Rendezvous to the Future
The next group of attackers wasn’t quite
as tough skinned and between his sword and the children’s weapons
they were able to hold most of them at bay. Another one got by them,
carrying a sort of spear-like weapon. Having a longer reach, the
spear-carrying alien (this one had scaly green skin) tried to stab
Diego, but even though tired, the caballero was able to parry
the thrusts and occasionally make a few lunges of his own. The green
skinned being slashed at him, but the pole was a more awkward weapon
and Diego easily reached in before it could recover from its swing.
He dispatched the creature with a quick thrust.
Diego then went into a defensive stance in
anticipation of the next alien and found himself face to face with the
children’s father. The resemblance was even uncannier in person then
it was on the machine’s window. The elder Robinson seemed even more
shocked. Diego cleaned his saber on the clothing of one of the dead
attackers and calmly sheathed it, all the time wondering at the
resemblance of one almost 200 years removed in time from himself.
It was mind boggling to him.
"I’m Professor John Robinson,"
the other man said, staring unabashedly at him. "I want to thank
you for your help in returning my children to me."
"I am Diego de la Vega of Los
Angeles, and it seems that they needed only very little help from
me," he returned, staring a bit himself. "We somewhat
resemble each other, Professor," Diego understated with a smile.
"Did you say your name was de la
"Sí, son of Alejandro de la
Vega," Diego answered.
"Well, what do you know,"
Robinson mused. "My mother did a lot of genealogy and there was a
name ‘de la Vega’ in my ancestry, from Alta California, early
The idea that he was possibly looking at
his descendant boggled Diego’s mind more than the concept of space
ships and time travel. "You have the right time, the right place,
and the right name," he finally said. "I suppose that makes
us relatives," he said with a laugh. "I am most pleased to
make your acquaintance, Professor. Now does anyone have any idea how I
can get back home to California? As much as I have been intrigued by
this adventure, this is not where I belong."
"You are a very astute human. You are
right, Diego de la Vega of Earth, you do not belong here. And I
apologize for the actions of a fellow sentient that have put you
through all of this," A very furry being with catlike ears said
in a sibilant voice. It explained to the humans that Diego could be
returned to his home in the same way that he was taken, by using the
coordinates in the computer.
When John Robinson asked about getting
back to Earth using the same coordinates, different time, the cat
alien shook its head no. "Your children have been returned to
you, Professor Robinson. We will not interfere in events not directly
related to this illegal venture. Earth is not a part of our galactic
federation," she explained pointedly.
"Would you then allow us to take
Diego de la Vega back home?" John asked the alien. "We
ourselves have been away from our own kind for a long time, and
perhaps it would be more comfortable for Señor de la Vega to
travel with fellow humans."
The alien made a noise that slightly
resembled purring. After a few moments, it agreed. "We have so
many of these captives to return to their respective worlds, that your
offer is acceptable. We will make arrangements to load the coordinates
for his home into the computer on board your ship."
John worked out the details of the
agreement with the aliens. Later he confided that he hoped during the
journey home, they could figure a way around the time difference and
find their way to their own time.
John and Will worked on solving the time
travel problem while Maureen Robinson, the boy’s mother, kept
telling him how uncanny the resemblance was to her husband. Every once
in awhile, Diego caught her looking askance at him. Judy Robinson,
Will’s oldest sister, seemed a bit uncomfortable around him, perhaps
because of the resemblance he bore to her father, and during the first
part of the trip, she avoided him.
Once John found out what an avid chess
player Diego was, they played anytime there was a spare moment. Diego
was pleased to find someone who could tax his abilities. Occasionally,
the others were caught staring at the sight of the two men who so
closely resembled each other, gazing intently at the chessboard. John
once looked up in exasperation. "Don, would you please go stare
at the Robot or something. Diego and I are trying to
concentrate." Diego just laughed, moved his rook into the check
position and announced that in two moves he would achieve checkmate.
John sighed. "I thought maybe I might
have found someone willing to play that I might be able to beat. I
certainly haven’t been able to beat Will since we started on this
Diego was amazed. "Will is better
than you are? You have been my best competition since Father
Benedictus was transferred to the mission near Monterey. My father is
too impatient and my manservant, Bernardo is not skilled enough. He
would rather play himself," Diego laughed. "That way he is
assured of always winning, if, of course he does not get into
arguments with himself." Later that day, he played Will and when
the game ended in a draw just before supper, Diego conceded that he
had never played a more skilled player.
Major Don West was fascinated with
Diego’s fencing abilities and took lessons while on route back to
Earth. Diego was impressed with the major’s quickness, agility and
enthusiasm, and the Californiano enjoyed teaching and
practicing with West.
When Diego first met the Robot, he had
stared at the contraption for a few minutes before he could think of
anything to say. The mechanical creature had a barrel shaped body, a
glass topped head, rubbery arms with pincer like hooks on the end and
legs that ended in wheels, instead of feet. Apparently the Robot was
aware of customs of Spanish California, because he always called him
Will asked him about that one day. "I
am a land owner, of several generations, don is not a name for
me, like it is for Major West, it is a title, translating to sir. My
family has ties to the gentry of Spain, also," Diego explained.
