Divided Planet

 

 

 

 

Part Twelve- The Stars Again

 

One of the guardsmen shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other and then quietly reminded Mmringorr, "Sir, we will need to take the human to confinement."  

Mmringorr looked at the guardsman and then at his lifemate.  Angrolin had tears in her eyes.  Looking at the humans, he made a decision which he hoped wouldn't be political suicide, but which he felt to be the right one, regardless.  "No, Engrin, I believe that house arrest will be sufficient.  This human has accomplished what he set out to do and will not try to escape.  I will personally vouch for his behavior.  Do you not agree, John Robinson?" he asked with a chuckle, seeing the inattentiveness in anything other than his life mate.

John vaguely heard his name mentioned and glanced up with a slightly bemused look on his face.  "Were you speaking to me?"

"Not really," Mmringorr said with a toothy grin.  "But we do need to go to my dwelling, where you can reunite with the rest of your family."

John nodded gratefully, eager to see Judy and Penny.  He got to his feet, stiffly, feeling every one of his forty-three years, plus a few more added in for good measure.  "John, are you all right?"  Maureen asked anxiously, seeing the difficulty of his movements.  She reached up and lightly touched the large lump near his temple.

"I am now, Maureen," he said softly.  He leaned over and murmured in her ear, "But later I will let you kiss me any place it hurts to make the pain go away." 

She looked up at him, and seeing his broad smile, laughed.  It felt so good to be able to do that again.  She kept expecting to wake up to find that it was all a dream.  Reaching up, she lightly touched his cheek, running her fingers along the dark beard, reassuring herself.  John took her fingers and light kissed them.  "The girls will be wondering what's going on, John.  Let's go and find them," she murmured, reluctant to end the pleasure of his ministrations.  Holding hands, they were escorted to Mmringorr’s dwelling.  Will and Hmrin followed behind the group, the former grinning from ear to ear.

Don, Judy and Penny had indeed been wondering where everyone was, but as they saw the contingent approaching, their wondering changed to alarm, which then changed to joy when they saw whom the guardsmen were escorting.  The girls were exuberant in their greetings; grabbing John around the waist in hugs that not only took his breath away, but also caused him to wince. 

Maureen looked concerned, and when the girls had given John some breathing room, she asked him bluntly, "Where have you been injured?"  

"Just a couple of cracked ribs, I think.  I'll let you bind them later, my dear," he said to Maureen, casually.   Then he turned to Don.  "I appreciate you taking care of my family," he added, gratefully clapping a hand on his friend’s shoulder.

"Hey, I'm practically family myself.  Isn't that what family is supposed to do?" Don returned with a grin, emphasizing heavily, the word ‘family.’

John gave him a puzzled look and then noticed the slight sparkle on a ring on Judy's left hand.  He stared at it and then stared back at Don, who had an inside joke kind of expression on his face.  Looking at the ring again, sudden insight flashed in his mind, and he smiled broadly.  "Don, you finally did it.  You wait until my back is turned and then pop the question.  Congratulations, you two.  And it’s about time."

"John, I am assuming that along with giving the bride away, you will marry us?"  Don asked softly.

"I am no longer the leader of Jupiter expedition, remember?" he teased.   

"I hereby hand over the leadership of this mission to you, John Robinson," Don said seriously.

"Then I will be happy to officiate at your wedding,” John said.  "When?"

"Later.  We want a wedding among the stars, Dad," Judy answered.

John made his way to an easy chair and sat down gingerly.  With a sigh, he leaned back and soon he had fallen into a light sleep.  Maureen sat down next to him, snuggling as close to him as she could without hurting him, in the chair that was only built for one Grringol to sit in at a time.

 

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That night, using supplies that Angrolin had furnished, Maureen bound John's aching ribs.  "How is that?" she asked as she finished.  “And by the way, Angrolin says she can have the doctor calibrate their regeneration machines to your physiology and take care of your ribs.”

“By the time they do that, they’ll almost be healed naturally.  Besides, your kind of doctoring is more personal.  The regeneration machine doesn’t kiss me,” he said with a teasing grin.

“I should hope not!”

He kissed her tenderly.  "The comfort zone is limited, but I certainly feel better than I did before," he said with a smile.  "By the way, my love, I never did thank you for your very timely rescue this morning.  You are my tigress." 

