Smith bid his time waiting for the best time to leave the family. He stood at the bridge watching as events happen quickly in his view but rather slowly for the Robinsons on the other side of the veil. Smith watched them start a pattern, a schedule, a new way of living after he had withdrawn from their life with guests from time to time. He was slowly becoming sure that years were passing as the grandchildren were aging and so was Will.
The older man observed that the young man spotted that he started to wear glasses over time even as he still looked young for his age. Don's hair became even more gray and Penny's hair became white while Judy's hair remained a perfect color of blonde. John and Maureen were aging gracefully, slower, but happy. A stone cold reminder that he had doomed them to a slow walk back home, but they didn't care about that bit, they liked the adventures that he had gifted them.
Smith picked up his belongings, his winter gear packed as well, including the sleeping bag, and water jug (Water jug and winter gear, both relics of being in the now, but both reminders of what he became this way for) that had been retrieved from the supply closet. He departed the bridge one night and painfully left the only ship that he knew as a safe haven.
He turned around, regarding the ship, one last time, then shook his head. Smith walked on leaving it behind even as it flew off into the sky and the atomic engine's wail didn't bother him leaving him behind. He didn't look back even as he found a temporary spacecraft while the pilot was away taking a leak. He brought his belongings inside, became familiar, then launched the craft into the sky (and afterwards, found the star charts) returning into space searching for Earth hopefully quicker.
It became a habit and Smith didn't know how long that he did it. Time was irrelevant to him and didn't matter in the end. He grew tired and rested, between stealing ships from time to time, leaving and taking new star charts that lead directly to Earth. Smith was very certain that weeks passed when he slept, lonely, all the more fuel to get home as soon as possible. Whoever he angered could not harm him and his ego soared, his confidence rose, knowing he was safe.
Until one day, Smith got it. He was in the solar system where his entire predicament had begun. His years was time that wasn't time, time that he counted, time that mattered, as it was so easy to lose track of actual time. He cheered, loudly, then whooped, his arms in the air and wept. After a long moment of tearful weeping, Smith took out a piece of paper from the panel then jotted down on to it and stamped his own painting of himself on the console. He jotted on the photo in bold ink; I was right here!
He plotted the course, the landing, manipulating the instruments to return a message that was caught by Earth. It was all going well and it made him tremble in joy. It was over. Finally, no more traveling stealing crafts from place to place and this entire ordeal was over, he could be human. It had to start wearing off by now, Smith assumed even as he still could not feel hunger. He picked up the radio device then clicked the button on the top.
"This is Doctor Zachary Smith of Earth, can anyone hear me?"
He waited then repeated it over and over and over and over and over.
"Doctor Smith?" a strange voice came over. "When are you from?"
It was a strange question to have asked, but then, if there were others like him; it must be common to have humans returning to Earth. The Robinsons, they had to have made it back, they had to have.
"I am from the Jupiter 2 launch."
"Doctor Zachary Smith?"
"Yes, I am he! I am he!"
"You have a voice match. Welcome back."
"Please, let me land! Let me, land--"
Then he was somewhere else, it was a void, and the radio was still in his hand as he stood in the dark full of smoke and dark purple all around him as he clenched on to the machine trembling. He had a solid moment of silence as he contemplated the entire situation that had happened and felt too surreal to have happened for a very long time as people in strange clothing passed by him living in their own version of the void.
He collapsed with a scream, crest fallen, his soul shattered by being yanked out of the one opportunity to go home and it was gone. Gone, gone, gone, and no one could speak with him. He wailed, loudly, his figure trembling with loss until nothing was left with a aching body that didn't food, water, or need clothes tended to as it existed outside of time.
He lifted himself up, dusted himself off, then observed his belongings were around him and dropped his radio. He had to find a way out of this unknown and get himself back home. Had he over-reacted? Yes, he had after being yanked away from the planet of his dreams at the very last moment. He rubbed his forehead, pained, "Oh, the pain." then picked up his belongings into his arms which included as before; The water jug, the sleeping bag, and the suitcase.
Smith walked on and on, cradling his belongings, unable to interact with the phantoms that occupied the same void. He came to the exit of what was a apparently a tunnel and halted in his tracks observing rocks of different kinds and sizes floating in the sky that was a mix of cruel colors such as black, red, orange, and yellow with hardly a sight of blue to be seen. There wasn't exactly a sky as Smith acknowledged and not a star in sight.
Smith traveled until he felt tired. It was odd, how he could experience being tired and yet feel no hunger. It was a sure sign of being alive, the most living alive there ever was, it was a bodily function that had been spared for some reason that evaded him. He rested, took out his suitcase, then slid out the photo album that he had copied with Robot's help over the years, just to look at the people that he had known in space before making the second worst of his mistake (the first one was accepting the generous offer) of his life and smile at it.
