Planet of Tranquility
Qurilis, the current leader of the gifted ones,
keeper of the old ways, and largest of the race of zanlings closed his
golden eyes and sighed. The
humans would most certainly need help.
The young one, the one bonded to the human leader, had been
unable to get the little group close to the caverns.
He sighed again, then raggedly drew in a breath.
Aging was glorious up to a point, he decided, but now his body
was interfering with life’s pleasures.
Mentally, he chided himself.
He should have been able to help the little one get them here.
He should have been able to give him clearer instructions.
Events on the water planet had taken him by surprise, but Qurilis
was gratified that the young one was learning so quickly.
take several mounts and go meet the Guardian and his beloved.
They will need your assistance getting here,’ he instructed
his Krimlon attendant. The young man was somewhat short, with red hair,
slightly pointed ears and a bright smile.
“We will set out immediately, Lord Qurilis,”
he said, then did a double take. “The
of those you are meeting is the Guardian. Once
you find them, you will have to hurry back.
Their lives may depend on your speed.
Do you understand?'
my lord,” Brixel said with a slight bow, quickly leaving the room.
deference of these non-gifted Krimlon refugees was somewhat annoying at
times, but soon that would be a moot point.
The old would pass, as they had on K’rt’rm and the young ones
would soon be ready to usher in, what Qurilis hoped, would be a new era
of peaceful coexistence between the gifted and the non-gifted.
Closing his eyes, he concentrated on the little group camped for
the night near the south end of this valley of refuge. He was deeply troubled.
The bonding had been right, the progress of the zanling
prince-in-waiting better than expected, but it appeared there was a
price. The Guardian
had suffered from the severe strain of events associated with the
bonding. Even though he had
adapted well enough, Qurilis would have to ponder what he could do to
help John Robinson.
he called. Another
Krimlon approached from the outer chamber and bowed.
‘I wish to be left
totally alone until the arrival of the prince-in-waiting and his
entourage. I have need of much meditation,’ Qurilis instructed.
my lord,” Garis answered and left.
Qurilis knew his desires would be strictly obeyed.
Laying his golden head down on his resting pad, he alternately
dozed and meditated.
stretched quickly, trying to ease the stiffness out of his aching back,
before he placed his hands once more at the top of the fire drill. Maureen’s hands reached the bottom and he took over, the
spinning of the long wooden stick continuing in a never wavering action.
Maureen waited until his hands worked their way down to the
bottom again, and then she took over. “What I wouldn’t give for a box of matches right now,”
she commented wryly. Maggie
not your fault I sent you out on a wild goose chase,” John told the
little lizard, referring to her search for flint-like stones. “But right now, I sure do wish you had more dragon
than flutter.” Maggie
gave a puzzled squeak and John showed her a quick vision of a
fire-breathing dragon. The
little blue zanling chirped in astonishment.
John laughed as he took his turn once more on the fire drill.
“No, what I showed you only exists in fantasy stories,
what seemed an eternity, a red glow began to show at the bottom of the
stick, and a short while later tiny tendrils of light-colored smoke
became visible in the darkness. A
miniscule flame bolstered their hopes and caused renewed efforts.
As John continued spinning the drill, Maureen began blowing
softly and feeding tinder to the newly created fire.
Soon John lay back on the ground, a satisfied look on his face.
The crackling fire was small, but it was enough to give not only
light, but comfort. Maureen
nestled up against his shoulder and soon felt his strong arm encircling
her body. Silverado woke up
long enough to crawl on to John’s chest and curl up again.
Maggie snuggled up between Maureen and the fire.
told you I could do it,” he commented with a wry grin.
“But I was beginning to have doubts.
Actually, my dear, if you hadn’t been helping me, I wouldn’t
have succeeded. ”
just would have taken you a little longer, my darling Boy Scout,”
Maureen replied with a smile.
getting too old for the ‘little longer’ part.
Thanks for helping.”
long silence ensued, broken only by the sounds of local wildlife, none
of which sounded dangerous. The
fire gave the couple the feeling of protection against any potentially
harmful creatures. John sat
up, displacing the somnolent Silverado, who squeaked, opened one eye and
then curled up on the ground. After
placing a few broken limbs on the fire, John turned to Maureen.
“You remember how I got rid of Mizel’s device?” he asked.
dear, I do, but that won’t work with these devices,” she said,
knowing his desire even without telepathy.
She listened and heard him wheezing, indicated that he would need
to make a trip to the pond soon. “Mizel’s
apparatus was primarily an instrument of pain and control.
These bio-adaptation devices are more complex. They actually change certain biological workings in the
recipient’s body. Their
removal requires the services of a trained medical technician,” she
knew that, but one could hope. I
feel a bit helpless, being tied to the water on a strange world that
doesn’t seem to have a great deal of it, at least not in this part
anyway. We would be better off without them.”
know, John,” Maureen said with a sigh.
She was beginning to feel the familiar discomfort as well.
“This is a very useful tool, but you’re right.
We are about as out of place here as a camel in the bayou.”
hell on l’amor, too,” he added, feeling the desires borne of
proximity with his wife, but tempered by the distress messages his body
was sending him. Sighing
lustily, he leaned over and kissed Maureen tenderly.
“I’ll be right back. I
have a pond to visit,” he murmured.
do, too. I’ll join
you,” she said. “Maggie,
watch the fire.”
they carefully walked the short distance to the little pond, Maureen
took his hand. “John, I
know this is hard on you. I
wish I had some way to teleport us back to the kids right now.”
stopped and pulled her close to him, running his hands through her hair,
then he bent down and held her crushingly close to his body.
Ignored was the discomfort he was beginning to feel; the only
thing that was important to him at that moment was Maureen. Her closeness was a comfort, and his fingers, his hands, his
lips drank in her physical presence; his mind was filled with her
caring, and her love. It
was now that he was glad she had come back for him.
