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Planet of Tranquility

 

 

 

The Robinsons have determined to finish the journey that they undertook over four years previously.  But first, they plan to fulfill a promise to visit their underwater friends from the planet, ssHreana.  It appears to be a planet of tranquility, an idyllic paradise, but looks can be deceiving................

I want to thank my friends from the GWwritersforum for their patient assistance in helping me edit this tale.  This story is dedicated to them.  I have gratefully borrowed the Robinson clan for the duration of their flight in my imagination.  They, the Jupiter II and the Robot are the property of Twentieth Century Fox.  Murreena, the flutter-dragons and all the others are the inventions of my warped little brain.  I have thoroughly enjoyed having them as guests in my stories.  If you want to use them, just ask.  I am sure, as their agent, we can work out a deal.

 

 

 

 

Chapter One:

 Paradise

 

 

Professor John Robinson lay quietly on the narrow beach, only half listening to the waves that were slowly making their way toward his feet.  The sound of the waves, the ocean itself, had relaxed him a great deal in the last three weeks.  So much so that the beating of his heart, the leisurely in and out of his breathing seemed to pattern themselves after the currents that flowed around him.  Sighing languidly, he turned over on his side and caressed his wife’s shoulders. 

“Oh, John, that feels so good,” she murmured without opening her eyes.  He continued his light massage, working his way from her shoulders to her neck and then running his fingers through her sun-lightened red hair.  Maureen Robinson giggled when his fingers worked their way around her ears, and then she woke up in earnest when he drew her to him in a fierce embrace, which ended in a long, deep kiss. 

Drawing back slightly, he looked steadily into her intensely blue eyes, eyes that mirrored the sky and the sea.  It is unbelievable that we have been together for an entire month and a half.  No interruptions, no conflicts.  Like a second honeymoon.  I love you, Mo,’ he whispered in her mind and then took her in another embrace, his love fierce and possessive.  After another passionate kiss, he lay back in the sand, comfortable with life.  A short distance down away, their two flutter-dragons were rolling in the sand together, squeaking in pleasure.   

With a contented sigh, Maureen ran her hand across his chest, her fingers finding their way through the dark thatch of hair.  Lovingly, she gazed at him, drinking in his strength, his passion, his love.  Her hands were still caressing his chest.   “John  Robinson, you are an incorrigible romantic.”  She leaned over and reciprocated his kiss, but this one was not so long.  She sat up, panting slightly.  “I am going to have to go back in.  I’m starting to feel oxygen deprived.”

“Mmm.  I have that effect on you?” he teased, but his hazel eyes darkened slightly.  He reached over and stroked her neck lightly.  When he accidently touched the small device at the base of her skull, John mentally shuddered.

Maureen saw the look in his eyes, felt his slight touch and sensed the fear that wouldn’t totally go away.  Sighing, she said, “John, it’s been two weeks and there have been no ill effects.  This procedure is perfectly safe, reversible, and you just can’t imagine what you are missing.  The children are learning so much from Murreena and her pod.  The procedure might very well help you with your problem.” 

“The rebreather is sufficient,” he responded tersely.  He really wasn’t interested in debating his phobia at this time. 

“John, just think about it some more.  You might want to try the adaptation device for just a short while and see for yourself,” Maureen said, leaning over and kissing him quickly. 

“Maureen,” John began, feeling his frustration turning into anger. Then he stopped.  He saw the hopeful look on his wife’s face, knew that she was only thinking of his well being.  He knew that she felt nearly as helpless as he did over this phobia of his.  Sighing, he said, “Maureen, I simply am not ready right now.  You know I would if I could, but I can’t force myself to do this.  It’s too painful.”

“Oh, John,” she said, leaning over and kissing him again.  “I understand.  I just wish there was something I could do to help you.” 

“There is something you can do.  Go have fun.  Give my love to the children.”

She smiled and got up, not bothering to brush the sand from her body.  He sat up as Maureen walked into the ocean.  Too soon the waves swallowed her up. He watched as Maggie dove into the water and followed Maureen, unaffected by the change in environment.  Silverado had followed them and now sat bobbing on the waves, squeaking sadly at him. 

‘Go ahead, I’ll be here when you come back,’ he told his zanling companion.  

John, come with me,’ the little lizard begged.  He just shook his head and his friend disappeared under the waves.

Turning over on his back, he looked at the turquoise sky above and thought about their journey that brought them to ssHreana.....

 

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

 

There was a slight hint of rain in the air, and the sky to the east was dark and dreary.  Dar, the heir apparent to the throne on Krimlon and John were walking slowly toward the Jupiter II, where all was in readiness for the impending launch.  Dar spoke as they walked.  "Guardian, I will miss you and your family.  It seems that the time has been entirely too short."

“And I will miss all of you as well,” John told him.  He had long since ceased trying to get his Krimlon friends to stop calling him Guardian.  “Tell Litha to take care of herself and  congratulations to you both,” he added with a smile.

