I'm Lost, Find Me
 

Note:

The following 'Land of the Lost' story ignores all episodes after the first third season episode: "Aftershock". The author believes that the third season episodes are of insufficient quality to accept them as canon. The time of the story is a few months after Rick has returned home and Uncle Jack has joined Will and Holly.

I'm Lost, Find Me

by Gregson Vaux

The granite columns rose from the stone floors to the arched ceilings and Rick Marshall was given the feeling of being in a place almost holy and perhaps in a sense it was a holy place if you considered the pursuit of knowledge to be a search for deep meaning.  In the center of the enormous room was a mastodon or at least a model of what someone had decided a mastodon should look like. Rick reflected that maybe the model was right on because hadn't frozen mammoths been found somewhere? Was it in Siberia perhaps? He thought that he might even recall that some Russians had even eaten some of the 20,000 year old meat. Talk about a case of freezer burn. He decided not to question the people who had built the model since they had likely had an actual carcass as a guide.

Off in the corner was a grouping of dinosaurs in various shades of brown and green. There was an iguanodon which a puzzled and stupid look on its face and some smaller bipedal dinosaurs whose names escaped Rick. Rick searched his brain and decided that they were called oviraptors but he was unsure whether that was what they were actually called. He walked up to the life-size models and decided that even though the people who had made them had never seen a dinosaur, they had done a first rate job. The colors looked right, the skin texture was right, and he laughed aloud when he saw the next dinosaur, it was a perfect replica.

The model of the baby brontosaurus was so life-like! It had a stupid but eager look that made Rick want to find some leaves to feed to it. Rick broke his silence and spoke aloud to the model, "Dopey, if I had a giant strawberry, I would give it to you but all we have here are the small variety". He thought that the display was missing a harness and cart for Dopey and that he would complain to the museum manager if he could find him.

"The dinosaur cannot hear you". Rick jumped at the words and turned to see a man perhaps 45 or 50 with just a trace a gray hair left on his shiny head. The man was dressed in a uniform that made Rick guess that he was a tour guide for the museum except that the uniform seemed a little out of place. The coat was of a strange cut that almost gave the impression of being a smock. Rick guessed that it was a Victorian costume to match the Victorian architecture of the museum. The man's eyes were also strange, he wore thick glasses that reflected the light and have the impression that his eyes were made of huge pieces of glass.

Rick was irritated and wished that the tour guide would go away but responded anyway. "No, I guess that he cannot hear me but he is so cute that I couldn't help myself. Besides, he reminds me of my daughter". The guide looked neither surprised nor amused but instead answered in a matter of fact sort of voice, " These creatures elicit many responses from people but this may be a first". The guide paused for a moment and bent in a stiff manner while moving his arms in an equally rigid fashion before continuing, "this model has triggered an unusual response in you, perhaps you would like to see some other displays that might bring other thoughts to the surface".

The guide turned in his stiff manner and shuffled from the current room to the next  cavernous room while motioning for Rick to follow. In truth, the next room was even larger and needed to be to hold the dinosaur skeletons. There in front of Rick as though in mid stride was a tyrannosaurus rex and right beside it stood a huge brontosaurus whose tail extended the length of the room. "Grumpy and Emily!" Rick blurted out. The guide next to Rick retorted stiffly and unemotionally, "I do not understand why you give these creatures those names when your people have perfectly suitable and more apt descriptions". "Look", he gestured; "the plaques clearly state that they are called 'tyrannosaurus rex' and 'brontosaurus' the names that you have given them show once again how easily you are governed by your emotions". Although the man was annoying and condescending, Rick was glad he was there because he needed a guide to help him answer some questions.

As though on cue, the guide did what guides are supposed to do and asked, "is there anything that I can help you find"? "Yes there is", Rick replied. "I have seen Dopey, Grumpy, and Emily but I want to see the rest". The guide again bent in his stiff manner and waved his arms about while taking a dramatic pause before replying, "You will find that this museum is quite complete". He turned like a badly controlled puppet and began to walk toward the next room. He was right; Rick could see a skeleton of Spike the triceratops to his right and Torchy the Dimetrodon to his left.

 The next room  did not disappoint. Rick saw an elaborate display of early human ancestors. Behind a brass rail to keep the display safe from the museum goers was a scene from some time in the distant past but after the dinosaurs. A male and female stood each holding a short spear and sharp expressions on their faces as though they had hard lives and would like to take it out on someone smaller than themselves. Rick had no idea what paleontologists would call them; maybe they were Homo-erectus or Homo-hablis or something else but Rick knew them as Ta and Sa.  It seemed like everyone was here but he wanted to see the rest.

He and the guide made their way to other rooms with ancient plants and various minerals  but he figured that something was missing. The guide anticipated Rick's words and asked, "Rick Marshall, what do you seek"? Rick thought for a moment and hesitated before replying, "where are the aliens"? "I do not understand" the guide said. "This museum only holds the flora and fauna that can be found on earth; there are no aliens here". "But there must be aliens", Rick insisted. "You know, lizard men with glassy eyes that walk slowly and hiss". "Ah yes", the guide said in a near whisper, "the sleestak".

Rick was lead to one of those displays that museums build to get the visitors into the environment. The lights were recessed into the walls to give an eerie feeling and the walls were made to look like the stone walls of a cave. There were even hidden loud speakers that produced hissing noises to go along with the lizard men behind the brass railing. They looked pretty cheesy like poorly constructed Halloween costumes but they scared Rick none the less so that his heart began beating faster and his breathing became shallow. "It's not real, it's not real" he whispered to himself. He looked up and saw the tour guide as though for the first time but his strange coat seemed to be made of an almost metallic fabric and his glasses were revealed to be the eyes of a lizard man. "Enik!" Rick gasped. "I told you, Rick Marshall, that everything here is from the earth." Rick sat up in bed with his pulse still pounding in his head from the dream.

*******

There were three moons in the sky and each of them was beautiful. The Marshalls usually preferred to be safe in the temple after dark but they had decided that it was time for a change. Instinctively, all humans knew that monsters walked about by night and in the Land of the Lost it was not just a silly childhood fear, it was a truth to be taken seriously.

Jack Marshall reflected that the Sleestak were monsters worthy of any child's imagination. Their deep glassy eyes stared vacantly as though their souls had been lost long ago or perhaps they did have souls but they only showed them to friends; for enemies there was only a vacant pitiless gaze. If the eyes were not bad enough, the hissing would be enough to scare the bravest man. Jack Shuddered at the thought. He was a brave man wasn't he? Still, the thought of the hissing alone could send him into a near panic. What kind of things hiss like that? Jack thought to himself. The only thing that he could think of were snakes, lizards, and some kinds of insects like the cockroaches that used to live in the basement of his first house after college.

Cockroaches - Jack began to speculate that maybe the Sleestak really were more like insects than lizards. After all, lizards like to sun themselves on warm rocks while cockroaches and all of the vilest insects live underground to avoid the sun. Yes, the Sleestak reminded him more of insects than lizards especially with their hard skin which seemed like an exoskeleton. However, they only had four limbs instead of six and their mouths looked like a lizard's mouth with no trace of all of those fiendish mouthparts that insects have. Well, whatever the Sleestak were, they were best avoided.

And that is exactly what Jack, Will, and Holly had tried to do for the last few months since Jack had arrived in the Land; avoid the Sleestak. However, there were two things that caused The sleestak and the Marshalls to cross paths, the Lost City and Enik, the Altrusian. Both of these things were too tempting as chances to get back home. The lost city was full of ancient mysteries from the Altrusian Empire and Enik was their best hope of ever understanding any of it. For the chance to get home, they would risk being captured by the soulless insect men.

Jack smiled to himself, because he wasn't being completely honest. It was more than that. Yes, they went into the lost city in hopes of opening a doorway back to earth but they also went because it was a wonderful place. In all his life, Jack had never seen a time doorway, a matrix table, or crystal covered walls until he had fallen into this place. Life here was mostly miserable but it did have its moments of beauty and this is why they were out tonight, to look at the moons.

A few weeks ago, Jack and Will had carefully made their way into Enik's lair within the Lost City and it was really not all that hard to do. Of course if they were captured they could very well end up dead but if they kept their torches lit or used some crystals to keep the Sleestak at bay, then they would be safe. As usual, they had invited Holly to come along but she did not seem to share the men's interest in quests and adventures and had explained that she needed to work on a dress anyway. Jack really could not argue with that because she was quickly outgrowing her clothes and the dress would soon be imperative.  Thus Will and Jack had set out leaving Chaka with Holly to serve as her half reluctant dress dummy. Even now, Jack smiled when he thought of the look on poor Chaka's face as Holly made him stand still while she struggled to put stitches in the tough  dinosaur leather. Chaka was a good friend for Holly.

The trip to Enik's lair had been rather uneventful with only a few sightings of some small dinosaurs and absolutely no sign of the Sleestak. It wasn't their time for hibernation but they could be up to almost anything. Before they had reached Enik's actual room, they called out to him so that he would not be surprised. As usual, he looked as annoyed as a person can be who is unable to make facial expressions or blink his eyes. Enik looked just like a Sleestak and this along with his overall alieness absolutely creeped out Jack but he was here for a reason.

"Hello, Enik"  Will and Jack said nearly in unison. The Altrusian looked up from his matrix table and said in an annoyingly even tone, "Jack and Will Marshall, can you not see that I am busy and that your presence is causing me to be distracted? I have told you before that my work is of a delicate nature and that I must be left undisturbed." Will could always be counted on to react passionately and he had responded with a mixture of outrage and pleading. "Come on Enik, you can't always be busy. Don't tell me that you spend every hour of every day waving your hands over crystals and peering into the time doorway!" "Yes, Will Marshall, I do spend every hour 'waving my hands' as you have so crudely put it" Enik had responded. Only by manipulating the field flows and initiating carefully timed sequences will I ever have any chance of getting home. Now, why have the two of you come to disturb my work?"

