Planet of Dragons

 

 

 

 

Chapter Three-

Kiss and Make Up

 

Will had found a tiny unused section of the cargo bay, some leftover parts in a small crate and a blueprint of the jet pack and was putting together one of his own.  His concentration was complete, his mouth set in a hard line, his eyes narrowed.  Nova sat atop one of the original jet packs that leaned against the wall, squeaking a query.  But even this didn't penetrate into Will's consciousness.  He had been working almost non-stop all day.

Hearing a noise from another part of the room, the thirteen-year-old peered around the box of parts and saw his father and Max, working together on the other jet pack.  As he was about to make his presence known, he heard his dad inform Max of his intentions to explore their old landing site alone.  It was then that he saw his mother approach.

She seemed totally flustered by his dad's decision and Will could feel the fear in her mind as well as in her words.  Slightly guilty at the unintentional eavesdropping, he crept further back behind the crate and listened.   What little he could pick up from his dad was a seething cauldron of anger, frustration, tension and fear.  Fear? he thought to himself.   It was hard to imagine his father fearing anything, but he knew that it was so, especially when it came to their own welfare. 

As the argument progressed, Will sat, stunned.  He could perhaps count on one hand the number of times that his parents had spoken this angrily to each other.  When both parents had left the bay, he looked back at the second jet pack leaning against the bulkhead and realized that he, too, was probably under a bit of compulsion, not totally understanding the reason for suddenly wanting to build a jet pack of his own. 

It hadn't taken him very long, except for the combustion chamber, and he was almost through with that.  Pondering the larger jet pack, he looked in the crate and pulled out a few parts that looked as though they might be useful in fixing the larger machine.

"Do you require some assistance, Will Robinson?" Max asked in his tinny voice.

"Don't sneak up on me like that!"  Will exclaimed.

"My apologies, sir."

"Yes, Max, hand me that wrench," he said pointing.  Soon they were finished.

"Sir, your father informed me that perhaps you might want me to teach you some forms of martial arts that I have stored in my memory banks," the robot said.

Will's eyes lit up.  "You bet, Max.   Could you teach me a little bit before dinner?" he asked. 

"Yes, Will Robinson, I would be happy to."

After several hours, Will felt that he had the rudiments of the foot fighting techniques that Max was patiently teaching him.  "Wow, that was some workout!"

"That is almost exactly what your father said, Will Robinson.  But because of your youth, you are more agile and are learning this chi-chi-nah form of fighting much more quickly than your father is.  Come back anytime and I will show you more.  Now you must do the cooling down exercises to keep your muscles from tightening up," Max explained and showed the boy. 

Will followed the robot's instructions implicitly and by the time Nova informed him that dinner was ready, he had cooled off and caught his breath.  He sincerely hoped that his parents had cooled off too, or else dinner was going to be very quiet.

   

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Although it was held outside, dinner was eaten in relative silence, only the sounds of the forest breaking into the silence around the table.  Will realized that his thought about his parents cooling off was made with a poor choice of words.  They had cooled off all right; the atmosphere was downright chilly. 

Penny alternately stared at her mother and father, unable to totally figure out what was going on.  Will kept his eyes on his plate, and she could get no telepathic clues from anybody.  Don and Judy seemed to recognize what was going on, but they weren't letting any clues escape either.  Even the lizards had retreated to the arboretum.

Finally Will could stand the relative silence no longer.  "Dad, I've built my own jet pack.  When you go exploring, can I go with you?"

Simultaneously, Maureen and John answered, "NO!"  They looked morosely at each other before continuing their meal. 

'Well, at least we agree on something,' Maureen thought sourly.  John looked up in surprise before returning to his meal.  He saw that Maureen's eyes held more sadness than anger in them.

Just about then, Maggie streaked into the clearing where they were eating.  Behind her zipped a tiny gold-tinted green lizard.  Maggie landed on Maureen's shoulder, but seeing itself amongst strangers, the little lizard desperately tried to backpedal and fly back into the safety of the forest.  Instead it landed in the gravy boat.

"Oh," Judy cried out, dipping her hand into the bowl and gently removing the flutter-dragon.  "You poor thing.  Thank goodness the gravy has cooled."  Using her napkin, she gently wiped the gravy off of his wings first and then cleaned the rest of the tiny creature's body.

It squeaked pensively at first and then seemed to calm down as though sensing it was among those who would not hurt him.  Hopping out of Judy's hand, the little creature squeaked at Aurora, who was sitting on the young mother's shoulder and then stared at the playpen sitting near the dinner table.  Spreading his gossamer wings, the lizard floated gently over to the edge of the playpen and cocked his head at the baby sleeping peacefully inside.  Looking back at Aurora, the two chirped and crooned at one another until the newcomer floated down into the playpen, walked over to Mark and curled up near him.  The baby slept on, a slight smile on his cherubic face.

"I think we may have another member of the family," Don announced, happy for the interlude that brightened up the otherwise morose mood of the group. 

