Planet of Wishes
Chapter Eight - The Library at Wereeshen
Will lay back on his bed late one night, the day after Christmas. His discontent had been growing steadily for the past two days. Somehow he had expected Mom and Dad to use the cube and teleport to Earth for a visit just like Penny had, but for some reason they hadnít. Now he wanted to use the cube himself, but he had the dilemma of not being sure of his destination.
Like Penny, he also wanted to see his relatives, but as much as he wanted to see them, Will thought that there should be something more substantial than just a short, although satisfying, visit. With the hyperdrive capabilities that the Jupiter II now possessed, they should be able to jump to Alpha Centauri or Earth. But they could only do that if they could find out where they were in relation to Earth. So far, it had been assumed they were in the same galaxy, but even that was not a sure thing.
Sighing, Will got up from his bed and slipped out of his cabin to his sisterís room where he lightly tapped on her door. When he was invited in, he got straight to the point. "Penny, do you still have the cube?" She nodded. "Iíd like to borrow it, if I may."
"Who do you want to go see?" his sister asked.
"Thatís my problem. I donít know," he answered. "Part of me wants to go visit Aunt Colleen, but what I really want, is to find out is where we are so we can get back to our own part of the galaxy. To Earth or Alpha Centauri."
"But how would you do that, Will?" Penny queried. "You donít know where to go to answer that kind of question."
"I know. Do you think that the cube would pick up on just a subject?" Will asked.
Penny looked alarmed. "Will, that could be so dangerous. I had a specific place in mind. Maybe you should talk to Dad."
"My gosh, Penny, Iím not stupid. If you are afraid for me to use the cube that way, Dad would have a fit! You know how he is."
Penny nodded. "Well, I guess if you had something in mind, it would either take you there, or you would just wake up in your own bed the next morning," she said weakly.
"Let me borrow it, and if Iím not here in the morning, then youíll know I succeeded, and you can break the news to Mom and Dad," Will said with a grin.
"Thanks a lot, little brother," Penny retorted with a smile of her own. But her smile faded as Will slipped out of her room and shut the door behind him. She was apprehensive about what he had planned, and little fingers of anxiety started crawling around in her stomach. "Be safe, Will," she whispered.
When Will tried to visualize a place of galactic learning, he knew that his mental picture was so vague that he had no chance of success, so he simply said words in his mind. ĎA repository of star charts,í he thought. Thatís what he wanted. A repository of star charts, a library of star charts. Those were the thoughts that he kept running in his mind as he clutched tightly to the cube. Suddenly, the boy felt a peculiar wrenching and the lines of his cabin walls grew vague and watery, fading until all was blackness around him. It was disconcerting, and he closed his eyes, drifting into a semi-somnolent state.....coming back to total wakefulness on a hard concourse or sidewalk outside a large strange shaped building.
The air seemed thin and cool, and the gravity was lighter than Earth norm. Will sat up and felt a presence behind him. Jumping to his feet and pivoting around, while at the same time shoving the cube in his pocket, Will was confronted by a diminutive creature with almost pipe-stem arms and legs, thin torso, round head with slightly bulbous eyes. Its mouth was fairly small, its nose large and hooked, and there were no external ears. Except for its head, the entire body was covered with a fine greenish down. Will had trouble deciding if it was fur or feathers and finally came to the conclusion that it was something in between.
When it opened its mouth, the speech that came out was a kind of whooshing, sibilant sound. Shaking his head, Will said, "Iím sorry, sir, but I canít understand you." A little more whooshing and it pulled out a small device from a pouch-like pocket. Pushing a few more buttons, it pantomimed to Will its desire for him to talk some more. Its fingers were long and thin, moving delicately like spiderís legs, and there were only three on each hand.
Shrugging, Will acquiesced, telling a bit about their trip through space, leaving out the details about where they were from, the Jupiter II, and other things that he didnít feel comfortable divulging right now. Looking at the little alien, Will assumed that it was a male, but until he had a translating device, he just couldnít tell for sure.
Still holding the device, the green alien beckoned to Will to follow him. Seeing no other recourse, the boy went along with him. They walked up the stairs into the conical shaped building. Apparently there is something universal about libraries the galaxy over, the boy thought to himself. There were stacks and more stacks of what appeared to be disks of materials. Excited, he stopped talking and gazed in wonder at all the knowledge that he assumed these disks contained, craning his neck to look upward toward the vaulted ceiling.
The fuzzy little creature tapped him on the shoulder and gestured for the boy to follow him. Whooshing softly, he also entreated him to continue talking, so Will told him about his experiences in school and in other libraries. Walking down a long corridor, the pair found themselves in front of a desk where another of the furry/feathery aliens sat. His alien handed his little device to the one at the desk. The device was put into the slot of a machine, which began humming and whirring.
The alien gestured for him to wait. Will looked around in undisguised curiosity. Then he looked back at the two aliens, who had been conversing with one another and staring at him in bewilderment. The boy guessed that the machine was analyzing his speech patterns and figuring out a way to translate. He tried to sign his interest in looking at the disks. The desk alien looked at his hands intently and then gestured for him to wait.