Jack had expected this but he thought that he might be able to get Enik's cooperation. "Enik", Jack began, "your knowledge of this land, the matrix tables, and the pylons is extensive and I was hoping that you could teach us some of what you know. " Enik did not seem to expect this but his irritation lead to a quick answer, "Jack Marshall, how many times must I explain that I am busy and do not have time to aid you. Although your plight is great, it is of no concern to me so we have nothing further to discuss." Again, Jack was not surprised but he had to try, "I am willing to trade something if you will teach us", Jack had said. "We have a number of items back in the temple that you might find valuable."

Enik had begun to respond but then stopped with his mouth half open and then cocked his head like an inquisitive bird. He had stood perfectly still for at least twenty seconds which seemed more like twenty minutes before finally replying, "Your offer is interesting but I must ponder it further"

Without another word, Enik turned his back on Jack and will and began arranging crystals on the matrix table. "Should we come back later?" Jack hesitantly asked. "No Jack Marshall, I will give you an answer shortly so you should wait here".

Enik's idea of shortly was not to Will's liking. Jack and Will had stood silently for about five minutes when Will began pacing up and down the chamber. Jack had been afraid that Will would anger the Altrusian so he had silently motioned his nephew to stop. Will saw the wisdom of this, shrugged his shoulders, and slumped down the way that teenagers do to quietly sit with his back to the wall. Jack thought this was a good idea so he sat next to Will to wait for the answer.

Jack had not checked his watch but the answer came after what seemed like half an hour. The Altrusian was still arranging the crystals when he suddenly sighed what seemed to be a very human sigh and squared his shoulders. He turned to look at the two men and say, "You are not of my people so I have no reason to aid you but I do need assistance so I will accept your offer. You have nothing in your possession that I value but I do need help in collecting trace samples so I will teach you in exchange for the samples"

"What are trace samples?" Will had blurted out. Good question Jack had thought to himself.

In the end, it had turned out that Enik had wanted them to collect a young succulent plant such as a fern sprout and a sample from the oldest plant they could find as close as possible to each of the pylons and some other locations that Enik had specified. After three days, Jack, Will, Holly, and Chaka had collected all of the requested specimens but Enik rejected them as inadequate and told them to collect seven young plants and seven old plants from each location. Holly and Will had complained frequently about this but after two weeks they gave the samples to Enik and he kept his end of the bargain - sort of.

Enik must have somehow known that they had collected the samples because he met them at the temple carrying a finely crafted wooden box. "These trace samples are adequate so in exchange I have constructed a telescope for you." "A telescope!" Jack shouted. "We have slaved for you for two weeks and you give us a telescope! I'm sure that it's nice but we want you to teach us how to use the matrix tables.  Will was always quick to protect his family so he angrily joined in, "we want to get home and you want us to look at the stars!" Enik's anger was now also beginning to rise, "you may look at the stars if you wish or you may look at the moons but I will discuss this no further. Your samples are adequate and the telescope is adequate." He turned his back to them but when Jack and Will tried to follow him but they were stopped by a force field that the Altrusian had somehow put around them.

"Uncle Jack! Will!" Holly cried. "Stop fighting him. Why don't you look at his gift before you get angry with him?" Jack and will stopped struggling and the force field disappeared.

Now it was evening, three days after their encounter with Enik and they were waiting for the sky to get a little bit darker. The telescope had turned out to be a wonderful gift. Inside the box they had found a cube made of heavy wire about 10 inches on each side with a clear crystal floating and rotating in the exact middle. The only clue to how it worked was that the wire that made up one of the faces was a more silver color while the other faces were a gold color. They puzzled over it for a few hours until almost by accident they discovered that if they gripped the silver face firmly with both hands, an image would appear in the face much the same way that images appeared in the time portals. It was simple to use; one of the faces 90 degrees away from the viewing face seemed to act as the 'lens' that collected the image and it could be zoomed in and out by gently pushing or pulling on the sides.

They were able to zoom in on distant objects and see them with astounding clarity but it was Holly who had perhaps been actually listening to what Enik was saying. "I think when Enik said that we could look at the moons, he meant that we SHOULD look at the moons". 

Jack sat on a large rock holding the telescope while Will and Holly stood on either side looking over his shoulder. The image of the middle sized moon danced and jerked due to Uncle Jack not being able to keep his hands perfectly still but then some sort of  correction feature took over and the image became quite still. They could see the whole disk of the moon in the telescope and it really did not look too different than Earth's moon, or Luna as Jack liked to sometimes call it. Jack pointed to the image and said to the kids, "The bright areas are most likely uplands with craters and the dark areas are most likely lowlands that had been flooded with magma and will be mostly crater free, well, at least that is how it is with Earth's moon."

"Ah Uncle Jack", Holly whined, "Let's not have a science lesson; zoom in so we can have a closer look." Jack zoomed in on one of the bright areas and sure enough they could see craters and mountains. "Gee", will exclaimed, "this telescope is really neat. You can see how sharp those mountains are like they are made out of broken glass!"

They looked at the mountains and craters for a while until Holly started to get bored. "Uncle Jack, all the craters look the same. Can't we look at something else?" "Sure, Holly" Jack replied "We can look at the lowlands which scientists call seas because they used to think that they were full of water."  Jack zoomed out and then zoomed in on one of the dark patches. Almost immediately he sat up very straight and said, "what's this? Something is wrong here." What's up?" will asked. Jack answered, "I don't know exactly but the image seems to be moving like it has static or something. No wait-I think that it really is moving. This can't be but I think that there really is water up there in the moon! I think that we are looking at an ocean!"  "Well", Holly chimed in, "This is the Land of the Lost and not home so maybe there can be water on one of the moons." Jack zoomed in even further to see more detail but this only added to the mystery because it was clear too all of them that what had appeared to be water was really something else entirely.

Before they could investigate further, a loud roar from the jungle awoke them to their surroundings. "Big Alice!", Will shouted, "Quick, to the temple". Most people running from a full grown allosaur would panic or at least be out of breath but being chased by carnivorous dinosaurs was all too common for the Marshalls so from long habit they ran into the stone building and sealed the door behind them.  They would most likely need to wait a half hour or longer before they could be sure that Alice had given up and wandered off to find easier prey.

"That didn't look like water on the moon to me", Holly began as they settled in to wait until it was safe to go back outside. "What was it Uncle Jack?" I don't know Holly" he answered. "I keep thinking about static since it looked like snow on a television but how could there be television static in the moon?" Will Joined in, "Maybe it was light from the sun reflecting off of shiny rocks or maybe crystals like on a matrix table. Hey, maybe there are huge matrix tables on the moons and that it what we saw." Holly disagreed, "It didn't look like crystals to me and besides, Daddy said that the moons couldn't be real anyway."

Jack had begun to make some tea and looked up from the kettle he was preparing. "What do you mean that the moons are not real?" "Daddy said that since the Land of the Lost is a closed universe and since we can walk completely around the land in less than a day, then the universe is too small to hold the sun or the three moons. He thinks that the sun and the moons are just pictures that the pylons project." Will smiled at his sister. "Oh yeah Holly, I had forgotten about that. He also said that he thought that the sun wasn't real because the weather pylon controls how it moves in the sky. Maybe we really were seeing static; maybe the pylons don't do a very good job of projecting the moons on the sky and we can see the static with our telescope."

Jack was once again impressed with the kids and felt a small twinge of jealousy towards his brother. Sure he loved Rick fiercely but why hadn't he thought of that? Why hadn't he realized that the moons must not be real? Since Jack was an engineer and his brother was just a park ranger, he thought that he should be better at science but Rick had always been more creative and his imagination had allowed him to solve mysteries about the Land of the Lost that Jack was not sure that he would have solved as easily. However, he had not been there when the sun stopped in the sky so maybe he shouldn't be so hard on himself.

"There is just one thing Will. If what we saw was really static, then why didn't we see the same static on the mountains and in the craters. Those parts of the moon seemed to be as clear as reality so maybe the moons are real and the universe is only closed at the ground level. Maybe the sky is real."

"I don't know", Holly said, "One time Daddy and Will lowered me on a rope in the lost city. We thought that I would hit bottom at some point but instead I wound up in the sky so I think that the universe is closed in all directions and the pylons make the sun and the moons".  Jack again felt that since he had an engineering degree, he should be coming up with the good ideas. Oh well, didn't church teach us that humility is a good thing?

Jack finished preparing the tea and proceeded to pour it into three wooden cups that Chaka had carved a while ago as a gift. He missed the Paku but Chaka was off looking for Ta and Sa and they didn't know when he would be back.

"Do you think that Big Alice is gone?" Will ask Jack. "I'm dying to get back out to look at the moons"

Jack replied. "We can take our tea with us."

Jack always made a conscious effort to give the kids as much responsibility as possible in case he ever fell prey to one of the dinosaurs or the Sleestak so he gave Will a turn with the telescope. Although the other moons were now up, Will immediately homed in on the middle moon. It only took about twenty seconds for him to get the seas on the telescope's view screen. As before, it looked like static but Will proceeded to zoom in closer and closer. Until the static was revealed to be something artificial. The seas seemed to be made of huge rectangular blocks that were individually rising and falling on the moons surface like stone pistons.

Will was concentrating so hard on the image that when he spoke his voice came out as a dry croak. "Do you think that it is a giant machine?" Jack suddenly had an idea. "If the moons are projected by the pylons, then it is probably not a machine because a picture cannot make anything. The whole purpose of a picture is to give you information." "Sometimes a picture just makes you feel good like a picture of Mom", Holly added. "That might be" Jack said, "And maybe that is why the Altrusians put pictures of the moons in the sky so that it would be pretty but the sun and the moon can do more than that."

Jack quoted from the bible, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth."

Holly wrinkled her nose and looked perplexed, "what does that mean?

 Jack explained, "it means that the Altusians wanted the moons to be in the sky so they would know what time of year it was and they most likely had special days like holidays and the moons would let them know when the holidays had come. But why stop there? Why not make the moons be full of all sorts of information?"

