Planet of Tranquility
John woke in time to see a Zrilon in front of him,
with several others behind it, all of them holding weapons.
His eyes were blurred, but he felt it unwise to move his hand to
wipe the sweat away. His
joints ached, he felt slightly nauseated and he was shivering with cold.
Chuckling softly, the professor felt, for all the world like he
had the flu, and he couldn’t help but see the irony of the situation.
“Why are you laughing, humanoid excrement?
Our weapons are set to kill you slowly and painfully,” the lead
Zrilon demanded, his translator clacking furiously.
“Because, you jackass, I’m sick enough that I
don’t really care what you do to me right now.”
The translator clacked for a moment and the Zrilon moved backward
‘I lied,’ John
thought in despair, ‘I do
care.’ He pondered
furiously for a solution to this predicament.
He looked down at his hand, which was throbbing painfully.
A physical shield?’ He
tried to focus and felt the warmth that accompanied the crystal’s
shield…a shield…build a shield,’ he kept saying to himself,
until it became a mental chant. The
warmth became a heat that wasn’t very comforting this time.
Closing his eyes seemed to help his concentration somewhat and he
didn’t open them until he saw a bright glow beyond his eyelids.
Wincing, despite himself, John saw the bright points
of laser blasts bouncing off a nearly invisible shield, some of them
ricocheting back to the attacking Zrilon.
Clacking whistles accompanied mental screams of dying anguish,
but John couldn’t maintain the telepathic shield along with this
physical one. Finally, the
Zrilon backed off and waited near the entrance for his next move.
Deciding to take advantage of the situation, John tried to get
up, making it to a half crouch, before the ship was hit with another
blast and he fell to his hands and knees.
A Zrilon decided to see if the protective shield was still
working and ducked when the blast bounced back at him.
John was again trying to get up when another blast
hit the ship, this time the groaning and shrieking of tormented metal
coming clearer to his ears. The
Confederation ships must have hit something explosive, the professor
thought as he fell to the decking with a bone-rattling jar.
The thought that this little shield of his might not protect him
in the vacuum of space spurred John to attempt teleportation again.
The translator shrieked with the curses of the Zrilon
leader, but John forced that out of his mind, quickly lowering the
protective shield to use his remaining strength for teleportation.
Again the focus; again the chant; again his desire to reunite
with his family. No! Not
the Jupiter II! That might
be too far to teleport himself, so he focused on Prowlith instead.
This time the heat was painful…
Surprised gasps sounded in his ears and John opened
his eyes to see Prowlith standing wide-eyed above him, her tail flicking
in agitation. “Sick…
his body gave up the fight to stay conscious, he remotely saw a bright
glow out of the corner of his eye.
The decking shuddered as he slipped into total, blissful
In shock, Prowlith stared down at the flushed and
shivering human at her feet, and she wondered what he could have picked
up so quickly on the Zrilon ship. Behind
her, Llriloris called out orders. “Sick
bay, get a quarantine crew down here on the double!
You will be dealing with an Earth human.”
Squatting down, she touched his forehead with a
clawed finger. “Prowlith,
you have no idea what has caused his sickness,” Llriloris admonished
“No, but he returned by focusing on me.
If what he has is contagious, I have already caught it.
No, I will have to be quarantined as well, Commander, and I will
stay by him until he is in sickbay.
He is burning up with a fever.”
She turned to Llriloris, a worried look in her eyes.
“How could something work so quickly?”
A flash of fear showed on the commander’s face, but
he quickly hid it. The
medical team in full quarantine gear arrived at that moment, and he
watched silently as the human was placed on a transfer cart and carried
out of the command center. A
doctor stayed behind taking samples and checking the crew.
In sickbay, Prowlith watched as the medical team
worked on Commander Robinson. A
technician checked her over at the same time.
Instruments chirped, muttered and growled. After what seemed an interminable time, the head physician
“It would seem, Commander, that the human has
nothing that is contagious to us. We
have run every test and the computers have analyzed every sample and
reading three times.”
Prowlith was incredulous. “Then what’s wrong with him?”
“He has an infection of some kind.
We cannot determine what is causing it.
There are no wounds, external or internal, but we will run more
tests to try and find the cause. We have to; it is all we can do to maintain his temperature
at a reasonable level. We
are intravenously keeping fluids in him.
If it wasn’t for that assimilated device, we might have an
easier time figuring out the source of the infection.”
“May I see him?”
Her thoughts were that John Robinson, himself, might be able to
provide clues into what had struck him down.
“Yes, but his hold on lucidity will be tenuous at
best,” the doctor said. Prowlith
nodded and approached the human commander.
“So I made it,” he murmured when he saw her.
“Yes, Commander Robinson. Do you have any idea what might be causing your sickness?”
