Nightmare Journey

 

 

 

 

Chapter Twenty Four

Reunions and Resolutions

 

 

clo Yondah listened to his second in command’s report and smiled gleefully.  “So the Guardian is the coordinator for the show.  Wonderful, ubi Biro, arrange for us to have seats for the performance.  And I am counting on you to make sure that weapons are available for us to use against the Guardian and his spawn.”

ubi Biro bowed and left to make the arrangements.  clo Yondah turned to the Purifier.  “Well, Purifer, now you will get the chance to help me kill a legend.” 

Havreel smiled weakly and nodded.  Perhaps if he did admirably in the death of the Guardian, he would be allowed to return home and be done with the accursed space travel.

 

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John paced nervously outside of the arena.  Now that the time for the performance was near, he wondered if it would work.  But he realized that it had to.  MriGrolar gave a signal to indicate his readiness.   Jeris did as well.  John still had the slight desire to wring the young man’s neck, but understood his reasoning after having a long talk with him.  Gilbrolen finally gave the signal to start. 

He walked out into the small coordinator’s ring and heard the reaction that he had become used to.  Silverado flew out behind him and landed on his shoulder.  “My name is John Robinson.  The zanling’s name is Silverado.  I come from Earth, he is from Krimlon.  By meeting we have benefited each other; each making the other stronger, more aware of what is around us, more aware of our potential.  We are both telepathic.  I am the Guardian, he is the future Lord of the Zanlings.   Tonight you are invited to hear the stories of your fellow sentients......”  John turned and with a flourish of his hand, pointed out Penny.  Her four lizards began a dance in the air above her head.  The softly colored spotlights highlighted their iridescent wings and made their dance seem surreal. 

Then began a pictorial history that flowed through the consciousness of each person in the arena.  The betrayal of the king of the zanlings, their subsequent flight, the hunting of their people and the kreelings, their deaths and sufferings.  Like an endless and inexorable parade, the visions marched on ending with the release of the zanlings on Valanna.  Penny’s flutter-dragons danced to the ceiling in a happy dance of freedom, ending the mournful squeaking that had accompanied the sad story of the zanling exile.

John signaled Jeris and he felt the boy’s telepathic linkage.  Talon soared in with a pelt of the finest golden hair, which he dropped into John’s hands.  With Jeris’ help, John related the hunting of Sun Dwellers people, the emptiness of their jungle world without the gentle intelligent creatures.  Talon took over, his harsh thoughts full of bitterness as well as sadness at the loss of his life mate and children, to those who would hunt his people for blood sport. 

As the show progressed, John knew he had been right in insisting that the program be kept short tonight.  He felt the heaviness of many creatures’ losses, of their sadness and pain.  It was hard to keep his composure as he stood in the middle of the arena.  Suddenly as the orantis finished his despairing narrative of life in captivity, John was struck by the fact that the show was one-sided.  Sending a quick thought to MriGrolar to follow his lead, he prepared for a finale.  The audience had been shown reasons why they shouldn’t destroy the telepathic creatures, now he would try to show them the benefits of having these creatures as equals in their society.

In the arena seats, several Brumyatta and a Krimlon thumped their counting sticks on the floor.  Then they slowly began to raise them until they were pointing to the Guardian and his daughter in the arena.  Fingers reached for buttons on the sticks. 

“Don’t even think about it.  Now, if you want to live, you will move your fingers back and lower the weapons slowly,” a voice whispered in clo Yondah’s ear.  Don West nudged the Brumyatta’s neck with his laser pistol to emphasize his statement.  The Brumyatta lowered the sticks and Frilonx guardsmen rushed over and took the weapons out of their hands.   As they were being led away, Don remarked, “I think, Captain, you should have taken your losses on Valanna and cut and run.”  He smiled wolfishly, glad he had taken the precaution of sending the other flutter-dragons to look for John’s pursuers.  He knew that the Brumyatta wouldn’t give up suddenly after so long a chase.  Satisfied, he sat down on clo Yondah’s chair to watch the end of the performance.

It was then that Don realized that the vision of extinction was gone, but he heard the music begin again and then was shocked when he saw an image of the Graxod shuttle bay appear in his mind.

