More tooth rotting Skywalker fluff!
4 months after the wedding of Leia Organa and Han Solo
City of Parrlay
3 hours after noon
Spira Frant carefully placed the large cup of caf a few centimers in front of Magistrate Cill Kupta, who was slumped over her desk with her head pillowed in her arms.
Spira then eased over to one side and sat down on a spare chair, put her feet up on the desk, and sipped her own caf in a leisurely manner while carefully keeping track of the time.
It was 5 minutes 31 seconds before the Magistrate finally twitched awake, no doubt woken up by the aroma of the steaming drink. She sat up blearily.
"Have some caf, Magistrate Cill," Spira said cheerfully.
The Magistrate looked startled, then smiled faintly, while taking a long draught of the caf.
"Thank you, Spira," she responded thankfully, "I needed that desperately."
"I guess!" Spira replied, "I've never seen you sleep on the job before, and I've been here many a time, as you know."
Cill shook her shoulder length gray hair and stretched her neck to relieve the crick.
She took another sip before saying wearily, "Spira, nothing is happening here this afternoon. I had three individuals pay speeding tickets this morning, and another paid off his drunk and disorderly fine. Since lunchtime, literally not a single sentient has crossed through that door 'til you came in. Judge Rebost broke his record for long lunches by not coming back at all. This town is dead."
Spira groaned, "Well, you can't blame people. Anyone who is anyone is in Theed for the return of Empress Padme, and everyone still in town is glued to the holoscreens."
"I don't really see what the big fuss is about," Cill said wearily, "But perhaps I'm jaded because I'm so tired."
Spira laughed, "You do look exhausted. Bad night?"
The Magistrate fixed her young friend with a cold stare, "Yes, my dear, but I assure you not because I was enjoying myself.
"Well," she continued, with a sudden smile, "I was enjoying myself tremendously until about 10 p.m. My daughter and her two little ones are visiting while her husband is on a work trip. Rosenna is 4 and Tranta is 2. They are adorable children and very, very active. Lillias got them to bed around 8 p.m. and we were enjoying a good chat when that storm rolled through. The kids both woke up from the thunder and would not go back to sleep. They cried and fussed, and then they sang and laughed and danced and twirled until 4 hours post the midnight hour. I have not had that little sleep in 20 years. Good gracious."
Spira laughed again, "I'm sorry, Magistrate Cill. I hope tonight will be better."
"It had better be," Cill replied, "But what you are doing here? You're a reporter! You should be in Theed covering the return of Queen Padme. It's the celebration of at least the decade, maybe the century!"
Spira scowled miserably, "I'm lowest seniority, so I got stuck with holding down the station while everyone else, and I mean everyone else, is in Theed. I'm just here because I started going crazy staring at my desk, so I thought maybe I'd write up the latest court news. Not that there is any, apparently."
The Magistrate put a hand out and patted Spira on the shoulder, "I'm sorry, my dear."
The girl sighed, "Mother says I just need to be patient and my time will come, but it is hard to wait. I know I'm a good holophotographer and a decent reporter. I've learned a lot at the station. But there isn't much turnover and I could be lowest in seniority for years. Drives me crazy!"
"You could move to another city?"
"No… Mother really needs me home. She's still not well after Father's passing. No, I'm stuck here."
Cill looked sympathetic, "Well, we must hope that you are at the right place and the right time for some big story soon."
"In Parrlay?" Spira snorted, "Not likely."
They were interrupted as the outer door to the main hall opened and 2 robed figures stepped through the door. A couple of other individuals were behind them but, oddly enough, merely assumed positions outside the door.
The Magistrate sat up, and Spira hastily removed her feet from the desk.
"Hello," Magistrate Cill said kindly, "How can I help you?"
"Um," the man said, "We're here for the wedding."
Spira looked at the couple in surprise. They were older, rather weather beaten, though their robes were well made and new. Were they getting married?
Cill looked startled as well, "You want to be married now?"
The woman gasped and then smiled, "Oh no, not us! We've been married for more than 20 years. No, our nephew and his fiancé are getting married here. But it seems they've been held up a bit. Perhaps we could sit down and wait?"
The Magistrate hesitated, "I'm sorry, but the judge is… not available right now. I'm afraid your nephew will need to wait. Perhaps tomorrow?"
The couple exchanged glances, and then the man said carefully, "Well, I'm sure he'll figure out something."
The door opened and 3 more people entered, also robed.
"Owen, Beru," the shorter of the women said, "Are you the first people here?"
"Yes, and we're a bit worried about Luke. We hope he hasn't been delayed."
"He's almost here," both of the women said simultaneously, even as they tossed the hoods off their heads
The shorter one was a gorgeous brunette, the taller a striking redhead. Both looked very familiar…
"Princess Leia?" Spira sputtered out.
The slighter woman turned with a smile, "Yes, I'm Princess Leia. My brother Luke's the one getting married, to Mara here."
Spira was so stunned that she forgot to breathe, and then found herself gasping, embarrassingly, like a beached mee fish.
Thankfully no one was paying attention to her or Magistrate Cill (who also looked completely stunned), because the outer door opened again to reveal three more individuals…
"Aunt Beru, Uncle Owen, I'm so glad you were able to come."
