Planet of Tranquility

 

 

Chapter Sixteen

Resolve

 

 

John came back to consciousness to find himself floating above his father, looking down at his body lying prone on the couch.  He realized that he had accomplished somewhat the same thing that Qurilis had when they had talked in the mountain caves.   He had done it on his own and without conscious thought.  What kind of power do I have within me to be able to do this?’ he asked himself.  Then the professor understood the implications of being in his father’s home on Earth.   He had teleported himself here as well. 

“I’ll call an ambulance,” Frank said, the concern heavy in his thoughts as well as in his voice.  

John felt surprise with the ease at which he ‘heard’ his father and sister’s thoughts.  Alarmed, John decided he might as well see if he could communicate in this state.  It had worked with Qurilis.  No, Dad, don’t.’

“Did you say something, Roberta?”  

“No, Dad, I didn’t, I was going to ask you the same thing,” Roberta said, puzzled. 

Dad, it’s me, John.  Don’t call an ambulance.  I have gone through an unusual experience and it overwhelmed me.  My physical body was unable to handle it and I went into shock.’  John watched his father for a moment to see if he was ‘hearing’ him. 

“John?” he asked, continually looking down at the recumbent body on the floor.  

Yes, Dad.  The closest thing I can compare this to is an out of body experience.’

“I’ll be… 

‘My problem, though, is that I have to get control of what is causing all this, or I can’t return to the family, and can’t do what I need to do.’

“Would someone tell me what’s going on?” Roberta said as she pushed a pillow under John’s head. 

Sorry, Ro, I started ‘talking’ to Dad and forgot to include you.’  He repeated his comments to his sister.

“John, what can we do to help?” Frank asked, concerned at what John was not telling him.   

Dad, it is too complicated to tell you the whole story,’ John said, reading his father’s thoughts.  ‘Suffice it to say that I have absorbed an alien element that enhances telepathic powers.  Unfortunately, all of the mental messages that I began receiving became overwhelming.  I have to learn to block that out,’ John explained, including Roberta as well.

“You mean that thing on your head?” Roberta asked.   

‘No, that is a device that allows me to breathe underwater.  We were visiting a water planet.  A supposedly tranquil and peaceful water planet,’ John answered, his touch of wry sarcasm bringing a smile to his sister’s lips.   

“That’s why your breathing seemed a little off,” Roberta murmured.   

“Too bad you don’t have Maureen here.  You keep saying she has always been your focus,” Frank commented.   

John didn’t respond right away; he was pondering his father’s statement.  Dad, I think you may have hit on something, but I will have to be ‘in my body’ to bring Maureen here.  Let me try.  It will help, I think, if you attempt to keep your emotions under control.’  With trepidation, John re-entered his body, all the while trying to build a shield to barricade himself from the world as he concentrated on bringing Maureen to him.  He was only partially successful. While focusing on finding Maureen, he found himself shifting, going through the nothingness of teleportation.  John realized that he was going to get her and not just summon her. 

 

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“Don, we won’t be able to get back down to the planet before we die of oxygen deprivation,” Will said morosely.   

The boy’s words brought the pilot out of the self-pity that watching the Zrilon ships had imposed upon him.   It was unusual for Will not to take a problem like that and figure it out for himself.  Of course, Don was so disgusted with himself for getting themselves in such a predicament that he wasn’t able to come up with any solutions, either.  “We’ll figure something out, Will.”  

“May I suggest that you adapt the shower to accommodate your needs,” Max said from behind them.  “It was fitted for use in zero gravity so it can be a totally water tight enclosure.”

“Yes, excellent idea, Max.  You’re a genius.  We might as well get to work on it, since we can’t seem to do anything else,” Don said, turning toward their living quarters.  Just as he was beginning to feel a tightness in his chest, they finished the modifications.  “Will, you try it out first.”  

While waiting for the cubicle to fill up with water, Don turned to the Robot, who had helped in the modifications.  “Now, if we could only figure out as easy a solution to calling for outside help.   Any ideas?”

“That is not an idea that even needs to be considered, Major West.  I sent a distress call just after the Zrilon ships reentered this system.  I had studied all of the data and was 97% sure of their intentions.  I felt it was better to offer explanations later if I was wrong than to wait for 100% confirmation.  I sent the communication to the Galactic Confederation headquarters and received a confirmation.”

Don just stared at the automaton for a minute before responding.  “I’d kiss you if it wasn’t unseemly.  Wonderful work, Robot!  Maybe they can get some ships here before these jokers make it to their home solar system.”

 

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Mril mur Prowlith Arocorlin gazed at the communiqué in shock.  “You said that this came from the Jupiter II?  Commander Robinson’s ship?” she asked the very young aide standing near her desk.  The aide answered in the affirmative.   “Well, I am beginning to think that if there is anything cataclysmic going on in the universe, then Commander Robinson will be involved in it.”  

The aide was still standing stiffly, as though at attention, after Prowlith had read and reread the message.  “Your decision on the matter, ma’am?” the aide asked after a polite interval.

Looking up, she nodded.  “I may have sharp teeth, but I will not eat you, cub.  Relax a bit; you make my back ache watching you stand like that.  Is Commander Llriloris’ cruiser still in the system?”

“Yes, ma’am, they just finished leaving dry dock for a quick systems’ check.   Shall I contact him?”

