Part 1 It is five millennia since the Diaspora. Man has spread far through the stars and prospered. When the children of Man returned whence they came, they found that time and technology had changed some far from the original sketch. Still, they are all brothers and sisters beneath the surface of appearance. Rias is a small world with little in the way of trade and commerce; still, even here there are stories to tell… The Top, as it was known in those days, hung in orbit over the blue, green, and white globe below. It took its name from the fact that it resembled a child’s spinning toy. I had been on the station for almost a day awaiting the arrival of the cruise ship Boas. I had booked the cruise a year ago and was now finally about to get off planet. The Boas would travel out to the large gas giants, remain in orbit in the oort cloud for two days, and then swing back into the inner system. A week total. I couldn’t wait. I was on one of the observation decks enjoying a drink and the view of Rias below me when I saw it. This was my first time off world and I had never had a chance to see an alien with my own eyes. On the holovision, of course, but never in the flesh. I was struck dumb by the sight. Taller than me, completely humanoid, copper in color. Not copper as in well tanned, but copper like the metal. It was amazing. And it was walking toward me. I had learned, like all children of Rias never to refer to an alien’s gender until one was absolutely sure of it. It looked every bit like the statue of Apollo from the central plaza cast in satin finished metal. It was beautiful. I tried my best to look casual as I leaned against the rail in front of the observation window. Taking a sip from my drink I snuck a glance again and saw that the being had ordered a drink at the bar and was walking toward me. “Your world is beautiful.” It said to me as it leaned against the rail. It was actually talking to me! “Thank you, but I didn’t really have anything to do with that.” I cringed as the lame joke hung in the air between us. The first words I had ever spoken to an alien and I would have paid dearly to take them back. I could have gone to temple when I heard the creature next me laugh good-naturedly. “The people of this world have a wonderfully easy sense of humor. Some humans make humor such a complicated affair. Are you male or female?” From anyone else this question would have been soul crushing, but I understood the protocol. “Male. And you?” Now my interest was starting to warm up. “Also male.” I could finally think of it as he. He took a sip from his drink and turned to face me. “Do you also await the Boas? I have been on Rias for a year, but I arrived by cryoship. There was no chance to see the planetary system. I understand the outer planets are quite beautiful.” I almost dropped my drink. This god incarnate would be on the cruise with me. “Yes, the Boas. This is my first time off planet.” I took a long swig of my drink to wet a suddenly dry throat. “I hope the observation decks won’t be too crowded when we get to the gas giants. I’ve seen them in holos and on the vid, but never in real life.” “I have first class accommodations with their own observation platforms. Stay with me.” He placed his drink beside my hand and slowly, deliberately drew his finger across my hand. Apollo’s mighty member!