"Have our lizards grown that big in a year?" Penny asked.  The newcomer was only half the size of their own nine. 

"It would appear that way," Maureen observed, smiling slightly at the little newcomer resting comfortably next to Mark.  "I have noticed lately that Maggie has seemed a bit heavier on my shoulder." She surreptitiously glanced at John, who was looking at her over his glass.  His features seemed softer, his eyes less angry. 

'We agree on something else, too, Mo,'  he told her mentally.  It was her turn to look surprised.  'We love each other,' His thoughts then caressed hers tenderly. 

So startled was she, that a single tear slid down her cheek.  She got up and quickly went into the spaceship.  John soon followed.  The rest just sat quietly, pondering. 

"Did Mom and Dad have an argument?" Penny asked. 

"If I were a gambling man, I would certainly bet on it," Don observed. 

 

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"Maureen," John said, sitting down next to her in their cabin. 

"John, before you say anything, are you going to try to tell me how silly I am about my fear of you going off alone?"  Her eyes were large with unshed tears. 

"No, dear, I'm not.  There was a great deal of truth in what you said," he said softly.  "I'm sorry about the way I treated you."  Taking her gently in his arms, he held her for several minutes, not only physically embracing his wife, but letting the tendrils of his deep love for her flow like a warm summer breeze into the corners of her mind.  She gasped at the intimacy of his 'embrace', and the unshed tears finally rolled down her cheeks.  Holding his hands on each side of her face, John carefully wiped the tears away before tenderly kissing her. 

Following his example, Maureen let her feelings flow into his mind, and they enjoyed a closeness that they would never have believed possible.  Finally Maureen murmured, "John, what are we going to do about tomorrow?"

"I don't know, dear," John said, slowly coming out of the spell they had cast on each other.  "The Robot caught me sleep-walking a couple of nights ago and then added all of the little incidents together.  He came up with the theory that there is something at our old site that is drawing us to it.  I'm afraid that after the other time I was 'possessed,' it really bothers me to feel that something out there has the capability to do it again."   John sat quietly, savoring the warmth of his wife's body against his.  The argument had left him feeling drained and depressed.  He still was to some extent, but at least he didn't feel alone.  "You already know my reasons for not taking Don, and I'm certainly not going to take Will, so I have no choice but to go alone." 

Maureen looked a bit indignant before answering. "John, I may not be able to fight a womgrantiod, but I am not helpless.  Let me come with you.  I'm not affected by this force as much as you are, and I think that I may be able to help you fight it," she reasoned. 

Sighing, he stared pensively at the far wall of their cabin.  "One of the reasons that I wanted to go alone is I didn't want to put any of the rest of you in danger."

"I know that, John, and I appreciate your concern for us, but this is not the time to go solo."

There was what seemed to be an eternity before he answered.  "All right, but only if you promise to follow my orders explicitly if the need arises," he said.

"Only if you're not under any type of alien or telepathic compulsion," Maureen countered. 

John looked at her in surprise for a moment before smiling.  "I can go along with that.   But we'll have to go in the chariot, which means that the trip will take a bit longer."

"No problem," Maureen replied, leaning her head on his arm.  He laughed and took her in another embrace. 

"We'll go the day after tomorrow.  That will give Don and I more time to get the chariot ready," he murmured. 

When they left their cabin and headed for the cargo bay, Maureen noticed that everything had been cleaned up and put away from dinner.  Inside the large room, Don was watching Will work out with Max.  John and Maureen also watched for a while.  It was only when Will called a halt to his lesson that he noticed his parents. 

"Bravo, Will.  Max told me that you'd be quicker at learning this chi-chi-nah than I am.  He's right," John told his son.  Will beamed with pleasure. 

"Thanks, Dad.  I really am enjoying this," he said, breathing hard.  "By the way, do you want to see the new jet pack that I built today?"

"A jet pack?  Of course, son," he said, wondering at the purpose for Will's sudden desire to build one.  Turning to Don, he said,  "We need to check out the chariot.  Maureen and I are going to take it to our old site the day after tomorrow."

"Uh, John, don't you think that the two of us should go?  Might be too dangerous to take Maureen," Don argued. 

"Don, I really don't want to get into an argument with anyone else on this.  Just accept that I have two very good reasons for wanting you to stay, not the least of which is the fact that I want you in charge here, taking care of our family."

Looking closely into John's eyes, Don realized that he wouldn't be able to sway him.  Finally, he just shrugged.  "Okay, John, your call."

"Oh, Dad, I forgot to tell you.  Max and I fixed the other jet pack, too," Will told his father.

All three adults looked at him in wonder.  "Why am I not surprised," Don murmured.  "Well, you two, what's your pleasure?  To fly the friendly skies or take the scenic route?" he added with a chuckle.

"Friendly skies.  I don't want to be away any longer than I have to be," John said quickly.  "And no offense to your abilities, son, but Don and I will test the jet pack tomorrow." 

"I understand, sir," Will replied.   

 

 

Chapter Four
Chapter One
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