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Nightmare Journey

 

 

 

 

The Robinsons are sojourning on the planet, Krimlon, thinking that the hideous, nightmarish days of that planet's 'inquisition' are over.  But a mystery on another planet beckons Penny and her zanlings.  Quickly she and Will and John become the hunted, stalked by beings whose aim is revenge... and more.

I wish to thank my dear friends from my various Guy Williams lists.  I am thankful for the temporary home in which this story resided a year and a half ago, but am glad that I now have a more permanent place of residence.....

My thanks to those on the LIS4Ever list who have been so patient while I have slowly posted these stories.  Thanks for the encouragement.

The Robinson family, the Robot, Smith and the Jupiter do not belong to me, they are borrowed gratefully from the estate of Irwin Allen.  All of the myriads of aliens, including the zanlings, and alien places are my creation.  You are more than welcome to borrow them, but please ask first.

 

 

Chapter One-

The Gate

 

 

The grayish-colored tilon shied and almost unseated the dark-haired girl riding it.  Puzzled, she tried to look into the animal’s mind and see what had frightened it, but could feel nothing but the fear.  Peter, fly ahead and see what could have frightened Aslan,’ she told the aqua-colored flutter-dragon.  With a squeak of compliance, the little lizard flew into the wooded area ahead.  Three other flutter-dragons, or zanlings as they were called on this planet, hovered near her, squeaking impatiently.

While she waited, Penny Robinson sent soothing thoughts into the mind of the tilon that she had named after a character in her favorite book. The reptilian-like creature quieted a bit, but the girl still felt the tension in his muscles. Then she sent a questing thought, trying to determine what might have frightened her mount.  All she felt was a strange urging to continue into the forest almost like a compulsion.  Squelching the desire, Penny talked softly to her prancing tilon, trying to be patient.

At fifteen, she was a strikingly beautiful girl, her dark hazel eyes the asset that most people said drew them to her first.  But it was those very attributes that frustrated her the most right now.  She was fifteen and alone; no boys, no dates, no prospects.  A sigh of self-pity escaped from her.

At this moment, she was supposed to be riding with the king’s nephew, Trelorin, but after a half an hour, it had become apparent to the girl that the royal relative was distinctly uncomfortable in her presence.   So as soon as possible, Penny had politely taken her leave and ridden into the woods to think.  To be perfectly fair, she realized that even being around those different from the Krimlon norm was hard for Trelorin to deal with.  And as the Guardian’s daughter, she was as far from the Krimlon norm as a person could be.  She didn’t have red hair, blue eyes, pointed ears or a five-foot three-inch frame, and she was telepathically inclined as well.  Knowing those facts didn’t make her feel any better. 

Peter flew back, squeaking furiously.  Gate.  Come see gate.  Zanling gate!  Kreeling gate!  Go find zanlings!’  The flutter-dragon even went so far as to tug at her hair. 

Let’s take a look,’ Penny told her companions and dismounting from her still nervous reptilian mount, she followed Peter.  Pushing brush aside, the girl finally found herself in an overgrown glade which had as its outstanding feature, a battered and timeworn teleportation gate.  It looked very much like the gate through which her family had come, when they traveled from Karturm to Krimlon, except that this one seemed to have been erected many years previously.  

Although vegetation had grown up to the gate, the posts were free of any encroaching plant life.  Penny touched one of the posts and felt a throbbing vibration that seemed at the same time labored.  The attached control device was encased in a box that had a tiny solar panel built into the top.  The girl reasoned that logically the gate would have to have some kind of renewable energy source to still be functioning after all this time.  She remembered Max mentioning something about that.

Lucy zipped past her, flew between the two posts, and promptly disappeared.  “No, Lucy!” Penny said after the fact.  Staring at the gate, she pondered what to do next. She had waited for approximately a quarter of an hour when the little flutter-dragon came streaking back through the gate. 

Many zanlings, many kreelings.  Prisoners like Dad.’  Lucy said cryptically, her agitation making her thoughts a bit erratic. 

Prisoners?’ she queried.  What do you mean?’