Holly didn't seem to be buying this. "are you saying Uncle Jack that those millions of blocks moving up and down on the moon would tell stuff to the Altrusians?"

"Sure Holly. Maybe those moving blocks are some sort of Altrusian writing. We don't know what it says but Enik might. He gave us the telescope because I wanted to know how the matrix tables work. Maybe those are instructions like a manual for building a radio."

Will was sitting on the rock with the telescope on his lap and he was starting to focus in in the smallest moon.

"Hey!" Holly cried out. "I want a turn. I think that I should get to hold the telescope for speedy because speedy is the smallest moon and I am the smallest person in the family."

Will shot his sister a mischievous grin and said, "I'm only protecting you sis. Maybe there is a picture of a giant spider on speedy and I know you wouldn't want to see a giant hairy spider".

"I'd only be afraid if there were a giant picture of your ugly face", Holly shouted back.

Jack stepped in, "enough Will, give your sister a turn with the telescope." Will started to hand it to her but at the last second pulled it out of her reach. "I said ENOUGH WILL. I don't want the two of you horsing around with that telescope it might be delicate and if your broke it we probably would not be able to get another. We slaved for two weeks to get it and Enik probably worked hard to make it."

Will smiled again and said, "I'll bet that big bug just found it in some dusty cave." Jack admonished his nephew, "Even if he found it and didn't make it, it is still a valuable tool so we must be careful."

With a sense of victory, Holly took the telescope and sat on the rock so the other two could stand behind her and see. Jack noticed that she was not too sure in using it and he realized that he and Will had been monopolizing it for the last few days.

At first the smallest moon seemed to be less interesting than the middle moon because it lacked the sharp distinction between the highlands and the seas but as she zoomed in, details began to emerge. There were pictures but not of spiders, this looked more like a page from a geometry textbook. Holly zoomed in even further and they could see shapes carved in to the surface of the moon. There were rectangles, circles, cones, and a multitude of lines joining everything together. Jack was very interested since he had studied analytical calculus for several years at the university. However, it didn't make a lot of sense to him just yet.

Jack pointed to a series of cubes and lines and said, "I wonder if these don't represent the pylons". "No, Uncle Jack" Holly disagreed. "Those cubes all go together to make a bigger cube. Will gave his sister a strange look, "What in the world are you talking about?"

Holly suddenly seemed very excited and continued, "I don't mean that the cubes should be stacked on each other or put side by side, I mean that the way these lines are slanting, The cubes should be put together in a different direction."

"What?" Jack exclaimed.

Holly further explained, Over here is a line that is pointing up while over here is a line that is pointing left and here is a line that is pointing into the center of the moon, but what about these other two lines? These two lines are pointing in two other directions which have to be somewhere else." "What directions?" Will demanded. "Oh I don't know, like when you go into a pylon, you have the feeling that there are more directions than just up, down, left, right, or forward, and backward.

Will poked at his sister and teased, "you are so weird" but Jack wasn't so sure.

 

*******

"COME ON WITHOUT!

 COME ON WITHIN!

 YOU'LL NOT SEE NOTHING LIKE THE MIGHTY QUINN!"

Rick was shooting down the highway in his old pick-up truck and singing at the top of his lungs. He had not driven this fast in years and he had never listened to this kind of music on the radio before. He had sifted through the stations to find something that he liked but he ended up on one of those hippie stations. He had almost turned it off when they started playing that annoying 'Joy to the world' song about the frog but he sort of felt like a hippie today and the next song was this song about an Eskimo. 

Rick knew he could not carry a tune but today he didn't care and he would make up in enthusiasm.

"EVERY BODY'S IN DESPAIR

 EVERY GIRL AND BOY

BUT WHEN QUINN THE ESKIMO GETS HERE

EVERYBODY'S GONNA JUMP FOR JOY!"

What in the world did those words mean anyway? Rick wondered for a moment, but didn't much care because everything made sense today. So what if he couldn't make out most of the words. The song was about an Eskimo that made everybody happy just like Rick was happy.

It had been a long time...how long since He had felt this good? Perhaps the last time he had felt this was when his wife was still alive. Since then, he had been forced to raise Will and Holly by himself which was really a great thing to do but it was so lonely much of the time without his wife. Oh, it wasn't that he and the kids didn't have fun; they used to go on camping expeditions all the time but he could only say so much to them. If only his wife had not left him.

Then they had been yanked off to some dinosaur infested jungle where the only other adult seemed to be a cross between a lizard and a grasshopper. Was Enik the only other adult in The Land of the Lost? There were Ta and Sa...no, they didn't count as adults. There was the Zarn...Enik was strange but the Zarn was completely bizarre. The Zarn was after all an alien and Enik was not! That was what he had learned in his dream two days ago.

Everything that was in the Land of the lost came from earth: the Pakuni, the ferns, the strawberries, the dinosaurs, and even the Sleestak. The only thing that was truly alien was the Zarn. The question that Rick had was, if the Sleestak were from earth, then why hadn't anyone ever seen any evidence of them? Did the Sleestak come from the past or maybe from the future? Maybe they were going to evolve in another million years.  Well, Rick was going to find out when he saw Enik again and there was no doubt that he would be seeing Enik soon; he just knew it. Maybe that was why he was so happy; finally he was going to be in control of his life again. Was that why he had been sad for the last few years? First his wife had left him to play a harp on a cloud somewhere, then he and his children had been whisked off to a jungle prison to play tag with dinosaurs, and then he had been whisked off again back home but this time without his children. However, soon he would see them again and they could all return to their lives.

Up ahead, the sign said, 'Grand Canyon 50 miles'. In less than an hour Rick would be at the Canyon and sometime tomorrow he would be searching for the door that lead to his family. Oh. it wasn't that he hadn't tried before, four months ago when he had first been yanked back home, he had searched the park for weeks to find a way to rescue his children but had found nothing. What was different this time? This time he knew that the Land of the Lost belonged to Earth. It all made sense, everything there was from earth so there must be a strong tie to this planet.  When he had last tried to find a door to the dinosaur world, he had assumed that doors were rare because it was an alien place but now he knew that he would find a door and he would get through.

It was almost sunset when his old truck finally pulled up to a parking area near the rim of the canyon. As a park ranger, this was the life that Rick knew: sleeping in a tent, long hikes, riding a horse or raft, consulting a map and compass, and finding lost people. Two people were lost and this park ranger had no doubt that soon he would find them. Boy he felt good. He couldn't wait to hear about all the things that they had done in the past few months.

Holly would have stories about Dopey the way she always did and Will would talk about all the brave things he had done. Most men would be afraid that their children would be dead if left in a world full of reptilian dangers but Rick was not too worried. He had trained them every day to live without him and he had seen them, especially Holly, grow more capable and mature. Good grief, that girl could ride a brontosaurus or escape from the Sleestak sacrifice pit. Both she and Will were children that any father would be able to boast about. He missed them so much but he was sure that it would only be a few more days.

*******

Rick was perturbed. He had been on the Colorado river for two weeks and there was still no sign of a doorway that would lead to his children. He wasn't exactly angry, or afraid, or discouraged, but he was impatient. They were nearby and it was just a matter of time before he found them. What can I do to find the doorway? Rick asked himself. This wasn't just a matter of finding the same spot where they had disappeared before, the Land was hiding from him and by gum he was going to find it. Where was the land hiding and how were the pylons doing it? Those tricky Altrusians had built a good puzzle but they couldn't fool Rick forever.

It was getting late so Rick paddled his canoe to a pebble beach and began to set up his tent. He would go to bed even earlier than his usual early bedtime and continue the search tomorrow.

*******

Rick was dreaming again but this time he was in a cave in the lost city. This underground network of rooms and passages was the home of the Sleestak and the temporary lair of Enik.  The cave was definitely somewhere in the Lost City because it had the look that he knew so well. The rocks were made of a porous light weight mineral which almost had the look of Styrofoam but the real give-away was the Altrusian sun symbol on the wall. It was of the same style as the symbol over the City Entrance except that there was only one ray coming out of it.  The ray extended straight down to end a few inches off the floor. Rick might have stayed to look at the pictogram further but he felt compelled to move on.

He walked to the next room which looked identical. The floor was flat and mostly featureless, there was a passageway at either end, and there was a sun symbol on the wall. Except that one thing was different; the symbol was different in this room. While the previous rock carving had been a sun with a single ray extending to the ground, this carving had two rays going to the ground. Again, Rick would have normally stayed to inspect the carving further but he was compelled to move to the next room.

As before, the next room was like the previous two except for the sun symbol. This time it had three rays. "Aha!" Rick exclaimed aloud, here was a pattern. He went from room to room and each successive room had another ray on the sun symbol. That was boring! Basically these were rooms numbered 1,2,3,4,5, and so forth.  Before Rick could explore this mystery further, he heard the noise which he always expected and dreaded while in the lost city.  From the previous passages came the sound of hissing and it was quickly growing louder. Darn! the Sleestak were coming and Rick needed a quick escape route.  Since this room like all the others had only two doorways and was thus a series of rooms all in a line, he could either run toward or away from the Sleestak.

Rick ran to room nine, then ten, then eleven, but the sleestak were still coming so he knew that he would have to think of something else. What would Enik do if he were being chased and needed to get away? He would most likely use some crystals to make a force-field. Rick didn't see any crystals so he would need to find another solution.

Enik might also wave his hand and cause fear but Rick felt pretty sure that he would never be able to duplicate that trick. Rick needed to get away from danger and he needed an Altrusian trick. What he needed was a matrix table.

He ran to room twelve and in answer to his need, there stood a matrix table in the middle of the floor. Ok, he had the Altusian technology and he needed to escape from danger, what would an Altrusian do? Again in answer to his need, he received an answer. "You should create a dimensional door".

