NOTE: Before I go on with this fanfiction, let me explain that I've done some major league twinking with the time and setting. Though I do not wish to spoil The Man Who Fell to Earth for anyone, I would like to simply state that during this fanfiction, simply because I need it so, Thomas Newton is still blind after his ordeal with the FBI.

In the K-PAX verse it takes place in the On a Beam of Light time frame, about a week or so before prot leaves. That's not so long after the last portion of The Man Who Fell to Earth, so I think it works out nicely.

For those of you who have not read The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tavis, I strongly recommend you do so. An excellent book over all with a sad and dramatic ending.

K-PAX: prot's favorite MARTIAN

The common area was alive with activity just as it had always been. Like the world itself, many things here at mpi did change quite frequently, but this hygienic recreational area with its television, art room, and many activity tables, would always be filled with beings.

Just about all of my waking moments is spent offering advice to other patients, and helping the so-called "professionals" with their tough cases. But every once in a while I get a day to myself. A day to relax and maybe enjoy a decent book, which was why I went down to the quiet room. There, for perhaps only the second or third time in my life, I received a shock to find another alien being in our midst.

"What's going on?" My host, robert porter asked me internally. "Who's that?"

As I watched the alien reading a braille copy of shakespere's macbeth, I wondered briefly if I could actually be seeing a being from the world we K-PAXians refer to as A-NEK.

I entered the room quietly, pretending as though I hadn't noticed our visitor, and began to scan the shelves for something interesting. His eyes were mismatched in color, and he had no facial hair whatsoever. Dressed in rather expensive designer clothing I could not tell if the hairlessness was consistent, but there was no doubt in my mind that he was in fact an anthean from the fourth planet in this system, the one humans call MARS. It wasn't long before he noticed our presence.

"A dremer," He said, quietly taking his left hand from the page. He spoke with an accent that closely resembled british. "They'd told me one was a prisoner here."

I turned around and looked at the A-NEKian. Even sitting down he was probably a few inches taller than even robert but his body, while obviously well nourished, was extremely thin and fragile due evolving in the weaker martian gravity.

"Excuse me," I replied somewhat defensively. "But I do not consider the manhattan psychiatric institute a prison, nor am I by any means a prisoner. The doctors and orderlies here are the most gentle and caring bunch of beings this planet could hope to see."

The A-NEKian smiled warmly and placed his book on the table beside him. From the collapsible cane which rested on the same table I could tell he was legally blind by EARTH standards, though he could clearly sense large objects in front of him.

"Forgive me," He apologized. "I did not mean to offend. Of course the doctor I have been seeing since my arrival is a very compassionate woman. Please, allow me to clear the path between us. My name is Thomas Jerome Newton."

"I am prot." I replied, shaking his hand and sitting beside him. "You must keep a very low profile. After only a day's passing the entire hospital new I was here, and I'm only an alien symbiont. But you have several obvious features that would have given you away had anyone taken the time to notice."

"Well there's no denying the human talent for ignoring the obvious." thomas said with a heavy sigh. "One might say it was human arrogance that lead to the inevitable failure of my mission, and my subsequent blindness."

Of course every K-PAXian knew of the fate of thomas' world long before we had ever met an A-NEKian. I'll take this moment to explain it as briefly as possible.

MARS was not so different from EARTH in terms of growth and population. Though MARS developed quicker on the technological level, they still had many shortcomings which often lead a WORLD into the A-category. With three bi-pedal species, each considering themselves the dominant race, and five separate governments, MARS' constant feuding and bickering for the title of top dog lead to the destruction of their atmosphere. With water being rationed and beings quickly becoming extinct, the populations dropped.

By late 1985, around the same time I made my first appearance on EARTH, A-NEK was down to three hundred antheans. Thomas, the strongest of his race, was chosen to take one of their ancient spacecraft to EARTH in an attempt to build a kind of ark. Since the A-NEKians could easily blend in human society, their plan was to infiltrate EARTH's governments and try to steer EARTH away from the same fate.

Although Thomas acquired a vast amount of wealth in the five years he'd lived among humans, and was in fact able to partially erect a large enough spacecraft to ferry his people from MARS, the human organization known as the cia took his intentions the wrong way. After harsh experimentation and interrogation, Thomas was released, but not before they forced him to look into an x-ray machine, destroying his vision permanently.

