"Her laughter was the steeple bells
That ring to greet the morning sun"
Sequel to everything
Fifty years later,* Ashley and Andros were only a few months away from their golden anniversary. Their son, Autolycus, and his wife were planning a grand celebration for them. The only problem was making sure they would be onplanet at the scheduled time without giving the game away.
In that respect, Zeri was a tremendous help. The plan was for her to relay an "important message" from her father, necessitating both Ashley and Andros' presence at the designated site. Her parents, both delighted by the scheme, felt that it would seem more urgent coming from her rather than one of them.
TJ and his wife were temporarily out of contact, but had promised to be back in time for the party. Carlos and his love had offered to help with the preparations, but Autolycus had courteously turned them down, to no one's surprise. Their "assistance" in things like this was usually anything but, and there was consensus among their friends that they intended it to be that way. It meant they could appear polite without actually having to do any work.
Two faces were conspicuously absent from the proceedings, for no one had been able to get in touch with Ashley's adopted sister or her bondmate. Zhane swore they would be there, though he refused to say why he was so confident, but there had been no word from either for more than a year.
Still, arrangements continued, and aside from their absence everything was proceeding smoothly. Autolycus had a knack for pulling things together from such varied sources as he had called upon to set this up, and it would be a day even the two great-grandchildren would remember.
You are cordially invited to attend
the fiftieth anniversary celebration of
Andros and Ashley Hammond
One o'clock, Earth PST
August 5th, 2049*