John felt the approval of Gilbrolen as he began a replay of the womgrantiod, calling on Silverado to help him keep the remembrance in a ‘third’ person mode.  He edited the actual fight, keeping it short, emphasizing the role that Silverado and the other lizards played during that time period; that of keeping himself, his family and the Earth from death.  Struggling to keep his focus, John found the retelling almost as hard as the actual event. 

Finally it was done and he began a story of the people of the seas, the ssHreana; the breathtaking beauty of the oceans, the gentility of Murreena and her companions.  Penny joined in and her familiarity with the ssHreana made the scenes a dance of tranquility and wonder.  The audience was taken to an ocean world where telepathy was not just a talent, but life. 

As the finale neared its end, John felt total exhaustion setting in and found himself not exactly knowing what to do next.  Then Silverado and the other flutter-dragons joined together in a spiral dance of joy.  Joy in the bonding with their friends, joy in growth, joy in knowing their destinies were twined with those whose caring matched their own.  They celebrated their evolution from the paradisiacal, purposeless life on K’rt’rm to that of sorrow, aspiration, fear, and inexpressible happiness.   Their exultation spilled over to the audience, which sat hushed for a moment as their dance spiraled back down toward their friends, and then exploded in cries of happiness and appreciation. 

As Silverado landed on his shoulder, the performance lights dimmed and the regular lights came on, allowing John to see into the audience.  Spotting the Most Worthy, he saw him nod and wave; John saluted in return.   “Guardian,” the Most Worthy began.  “What I have seen and heard this night has moved me and been very enlightening, and it will be discussed in the galactic councils when it reconvenes in two days.  I thank you.”

“Thank you, Most Worthy.  That is all any of these sentients have wanted,” John answered, bowing slightly. 

 

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“Penny, I’m so sorry for kidnapping you.  I really liked you and didn’t want to hurt you.  I really didn’t,” Jeris fumbled with his words and tried to augment them with the things he was feeling.  They were standing on the observation deck of The Great Galactic Wonder.

“Jeris, I think I understand what you were trying to do.  I certainly understand what you did for me in the castle and what you did at the performance.”  Penny answered.  “I still like you, Jeris, but I don’t like what you did to me.  That will take time to get over.”

“And by then you and your family will be back on Krimlon,” he said flatly.

We will probably be back in our own galaxy,’ she told him, knowing that Dad was determined to begin a serious journey to Alpha Centauri.  She could feel the depth of his desire to settle down.  Before she knew what was happening, Jeris leaned over and kissed her, accompanying it with the warmth of his friendship and ...love? 

Penny backed away, blushing.  “Good-bye, Jeris.  I will miss you,” she whispered and then turned and ran from the deck.  He sighed.

 

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“John...uh, Guardian,” Gilbrolen began. 

“For crying out loud, don’t you start that Guardian stuff!” John exclaimed. 

Gilbrolen laughed and nodded.  “Very well, John.  Are you sure you won’t stay and at least finish this tour?  The performances the last few night have been electrifying.”

“They were exhausting.  So business is that good?” John asked with a chuckle. 

“Yes, that, too.  But seriously, it is much more effective for the cause of the gifted if the Guardian is coordinating it.”

With a sigh, John shook his head.  “I tell you what, we will accompany you to Krimlon and then we must return to our own galaxy.”

“Will you at least leave a holographic message?  Something to let the audience know what has happened to cause all these changes?” Gilbrolen asked.   John nodded.

 

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An official stood on the observation deck of the Jupiter II, looking cautiously at the group in front of him. “I am the official representative of the government of Anoxis.  I am looking for Dr. Zachary Smith and his beloved, Imothera Smith.   They are wanted for aiding and abetting known fugitives from Brumyatta justice.”

John stepped forward.  “I am Dr. John Robinson.  I am one of those fugitives and by the decree of the Most Worthy....”

“Professor, allow me,” Smith said, stepping up next to him.  “My dear sir, you cannot imagine how such a charge pains me.  And after working so hard for the Anoxin government.  I just suppose that I will have to see if the Brooolarens are interested in the vaccine that I have developed to prevent the anot.  Or if they aren’t interested, maybe the Brumyatta merchant cartel would like to market it....”

