watched his human friend pace back and forth in their living quarters.
On his insistence, John had moved in with the doctor while
recuperating and undergoing therapy.
Rrangruk’s life-mate had died many year cycles ago and the
living quarters had more than enough room to accommodate the human.
It had pleased him greatly to watch John Robinson’s progress
and to learn more about this species of humanoid.
one thing that he had learned about humans was how very expressive of
feelings they are. His
people, the Ugorrim, whether they were Rylorr or Grringol, expressed
feelings mainly through the eyes and inflections of the voice.
But humans showed their feelings, not only with eyes and voice,
but also with their whole face, and to a lesser degree with their hands.
Right now, John's whole body was a study of intense emotion.
had become very adept at reading human feelings and emotion.
He had also become very attached to this particular human.
From the very beginning when John Robinson had joked about his
condition before the regeneration, Rrangruk had felt a bond building
between himself and this man. A
twinge of guilt at his duplicity accompanied that self-revelation.
why do you keep saying that I must wait?
What is the problem with this war of yours?
My family and I are not involved in it and have no desire to
be," John ranted in between cycles of his pacing.
“For over three weeks I have been patient, even though my
family thinks that I am dead. From
what I have been told, I might as well be, since they are presumably in
the Grringol city! But I have to try and get to them, or at least get word to
them. I have to let them
know I am alive.”
empathize, John. We just don't wish for you to be hurt. You have been through regeneration once.
I don't want you to have to repeat that experience,"
Rrangruk said lamely. John
looked at him intently, as though able to see through the inane excuse.
have trusted you, Rrangruk, and I still do, but I think there is
something going on that I am not being told about, and I don't like it.
For all I know, my family, thinking me dead, could have left
Grringol, repaired the Jupiter II and taken off," John said
morosely, his face clouding as the full implication of his situation
"That I know is not
true. Your ship is still resting where you left it," the
physician told him. Thankfully,
he saw his friend's features soften with relief, but the pacing didn't
end until a knock at the door of Rrangruk's dwelling surprised both of
Rrangruk opened the door
and stared at the military attaché standing in rigid attention.
"Supreme Commander Brrengrifferr orders the presence of the
human." The doctor
looked around at John and saw him standing in the middle of the room,
his arms folded and a look of stubborn determination on his face.
This was a meeting that Rrangruk felt boded ill for both sides,
and he decided that for John's sake he had better accompany him, even if
the supreme commander hadn't specified his presence.
When John and Rrangruk
entered the quarters of the Supreme Commander of the Rylorr, the doctor
saw a shudder of disdain and revulsion pass briefly across Commander
Brrengrifferr's countenance. Glancing at John, Rrangruk decided that his human friend had
not noticed or was ignoring it.
"Human, you show a great deal of
gratitude to the people who saved you," the commander said with
deep sarcasm. “We save
you and all you talk about is leaving.
Without thanks or compensation of any kind.”
Only a tightening of John's jaw muscles
told Rrangruk that his friend was irritated.
To the others, the human looked calm and totally composed.
"Supreme Commander, don't
misunderstand me. I am very
grateful to your people for saving my life and I will do what I can to
repay the kindness that has been shown to me.
However, I must let my family know that I am alive.
My life mate believes me to be dead and to let her continue to
think so is cruel. Surely
you can’t think that is too much to ask?"
Brrengrifferr glared at John.
The professor's eyes didn't waver and finally the commander
shifted his gaze away from the human and onto Rrangruk.
The doctor almost shuddered at what he felt was coming next.
Brrengrifferr finally looked back at John. "Human, you will be able to repay the Rylorr and find
your life-mate as well. You
need to perform one simple task for us and then we will help you find
the other humans."
There was a silence following
Brrengrifferr’s announcement that seemed so tangible as to be able to
touch it. John's eyes
burned with unconcealed fury at the commander's last words.
His words were clipped and terse, the voice full of barely
controlled anger. "You
are holding my family hostage to your precious war, Commander.
You probably know how precious my family is to me and that I
would almost sell my soul to the devil himself in order to get back to
them.” John stated and
then asked evenly, the effort to keep his voice under control obvious to
Rrangruk. “What is this simple task?"