"I don't know how my good friend Nathan Bryce felt when I decided I would no longer attempt to save this world," Thomas said. "He and Mary Lou were my only real friends on Earth. But these people, these humans, took away so much more than my sight. And it hurts to admit it, but I am equally angry towards my own people, for destroying the world we once shared."

"Of course, if it weren't for the FLORins we'd never have heard of the tragedy," I responded. "It was they who read your WORLD's transmissions. And of course we heard the music you composed later on. You could just as easily have told your people, 'You're just as screwed as I am right now so deal with it'."

Thomas laughed. Laughter is a defense mechanism against anxiety and other painful emotions. For beings like thomas and many others on EARTH, it was no wonder they laughed so often.

"Yes, you're right," thomas conceited. "But I don't regret sending them the message. I also included a few words of love towards my wife, though I'll never know if she heard it or not."

"Humans and antheans," I shook my head pityingly. "What amazes me is that a system has such a rare gift as two PLANETS teaming with life. Even in our vast GALAXY with its WORLDS full of beings, it is rare to find a single system with more than one life-bearing PLANET. Yet EARTH and MARS, like the lemmings of this world, follow one another to destruction until it is too late.

"I often wonder what it would have been like, had EARTH gone sooner and MARS still a few years behind. If I had come to MARS how much differently would I have been treated? All your races would have seen was more competition, and I'd have been wiped out before I had a chance to put the pencil to the paper. And what amazes me more is even after you realized you were on the brink of extinction, you thought you could save yourselves and the beings of EARTH by infiltrating and in some cases, taking over their governmental structure."

"Influencing," thomas corrected me patiently. "Yes, it's true. Our plan was to remain in the background, influencing government decision. But never did we claim to be the righteous saviors of Earth. Self preservation lead us to try to relocate to Earth, but it was a desire to prevent Earth's destruction that lead to our subsequent plans."

"Well of course. If humans destroyed Earth than the antheans would have no other place to go."

"Seriously prot," thomas grinned as though I were being childish. "Doctor Brewer is right about you. Nothing prevents you from giving someone the third degree if they are guilty in your eyes. But then, being influenced by humans as you have I expect you to share some of their traits."

I scowled. For a minute I was about to ask him what right he had to point out human defaults, but then I discovered where he was going with his comment. Here we were, two alien beings, both with a wide array of differences and similarities, and all I cared about was parading how much better we were than his people.

For thousands of years, dremers have studied and categorized every being we encountered. With our superior mirror beaming technology virtually any point in the UNIVERSE was within our reach. For every WORLD we encountered, we issued a letter grade between A and K, to determine the many milestones of evolution. (or in this case, destruction)

But in retrospect of my own behavior, ever since I first came to this WORLD as a young dremer, it was I who started pointing out how much worse things were on EARTH. I point the stern finger at human beings and lecture them about how they destroyed countless beings, and more often than not, I make sure they know how much better the dremers are. It is not in the nature of Dremers to be so judgmental. Thomas was right; Human beings were a strong influence on my personality.

At this point robert felt the need to say something. He took dominant position and removed the sunglasses.

"You know, I believe you are the first person to give prot such a direct analysis of his personality," He said with a slight chuckle. "Most of the doctors he's met are only interested in convincing him that he's nothing more than a secondary persona."

Thomas laughed. "Terribly sorry. I didn't mean to play the wicked Doctor Laura just now."

"Not at all. I think you've nailed it pretty well." robert responded. He then changed the subject, perhaps out of diplomacy. "Man, I'd never thought I'd see a true Martian before. So you're from the neighboring fourth planet?"

"That is correct. Little more than sand covers the pyramids and the great temples my race built."

"So there really is a face on Mars?"

"Of course." Thomas said with a proud grin. "My direct lineage was the one that built it."

"Amazing. So what are you doing in the Manhattan Psychiatric Institute? Obviously several humans believe you are who you say you are, and from what I understand you were monetarily well off compared to prot and me."

