Planet of Tranquility
Mark was almost getting too big to rest on her hip,
and Judy looked around for a chair to sit on.
She glanced back at her sleeping parents and sighed.
Dad was resting easily, looking almost boyish in repose.
His hair was longer than she had ever seen it and it added to the
appearance of youth. Mom,
on the other hand, still seemed to be in pain, occasionally moaning and
began squirming and fussing. There
was no indication of hunger or discomfort; it was more a longing.
Concentrating on her son’s thoughts, she felt his desire for
something and then realized that Mark wanted his grandparents, most
particularly Mom. Feeling
that his presence might be soothing to her, Judy walked over and set the
baby next to his grandmother. Mark’s
flutter-dragon sat on the foot of the bed and squeaked his
near Maureen’s side, he lay down, his head resting on her shoulder. Soon Maureen and Mark were sleeping peacefully, expressions
of contentment on both faces. Judy
was amazed and could only stare in bewilderment.
After awhile she felt someone’s eyes on her and turning, saw
her father watching the occupants of the other bed.
has quite a talent, Princess,” Dad murmured.
do you feel, Dad?” she asked.
feel fine, just tired.” There
was a long pause. “Your
mom took the crystal.” It
was a statement of fact, not a question.
wish she hadn’t. I could
feel what it did to her.” He
paused. “It allowed her
to, knowing that I couldn’t hold it anymore.”
Looking up at Judy, he continued, “I learned a lot in the
semiconscious state after the crystal left me.”
don’t think so, but there was some form of instinctive active response
mechanism in those things. I
am glad to be rid of it.” His
gaze returned to his wife and for a few minutes, the only sound was that
of machinery. “I’m glad
that your mother was able to get rid of it quickly.
Where is it now?”
took it and gave it to Silverado. He
assimilated it. Where he
is, I don’t know. He
disappeared shortly after he took the crystal,” Judy explained.
did? It was meant for him
in the first place. Guess
he was ready for it now.”
stirred slightly and opened her eyes, looking around in confusion.
back to the land of the conscious and coherent, dear heart,” John
John. It’s over, isn’t
Mo. It’s finally over.
We’re free. Free
to go home.’
Penny stood at the edge of the beach watching Klik
and his cousins dancing their farewells on the waves, their whistling
wavering on the wind, and echoing in her heart.
Murreena and Murwon stood next to her.
‘Your destiny lies on the
planet you were meant to go to more than four years ago, Penny.
This was just a sojourn, meant to provide you with happy
memories. I hope your visit
has done just that, despite the invasion of the Zrilons.’
Murreena, it has. Despite
the theft of the crystals, it really has.’
safety; go in peace. Find
happiness on Gamma,’ Murreena
said as she and her pod mate slipped into the waters and disappeared. ‘Good-bye, John
Robinson, Guardian. Good-bye
to you all, your song will be sung in our Homeplaces for many cycles.’
Murreena, Murwon. Your song
is part of us as well,’ John said. They were left
with only the sighing of the waves as they turned and entered the
Jupiter II. The
repulsor jets hummed, glowed and soon lifted the ship into the upper
atmosphere and finally into the blackness of space.
John entered the equations to make the hyper-drive jump to Gamma
and with a quick warning, pushed the button to engage the engines.
The stars melted, flowed and blended into van Gogh-ish art forms.
With a sigh, John left the navigational console and headed to the
“John, Silverado will return when he is ready.
He is all right. I’m sure he is,” Maureen reassured him.
“I know he is,” he said simply, taking her in his
Maureen looked down the slope they had just climbed
with a great deal of pleasure. The
golden-needled conifers swayed gently in the warm breeze that seemed to
caress her and John as well. The
golden yellow sun was warm on their backs.
Below them the valley stretched a great distance, making the
Jupiter and the Earth scout probe seem like toys left by some giant.
She shivered a bit, remembering their encounter with real giants.
“Cold?” John asked, putting his arm around her.
“No, just remembering. Just thinking how beautiful and tranquil our new home
seems,” she answered.
Tranquil; hmm, that’s what we said about ssMrillorrin.
I will reserve judgments.”
A squeaking caused them to look above their heads.
Silverado and Maggie trilled a greeting from a branch.
“About time you caught up with us,” John remarked
‘Been learning from Qurilis, healing,’ Silverado
“And how is your wing?” John asked, peering into
the dense foliage of the tree.
The flutter-dragons floated down and landed on their
healed. The crystal allowed
me to heal my burns before I put it in a safe place.
I have to go back and practice using it until I am more fully
answered one question that had been bothering him since the destruction
of the Zrilon invasion force.
“Oh, John,” Maureen said, returning to their
previous conversation. “This
is home. And it is
beautiful. We will make it
our peaceful sanctuary,” she said fervently.
“Yes, I agree.
But as beautiful as it is, I think we’d better get down below.
You remember how cold it got when Judy and Don were here,” John
“Yes, that’s true, but the Robot says that we are
probably closer to the equator than the kids were. And Don himself says that the plant life seems a bit more
lush in this valley,” Maureen replied.
“I concede, but I still think we should get down to
the ship, before it gets dark.”
The descent was more quickly accomplished than their
accent had been and soon they were standing near their home of more than
four years. John
looked fondly at the battered old ship.
“About time you returned,” Don chided them.
“We just wanted to survey our new domain.
It’s every bit as beautiful as you described it, Don,”
Maureen said, watching the sun slip toward the western hills.
“I guess I should check out the probe and try to
send a message,” John said. Don
followed. A cursory
examination showed all of the small spacecraft’s systems working
perfectly. John booted up
the communications computer and typed in the hyper-drive transmission
codes. Then he paused.
“You ought to go for something momentous, John.
After all, we accomplished something quite wonderful and under
less than perfect conditions,” Don said.
“No, Don. I’m
just going to let them know we finally made it.
Let them decide if it’s momentous or not,” John replied, and
then turned the transmitter to ‘send.’ “Alpha Control.
This is John Robinson from Jupiter Base,” he said, typing at
the same time. “Primary
mission accomplished. We
have arrived on Gamma safely. Reporting
verdant grasslands, rolling hills and plenty of room for more
Several minutes of soft crackling static followed the
transmission and then, “Congratulations, Professor Robinson, and thank
God for your safe arrival.”
Keying off the transmitter, John looked up at the
stars, and then he turned to Don. “Do
you realize that we took almost the same time getting here after being
lost as we were supposed to take in cryogenics?”
“The important thing, John, is that we got here.”
“Yes, we got here.
We have arrived home.”