Beta: Jose and Pollyanna.
Livia's challenge: Write a story using a title based on one of Ray Bradbury's works.
Kal-El watched from inside the Kryptonian ship as it approached the Earth's moon.
About a year ago, one of their spaceships had accidentally crash-landed in an Earth city called Metropolis. The ship had malfunctioned and lost power, drawn into the Earth's gravitational pull, impacting on the small planet, causing mass destruction. That day none of his people had lost their lives, unfortunately though, many of the planet's inhabitants had.
Metropolis and its surrounding areas were still recovering, rebuilding from the damage caused by the alien ship. When word had reached his people of the harm done to the planet they had quickly mobilized calling all nearby vessels to descend upon Earth and its inhabitants.
Kal-El had been sent to coordinate the effort, to build the relationship between the two peoples and to help the Earthlings, who were new to the space age, to advance into the modern age. Indeed, as they ventured into the vast unknown the planet's inhabitants would need guidance, and who better than the Kryptonians who had already mapped entire solar systems.
As the homeship edged closer to the Earth, passing the moon, Kal-El, standing on the flight deck watched breathlessly as the planet came into view. A planet so unlike his own
Krypton and its surrounding satellites was a planet encased in ice, where darkness ruled under a red sun. What Kal-El now saw before him was unlike anything he had ever seen or imagined.
A clear blue sky, a yellow sun whose rays warmed as it swept through the main room of the flight deck. There were gasps from all around him, as the ship further entered the Earth's atmosphere and the other Kryptonians took note of how alive this planet seemed when compared to their own. It breathed, pulsing all around them.
Indeed he had never seen so many variations of colour, so much light, or heard the many sounds a planet made, until now, he thought as the ship now hovered above the Arctic Circle.
Another thing that was also different about this planet was the way its sun rays seemed to energize his people, making them feel stronger, more powerful, some would even say indestructible. Kryptonian scientists had been slowly testing these new abilities emerging among those already stationed on the planet.
He smiled softly, even though he was alone, Kal-El could hear the conversation from all those around him, from the people in the ship, to the discussion taking place at a far off distance. They were like whispers in the background, gentle murmuring that was constant and somewhat soothing.
He adjusted his cloak, a nervous habit he had been unable to break.
The craft would remain here for the next few months, as a base for the Kryptonian delegates, allowing his colleagues time and opportunity to learn more about this place.
Kal-El walked down to the landing port, where his entourage and shuttlecraft waited for him. His assistant standing by the open shuttle door wordlessly handed him the new programme. He glanced briefly at the new schedule
One of his first meetings was with the head of a pharmaceutical company interested in Kryptonian medicine. According to the files, the president of the company was a man a few years older than Kal-El. An industrialist, whose city had been affected by the crash of the Kryptonian ship.
His assistant stepped aside, allowing the Ambassador to enter the craft.
The bay door closed behind them, and Kal-El took his seat, adjusting his long black robes, nodding to the pilot to press the coordinates. The small shuttlecraft launched out of the docking bay. They passed ice, snowcapped mountains, and a landscape filled with trees and cities that were either grouped or spread apart. Far too soon they hovered above a skyscraper in Metropolis, landing in a pad on top of the building.
Before Kal-El left the craft he put in his right ear a small computer chip, a universal translator that would allow him to understand the language spoken by these people. The craft door opened and there were a group of humans gathered close together, awaiting their arrival. As the Ambassador walked toward those who waited for him, followed closely by his assistant, he wondered what they, humans, were like. If they were very different from his own people.
He looked stoically at the men and women who physically were no different than him. Hazel eyes observed as one of the men stepped forward. Two female attendants, bodyguards most likely, followed a close distance behind the man, who either seemed unaware or unconcerned for his safety.
The human approaching them was also dressed in black, wearing a suit of some kind, a few inches shorter than him, with shoulder length, curly-red hair, and blue-grey eyes that gave nothing away. Eyes that fascinated Kal-El. That drew him forward and made him breathlessly anticipate their introduction.
Kal-El absentmindedly tugged at his robes, the traditional dress of his people, for the first time feeling self conscious, nervous.
The man stopped at a midway point and waited for them to greet him.
"Mr. Ambassador," his assistant said as they finally stood in front of the human who had approached them.
"I would like to present the owner of LexCorp a ..."
What else his assistant said, Kal-El drowned out, focussing instead on the human, the back of his mind repeating the man's name, again and again.
And Kal-El found himself extending his hand, as was customary in this world, feeling a smile reaching his lips, revelling at this first contact.
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