Thomas wore a sullen expression. "It was Doctor Bryce who recommended I come here. My whole ordeal left me a bitter waste of a man; my love of life was completely gone. Money doesn't bring happiness after all, you know that. I've read K-PAX and though you suffered tremendously, you did have some good times at least."

Robert nodded in agreement.

"But imagine being the last of your kind stranded on the world you tried to save. Imagine taking three hundred lives into your hands and suddenly bashing their hope for survival against the wall as you realize, they'd be no better here than they were back home. I'm thankful to whatever celestial beings govern this great universe that my friends did not abandon me when I refused to try and save them anymore. But more than ever I wanted to live out my life, drinking myself into the grave, listening to the radio and wondering which would happen first: My death or Earth's destruction. Nathan and Mary Lou refused to allow that to happen and they arranged to bring me here for a few weeks."

"So you're here to recover from deep seated depression." Robert surmised. "Guilt. I sympathize with that. Guilt was what kept me silent for so many years while prot took care of the two of us. Although now that I know it was actually Harry who killed that man the guilt is a little easier to deal with. Sure if it had been me I might have been justified legally, but morally my soul would have been tarnished forever."

"And you see my dilemma." Thomas responded. "I can justify myself by saying, well it was the humans who interfered and prevented me from finishing the construction of the ark. By the time I was released and blinded the orbital alignments of our planets went out of shift, and they'd have died anyway. But I don't have the luxury of a second personality to blame. I made small mistakes that lead up to one large consequence and it cost me, my family and friends dearly."

As I watched and listened to robert and thomas I found myself saddened by the conversation. Yet I was also intrigued that these two beings, one from a B-class WORLD and the other a genuine A-class, shared such similar feelings of guilt and depression. And likewise it wasn't such a stretch to believe, that like thomas, I too was a lonely alien on a hostile WORLD.

"But how do you get by as an alien being," I asked curiously, pulling my glasses back on. "I was jabbed with needles, given electroconvulsive therapy, and they were still disappointed when they couldn't shake my so called delusion. You on the other hand have friends who know your origins, you've been experimented on by humans, yet no one since then has been the wiser of your presence."

"Well it's convenient when the doctor I'm seeing happens to be Nathan Bryce's old girlfriend from college." Thomas explained, giving me an almost perfect Cheshire cat grin. "Whatever we talk about in the office is between us, and the rest of the staff simply think I'm here for heavy depression. I think they may also suspect that I'm here for my terrible people skills, but then I've never been good at fitting in with large crowds of humans."

"And because of your reclusiveness you avoid telling any other patients about your past." I realized. "Mostly they think you're just a rich snob."

Thomas laughed lightly. Then an idea came to my mind.

"For what it's worth thomas," I continued. "You don't have to die with your race. For that matter, you don't have to let your race's memory end. On this PLANET there are over fifteen hundred little humans in need of guidance and care. Dremers are independent of their biological parents, but human children need that guidance and protection so they can survive in this vicious predator filled environment. With your wealth and resources you could easily give some of those lonely children some of that guidance and protection. And with your knowledge and experiences I'm sure you could teach them a few things too."

Thomas thought on that for a moment, scratching the imaginary beard on his hairless chin.

"You know, once or twice the idea occurred to me," He said. "And perhaps I'll consider it even longer now that I'm here. I imagine I'll have about a century or more left barring the very death of Earth at human hands. That could be long enough to make amends for my failure to the remaining people of Mars."

At that moment I sensed someone approaching. There was a knock at the door of the quiet room and I noticed one of the orderlies, a man named Larry.

"Mr. Newton, it's time for your appointment with Doctor Lloyd." Larry said, signaling the end of our conversation. "How's it going prot?"

"It's going well Larry." I returned the smile.

"It was nice meeting with you prot." Thomas said, reaching for the collapsible cane and unfolding it. "And you as well Robert. Time willing perhaps we shall speak again."

Before he left, another thought occurred to me. I held him up for only a minute as I made my proposal.

"Of course, if EARTH does become too much for you," I began. "I would be more than happy to invite you to K-PAX. I can take at least one hundred beings with me and no doubt there are many dremers who would appreciate your company, and your point of view. After all, you'd be the only A-class there."

Thomas grinned at the prospect. "Thank you prot. I shall keep it in mind."