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Santaun raised himself slightly from the reclining chair within the ship, moving his hands in trance motion above the energy sensor. His mind edged sharply into the intricate computer and the screen danced in mindless light for a moment. then slowly as Santaun bore his thoughts into the ether, an image formed in three-dimensional symmetry before him on the luminous sphere. Two strong eyes flung their light back into his, locking upon a moment in time as Santaun struggled to hold the thought. Again the eyes returned, clearer this time. Santaun knew it was impossible for this earthman to see him, yet a feeling slipped into his mind that this land-bound soul was perceiving him. If only the image would become clearer, but Santaun's mind was tiring.

It had been long since he had seen his Mother planet.  It was Santaun's mission to scout certain planets that might yield valuable scientific information for his world. Certainly this blue-emerald mass, lying in clouded repose could not be overlooked.

Those EYES--how they fascinated him!  They were so vital, so searing, but also they were unrested, weary, like Santaun himself, only seemingly eons older in the depth of knowledge as to the taste of fatigue, loneliness and grief.  They shone in a kind of sweet agony, as if life to this souls was the only vessel with which he could give to the earth. "Curious," thought Santaun, "that man should so love the earth. From what I have seen it is truly beautiful in natural being, yet it is a lone wandering place for souls. My mind has reached out and touched its core and I find it barren, but man is willing to suffer for its sake. This true compassion I would knowingly encounter on many of the higher spheres where the one thought of universal love abides, but on a world in chaos?"

Mankind was suddenly becoming a greater interest to Santaun. He sent his thought deeper into a hold with this man whereby the complete face cleared on the screen. It was then that Santaun realized the man he viewed was in physical pain. Moisture dripped from his features as if to wash away the flesh from the bone; but the man overcame the struggle, his skin taunt, revealing every gesture of the soul in its noble countenance. Santaun had once heard that many on earth suffered from pain and sickness, and that often these beings purposefully inflicted torment on one another in a heedless fashion. He studied the face. Santaun could understand love, his life was lived in loving. He knew forgiveness, for the land of his world had risen in forgiveness to meet the souls by which it had been created. But the thought that Santaun could not readily comprehend was, how could one who was lowly enough to evolve in a battle-torn place such as earth, radiate absolute forgiveness in every sorrowed tear that brimmed from the eye? As Santaun questioned, the tender lips parted slightly in an effort to speak, but no sound came forth, yet even as there was silence, a passionate voice filled all time and life was given to the death of words. Santaun felt as if he had witnessed his own birth. He felt all joy come unto him as a rush of silver light. What form of communication was this? No words were spoken, no thoughts rushed into his mind, but the sandals of a silent walker had tread more deeply upon his soul than had all the glories of the universe he had ever been privileged to witness.

In the starship's viewer the fire-crest of the sun could be seen, casting brilliant contrasts of light upon the earthman's features, then slowly with the ease of a slipping day, his head bowed. The life presence departed from the body, and thus the image faded, because through Santaun's energy devise only living things could attract a visual display. Almost thoughtlessly, he moved his hand over a panel, and the observation shield slid open. The heavens were now in Santaun's view. the majesty of the thousand-eyed night, endless in pursuit, burning in fire of molten dust and comic ecstasy seemed dim to him. He could never again look out into the blackened space and not imagine those living eyes blurring the celestial ocean into a haze. He now realized that before this encounter he had been ignorant of life, but he would never again turn from its torment in pity. If this earth creature so small, so defenseless, who walked among the bleeding bodies of his brothers and sisters could find such completeness in the midst of suffering, he must surely strive for the same. This had been a most interesting study for Santaun. He had discovered that earthmen were possessors of great beauty despite their self-inflicted anguish. He would report thoroughly to the Council on this matter. His world must know that serene beauty lies on earth. They must be made to realize how mistaken their feeling toward this world had been. Santaun's ship glided through the golden sunset, unseen by those who clustered about the body of the lifeless earthman. His fellow dwellers looked upon him with mixed emotions. Many were crying and others were hard and fearful. As the shadows found solid ground upon which to lie in the evening tide of the sun, the dark image of a cross flung onto the barren hill. The earth beings gathered together and took his body from the splintered sepulcher, with the echo of his words piercing their hearts deeper than the nails that still embedded his passive wrists: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Neither would Santaun know. This being had not been 'man of earth.' but the earth of man; the soil for the harvest of future souls. But then Santaun did see a man. He saw the best of man.

- written by Maia Christianne  in 1974

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