"You're welcome, tiger."  She laughed, kissing him again.  

John laid his head on the soft pillow and sighed, acknowledging just how terribly weary he was.  His sleep after his capture had been light and very brief.   He had answered many questions, brought before him by numerous government officials.  By the time Maureen had put away the first aid supplies and joined him, John was deeply asleep, oblivious to anything.  Laying her head on his shoulder, she took joy in being next to him, and soon she, too, was sleeping deeper and sounder than she had since the separation.

 

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In the ten days that it took Mmringorr to get John a hearing in front of a Grringol tribunal, several things happened.  The most amazing was the protest movement against the endless war.  It began with Angrolin and Hmrin, but by the time several days had passed, a great percentage of the female and adolescent Grringol were involved.

"John Robinson, if I didn't like you and your family so much, I would be irritated at the commotion you started with that broadcast of yours," Mmringorr said, with a whuffing laugh, as the broadcast crew reported yet another peaceful march on the government offices.  "I never thought that I would see that many people packed in a cavern, either."  

"Umm, it does kind of remind me of the time we stuffed twenty people in a Volkswagen, when I was in college," John said dryly, watching the broadcast with his ursoid friend.   Mmringorr stared at him, with a totally confused look on his face.  John explained, and the Grringol exploded in a great bark of laughter.  Secretly, though, the professor was pleased with the display by the Grringol people, and he only hoped that Rrangruk had been able to do the same with the Rylorr.  News had been ominously scarce from that sector lately.  He scratched absently along the line of his ever-thickening beard as he wondered about his Rylorr benefactor.  

Finally the time came for the tribunal to meet.  Mmringorr served in the capacity of John's counsel and Maureen was along for support.  Three Grringol sat at a slightly raised table, their countenances formal and serious.  

"Professor John Robinson, you are accused of espionage.  How say you?" the leader of the magistrates intoned.   Mmringorr motioned for him to speak.

"Technically speaking, I am guilty.  But there are extenuating circumstances here.  Circumstances which I feel need to be heard," John explained, hoping that the tribunal would be as understanding as Mmringorr said they’d be.  

"Be heard then, Professor Robinson," the commander told him.   John proceeded to explain the events leading up to the detonation of the device in the utility generating plant, trying to leave out nothing.

"But there is no proof of what you say, Prof. Robinson.  All we have are the events as they occurred here in our city, and although the explosion was minor, which would seem to corroborate your story, it is not enough."  

"But there is proof, Commander," Mmringorr broke in.  "I would like to invite Supreme Commander Rrangruk of the Rylorr to give his evidence.  

John couldn't believe his ears.  Pivoting around, he was delighted to see Rrangruk march in with great dignity.  As the doctor passed John, though, he smiled his pleasure at seeing his human friend again.  Garingon followed on his heel.   The noise that accompanied the entrance of the two Rylorr soon ceased when Rrangruk laid the pieces of the altered devices on the counter in front of the commander of the tribunal.  

"This is what John Robinson took out of the device that ex-commander Brrengrifferr had ordered built for the extermination of your people.  Instead of making this human stand trial, he should be presented the Life Force Medal of Valor.  If events continue to follow the course that they have recently taken, our people could very well begin to prosper again, instead of facing extinction."    

Turning and walking up to John, he grasped his hand and softly said,  "John, I thank you on behalf of the Rylorr."

"I see that you have succeeded in uniting your people.  Congratulations, Rrangruk, I don't think the Rylorr could have better leadership.  And thank you for helping me," John said fervently.

The tribunal examined the pieces, while periodically looking up at the Rylorr sitting patiently with the accused.  After murmuring among themselves the head magistrate cleared his throat and announced.  "By mutual consent, Professor John Robinson has been exonerated of all charges brought against him.  And may this mark a new beginning for the Ugorrim peoples."

After congratulations were extended, John turned to Mmringorr.  "You have been in communication with the Rylorr, haven't you?"

"Yes, John, right after we got word that Brrengrifferr had been ousted from office.  Even with Commander Rrangruk installed as the new head of government, it took several days of negotiations, but finally a truce was worked out and Commander Rrangruk's visit here was arranged.  But I might add, it was difficult, just as peace is going to be difficult."

 

End Part Twelve

 

 

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Chapter One
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