Part Seven: Espionage
As she prepared for bed in the darkened
room, Judy heard Penny talking in her sleep.
Penny's dream seemed to be pleasant and from what she could
understand, was about Dad. Then
Penny started crying softly and Judy realized that her sister was awake.
Sitting down next to her, Judy took Penny in a comforting hug and
let the younger girl cry on her shoulder until she was awake enough and
composed enough to talk to her. Penny was a bit incensed that she had awakened as quickly as
she had, wanting to spend as much time as she could watching the vision
of her father working out with the white Ugorrim.
“It’s not fair.
I wake up before I’ve seen Dad nearly as much as I want to.”
After the first night, Penny had realized that she was seeing
something real and not a dream. This had happened almost every night for the past week,
and every night she awoke feeling the same loss and disappointment.
Usually she was alone when this happened, but this time Judy was
there to console her.
“I have dreams about Dad, too, and I wish
they’d go on forever. Last
night I dreamed about the time we went to Disneyland.
You got lost and Mom….”
"But Judy, you don't understand, this
is not a dream. This isn't
something from the past; it's like it's happening now.
If it was a real dream, I would be seeing familiar things, not a
place that is totally unfamiliar," Penny explained patiently to her
Judy turned on the light to its lowest
setting. Her face held
conflicting emotions- disbelief and curiosity.
"Tell me about it."
"I saw Dad working out with an Ugorrim,
like I have most of time. Tonight
he seemed to be training in some kind of a dimly lit room, running down
corridors, around machinery, past Ugorrim.
Almost like a soldier. He
spent a little time working out with something that resembled a
nightstick," Penny recalled.
"But what specifically tells you this
is not a simple dream, I mean we are around Ugorrim all the time, and
Dad did military training before we launched," Judy said, and then
chuckled. "And he
complained about it bitterly the whole time he was training.
'Why does a scientist have to learn to be James Bond?' he asked,
"Yes, I do, but he wasn't wearing a
beard and mustache at that time, and the Ugorrim are all white, not
brown like our Grringol," Penny explained.
“They were Rylorr.”
Judy blanched and then asked, “But
you’ve seen Rylorr on TV haven’t you?”
"Yes, but that argument is
meaningless. Dad is with
the Rylorr. They found him,
healed him and are now making him be a soldier.”
Penny’s eyes glistened with hope along with conviction.
“Daddy is alive, Judy.”
“Wait a minute, Penny.”
“No, you wait a minute. This was no dream. At
first I wondered who I was looking at, because I was not seeing Dad’s
face clearly and because I ‘knew’ that he was dead, but the way he
moved made me hope. Then
when I saw his face, I wondered. After
awhile, I knew these were not dreams."
Penny was emphatic.
Judy sat stunned.
Her sister was very sensitive, and at times emotional.
But in this, she saw no hint of hysteria.
Penny was confident and self-assured in her belief, and Judy was
beginning to have hope herself. “Penny,
I think it’s time for Mom to hear this,” she said softly.
“And by the way, how did Dad look with a beard?”
“At first I thought it looked a bit
sinister, like a pirate, but he looks rather roguish in it,” Penny
smiled at her sister.
John peered around the corner of the narrow
corridor, the night lenses compensating for the almost total darkness.
Sweat poured from his face.
The caves and corridors were interminably long and it seemed that
he had been running down most of them to get to this facsimile of the
Grringol power plant.
Taking a deep breath, he dashed down the
left-hand passageway and into the generating room.
The dim lighting was bright in the lenses and John adjusted the
power. In that brief
second, though, he was spotted and an alarm went off.
The Ugorrim in front of him blocked his path and John twisted to
one side, before doubling him over with an elbow to the stomach. A two fisted blow to the back of his neck finished the job.
Running past the soldier, John raced to the
computer control terminal and sliding underneath, pulled a ten-pound
canister from his backpack, set the magnetic attachment and then pushed
the device against the bottom of the computer table.
Sliding out, he got to his feet and began running in the
direction of the city's residential dwellings.
Then he winced as the lighting came up and the harsh glare hit
his eyes. Pulling off the
lenses and rubbing his tired eyes, John waited for the evaluator to come
in and chew him out yet again.
Bitterly, he thought again about how much
he hated being put in this situation.
There were questions that weren’t being answered, details that
didn't make sense, and some that John felt were being left out
Garingon walked up to him and smiling his
toothy smile, slapped him on the back.
That alone, John thought, should have sent him into regeneration.
As it was, he winced, coughed and glared at his trainer.
"John, you did exceedingly well tonight.
Except for being discovered by that guard, you were superb. I think it is time for the mission to be carried out,"
Garringon boomed and left John in puzzled amazement.
If this had been the real thing and he had
set off the alarms in the Grringol city, he would never have been able
to find the rest of the Jupiter II crew and get them out.
