Planet of Wishes
|Planet of Wishes
begins where Divided Planet left off. The family, tiring
of their seemingly endless quest for Earth or Alpha Centauri, relishes
the chance to rest for a while on a peaceful, idyllic planet. But
this planet holds secrets... secrets that could be deadly, or be the
key to their return home. It also begins a relationship with a
strange but pleasant race of creatures that Penny names
The Robinson family, Don West, Dr. Smith, the Robot and the Jupiter II all belong to Twentieth Century Fox/Space Productions, whomever. I really can't be sure anymore. But I have borrowed them, and fit them to my vision of sci fi with a great deal of satisfaction and gratitude.
The 'flutter-dragons' and all the other creatures that the Robinson clan encounter in this story, including humans, are my creation. Please ask before you take them out to play.
This story is lovingly dedicated to my dear friend, Patricia Crumpler. She was my beta reader and resident expert on LIS behavior. I have made minor changes in this story to better fit what I wrote in later stories.
Chapter One - Wedding
Peering over the monitor of the navigational computer, Professor John Robinson gazed in rapture at the star sprinkled vault of ebony darkness. It was a sight that never ceased to amaze him, making him pause in silent wonder every time the Jupiter II came out of hyper-drive. But this time, as it had a great deal recently, it also frustrated him. Looking down at the computer screen, he entered various equations and the screen finally lit up with charts of the star systems nearest their position.
John knew at a glance that these, too, were unknowns, and he ordered the computer to save them for possible future reference. Sighing, he then gave the termination order and exited the program, looking up again at the stars that appeared to slowly and majestically swing in front of him. Hands began massaging his shoulders and neck, the fingers rubbing in a way that almost always relaxed him. "Umm," he sighed after a few minutes, reaching up and taking his wifeís hands in his. Drawing her down toward him, John kissed Maureen tenderly and then more passionately.
"Did anyone ever tell you that you are possessed of extra-sensory-perception?" he asked, a few minutes later. "You always seem to be able to know when I need something like that." Then he laughed and pulled her into his lap. The swivel chair squeaked in protest at the addition of another person. "The next time weíre near a Sears, we have to get a couch." John held his wife close. "But in a pinch, this will do. Itís obvious the architect who designed this ship wasnít married."
Maureen laughed at the joke, but certainly had to agree. The Jupiter II was a utilitarian ship, made to carry cryogenically preserved humans, and not for the type of journey that had been forced on them. There were times when she woke up wanting to scream at the sight of the metallic walls and gray fixtures. And she longed for a stove: a real stove, not a replicator, nor even the miraculous wonder oven that had broken down after two years. Just to be able to cook a big turkey dinner, now that would be heaven.
Snuggling against Johnís chest, Maureen thought of all the times in the past, when she would stop somewhere and get carry-out dinners for the family because both of their schedules disallowed home cooked meals or because the thought of having to fix something after a day at work made her feel even more tired. The irony caused Maureen to laugh again.
John looked at her curiously. "My joke wasnít that funny," he quipped.
"I was just wishing for a stove, a real honest to goodness stove, not a replicator that has to be reprogrammed every few weeks because it wasnít made to be used for three years," she said in exasperation. "Or that tin box that broke down a year ago, although that was better than the food replicator."
"I will add that to my list of things to pick up at the department store."
"John Robinson, Iím serious," Maureen said testily. This time John rubbed her shoulders, and she, too, was able to feel a release of tension. "Iím sorry, dear, itís just that I get a closed-in feeling sometimes."
"I know. I do, too, and I have also been noticing how tense everybody has been lately. Thatís why Iíve been continuing to jump to different coordinates, praying that the defensive devise in the hyper-drive unit doesnít fail and land us in the middle of a star or planet." Sighing, John held his wife close and said softly, "I canít help but wonder, though, if Iím only taking us farther away from Earth, instead of closer."
"We just have to take that chance, John, and hope for the best," Maureen reassured him.
"I remember when I went to summer camp as a kid, the advisors would always tell us to stay put if we got lost and weíd be found eventually. What an incredible bit of irony that is." John paused and looked out the observation window thoughtfully. "Because in this case, to stay put and wait is death. There is no one out there to find us. But this blindly hopping around still scares the hell out of me, Mo," he confided, almost in a whisper.