After that the two younger children called him Don Diego until he told
them that just calling him Diego was sufficient. "We have fought
side by side. We are also related, it seems and relatives do not speak
thusly to one another."
Whenever a task needed to be done, Dr.
Smith, the oldest member of the crew, always disappeared, or if he
couldn’t find a place on the space ship to hide, he complained.
About his head, his feet, his stomach, his back. Diego detested the
man and was amazed at the incredible patience of the rest of the crew,
feeling that they deserved their place in heaven for having put up
with Smith’s whining for the several years that John said they had
been on their journey.
One day, while giving Don West a fencing
lesson, Diego was unable to concentrate due to the hypochondriac’s
complaints. Finally he had enough. Pivoting around with lightening
speed, Diego held the sword at Smith’s throat and declared, "Señor,
I can cure your insufferable headache, and I am not even a
doctor." He pointed the saber at Smith’s knees. "I can
cure the horrible pain in your knees, also." Smith jumped up with
lightening speed and turned to run. "I can also cure your back
ache," he added and before Smith could run out of the room, he
slashed a ‘z’ on the back of his pants. Smith ran, screaming, past
the robot and jumped down to the lower level not even using the
"Don Diego, you have healed Dr. Smith
at least until tomorrow," the Robot intoned. And everybody could
have sworn that they heard a mechanical ‘heh, heh, heh.’
"Are you sure I can’t talk you out
of your saber when you get home?" Don asked, trying to keep a
straight face. "I could really use it."
John came up the elevator with a puzzled
look on his face. "What in the world is wrong with Dr.
Smith?" he asked. "I don’t believe I have ever seen him
move so fast."
Everybody laughed, which puzzled him even
more. "Diego applied a little fencing lesson to the seat of
Smith’s pants." Don finally was able to tell him. John laughed
along with them.
With the coordinates given them, the
journey to 1820 Earth took considerably less time than the outward
journey of the Jupiter II. As the ship lay in orbit, John announced
that he had figured out the time travel factor by following the path
of the ship’s flight on the computer. "I programmed the
computer to record every part of the flight, and I saw the
fluctuations as the Jupiter II entered a time warp. I think I can work
the computations out so that we can stay in Earth orbit as the reverse
time warp is achieved. In other words, we’ll be home, thanks to
Diego felt a bit self-conscious about
something that had been entirely out of his control. He said as much.
The ship landed in the pre-dawn hours of
the same night that Diego had been abducted. Even though John had
patiently explained the theory behind time travel, Diego had trouble
understanding the concept, but was grateful that no one had been
worrying about him for the actual length of time he had been gone. He
was back in the costume of Zorro, excluding the mask.
"Diego, I hope you know how much I am
indebted to you for saving my children." John told him. "And
indirectly having enabled us to get to our proper time," he said
as Diego put the mask on.
"John, your children saved me as much
as I saved them. They are very resourceful. You should be proud of
them." Zorro answered. "This has been a very incredible
journey and I shall never forget you or your family."
Clasping hands with his descendant, he
immediately felt a sting in his wrist, even through the riding gloves.
As his mind started to cloud, he realized that he had been drugged.
"John, what...why ? Can’t be found like this, please." His
knees buckled and he felt himself being held up by John.
"I’m sorry to do this to you,
Diego, but you must forget. The future may depend on your forgetting,
and that was the condition of letting us bring you home." Zorro
heard the anguish in John’s voice. "But I will never forget
you, Diego de la Vega; El Zorro, I am proud to be related to
"Vaya con Dios," Zorro
whispered and then a thick blackness overtook him.
Some hours later, when the morning sun
rose enough to hit him in the face, Zorro rolled over with a groan and
struggled to his knees. The jingling of tack told him that a horse was
nearby, but he was unable to get up. Vaguely, Zorro remembered
something his mind called a space ship, but everything was a blur.
Then the outlaw heard the horseman dismount and walk around as though
looking for something. And in despair, he realized that John had not
left him far enough off the road. ‘John?’ his befuddled mind
thought, ‘Who is John?’
After awhile, the rider knelt by his side
and Zorro realized, remotely, that it was Bernardo. Relief washed over
him and he sagged against the manservant in his drugged weakness. Much
later, he woke in his own bed at the hacienda, with his father
sitting nearby. "What happened, my son? Bernardo seems to think
that you were given a narcotic of some kind."
He pondered for a short minute. "I
really have no idea, Father. I recollect none of the events following
the time I left the cuartel until I woke up by the side of the
road, but I see strange things in my mind, that make no sense at
Thereafter, at times, Diego could be found
outside at night looking up at the stars, trying to remember, trying
to figure out the bits of weird memory that occasionally wandered
through his thoughts.