The Dirty Little Plot Gets a Bit Dirtier
“John, I need your
help,” Gilbrolen said, pacing the length of his modest cabin.
Captain, if I can,” he answered, puzzled by the carnival master’s
“Have you heard the
news about the Most Worthy’s kidnapping?” Gilbrolen asked. John nodded. “He
and his family were taken to a fortress not far from here, in the Murtoc
Mountains. I want you to
help me rescue them, before this escalates into a full scaled
stood up quickly, flabbergasted. “Me?
What on earth for?”
“Because you are
the only being I know who has a near impenetrable telepathic shield,”
the Brooolaren stated bluntly. “And
no being, telepathic or mind-deaf can get within five miles of the
installation without being detected.
The only creatures that can succeed are those who can shield so
well that they cannot be detected at all.”
John stared at
Gilbrolen in shock for a few minutes, then the full implication hit him. “You said that you wanted me to help you rescue them.
I can only assume that you are also a telepath with an even
better mind shield.”
“I have been working for years trying to change attitudes,
subtly helping the gifted, and I have been doing this lately with the
blessings of the galactic government.
I have discreetly gathered telepaths with varying talents. But I
underestimated the resolve of the militant underground, Equality. They are much
stronger and better organized than I thought.
I knew that I had one of the leaders on my ship, but didn’t
know that he was as powerful as he turned out to be until you came on
board. You partially neutralized Marrin’s effectiveness without even
knowing you were doing it, but he had planetary contacts that were able
to carry out the kidnapping. And
of course, as soon as the kidnapping occurred, Marrin disappeared along
with a few others.”
“But if you are
such a powerful telepath that no one knew....”
“I have an ability
to shield, John. That
doesn’t necessarily mean that I am a powerful mind reader.
Are you?” he asked, a slight smile crossing his round face.
Captain,” John said with a smile of his own, before sobering quickly.
“You do realize that all I have ever wanted to do is reunite
with my family and return to my own galaxy.”
“Yes, Guardian, but
you are here and there is a reason for it.
Please, I cannot do this alone, I must have help and you are the
only one who can help me.”
John sat and looked
pensively at the floor. Then
his features hardened and he looked up with a glint in his eyes that
surprised Gilbrolen. “I’m
getting infinitely sick and tired of trying to mind my own business and
still having my family stuck in dangerous situations.
I agree with what you’re doing, Gilbrolen, the peaceful
solutions are always the best ones, but apparently someone else
doesn’t feel that way.” John sighed. “So
going in and rescuing that family seems to be the only option for peace
now,” mused and then paused. “I’ll
help you, but I have to know that my children are safe while I’m gone. I also need to know that someone will take them to Krimlon if
something happens to me,” John added, his voice low.
“MriGrolar can be trusted to take care of them,” Gilbrolen said. “Your children will be safe.”
Maureen stood in the
captain’s office with the rest of the Jupiter II crew, gazing at the
slightly froggish looking alien with barely controlled patience.
“Where is my beloved? You
have admitted he is on this ship.”
beloved,” MriGrolar said and then paused.
He wished there was an easy way to talk to the agitated human.
She was as impatient for a reunion as John had been.
“That legend is
known on other planets besides Krimlon?” Maureen said in surprise,
unknowingly providing the alien with a welcome change of subject.
“Would you be more
comfortable if I called you Maureen?” he asked, a slight smile on his
“Yes, but what
matters is that I want to see John.
And I want to see my children,” she said tersely.
Pressing a button,
MriGrolar summoned Will and Penny.
Turning back to John’s beloved, he sighed.
“John is not here, he left with Gilbrolen approximately a half
an hour ago.”
“When will he be
back? I will wait for
him,” she said.
“It’s not that
easy. He will be back when
he and Captain Gilbrolen rescue the family of the Most Worthy,” he
Maureen was stunned;
she sat down on the chair that Don pushed behind her.
cried and rushed to hug his mother.
“I missed you so much.”
She held him close for a minute, reveling in the proximity of her
son, while still impatiently waiting for the arrival of Penny.
MriGrolar pushed the
communications button again and then pounded the desk in front of him.
Startled by the sudden noise, everyone looked at the reptile-like
humanoid. “Your daughter
has left the ship in the company of a young man that she has become
attached to. I will have
the spaceport authorities look for her and bring her back.
I am sure that she is all right, Maureen.”
Gilbrolen and the professor be off on their own rescuing the kidnapped
family instead of letting the authorities do it?” Imothera
without the telepathy would be detected as easily as those with the gift
who are not capable of erecting very powerful mind shields. The professor possesses a strong shield,” MriGrolar said.
“The authorities are giving Gilbrolen and John until tomorrow morning
before they end negotiation and begin firing on all known Equality safe houses.”
“Are you saying
that Gilbrolen is a telepath?” Imothera asked.
“A very powerful defensive telepath.”
“Mom, Nova told me
that Penny isn’t in the city anymore.