"You will be told later, at the right
time. Now you will train
for it," Brrengrifferr commented.
He seemed unaware of, or interested in, the smoldering rage
building up in the human, but Rrangruk saw it distinctly, and was
feeling incensed himself at the treatment that his friend was receiving.
"You are to deliver a crippling device
to the main Grringol power plant, John," Rrangruk informed him.
Commander Brrengrifferr stood up to his
full height, which was at least a foot taller than John’s height and
roared at Rrangruk. "How
dare you usurp my authority!
You are playing a dangerous game, Rrangruk."
Rrangruk straightened up as well and spoke
boldly, looking Commander Brrengrifferr directly in the eye. "John Robinson is not some pet brimbol on a leash, which
you can jerk one way and it goes in the direction you want.
If we want Commander Robinson to do something dangerous, then we
should be straightforward and honest with him," Rrangruk stated
"He is a humanoid," Brrengrifferr
snarled. Irritation flared
and John was about to open his mouth to say something, but Rrangruk
"That is true.
And humans are thinking, feeling sentient beings, as are we.
Humans have a depth of feeling and a level of intelligence not
one whit less than the Ugorrim have.
Do not treat him like some moronic slave.
That would be a regrettable action," Rrangruk said.
John was beginning to feel a bit embarrassed by the whole
exchange, although he was grateful to Rrangruk for interceding for him
with the apparently bigoted commander.
"Are you threatening me?" the
commander asked softly, leaning toward the doctor, a deadly glint in his
"No, Commander. I am just stating facts."
Rrangruk said in a somewhat more conciliatory tone.
Brrengrifferr sat pondering for a moment.
For several minutes, there was almost no sound in the room.
Some of the guards didn't dare breathe; the atmosphere in the
room was so tense.
John was the one who broke the silence.
"Supreme Commander, please let me explain that I am the
leader of a space expedition, a scientist, a teacher and not a soldier.
I am also not a mercenary; I cannot be hired or blackmailed for
any price to be the cause of any sentient's death.
Not even for the promise of seeing my family, which by the way, I
don't think you can positively make."
Rrangruk noticed the defiance melt away to
a great sadness. The doctor
laid his hand on his friend's arm, knowing full well the extent of
John’s sacrifice. Brrengrifferr
looked surprised for a brief moment before he could conceal his
emotions. His face was
unreadable for several more minutes, then a look of solicitous
generosity spread across his features.
"John Robinson," Commander
Brrengrifferr said gruffly. "You
misunderstand. You will not
be planting a device of death, you will be causing the disruption of
utilities in the cave systems of the Grringol, allowing us to go in with
our people and peacefully take over.
No death, very little destruction and the two peoples will be
united once again."
It was John’s turn to look surprised.
He pondered Brrengrifferr’s words, the commander’s tone of
voice and he was uneasy. "Then
you believe that your troops will expect little resistance and therefore
no fighting?” John asked. He
still hated getting involved with local politics, but he knew that he
and his family would never be reunited as long as this infernal war
lasted. John had the
nagging feeling that there was something about this whole scenario that
smacked of deceit, but he felt he had no recourse right now, except to
trust Rrangruk and proceed with caution in his dealing with the Supreme
"There will be no fighting, because
the Grringol will be crippled by the darkness," Brrengrifferr
assured him. “And you
will be the instrument of our reunification!”
"All right, I will plant your
device," John said with a sigh.
Somehow, he had ended up feeling like a mercenary anyway and he
wasn't very happy with himself. Brrengrifferr’s
smile of triumph didn’t make him feel any better, either.
Judy Robinson had sat at the computer
terminal for what had seemed an eternity.
A quick study in languages, like her father, she had picked up
the Grringol language rapidly and had spent a great deal of time
teaching herself the written language as well.
Unable to convey the entirety of her feelings to the others,
especially her mother, Judy had, instead, devoted much of her time
studying the Grringol and their culture.
She had been devastated by her father's death, having been very
close to him. When she was
little, she had been referred to as "Daddy's girl," a nickname
that had stuck until she had reached her teens.
