's a very long and happy marriage," Emeraldas put in warmly.
"Thank you. Maybe we'll see you again?"
"Most likely."

Three days later, the invitations went out. The paper was lavender with silver floral trim. The lettering was silver calligraphy and read thusly:

DAVID AND COLLEEN VENTURE
REQUEST YOUR COMAPANY FOR
THE JOINING OF
MARK THOMAS VENTURE
AND
HOLLY ANN PARSONS
IN HOLY MATRIMONY

TO BE HELD ON AUGUST 31, 2210
AT SAINT VINCENT'S CHURCH
AT 3:00 PM
RECEPTION AT 4:45 PM

R.S.V.P.


It was a warm and beautiful August afternoon with a cool gentle breeze and a crystal clear blue day. The guests were eager as was the wedding party. Venture looked very dapper in a dark gray tuxedo with tails. His gray poofed ascot and diamond pin rested confidently on his chest. The best men--Wildstar, Dash, Homer and Sandor, were dressed similiarly except their coats were black. Nova, Fisher, Henson and Lubyanska wore lovely, yet simple coral dresses with matching flowers in their hair and matching flat-soled, open-toed sandals. The ring-bearer Sasha, being the gentle free-spirit, wore a white tuxedo with matching tie, cumberband and tap pants. Yet, she also wore a black frilled shirt and no shoes. Mimi was her "assistant" with the rings attached to clips on her collar. Holly entered sporting an elegantly simple Veronica DuValle creation with pearls lining the top of the dress and short train.

"Oh, my God," Venture gasped. "That's GORGEOUS!"
"My own choice," Nova smirked proudly.
"How much did THAT set her back?" Homer whispered dryly. "Four years' pay?"
"That's none of your business, but she got a very good deal."
"Sure. Only six months."
"Guys," Wildstar interjected. "Let's start, OK?"

Father Verdi started with the blessing and traditional matrimony opening.

"If there is anyone," he spoke in a pleasant tenor, "who feels that this couple should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace."
"MEEEEOOOOWWW!!!"

The wedding party and the congregation completely lost it as Mimi smirked devilishly at Verdi who smiled as he stroked her chin. The mass and ceremony was a traditional affair with Father Verdi speaking in both Italian and English. Nova translated for Wildstar, knowing Italian as well as French, Spanish, Japanese and German, as Sasha mentally visualized what being married must have felt like. Venture and Parsons exchanged the vows and rings in perfect fluent Italian as Collen's eyes teared up proudly. After the ceremony, the reception was held in DOMINIC'S, a former Mason headquarters where a traditional Italian band and a disc jockey provided the entertainment and the menu consisted of traditional Italian dishes such as gnocchi, briglioa, calamari and the like. Envelopes with money were given to David and Collen in the reception line as the guests paid their respects. In essence, it was a scene right out of the first "GODFATHER", minus the backroom business and the bridesmaid "canoodling" with the best man. Eager took the mike and began to treat the others with his "rendition" of "Falling In Love", dedicated to Venture and Parsons.

"Oh, God!" Nova groaned. "Poor Elvis."
"That isn't so bad," Sandor replied consolingly. "Venture and Wildstar are worse."
"Don't remind me. I heard Mark the other day in the shower singing 'Viva Las Vegas'. I had to restrain myself from strangling him."
"Holly's dress is lovely. Excellent choice."
"Of course. Couture is my specialty."

A beat began and Sandor excused himself. Suddenly, the Village People's "Macho Man" began and Venture, Sandor, Wildstar, Dash and Eager took the stage and proceeded to lip synch and dance horribly. The guests laughed and hooted at the "Village Idiots" as Nova snapped away with sadistic glee, loading herself with plenty of blackmail ammunition. After the "mini-concert" and an embarrassingly horrendous attempt to act like rappers, the no-so-fabulous five were booted off the dancefloor so real dancing could proceed. Sandor and Sasha made a graceful pair as they glided across the floor and The Couple were fairly decent themselves. A little later, Venture stepped out for some air and saw Nova and the other bridesmaids, as well as Sasha, sitting on the steps, sans sandals, and smoking Cuban cigars courtesy of Lubyanska's gay diplomat uncle in Cuba. Taking out the small digital camera, Venture took a picture of the group.

"So how are you ladies doing?" he asked.
"We're fine," Fisher smiled. "How's the groom?"
"Oh, the best time so far."
"Glad we could help," Nova smiled.
"Tatiana," Venture turned to Lubyanska. "You may be interested in knowing that Father Verdi is very open-minded, so whenever you and Henson decide to get married, he can preside over the ceremony."
"Is that so?" the Russian pilot smiled.
"Great," Henson put in, "but I thought the Church was against homosexuality."
"Diane, it's the Twenty-third Century. I would think people are over it."

A bit later, Karl Forrester took an semi-official/semi-casual wedding picture on the steps. In the center were Venture and Parsons. On the left were Sandor and Sasha. On the right were Wildstar and Nova. Henson and Lubyanska sat on the steps flanked by Dash, Homer and Fisher. The women wore the tuxedo jackets, except for Sasha, and everyone either held cigars or smoked them. After several pictures, alterantely serious and comical, the reception ended with a final toast and the traditional boquet and garter "ceremony". Henson caught the boquet and and Dash caught the garter. The next day, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Thomas Venture flew off to New Bahamas for a month's honeymoon to celebrate their new life as husband and wife.


THE END

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