“Yes, and tell him that this could be a dangerous assignment; his troops should be in complete readiness.  I also am authorizing him to pull into service any available and ready vessel.  I think we’ll need as much presence as possible.  Also tell him I am on my way.  I am going on this excursion.  I would really like to see what Commander Robinson is up to this time,” Prowlith instructed.  She watched the aide leave, then turned and toggled on the video communicator to make her report and to let her mate know of her plans. 

Within six hours she was sitting in the guest’s chair watching the embarkation of the small fleet.  While not as much as she would have liked, this small fleet of one battle-ready cruiser, three light escort vessels and a transport ship would have to do.  The transport had an array of scout and reconnaissance ships in her bays.  Prowlith was pleased at the speed with which this small police force had assembled itself and she just hoped that it would be enough and that they would arrive soon enough. 

“Commander Llriloris, you have read the scan of the situation.  We must make haste to the ssMrillorrin system before these crystals can be used.”

“Agreed, Commander Prowlith.  We can only hope there has been enough resistance from the ssMrillorrin to delay the departure of the Zrilon invaders,” the fleet commander replied and turning to his second in command, made the order to leave the system. 

 

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Maureen was shocked when John suddenly appeared before her.  Silverado squeaked from her shoulder, where he had been laying dejectedly ever since John’s disappearance.   Without saying a word, John took her in his arms and hugged her fiercely.  She could feel a strange sort of tingling emanating from him, which she attributed to the influence of the flame crystal.  I need your help,’ he finally told her.  His telepathic ‘voice’ was strained and stress-filled.  She could feel, slightly, the cacophony of telepathic clutter in his mind as he spoke to her.  It was like the background noise on an old recording that was turned up too loud.   

Pulling back only slightly, she could see in his eyes the fierce battle he was waging within himself to remain in control.   Of course, my love.  What can I do?’’ she asked.

Focus on Dad’s house and go there with me.’

Automatically, she did so, but wondered at his choice of rendezvous points.  Earth would not be the quietest place to try and regain one’s telepathic equilibrium.  She saw Penny and Judy sending worried looks her way and she made a motion to reassure them just before the darkness of teleportation overtook her. 

Then she was standing in Frank Robinson’s living room, the elder Robinson staring at them, deep anxiety etched on his face.  “Rest,” John murmured and collapsed in her arms.  Frank helped her carry him to the couch.  Silverado sat on his chest and chirped mournfully.   Roberta came from the kitchen and looked at John and the lizard and then at Maureen.   Silverado continued to squeak softly, sadly.   

“Stop feeling sorry for yourself.  The roles are simply reversed and now we have to help John,” Maureen snapped at the depressed flutter-dragon.   She felt a soft, whispery kind of amusement in her head and looked around at her in-laws.   

“That was John,” Frank said, looking around the room and then feeling foolish for doing such an illogical thing.  “Wasn’t it, Johnny?”  

Yes, Dad, it’s me.  Maureen, don’t be so hard on Silverado, he tried his best.  He was willing.  The best description of what is going on now, is what I did when Qurilis was teaching me back on Krimlon.’

“The out of body experience?” she asked, puzzled.  “John, I’m confused.  You don’t seem to have the telepathic overload, as Silverado described it, now that you are separate from your physical self.  I wonder why.”  There was a long pause in which everyone stood around waiting for someone to say something.

‘Interesting point.  Maybe Silverado has some insight on that, because, frankly, I don’t know.  I just found that it’s so.’   There was another pause.  ‘Silverado informed me that it has something to do with the physical synaptic processes of the brain, if I understood his zanling reasoning correctly.  That is where all sensory input is assimilated and processed.  It is a physical process.  Sounds reasonable.  I should have thought of that myself.  But I have also found that I have not been able to think very clearly lately.' 

Maureen laughed pleasantly.  “John, that last thought is an understatement. Hmm, what Silverado says makes a great deal of sense to me, too.  If you could find a way to divorce yourself from the physical stimuli long enough to build a shield, then dealing with the real world would be much easier.  Also, if you are going to have to destroy those other flame crystals, you will have to deal with Zrilon thoughts, too,” Maureen reasoned.  She hated the thought of John in yet another dangerous situation, but knew that he would do it anyway, simply because it had to be done.  

“Flame crystals?  Zrilons?  What kind of dangerous situation have you gotten yourself into this time, son?” Frank asked, still a bit disconcerted that he was talking into the air.   

‘Dad, a flame crystal is what I assimilated that enhanced my telepathic abilities.  It is with its power that I’m going to destroy the other crystals that were stolen by a race of aliens called the Zrilons,’ John explained.  

“Why you, John?” Roberta said accusingly.  “Wasn’t it enough to fight the Graxod?”  

It was thought that Silverado, here, was the only being capable of assimilating a crystal and doing the job, but because of his lack of physical maturity, the flame crystal rejected him.  I just happened to be standing there to catch it.  I was volunteered for the job, so to speak.  I have to follow it through, Roberta, because if the Zrilon aren’t stopped, they will have weapons and power that will make the Graxod seem like contestants in a Kindergarten playground squabble.’

There was an uncomfortable silence that seemed to head into eternity.  No one spoke, thoughts floated in eddies of ideas pondered and ideas discarded.  Maureen heard only the grandfather clock in the corner and the harshness of her own breathing, and she wondered remotely, why after such a short time she was already beginning to suffer from oxygen deprivation.  The only explanation she had was the effect of the teleportation itself, or the stress of the situation.   Maybe both, she finally decided. 

   

 

Chapter Seventeen
Chapter One
Lost in Space Fiction
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