Planet of Tranquility

 

 

 

Chapter 11-

Zanling Dawn

 

“It’s beautiful, John.  I wonder where we are?” she asked, as they sat together on a boulder and gazed at their surroundings.

“I don’t know, but I keep thinking I should know this place.  Maybe Silverado can enlighten us when he is feeling better,” he answered. 

“So you think he brought us here?”

“I can’t think of any other explanation, dear.  He can teleport himself.  I don’t think Maggie can do that yet,” John mused aloud.  “So it had to be Silverado.  And he looks as though he’s been wrung out and hung to dry, too.  It couldn’t have been easy. 

“Do you think that if we followed this stream, we’ll find something bigger?” she asked. 

“Yes, I believe so.”  His arm tightened around her waist and she took comfort in the warmth of his body.  “The children believe we’re dead.  They will be thinking they’re orphans now,” he finally said morosely.  In the moment when he thought they really were going to die, John had seen the flash of the detonation, felt the death/fear/ending of those still in the installation as he and Maureen were pulled into the netherworld of teleportation.  There was nothing else those on ssMrillorrin could think.

A sudden, unbidden tear spilled down Maureen’s cheek.  Seeing it, John reached over with his free hand and gently wiped it away.  “As soon as Silverado is well enough, we’ll go back.  I promise, Maureen,” he whispered in her ear.

“I know, John.   Right now, though, I suppose we need to concentrate on our own survival.”

“Yes, although it seems benign enough here, we need to find a safe place to spend the night,” he observed.  As the sun began its exodus toward dusk, they continued walking parallel to the stream, occasionally taking the opportunity to refresh themselves.  Finally they came to a place where the stream narrowed and rushed into a small crevice set among an outcropping of boulders.  Further exploration revealed a diminutive pool beyond the outcropping.

“This makes it a bit less difficult,” John murmured appreciatively.  “I think we will be safe enough if we spend the night among these rocks.  You’ll get to see me try out old Boy Scout tricks, m’dear.” 

Maureen chuckled as she gathered twigs and sticks for a fire.   A short while later, John stared at the pile of materials and shook his head.  Maureen didn’t have to be a mind reader to understand his dilemma.  She had gone through the same pre-flight survival training as he had and the techniques that had been taught presupposed some basic facts; mainly that they would have a fire starting kit, or in lieu of that, bits of material to make into a bow or similar fire starter.  Their underwater suits precluded appropriating any such strips of material. 

Suddenly he stared up at the blue lizard sitting on Maureen’s shoulder.  Maggie, do you think you could look along the stream bed for a certain rock?’ he asked and showed her a mental picture of what he was looking for.  With a chirp, she flew off, her golden eyes gazing carefully at the ground.  It was a long shot at best, but John was ready for some good fortune.

Silverado squeaked and rolled over, letting the warm dust coat his silver hide.  He opened one eye and stared at his friend.  

“Welcome back to the land of the living,” John said with a slight smile. 

The silver zanling cheeped lazily. 

“How are you?” John asked.  “I presume you brought us here.”

Yes, I did.’

‘Where is here?’ John asked, opening his thoughts up to let Maureen in on the conversation, too. 

Zanling home,’ came the short answer. 

 

                                        ___________________________

 

Mark laughed and clapped his hands, bouncing so hard that Penny almost lost her grip.  He was growing and was becoming almost too big for her to hold on her hip for more than a few minutes.  She didn’t know how her big sister did it.  To her surprise, his thoughts had become bubbly and bright, filled with kaleidoscopic color and musical sounds.  Intertwined with it all were small snippets of scenes with her mother and father.  Daddy reading to him, Mom playing on the floor with him, all of the flutter dragons dancing their aerial celebrations in the air.  All of these were interspersed with underwater scenes where everyone swam around and through multi-colored fronds of kelp-like growths.  She wondered at the baby’s sudden outpouring of bright and happy thoughts, which had, up to now, been dark and full of loss. 