But even in adolescence, she confided things to him that she had
never told her mother. It
was not that she didn't love her mother dearly, and even confide in her,
it was just the nature of the bond that she and her dad had shared.
Shaking her head, Judy pulled herself from
her self-pity and studied the historical document in front of her.
"Tight muscles?" She
jumped at the voice behind her, not having heard Don's approach.
Without waiting for her answer, he began to massage her
shoulders, something that she had come to enjoy of late.
And it wasn't just because he was good at it, but also because
his presence comforted her and made her feel peaceful and calm.
"A bit." she said.
"Don, did you know that these people have been at war for
nearly a millennium? The
more recent histories and documents just record the confrontations; each
confrontation resulting in another and being caused by the one before
"Hmm," Don said. "Interesting, what started it all? Not even on Earth was there a war that lasted that
"As far back as I can find right now,
it seems to point to a family clan thing.
One clan had a dispute with the other clan and they split up and
later started fighting. I
haven't been able to find the root cause of the dispute.
I'm not even sure if a record exists to explain the origin of the
war," Judy explained. "But
one thing is interesting. The
two groups seem to be of divergent color types.
The Grringol are a brown furred people and the Rylorr are a white
"I noticed that on a propaganda
commercial on their television. Could
this be racial?" Don asked, curious.
"Certainly points that way.
Maybe a mutation in the past caused a few individuals to have a
variant fur color and they were persecuted," Judy conjectured.
She sighed, rubbing her temples with her fingers, wondering how
her father would figure out this problem.
Again, she took a moment to hear in her mind the words he had
said through her mother. That
led to other memories…
Daddy had just come home from work, still
excited that his space probe, Deep Throat, had found a habitable planet
relatively nearby. Then he
announced the colonization project; the project that would eventually
take them away from everything she knew and was familiar with.
“I hope they’re tough,” she had
commented, mostly in jest.
“I am considering putting our name in for
the first mission,” Dad had said.
She had stared in shock, her
sixteen-year-old mind reeling at the thought of a total cessation of
social activities. “No!
You can’t do this to me!” she had shouted.
There was deep disappointment in his eyes.
“Just think about it, Princess,” was all he said at the time.
And she did think about it, and when their
family had actually been selected, she had made up her mind to stay
behind, living with her Aunt Colleen, even as she trained with her
family for the upcoming mission.
Then Don West was picked to be the pilot of
the colonization mission, and that changed everything. Judy almost chuckled when she remembered Mom’s reaction to
her attraction for the high-strung pilot with a reputation of being a
"Hello," Don said, waving his
hand in front of Judy's face. "Are
you thinking about your dad?"
And Judy realized, with a start, that Don
also missed Dad terribly. "Yes.
Did I ever tell you what he told Mom to convey to me?" she
asked in a low voice.
"No, but I can guess, based on what he
told me. He told you to get
hitched to the nearest space pilot and cruise the stars," he
quipped, leaning down and kissing her ear.
"I suppose that the only reason for my reticence was the
uncertainty and danger that we seemed to face all the time."
Don sighed lustily.
"You guessed right and I know what you
mean. I had the same
feelings, but Dad kept telling me that if we loved each other, it was
silly to let the circumstances be just right before we married.
He said once that the circumstances might never be just
right," she said softly, fighting tears that wanted to come to the
"He was right, you know." Don
leaned down again, and putting his arms around her, whispered in her
ear. "Will you marry
me, Judy Robinson?"
She gasped in surprise and looked up into
his dark eyes, eyes that were full of gentle, but passionate love.
"Yes, Don West, I will."
Tears of joy as well as sadness coursed down her cheeks.
Pushing her chair aside with her foot, Judy took Don in a tight
embrace, and they enjoyed a long passionate kiss to consummate their
The few other patrons of the computer
center softly whuffed in amusement at the two humans' display of
affection, but the humans ignored them completely.
Judy and Don spent a great deal of the
evening walking the corridors, talking, making plans and enjoying one
another's company. After
spending some time in a cavern that had been made into a park, the
couple returned to the dwelling of Mmringorr, the Grringol who had
befriended them. A long goodnight kiss ended the perfect evening.
End chapter 6
|Lost in Space Fiction Page|