"You didn't think we'd miss your wedding, do you? And … Biggs? What a pleasant surprise to see you here!"
"It's good to see you too, ma'am. My commanding officer gave me leave to support Luke through the ceremony."
"Hey, Commander Darklighter, it's great to have you here but Luke shouldn't need support. I mean, really, this is the way a wedding should be. Quick and easy, in and out, no pageantry, no evil wedding coordinators…"
"So where are Mother and Father, Luke?"
"I can sense they are almost here…"
Spira and Magistrate Cill exchanged a horrified glance. Surely the Prince didn't mean…
The door opened again and the immensely tall form of Darth Vader, clad in armor and a flowing black cape strode in, with the iconic black helmet facing the clot of people in the middle of the entrance chamber.
"Father, where is Mother?"
"I'm right here, Leia, hidden behind Ani. Wind blown and stunned, but here."
"Did you fly too fast, Father?"
"I flew at the appropriate speed given the situation at hand. The formalities and festivities required a later departure time than originally anticipated."
"Which is to say that you drove at least twice the legal limit for most of the trip, and three times the legal limit the rest of the time. It was a continual experience of watching my life pass before my eyes, or at least I presume it was my life. I was rather out of it for many years, of course."
"You were completely safe, Padme."
"I know, Ani. You know I completely trust your flying," she said with a wink and a smile.
"Captain Piett, my helmet."
Spira endured yet another shock as the Emperor calmly reached beneath his helmet and lifted it off his head.
The revealed face had some scars, but was more normal than Spira might have expected. The surprising thing was that much of the Emperor's face had a pink tinge, like a young child, and the skin was soft, as if newly renewed. His scalp was covered with a close skull cap, presumably to cover a lack of hair.
No one in the 'wedding party' (if it could be so termed) seemed at all distressed at the sight of the Emperor's face.
"Shall we get this done, Mara, my love?" Luke inquired.
"Um…" Magistrate Cill finally spoke, "Your Highnesses, I am terribly sorry, but the judge is not here right now."
There was a puzzled pause, before Prince Luke said, "I understood that the judge was to be in residence during all working hours."
Cill continued, "I'm sorry, yes, that is ordinarily the case but… he had an emergency."
The Prince tilted his head slightly and stared straight at the Magistrate, "As in a very long lunch, Magistrate?"
Spira gasped aloud. There were rumors the Emperor and his children could read minds…
"It doesn't matter," Empress Padme said briskly, "Because both Ani and I have the legal authority to marry a couple. So long as you have the appropriate forms, Magistrate?"
"Uh, yes, your Highness, yes I do," Cill said quickly.
"And who are you, young lady?"
Spira jolted nervously. The speaker was the Imperial captain, a rather stern faced man who was the only member of the party apparently not in a jovial mood.
The girl froze, which was a bad idea. Soon everyone was staring at her – the Emperor, the Empress, their twin children, the consorts… this was bad.
"Um," she finally squeaked, "I'm Spira Frant. I'm a holojournalist with the local news station."
She half expected to be arrested and frog marched off on the spot. Obviously this wedding was a secret…
"A journalist?" Prince Luke inquired, with a sparkling look in his eye, "Do you take pictures and videos?"
"Um, yes, I do, your Highness. I have a degree in holophotography, actually…"
"Great, would you be willing to take pictures of the wedding, or would that be an imposition?"
Spira forced herself to close her jaw, "Uh, yes, your Highness, I would be honored. The only thing is that my equipment belongs to the local station so legally I would need to share the photos with them as well as you…"
"Well, that's fine," the Prince said cheerfully, "I'm guessing someone would be interested in seeing my lovely bride in all her radiance, and I'm Ok with people chuckling about how short I am compared to my father."
"You think you're short!" the Empress and Princess said simultaneously.
"Biggs… Biggs? Where are you?"
"Right here, Luke, I just had to go fill the carafes with water in the refresher."
"Why do you need water, Biggs?"
"Well, Princess Leia, it's a Tatooine tradition that the moment the groom and bride are joined in marriage, the accompanying members of the wedding party pour water on their heads."
"On Tatooine, water is life, my daughter."
"I … I guess that makes sense, but what about the bride's dress?"
"Yes, Luke, what about my dress?"
"You said, Mara, and I quote 'I don't care what I have to do as long as we get married today.'"
"Ok, sweetheart, I will gladly participate in your sweet and meaningful Tatooine ceremony involving a close encounter with water . But I hope that C-3PO can manage to get out the wrinkles."
"I'm sure he can…"
Spira jumped as the Imperial captain suddenly appeared at her right elbow, "Would you like some help setting up your holocam, Miss?"
"Um, yes, Captain…"
"Yes, Captain Piett. Thank you."
"And one more thing Miss Frant. People will literally kill for these holos, not that Prince Luke is aware of that. So I'll make sure you are provided a safety detail until we can sort out the sale of these images. We'll also make sure you get proper credit."
Spira's eyes filled with tears of amazement, "Thank you, Captain, so very much."
"Merely doing my job, Miss."
Spira reached down for her journalist bag, which held her holocam.
Magistrate Cill stood up with the marriage flimsies in her hand and leaned over to whisper softly in her ear.
"Right place, right time, my dear."