Sixty minutes to departure.
"Where is it exactly?" David Levinson panted as he hurried after his ex-wife through the rather mundane aboveground corridors of the Area 51 installation. They were late, he knew it. And right now, especially now, time was precious. They couldn't afford to waste any.
"Down this hall, I think…" Constance Spano turned a corner and immediately sighted the double doors of the base chapel. David trotted ahead of her and threw open one of the doors before she could reach them. "We got hung up," she apologized to the occupants of the chapel as they entered.
"Sorry," David murmured, slowing to a walk.
The chaplain nodded. In front of him stood Steve Hiller, Jasmine, and Jasmine's son Dylan. The wedding was rather hasty, more spur-of-the-moment really, but as Hiller had said: "I should have done this a long time ago." It was a noble if somewhat overly optimistic idea, David supposed, and one that had probably been carried out on the eve of many battles throughout history. He'd been rather incredulous when Steve had gotten down on one knee—in front of what had to be half the base staff—and proposed to Jasmine right then and there. This had been bare minutes after announcing he'd like to try his hand at flying the alien spaceship to help David implement his master plan. Grand time to do it, that bastard Nimziki had commented. But David figured Steve was only doing all he could to give himself as much confidence as possible during their mission, that it would only give him that much more incentive to kick tail and return in glory if he had something—or rather, someone—to come back to.
David envied him that. Of course, he always had his father, but no, it was that special someone…
"Well, let's get this show on the road," the chaplain was saying as David took up a seat on the aisle a few rows back from the altar; Connie sat across from him. Up front Steve and Jasmine straightened expectantly while little Dylan took off his hat.
The elderly chaplain opened his Bible and began. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God, and in the presence of these witnesses, to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony."
Silently watching, David was pierced by the words and struggled to keep his facial expression from revealing the sudden melancholy he was feeling. That special someone, indeed… Family was all well and fine, and he loved his father dearly, but Julius Levinson wasn't exactly who David had planned to spend the rest of his life with. Never popular with the women, he had essentially resigned himself to the life of the oddball technofreak and all but sworn off women altogether… until he met Constance Spano.
David still envisioned that meeting as something akin to an act of God. He had been about three years out of MIT, working for Marty Gilbert at Compact Cable Corporation as what Julius derisively termed a 'cable repairman', when in reality he was a satellite technician and chief engineer for the company. On one unusually slow spring day a call had come in complaining of a broken satellite dish. Normally it was someone else's job to pay house calls but David, temporarily bored and wanting some air, had volunteered to go repair it. He had never been so glad of any single decision he'd made in his entire life. He could still recall with stunning clarity the moment he'd rung the doorbell of that Manhattan brownstone and been greeted by a goddess.
He'd fallen instantly in love with the young senatorial press aide from D.C. who was in town visiting her mother; against his better judgement he'd given her his phone number. To his eternal amazement, she called him that same night. And the next night, and every night until the end of the week, when she had to return to Washington—her boss was the then-Senator Whitmore. David laughed off the long distance rates and continued to call her, as well as write letters to her, in the capitol. The more he came to know Connie, the more he came to love her. It wasn't just how beautiful she was, it was the sharpness of her mind as well—she was no slouch in the intelligence department, she was driven and determined, very sure of herself and what she wanted from life. David couldn't fathom what she saw in him, but knew he'd finally found the girl he'd been waiting for and held on to her for dear life.
That summer, after accumulating a stack of letters and an astonishing phone bill, David took two weeks off from work and visited Connie in Washington—a big leap for someone who'd rarely traveled farther than his ten-speed bicycle could take him. She took him all around the city, showing him the sights and generally being an enthusiastic host; after spending the most wonderful fourteen days of his life in the company of his true love David was extremely loath to return home with nothing changed between them. The night before he was due to leave for New York City, he impulsively asked Connie to marry him. Amazingly, she said yes.
"Any person who can show good course why these two should not wed, please speak now or forever hold your peace."
He'd never been so happy, but it wasn't to last long.
The first year went fairly smoothly. Connie continued to live in Washington and David in New York; he visited her as often as Marty would permit during weekdays and she came up on weekends. An odd arrangement for most married couples, but then they weren't most couples: an unlikely match of driven political aide and quirky technological genius that somehow managed to mesh remarkably well.