His fingers traced over the memories of the Robinsons, something that was copied over and over and over, unable to be touched, not able to interfere, those years more fonder from a distant perspective out of that position that he was in with them. He closed the book then slid it into the suitcase, put the full water jug along side it, then rested, with his hands in his lap having a nice long sleep.
He awoke, got up, then resumed his search for a way to leave this planet. He reflected, he rested, and resumed his search. Smith passed by several camps and observed strange life forms along the way that were at best large dogs that were were capable of flying and had tentacles, coated in fur, had exposed fangs, gills, and bat wings, these creatures terrorized the people that made improvised villages and many people were harmed by the incidents. Except him.
Smith continued on, miserably, for what felt to be at best a eternity searching for a ship to leave the area with. Smith could find only abandoned crafts that were lacking of fuel or were either too advanced for him to attempt to use, beyond his comprehension, too confusing to continue using, providing only a nice place to stay. "Doctor Smith!" were words that caused him to lift his head up in alarm. He came to a pause in his tracks then shifted toward the direction of the area behind him.
Smith turned away then walked on, sour. His stubbornness keeping him walking, there had to be a spacecraft that had fuel and understandable equipment. This time, he heard a duo of voices call out and this time did Smith halted in his tracks gazing on toward the distance ahead of him as he heard the voices a third time. He turned in the direction of the voices in a moment of shock as his heart raced in complete terror hearing his name for the first time said in a long time.
Two figures appeared from the corner of the mound of rock, one of them firing at creatures that were chasing after them, and the other was hollering for him. The order of which was Will being the protector and Penny being the searcher, all without Robot, a strange combination, highly unusual for someone so determined on being prepared for the worst. Smith was stunned, simply, stunned, and shocked, observing that they were coming his way heading in his direction.
Smith screamed then ran fast as his feet could carry him and made a roundabout turn into a cavern as the creatures snarled, barked, and howled chasing after the mere impossible figures to have appeared. Smith dropped his belongings beside him, shaken, horrified. The figures joined him in the cavern then watched as the beasts went past them. Their attention shifted upon him once the danger had cleared and Smith was on the center of their ire then cleared his throat.
They hadn't age much since Smith had last taken a look at them since leaving the Jupiter 2. They had to have become this way sometime in his long journey for Earth and the others, it pained him to think what could have happened to them, on their ongoing journey home. He winced with that reflection.
"Doctor Smith, are you okay?" Will asked.
"Yes, yes, yes, I am fine." Smith found his words.
"The wishing machine told us about your wish." Penny said.
"And how you abused it." Will said.
"It was the only way at the time." Smith said.
"Yeah, but you're stuck here forever." Will then added. "Supposedly."
"And you didn't try to communicate." Penny said.
"I tried, you never heard me." Smith reminded, sharply, but bitterly. "Are you only here to shame me for my mistake?"
"I just find it odd that you didn't try to write is all." Penny said.
"Do realize, I have suffered for it thoroughly and shamed by forces that are greater than yourselves!"
"Doctor Smith, why didn't you just write to us?" Will repeated, skeptically.
It was quiet between them.
"The Jupiter 2 being destroyed because a family wanted to stay and mine a few more days just to retrieve a very flawed old man isn't something that a immortal can live with."
The answer was enough to be satisfying, even though Smith hadn't thought of that in the beginning. He didn't care -- of course, he did-- about the Robinsons and their beloved flying death trap. He didn't understand how the nexus of their suffering was revered for years as perfection as the fuel had been eaten up by the plants that he had awakened.
He didn't care about how cheerful, wholesome, and happy they were just to be alive in space spending what time they had together fighting for survival together against the final frontier. They were only necessity to him in the field of survival as much as his conscience agreed with that assessment. Smith folded his arms.
"You made the same wish, didn't you?" Smith asked.
"Yes." Will and Penny replied.
"And how did you wind up here?" Smith asked. "You don't strike me as the kind of people who abuse their wishes."
"Unlike your wish, we had a mission to find you. . " Penny said. "and look everywhere."
"Everywhere, yes." Smith said.
"Doctor Smith, part of our wish was that you could see and hear us and vice versa." Will said.
Smith raised his brows.
"We abused our wish by going to a black hole." Will said
"Into a black hole, Will." Penny corrected her younger sibling. "Not to."
"You went into a black hole searching for me? With what?" Smith scowled, half terrified, half horrified, as his mind jumped to conclusions. "The Jupiter 2?"
