Boruba Meinfarb adjusted her veil and gazed at her reflection, now hazy, in the full-length mirror of her dressing room. To her, the veil seemed redundant, a sentimental throwback to her intended’s heritage on Old Earth, when, in more barbaric times, men would wed their brides unseen. Ridiculous now to cover her face when Zed Bronco had memorised her features – if the sketches he kept sending her were any proof. The drawings had helped to win her over, eroding her resolve. Zed Bronco was many things but he was also loyal and his affections unwavering. And good-looking to boot!
A comms link booped.
“Ready for you, Miz Meinfarb,” intoned the voice of the robo-minister.
This is it!
She smoothed the bodice of her arctic-white dress, noticing her hands were clammy. Why am I so nervous? Beings get married every day.
Steeling herself, she entered the wedding chamber. An android rolled up on caterpillar tracks, offering to give her away.
“Bug off!” she snapped. She began her slow and steady progress along the aisle, at the head of which her groom was waiting. Even with his back to her, Zed Bronco cut a dashing figure. Her heart fluttered. He had rented an intelli-fabric Tuxedo that shaped itself to show off his physical attributes, its colour changing with his moods. At present it was a serene shade of blue.
How is he so calm, Boruba frowned? I’m like a Hongoolian jumping bean on a griddle.
The rows of seats she passed were sparsely attended. Robotic witnesses for hire sat patiently, their smiles painted on. Neither she nor Zed had what you might call friends. It had always been just the two of them in their on-and-off relationships, professional and personal.
At last, she reached his side and the soft organ music which she only now realised had been emitting from the belly of the robo-minister faded to silence. Zed glanced sideways and his wedding suit flashed red – just for a nano-second but Boruba grinned. He is nervous!
“Dearly beloved,” the robo-minister began, his teeth glowing, the chromium dome of his spherical head gleaming.
“Never mind that!” Boruba cried, drawing a plasma-blaster and shooting the robot’s head off.
“What the flub?” Zed sprang back, his suit oscillating between yellow and green, the fabric as confused as he was.
“I can’t do this, baby,” Boruba pouted sadly.
“But – but – it’s always been you and me and always will be!” Zed protested.
Boruba tore off her veil. “I can’t do this!” A sob escaped her. “Run, Zed! Save yourself!”
“It’s all a lie, a trick to lure you here. Go! I’m so sorry! I love you, I truly do!”
It was too late.
The witnesses surrounded them, shedding their metal casings to reveal the henchmen of Zed’s greatest enemy, Dorudine Bigshot. All the colour drained from Bronco’s Tux.
“You sold me out! How could you?”
“It’s what we do, baby.” Boruba tossed him a weapon. “But I regret it now. What say the two of us blast our way out of here and get a new start?”
“Go on then,” Zed shrugged.
They stood back to back and started shooting.