Soon, the machine hummed at a slightly higher pitch and then stopped. Pulling out two devices, the desk alien handed Will one of them, and gave the first device back to the little creature that had found him. Reaching over, his alien pushed a small button on the top of Willís device and then started speaking. Hearing sounds in English, Will smiled and held the device near his ear. Then he realized that the speaker piece was detachable, and he pulled it off and slipped it in his ear.
Suddenly the words were coming in clearly and understandably. "I appreciate being able to use this to communicate with you, sir," Will said politely to the desk alien.
"I am Shrooon," the first alien told him. "What kind of creature are you, and how did you get here?"
"Iím human. Homo Sapiens is the correct term in my language," Will told them. "And I teleported here." Which, of course, was the truth, but he just had no intention of telling them that the device was in his pocket. "My name is Will Robinson."
"I can assume that you are here to do research, Will Robinson?" Shrooon asked.
"Yes, sir. I need to look at some star charts."
"Then you are in the right place, Will Robinson," the alien smiled slightly. "Wereeshen is the largest repository of star charts in the galaxy."
"Just call me Will, please," the boy told him. "Using my full name sounds so formal."
"Very well, Will. Come with me, please, and we can get you started in your search," Shrooon said kindly.
Soon Will was sitting at what looked to be a computer terminal. "What did you wish to start with, Will?" Shrooon asked.
"First, I would like to see a representation of the galaxy," Will told him, hoping that it would be the Milky Way galaxy. When Shrooon made his request into the machine, a representation of a spiral galaxy showed up on the screen. One view faded into another, and Will soon realized that this was, indeed, the same galaxy that Earth was in. With a sigh of relief, he viewed all of the various representations. "Can you bring the picture back that we just saw?" he asked.
Shrooon complied. Will pointed to one of the outer arms of the galaxy. "I would like to see the star charts for that quadrant, please," he requested.
"Let me tell you how to work this machine, and then you can make your own requests." Shrooon patiently pointed out the various buttons to the bright-eyed boy. "You can make a copy of everything you need if you brought a compatible disk," Shrooon added.
Will was delighted. He pulled out a disk from his pocket and showed it to the Wereeshen. Shrooon then took it in his slender fingers, studying it intently. "A bit primitive, but it should work." He slipped it into a slot and fingered the keys in front of the terminal. Soon, he huffed in what Will assumed to be satisfaction. "There, anything you wish to save, just tell the computer to save it and it will be stored. I will be around to help you periodically, but do have other patrons to serve. If you have problems, just tell the computer to call me."
"Thank you. I really appreciate it, but before you go, may I ask one more question? Will asked. Shrooon nodded. "Do you have charts of a planet referred to as Kírtírm?"
Suddenly the computer pulled up a chart very similar to the one that his dad had pulled up when they had jumped to the planet they were on. "Oh, wow!" Will exclaimed. "Can the computer put this planet in relation to the galaxy?" The galaxy wide shot came back up, and a flashing light indicated Kírtírm. It was in a spiral on the other side of the galaxy schematic from Earth. "Save it, computer."
"Complied," the computer said simply. Will became excited and began asking for charts of systems that would seem to be in the most direct line to Earth. Each time he received a chart, he saved it onto the disk. Will looked up to thank Shrooon, but the Wereeshen had left, so the boy simply continued asking for charts and schematics.
Will soon lost all track of time. He noticed occasionally when Shrooon approached, but most of the time, he didnít do more than nod his head. After working for what seemed only a short while, Will felt thirsty and hungry, but urgency kept him from asking Shrooon where he could find anything to eat or drink. So he kept loading his disk with information, making sure that he was also including the galactic Ďmapí showing the positions of all of the star systems for which he was pulling up charts.
Finally, Will ordered the chart for Alpha Centauri, which came up immediately, as had everything else. As he was loading that on the disk, he suddenly felt light headed and incredibly sleepy. Looking down at his watch, he was shocked to realize that over twelve hours had elapsed, and he couldnít believe how quickly the time had flown. Then it dawned on him that the lethargy was due to lack of food as well as a lack of sleep. Will knew he had to finish soon and return to Kírtírm.
Giving the command to pull up the next star chart, which would be his solar system, he sat back a minute and rubbed his sore back, noticing that his stomach had stopped growling. A soft chime startled him. "The information you have requested is currently unavailable. Please request again later."
Yawning, Will called for Shrooon, who came quickly. "Will Robinson, donít humans take nourishment every day?" the little alien asked.
To Willís ears, the question sounded a bit tongue in cheek. "They do, Shrooon. I just got so busy here that I didnít realize how much time had gone by," he told him, chuckling. "I mainly wanted to know who the patron is who has the charts for the next star system."
Shrooon gave the computer a command and a string of symbols flashed across the screen. Giving a whistling huffing sound, Shrooon just said. "Graxod."
Will pulled the disk out of the machine and got up, stretching. "I really didnít need that one, and I do need to teleport back."
"Very well, Will," Shrooon said.
Both started out of the room, but before Will could get out of the doorway, a very tall, hard-featured alien rushed through and knocked him roughly to the ground. The force of his fall caused a momentary disorientation, and the boy sat quietly waiting for his head to clear.
"So you are a human, eh?" the alien said sarcastically.