Men, like Krimlon.  Keeping zanlings in cages.  Kreelings sad’ Lucy explained, showing the girl visual images.  Penny stroked her as the lizard lay shivering on her shoulder. 

Another place where Krimlon and zanlings lived, as well as kreelings.  The idea boggled her mind and she unconsciously scratched under Lucy’s chin as she thought about it. 

Zanlings near.  Will die.  Please help them,’ Lucy pleaded.  The others joined in a chorus of pleadings.   Will die soon.  No time.’

“All right, Lucy.  We’ll go,” Penny said.  With her flutter-dragons crowded on her shoulders they walked through the humming gate and into the bright moonlit night of another planet.  Shivering slightly in the cool breeze, she heard the sound of loud voices and glanced around her in alarm.  Unlike the forest from which she came, here there was no vegetation to conceal her.  Crouching down, she crept along near the ground away from the sound of the voices until she reached an outcropping of rocks. Looking back, she was able to see two shadowy forms walking together near the gate. They had the appearance of guards.  Feeling some of their thoughts made her realize how fortunate she was to have not been discovered when she came through.  

Where are the zanlings and the kreelings?’ she asked Lucy. 

Ahead,’ Lucy responded.   Penny peered in the direction indicated and saw in the distance a light, as though from a campfire or lantern.  She began a stealthy journey toward it.  Finally, after what seemed an eternity, she felt she was close enough to let one of the lizards reconnoiter. 

Can you get close enough to see what’s over there, Edmund?’ she asked the reddish flutter-dragon.

Yes, yes!’ Edmund answered exuberantly. 

Be careful.  Don’t get caught,’ she admonished him as she felt him launch himself from her shoulder.  Show me when you are close enough.’

Penny almost bit her nails in anxiety.  Then she was able to see pictures of a wire pen, filled with more flutter-dragons than she thought possible in one place.  Near it was a fenced area where a small group of kreelings was huddled.  Each had a collar around its neck and sat in total dejection.  Near a long, barracks-type building, a small group of men sat languidly, laughing and telling jokes.  By the light of a large campfire, she could tell that they were Krimlon, so she focused on what they were saying.

“Brolur, I think we have all the zanlings that are going to come through.  This batch should bring us a great deal of money.  We’ve never had this many come through before,” the first voice said. 

“If those little monsters don’t stop their infernal noise, there will be a few less to sell,” another said testily.  The little lizards had been making keening noises and Penny felt their fear as well as their hunger pangs.

“Tell them to stop their noise or I’ll wring their necks!” yet a third shouted to the Kreeling prisoners.   The noise subsided but didn’t totally stop.  The third speaker glowered toward the pen, but then shrugged and turned back to his companions. 

I know this is distasteful, but I need to find out what’s going on,’ Penny told her friends.  As she delved into the mind of the Krimlon, she felt the strength of her flutter-dragons merging with her own.  After listening for some time, she realized that there were tears trickling down her cheeks.  She was unable to believe that anyone could do something so evil as to sell sentient beings into slavery. 

Peter, Susan, go and get Dad.  We need his help.  Show him what’s going on,’ she admonished the lizards.  They zipped off into the shadowy night.  She continued her careful approach and finally was able to peer over a rocky outcropping and see with her own eyes what the flutter-dragons had been conveying telepathically.  Surveying the scene, she saw the layout of the area, which made her think of a military base.  She also saw, a short distance away, what appeared to be a landing pad for a space ship.  That would fit with what she had heard both telepathically and aurally.

“Master, there is an abomination nearby,” a reedy voice suddenly said.  Penny had not noticed the small creature crouched near the feet of the Krimlon.  In the dim light it was impossible to tell what it was, but apparently it was telepathic to have picked up her communications.  She quickly ordered Edmund and Lucy back to her and she shielded her mind as best as she could.

“Where?” a brusque voice demanded.  

“In the rocks, master,” the voice said quickly.

Penny looked around, wondering where she could hide, where she could run.  Looking back in the direction from which she had come, she saw that several men were congregating between her position and the gate.  Slipping out of the rocks as quietly as she could, the girl began a round about run back to Krimlon.  Her heart hammered in her chest and fear clouded her thoughts.  From the thoughts she had picked up earlier she realized that these men would have no mercy.  Go get Dad.  Tell him I need help.  Hurry!’ she told Edmund and Lucy.   With squeaks of concern they zipped off into the semi-darkness of the moonlit sky. 

