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Planet of Dragons

 

 

 

 

Although this is not exactly what I envisioned with the flutter dragons.....   except for their means of gathering nourishment, this is fairly close to what I had in mind for my little darlings. 

 

 

Planet of Dragons continues from the point at which Planet of Freedom left off.   This story tells more of the history of the telepathic flutter dragons and delves into the power of myth, or is it prophecy??  

 

Story Line:

When the Robinson's return to Karturm for a bit of rest, they find their old camp destroyed and something left behind which is both enticing and sinister. 

 

Acknowledgements and Thanks:

The Robinson clan, the Robot and the Jupiter II are the property of the heirs of Irwin Allen and I borrowed them with a great deal of gratitude.  The flutter dragons, all of the aliens and Max, the robot are my creation and I sure did enjoy interacting them with our heroes. 

Many thanks go to Susan Ming, who was my main grammar beta reader for this one.  Many thanks also to Patricia Crumpler, who kept an eye on the plot and the characters for me.  I have made very few changes from the time it was first put up about three years ago.

The two books quoted at the beginning and the end of the story are Stellaluna by Janell Cannon and How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss, (Theodore Geisel).  I am most grateful for such fine stories to use as an opening and a closing to this story.

 

 

 

 

Chapter One-

Surprise

 

" 'Her bat ways were quickly disappearing.  Except for one thing; she still liked to sleep hanging by her feet,' John read.  Mark was cradled in the crook of his arm where he gurgled and waved his chubby arms as his grandfather juggled the book and pointed to the picture. 

" 'Once, when Mama was away, the curious baby birds decided to try it, too.  When Mama Bird came home, she saw eight tiny feet gripping the edge of the nest.  "Eeek!" she cried,' " he continued.  Mark jumped at his exclamation.  "Mark, the birds and the bat are animals from Earth," he explained to his two month old grandson as the baby alternately looked toward the soothingly colored illustrations in the book and at him.  

Rocking slowly back and forth as he read, John remembered, fondly, the one excursion he had made just prior to their launch from Earth after the Graxod incident.  He had visited a large bookstore near Houston, insisting on buying what he considered the best in children's literature.  His other indulgence was the 'folding' rocking chair that was more or less a permanent fixture in the suite of rooms they occupied on Urgorrim. Now he was reading his favorite, Stellaluna to the baby.

Rrangruk was sitting on a large couch across the room from his human friend.  "You have taken to being a grandsire quite well, my friend.  I wish I had grand-cubs to spoil as you are obviously doing with this one." The Urgorrim leader chuckled at the sight of his friend so taken with the, what seemed to him, tiny baby.  "He has grown very healthy and very large, for a human, that is.  Your grandchild should be ready for launch tomorrow and suffer no discomfort."

"Thanks, Rrangruk.  And you know that I have enjoyed our sojourn here, certainly much more than I did the first time," John said with a smile.  Mark fussed and the professor turned a page.   "But I can never repay you for what you have done for our family." 

"John, you are always welcome here for the regeneration, although I would prefer you to come just to visit," Rrangruk said and then whuffed with laughter.   "As long as we are talking about repayment, our planet's debt to you can never be repaid either, so let us not discuss it any longer.  We have helped each other and are grateful for our friendships," he added softly.  John looked at him and nodded.

A rainbow hued flock of little flying creatures came zipping into the room and hovered above John and Mark.  Squeaking happily, the flutter-dragons made small aerial displays close enough that he felt the breeze of their passing.

'Well, he won't listen to the rest of the story now that you made your grand entrance,' he informed the flutter-dragons telepathically.  John immediately got a somewhat blurred image of past lizard performances and realized that the little creatures had somehow received the impression of Mark's pleasure in their presence. 

"Oh, Daddy.  You're going to spoil Mark rotten," Judy West told him with a laugh as she came in the room behind the lizards. 

"Leave me be, child.  I'm thoroughly enjoying myself," he said, looking up at the baby's mother with a great smile.  Mark began fussing, kicking a little harder and making small cries.  "Fatherhood is the ultimate experience, but this is wonderful."

