Planet of Tranquility
When Brixel arrived at the rendezvous point, he found the Guardian
and his beloved swimming in a small pond.
After he had watched for a while, he wondered at their ability to
hold their breath. He
also began understanding Qurilis’ insistence at bringing a change of
clothes for the pair as well. Their
outer clothes that lay by the side of the pond looked heavy and hot.
“Guardian,” he called out when the alien couple had climbed out
of the water. “We are
from the home caves.”
“Yes, I know,” the Guardian answered pleasantly, running his
hands through his hair. His
beloved stayed close by his side. Her
features more closely resembled his own and he wondered if she was of
“I have clothing that will be much more comfortable to travel in.
I hope that yours is a decent fit, Guardian,” Brixel said.
“Thank you, …”
“My apologies. My name
is Brixel. I am used to
being around Lord Qurilis, he usually knows things like that from my
mind…” he paused. “But
you can… uh, from my mind, that is…”
The Guardian laughed. It
was a friendly sound. “Brixel,
I do have some small ability in that area, but I don’t pry.
And I thank you for the clothing.
Fit well or not, they will be much better than these wet suits.
I was worried about roasting on our trip,” he commented wryly.
“Brixel, there is something you need to know before we begin
this trip.” And the
Guardian proceeded to explain events of his recent past.
The Krimlon was dumfounded and realized the reasoning for Qurilis’
admonition to make all haste. He
could only nod to the aliens as they mounted to begin the journey to the
The sun was a furnace as it slowly lowered toward the western hill,
precluding all conversation and destroying all ambition.
They had been traveling for four hours, steadily, silently.
Brixel stayed in the front, keeping the pace to an even slow
cantor, which was as fast as he dared, for the animals’ sakes.
He pulled his wide brimmed hat down further over his eyes.
They were only a little more than halfway into the journey and
the aliens appeared half-dead, their breathing labored and harsh, their
awareness tenuous at best. He
looked up at the sun once more and then back to the Guardian, who was
now lying across his tilon’s neck, unconscious.
He knew that Qurilis had grown weaker as he had grown older, but
he would have to help or the Guardian and his beloved would die.
if you can hear me. I have
done the best I can, but these visitors will not make it.
They are suffering badly now and we are only halfway,’
Brixel thought in despair. A
sudden noise caused him to swing around in the saddle, and he saw the
Guardian’s silver zanling sitting up on his bondling’s shoulder,
keening stridently, and then the little creatures and their companions
were suddenly gone.
His Krimlon companions looked puzzled and alarmed, but Brixel just
smiled. Qurilis had heard
him; he had regained enough of his strength to save the visitors. “Let us ride to that stand of trees over there and
rest. The Guardian and his
companions are safe. Qurilis
transported them to the home caves,” he explained.
Nodding in satisfaction, the small group turned to the welcome shade
and rested until the sun had slid behind the hills.
Penny watched the mining operation in open fascination, getting as
close to the ssHreana scientists and technicians as she was allowed.
They had reached the site where the deposits of breshel lay
almost three days ago, and had immediately set up the equipment to
extract the life-saving mineral. Even
the ssHreana wore protective suits and were very careful around the
During a break in the mining, Penny slowly approached the lip of the
small chasm where the breshel had been found.
The soft bluish-white crystal seemed to be mated to a harshly
glowing reddish jewel. As
she gazed at them, the red crystals seemed almost to pulse, entrancing
her with their gleam. She
was fascinated and wanted to touch them, feel the warmth of the stones.
As she reached out her hand, she heard a shrill whistle in her
ears, and a hand jerked her back away from the chasm.
You must not touch the crystals!’
Murreena admonished her.
Penny could feel the abject fear in the ssHreana’s thoughts, and
she wondered at the minerals that were being mined to give an alien race
life. Confused, she
said as much to her companion.
the breshel does give life, especially in it’s refined form.
It is the other, the flame crystals, which are so dangerous.’
‘You mean the red ones? What
do they do?’
do not know exactly what they do. We
think that they draw those of telepathic ability to them and then when
handled do something to the holder’s mind.
Because the flame crystals are so dangerous, we have only been
able to do limited research on them,’ Murreena tried to explain. She
gazed into the human girl’s eyes.
the only ssMrillorrin who have dared to handle them, died painful
deaths. We kept the
location of this breshel and flame crystal deposit, the only one on our
planet, a secret. Or at
least we tried to. Apparently
someone knew about it and told the Qolon.
