Thank you to The Read Celt for beta reading the story.
Disclaimer: I do not own Mass Effect, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.
I've been in contact with some restaurants about the wedding dinner and I need to know how many of Nalik's relatives are going to be there. So far we have a guest count of 18 on our side.
I suppose you're making arrangements for the ceremony? Let me know where it will be and I'll order some flowers and decorations. We'll bring some holo cameras, so there will be plenty of vids and pictures!
18 people? Jeez! I thought I told you that it was going to be a small family affair. Nalik said that only his closest family members would be here, but I'll ask him for the number. Some of our friends are coming, too, so please add 6 people to the list.
The ceremony will be on the Presidium, in the park. You can contact Lania Monar, the administrator who will conduct it, for more details at Lania_Monar_citadeladmin_citnet. But don't go overboard! Simple and small, remember?
And thanks, Mom.
Okay, thank you. I'll contact that Lania person. As for the number of people, the more the merrier! Plus, everybody wants to see the groom!
You won't believe this. Nalik's closest family members, who will come to the wedding, are 36 individuals! He said that the first circle of the clan actually consists of 102 aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., but these 36 are the most reliable and trusted ones... So... add 36 to the guest list...
To: Captain_Alice[citadeluniv_ citnet]
Ha! They aren't going to beat us! Now we have 45 people coming from our side!
Dad! This is not a contest!
45 people?! Are you kidding me?
From: John_Thompson[ ftlresearch_org]
Everything is a contest. And we're going to win! Plus, I want everybody to see my beautiful daughter on the happiest day of her life.
I love you.
I love you, too, Dad. So much.
The park was beautiful, as always, but its usual peace and quiet was shattered by the frantic comings and goings of the decorators Mrs. Thompson had hired, putting the last touches on the area that had been designated for the wedding. Most of the guests were already there, milling around, marveling at the gorgeous scenery, talking and stealing glances at the wedding party.
The event was designed to be a mixture of human and salarian customs within the framework of the Citadel's administrative rules and procedures. Alice and Nalik were to walk down the aisle together between the chairs and meet the witnesses, as well as Lania, the asari administrator, under an arch covered with flowers, where she would conduct the ceremony.
The human and salarian guests kept to themselves at first, but curiosity soon took over and the two groups started to mingle and chat about the Citadel, their trips, and the wedding. Mrs. Thompson and Sulil exchanged horror stories about the stubborn nature of their respective children, Mr. Thompson relished the heated conversation that developed between himself and a few of the salarian guests about FTL technology, and Alice's sisters, Jackie and Sam, couldn't stop giggling at Don's silly jokes.
Soon all the preparations were finished, romantic music started to play, and the guests were invited to take their seats. When everybody had finally settled down, Lania Monar emerged from the small conservatory at the back, carrying a thick, finely decorated book, and solemnly marched down the path to the arch. The two witnesses, Jackie and Angim, Nalik's favorite uncle, were next to join her— Jackie with a bashful smile on her face and Angim looking stiff and serious.
The excitement grew as the guests waited for the couple to appear, and the muffled whispers turned into oohs and ahhs as they stepped out of the conservatory, smiling, eyes twinkling, with Alice's hand on Nalik's arm. She looked breathtakingly beautiful in her long white dress, decorated with lace and embroidery, her hair pinned up with a dozen small, sparkling, flower shaped barrettes. He wore a black and white suit, similar to an Earth tuxedo, and even the most skeptical participants had to admit that they looked stunning together.
They slowly strolled towards their destination, happy and nervous at the same time, and when they finally arrived at the arch, Lania Monar gave a long speech about love, fate, the workings of the galaxy and the joys and duties of married life, ignoring the sniffles and fidgeting in the audience as she smiled benevolently at the couple in front of her.
"Do you, Emnytas Preshia Yoldis Lisor Kelos Nalik confirm your intent, of your own free will, to enter into matrimony under the laws of the Citadel and its governing council with the present Alice Kathryn Thompson?" she asked at last.
"Do you, Alice Kathryn Thompson, of Earth, confirm your intent, of your own free will, to enter into matrimony under the laws of the Citadel and its governing council with the present Emnytas Preshia Yoldis Lisor Kelos Nalik?"
"You may exchange the rings now."
Alice and Nalik slid the matching wedding bands on each other's fingers with shaky hands but happy smiles, then turned back to the administrator.
"Please sign your names here." Lania gestured at the official Citadel Marriage and Birth Records book, resting on a pedestal behind her. Nalik and Alice complied, followed by Jackie and Angim as witnesses, and Lania as official Citadel representative.
"You and the Citadel archives are going to be issued electronic copies of the marriage certificate as well," the asari informed them, then she turned to the audience and announced, "I hereby certify that Emnytas Preshia Yoldis Lisor Kelos Nalik and Alice Kathryn Thompson are, from this day on, husband and wife."