Why happy, Mark?’ she asked, really not knowing how to investigate this.  Penny put her questioning into visual images and found the source of his happiness to be from Nova and Jimmy Doolittle.  Puzzled, she called for the little flutter-dragons named, as well as her own four.  

Why is Mark happy?’ she asked, showing them the images she felt in the baby’s mind.

In answer, Nova replayed the scenes just before and during the destruction of the underwater base.  She felt the deaths of the aliens who had not been able to evacuate in time, as well as the grief of the scientific expedition.  Nova squeaked impatiently at her and replayed his impressions of Mom and Dad’s feelings just before the explosion; their frustration, fear and desperation, and then there was nothing.

Difference,’ Nova said simply.  

“Difference?” Penny asked aloud.  A difference…?’   “A difference!” she cried out.  The aliens’ deaths, as painful as it was for her to feel them again, were different than the cessation of thought from her parents.  Mom and Dad’s thoughts simply ceased; there was no death ‘feeling.’  They had not died; they were just gone.  But where?

“Judy?”  

“Yes, Penny,” her sister answered.  Judy was preparing cereal for Mark in the kitchen area of the reception hall.  Afterward there was a meeting with Grilar and another representative of his planet.  ‘Yet another useless apology,’ Penny thought.  “Judy, I just let Nova and Jimmy ‘replay’ the events surrounding the demolition of the base.  Did you know that there was a distinct feeling of death for those left behind?”  

“Penny, now you’re getting morbid.  How gross!” Judy snapped.

“You don’t understand, Judy.  I didn’t feel that with Mom and Dad.  And Nova didn’t feel that with Silverado and Maggie, either.  They were just gone.  The others died.  Mom and Dad and the flutter-dragons just disappeared.”  

“What?  Are you trying to say that Mom and Dad aren’t dead?”  

“That’s exactly what I’m trying to say.  They just disappeared.” The more she said it, the more Penny believed it.  She had to believe it, because it offered her hope; hope she didn’t have before. 

“But where and how?” Judy asked.  

“Where and how what?” Don asked as he came through the doorway, taking the baby from Penny.  “He sure seems happy today.  I was worried that he was going to keep picking up on our moods.”

“Don, Penny and the lizards have figured out that Dad and Mom and their lizards aren’t dead, they just disappeared somewhere,” Judy explained simply.

“They figured out a way to teleport,” Penny announced.  Judy and Don just stared.  The zanlings squeaked in triumph.

“Wait a minute, John said something about Silverado teleporting to the Jupiter II.  Could he have done it with all of them?  This is great news!” Don cried out happily.

 

                    ____________________________________

 

 

Kurilis paced the small confines of the conference room on thin ciliated legs, his eyestalks waving furiously in anger.  “Our work has been set back many brilos by that meddlesome human and his ssHreana friends,” he fumed.  A slightly larger Zrilon watched his angry counterpart pace for a while.  Finally he clacked for the other’s attention. 

“Peace, Kurilis.  This may yet work out for us.  From the information gathered from our spy implants we know that the ssHreana are now sympathetic to the Qolon and are agreeing to mine the breshel for them.  It may set us back a brilos or two, but in the long run we may end up with more kenno flames crystals than we would have had before.  We simply wait for the partnership to reach the breshel and the crystals, then we send in an expeditionary force to gather the crystals.  We will attack so quickly that no one will realize what has happened until we are already gone.  And by the time anyone traces the theft to us, we will have utilized the crystals.  Any retaliation against us will be ineffective and easily crushed,” the Zrilon leader, Lloris, added, his mandibles clacking in an almost soothing manner. 

Kurilis stopped his pacing and turned his eyestalks toward his superior.  “Then all is not lost?”

“No, of course not.  Order the ships to hyper jump beyond the linear edge of the Brevis solar system near the stellar asteroids that encompasses it.  Leave a communications probe so that we can monitor the ssHreana.  We will be patient.  We can afford to be,” Lloris stated softly.   “In the long run, we will own everything, even time itself.  No, Kurilis, a few brilos will be of little consequence.  And, as you told me in the report, the meddlesome human leader is dead anyway, so he will not be able to pass along any information that would make the ssHreana suspicious.  Make a report to the council.” 