He paused so long, with eyes closed, that Prowlith
wondered if he was asleep again. “Can’t
think. But I’ll make you
“What?” she asked, in a puzzled tone.
“I will not call you Ms. Prowlith… if you just
call me John.”
She couldn’t help it, she burst out in a growling
laugh. He smiled slightly.
“Of course, John, it is a deal.”
“I just wish I knew how Silverado was,” he
murmured a few minutes later.
“Your zanling friend? He didn’t come back with you.”
“Sent him to the Jupiter. He was injured by a laser blast.”
“We’ll contact your ship and ask.
The last I heard they were on their way here, John.”
think…we destroyed all the crystals.
Only one left is mine.” He
sighed and closed his eyes. This
time she knew he was asleep.
Heading for the communications console, she ordered
the central communications to contact the Jupiter II. As soon as contact was made, they sent it to her console.
“This is Will Robinson, what can we do for you?”
Prowlith remembered the boy from the first visit.
“I am Commander Prowlith.
I am requesting some information for your sire,” she explained.
is he, Commander?”
“He is in our sickbay with an infection of some
kind, but our doctors are taking good care of him. He was inquiring about his zanling companion.”
She hated to hedge, but she really preferred to tell his
life-mate the bad news, rather than the child, no matter how mature that
child might be.
“He’s in shock, be we think he’ll be fine with
time. Our ETA is three
hours, twenty minutes. Too
many ships in the area to use the hyper-drive all the way in,” Will
“I will tell your sire, Will Robinson.
Thank you for your information.”
“Tell him we love him.”
“Yes, I will be sure to tell him that.”
After the connection closed, she turned back to John.
He was awake again and watched her approach with fever bright
eyes. “Get my family?”
“Yes, and they send their love.
I couldn’t tell them how sick you are, John, since I was
talking with your cub. They
will be here in a few hours.”
“I appreciate that… Silverado?”
“He is in shock, but they feel he will fully
recover.” The doctor
approached and whispered in her ear.
“Good news, John. The
remaining Zrilon ships have surrendered, and you did destroy all the
“Good…” His voice trailed off and she saw that
he was once again asleep. During
the next few hours she stayed near his bedside, talking to him when he
was awake, but mostly watching him sleep.
Finally, she heard the sick bay doors open and saw John’s
life-mate dash in.
“They told me how sick John was.
Why didn’t you tell me?” she demanded, her voice quivering
with fear and anxiety.
“I was speaking with your cub.
I was not about to tell him,” Prowlith explained to the anxious
smiled and reached for her hand. Prowlith
backed off. One of the
zanlings glided off Maureen Robinson’s shoulder and landed on John’s
chest. “I told you I
would come back,” he murmured. “As
soon as I kick this bug, I want to go home…”
“Of course, John,” she said, holding his hand and
feeling the throbbing of heat emanating from him, watching him slip into
Maggie had been peering closely at the sick man.
Suddenly she looked up and chirped stridently.
‘Maureen. His body is
fighting the crystal.’
stricken, Maureen looked up and saw the doctor and Prowlith watching
from across the room. “The
infection is caused by the crystal.
Somehow we have to get it out of him,” she announced.
Maureen felt the heat in John’s hand, and thought
of the moment when he had assimilated the crystal.
Grabbing his hand in a tighter grip between both of hers, she
closed her eyes and concentrated. She
focused on the crystal, whole and out of his body.
Maggie’s head lightly touched her hands and Maureen felt the
lizard’s telepathic strength. The
throbbing in John’s hand intensified, and he began to moan and then
cry out in pain. Then there
was heat, an intensely searing, but not physically burning heat.
John’s cries echoed her own as the crystal coalesced in their
hands and assimilated into her body.
She screamed at the torment, the intense pain of a foreign body
taking up residence in her body, and she dropped to the floor writhing
Vaguely she heard Maggie’s squeak of distress and
then there was only pain. She
felt the children’s thoughts trying to contact her, soothe her, take
away her hurts, but Maureen could only feel, she couldn’t respond.
The pain became all-consuming, filling every molecule, every atom
of her being. How could
anyone stand this? From a
distance she heard screaming and realized it was her own, echoing as
though from a tunnel, next reverberating in her skull, matching the
rhythm of her own heartbeat.
am here. Do you feel my
She had no idea who it was comforting her, but she
welcomed it, grabbed at it, like a dying man in the desert after the
thimble of water. Her
‘Hold on to
Maureen felt something smooth and cool under her
touch and she let her hot and trembling fingers rest on the source of
her solace. It was a
flutter-dragon, but which one? Then
she felt the crystal coalesce, withdraw from her body, rest momentarily
on her hand, before being drawn into the liberator next to her.
Cool, dark, silent oblivion greeted her and she was unaware of
pain or anything else.