Enik stood next to Rick wearing his orange tunic and he seemed to be there to give advice.  "Ok, Enik, Rick responded, I will open a door to get out of here." Rick walked over to the matrix table and touched some crystals to rend the space-time fabric and open a door to some place else in order to escape the sleestak.  "Where should we go?" Rick asked in a tense voice due to the immanent danger. "Rick Marshall, if you open a door to a place very far away it will require too much energy and you might not be able to get back again. I would suggest that you escape the danger by going someplace near by. That would be the Altrusian way." 

Normally he would not know how to operate a matrix table but Rick had no trouble finding the sequence needed to push a hole through space and time and open a door to another place. Rick could not see the door but he knew that he had opened a door right in the middle of the passage way so he stepped through into a room.

The dimensional door had carried him into a room somewhere in the lost city away from his pursuers. He no longer heard any hissing and he felt completely safe. The question was, where was he? He immediately saw a clue, in that on the wall was a sun symbol with twelve rays.  Oh darn! He had transported himself into the same room he had just been in!

As before there were two passages on opposite walls so he walked through one to get to the next room and hopefully to safety. He walked to the next room and there was the sun symbol with twelve rays. Rick's brain suddenly felt a bit woozy as he tried to get his mind around what had just happened. It was obvious that Altrusian technology was at work and it was making it so that he could not get out of the room. Perhaps no one could get in either and that was why he felt safe.

Suddenly, he understood what had happened. He had created a dimensional door in one passage leading out of the room that transported him to the opposite passage leading into the room. Of course, every dimensional door had an entrance that lead to an exit somewhere else. In this case he had created an exit that left room number twelve and entered the same room but from the other side.

Enik was still standing next to him and if Rick did not know better he would insist that Enik had a smile on his face. "You have used a matrix table to created a room for yourself that is shut off from the rest of the lost city, thus creating a sanctuary from your enemies." "But Enik", Rick protested, "just because I cannot get out how does that protect me from enemies outside?" "Let's go outside" Enik Answered. What Enik meant by outside was room number 11 which would be right next to 12. There on the wall was the sun with eleven rays but the next room had thirteen rays. The doorway that Rick had set up was so subtle that if anyone walked through it they would end up in room thirteen without even realizing that they had gone through a dimensional door. In fact, if it were not for the sun symbols on the wall, no one would even know that a room had disappeared from the lost city. No wait, Rick thought to himself, a room could disappear from the face of the earth.

With the final thought, Rick awoke from his dream. He could still hear a hissing sound but it was the sound of the Colorado River outside his tent. In the morning he would get into his canoe to find everyone. They were lost but now he knew how they had done such a good job hiding. The Altrusians were so smart and had done such a good job of hiding that they had managed to lose themselves.

Rick awoke in his tent with a soft breeze blowing through the canyon. It was still dark but he guessed that it would be light in maybe an hour. He lay in his sleeping bag for some unknown period of time just feeling good because he would see Will and Holly soon. When it was light he would continue his search for the dimensional portal.

*******

Oh, they were so tricky. The Altusians had done a good job in building their hidden fortress but Rick was on the verge of unearthing them. "I found you!" Rick shouted out loud at the rock wall which appeared to be about a foot and a half away but was in reality more like ten miles away. Rick laughed for a long time until he started coughing and tears were coming to his eyes. He started marching around in the knee deep water and humming some song like a crazy man. Rich was chagrinned to realize that he was humming the hippy song from the radio. Oh well, he could be expected to act like a fool since he had just passed his hand through the Altrusians' secret.

He was in a cave at the bottom of the Grand Canyon but this cave was not supposed to have been found and as far as he knew, only he and his two children had been in it for over a million years.  It had been opened by an earthquake over a year ago and then sealed again by the same quake but Rick had found that it was not all that difficult to unseal again. It had taken maybe three hours of moving rock and dirt. Rick was a little surprised that no one else had found it since the last quake but it was probably because the entrance was right in the middle of a relatively fast section of the river at the bottom of a huge cliff face.

When He and Will and Holly has last been through this cave, they had been in a raft, but this time Rick had to wade and swim through the water to reach the back of the cave which ended at a rock wall. This time also, the water was not moving because the door was not open. Well, actually there was a dimensional door but it opened on a rock wall, if the door were not there, then the water would be free to flow into a land of dinosaurs and... his children. Most likely the Altrusians had not intended to have the Colorado river flow this way but the world had changed since the land was built.

Again Rick put his hand up to the rock face and again he felt the subtle change about a foot before his hand touched the rock. His hand was halfway through a dimensional door that lead to a rock face ten miles away but to his eyes, it looked like the rock was only a foot away. The illusion worked so well because the light that reached his eyes as well as the sounds in the cave all were passing through the doorway to give a near perfect illusion that he was in a small cave when in reality there was a ten mile wide world between him and his hand. The blood that his heart pumped was also making the jounrney through some dimension and then making the return back to his heart. Rick shivered and quickly drew his hand back close to his chest where it was safe. He had been afraid that maybe the doorway would not work properly and he would be left with a bleeding stump.

All he needed to do now was to find a way to shut off the dimensional doorway mechanism. When he did that, what would he see? Soon enough he would find out, but how?

Ignoring his fear that the doorway was not healthy, Rick again thrust his hand to the rock face feeling the barely noticeable transition through mysterious dimensions. He did this again, and again, and again but got nowhere. How could he shut down the mechanism and gain entrance to the land?

Rick reached into the water he was standing in and felt for a large rock. He picked it up and threw it at the rock face. To his eyes it seemed to just bounce of and land near him but his mind told him that it had passed through the doorway, bounced off bedrock ten miles away, passed through the doorway again and then landed in the water. How could he shut off this infernal machine?! How could he reach his children?! He reached into the water, picked up a handful of rocks, threw them at the rock face and did this over and over again; each time growing more frustrated and more angry. He began to yell at the invisible barrier. "Open up! Let me see my children!". He ran up to the rock face and began to pound his fists into it until they hurt. He kicked at the water and shouted at the infernal Altrusians until he wore himself out and came back to his senses. When he realized that he was standing so that the dimensional doorway ran almost exactly halfway through his body, the fear of it returned and he scurried through the water to get away from it.

He found a dry spot in the cave where he could sit down to think things through. There must be some way to get through the dimensional barrier into the land. He vainly looked for some sign of Altrusian technology such as a matrix table or even a single crystal but to all appearances this was just an ordinary cave in an ordinary canyon. Ok, so it was the grand canyon which was far from ordinary but it gave no sign that it really held a world of dinosaurs, insect men, an annoying guy named Enik, and his children.

How had they gotten through last time? Over a year ago the earth quake had opened this cave and they had been sucked into it. The dimensional barrier had been down which had opened the land to the river which had then swept them in, but why had the barrier not been working? What had been different then? Maybe the barrier was breaking down and shut off from time to time? Maybe they had just been unlucky or maybe the earthquake had shaken something loose.

"That's it!" Rick's joy returned to him. Somehow the earth quake had shut down the barrier and temporarily opened up the land. All Rick needed to do was to either wait for the next quake or somehow duplicate what it had done. Rick laughed out loud, steped back into the water and began wading toward the cave entrance. He had an idea.

*******

Will wished he could find a good piece of grass. He was lying on a flat rock near the swamp gazing at the sky in the early evening with Holly sitting next to him but it would be so much better if he could just find a long piece of grass to chew on. Isn't that what you were supposed to do on a warm evening after all of your chores were done and you were just enjoying being alive? The problem was that there really didn't seem to be any real grass in the Land of the Lost. Will was picking his teeth with some sort of small palm frond but it really wasn't the same.

His discontent was very slight, however, because they had just finished one of the best meals they had had in a long time and it was all thanks to Will the great hunter. He had lately taken to hiding in bushes near the swamp to ambush small dinosaurs with a flint headed spear. He had been trying to catch one for a few weeks now and finally he had found success the night before. The dinosaur had been about three feet tall and had put up quite a fight, however it had been well worth it because it tasted almost exactly like chicken and they had been eating all the meat they could stomach for the last twenty-four hours.

"What do you see Sis?" Will asked Holly. She was bent over the telescope with a serious look on her face. For the past week, she had spent every moment that she was allowed looking at the moons through the telescope to study the tutorial diagrams and mostly ignoring everything else. 

Will was beginning to think that he would not get an answer when Holly looked up and said, "I'm trying to understand how time flows through a crystal. According to this diagram, each of the different colors of crystal has a different flow of time through it. By putting them together in different ways, you can make different fields." Will was a little bothered and a little amazed by how his sister had changed in the past week. She and uncle Jack talked about the diagrams on the moon and Jack told her about things like energy fields and vectors that he had learned in college. She was still his sister but he could feel a gap growing between them. She was so excited by the diagrams and Uncle Jack seemed to really like teaching her what he could. Uncle Jack might know how to add vectors together but it was obvious that Holly understood what the diagrams on the moon meant better than anyone else. It seemed to Will that if anyone was going to get them home it might be Holly.

Will realized that he had been starting to daydream when he suddenly sat up with a start, "What's that?" Will had suddenly jumped to his feet and was pointing into the sky. "It's the sky" Holly said dryly. "No, I'm serious", Will said quickly. "There's something moving up there can't you see it?" Trying to be helpful, Holly offered, "Maybe it a pterodactyl". "No, it's not moving like one" Will said, "Give me the telescope so I can get a better look" Holly carefully handed the precious device to her brother and tried to spot what he was talking about.  She looked in the direction that he had been pointing but could see nothing but the sky. Either he had better eyes than she did or else he just had a better imagination.

Will was hunched over and excitedly pushing on the sides to zoom in and out. After a while he sat up and said with a little frustration, "now I can't find it."  "That's because it was never there", Holly said in one of her more obnoxious tones of voice. "No, you can't see it because you need glasses and you can't get them here" Will shot back. "Do not", "Do to".