Theoretically, he should have been rehearsing the scenario again,
in order to get past the guard without setting off the alarms.
For John, this sealed the nagging doubts that he had been
had no intention of him surviving the mission, and somehow, John
believed that the Supreme Commander had no intention of many of the
Grringol surviving his spy mission either.
“Doctor, is the human ready for his
mission?” Brrengrifferr asked.
“Commander, I think that he needs two
more weeks,” Rrangruk said.
“Why, is he not well? Garingon said the training has gone well.”
“As I mentioned at the time of the
training mishap seven revolutions ago, tissue regeneration requires
Robinson has healed, but human tissues appear to be more delicate than
our own. He is still at the stage were re-injury is not only possible,
but much more likely. That
was why I protested such strenuous training.”
“But he is well?” Brrengrifferr asked
“Good, the mission will go as planned,”
the supreme commander declared.
Rrangruk just nodded and sighed.
The next morning, in the dwelling that John
shared with Rrangruk, he examined the dummy canister, looking inside to
get an idea of what could possibly be contained in the real device. So
intent was he that he didn't hear Rrangruk's soft footfall until the
Rylorr was at his shoulder. John
started and looked up at his roommate.
"Some spy I make, being so easily sneaked up on like
Rrangruk whuffed slightly in amusement and
then sobered quickly when he saw what the human was doing. "John, you have seemed morose lately.
Are you all right? And
what in the world are you doing with that?"
"Can we take a stroll down to the
park, Rrangruk? I feel a bit tense now that I am actually going on this
mission and I need to release a little energy," John suggested, not
knowing if the dwelling had listening devices.
He certainly wouldn't put it past Brrengrifferr.
Rrangruk nodded, puzzled by his friend's behavior.
The park was a cavernous room slightly
smaller than the exercise room, well lit with soft glowing lights on the
walls. Fern-like bushes
illuminated by special growing lights lined the paths.
A shallow pool gurgled and splashed in the middle of the cavern,
small streams providing inlets and outlets for the water.
Slightly luminescent water creatures swam beneath the surface.
As they followed a path parallel to one of
the streams, John presented his suspicions to the doctor. "Rrangruk, I once told you that I trusted you, but felt
that there was something going on.
I still do. If you
are involved in what I think is going on, it won't matter if I tell you,
because either way, I will be dead."
"John, what are you saying?"
Rrangruk declared, astonished at the statement.
"Rrangruk, I don't believe that the
goal of this mission is the quiet and bloodless takeover of the Grringol.
I believe that it is the annihilation of the Grringol race."
"No, John, you can't be serious!"
Rrangruk exclaimed in disbelief.
Then he looked closely at the human's face and saw that he was
deadly serious. Calming
down, the ursoid walked next to his human companion for a few minutes
before saying anything else. "Tell
me what has brought you to that conclusion, please."
I offered to make the operation even more simple and less
destructive by getting into the Grringol central computer and crippling
the utilities that way. I
was rebuffed. I know that
with some training on your computers I could do that.
That is one of my fields of expertise."
John looked at the Rylorr and saw he had his complete attention.
"I question the need for a ten pound
canister to deliver a small charge to disrupt electrical power to the
Grringol city. A ten pound
canister is large enough to contain a nuclear device big enough to
destroy the city." John saw Rrangruk's eyes widen at the
implication of John's statement.
"And the training only goes far enough
to get me into the generating center, not to get out and certainly not
to find my family," John said softly.
"Do you understand my fears about this whole thing? I truly believe that Brrengrifferr is determined to win this
war at any cost."
Neither said anything for the space of five
minutes. "John, if
what you are saying is true, what do we do about it?"
Rrangruk asked softly, his voice barely above a whisper.
"Is there any way to switch the
devices today in order for me to examine the real thing?" John asked, gratified that his friend was at least taking him
Rrangruk pondered for a moment.
A human, someone, who just a bit less than four weeks ago was a
stranger to him, was asking him to assist him in a treasonous act.
But as he thought of his dealings with John, and then his
knowledge of the temperament of the Supreme Commander, he saw where his
trust had to be. "Yes, I believe that we might be able to do that.
The real canister has been kept and worked on in the laboratory
adjacent to the hospital." Then Rrangruk paused as he pondered the implications of his
statement. "If it is a
mass destruction device, and they have been working on it near the
John just shrugged.
"Somehow, I don’t think Brrengrifferr really cares."
Later that day, Rrangruk and John walked
through the corridor from the hospital to the laboratory.
John, for all intents and purposes had the puppy-doggish attitude
of one excited to be actually getting to do something that had been
anticipated for a long time. Several
technicians whuffed in amusement and Rrangruk didn't have to explain
much of their purpose in being there.