He needed her; needed her desperately.
His desire was an ache in his chest; an ache that had nothing to
do with the needs that an alien device imposed on his respiratory
they pulled away from each other, they were panting slightly.
“Oh, John,” she murmured.
Hand in hand they continued to the water, where they replenished
their bodies’ needs for oxygen.
They swam languidly underwater, enjoying the warmth of the water
against their faces.
felt tendrils of Maureen’s playfulness and desire.
Unzipping the wet suit and slipping out of it, he swam the short
distance to the surface and tossed it on shore.
Maureen’s followed quickly.
Maureen mentally laughed at the condition of his tee shirt, which
had partly sacrificed itself to the making of the fire drill.
It followed the suit. The
water caressed them, added a new dimension to their pleasure.
They swam next to each other; their thoughts entwined, until the
moon, which had risen just before the setting of the sun, itself set in
the west. Finally they
walked out onto the tiny spit of land, their skin raising goose bumps as
the chill air wafted around them.
close to each other, they danced over the cold ground back to their
campsite and sat close to the fire.
As John added more wood, he noted in satisfaction that Maggie had
added enough small branches to keep it going during their sojourn in the
pond. Cuddled close to Maureen, their underwater suits draped over
their bodies, John felt his desires explode like the dry limbs feeding
their little fire.
I love you,’ he declared and drew her close to him once again.
felt the white-hot passion of his thoughts and the heat of his body as
he held her close, then her own passion, her love for him flamed so
strongly that she felt tears of joy well up in her eyes.
cheeped softly and hopped over to the fire where Silverado was sleeping,
curling up next to his body, her tail entwining around his. He squeaked softly in his exhaustion and laid his head on her
next morning, Maggie raised her head and squeaked pensively.
The sun was just peeking up over the horizon and Maureen was
still snuggled tightly in the arms of her beloved.
The zanling saw the little puffs of their breath and was glad
that they had put their suits back on.
Shivering slightly, she noticed in gratitude that Silverado had
his tail entwined around her neck. Feeling movement, he opened one golden eye.
There are men coming to take us to the home caves,’ she
informed the silver zanling.
I heard as I came out of sleep. But
I am worried.’
I am, too. The journey is
longer than they have breath for,’ she
told him. ‘Even
with the help of those coming.’
is my fault. I should have
taken us all the way to the caves,’ Silverado
said bitterly, recrimination heavy in his thoughts.
‘This power scares me.
John is not well because of us.’
rubbed her head under his chin to reassure him.
‘Why are you so hard on
yourself? John is all
right. It is a human thing
and not just because of us. And
it is impossible to learn everything at once.
We must learn a little at a time.
You did well bringing us here, saving us from death.’
She paused for a moment before continuing.
‘And it must be possible to make the trip or the Gifted One
would not have made the request.’
tentatively agreed. ‘We
will let our bondlings sleep a little longer.’
The two lizards sat basking in the morning sun before flying
into the forest for refreshment. Silverado
flew stiffly and slowly, but felt better than he had the previous day.
An hour later, when the pair returned, he flew over to his
friend, who was still asleep. Soon
he had positioned himself on John’s chest and was peering into his
bondling’s face. ‘John. Wake up.’
human’s waking was, unlike several weeks ago, pleasant and soothing.
Grumbling at the intrusion, but nevertheless obeying it, John
immediately found himself looking directly into the golden eyes of his
what’s so important that you have to drag me from the most pleasant
dream I’ve had in days,” he complained.
is sending a group to take us to the home caves.”
caves? Qurilis?” John
asked, puzzled, still half asleep.
is the oldest of all the zanlings.
Centuries old. He
helped me find the way here,’
Silverado explained. ‘I
only wish I had been better and taken us all the way to the caves.
It will be a hard journey.'
saved us, my friend. For
that I am grateful. The
rest we can overcome. Don’t
be so hard on yourself.’ John
carefully extricated himself from Maureen’s somnolent embrace and
climbed to the top of the rock formation near which they had camped.
He looked in the direction Silverado indicated then looked up at
the sun. A small cloud of
dust in the distance gave an indication of the approach of their escort.
Silverado was right, it would be a difficult journey.
Looking toward the mid-morning sun, he felt its glare like some
alien thing trying to suck out his living breath.
‘Stop it,’ he
admonished himself. Quickly
clambering down, he kneeled near Maureen's sleeping form and, bending
over, tenderly kissed her on the forehead.
eyes opened, awareness returned, and reaching up, she pulled him closer
to her. “What a
wake up call, John,” she finally said.
going to have company in a couple of hours.
Want to freshen up in the pond?”
my love,” she said. She
was feeling the familiar heaviness in her chest.
Looking up, she saw a pensive look on her husband’s face.
“John, I don’t have to be telepathic to sense that you’re
troubled. What is it? They
aren’t enemies are they?”
no. They’re friends, an
escort from granddaddy zanling, Qurilis.
I get the impression from Silverado that he’s the key to
getting back to ssMrillorrin and the children,” John explanation.
“It’s just that the day is looking to be very hot and the
distance to Qurilis’ home caves is long.”
make it fine,” she said with a determined tone in her voice. “Whatever it takes to get back to the children, I’ll do
the look in her eyes, John had to agree.
If willpower had anything to do with it, they would already be
back on ssMrillorrin. “I
stand corrected, Mrs. Robinson. How
could I doubt your resolve?” he asked with a chuckle.
As they walked to the pool, he heard his stomach growling, and
realized that they had had nothing to eat for at least a full day. Calling to Maggie, he indicated their needs and watched with
satisfaction as she zipped off into the small forest on the slope.