“You know she’s expecting?” Dar looked at him in astonishment. 

Laughing, John pointed to the silver lizard on his shoulder.  Silverado squeaked pleasantly.  “I suspected, but the zanlings can be incurable gossips when they want to be.”

Dar laughed and then stroked under the chin of his own zanling.  It cheeped appreciatively.  “If we have a boy, he will be named John,” Dar stated.  

“I’m flattered and honored, Dar.” 

The rest of the Robinson family emerged from the space ship to say their final farewells.  All were in silver flight suits, as was John.  As the family re-entered the ship and closed the hatch, several tilons galloped over the hill.  Their other Krimlon friends waved as the ship rose gently on its repulsers and then shot toward the upper atmosphere.  Pensively, John watched the aqua-colored sky turn dark as Don announced their impending passage through the questing gate.  Tensing slightly, the professor waited for the actual transition.  When it came, it was an almost imperceptible motion, which along with a shifting of stars, accompanied the change back to their own galaxy. 

Checking the monitors, John breathed a sigh of relief.  “All indications show a successful return to our own galaxy, Don.  Good job,” he said.  “Robot, do a diagnostic.  Make sure there was no hidden damage due to the transition through the gate,” he said over his shoulder to the B9 environmental robot.

“Affirmative, Professor.”

“Well, for once everything went well,” Don said brightly.  “Where to now?”

Yes, where to now?’ John thought for a few moments.  The silence after Don's question was only broken by the whispering of the internal mechanisms of the computers and the Robot along with the rustling of his grandson, Mark, who was crawling around on the floor of the observation deck. “Home,” he finally murmured as he stood watching Karturm swing majestically below them.   Remotely, he felt Maureen’s hand on his arm.

“Do you mean Earth, dear?”  she asked.

“No, I mean Alpha Centauri.  Now that we know the way, that’s where we belong,” he clarified.

Leaning her head against his shoulder, Maureen sighed.  “Yes, I agree, John.  Our arrival to Alpha Centauri is long overdue.”

Quickly, John felt tendrils of alarm from Penny, abruptly shut off. 

“Oh, Daddy, couldn’t we visit Murreena first?  We did promise.  And we wouldn’t be there long,” Penny pleaded. 

“But that was before we ended up being chased all over the galaxy,” John replied.  He could understand his daughter’s longing, though.  Some time basking on a beach, swimming in an ocean did sound inviting. 

“John, I just looked up the coordinates for ssHreana.  There would be very little deviation from our path if we stopped by Murreena’s world,” Don pointed out. 

“Well, it’s obvious you want to go.  What about the rest of you?” John asked. 

“I would, Daddy,” Judy said, quickly.  John saw Maureen nodding her approval. 

“You are right, Penny, we did promise Murreena that we would visit her world before we went to Alpha Centauri,” he said, looking in her direction and winking.  Flushing, his youngest daughter nodded.  Her flutter-dragons swirled into the air in a dance of happiness. 

“All right, Don, go ahead and punch up the coordinates for ssHreana,” he announced.   

Within hours, the bright streaks and swirls of hyperspace were flowing around the spacecraft.  A week later, the Jupiter II shifted back to normal space and approached ssHreana.  As they neared the planet, they were welcomed telepathically.  We greet you, Jupiter II.’  Looking around, John realized that everyone else on board had ‘heard’ the message as well.  The flutter-dragons flitted in the air above their heads. 

Leaning toward the communicator, John answered, “Thank you.  We are here by invitation of Murwon and Murreena, two of your citizens.”

Yes, we know, and have been awaiting your arrival.  However, we must tell you that Murreena was beginning to worry.’  The telepathic voice was full of bright laughter.

“We had a slight, unavoidable delay,” John answered with a chuckle, remembering briefly his excursion through questing gates and across space lanes. 

‘We are sending the coordinates of a landing place into your ship’s computers,’ the telepathic voice told him.  

“It’s beautiful,” Penny said softly, watching the approaching planet in rapt attention.  “I feel the voices of so many.  They are so friendly, welcoming us to the planet.”  Turning, she looked at her parents with shining eyes.  “Ever since I met the ssReelen, the companions, I have dreamed of coming here.”  Her mind was filled with the music of the ssHreana oceans and with scenes of wonder beneath ssHreana waves.  Closing her eyes, Penny made out details of various creatures sending her their messages.  She felt the merging of her thoughts with theirs, and also the presence of her own four flutter-dragons.  She longed to be swimming in the Mirin grotto right now, a place she saw as vibrant shades of color- blues, greens, reds and yellow.  The fronds of seaweed waved majestically from the sea floor, towering like ocean skyscrapers.  Pink and orange corals were anchored on rocks of luminous white.  She heard the music of the ssReelen companions and the Shamiril, dolphin like creatures that were dancing in the center of the grotto, their soft skins belied by the acrobatic twists and turns they made in time to the ocean melodies. Penny watched Corellus paint in the sand with the rainbow inks of the Klitees arthropods.  Opening her eyes in surprise, she wondered where the names had come from.  Then Penny felt the tiny tendrils of bright laughter in her mind.  Lucy squeaked pleasantly and led the other lizards in another spiral dance of joy.  Turning, she saw the rest of her family watching her in bemusement.  They apparently had received at least part of the same messages that she had.