She’s being taken to a place called the Fortress of the
Wind,” Will suddenly said.
At almost the same moment, the communicator beeped an incoming
message for Gilbrolen. MriGrolar
activated it with a private code and everyone listened to the voice that
declared that Penny Robinson was being held by Equality to ensure the non-interference of her father.
Maureen paled and
clutched the arms of the chair until her knuckles whitened.
“Oh, Penny,” she murmured, so low that she was barely heard.
said, “I have failed my
friend, John, I have failed you and I have failed your child.
There is no way the Guardian can be reached now.
And I promised to protect his children.”
“What is this
Fortress of the Wind?” Judy asked, aching at the sight of her
mother’s anxiety. They
were so close and yet so far away.
“It is a well protected stronghold, built a hundred years ago by a very paranoid leader. It is the same place where the Most Worthy and his family are being held. We must hope and pray that John succeeds, and that he finds out his daughter is being held there,” MriGrolar said, his yellow eyes full of sadness.
“John, your shield
must be impenetrable, so much so that no one will know that you even
exist unless they see you. Let
me show you what I mean,” Gilbrolen instructed.
“Try to put everything from your mind.”
John followed the
Brooolaren’s directions and then suddenly felt the same absolute
isolation that he had experienced on Krimlon when his mind had protested
the tortuous device that Prince Mizel had put on him.
Eyes wide in shock, he shook his head and felt himself beginning
to panic. He began
panting for air and unconsciously reached up for the headband that was
no longer there. Gilbrolen withdrew and watched him carefully.
John felt a return to normalcy.
‘John, it is not the same as before.
This time you will be
in control,’ Talon said. Silverado
squeaked in concern.
Taking a deep breath,
John reasoned with himself and then looked steadily into the
blue-skinned alien’s eyes. “I
have experienced that before, Gilbrolen.
My reaction was involuntary; a response to a device meant to
break telepaths. It was a hellacious experience.
Give me a moment to psych myself up to this,” he explained and
took several more deep breaths. And
then isolated himself from the rest of the world.
He saw Gilbrolen
smile and nod his head. “Very
good, John. Now let’s
plan before we implement this.”
the telepathic barrier, John breathed a sigh of relief.
He and the Brooolaren climbed to the top of the ridge and looked
at the fortress through long-range scanners.
There were only two guards patrolling near the only entrance they
could see. Windows on the
first floor were high off the ground and barred, the tops of the walls
were even higher. Second
story windows were only attainable from the inside; they were too high
for the tallest ladder, even if they had one.
John could easily understand why Equality
felt confident enough to have only a few guards outside.
The walls themselves appeared as smooth as glass.
“Talon, how close can you get?
We may need a diversion as we approach the fortress.
We will certainly need someone to be our eyes.”
‘I can go all the way in. I
was part of the organization during our voyage,’ he said smugly.
asked in shocked surprise. “Was
that why you were so taciturn during the trip?”
‘Perhaps, but mainly because I left my world to find and help my people,
and I had no means to do so. I
was attracted by Marrin’s promises of equality among all races and saw
it as the means to gather my people back to Creon.
Then I realized that all the plan would do was begin a bloodbath.
Marrin just wanted equality among the gifted, not wanting to see
that it was futile to revolt against such horrendous odds,’ Talon
am confused. For years I drew strength from my anger and bitterness
against humanoids and then I go and meet the Guardian.
I don’t know whether to thank you or curse you, John Robinson.’
John didn’t know
what to say. He felt the
turmoil that the Weerlorin was experiencing, but had no idea how to help
him. Finally, he said,
“You’re right, it would be futile and many of your people might be
murdered in retaliation. Talon,
I know I’m asking a great deal, but would you be willing to spy on
your fellow gifted?”
“Yes, John, I would, if for no other reason than to prevent the needless deaths of more of the gifted. Let me go now and see if they will accept me.’ The raptor stepped off the boulder and rode the thermals to the fortress, disappearing inside.
“Jeris, where are
we going?” Penny asked in consternation.
The vehicle that was supposed to take them back to the spaceship
was instead taking them out of the city toward a mountain range.
Picking out snippets from his thoughts, understanding dawned and
she turned on the boy in the full fury of her indignation.
“You are part of the kidnapping plot.
You are bringing me out here to keep Dad from interfering,
aren’t you? You used
me!” she cried. Turning
away from him she tried to open the doors, willing to take a chance on
being injured rather than being a prisoner.
They wouldn’t open from the inside.
“Penny, I was doing
this to protect you. If I
hadn’t done this and your dad tried to do something, he would be hurt
or killed. Equality
is a tough organization. You’ve
got to understand I would do anything to keep you from being hurt.
Please understand, Penny.
Please?” he pleaded.
But Penny just laid her head against the window and cried silently, the hurt and betrayal causing a deep ache in her heart. Lucy crawled out of the carrying pouch and floated up to her shoulder where the zanling rubbed under her ear. The other zanlings joined her, but for once their ministrations didn’t help.