Planet of Tranquility

 

Chapter 20

Tranquility at Last

 

 

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 thrashing. 

Mark 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 encouragement.  Crawling 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.

“He has quite a talent, Princess,” Dad murmured. 

“How do you feel, Dad?” she asked.

“I feel fine, just tired.”  There was a long pause.  “Your mom took the crystal.”  It was a statement of fact, not a question.

“Yes.”

“I 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.”

“Was it sentient?”  

“I 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?”

“Maggie 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.   

“He did?  It was meant for him in the first place.  Guess he was ready for it now.”

Maureen stirred slightly and opened her eyes, looking around in confusion.

“Welcome back to the land of the conscious and coherent, dear heart,” John said.

“Oh, John.  It’s over, isn’t it?  Finally?” 

Yes, 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.’

‘Yes, Murreena, it has.  Despite the theft of the crystals, it really has.’

‘Go in 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.’

‘Good-bye, 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 lower deck. 

“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 arms. 

 

                                                       ===============

 

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.   

“Beautiful, yes.  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 brightly.

Been learning from Qurilis, healing,’ Silverado answered. 

“And how is your wing?” John asked, peering into the dense foliage of the tree.  

The flutter-dragons floated down and landed on their shoulders.   All 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 grown.’

That 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 reminded her.  

“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 colonists.”  

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.”

 

 

The End

 

 

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