And they were desperate enough to agree to a partnership with the
Zrilon to mine it. If they
had come to us directly instead of trusting the Zrilon to get it for
them, we could have tried to get enough breshel to meet their needs.
I know that the Qolon really do need just the breshel. It is the catalyst in the cure for the wasting disease that
is devastating their people.
However, I suspect that the Zrilon wanted the flame crystals. It is rumored that the crystals also enhance computerized
weapons systems exponentially, giving whatever weapons they are
connected with tremendous power.’
didn’t know. Thanks for
saving me, Murreena,’
Penny told the ssHreana woman.
you from what?’
a familiar ‘voice’ said in her mind.
red crystals. They’re so
dangerous that the ssHreana haven’t even been able to experiment with
them to find out all they can do,’
Penny told Will.
‘You never did tell me what you found out from the Robot.’
noticed Murreena listening raptly.
much what you had already figured out, although the Robot’s deductive
reasoning was limited in this case,’ Will explained with a laugh. ‘He
doesn’t like intuitive reasoning.
Oh, he and Max said they miss all of us.
I really think they’re lonely.’
Mom and Dad will be back soon and we’ll leave for Alpha Centauri,’
Penny said thoughtfully. As
much as she loved ssMrillorrin, she was now eager to get to their real
indicated his agreement.
Don watched the little scene and listened to Murreena’s
was bothering him and he couldn’t put his finger on it.
Swimming closer to Murreena, he ventured a question,
‘Is this the only deposit of these flame crystals, Murreena?’
our planet, yes, and in all the known galaxy these are the purest
specimens and as such are the most powerful,’ she explained. They
both watched the miners return with their equipment. The technicians programmed their machinery and began the last
phase of the delicate operation. As
it had been explained to him, the last of the breshel would be extracted
by the evening meal. It
had taken three days to mine the precious mineral, but the Qolon would
finally have what they needed to prepare the mass anti-toxins for their
will happen to the flame crystals that are left behind?’ he asked.
valley will be filled in,’ Murreena answered.
‘These crystals are feared greatly by my people, Major West.
We will keep one or two to study and experiment on.’
I am getting the impression that you consider these crystals as
something evil. How can a
mineral be evil?’
he admonished her. In
the little bubble tied to his waist, Jimmy Doolittle cheeped pleasantly.
mainly our perceptions are from old writings, but there are enough
recent occurrences of the curious coming to test the old stories, that
we have a very healthy respect for them.
They seem to increase the power of whatever they are applied to,
a hundred-fold. If the crystals are applied to a weapon system, that weapon
has the potential of becoming so powerful that it can’t be destroyed.
I have also heard of species that use them to enhance mutations,’ Murreena explained.
Don looked at the glowing rocks and understood the ssHreana’s
fears. The thought of
confronting a weapon system that couldn’t be defeated scare the hell
out of him. He
shuddered, imagining a race such as the Graxod with such power.
As the last of the breshel was being carried away for the Qolon
envoy, Don turned to Murreena, realizing what had been nagging him the
past few days... the Zrilon.
‘You said that you suspected the Zrilon of wanting the flame
crystals. Where have they
gone? Has the Confederation
been notified and have they taken action?’
‘The Zrilon left the system without argument. The Confederation was given a report of the incident, but
since they didn’t actually steal anything, the only thing that is
being done was to send a reprimand to the Zrilon head of government,
along with a notice of order of reparations for the damage they caused.’
the Robot asked me to ask you if you have a probe at the edge of your
solar system. I totally
Will said, his thoughts full of embarrassment.
we have no such probes. Did
your robot speculate on this probe’s origin?’
Murreena, he didn’t,’ Will
‘But he was suspicious of the Zrilon’s motives.’
Murreena had the distracted look of someone listening to another conversation. Then she turned to the humans, fear palpable on her face. ‘The probe must have been Zrilon. There are two ships moving rapidly toward our planet and they are identified as Zrilon ships. All communications are blocked. We cannot send out a distress signal to the Confederation.’
Qurilis appeared to be sleeping deeply, but when the Krimlon
attendant came into his chambers with the silver zanling riding
languidly on his shoulder, his golden eyes opened and stared about him.
