“One thing I learned in the days when Holder and I were virtually alone on my world, when we were first discovering each other–and had more time to do so–is that my mate is somewhat of a historian. He is particularly fascinated by the history of his world before the rise of the planetary government called Homesec. I have written before of Holder’s fascination with Old Earth music, and this entry too, touches on that, but also another element of Old Earth’s popular culture–a thing called ‘comic books’; small magazines with pictures–drawn pictures, not photographs–put together to tell stories, often about extraordinary beings called “super heroes”, who wear specific second-skins–what is the word–“costumes”–to set them apart and illustrate their super-hero-ness the way the pictures in the comics illustrate their deeds.
I was particularly fascinated by one of these heroes—Superman–who looks like a human but was born, like I was, on another planet. The gravity of his birth world was different from that of Earth, and this gave him extraordinary strength and other heightened abilities—some of you reading this may already know these things, but they were, as Holder might say, ‘news to me.’ I come from another world too, but I look so different from the people of Earth that I still cannot walk about among humans without attracting stares, and it is particularly bad when Holder and I walk together. People stare at the children too, for they look neither completely human nor completely like the folk of my world. I do not have any super-strength, and I certainly cannot fly. But I have tried to help the people of Earth when I could–back on Holdfast, and briefly on Earth itself–and those few Earthers, like Holder and Kale, who have come to my world.
What was amazing to me about Superman was that his similarity to the people of Earth was only skin-deep–and many still feared his abilities–and yet he took upon himself the responsibility of defending this world, because two of its people had raised him as their own. And it made me think–love is the greatest power. Kindness is the greatest gift that we can give. And, like the sun of Earth changed Superman’s strength, the light of love and kindness can give us abilities to help others–strengths we did not realize we had.
Holder also played for me a song from Old Earth about Superman. It spoke to my own heart, about the things I had been considering about this ‘superhero’ from a story, and how similar he was to me–even though I am not a character from a book of pictures.
I will leave it here for you to hear. I hope you will like it as much as I do.”