"Yes, you can indulge him like crazy and then hand him back to me when he dirties his diapers," she said with a gleam in her eye.  Rrangruk whuffed softly at the exchange.

John affected a shocked expression.  "Me?  I change as many as Don does."

"Um, your point, Dad?" Judy said, trying to be serious, but then she began laughing.  "And, yes, I'm teasing.  You men have your helpful moments.  Right now, Mark's fussing because he's hungry."  John handed the baby over to her and then got up from the rocker.  She sat down and soon Mark was nursing noisily while the flutter-dragons sat atop various pieces of furniture, crooning softly in a harmonious blending of sound.  It never ceased to amaze the humans how the little creatures could make the range of sounds they made, not having real mouths.

John and Rrangruk took their leave, making their way to the landing site of the Jupiter II, where they found Don checking out the control systems.  "You know, it seems that this is all we do," the major said with a wry smile.  "I'm assuming Judy found you."  John nodded.  "Yeah, figured she would find Mark with you.  She told me he was hungry.   Amazes me how she can read that boy's mind."

"Don, that's not totally a telepathy thing, it's a mother thing," John responded.  "Maureen seemed to know when the children were hungry and when they were fussing for some other reason.  I usually couldn't tell the difference."  

Rrangruk took one of the data boards and helped John check the life support systems until the flutter-dragons came with a message that dinner was ready.

 

                                              ==========================

 

The family lifted off from the planet the next day after the two-month hiatus, which had allowed them to visit their old friends in both Urgorrim cities.  Within a few days, the Jupiter II would be setting down on Karturm for another extended visit, this time at the site they had called home for almost eight months.  To John, it had seemed a lifetime since they had taken off, when in actuality it was only a mere three or so months. 

Although he enjoyed the idea of exploring new worlds, he felt strangely drawn back to the planet of the flutter-dragons.   As the star trails of hyperspace flowed and coalesced outside of the observation window, John stared unseeing, reminiscing.  After a short while he made his way down to the cargo bay, where he checked out the equipment they would need upon reaching Karturm.

"Professor Robinson, would you care for a short workout?" a tinny voice asked behind him.

Turning, John saw Max standing only a few feet away from him and was again amazed at how quiet the automaton could be.  And he could almost swear that there was a note of pleading in the mechanical voice.  "I suppose that I need a workout.  It's been quite a while.  You choose, Max," John told him.  Max turned and walked quickly to the workout area.  John followed, pulling off his outer shirt.

When the robot turned back to him, he had the box that had held the Graxod swords.  "Max, I really don't want to work out with the plantiod-crinth.  That womgrantiod is still a bit too fresh in my memory.  Besides, I gave my sword to Mdorin.  It would be hard to work out with one sword."

Max simply opened the box and inside there were two of the deadly sabers.  "I saved the Lord Commander's sword after the womgrantiod.  That was your right as the victor, sir."

Kalingdor's sword.  John almost shuddered as he remembered the fight with the Graxod commander.  "No, Max.  Not now.  Maybe I will be better able to practice with them later.  What would be handy now would be to learn and improve in the field of hand-to-hand combat."

"I understand, Professor," Max said as he replaced the box with the plantiod-crinth in its storage area.  "I wanted to tell you that I was most impressed with the skill you exhibited in the womgrantiod.  You used all means at your disposal, but with honor.  I was proud to have been your trainer."

Silverado squeaked loudly from one of the little trees in the arboretum.  The branch the lizard was sitting on sagged ominously, and John couldn't help but think that the flutter-dragons were growing a bit.  'Yes, we were a three way team, weren't we, my boastful little friend,' John said in answer to a thought from the little creature.  It also seemed as though the Karturmese were communicating in a more precise manner as well.  

"Max, your training and Silverado's help saved my life as well as accomplishing what I set out to do.  I'm sorry I didn't thank you earlier."

"That is what you bought me for, Professor Robinson, but I appreciate your thanks.  You are a most able student," Max replied.  "What kind of hand-to-hand combat do you wish to practice?"

