Rendezvous to the Future

 

 

 

Chapter Three

 

 

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 Vega?"

", 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 1800’s."

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 trip."

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 Don Diego.

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 ladder.

"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."

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 you."

"Vaya con Dios," Zorro whispered and then a thick blackness overtook him.

 

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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 all."

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.

 

The End

 

 

 

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