Guardian and his beloved comfortable?’ he asked. The Krimlon nodded.
Bring the prince close and then you may leave,’ he
instructed. After the
humanoid had left, Qurilis called softly, ‘Little
There is much we must talk about.’
Silverado raised his head squeaking softly in
indignation. ‘I am Silverado. That is the
name my bondling gave me when I was yet in the first stage.
It is my name.’ He gazed
defiantly at the large golden zanling that was more than ten times his
to be called after a human entertainment?’
the name my friend, John, gave me.
He did not give it to me in derision, he gave it to me because it
represented qualities he liked in that entertainment.
Qualities he felt I had,’ Silverado explained. ‘If the truth be
known, Lord Qurilis, it is also the name of an Earth vehicle, but that
is not what John had in mind when he called me Silverado.’
well, Silverado, but realize that Koreelis is as much a designation as a
name. Every zanling ruler
has had that name/designation,’ Qurilis
told the smaller zanling.
Silverado squeaked imperiously and cocked his head
to one side. ‘Then why isn’t that your name?’
‘I am not
the proper ruler. I am
only, what could best be termed, a regent.
Only the silver zanlings are the lord rulers of the zinorel
‘I am not
ready to be ruler. I am too
Qurilis raised his head, opening his eyes a bit
wider. ‘Perhaps, little one. But
the galaxy’s timetable and our own seldom match.
Circumstances are dictating our choices for us.
I will speak with your bondling.
He is strong and can help you through your growth.’
been sick. Caused by our
facts are not quite correct, Silverado.
Perhaps the bonding created some situations that caused pain and
suffering for the bondlings, but I doubt John Robinson would change the
past for a short while of peace and mental comfort.
And I believe that he is much healthier than you think he is.
His beloved has helped greatly in that regard.’
Qurilis gazed intently at his smaller counterpart.
‘It worries you that becoming ruler will cause a separation from your
Qurilis. In my first stage
I might have briefly been like a pet to him, but that quickly changed to
friend. Now it is more like
what the humans call brother.’
call me Lord. Qurilis is
fine. Right now we are
equals, but in the long term, you are my ruler, not the other way
golden zanling explained. ‘Once you have gained the ruler’s power, you can divide your time.
You will still have contact with your bondling.’
I will be able to teleport between here and where ever John is?’
grow as large as you?’
Qurilis raised his head and blinked in surprise.
‘Such a question!’
The large zanling sent bright laughter into the smaller one’s
mind. But deep down he was worried.
Silverado was right. He
was very young, having been forced to learn and grow more quickly than
he should have. Being John
Robinson’s eyes had compelled his graduation from his innocent first
stage several revolutions before he should have, and the forced
teleportation and events on ssMrillorrin were quickly forcing him to the
dangerous third stage before he had time to understand all of the
changes going on in his mind and body.
But there was no alternative.
The flame crystals had been found, and those who would use them
for conquest and lustful power would soon take them.
size was a result of the use of Spilan kenno flame crystals from the
Spiloris star system. Those
are gone. Your size will
not count, it will be your compassion and intellect that will be most
important. You will have need of the ssMrillorrin keno flame crystals,
but not to grow bigger.’
enhance and increase your telepathic powers….
Silverado, those aliens who forced you to teleport here are
intending to use one of that galaxy’s last remaining deposits of kenno
flame crystals to build their weaponry.
Such weaponry would be unstoppable.
They would be able to use those weapons to subdue all intelligent
life forms in that galaxy and any other they traveled to.
And the crystals will allow them to travel to other galaxies like
this one, where they will do the same thing over and over again.’
‘But I am
too little!’ Silverado
repeated. ‘I can’t do it!’ He
flapped his wings in his agitation.
too little to save your friend, John and his home planet, but you did it
anyway,’ Qurilis reminded the little zanling.
became his eyes. He did the
rest. This is different,’
Silverado protested, his thoughts confused and full of fear.
Suddenly he felt a soothing current of pleasant, reassuring
feelings from the older zanling, and he quieted down.
‘Qurilis, I will try, but
I am frightened. This is
why I will train your bondling to be a closer, more symbiotic partner to
you and not just your, as you put it, brother.
But it will not actually occur until you have gained the use of a
crystal.’ And the older zanling began the difficult task of
teaching the adolescent what he needed to know.