I recently saw Starman on DVD, a film I loved when it first came out and forgotten about. But seeing Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy reminded me of this delightful film. So I decided to write a short piece about what happened when the Starman reached home. What will be the consequences of his actions on Earth?
Takes place between the film and the TV series, but in my TV series, Jeff and Karen would continue in their roles, for no one else can play Starman and Jenny like they can.
Xarnes is pronounced as Zarnes. We have no idea what his real name is, so I made this one up.
I do not own the film Starman, but I didn't blame Jenny one bit for falling for the alien.
Starman : Rescue from Earth
Xarnes floated in the Tribunal chamber where the Council would be rendering final judgment on the incidents of his latest mission. For what should have been a normal observational visit, everything had gone terribly wrong. Xarnes had lost his ship to attack, and had been rescued by his people after trekking to Arizona for three days with the human female, Jennyhayden. His people had a rule never to leave even one of their observers stranded on a planet. To do so would mean condemning that agent to death, most planets not having the atmosphere necessary for their people to live in their natural state. Even taking on the form of any local species would be a short term solution, for once the link was broken, the agent would die along with its adopted host. Now Xarnes found himself accused of unauthorized contact with the indigenous population, resulting in exposure and worse, personal interaction with a member of the planet's humans.
The accusation was one rarely used, since there were few such accidents involving the destruction of an observation craft, and even fewer attempts at symbiotic transformation. Non-contact was a hard and fast rule, one never to be broken. Xarnes, if judged guilty of the charge, would find himself suspended from the ranks of the Observers.
The Tribunal Council members entered the room, bright blue spheres that seemed to exude great power. Xarnes was humbled before these arbiters of peace. On the other hand, he didn't feel they would truly understand what he had experienced on Earth. At times, he didn't fully understand himself.
"Xarnes, you have been accused of breaking one of our most stringent laws. You made contact with the indigenous population of a planet you'd been assigned to observe. Do you have anything to say for your actions?" One of the blue spheres pulsed as the question was asked.
Xarnes thought a moment, remembering the attack on his ship, which, although perpetrated by primitives, did enough damage to make the vessel inoperable. "I had not planned on landing at all, but my ship was damaged by the human defense system. I needed assistance to reach the meeting place for pick up. Since the area was devoid of population, I felt fortunate to have found a human who was...willing to help me."
"It didn't appear that way in the beginning. It appeared that you had to force the human to assist you."
"That is true, but once her fear of me was replaced by trust, she shared with me the things of her world. I ate nourishment of the like I had never tasted before. Dutch apple pie, for one." Even now, he could recall the sheer pleasure that suffused his host body as he took that first bite of the pie.
"Sampling nourishment of the planet is not forbidden, Xarnes. However, in taking such nourishment, you also took the opportunity to make contact with other members of the human species. That is forbidden!"
"I know what the rules are, and I never meant to break them, but I learned more in the three days I was stranded on Earth, than if I had circled the world continuously for 1000 solar cycles. I feel I also learned something about myself." Would he have stayed on Earth, if it had been possible for him to do so? He had considered this many times since his return home. Earth intrigued him. It had much that his world, even with all its beauty and cultural richness, did not possess. And humans interested him even more. They were, with all their differences and inability to live in peace, a unique people who felt emotions to the nth degree. He had been unable to express emotion when he first landed, but he learned in a short time to simulate such external feelings to his satisfaction.
And then he came to know Jennyhayden. She felt drawn to him, in spite of her fear, because he looked like her bondmate Scott. It was easier for him to gain her trust in the body he created from the cellular DNA samples of the human male's hair. But even so, Xarnes had to commend Jennyhayden for her courage in accepting his request for help, even when she was sure she would be killed. Once he had indicated that he meant her no harm, she had relaxed, and willingly did all she could to assist him in his journey.
"We have examined your experiences while you were on Earth. It is troubling that you allowed yourself to develop feelings for the human female, even to the point of mating with her. This distasteful action is beneath our kind, mating with such primitives!"
"You don't remember what it's like to feel closeness to another being. The humans may be primitive in their relations with one another. So they don't understand the ways of peaceful coexistence, but I have seen a kindness in them. I admire their ability to do their best, when things are at their worst. We've achieved so much, yet in those achievements, we've lost something. Something...precious. I had the opportunity to experience that most precious of emotions...love." Xarnes instantly felt revulsion coming from the Tribunal, but he wasn't about to be cowed now. "Yes, Council members, in the short time I was stranded on Earth, I learned to love. I loved Jennyhayden in every way she said it was possible to love someone. Because of my actions, she was killed. I had no choice but to bring her back. I would not have her blood on my soul. But more than that, I risked much because I loved her. She was...is...a part of me. I know I can never be with her again, but she will always be with me."