"No." Will said.
"We used a small ship that we purchased at a space trade fair." Penny said then she took out a disk from her side pocket stitched into her uniform, reminiscent of her mother's second year uniform, except it were maroon uniform, bright green v-neck with a maroon strip at the top, and yellow dickie. She smiled as Will did while Smith stared at the contraption. "Robot is even with us."
"Had to trade his shell for our ship." Will admitted, regrettably.
"Annnnd is there a way out of here?" Was Smith's question. "Was that part of your wish? A quick way home?"
"No. . . Not really." Penny winced as the older man's features fell. "We didn't think you were sent here."
"I knew you would be sent off somewhere, anywhere, that could be easily broken into or landed. . ." Then Will chuckled. "Well, this was easier to do."
Penny and Will had a loud laugh in amusement to the predicament. Smith was quiet as he slumped against the rock and pouted then sighed. Smith shook his head, disappointed, ashamed, but bitter of the trap that they had fallen into.
"Can't even use the spacecrafts that I found to get off as the consoles are too confusing and those wretched dog bats are out." Smith cupped the side of his face as he complained. "Eternity here---it pains me so!"
"Where?" Will asked, leaning forward as did his young sister. "Where is the ships?"
"That ship could have a defense system to ward off those dog bats." Penny speculated, hopeful.
"Like a bunch of birds." Will agreed with a chuckle.
Smith was rubbing his fingers together as he were looking back then their gaze shifted toward him and lifted his head up.
"Don't recall what direction, somewhere around here." Smith shrugged, apologetically, with a frown of his own.
"Well what direction were you coming from?" Will asked.
"The direction that you were coming from, Will." Was the simple reply.
"Okay, that's a start." Will sported a smile.
"If these crafts are still here," he cleared his throat, his shoulders lowering, not quite believing escape was going to be easy. Smith was frightened of doing a attempt to leave this unknown and lonely place with horrible results. "wouldn't that mean some misshapen traveler did the same and returned here after a unsuccessful flight?"
"This is the place where abused wishes go, Doctor Smith." Was the assurance from Penny. "Who-ever abused them has abandoned it."
"I am a wish!" Smith pointed back at himself, for emphasis. "I abused it."
"More like misused it, Doctor Smith." Will corrected looking back at the younger old man in a moment of amusement. "You can't abuse yourself."
"Not at all," Penny agreed.
"Wouldn't that mean I. . ." he looked toward them. "can't leave? If the ship itself can't leave?"
"You did abuse your wish," Will admitted as the older man sulked. "But, it's worth a try."
"And if I can't leave but you can, what then?" Smith asked.
The siblings puckered their lips then exchanged a glance with the other, as though reluctant to talk about other things, things that had to be discussed, but agreed silently there was some things that could be discussed. They turned their attention toward the old man who was younger than they were and not the oldest of the group.
"Then we'll stay and catch up about our adventures." Will stretched his arms as he leaned against the wall and hid his hands behind his head. "We've had a lot of adventures just getting to that black hole."
Penny giggled, shielding her mouth, finding the matter all so entertaining.
"Lot is a understatement." Penny said between her giggles.
The same giggle summoned Will's laughter as she made her pointed. They broke out into laughter, leaning against one another, recalling their long sheet of adventures just to get here. As before, the Robinsons weren't bitter but so easy to laugh at the tough and unexpected parts of the journey. The giggling and laughter stopped.
"We have a record of lifeforms that we crossed paths with on the biomedical scanner." Will said with a smirk as he motioned toward the device strapped along Penny's arm. "It even has a holographic projector!"
"How so interesting." Smith said in awe. "As you say, if there is enough, not to run out of stories to be entertained by."
"There is." Penny assured.
Smith struggled to his feet but was joined by the children and they helped him up.
"I . . . I . . . I . . . I never anticipated you coming here to rescue me." Smith confessed.
"What did you expect, Doctor Smith?" Penny, asked, curious yet incredulous all the same. "Rescuing yourself?"
"Not too short of a idea, yes." Smith bore the familiar grin that he was known for that became apologetic. "Rescue team or none at all, I always knew I would get out of here!"
In a instant, he was trapped in a hug by the children and everything was fine. Even the tears that Smith could feel coming to from the corners of his eyes. All the while that he was being embraced in a platonic loving hug being held like he belonged in a hug that reeked of family brought up old feelings from the days that he were among their family.
If they had spent hundreds of years or thousands of years to have more than a lot of stories to tell about their adventures, it would be a long time before they reached the destination in mind of which he were aware of. And they were safe, but very lost, in space; forever. That didn't matter to them, he was right here and that is what mattered.