“I know you have, sweetheart,” Maureen said with a warm smile.  Penny’s enthusiasm was contagious.

“So much water,” John murmured.  “It will be a wonder if there is a place big enough to land this thing.”  As he was looking out of the observation window, he suddenly realized that every one of the flutter-dragons were perched along the top of the control panel staring out the window, chirping softly. 

There was a place large enough to accommodate the Jupiter II, but just barely.  “What do you use for a spaceport?” Don asked wryly when the ssHreana welcoming committee walked out of the ocean and onto the beach.  “And how were you able to communicate with us in orbit?” The Jupiter II loomed barely thirty yards behind them.  Light laughter floated in his head as the water people approached.  The flutter-dragons flew in dizzying circles in the turquoise sky above, cheeping and squeaking in unbridled happiness.  Don felt sensations of freedom and joy floating through his thoughts and he laughed.  Their little companions spontaneity was contagious. 

Most visitors orbit our planet and come down in shuttles.  Your craft was small enough to land on this island in the Mirin atoll.  We sense that you have a shuttle type vehicle.  Perhaps later you can return your ship into an orbit and return in your Space Pod,’ one of the ssHreana told him.   As to your second question, we have enhancement devices that allow us to communicate with orbital craft.’

Looking over his shoulder, Don mentally concurred with the ssHreana.  There wasn’t much more of the island on the far side of their space vessel.  “Is this the biggest island on the planet?” he asked. 

No, but it is the biggest one near our main Homeplace.  The largest island is near the southern pole and not very pleasant for ssHreana habitation, Don West,’ the foremost ssHreana explained.  He appeared to be older than the others.

“Where is Murreena and Murwon?” John inquired. 

They are near the Homeplace, awaiting your arrival.  The time of pod celebrations is approaching and many are involved in the preparations.  We have rebreathing devices for your use, which will let you stay in the upper reaches for long periods of time.  Later, you may wish to use the bio-adaptation devices to swim to the home places.  By the way, I am called Weros,’ the more slender ssHreana pointed to himself.

“Oh, I can’t wait to see the homeplaces.  I think I may have seen them as we approached!” Penny exclaimed.  Concentrating, she sent the telepathic images she had seen during their approach. 

Yes, that is the Mirin homeplace.  Hopefully you will get to see it during your stay,’ Weros told her.  Looking at the others, he continued.  Do you wish to wait for awhile, or would you like to visit the upper reaches now?’

“Oh, now!” Penny exclaimed.  Then she blushed and turned to her parents.  “Please, Dad, Mom.  Can we visit now?” she asked plaintively.  She noticed that Dad had a slight frown and she wondered if she had overstepped her bounds. 

John looked at his youngest daughter and felt her intense longing.  She had been drawn to the ssReelen companions on Krimlon at the time that the questing gates were being used to draw the telepathically inclined.  That time in the not so distant past when those with telepathic abilities were labeled as abominations and were hunted and killed.  Murreena and her pod-mate, Murwon had been caught in that ‘witch-hunt,’ and Penny had cared for the ssHreana companions during that time and had become very attached to them.  It was only natural that she would want to visit her underwater friends.  However there was something that Weros said that disturbed him. 

“If we can use the rebreathers, I see no problem in a swim,” he finally said.  Penny gave him a quick hug and ran back into the Jupiter II to change into her swimming suit.  The others did the same and by the time they had returned to the beach, the ssHreana had returned with the swimming devices. 

These are the rebreathers.  They will allow you a great deal of access to the upper reaches.  You simply wear them on your back and breathe through the mask,’ Weros explained, telepathically showing the family how the devices worked.  They were similar to the scuba gear in use on Earth, but much more compact and lightweight.  And this is the bio-adaptation device, which when attached will allow total freedom underwater.’

John looked at the device in horror.  It was a circlet that fitted over a person’s head.  John saw the inside, with the tendrils that attached to the scalp, making the changes necessary for adaptation.  He saw in his mind a similar circlet, one about the same size, even the same color.  He saw that the tendrils would work the same as the device with which he had been imprisoned on Krimlon.  He felt the constricting, piercing intrusion of the controlling device in his mind and saw that this one worked on much the same principle.  It didn’t matter that the inventors were friends and that the device had a useful purpose, John only saw . . . and felt, the horror of his imprisonment and torture, and he mentally recoiled.  “No, absolutely not,” he declared vehemently. 

 

 

 

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