The couple embraced in a gentle kiss and the audience erupted in cheers and clapping. Mrs. Thompson wiped her tears as her husband put his arms around her, doing his best to hide his own misty eyes. It was official. Their little girl was married—to a salarian. Just a few months ago they would not have imagined such a thing, but now, it all felt good. Really good.
The wedding dinner was a big success. There were human and salarian delicacies, and even Silus was satisfied with his own dextro meal. When it was time for the dance, Nalik did his best to follow the steps that Alice had taught him. Eventually he loosened up and even started to enjoy the whole thing. The guests soon joined in, first mostly the humans, but later some of the salarians ventured onto the floor, too. A few of them turned out to be talented dancers and everybody had a great time.
Before the night was over, Alice and Nalik left for their honeymoon, but the party continued well into the early hours. All in all, the wedding turned out to be much better than anybody had expected.
And where did the newlyweds go for their honeymoon? Illium. There was a big "Galaxy Trek Convention" there to attend, after all.
TEN YEARS LATER
"Grandma, Grandma!" The kids shouted as they burst through the door and ran into Mrs. Thompson's open arms. "We won first place!"
"I knew you would!" She laughed as she squeezed them tight, planting a kiss on Danyl's horn and Jennie's blond hair. "Where are your parents?"
"They're coming," Danyl said, looking behind him. "They're getting our stuff out of the cab."
"Maybe next year we should reenact the 'Fire in Engineering' scene," Alice said as she and Nalik strolled through the door, his hand on her shoulder and hers on his waist, each of them carrying a couple of bags stuffed full of costumes, action figures and other memorabilia from the event.
"That's a good idea. We could add some pyrotechnics for added effect!" Nalik was getting excited just thinking about the possibilities.
"Not with my grandchildren around!" Mrs. Thompson exclaimed, pulling the kids closer to her chest, as if to protect them from any danger their irresponsible parents would expose them to.
"Hmm... Maybe you're right, Mom. We'll have to come up with something safer," Nalik said, his mind mulling over some new ideas already.
"Where's Grandpa?" Danyl asked, pulling out of his grandmother's embrace.
"He's in the den, playing your dad's new game."
"Wait for me!" little Jennie shouted as she ran after her big brother, who was gone in a flash.
"Speaking of which," Mrs. Thompson turned to Nalik, touching him on his shoulder to jostle him out of his deep thoughts about next year's costume contest, "a reporter called. She found out that you were on Earth for the convention and she wants to conduct an interview with you about your new game."
"Mom! What did you tell her?" Alice asked, narrowing her eyes.
"Nothing! I told her to call back later."
"Thank you, Mom," Nalik said. "A little PR never hurts. I'll talk to her when she calls again."
"Grandpa!" Danyl plopped down on the couch and put his arms around Mr. Thompson's neck.
"Danyl! I'm so glad you're here!"
"How about me, Grandpa?" Jennie asked, climbing onto his lap.
"You too, of course! How was the convention?" He paused the game and set the controller down.
"It was great! We won first prize!"
"And we bought a bunch of stuff!"
"And we got a lot of autographs!"
"And I fell and got a booboo on my knee! You wanna see?" Jennie pulled her pants up and shoved her little knee under her Grandpa's nose.
"Aww, I'm sorry! Did it hurt?" he asked, rubbing the red mark on her pale skin. "Do you want me to kiss it?"
"Yes!" She giggled as he blew raspberries over the bruise.
"Who wants ice cream?" he asked, looking up with a mischievous smile.
"All right, then let's go!"
They sat around the table in the kitchen, licking their cold and creamy desserts off their spoons. Alice and Nalik sat close together, snuggling up to each other—like they always did—as the kids made funny noises, trying to make the others laugh, and the grandparents watched them with affection and pride.
"So, Danyl," Grandpa Thompson turned to his favorite grandson, "have you decided yet what you'll want to be?"
"Yes! I'll be a scientist, like you, and I'll join the Special Tasks Group like uncle Angim."
"Me, too!" Jennie piped up.
"You can't be in the STG!" Danyl said, turning to his little sister. "You're not a salarian."
"Jennie, honey," Alice interrupted as her little girl's mouth curved down and tears started to well up in her eyes, "I thought you wanted to be an engineer, like Mommy? You can join the Alliance when you grow up and fly on big ships!"
"This big!" Alice opened her arms wide, then leaned over, embraced her daughter and showered her with a thousand kisses. Jennie giggled as she held onto her, her disappointment already forgotten.
Grandpa took out his holo camera, set it on a tripod, started the timer and hurried back to the table to join the family for a picture.
"Everybody say 'cheese'!"
And that's how that perfect picture of their perfect family was made.