Maureen knew that John had what she would call mini-anxiety attacks every time a hyper space jump was made, and she guessed that their safety was the reason. She caressed his cheek. "Weíre fortunate that we were given the technology to make these kind of interstellar jumps, or we would have even less hope of finding our way back. John, we canít worry about the what might beís, we just do what we have to do," she leaned closer and kissed him. "Right now, you have a promise to fulfill."
Johnís face registered confusion.
"You promised to officiate at your daughterís wedding, remember?" Maureen chuckled.
"You sure did," Major Don West said brightly. Both Robinsons jumped in surprise, having been oblivious to his approach.
"Yes," John smiled, good humor returning. "I did. The one good perk to this job."
Maureen slid out of his lap. "All right, when?" she asked Don. Every time she thought of Judyís impending marriage, she felt the tears just on the verge of flowing. It had seemed like just yesterday that she and John had been amazed at the tiny bundle in their arms and now their little girl was full grown and ready to start a family of her own.
"Judy and I wanted to have our wedding among the stars, and I canít think of a more beautiful ocean of stars then what I see out there right now," Don said. "Let me check with Judy, but how about tomorrow?"
"You are a wise man who has already learned when to defer to your better half," John said sagely. "Unless you say otherwise, we will plan on tomorrow evening.
"Oh, but thereís one thing that will be hard to get used to," Don said evenly.
When his future son-in-law didnít continue, John asked, "What?" He knew Don well enough by now to realize that he was being set up for some kind of witty repartee, but he always took the bait.
"Calling you Dad," Don answered with a straight face. John looked at him in shock, and after a moment of silence, Maureen began to laugh, the two men joining in shortly thereafter.
"Donít you dare," John was finally able to get out.
John stood on one side of the observation deck and watched with emotion filled eyes as his daughter and his best friend stood before him. He briefly reminisced back a couple of months when he thought he would never be able to witness and take part in this happy event. When he had almost died...
Donís expectant look brought him back to the present. John saw the reflection of the myriad of shimmering stars in his bright eyes.
Clearing his throat, John continued the informal ceremony. "Iím going to say a few things before administering the vows." Looking at his oldest child, and then at his close friend, he smiled and said, "Judy, Don, you are embarking on a journey of joy and happiness, with sadness and pain sprinkled in. If you decide right now that you are both committed to making this journey all the way to the end with each other, then there will be so much more joy than sadness. You both need to remain loyal and dedicated to each other," John paused before continuing. "I thought, on the day that I married her, that I could not love Maureen any more than I did that day. I was wrong. I love Maureen more now than I could ever have dreamed possible twenty-three years ago. I will love her even more in the years to come. You will come to understand that for yourselves." John smiled at his wife standing near Judy and watched the tears flow unchecked down her face.
"Enough said," he commented with a smile and then proceeded to administer the vows, finishing with, "I now have the privilege of pronouncing you man and wife. Don, kiss your bride." There was no hesitation, Don gathered Judy in his arms in a tight grip and kissed her passionately. Judy put her arms around her husband and reciprocated.
"Mrs. West," Don pulled away for a moment.
"Yes, Mr. West," Judy answered.
"You look ravishing," the major exclaimed and kissed her again. Soon he announced, "This is an informal ceremony. We are dispensing with the formalities of hand shaking, first dances, bouquet tossing, reception lines and pieces of wedding cake in each otherís faces and going straight to the honeymoon," he added, laughing. Scooping up his wife, Don marched to the elevator, and when the door whooshed open, the pair disappeared inside.
For approximately a minute, John stared at the elevator doors and then started laughing happily. "I hope, Penny, that you had time to move your things to Donís old room; because if you didnít, there wonít be a chance until tomorrow," he finally said with a wry smile.
"Judy couldnít wait to move my stuff out, so you donít have to worry about that, Dad," Penny quipped.
"Yeah, they made me do most of the carrying," Will said with a sigh. Everyone laughed, except Maureen, who was still trying to stem the flow of tears. John put his arms around his wife and kissed her tenderly, using a handkerchief to gently wipe away the tears.
"Our baby is grown up now, John," she whispered.
"I know, dear heart," he whispered back.
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