The doctor would have been amused at the performance of his
friend, if their purpose hadn't been so deadly.
The training that John had received made
the actual switch fairly simple. Having
been assured by the amused technicians that there was nothing on the
outside that would set off the small charge, they had let John hold and
examine the canister, watching his face rather than his hands. Rrangruk
was amazed at how smooth the human acted the part of an eager soldier
and even he didn't see the devices change hands.
He knew that if Brrengrifferr were aware of this breach of
security by the two techs who were watching over the device, they would
be summarily executed.
Soon the pair was back at Rrangruk's
apartment and carefully opening up the real canister.
Having been assured that there were no listening devices in the
dwelling, John had still insisted on quiet.
He had also taken the precaution of dimming the lights down quite
low and was using the night vision lenses.
"Paranoid, aren't you," Rrangruk
said softly in John's ear, and then was silent.
John undid the canister’s outer casing and slipped it off the
internal workings. Inside
he saw that there was a magnetically triggered detonator in one end and
a small lead encased package taking up most of the rest of the space.
Further examination showed enough explosive, in John’s opinion,
to destroy an area at least a hundred square kilometers, well above that
of the Grringol city. "Any
other questions, doctor?" he asked softly, with a bitter edge to
his voice. He handed the
lenses to Rrangruk, who, holding them up to his eyes, saw the deadly
contents for himself.
His breath hissed between his teeth.
John laid his free hand on his friend's arm to calm him and keep
him from making any outcry. "Now we slightly change the situation, Doctor.
John took the lenses back and began working, Rrangruk at his
When John had finished with the canister,
it looked the same and felt the same, but its internal workings were
vastly different. The lead
casing covered a harmless packet of wires with a fake explosive core. It looked authentic, but would do no more damage than to blow
apart a few pieces of furniture. At
least that is what John hoped.
Later, John and Rrangruk went for a walk
again, this time shortly before it was time for John to see
Brrengrifferr again. Walking
in one of the hydroponics gardens, John was astounded at the level of
sophistication. Neatly laid out beds held vegetables in various stages of
growth, lamps overhead glowing softly.
At intervals there were rows of dwarf fruit trees. Turning to his friend, and bringing his mind back to the
present he said, "Rrangruk, I have no idea what can be done from
this end to stop the plans of the commander.
But you do realize that he cannot be allowed to continue on this
course. I have done a little research myself, when I was afforded the
time, and I noticed a great decline in the population of your
peoples over the past hundred or so years.
I can only surmise that it has something to do with the endless
"Rrangruk, I see a people heading for
extinction, and I believe it's because all available resources are used
in fighting one another instead of trying to make life better for the
entire Ugorrim population," John said fervently.
"Am I correct that this is the only remaining Rylorr
"Yes, John, you are correct.
And you have made some very astute observations.
The city that you are going to is the last remaining Grringol
city, also," Rrangruk commented sadly.
"I have often wondered when our people would be no more and
some group of humans would be shaking their heads in the future
wondering why a race could be so stupid with its destiny."
"Humans aren’t saints either,
Rrangruk," John said with a laugh.
"One of the members of my crew was a saboteur, who get
caught on board during our ship's launch, otherwise we would never have
"And you let him live?"
Rrangruk asked, incredulously.
"Yes, sometimes, to my regret.
But Rrangruk, I cannot just premeditatedly kill someone, even if
that person planned and tried to execute my death."
"Maybe that's why it will be humans
studying our remains," Rrangruk said.
"I would imagine that there are many
Ugorrim who are sick of this endless war.” John said philosophically.
"All Hell is going to break loose, when that device blows a
lot of smoke and debris and nothing else."
The Rylorr looked puzzled. "What do you mean?"
"I mean it’s not going to take very
long to see the obvious when the explosive knocks a few legs off some
tables and there is no mass destruction," John explained with a
worried for you, because, I believe you will be suspect."
Nodding, Rrangruk asked another question,
effectively changing the subject. "How
are you going to arrange for the dummy device to blow up?
I didn't think it contained anything except material to give it
the same weight."
"It didn't until I tinkered with it,
shortly before we made the exchange," John explained, laughing.
"It has just enough explosive to make someone here think that
something has happened to the Grringol, and call out the troops.
I hope that Brrengrifferr’s actions will show your people what
his aim really is, and cause a bit of rethinking on the part of the
Rylorr. The Grringol will
stir to action, too. I only
hope that action isn’t a full-scale attack.
At the very least though, I am hoping that the confusion will
allow me to find the rest of my crew."
"Yes, it has become obvious to me that
no one ever intended on giving you information to help you find them.
Maybe I can help a bit, since I have been in on some of the
planning of this operation when I thought it was a simple, bloodless
coup," Rrangruk commented. "Let's
go to my office where I keep my notes."
End part seven
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