The Council was not placated as they allowed Xarnes to continue. "The Observers are sent out to look at the worlds where we find life. But our own rules and regulations forbid us contact. Why? How can we ever learn about other species if we do not contact them? I never meant to love a human, esteemed Council members. But according to Jennyhayden, humans never mean to love each other. It just...happens."
"Loving a human was not the worst transgression. You reproduced with the creature."
"Yes, I admit I did. In communicating with the female, I learned that she was unable to produce a child of her kind. Since I was in a body that was a facsimile of her dead bondmate, I knew that the child would be human in most ways. I gave her a baby with that body. It would be a baby of her bondmate." He thought of the unseen child he would never know, and something inside him felt empty. "It would be my baby as well."
"You didn't stop there, Xarnes. Not only did you mate with the female human, AND breed with her, you left our technology behind! That isn't just mere stupidity. That borders on treason!"
Xarnes was becoming increasing angry at the attitude of the Council. "Yes, I did! I felt the child would be able to make use of the device, thus giving him the tools he would need to be a teacher to the other humans." Xarnes decided he needed to be more aggressive, for his own sake. "Council members, you may have witnessed the happenings on my last mission, but you didn't experience them. I learned about life and death, love and loss. I learned about sacrificing, both mine and theirs, for something better. And most of all, Council members, I learned that we have lost the capacity to love. Oh, we think we love, and we do, as a species. But where is our ability to love as individuals? By the very creation of our perfect world, we have lost a part of ourselves. We don't feel anymore." Thinking he had said too much, Xarnes stopped and remained silent.
Xarnes sensed the Council was deliberating his fate amongst themselves, so he waited patiently. His mind thought back to his mission, remembering the bad things and the good ones. There was the crash and the uncertainty of his status. He had felt relief when the ship responded to his distress alert. Then, as he ventured across the land that was Earth, he met many humans. There were the hunters who didn't understand how important and precious life was. There was the waitress who had introduced him to Dutch apple pie, and had helped Jennyhayden when he had been beaten by the hunters. There was the man at the motel. There was the cook who had given him a ride without question. There were the migrant workers who had helped him and Jennyhayden reach a vehicle that would get them to Arizona. And it was in that vehicle that she had taught him the beauty and pleasure of physically joining with another person. He remembered all of that, every word, every sensation. He should have stayed. If only he could have stayed.
He held gratitude for another human, one who would more easily understand the importance of contact with other species. Markshermin. Because of this human, he and Jennyhayden were able to escape those who had tried to capture him.
So although there were humans who were capable of doing bad things, there were many who offered their aide only because he needed it. They received nothing in return. Why was he even here before the Council having to defend his actions?
Xarnes wondered if it would someday be possible to stay on a planet for longer periods of time. Perhaps he would visit Earth again, find Jennyhayden and their baby, their son. How he wanted to teach his son about the universe, about worlds that no human could imagine. He ached to watch his son grow to adulthood. He felt a painful longing and emptiness inside. What if the Council was right. Maintaining a non contact rule meant never knowing someone, only to lose them. No! Hadn't Jennyhayden told him about Scott, and how they had met? She loved him and he died. But not once did she say she wished she had never known him.
Pushing aside the pain, Xarnes heard Jennyhayden's voice in his mind. Take me with you. He had to refuse her request, since she wouldn't last as long here in human form than he would last on Earth in his natural state. Instead, he had kissed her, told her he loved her, and said good bye.
Xarnes' reflections were interrupted by the Council. They had come to a verdict.
"It is the decision of this Tribunal, Xarnes, that you will be permitted to maintain your position in the ranks of the Observers. However, due to your youth and inexperience, we will assign a Watcher to you, just until you have proven you have learned a valuable lesson. There are reasons for non contact."
Xarnes gave his assent to the decision. He wasn't happy about it, but perhaps he could show his Watcher the valuable lesson of the importance of contact. One person at a time would be his new personal directive.
His other goal would be to someday find a way back to Earth. He thought he wanted to go home when he was stuck on the strange planet. But now he realized the things that made a place home were back on Earth.
Xarnes left the Tribunal chamber, satisfied in his plans. And if he had still had his human body, the Council members would have seen an endearingly awkward smile on his face.