This is Mmringorr, a Grringol leader who befriends the family during their time of grief. This picture is a doctored version of a grizzly bear originally drawn by Janis Whitcomb. I took one look at it and immediately said to myself-- Ugorrim. Thank you, Janis.
This is Rrangruk, an ursoid physican who helps John. His people, the Rylorr are at war with the Grringol, another group of bear-like creatures.
Divided Planet was originally written more than six years ago, before I was even on the internet. (I only had Juno email access.) I had watched bits of a Lost in Space marathon on SciFi channel to celebrate the arrival of the New Line Cinema film remake and it brought back memories. Those few minutes plus what was in my memory was all I had to go by when I wrote and then emailed this story to the Cat in the Hat, who graciously formatted it and put it on her web site. I have since watched more episodes, dug up 'biographical' information, talked with LIS aficionados and written much, much more about our intrepid space heroes. When I was faced with having to post my LIS stories elsewhere, I saw that there were many mistakes, both in story line and in grammar and sentence structure. While the number of chapters has remained pretty much the same, the chapters themselves have become somewhat longer, filled out with more detail, which hopefully will make the story better.
Divided Planet takes place just after the end of the series when the family has been lost for almost three years. They find themselves inexplicably grounded on a seemingly uninhabited world. The barren planet holds secrets that literally tear the family apart.
one thing that John was very grateful for.
The stress of wondering when unknown assailants of various shapes
or sizes might attack a member of the family was nerve-wracking. When they left Earth, the idea of an entire family colonizing
a new planet had seemed wonderful, an answer to the adventurous spirit
of the human race. And at
that time, John had felt very adventurous.
Now all John felt about the 'family in space' notion was a desire
to confront the idiot who had suggested the idea in the first place.
the professor remembered that he DID confront the idiot every morning in
the mirror when he shaved. He
and, then Alpha Control chief Roland McGuire had come up with that
winner at a staff meeting more than five years before the launch of the
Jupiter II. And even at
that time John had been thinking of his own family.
From the perspective of the present, his naiveté was laughable.
stared toward the distant horizon, absently running a hand through his
dark, wavy hair. John
looked in the same direction and saw, in his mind, a planet, the planet
of their first exile. It
was very much like this one. Priplanus,
though, was more desert-like, with sandy soil.
This planet was rockier, less hot, but in its own way every bit
as barren as Priplanus. He
knew his attitude was different, too.
He and Don had not figured out their relationship toward one
another yet on that first planet. He
was no less concerned about his responsibilities toward his family and
crew now, but he was definitely less frenetic about it.
a hand on the pilot’s shoulder. The
two men had gone from not really knowing each other, dealing with one
another on a very professional basis to a relationship where they had
absolute trust in each other. They
had become friends, not colleagues.
"Do you feel better, Don?" he asked, with a slight
chuckle. Both men
were tall and slender, hardened by their three year ordeal in space.
I don't, and now my foot hurts," Don grumbled.
"We’ve been all through the navigational computer-- the
hardware, the software, everything.
I’ve even checked the external instruments.
What in the world have we missed, John?"
don't know," the older man admitted.
He, too, ran a hand through his hair, completely puzzled by the
latest dilemma. "If I
didn't know better, though, this seems very similar to the incident on
Margonis II, when we were forced to land by a remote targeting device.
Silly thought, since this planet is totally uninhabited, with
absolutely no sign of civilization, living or dead."
Robinson walked down the ramp, kissed her husband, and then asked,
"How are you two doing?"
Her reddish bronze hair shone softly in the evening light of the
not doing, Maureen," John replied.
"I think it's time to take a break and give it a rest for
awhile. Maybe tomorrow
morning we’ll think of something that is eluding us right now."
idea, dear. Come in and get
something to eat. The
children decided to see what the replicator could come up with for
dinner. I have had a
veritable vacation, just watching them.
In fact, it allowed me some time to work on the survey program
that gave us trouble on that desert planet we landed on a couple of
months ago. Hopefully any
future surveys should be more detailed. " Maureen said.
"Oh, and by the way, you two had better not say anything
about the combination of foods, either," she added, laughing.
Despite everything that had happened to them in the past three
years, her eyes still held boundless optimism in their depths.
caught her in a tight hug, before they went up the ramp.
"It's about time the children learned to cook.”
John appreciated the sacrifice Maureen had made.
She had elected to devote her time to the children even before
his career choice that had led to this expedition, foregoing her field
of expertise. Her support
of his leadership wasn't lost on him either.
And knowing the times he was frustrated, short tempered and
irritable during all their travels made John realize how fortunate he
really was. He was grateful
for her silent strength.
kissed his wife tenderly. Smiling,
Maureen looked up, and, teasing, asked, "What did I do to deserve
me," he said softly. "And
put up with me."
that night, John woke up from a restless sleep, unable to let the
problem with the navigational computer rest.
He slipped out of his and Maureen's cabin and sat down in front
of the computer monitor to study the problem again.
The Robot slid up behind him.
"Professor Robinson," it intoned.
"You need to rest. Lack
of sleep will not help you solve the problem."
waved the Robot away without even turning to look at him. "Professor Robinson, if I plug into the central computer
core, I can do a diagnostic scan while you work at your terminal.
It is possible that I may be able to detect some aberration in
the navigational software," it said.
"I would like to help you solve your problem."
time, John did turn around, even though he knew it wasn't necessary to
look at the Robot when he answered him.
"I would appreciate that very much.
