1

Isabella Tarith and General Pell took their places on opposite sides of the stage, flanked by the rest of the wedding party, to wait for the couple to arrive.

Right on schedule, the Imperial March began to play, and the happy couple started making their way down the aisle.

[Don't miss the recording of the moment that they realize we found them two guests of honor for their ceremony.] Max reminded Nico, who had a perfect view of the event from inside Enduring Rage.

Most of the Regiment would be interested in seeing that footage later, so it was important that it was captured from as many angles as possible.

They were so captured by the scene around them that they were over halfway down the aisle before they noticed that the wedding party wasn't standing in the formation that they had expected.

The smiles were impossible to hide, and it didn't take long for all the guests to realize that someone on the stage was a surprise guest, that they hadn't expected to be able to make it for the wedding.

They did manage to keep their pace though and strode gracefully between the Line Mecha up to the front of the chapel. Once they were at the altar, the Line Mecha retreated to the back of the congregation so that they weren't blocking anyone's view and stood guard over the ceremony.

While the two Generals were sharing a proper hug, poor Gwen was being admonished by Isabella for crying and making her makeup smudge before the ceremony.

As far as Max could tell it was a running thing between them because every complaint only led to more hugging and crying until eventually General Ming cleared his throat.

"Welcome everyone to the blessing of the union between Abraham Yaakov and Gwen Tarith. If anyone has a good reason why this wedding should not happen, speak now or be branded a coward for complaining later." Inquisitor Ming started the ceremony.

That wasn't the beginning that Max was familiar with, or the one he was expecting from studying the rituals, but nobody objected, and the Inquisitor continued the ceremony as Max scanned the room for dangers.

That was somewhat pointless since basically everyone in the area had a gun or sword on them, but it was still a habit that he couldn't break so easily.

The ceremony wasn't a long one, as neither culture put a lot of merit toward organized faith systems, but there were a number of rituals included, beginning with the couple exchanging rings and getting the fun part of the ceremony started.

"With the promises made, this assembly needs proof of your devotion." Inquisitor Ming spoke the ritual words.

Both parties of the wedding would be expected to exchange something that would prove their devotion to the other, to the satisfaction of the audience, whose job it was to weed out weddings of opportunity and unfaithfulness.

Max had no idea how such a tradition had started, but it was now a time-honored tradition.

"General, you may go first." Inquisitor Ming informed them.

"The gift is still en route, as it had a long way to come for you, but I present to you the deed to the Cargo Frigate Yaakovian, my family's fastest interstellar vessel." General Yaakov told his new bride with a smile.

A roar of approval accompanied by stomping feet shook the ground so much that Max was worried that the stage would collapse, as the Reavers present showed their approval for the gift. The fastest ship you own was an incredibly good wedding gift, in their estimation.

"Madam Yaakov, you may now present your gift." Inquisitor Ming continued the ceremony.

One of the bridesmaids brought out a small golden stasis box and handed it to Gwen, who smiled fondly at it before passing it over.

"I know it might be a bit late to salvage most of your sons' futures, but I have a gift of consolation for you. The Company collected the testicles of the Rebel Duke who turned your family against your wishes for their future." Gwen informed him, making all the guests laugh.

Now that was a strangely appropriate gift for the occasion.

The General had chosen to retire here because most of his family had turned Rebel, which led to him meeting Gwen and falling in love, but his retirement did leave that one bit of revenge as a loose end that she had now solved for him.

Max looked up into the upper boxes where the kids were, along with Dave and Molly, who were desperately trying to find a way to explain that gift to a pair of confused three-year-olds who didn't actually understand what it was that he was given. The toddlers had it easy, they were simply munching on popcorn in their stroller, uninterested in the proceedings when there was food nearby.

"With the gifts exchanged, it is time for the first dance. Mister and Missus Yaakov, please step to the floor and show the assembled guests how it is done." Inquisitor Ming called out, and the crowd up front parted to open up the dance floor, which had been covered in guests who wanted the best camera angles.

Both of them were from Noble families with a long history, and both had been properly trained from childhood for public dancing. Max had one set of lessons before the one and only formal recruitment ball that he had attended, but he would be up in the next round.

The Best man, General Pell, would be dancing with the Maid of Honor, so Max would be with the woman next to her, who turned out to be Isabella Tarith.

"I hope you can forgive my poor footwork, I never learned to dance," Max whispered to the old woman.

"We can fix that. Do you know the Kepler Knife Dance?" Isabella asked.

It was a paired martial arts pattern, where the two participants went through a set of attacks and blocks in a predetermined order to practice basic knife skills, almost every soldier at least knew it.

"Of course." Max agreed.

"Don't let go of my hands, and we will do it at one-third speed. It matches the rhythm of the next song." The old woman told him.

Even at one-third speed, the dance would still need a lot of physical agility that he wasn't sure a woman nearing five hundred years old was capable of, but if nothing else, he could support her through the deeper dips and more complex movements.