"Well, I showed you some of the Tae Kwan Do that I learned a long time ago.  How about a variation of that, if you have such a thing in your memory banks," John suggested.  

"Very well, sir.  There is one such form of combat.  It involves a great deal of foot work, but after seeing what you already know, it shouldn't be too difficult to learn."

What it turned out to be was a great deal of acrobatics, John realized after a short while.  He also realized that he had lost some of the muscle tone that had been gained when he was practicing extensively for the womgrantiod.  When he finally called a halt to the workout, he felt thoroughly exhausted.  Bending over to catch his breath, he panted, "Max, that is deceptively easy looking.... but it's tougher than it looks."

"Yes, sir, but if we had had time earlier, I would have started with this.  It builds up stamina as well as strength."

"I can believe it," John puffed as he straightened up.  Max handed him a towel.  "Thanks, I believe we will concentrate on this for awhile.  Do you think that Will would benefit from something like this?"  Will had been fascinated by his workouts with the sword and wanted to practice with Max.  This would be something good for him, but much less dangerous.  

"Of, course, Professor.  In fact, I would venture to say that due to his youth, he will pick this up even quicker than you," Max said pointedly.

"Um, thanks, Max, John said with a chuckle.  The robot never flattered anybody, nor did he give praise unless it was deserved.  "I'll talk to him about it.  By the way, you do know that as part of the crew, you are welcome to come up to the observation deck anytime."

"Thank you, Professor.  I have not become well acquainted with Robot, but I think that he is not pleased with my presence."

"He'll get over it," John said dryly. 

 

                                                ========================

 

The stars flowed and then suddenly ebbed into normal pinpricks and bright beacons of light that signified a return to normal space.  John gasped almost imperceptibly at the sudden overwhelming desire to be on Karturm.  For a brief moment it felt almost as though a leash was tied around his neck and someone was tugging on it.

Puzzled by this sudden powerful occurrence, the professor frowned and then checked the coordinates for the short jump that would take them closer to the planet.  Only glancing at the computer printout, John fed the coordinates into the navigational computer and ordered Don to make the jump.  The stars congealed into lava-like flows of light and then a scant few minutes later rearranged themselves into their natural order.

"Well, there's Karturm, our home away from home," Don announced brightly.  "It's good to be back, you know."

Yes, it is," John agreed with a smile.

"Professor Robinson, may I point out an error in the hyper-jump procedure?" the Robot intoned.

"Not now, Robot," John said, turning to Don.  "How soon do you think you can land this thing?  I'm eager to feel dirt under my feet."

"Soon, John," Don told him.  "Especially if Maureen will do a scan of the area."

Nine lizards suddenly burst from the stairwell in an explosive display of color.  They squeaked and crooned, their happiness obvious and infectious.  John laughed with them.  They gyrated recklessly around the observation deck, weaving over and around panels, chairs and people.  'Home,' John heard distinctly in his mind.  He looked at Silverado in surprise.  The little lizard just executed a loop-de-loop and then hovered in front of his face, his golden eyes shining.  John felt their exuberance as a tangible thing.

The flutter-dragons soared and zoomed around the observation deck until finally coming to rest on the robot, clutching on to his smooth frame and flapping their shimmering wings for balance.   With a loud, "Hrumph," Robot raised and lowered his plasticine dome, scattering flutter-dragons in all directions.  Squeaking indignantly, they all found their human companions and landed on their shoulders.  Aurora and Nova flew back down the stairwell.  Penny's four perched on the top of the control panel and stared down at their home planet along with their mistress.

"I would really prefer not to be used as a flutter-dragon roost," the Robot said, jerking his dome down for emphasis.  John chuckled at the Robot's indignation.

"Good heavens!" Maureen exclaimed.

"What is it?  John asked, striding over to her.

"Look at that."  She pointed to the screen where the results of her scan were being displayed.  There was some fuzziness due to atmospheric conditions, but the destruction was clearly evident.  The outbuildings they had constructed were destroyed, pieces strewn about and scattered.

 

 

 

Chapter Two
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