The teasing might have turned into a fight but it was cut short when Will triumphantly said, "there, I've got it!"  Sure enough, on the telescope's screen was an image of the sky and in one corner was a small rectangular dot that seemed to pulsate and shake. "Zoom in on it!" Holly demanded. "I know"  Will snapped back. Will turned the telescope slightly in order to put the pulsating rectangle in the center of the screen and then pushed on the sides in order to zoom in. The rectangle now filled the screen and the Marshall children could see that it was not a perfect rectangle but that the top and the bottom were very slightly curved. The sides were straight but not parallel in that they were ever so slightly closer together at the top than at the bottom. The rectangle itself had a mostly reddish hue but rainbows danced on its face and pulsated very slowly.

"What do you think it is?" Holly asked Will. "I'm not sure but it looks like a door to me" Will answered in a hushed tone. Holly felt shivers run up and down her spine and the hairs on the back of her neck stood up. There was something about the image on the screen that frightened her. If it was a door, what might come through? Maybe a giant spider would fall into the land or maybe it would open into empty space and all of the air would be sucked out, killing them all. If it was a door, then big things were most likely about to happen. "We'd  better get Uncle Jack" Will announced. To Holly that sounded like to only right thing to do but she thought that maybe someone else should see this so she added, "Let's get Enik too".

*******

Rick was back in the cave.  He had driven like a madman to the university to try and find Professor McBroom of the geology department. He knew him from working with him a few times before when the professor had come out to the canyon to look at rock strata. Rick had found McBroom in his office munching on a big submarine sandwich and paging through some sort of geology catalog filled with pictures of rock hammers and other sorts of thing that geologists want to get for their birthdays.

Rick had tried to make small talk to start the conversation but just ended up blurting out, "How can I make an earthquake?" The professor had begun by talking about demonstrations for classes but Rick interrupted him by explaining that he wanted to make a rock face experience an earth quake. McBroom hadn't understood what Rick meant at all but they ended up talking about what happens to a particular rock during an earth quake. It shakes, it is heated if deep underground, and it would be exposed to low frequency sound and e-m waves. That had seemed right to Rick and he had asked how he could make these low frequency sound and e-m waves. The professor had said that the e-m waves emitted during earthquakes were not very well understood but that a signal generator could make almost any wave that you want. Rick had promised several favors and had written a check for several thousand dollars as a deposit (which he knew that he could not cover and McBroom most likely knew this too) and had driven back toward the canyon with the signal generators and several car batteries in waterproof containers.

Now it was time to try and break down the Altrusian barrier by any means necessary. If this did not work, Rick was ready to come back with as much dynamite as he needed. His children were lost in the land and nothing was going to stop him from getting in.

He set up the equipment on the raft as McBroom had shown him and connected the batteries. He felt his way toward the rock face until he could sense the dimensional doorway and planted the equipment right in the middle. The earth quake had done something to shut down the door and just maybe he could do it a second time. He switched on the signal generator, the amplifier, the sound generator (really a fancy speaker), and the e-m generator (really an antenna). There was a steady hum which the gauge showed as sixty hertz. The professor said that earth quakes gave of frequencies that were lower so Rick lowered the frequency until he could no longer hear what was coming from the speaker but no matter how much he fiddled with the frequency or the wave form, nothing happened.

He was thinking about giving up and trying dynamite when he suddenly remembered to try the amplitude knob. This was basically a volume control for the speaker and made the e-m signals stronger. Rick turned the amplitude all the way up until his ears hurt from the sound coming out of the speaker. He again slowly started lowering the frequency until the sound was too low to hear. At one quarter hertz, Rick was rewarded. Suddenly in front of him there was a red wall with rainbows dancing across its surface.

"Ah-ha you overgrown bugs!" Rick shouted. "You thought you could hide but I found you. I FOUND YOU!" Rick walked up to the wall not knowing what to expect. Would it be solid like a force field, or would his hand go through it and to where? Rick was about to touch it when he suddenly thought that maybe it was dangerous. He had always trusted that the dimensional doors were safe but this one was different in that it was either broken or in the process of breaking. Maybe there would be a discharge of power and he would be killed or perhaps if he were to put his hand through it, it would be mangled in some way.

He picked up a rock and threw it through the red dimensional wall. Would the rock go into the land or be transported ten miles away to the bedrock and then bounce back to him? The rock left his fingers and sailed through the air and into the dimensional door. As it passed through, the red wall pulsed and flickered as though he had thrown the rock through red water and it had caused ripples. In just a moment the rock was through and he heard it bounce off something solid on the other side. It seemed like the rock had been transported as before to the rock face.

Since he heard the rock bounce, it also meant that the sound waves were being transported from the rock face ten miles distant. However, and this was promising, the light was no longer being transmitted the way it had before. Before he had turned on the signal generator, the light had come in from outside the cave, passed through the dimensional door to hit the rock face ten miles away and then been transported back to Rick's eyes so that it looked as though the rock face were right in front of him but Rick had a small victory, the light was no longer being transmitted the way it should.

Rick rummaged through the supplies in the raft until he found his long flashlight. He didn't want it for the light but just as a way of probing the dimensional door. He poked the flashlight slowly through and saw how it made the rainbow colors than danced on the surface move about even more quickly. The question was whether the flashlight was entering the Land of the Lost or being transmitted to the rock face. Rick slowly pushed the flashlight further and further in until it came in contact with the rock wall which was either a foot away or ten miles away depending on how you thought about it.

Perhaps the flashlight really was entering the Land of the Lost and coming in contact with a similar rock wall. If this really was the same dimensional door that he, Will, and Holly had passed through before, then there was not a rock face on the other side but a waterfall that dropped down about a thousand feet so the flashlight was most likely being carried ten miles away just like the Altrusians intended.

Rick thought about the waterfall that they had encountered before. The source of the water was the river that he was standing in right now. Normally there was no waterfall in the land and the only time that it existed was when the dimensional door was not working and the water was allowed to pass through. Rick gasped at the thought. If this door were to stop working and the land were to open up, then he would be at the top of a thousand foot waterfall and he would most likely be swept to his death. It was obvious that he should take precautions but he was prepared. He reached into the raft and put on the parachute that he had brought with him. He was going to be seeing his children very soon. Rick guessed that the barrier was now weak and it would not take much to shut it down.

He began to strike at the barrier quickly with the flashlight. Since the barrier was still operating, the flashlight did not hit anything solid but each time it passed through, the red colors and rainbows dancing on the surface would pulsate and flicker and pulsate which gave Rick hope. He continued hitting the barrier with the flashlight for a long time hoping that it would weaken and break. However, several times he let the flasklight go too far through the barrier and hit the rock face. After about half an hour of trying to assault the barrier and occasionally striking the out of sight rock, the flashlight finally broke into several pieces. "Damn!", he screamed, "Damn, Damn, Damn!"  Rick blushed at his language. He was always telling Holly and Will that a person could be judged by how they spoke so he switched to something more suitable, "Snapjackets!" he bellowed.

Rick was furious with the Altrusians who had built this prison that was holding his children and at the barrier itself for not breaking. He began to pound at the barrier with his bare fists not thinking  about whether his hands would be amputated  in some sort of dimensional accident. However he cursed again when his hand went too far in and painfully struck the hidden rock face. Out of instinct more than anything else, he slowed down a bit so as not to hurt himself and for just a fraction of a second he saw through the red barrier to a new sight; In a flash of an eye he could see that beyond the red wall was a great open expanse and that his cave was perched high up in the air. Down far below was a green jungle, but then the moment passed and the red wall became solid again.

*******

Early the next morning, Jack, Will, and Holly walked across the Lost City's plaza to the entrance under the sun symbol. Jack had joined the children without hesitation when they had run into the temple telling him that a door way had opened in the sky. They had not seen Enik since he had given them the telescope and there were suddenly too many reasons to risk the Sleestak to see him. There was the issue of the diagrams on the moons and Holly's abilities to understand them and even more urgent was the sudden appearance of the dimensional door.

Much to their surprise they saw a figure standing in the entrance to the lost city which turned out to be Enik himself. He hurriedly shuffled over to them with his unusual gait and immediately demanded answers. "Jack Marshall, what have you done this time to upset my matrix table? Perhaps it was you Will Marshall, or you Holly Marshall. I can understand your desire to get home but you are wreaking too much havoc."

 "Hold on Enik" Jack began but Will interrupted with, "It wasn't our fault a door opened in the sky all by itself".

Enik turned to better look at Will and said, "A door in the sky? describe what you saw."

 

Will did his best to explain. "We were using the telescope to look at the moons when it suddenly appeared. It was so small that we usually would have missed it but when we looked at it with the telescope, it turned out to be red with curved edges."

"Do you mean that it was circular? Enik inquired.

"Not really" Will continued, "the top and bottom were curved while the sides were straight."

It was always hard to read Enik's facial expressions being that his face moved very little but it was hard not to conclude that he looked worried. Enik turned again to look at Jack and said, "this could be very grave indeed, I want you to retrieve the telescope from your residence and meet me and the children in the place where they saw this door. We may be in greater danger than you can imagine."

"What kind of danger?" Holly asked but Enik almost cut her off with his quick reply. "There is no time to discuss this. If you value your lives you will do as I say."

Jack put a hand each on Will and Holly's shoulders and instructed,"We need to listen to Enik, I will get the telescope and meet the three of you near the swamp.

*******

The three humans and the Altrusian vainly stared into the sky looking for the dimensional doorway but so far they had not had any luck. It seemed that the doorway had closed for now and it could not be known if it would even reappear.  Jack looked from the sky to Enik and asked, "What do you think this door is, and why are we in danger?"

Enik paused for a moment as if thinking and then responded, "We should discuss what you have seen further when or if it reappears but now I have another topic to discuss with you. You say that Holly is able to understand the diagrams on the moon, I would like to hear more about it".

Jack could tell that Enik was trying to avoid the subject of the door but was too interested in the telescope and Holly so decided not to press it any further. Holly chimed in with her version of the events, "you told us that we could look at the moons so I thought that maybe you wanted us to look at the moons and just weren't saying so because you usually don't say things the easy way. We found that there were moving rocks in some places which Uncle Jack thinks is writing and in other places we found diagrams of crystals and matrix tables and lots of other stuff."