Your sensitive detection software may very well find something
that Don and I have overlooked."
He pulled out the linking device from the body of the robot and
hooked it into the appropriate input of the computer terminal.
Then turning back to the computer screen, he typed in more
figures and scanned more data.
on for an hour before John sighed, rose stiffly out of his chair and
walked around the control room, stretching.
"I assume that you detected nothing out of the
ordinary?" he asked the Robot.
on the navigational problem, Professor Robinson, but I am picking up a
signal from the far side of this system's sun.
It appears that this is a binary star system.
I cannot compute why I was unable to detect this when we came
into the solar system."
because my wife worked on the survey program just this afternoon,"
he said with a wry smile. "Pull
up the information on the monitor." The Robot complied immediately.
John gazed intently at the displays, a puzzled look on his face.
"Are you making more sense of this than I am, Robot?"
he asked. But before the
Robot could answer, the professor slapped his forehead and exclaimed,
"A neutron star, no wonder we couldn't detect it!
What is its orbit, how close will it come to this planet and how
is an elliptical orbit, carrying the star within 200,000,000 kilometers
of this planet. The time of
its closest arrival is seven days, since its orbital direction is
opposite of the orbits of the planets in this system.
That, too, is an aberration."
The Robot paused for a brief minute.
"The implications of this information indicates extreme
danger for you and the entire crew.
Since the Jupiter II cannot fly at this time, then a safe place
must be found to stay during the passing of the neutron star."
I agree. I want you to run
every kind of test possible on the area that we are in now.
Your job is to make sure that everything is done to secure the
ship during the star's passing. Don
and I will break out the Chariot and get it ready for travel.
Maureen and Will can use the short-range scanners to find
someplace safe for all of us. I
want you to go over all of these findings. I don't want any surprises
this time around. The others will prepare whatever we need as we find
out more information."
Professor Robinson. Everything
I have computed from the evidence gathered also points to a periodic
changing of the planetary axis, in other words, a realignment of the
tilt of the planet, which will surely occur when the planet is at its
closest point with the neutron star.
I am unable to compute how much of a deviation it will be, but
you must be prepared for a drastic change in meteorological
conditions," the Robot informed him.
in his breath sharply at the implications of the Robot's statement.
"Seismic disturbances will be guaranteed as well," he
commented with a feeling of dread.
The Robot’s affirmative response only increased his feelings of
morning John called his family, Don West and Dr. Zachary Smith together
in the control room to inform them of his and the Robot's findings. As if to confirm his predictions, the group began feeling
tremors that intensified as the day wore on.
The mild and balmy weather of the past two weeks also began
became intense at times and made outside work nearly impossible.
approximately eighty kilometers away proved to be the most stable place
within range of the Chariot in the short time the group had. Surprisingly, it proved to be a cave network in a small
mountain range that was astonishingly solid.
While astounded at this irony of nature, John wasn’t about to
look this gift horse in the mouth.
The Chariot was loaded with the utmost care, seeing as how there
were seven people with all their supplies traveling in the small
all-terrain vehicle meant for only six people and a robot.
Due to the intense weather changes, the Chariot was loaded in the
cargo bay, the cramped quarters making for even more stressful
neutron star swung around its larger sister, the group was able to
witness the awesome beauty of the stars' dance through their long-range
scanners. Drawing plumes of
gas from the larger sun, the smaller star appeared to be hooked to it on
a flaming leash.
two days of hard, backbreaking and intense work to prepare everything
that was needed. The Robot
was anchored to the deck and attached to the central computer.
Thankfully the ship was resting some distance from fault zones,
but it was still out in the open and might prove vulnerable to the
capricious whims of the weather. And
although it was securely anchored into the bedrock, there was the
distinct possibility of movement. Finally
John was as satisfied as he could be under the circumstances.
get out of here, before the winds are strong enough to pick up the
Chariot and carry it away," he commented.
The howling blasts of wind had developed a bitter cold edge and
the group dressed in cold weather gear.
John couldn’t help but think of a similar exodus they had made
on Priplanus. He
sincerely hoped that the ending here turned out as well as the one had
the vehicle proved to be a study in intense concentration and skill.
Don was unable to hang on to the steering mechanism for longer
than one hour at a time, John for a bit less, and Maureen and Smith for
only a short time. During
his tenure at the controls, Smith was so intensely afraid of the bucking
motions of the chariot that he forgot to complain until someone else had
taken over. Then his
vociferous whining continued until everyone’s nerves were raw.
end of the first day of travel, the entire group was exhausted. Parking the chariot in the lee of a bluff allowed the
travelers some respite from the wind and sleet.
While they were setting up camp for the night, the sleet soon
changed into a bitterly cold sleet/snow mix that felt like gun driven
pellets when it hit the skin.
and Judy; you tie down that end of the shelter to the chariot, while
your Dad and I secure this end. Hopefully
the wind will be moderate enough to keep from blowing us away
tonight," Don said. The
shelter was soon anchored and the fatigued crew of the Jupiter II ate
quickly prepared emergency rations.
John noticed Don massaging Judy's aching shoulders, as he was
doing for Maureen.
that feels good, dear. Thank
you,” she murmured. The
action of his fingers against her shoulders relaxed him, too.
As he was dozing off, he felt the close familiarity of Maureen's
body snuggling close to his in the large sleeping bag, her head on his
chest, and he wondered remotely when Don would get around to asking Judy
to marry him. This journey
sometimes made him feel old and he was ready to enjoy grandchildren.
end part one
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