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Let There Be No Dirges

Authors: Daniel J. Palotta
Show Year: Y1
Rating: PG
Date: 2007
The Alphans mourn Victor's passing.
Average Rating: No reviews.

This story was first published in a typewritten fanzine and was contributed by Paulo Morgado through the Online Alpha mailing-list. If you are the author, please contact the archivist regarding permission to reprint the story here.

The musicians gathered in the Chapel after the last of the solemn procession of Alphans had passed through and only the small group of friends remained.

John, Helena, Alan and Sandra stood there, hands joined, for the second time in twenty-one days.

"We've just lost Paul and David, John, and now we've lost Victor. Is this going to continue? Are we going to die in bits and pieces, person from person? Oh, John!" Helena Russell stiffly ran a hand through her blond hair. "It's all still so clear in my mind! Victor's suit malfunctioning out there - I'11 never forget hearing him gasp in such pain!" She clenched her eyes shut and shook her head as if to dislodge the images.

Koenig embraced her gently. "I was there, Helena. I heard - I heard - I'm Commander John Koenig of Moonbase Alpha, and there was nothing I could do. Nothing! We all worked like maniacs to save him, but it wasn't to be. It wasn't to be. All we can do now is mourn." Mourn! Koenig reflected. Paul Morrow, controller; David Kano, computer operator: and now Victor Bergman, science officer. Dead. Three of his best personnel... best friends... gone. Killed.

"We're ready, Commander." The leader of the group of musicians stood with his violin. The nine other musicians waited in their chairs. At the end of the front row, one chair stood empty except for a violin and bow which had been placed on it.

Helena gazed at it in sadness. "That was Victor's place, wasn't it, John?"

"Yes, Helena. There's no one to fill it." Koenig sighed, then nodded to the ten musicians, and they drew from their instruments a melody of sad, simple beauty.

Sandra Benes whispered to Alan Carter in a strained voice. "I know that...it's Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. Are they playing that for Professor Bergman, Alan?"

Carter took her hand. "No, Sandra. The sad music is for us...for the mourners. Not for Professor Bergman." Alan brushed a tear from his cheek.

The music, more than anything else, brought forth the tears that had been withheld for so long. Its poignancy acted as a salve, drawing out their sorrow.

John gazed at the closed casket, nodding. "It's better that way...it's better to remember him as he lived than to suffer more pain by looking at his asphyxiated body. What an unfitting death for such a man!"

Helena murmured in return. "He died doing the work he'd lived to do, John. That much has to count for some measure of fulfilment."

John slowly shook his head. "No measure will ever seem enough."

The bittersweet strains of the Adagio continued, deep tones complementing and contrasting the poignant voices of the smaller instruments, the higher notes building steadily, reaching ever higher, approaching angelic, celestial limits, touching them, holding...and returning to sad slowness, finally ending as they had begun....

The music whispered into silence. They all wept.

John moved toward the casket wherein lay Victor's body, and spoke.

"Victor once asked me to hold no ceremony for him - and I haven't. This is for we who survive. We mourn our loss. Victor -" John cleared his throat. "Victor wrote a small thing, that he wished to be read... he said it would help." John unfolded a small sheet of paper, and read:

"To you who mourn my death, I say: weep not. Shed no tears over my worn body. We of Moonbase Alpha have experienced the unknown many times since leaving Earth: we have learned that the Universe is a place of infinite possibilities. We have learned that life and intelligence are abundant, and we have seen a fraction of the true glory of the sum total of existence. You who survive will see more of that glory. I go ahead of you to become a new part of it. Make no mistake: death is final. Life, however, is itself eternal. I have contributed to it, as have you: wherever there is life, there will I be. Victor Bergman has been, and he will not return. The effect of his life, however, will ever be. Take me with you within yourselves to your destinies. Live, laugh, and above all else, love. I love you all! Goodbye, and fare well."

John struggled with a rising pain in his throat. He said the simple words, the difficult words, for everybody, and the words carne in a broken whisper.

"Goodbye, Victor. Goodbye, dear friend."

The time for weeping was done. The musicians lifted their instruments and, for Victor, played music of renewal and life and joy, bringing new courage and hope to the mourners, to Alpha...and to the universe. "La Primavera," breathed Sandra. "How nice!"

After the dark winter of grief, they brought spring.


Copyright (c) 2007. Reprinted with permission.
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