The Penny Robinson Fan Club is pleased and excited to release a new edition of our Endless Skies Trilogy. This new volume brings all three stories together in one cover!
A Penny Saved — A romance of deep space,
Symphony Of An Angel — The gutsy, gritty, rollercoaster sequel, and
Through Endless Skies — Classic Lost In Space action and adventure, and much more
In Word format: and in PDF:
This is a slightly new edit, with some typos corrected and a very little bit of re-writing, not more than a word or two here and there. If you’ve liked these, please do consider helping us out with site expenses, maybe even get your hands on the real book, as seen
on TV above, professionally printed and bound (see front page.)
And here, for the first time in its proper place, what was originally released as a “spooky Halloween treat”, a short-short story which provides a conclusion to the saga of Bobby and Penny:
Although, for the most part, I have tried to straddle a fine line of staying true to Lost In Space while not overburdening my work with references to the show which might puzzle those not thoroughly familiar with it, Requiem does invoke a reference to “All That Glitters” and is very much indebted to “My Friend, Mr. Nobody.” If you don’t understand the conclusion here, watch that one — then read this again.
Here, for your enticement, THREE “peeks inside” at “Endless Skies”:
BUT FIRST: A lot of music went into these stories, one way or another. A sequence of songs plays a critical role in Through Endless Skies, and of course that title itself is inspired by the Black Sabbath song Planet Caravan. A number of other musical references dot the stories, some more obvious than others. Start the playlist for some fine musical accompaniment as you read!
A Penny Saved
I boosted into a solar-synchronous orbit right above the dawn terminator, where I could observe the daylit surface and also watch the night-side for the telltale sign of an industrial civilization, artificial lighting. My traffic scanners were busy now, too. They certainly seemed to be taking in a lot of data, but that meant nothing. Data included traces left by meteors, ion storms, solar flares, cosmic radiation, pulsar bursts, and a dozen other bits of the random noise generated naturally in space. They would absorb data for a few hours, then spend as long sorting it all out and figuring out what, if anything, was the skidmarks of a spaceship.
Almost three complete rotations of the planet passed under my observations. I noted some powerful lightning activity, and even the glimmer of starlight reflecting off the seas. Nothing like the lights of a city or town. Once, I thought I saw a metallic glimmer shine feebly in the northern hemisphere of the daylight side, near a small oasis, but I dismissed it.
Then, without warning, the unbelievable.
The radio crackled a signal!
It wasn’t static. I know, oh so very well, the static and chirps and squawks and squeals of sunspots and planetary magnetic fields and cosmic storms and background radiation and a hundred other types of electromagnetic radiation drifting in from the stars. This was a voice! More precisely, it was two voices: first one, then another in response. Together they only lasted about two seconds, and they were badly broken up, but the greatest shock, beyond hearing them at all, was this: they were in English! I couldn’t distinguish much, the signal was distorted. But I was sure I heard the words “ship,” and “water,” and “might.”
I jumped to the radio and hit the mike: “This is Rescue Survey Scout Thundercloud calling unknown station, do you read?” three times over. (I probably should mention – for some obscure reason, Rescue Survey ships are named for meteorological phenomena – Thundercloud, Lightning, Hurricane, etc.) In theory, the signal I picked up could have come from just about anywhere in the human universe, and be twenty years old or more. But in orbit around a planet? Too big a coincidence.
Also, the signal was distorted, but it wasn’t attenuated. Sounded like some heavy sunspot-static, maybe. It was a mess, but it was a close mess. I would have bet any amount of cash I was hearing people right down there.
I remembered that metallic glint I had earlier dismissed. Was it a ship? A distress marker? There was no data showing any ships lost in this part of space, or even launched into this sector!
The video replay didn’t show that glint, but it showed the oasis all right, and I was sure the glint had been just to the east of it. I plotted out a rolling recon track. First, I had to start moving and drop into a lower orbit, then get some motion relative to the surface. I wanted a sedate west-to-east ground track which would take me over the oasis but give me lots of time for visual observation and radio sweep. I settled in at about 200 kilometers above the surface, just about as low as I dared.
At that moment, it occurred to me that I should check those traffic scanners, and see if they could tell me anything about how recently this ship might have crashed – if indeed, that’s what it was.
I looked over, and saw the scanners flashing a message on the screen. They had something to tell me, all right. I hit the button to put the results up on the monitor. They started an agonizingly slow process – first painting the planet, sketching in topography, atmosphere profiles, then, finally, the first long, faint trajectory line of a spacecraft. Then another. And another . . .
