In one universe out of many....

2231

The moon that hung in the violet sky of Vrekkis was called Za'Borii'Aam'Ki by the natives of the planet. In the language of the dominant culture, the name translated roughly into Federation Standard as 'attentive lover.' Walking through the wheat field on the outskirts of the capital city, Captain Richard Robau was most certainly an attentive lover as he studied the face of the strikingly beautiful Vrekkisian woman walking along beside him, her long auburn hair fluttering in a pleasant breeze. "I hate to leave this place, Yerrin," he said to her. "Are you sure you'll be alright from here on?"

Yerrin, Chancellor of the Vrekkisian people, turned to him and smiled. "You must cease worrying over me," she replied, "And go on to your other duties to your Starfleet. Thanks to you, the raiders will not return to plunder our world again." She gently stroked his face. "Besides, are we not betrothed? We will see each other again."

"Three years is a long time to wait," sighed Robau, briefly glancing up at the moon.

"I cannot go against my people's traditions," Yerrin told him. "The marriage of the leader must take place when Za'Borii'Aam'Ki burns with passion."

"And I will respect your customs," Robau assured he. He leaned forward and kissed her, softly, for what would be the last time for a while. "I will come back," he said to her, then, stepping back, unclipped his communicator from his belt. "Robau to Kelvin - one to beam up." The sparkling, shimmering light of a transporter beam enveloped him, and he was gone from the surface of Vrekkis. But the warmth of his love did not leave Yerrin.

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2234

Robau stood at the foot of the stairs waiting. Above him, the priest prayed the altar. Looking up into the night sky, he saw Za'Borii'Aam'Ki burning as if from passion. Volcanic activity on the moon caused large areas of the surface to blaze red and orange from the magma, producing the romantic image of a being fired with the heat of love. It was a beautiful sight, but nowhere near as beautiful in Robau's eyes as the woman he now saw walking toward him along the garden path. "Yerrin," Robau gasped, totally overcome by his love's magnificence.

The elegant wedding gown she wore hugged her regal, willowy figure as she stood next to him. "Richard," she breathed.

"My love," responded Robau, taking her slender hands in his. They walked up the steps together, the priest standing ready to unite them both for the rest of their lives.

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In another universe, similar to the other....

The mourners were silent as the shrouded body was carried through the city streets by the palace guardsmen. The priest trailed along behind them, head bowed, Candle of Lost Life and Love clasped in his hands in front of him, murmuring prayers for the dead. The odd sob and sniffle broke out from the watching crowd as the guards tenderly laid the body on the altar in the middle of the city square, and hooded figures stepped up to it carrying burning torches. Yerrin had been a most beloved Chancellor of Vrekkis, and no one present would ever forget the awful day she was found dead in her chambers, having poisoned herself after learning of her love Robau's murder only one year before he was due to join her in marriage.

FIN