"You understand those diagrams?" Enik inquired

"Sure", Holly replied. "there are some that show how points become lines and how lines become three dimensional shapes which become fourth dimensional shapes and so on" The concept of dimensions was new to Holly but Uncle Jack had been teaching her words to go along with what she already understood. "There are also diagrams that show how the matrix tables extend into five dimensions and how they are designed to connect to form a five cube.  I think that there are also some explanations on the largest moon of how crystals can be made but those are the hardest for me to understand so far."

Enik opened his mouth in an almost comical expression of surprise. "Holly Marshall, I did not expect anyone except your uncle to understand even the simplest of the tutorials but I most certainly did not expect any of you to even recognize the instructions for making crystals. If what you say is true, then you have a talent which is rare for my people and I did not even believe existed in your people. We will need to..."

"Look up there!" Enik was cut off by Will who was now pointing up where the door was expected to be and sure enough all of them except Holly could see a faint red dot in the sky. Will picked up the telescope and began to zoom in on the distant red rectangle. He rapidly adjusted the image so that the red dimensional door filled the whole screen and they could see that something appeared to be coming through. Near the middle of the door was a very faint disturbance which Will was attempting to focus in on. Will was increasing the size of the image when Uncle Jack pointed out to everyone that they had no scale to judge how big the door really was so they were not sure if the disturbance was the size of a house or a kitten.

The disturbance repeated at regular intervals as a sharp change in color at one point which spread out to the edges of the door and then reflected back to their origin as though something on the other side was trying to get through by force. This repeated over and over again and suddenly pandemonium broke loose among the group.

Uncle Jack was loudly explaining that the disturbance seemed to repeat about once every five seconds while Will was saying, "it's coming through! it's coming through!" Enik, on the other hand looked very agitated and was saying in a number of different ways that they were in grave danger. Holly, meanwhile, was transfixed by the image on the screen but then she started screaming.

The image on the telescope's screen showed an object suddenly break through. It was a huge fleshy monstrosity covered with sparse hair and long jointed appendages like a peach colored spider from a nightmare. This only caused the chaos to increase as Holly screamed even louder and Enik switched over to some unknown language which Jack and Will guess was the Altrusian tongue. Jack shouted to Will to zoom out, which he did and the image suddenly made more sense.

The huge fleshy spider was actually an over-magnification of a human hand most likely belonging to an adult male. The hand reached forward so that an elbow appeared and then a shoulder. Finally the head poked through.

"Daddy!" Holly squealed. Sure enough the telescope showed them that high up in the sky Rick Marshall had somehow opened a door and was looking down at the Land of the Lost from a great distance so that he would have been invisible if not for the telescope. They all watched in stunned silence as Rick Marshall's head and shoulders poked out into the sky while the rest of his body was hidden behind the red door. He seemed to be looking around and preparing to do something. Holly broke the silence by calling out, "Be careful Daddy, or you are going to fall". Of course he could not hear her but maybe he should have because that is exactly what happened.

The rest of his body plunged through the door and into the Land of the Lost's sky so that he fell out of the view of the telescope. Unseen to them, he was falling to his death. The children's father and Jack's brother had come to rescue them only to die from falling out of the sky.

"look at that!" will exclaimed, his sharp eyes has picked up a new object. Slightly below the door, a white shape bloomed like a flower and began to slowly fall from the sky. "Will you look at that", Jack marveled, "he has a parachute. Not only did my brother find us but he knew that he was going to appear in the sky."

Everyone began to run toward the parachute as quickly as they could; Will in the lead followed by Jack then Holly and Enik taking up the rear. However, they all noticed that something else was happening, something terrible. At the point in the sky from which Rick had fallen, an ugly splotch was growing. It slowly and unevenly began to spread with a reddish dun color. It did not look like a cloud, nor did it look like a shadow, it seemed as though a hole were being burned in the sky by some terrible fire.

They all continued running to meet the man who was falling into the land, the man who had somehow caused a disease to consume the sky. Holly ran to her father's arms with cries of "Daddy! Daddy! we missed you" While Jack shouted out "Darn it Rick you found us". Will looked like he had a lot to say, but for the moment was just grinning like a fool.

Rick was soaked from the water fall and the other three were rapidly becoming wet also. The surprising thing was that moments ago there had been no water fall but now the water crashed down near them and was rapidly creating a new stream that looked as though it was doing its best to make its way to the swamp.

There was much to say but Jack addressed the immediate question. "where did this water fall come from?" Rick patted his brother in welcome and asked, "Where did you come from? Everyone at home thinks you are still looking for us. It never occurred to me that you succeeded in finding The Land of the Lost".

"I'm not really sure if I found this place" Jack responded. "It is more the case that it found me and pulled me in during an earthquake. "

"Of course" Rick said. When I realized that earthquakes weaken the barrier, I figured that I could get back in if I only found a way to make an artificial earthquake."

"And if we do not restore the barrier, we may very well be destroyed." They all turned to look at Enik who being much slower had only just arrived. "Rick Marshall, I am pleased to see that you have been reunited with your family but we are in very great danger. If we do not find a way to correct the damage you have done. This reunion may very well be the beginning of the end."

Will who had been listening with growing confusion jumped in, "Dad, what is Enik talking about? What is the barrier? and where did this waterfall come from?"

"The Altrusians built this place in order to hide." Rick explained. "The barrier is what makes this place a closed universe cut off from the rest of the earth. No one can get out or in. The barrier is made of dimensional doors all around the land so that if you try to leave you are transported to the other side of the land without knowing it. In the same way, if anyone tries to enter the land, they are transported to the other side still on the outside also without knowing it. It has worked almost perfectly for a long, long time but it seems that earthquakes weaken the barrier and allow people to get in and out."

"But what about the waterfall Daddy, where did that come from?" Holly asked her Father.

"Oh that" Rick replied, "We rode it here when we first came. It's actually the Colorado River. Normally the barrier would keep it out..."

"...and if we do not restore the barrier, soon" Enik interrupted. "the river may begin to fill the land and drown us. Look at what has happened".

They all stopped to look and see what had happened. The cancerous hole had by now consumed the sky and for the first time in a long time the Land of the Lost was open to the rest of the world. Where once had been a blue sky, a great rock dome stretched far overhead. They could see that all they had known was contained in an impossibly huge cavern below the earth. All that remained of the dimensional barrier was a lattice structure of Altrusian metal and fist sized crystals that had generated the portals that enclosed everything. The structure looked much like the latitude and longitude lines that cover a globe but these were stuck to the inside of the enormous cavern. The rails and stiles if the structure intersected to make rectangles that were each about fifteen feet high and twelve feet wide and it was a dimensional portal that Rick had succeeded in weakening and thus turning red that had appeared in the sky.

The impossibly large cavern that now lay exposed was about ten miles across and several thousand feet high at its highest point. As the group looked up they could see far overhead the cave that was the source of the waterfall and from which Rick had jumped. They could also see that the sun was still being projected by the pylons thus keeping everything in apparent daylight but it all seemed eerie and unreal being that the sky was made of stone.

Holly had an expression on her face which looked as though she was not sure if she should be happy, or frightened, or puzzled, or all three at once and perhaps this was how they all felt. "I don't understand Daddy, how could we have been in a cave all this time but it felt like we were outside?"

"Honey," Rick answered, "The Altrusians were good builders and their pylons made nearly perfect images of a sun, moons, and stars but what really made the Land of the Lost so convincing was the barrier that surround us. Light, sound, and weather were all moved around by the dimensional doors of the barrier so that if felt like we were in a world that was much, much larger. "

"Why did the Altrusians build this place?" Jack joined in.

"I think they were trying to hide from something." Rick said to his brother. "But I think we should be asking Enik since he knows better than I do.

Enik seemed to be ignoring the conversation and was instead slowly turning in a circle and looking at the sky but he began to answer Jack's question anyway. "You are correct, Rick Marshall. We needed a perfect hiding place to escape the enemy so that we would not be destroyed. We built this place so that we could be attacked by anything and it would pass right through us. Even if the sun were to explode, we would be safe from the force of the explosion because everything would pass through the barrier and appear on the other side. Indeed, everything in Altrusia was destroyed but we have remained here ever since."

Jack did not seem convinced but he was doing his best to accept the impossible situation they now found themselves in. In truth, everything in the Land of the Lost was impossible. "If you were trying to hide, why did you decide to build this place inside of the earth, why didn't you hide on your own planet.

Enik sighed and looked at Rick instead of Jack and addressed Rick in a way which made him think that perhaps Enik was in a greater state of shock than anyone else. "I did not understand until now the true nature of our relationship. "Rick Marshall, you have forced me to see all kinds of unpleasant truths and today is the greatest of all. To answer your question, Jack Marshall, we DID build this place on our world and we filled it with the plants and animals which are important to us. I never comprehended until today that the plants and animals that are in my world are also from your world. I see now for the first time that what I call Altrusia is what you call Earth. The creatures that you call Grumpy, Big Alice, and Emily are all important to my people. They were the ones who walked above while we walked below but when the enemy came to destroy us we built this place under the earth because we have always dwelt under the earth."

Will was always the first to become angry or to disbelieve and Enik's explanation was not sitting well with him. "Enik, you must be wrong. If you lived on Earth during the time of the dinosaurs, then humans would have found Altrusian fossils and Altrusian cities but none of us have ever seen anything like Sleestak, or Altrusians, or pylons before. You must be mistaken.

"No, Will Marshall, I am not mistaken this time. The Land of the Lost is exactly where we left it. The enemy was far more powerful than you can imagine and they removed every trace of our existence. They even destroyed every animal that was similar to us. There were once other creatures who looked like us but they are now all gone and will never again exist.

Holly looked to be near tears by Enik's story. "Enik, that is so sad, now that your enemy is gone, why don't you come with us?"