My jaw was ready to drop again when alarm sirens started screaming….
Symphony Of An Angel
As my perceptive bride had suspected, Maureen was already up and about with the coffee going.
“Good morning – Maureen.” I thought of something as she handed me a cup. “Sorry if this sounds weird, but – what should I call you now? Is ‘Maureen’ OK, or do I call you Mom or something now?” I guessed I did still have a few things to learn.
She chuckled merrily. “That’s a good question, isn’t it? You’re certainly welcome to call me ‘Maureen,’ but –” She eyed me speculatively. Maybe she sensed a need in me that I didn’t even realize. “The children have always called me ‘Mom,’ or ‘Mother’ as they got older. I think that’s something a little special to them.” She took a long, meditative sip at her coffee. “I think if you’d like to call me ‘Mum,’ that would be very nice. That’s a family sort of name. Anybody can call me Maureen.”
Something inside me felt funny. “Thanks – Mum.”
Maureen –Mum– grabbed me suddenly in a hug. I put my head down on her shoulder, and she ruffled my hair. “You’re not much more than a child yourself, are you?” she whispered. “You must miss your parents, don’t you?”
Suddenly I did. I felt every inch of all the cold light-years between here and Earth, and the despair of knowing that I couldn’t get any closer to it than I could jump in the air. It’s one thing to come back home at the end of a hitch in space and know your family is something you can easily avoid. It’s another thing entirely to know that you likely will never see them again, and that they will never know anything more of you, except the polite form letter from the Rescue Service, with the uncomforting words, “Missing and presumed lost, in space.”
“Oh, Mum. Mum.”
“It’s all right, Bobby. We all have to be strong here, but none of us can be that strong all the time. You learn how to take turns. It’s alright, really.” She pulled a handkerchief from her pocket. “I think you have some dust in your eyes,” she whispered. “You might want to wipe it out before Penny sees.” I did need the handkerchief, just a little bit. “You be sure Penny knows it’s all right to take turns with you, now. I think sometimes she tries too hard.”
“I know. Thanks, Mum.” She darted her eyes beyond me; I turned, and there was Penny with a bowl of – something that would be breakfast. I sat down with my coffee. Maureen ruffled my hair one last time.
“The cooker’s all yours, honey,” Maureen said to Penny. “What are you fixing?”
“Omelets or scrambled eggs. I’m not sure how this recipe is going to turn out.”
Maureen smiled. “I’ll be inside for a bit. Just shout if you need help.”
Penny sat down by me and took a sip of coffee from my cup. “Mother is a wonderful lady, isn’t she?” I nodded silently. She glanced sideways at me, reading my face. “Dusty this morning, isn’t it?” she asked gently. I nodded again. “It’s like that sometimes,” she said.
Through Endless Skies
Don raised his glass in another salute. “In vino veritas, in whiskyis moreso!” He took a sip, let it linger in his mouth a bit before swallowing. “Be sure and bring some more of that back, huh?” We both took a long pull at the bourbon, and sat in silence a while.
All was quiet on the ship, save for the occasional sound of power humming in a console somewhere. There were no crickets or other creatures to break the stillness of nighttime.
“I envy you, Bobby, you know that?” Don asked abruptly.
“What, trip back home?”
“Yeah. That too.”
“That too, what?”
Don let another splash of bourbon roll into his mouth. “You and Penny.”
“Oh. Thanks . . . I guess.”
He sat forward suddenly. “I just meant that you seem so right for each other. An’ it’s obvious you two really, really . . . Not that I envied you Penny.” Don’s speech was slurring slightly around the edges. “I mean she’s a beautiful girl and all, and I’m not jealous of that or anything. I got no signs – designs – on ’er.”
He looked off, out the windows. I said nothing.
“Nor should you be.”
“What? I shouldn’t be what?”
A little unsteady, Don stood up and moved to the chair next to me. On his other side, John was snoring slightly. “John.” He pushed against John’s knee. “John.”
John Robinson stirred slightly. “We’ll go to the beach in the morning, sweetheart,” he said.
Don turned to me. “Look, buddy. This isn’t what I started to say, but I may as well now. Listen. This was a while ago. Year, maybe two years before you dropped in. I don’t remember where everyone else had gone, or why, but –” He took another jolt of the bourbon. “Well, bottom line, I –kind of– made a pass at Penny.”