____________

 

“Take your best shot, Silverado,” John told the little flutter-dragon perched on the back of the chair next to him.  The lizard cocked his head and squeaked brightly.  A questioning thought came to his mind. 

Laughing, John explained.  “I will block your thoughts out, my friend.”  Silverado squeaked again, this time there was a determined tone in the little lizard’s voice.   It never ceased to amaze him how much more he was able to understand the zanling as time passed and he figured that part of the reason was due to Silverado’s maturation as well as their familiarity with each other.

Using the techniques that Murwon, the ssHreana telepath, had taught him, John erected a defensive shield that would protect him from unwanted telepathic intrusion.  Then he nodded to the lizard to begin.  Silverado chirped and stared at him with his luminous golden eyes.  After a few minutes, the silver flutter-dragon drew back with a surprised squeak and paced the back of the chair. 

John laughed, ended the exercise and immediately felt the telepathic equivalent of a tongue-lashing.  “Whoa, Silverado,” he said with a chuckle.  “Murwon told me to practice.   But you do know there are times when humans need to be alone,” John added, a bit more seriously. 

I understand, friend John,’ Silverado squeaked knowingly and flew over to John’s shoulder, where he curled his long tail around his friend’s neck.  A deep feeling of contentment drifted over the two of them.  Soon they would be following Murreena’s ship to her world.  The ssHreana had left the previous day with the promise of a visit from the Robinson family.  Somehow the thought of languid oceans and coral atolls appealed to him and he looked forward to the trip. 

A knock on the door of his and Maureen’s suite interrupted his reverie.  “Come in,” he called and smiled as his son entered the room.  Nova, the boy’s green flutter-dragon floated in and the two lizards flew lazily up toward the vaulted ceiling. 

“Hi, Dad,” he said.  “How about a ride?  We may not get another chance before we leave.”

John pondered a moment, wondering just how much he wanted to get back up on a tilon after all the riding he had been forced to do several weeks earlier, then decided that Will was right.  It would also afford him the opportunity to do something alone with his son.  The time following Prince Mizel’s death and Dar’s ‘promotion’ to royal status had been one round of public functions after another and a quiet ride in the forests sounded very inviting.  “Sounds like a good idea, son,” he finally said.  “How about right now.” 

Will beamed.  “I’ll have a couple of tilons saddled,” he said and dashed from the room. 

John just chuckled and pulled on his boots, looking up at Nova who had landed on the bed with Silverado.  “Don’t feel bad. I haven’t been able to catch up with that boy since he began walking,” he said wryly to the bemused lizard.  Nova just chirped.  By the time he and the lizards arrived at the stable, Will had saddled two tilons and was waiting impatiently. 

____________

 

Penny moaned softly.  The four kreelings in the pen with her sent thoughts of empathy, but nothing could ease the pain of the broken arm, which was held tightly against her chest.  It was still bleeding slightly from the passage of the bullet that had broken the bone, but thankfully, it had passed cleanly without hitting any major blood vessels. 

As she had approached the gate, her pursuers had closed the gap, and when she made a desperate sprint to the safety of the two posts, the guards in front of her had fired their rifles.  One of the bullets struck her upper arm.  Penny stumbled, fell and was captured.  Immediately, her captors had given her something, which caused her to lose consciousness, and when she woke up, she found her arm splinted and bound.  But there was nothing for the pain, which was beyond anything she had felt before.  She only hoped that Dad would arrive soon, then she felt panic that he, too, would be shot when he came through the gate.  Fearfully, Penny wondered if the telepathic slave could hear her thoughts, so she concentrated on building as tight a shield as she could.  

A slight cool breeze drifted through the enclosure, causing her to shiver.  The downy skinned kreelings huddled closer to her and their warmth caused her shivering to subside.  “Thank you,” she told them softly.  A few tears trickled down her cheeks as the physical pain and the fear of her ordeal began overwhelming her. 

 

 

Chapter Two
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