"You don't understand young human, the enemy may not be gone. They succeeded in destroying all traces of us on Altrusia and they may still be looking for us. For the sake of my people, and for the sake of your people, we must restore the barrier before the enemy returns and destroys us all. I must stress that we need to act quickly. 

"But wait" Will exclaimed. "If we help you restore the barrier, then we will again be trapped in the Land of the Lost. We need to leave before the barrier is turned back on."

"No!" Enik exclaimed. "You have been cut off from your time for too long. This land exists in a separate time due to the dimensional barrier. If you try to leave here you will be passing directly from one time to another. There is a good chance that you will either revert back to the period when you entered and lose your memories of being here or you may age very quickly. I cannot be sure."

This made Will even more agitated and he argued more vehemently. "But that can't be. Dad just came through the barrier and he is fine. You are just saying that so we will help you. Besides, the barrier is now down so there won't be any time effects."

"You are correct that I need your help," Enik replied, "but what I say is correct." Your father has been unaffected because he left the land through a time portal which is tuned to protect against the unpleasant time effects. In my language we talk about the many ways that you can travel through time. Some of the more common ways to travel through time are: 'straight path', 'curved path', and 'same path' and there are others. When your father left the land through a pylon time portal. He took a curved path route. If you just walk through the barrier, you will be taking a straight path route and you will suffer for it. Although the barrier is down, the Land of the Lost and the rest of the Earth still exist as separate times. If the barrier stays down then they may come to equilibrium but even that could be unpleasant. Time is a dangerous and powerful force which is not to be taken lightly."

"But you must be wrong," Will said in an angry almost whining voice which made Rick wince for his son, "Dad just came through without any problem."

Enik seemed to be losing his patience. "You are speaking of things that you know nothing about. Your father passed from a huge universe to this small place and thus was unaffected. You will be passing from a small place to a huge, there is a difference which cannot be overstated. If you walk through that barrier you may very well die. The only person who can walk through that barrier is you father. The rest of you will need to go through time portals controlled by matrix tables."

Will was not yet done and had one last argument. "But you have told us many times that you can't send us home."

"I can now, because I now know exactly where your home is. Now that I realize that your world exists right outside the barrier, I will be able to send you there without any trouble. What seemed impossible to me yesterday is now easy."

*******

They had followed Enik's advice and were now outside the Lost City facing a huge army of Sleestak.

"Holly!" Jack and Rick screamed almost in unison. They watched in horror as a crossbow bolt sailed through the air and struck her in her thigh. She screamed out in pain and collapsed to the ground. Jack and Rick were happy to be together again but the circumstances had suddenly changed for the worse. They ran over to the fallen girl and checked to see how badly she had been hurt. The bolt had penetrated her jeans and cut into the flesh of her leg  about three inches above her left knee. Rick felt a rage rise in himself toward the sleestak while Jack mostly felt a wave of nausea at the sight of the deep wound. Enik walked over and said matter of factly, I believe that she will live and when we reach my residence, I will be able to heal her so that it will be as though she had never been injured.

Rick felt a wave of separate and conflicting emotions rise in him as he cradled his only and precious daughter in his arms. He wanted to kill all of the sleestak for injuring his daughter and he wanted to slap Enik for being so cold as his daughter bled. However, he also felt gratitude for the Altrusian because he knew that Enik was good for his word and that he would be able to heal Holly if he said so. He also knew that Enik's way of showing emotions were different than theirs and that he had a strong sense of duty.

What happened next almost made the whole incident worth it because he saw a side of his daughter that he sometimes feared was not there. He expected her to cry and be helpless from her serious leg injury but she instead rose to her feet with obvious pain and said that they had to keep moving to get the barrier back up.

They were trying to get into the lost city to reach a control room that Enik said they could portal to from his chamber. He explained that the control room was usually inaccessible by portal due to anti-intruder fields but since the barrier was down, the control mechanisms would determine that the matrix tables would need to be adjusted and thus the room would be able to be reached from his matrix table.

Indeed, it was obvious that the land was in serious trouble because the skylons had appeared in the sky flashing a signal which Enik said was a call to the control room. The skylons were much like diamond shaped signal lights that would appear in the sky when the pylons needed to be adjusted, and it seemed that the barrier being down was a serious maladjustment as far as the Land of the Lost was concerned.

Rick looked up at the skylons and shouted, "we are trying to reach your blasted control room but your people won't let us. If the land is destroyed, is will rest on the heads of the Sleestak."

"I'm not so sure." Jack said to his brother, "the Sleestak know that something is very wrong and they think that we are going to make it worse. They may be vicious and warlike but they are also trying to protect their home."

The crowd of Sleestak was greater than any of them including Enik had ever seen before. They swarmed at the entrances to the lost city with their crossbows ready to fire. Enik tried several times to approach them but each time was driven away by a volley of bolts. Finally he spoke saying, "The land is in great peril and my only choice may be to kill large numbers of my brethren. There is an outcropping close to us which contains a large number of crystals and I will be able to construct a terrible weapon. It is regrettable to kill so many of them but we must act of we are to restore the barrier and keep the enemy at bay."

Everyone seemed ready to go along with this plan but Holly was horrified at the thought of killing so  many Sleestak. "Daddy, you can't let Enik build his weapon and kill the Sleestak. I hate them but they are only trying to protect their home just like Uncle Jack said."

I don't know if we have a choice" Rick replied to his daughter. "If Enik is right and there is an enemy waiting to destroy the Altrusians, Sleestak, and maybe even all of Earth, then we have to act quickly to get the barrier back up. I am afraid that this may all be my fault. I had no idea that when I entered the Land of the Lost, I would also destroy it."

"Your assessment may be correct" added Enik. "I believe that when you came into the land by force, you violated a number of temporal principals which further weakened the barrier and caused it to collapse."

"Wait!" Holly said with a huge smile on her face despite her serious leg wound. "I just had an idea: "The Skylons are flashing in the sky that we should go to the control room and Enik said that the anti-intruder fields are down, maybe the Land of the Lost really wants us to get the barrier working again. Maybe the control room will do its best to make sure we get there so maybe if we walk into any pylon we will be able to get to the control room"

Enik was the first to respond. "Holly Marshall, you have shamed me by being so thoughtful while I was rash. It was anger which caused the Altrusians to become the Sleestak and I am afraid that I have just know shown a similar weakness. I almost killed a number of my people while you have remained calm."

Will walked over to his sister and lightly punched her on her shoulder with a big smile on his face and said, "good thinking Sis."

The moment was suddenly shattered by a loud roaring and stomping.

"FUDGE!" Holly screamed out. "This is the worst time possible for Big Alaice to show up"

Jack and Rick both shot Holly reproving looks. Rick spoke with slow calmness, "Honey, I know that this is a serious situation but it is never an excuse to swear."

Holly gave a sheepish smile and corrected herself saying, "well  Fat Rats then"

Enik seemed puzzled by this exchange but added, "I understand that you are disturbed by the allosaur but this creature is well known by my people and we have an agreement with it."

Big Alice entered the plaza outside the lost city like a monster from a b-grade movie. She towered over everything and bellowed twice as her huge form lumbered toward the group, Enik fearlessly walked up to her and stood silently. She paused for a moment as though unsure what to do next and then lowered her head until it was right next to Enik. It seemed as though she was listening to the Altrusian but what she heard him say could not be fathomed and Enik would not tell them when they asked him later.

*******

Holly had been right, when they had entered the pylon closest to the lost city, they had immediately seem that a dimensional portal was opened to a room containing five matrix tables arranged in a pentagon. When they stepped through the portal they immediately found themselves in the control room deep within The Lost City. The room was circular and about twenty feet in diameter without any sign of doors or passages what-so-ever. Enik commented that the only way in or out of the room was with a dimensional portal. The only source of light for the room seemed to be a large clear crystal that hung suspended in the air between the five matrix tables.

Without speaking, Enik took some crystals from one of the Matrix tables and passed them over Holly's leg which was healed almost instantly. Then Enik walked purposefully to one of the far matrix tables and passed his hand over the many colored crystals that were arranged in a square on its surface. Immediately, the clear crystal floating in the center of the room glowed more brightly and various images appeared on the walls most likely projected by the crystal. In addition, a section of the floor near Enik rose up to a height of four feet forming a table roughly two feet by two feet.

This new table seemed to be made of some sort of stone and contained thousands of smaller squares each about a quarter centimeter on a side. These smaller squares rose and fell forming patterns that looked very much like the writing which Jack, Will, and Holly had seen on the moons with their telescope.

"Enik, is that writing?" Holly asked.

"Yes", Enik answered. "It is the writing of the people who built this room."

"What do you mean, 'the people who built this room'?" Will asked "I thought that YOUR people built this room."

"We do not have time to discuss this matter because the barrier must be restored without delay but I will tell you that the people who built the barrier and this room were Altrusians like me but they lived long before my time. Now we must all work together to again hide this land from the rest of the universe."

Enik instructed each of the four Marshalls to stand in front of a matrix table so that none were left unoccupied. Rick suspected that it was more than coincidence that the number of tables matched the number of people in their party but he had no idea what forces were at work and he could tell that Enik would not be answering any more questions.

All of them had in one way or another had operated a matrix table before but this was most likely the first time that any of the Marshalls felt that they were doing more than trial and error. Enik gave instructions and they did their best to follow them. The center crystal projected all sorts of geometric shapes and diagrams on the walls while the writing table seemed to provide all sorts of information that Rick was at a complete loss to understand. However he was pleased to see that several times Enik paused for a moment to explain something to Holly and she seemed to understand at least part of what he was saying.

He gathered that the barrier was somehow powered by a dimensional doorway that lead directly into earth's sun and that one thing that they were doing was to open a new door there to provide more power. He also suspected that Enik was sending new instructions to whatever sort of machinery that ran this place so that the barrier would no longer be weakened by earthquakes. However, mostly Rick and the others did their best to touch the crystals in the sequences that Enik instructed.

Without warning, a dimensional doorway opened in one of the walls of the control room and Enik announced unceremoniously that he had opened a doorway to the Marshall's home. The view showed that it opened to the rim of the Grand Canyon.