Kurilis touched his eyestalks to the ground and glided out of the room. 

 

                                  _____________________________

 

 

“Robot, I want to know where Mom and Dad are.  I’ve given you all the facts I can give you,” Will said.  “Even though I know they aren’t much.”  He had arrived only a short time before in the space pod, craving the company of the Robot along with answers to his questions.

The Robot’s internal servomechanisms whirred for a few minutes and then with a snap his bubble-shaped head and pincer arms retracted.  “Will Robinson, I will let you come back to the Jupiter II to visit, but I would prefer that you not bring me impossible-to-compute questions.”

Will chuckled.  For a mechanical intelligence, which had on occasion claimed to have no emotions or sense of humor, the Robot very often seemed to have both. “I know this was a tough problem, but I wanted to know if you had some factual insight to add to Penny’s intuitions.”  The boy stood at the console and watched the stars wheeling majestically in front of him.  “And I missed you, too.”

“I missed you as well, Will Robinson.  I miss all of you.  Based on what you have told me, my sensors indicate agreement with Penny that the Professor and Mrs. Robinson are alive.  As to where, I cannot say.  I can only give suppositions, which may have less than a fifty-percent chance of being correct.  Do you wish for me to state these?”

“Yes, please.”

“Supposition one.  The Zrilons had a teleportation device that was activated at the same time the detonation of the installation occurred.  Supposition two.  Your parents found a teleportation device similar to that which was used on Karturm.   Supposition three.   The zanling, Silverado, found a way to teleport two humans and two zanlings over interstellar distances,” the Robot intoned. 

“Grilar never mentioned the existence of such a device, but I’ll ask when I return to the planet.  He’s heading up the Qolon part of the mining delegation.  I would imagine that if Dad and Mom had another cube, it would have been evident in their last thoughts before the explosion.  But since when was Silverado able to teleport like that?  He only teleported himself to the ship didn’t he?” Will asked.

“Yes, Will Robinson, but we really do not know the full potential of the zanlings abilities,” the Robot answered.

 “But where would he have taken them?” Will asked. 

“Probably somewhere he was familiar with,” Max responded before the Robot could give an answer.  “Karturm was the place they were most familiar with, but there is the possibility that they may be on Krimlon, Earth or any of the places you visited when you were being hunted.”

The Robot raised and lowered his bubblehead with a snap.  Will recognized the action as one of robotic irritation, and he smiled softly to himself.   “You know, Robot, that is the only feasible explanation.”  The automaton seemed to be a bit mollified at being addressed directly.

Nova, is what the Robot and Max described possible?’ Will asked his little companion. 

Up to now, Nova had been sitting quietly on the communications panel, but now he cocked his head and squeaked.  It must be possible, Will, but I do not know how Silverado was able to do it.  Perhaps he was able to see inside the cube we used to find you on Anoxis,’ the little lizard suggested.

See inside the cube?  Interesting.  I wonder how one would do that?’ he mused.  Nova’s answer was just a telepathic equivalent of a shrug.

“Robot, we’re going to have to return soon, but I want you to keep an eye on anything going on in the vicinity.  I have a funny feeling about those Zrilons.   They wanted something besides payment from the Qolon for helping them, but I can’t put my finger on what it was.  They kind of took off awfully fast without any kind of argument”

“I am already keeping an ‘eye on things,’ Will Robinson.  There are no ships anywhere in the vicinity of this solar system, although there is something that could possibly be a probe of some kind.  It is very small.  Perhaps it would be wise to ask the ssHreana if they have probes at the outer edges of their galaxy,” the Robot intoned.   

“I will, Robot,” Will pondered out loud.  “Thanks.” 

 

 

 

Chapter Twelve
Chapter One
Lost in Space Fiction
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