In the end, it was his intense love for her, and his supposed lack of ambition, that doomed them. David never had the highest opinion of himself, and he was terrified of losing Connie to some rich, suave politician; at the same time he was perfectly content with his life and work at Compact Cable, and didn't understand Connie when she accused him of lacking ambition. He knew her biggest childhood dream was to change the world—or at least the United States—for the better, but was it such a crime to be happy where one was? He had no interest in joining the prestigious think tanks that still occasionally sent him job offers. He liked his job and enjoyed tinkering with the electronics there, and raising hell with the employees that ignored the Recycle bins. He didn't feel he was letting his brain go to waste, as his father and Connie so often accused him of. Why couldn't they understand that he preferred the simple life, that he didn't want to be "so much more"?
When Whitmore went on the presidential campaign trail Connie of course went along for the ride. Her disagreements with David were becoming more pronounced by this time; she called him less and less, and he knew she had a very close working relationship with her boss. Attempting to explain Connie's increasing distance from him, David became convinced she was having an affair with the presidential hopeful. Consequently Whitmore's campaign stop in New York City proved disastrous for David. He'd resented the man even more on sight, and the first thing he'd done upon entering the campaign conference room was to punch Whitmore in the face.
In hindsight, David regretted that action intensely. After that fight Connie had been so embarrassed and furious she'd refused to speak to him; after Whitmore won the election she simply left him. While he was away at work one day she'd had everything of hers from the apartment packed and moved out. A few weeks later he'd been served with the divorce papers, but steadfastly refused to sign them. He loved Connie too much to sever himself from her completely. Somewhere deep in his heart he hoped she would change her mind and come back to him. And three years had passed with no sign of relent… until perhaps now.
At least she was speaking civilly to him, instead of snapping calculated insults. However—
Haven't you ever wanted to be part of something special?
While Connie hadn't intended it the way he took it, that one sentence had wounded David to the very core of his soul. He had been part of something special. She had been, and still was, something special. And he'd said as much. Then she'd admitted that she still loved him, which only served to exacerbate the hurt.
You love me but my ambitions aren't good enough for you.
But he couldn't change. No matter how much he loved her, he could not change who he was.
"Steve, will you take this woman to be your wedded wife, to live together with her in a holy state of matrimony…"
Out of the corner of his eye David detected movement, and glanced over to see Connie staring at the ring that still adorned his wedding finger. Then she looked up at him, and instead of quickly turning away simply looked him in the eyes, as if she were somehow divining his thoughts.
She'd been acting… different… towards him ever since Air Force One had escaped from Washington. Less cold, less sarcastic, less irritable. A little friendlier, almost respecting… more like when they had still been together. It puzzled him, and he didn't quite know what to think. Still, he couldn't deny that at least a tiny portion of his motive for doing what he was now—this crazy scheme to infiltrate the mothership and hopefully save the world—was geared towards the hope of fully re-earning Connie's respect and regard… and perhaps enough of her love to persuade her he was worth coming back to.
God, he hoped he survived this ordeal…
"Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health…"
After a moment of unspoken communication between them Connie averted her gaze, then cautiously reached across the aisle separating them and took David's hand. She was looking at the wedding ring again.
David almost smiled, managed to keep his face somewhat expressionless. Perhaps she, too, was feeling affected by this ceremony. Hardly daring to hope, he gently slid his fingers around her palm and ever-so-slightly tightened his grip.
"…And forsaking all others, keep yourself only for her, as long as you both shall live."
He was thinking of their own wedding day. Did she remember it with as much fondness and longing as he did?
"I will," Steve said solemnly, and after a beat looked at Jasmine. He let out the breath he'd been holding, and the three of them—Steve, Jasmine, and Dylan—laughed.
Connie was looking at David again, and they continued to stare each other steadily in the eyes, David's breath nearly taken away. He hadn't held her hand in years.
I'll make this all worth it, I promise… I'll come back and maybe I'll finally be ambitious enough for you…
Simultaneously, they gripped each other's hands more tightly.
Fifty-five minutes to departure.