Now that they were at last faced with a way home, each of the Marshalls found that their emotions were not what they had expected. Will spoke first, "Enik, we can't go home just yet, there are things we need to do first like find Chaka and collect our stuff from the temple. Now that you know how to send us home, you can do it any time."

Holly joined in to support her brother, "Yeah Enik, we can't leave now and besides, I want to learn more about dimensional travel from the moons."

"Enough" Enik said firmly, "None of you has ever belonged here and your presence has always been a threat to the safety of my people. I will say that I have grown to respect all of you but this is not your place. I also must remind you that this control room is normally inaccessible to me and I will not be able to open this door as easily from any other matrix table. Besides, I plan on returning to my time shortly after you have exited to the other side of the barrier. Your presence in the land had been causing a temporal pressure that has also kept me here. With you gone, my passage will no longer be obstructed.  If you want to show me any gratitude, you will leave now."

Almost instantly, Holly began to cry and the other felt much the same way but were unable to be so open with their emotions.

"Oh Enik" Holly sobbed, "we were always thinking about leaving but we are going to miss this place and we will miss you. We won't get to eat dinner with Chaka again and we won't get to pick strawberries with Dopey. Heck, we also won't get to burst in on you anymore and tell you that something is wrong with the pylons. Won't you miss us too?"

Will gave one of his smiles that had always made him popular at school and said to Enik, "she's right, we are all going to miss you and The Land of the Lost. You have helped us many times and we owe you."

"No Will Marshall" Enik intereupted. "I speak truly when I say that my obligation to you is greater than your obligation to me. Yes, I have helped you several times but your insights have shown me that my people are doomed unless we act. My people have been dying for longer than this land has existed and I believe that you have shown me the way to save them. It is against the customs of my people to help others outside of our group but I have seen that we must change. That is why I made you the telescope. I am forbidden to tell you many of our secrets but I was permitted to exchange one favor for another and even though I could not tell you about the matrix tables, I was able to give you a way to find out for yourselves. Perhaps it is time for us to change some of our customs otherwise we will be doomed for eternity to become Sleestak."

Rick stepped forward and extended his hand for Enik to shake. Enik hesitated for a moment and then returned Rick's gesture stiffly.

"Enik" Rick said with a slight catch in his voice. "It's time for us to let you go home to your people. Good luck."

Jack also shook Enik's hand and said good bye and then they all knew that it was time to go. They turned to the dimensional doorway and were about to step through when Holly ran back to Enik and threw her arms around him. "I don't want to leave the Land of the Lost and I want to learn more about the pylons. No one back home will be able to teach me anything."

Enik stood stiffly with his hands out to the side as though he was unsure what to do but said. "Good bye Holly Marshall, Goodbye Will Marshall, Good bye Rick Marshall, Goodbye Jack Marshall."

This time Holly was ready to leave, so they all walked through the doorway in time and space and returned to the Grand Canyon and their earthly lives.

They appeared on the rim of the canyon and were dazed by the sudden change in scenery. Without speaking, Will walked a few paces to a large rock and sat down on it and the others joined him. Moments later, everything began to shake violently and they all held on to the earth which was suddenly not solid ground. Yet again they were caught in an earthquake but their guess was that Enik was behind this one. It went on and on and just when they thought it was over it began again but more violent than before.  The shaking stopped but the rumbling went on and a huge cloud of dust rose out of the canyon.

Rick had a suspicion as to what had just happened so he ran to the edge and looked down. Sure enough, far below he could see through the clearing dust the Colorado river but there was now a huge pile of rubble almost blocking it. The pile was probably millions of tons that would never again be moved. The pile lay directly over a spot that Rick recognized as the cave that had lead to the Land of the Lost. Enik wanted to make sure that humans would not again invade the land and had sealed off the only possible entrance. He had strengthened the barrier but he apparently did not want to take any chances.

*******

The readjustment to their old lives was easy for some and hard for others. Jack had quit his engineering job to search for his brother and the kids but his professional reputation was good and he quickly found another job which he enjoyed more than the last one and had a much higher salary.

Will and Holly returned to school but Will found it easier than Holly to resume his old friendships. His easy smile and friendly laugh ensured that he would always be popular. Everyone had thought that Holly would want learn math but it did not excite her. Mostly she fell into a routine and earned decent grades but she never mentioned what had happened to them in the Land of the Lost and only once when she saw a big dog did she mention Dopey.

Rick perhaps fared the worst. He liked being with his family again but his park ranger work no longer held much interest for him and he slept too much. Jack thought that maybe a party would cheer up Rick and Holly so several months after they had returned from the Land of the Lost, Jack invited his brother and the kids over to his house for dinner and games.

Jack was feeling wealthy from his new job and had ordered all sorts of delicious food from a nearby restaurant. They were just finishing up dessert when a hum started to fill the room. At first they thought that it was some sort of problem with the house's wiring but as the pitch changed and it began to become a more complex sound. Holly shouted over the increasing noise, "it sounds like a pylon! I think a door is going to open!"

Their tension and excitement grew until several seconds later a dimensional doorway opened and Enik stepped through. He looked different than they had ever seen him in that he seemed to have grown larger and was wearing a floor length robe made of white fabric. He wore a crystal pendant around his neck and what looked like a tiara on his head. Over his shoulder he carried a sack which gave him the vague look of being some sort of Father Christmas.

"I am pleased to see all of you again" he announced. "This doorway is difficult to open and took much work. The temporal forces were hard to overcome. However, my debt to you was too great so I am here."

He open the bag he was carrying and pulled out a clear cylinder about six inches high and four inches in diameter which he handed to Jack.  "Jack Marshall, this is a tool used by Altrusian Engineers and I am sure that you will find it most useful."

Jack took the tool and marveled at its heft with obvious pleasure. Even if it were to do nothing at all it would have been a thing of great beauty but Jack felt great anticipation at finding out how it worked. He turned it over several times in his hand and was happily startled as a sudden flash of color began to dance within it. "how does it work?" he asked Enik. The Altrusian replied, "It would take me too long to instruct you, but it is simple enough to use and I am sure that you will have mastered it within a year."

Jack looked like a big kid on his birthday and thanked Enik several times but Enik corrected him by saying, "my debt to you is great and this is my way of thanking you."

Next he walked up to Will and said, "My gift to you is to tell you what I see. All of my people are telepathic but I am the most powerful telepath that has been born for as long as anyone can remember. I cannot see what someone does not want me to see about themselves but I see in your mind what you are destined to be. You will one day lead others and people will look to you when they need to do tasks they do not think they are capable of. I as an Altrusian do not know how Humans lead but your people have schools that will teach you what you need to know. If you go to one of the schools that teaches people how to wage war, you will become a man who ends wars."

Will was immediately lost in thought but much as Enik had grown since they had last seen him, Will suddenly appeared as though he too had somehow grown larger.

Next Enik walked up to Holly and with some amount of hesitation awkwardly hugged her. "Your customs are unfamiliar to me but I have spent some time recently studying your people."

He reached into the bag and pulled out a finely crafted wooden box a little over ten inches on each side. Holly squealed with delight and quickly opened it to pull out a cube roughly ten inches on each side with a crystal floating in the center. "It's our telescope!" she said sort of laughing and crying at the same time.

"No" Enik said. "Your people already have telescopes which are as capable as the one I built and you could easily acquire one of those. I am giving you something which is forbidden, but I was able to convince my people that your need is greater than our laws. This device is much like a book and it will show you many of the diagrams and tutorials that you saw on the moons of the land. You must promise never to show this to anyone except for your father, brother, and uncle. If you ever show it to anyone else, we will remove it from your ownership immediately."

"I promise to keep it safe" Holly vowed.

Rick showed his gratitude by saying to Enik, "I think that you have just made my daughter very happy".

"I do not think that is correct" Enik said in a much lower tone. "The people who study these diagrams and take on this life are not what you would call happy. However, they would all agree that it is the best course for them because they cannot find contentment elsewhere. Your daughter will be alone much of the time but her gifts will not allow her to do anything else. Perhaps she will be happy but not in the way that you were thinking."

Enik turned to better face Rick and said, " I have no gift for you Rick Marshall, instead I have more to ask from you. My people and other people are in grave danger and we need someone to help us find some things. Before you came to my land, your job was to go out into the wilderness and find lost people. You also spent much of your time doing things that your people would think was nearly impossible."

Rick responded in disbelief, "Enik, I was just a park ranger."

"Nonsense, Rick Marshall, you have done many things that your people would be amazed by and I have seen you do many things that are impossible for my people. I have a job for you that will test the limits of your abilities but you are my best candidate".

"I like your offer" Rick said, "but I have a family and I cannot leave them."

Enik confidently replied, "you have expended great effort to teach your children to be independent of you and you have succeeded. If I am correct, you son is of the age to leave you and your daughter will also be fine. In addition, you will be able to return to them frequently and they will be able to come with you at times if they wish."

"You are a step ahead of me", Rick conceded, "but I thought that you said you had difficulty opening this door. How will I be able to return to my family whenever I want?"

"It is true that I cannot come here easily but you and I have different spatial-temporal signatures. Travel here takes great effort for me but it will not be the case for you. Now that we know the location of your home, it will not be difficult to return."

Jack could see that his brother needed a push so he said, "Rick, I will be here to watch Will and Holly so I think you should go with Enik. You have not been yourself since we got back. You have always loved adventure or 'expeditions' as you call them. besides, I suspect that we will be with you from time to time."

Will and Holly looked at each other with big smiles because it suddenly felt more like everything was beginning while yesterday everything had felt like it was over.

Rick couldn't help but smile so wide that it almost hurt. "Well Enik" he said, "I guess that we are going to be seeing quite a bit of one another"  He was surprised to find that he was humming a song under his breath.

Copyright Notice:

The Land of the Lost and all of its characters are copyright by Kroftt Productions.  

This story is copyright 2002 by Gregson Robinson Vaux

 
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