“Vaccine?” the official stammered.  “You have developed something against the anot?”

“Yes, indeed, and I was all set to offer it to the Anoxin government, since it was my adopted home.  But, alas, that has all changed, I see.”

“Wait, Dr. Smith, something can be worked out,” the official seemed frantic all of a sudden.  His chest heaved as he drew in a deep breath.  “All charges are dropped and you are welcome to return home aboard my private space yacht.  I beg you, accept my most humble offer,” the official babbled. 

The official’s groveling gave him a bit of pleasure.  Like old time’s sake, he thought.  “I accept.  That would be most suitable.”  He heard Major West breathe an audible sigh of relief. 

Later in the day, the couple prepared to take off for Anoxis.  “Professor, I wish you and your family well on your trip home.  I suppose we shall never meet again....”

“No, I suppose not.  But I am pleased that you have found peace, Doctor.  I wish you and Imothera continued happiness,” John said, shaking hands.

He and Maureen watched the ship take off for Smith’s adopted home.  It’s time for us to go to our adopted home, my beloved,’ he told his wife.   She agreed.

 

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Right after the last performance on Krimlon, John returned to the Jupiter II to find that Maureen and Judy had arranged a belated birthday party not only for him, but also for Will whose birthday had also been missed during the nightmarish chase. 

“Well, I suppose that when one reaches my age, a missed birthday is perfectly all right every once in a while,” John quipped.  Maureen chided him with a kiss.   “But I’m sorry we missed yours, Will.  What is it, the sixteenth?” he added, with an innocent look on his face. 

“Dad!  I wish.  Fourteen, you know that,” Will said in mock irritation.  Everyone laughed.

“We are back together again, hopefully for good,” Maureen said with a sigh. 

John reached over to Judy and took Mark from her, bouncing the almost six-month-old baby on his knee.  With chagrin, he had noticed that the baby had started learning to crawl while he was away.   Just as he had missed some of his own children’s progress when they were growing up, he had missed some of Mark’s.  Even though Maureen had consoled him by saying it was different, to him it was the same.  He didn’t want that to happen again.

After cake and ice cream everyone sat quietly musing on the observation deck.  The flutter-dragons were still crooning the birthday song from the top of the navigational computer where they were perched.  Suddenly, Maureen stood up, took Mark from John and handed her grandson to Don.  “It’s my turn, little spaceman,” she murmured in his ear, kissing him gently on the cheek. The baby chortled and grabbed at her hair.  Giving the assembled flutter-dragons an evil look and a quick message, should they telepathically pry into her private activities, Maureen took John by the hand, watching his bemused look quickly change to one of understanding, and she led him to the elevator. 

As the elevator descended to the lower deck, John put his arm around her waist, his hand straying a bit.  When the elevator stopped, he escorted her to their bedroom.  With his free hand, he latched the door shut, fingered the music control button and dimmed the lights.  Soft strains of ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ flowed soothingly in the air as John turned to Maureen.  His eyes lovingly caressed her face, drank in the depths of her soul.  Their thoughts touched, entwined, embraced, danced a telepathic ballet of joy.  

Feeling her emotional as well as her physical needs, he pulled his wife, his lover, even closer to him and crushed her tightly against his chest.  His hands left her shoulders and traveled down the curves of her body and back up again.  His lips found hers, and they drank each other’s love for what seemed blissful eternity.

Maureen felt the heat of passion continuing to grow, and, reaching up, enfolded his hand again with hers.  She led him to the side of the bed, then reached up and undid the top fastening of his blue and silver costume.  John leaned over and kissed her again; on her lips, her ears, her neck; his lips journeying downward, his hand guiding her backward toward the bed. 

Her hand found the zipper, and as she pulled it downward, her other hand softly caressed his chest, reveling in the feel of his muscles, the warmth of his body, the strength of his love.  They fell backwards onto the bed as the silver suit dropped to the floor.  Her joy was complete, the long nightmare over…

 

 

 

               (In honor of the birth of my own granddaughter, Hannah.)

 

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