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
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
"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?"
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.
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
“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.
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
"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,
"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
"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
"But there is proof, Commander,"
Mmringorr broke in. "I
would like to invite Supreme Commander Rrangruk of the Rylorr to give
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
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
End Part Twelve
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