Oh, Lord, why do human beings insist on performing these ceremonies? I bet Doc Mike himself wishes they’d get on with it and just bury his remains. The Governor is as wordy as a Cresta at an Inter-Alien convention.
“…and as Peter, son to two other magnificent examples of humanity’s finest, so touchingly reminded us, Doctor Mike was the guiding light behind this new beginning. As Governor, and in effect, Commander and Chief of—“
Pul-leez, Commander in Chief, Raymond? Of a couple hundred kilometers? Tuck that ego in a bit.
“…we’ll know prosperity and good fortune into an unimagined future here on Newearth, all starting from our humble beginning in—”
We’ll all pause now for dramatic effect.
Breathless silence. And I do mean, breathless. It’s so hot and humid, why on Newearth did he pick July, of all months, to have this dedication ceremony?
Doctor Mike’s remains descend slowly into a marble receptacle. An engraved slab slides over the top. Luxonians in full regalia steer a life-sized statue of Doctor Mike to the grave and center it on a marble stand.
The end! Please, make that the end. Oh, no, he’s starting up again with the smile that knows no bounds.
“…And I would like to invite our newest citizens and Luxonian guests to our modest repast before we begin this new and challenging—”
“Thank you, Governor Ronald Raymond!”
A tall Luxonian woman with three human attendants gestures politely toward the assembly hall, situated on the west side of the Capitol building.
Thank God! Saved by the cooking staff.
“Hey, Cerulean! So, what do you think?”
Peter’s smile is always so genuine. He reminds me of Anne. I hope—No. Better not go there.
“Hello, Peter. Mission accomplished. You always said that you’d see this day—”
“No, actually, that’s not true. I’d have given up but for ol’ Doc. You want a sandwich or something?”
“Sure. The cook is a friend of mine. I’d better partake, or I’ll have a lot of explaining to do.”
Hmmm… Where did they get chickens? Forget it. Peter looks happier than I’ve seen him in a long time. Must be a weight off his mind.
“So where’s Angelina and the baby?”
“They’re helping with the food. Several of the attendants took sick after the resettlement, so she’s been managing… sort of.”
“Good of her.”
“Not really. It’s a dream come true, settling Newearth and starting over. I feel like one of those guys from the old stories… It’s overwhelming.”
“Now that Doc Mike is laid to rest in all proper ceremony; you’ve got—”
“By the Divide, wasn’t the Governor a bit long—”
That smile beats all. I’m not sure how he can make something so intrinsically decent appears so sinister.
“Hello, Cerulean… Peter. It’s wonderful to see you here. Terrific speech, Peter, heartfelt and sincere. That’s what these people need—to remember their heritage and learn how to work together. No more us and them attitudes, eh?”
“Absolutely. I was just telling Cerulean that my wife, Angelina, has been—”
“Wonderful! Keep up the good work! I must circulate. Got to keep the blood pulsing between races, ha, ha!”
Hand pumps all around.
“If you need me, I’ll be in the Capitol. Meetings…planning sessions, you understand. But I’m here for you… Cerulean, don’t be a stranger. See if you can talk Sterling into a visit this year, eh?”
“I’ll keep that in mind, Governor.”
Trip trot… Off he goes. Wonder how long he’ll last…
“Oh, yeah. Sorry, Peter. It’s been a long morning.”
“I told Angelina I’d help out… You want to visit a while? No work required. You can watch us slave away in the kitchen.”
“Charming as that sounds, I can’t. I’ve got one more stop to make before I meet with Roux. There’s been some intergalactic action that might need our attention… nothing for you to worry about.”
“All right… Well, thanks for coming, Cerulean. I know Mom and Dad thought the universe of you and Doctor Mike trusted you, and he didn’t trust many beings. Really, we should’ve been thanking you for this this day. Mikestown wouldn’t exist if you hadn’t—”
“Forget it. I played my part, as did a great many. Say hi to Angelina. I’ll visit… soon.”
“Hold you to it.”
A gravestone rests under an apple tree, roughly etched with the words: Anne Smith—Last of Her Kind. Blinking, Cerulean crouches down and pats the Earth, smoothing the thick grass with a caressing touch. Slowly, he pulls a small leather journal from inside his jacket. He flips to the last page and peers at the words:
The Earth is renewing itself at an astonishing rate. Cerulean has traveled about and told me that it looks like God reinvented the Garden of Eden. I can’t help but wonder: Who will live here next? Will they treat the Earth better? Will they treat each other better?
Oh, God, Anne. I hope so…