Captain Kindness
to the Rescue

A Better World Kids Adventure

by Robert Alan Silverstein
Illustrated by Vineet Siddhartha

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Chapter 1. Alien Attack

"Angry Aliens at 9 o'clock!" the Commander yelled as he dashed to the controls. Warning sirens were screeching all over his tiny space cruiser.

"And at 3 o'clock as well!" Joe-Computer, the ship computer-navigator pointed out.

"Right!" the Commander noted, locking in on both ships.

"Greeting-Contact has failed," Joe-Computer added, annoyed that it had to speak rather loudly to be heard over the sirens.

The Commander nodded, and he tried to switch off the sirens. Unfortunately, the situation was far too serious for The Ship to allow him to manually override the emergency system. And Joe-Computer and The Ship still hadn't gotten over that silly disagreement they'd had, so Joe-Computer would be no help in persuading The Ship to turn off the alarms. The Commander sure wished he had remembered to bring ear plugs along on the mission.

"Steady now," he said to his co-pilot beside him, without unlocking his gaze from the windshield, his eyes darting back and forth between the two vibrating-orange-glowing Rigmorfin spaceships just up ahead. "Let's ease closer so we can make face-to-face contact…"

"But not too close!" he added as the Rigmorfin ships began to shake more violently and the glow turned red and glared brighter from both of them.

Slowly his vessel descended towards them.

"Warning!" Joe-Computer coughed out urgently. "We are now at Code Red!"

The Commander reached for his communicator. "Attention! This is Peace Command Officer KindMan-One. You are at Level Red. Do you need assistance?"

The Monitor came on in Peace Command Officer KindMan-One's cruiser. On a split screen, he now saw the two Rigmorfins in their alien ships angrily waving their purple tentacles at each other. Each of their six Rigmorfin heads was shrieking loud high-pitched sounds that made Commander KindMan-One certain his head would explode.

The aliens' normally green faces were now a violent red and steam was rising off their gelatinous bodies as they waved their tentacles viciously about.

"Yikes!" Joe-Computer gasped. It was not a pretty sight.

"I repeat," Commander KindMan-One called out over the Communicator. He glanced down to make sure the translator-controls were set so that his words would be heard in Rigmorfin. "Do you need assistance?"

In their own ships, each of the two Rigmorfin aliens turned their angry six heads towards the Kindness Cruiser. "Loggity Dimbooey!" they screeched in a chorus of deafening sounds.

Commander KindMan-One rolled his eyes in agony, then opened them to notice the Rigmorfins were tapping on their control panels with a dozen waving tentacles. Suddenly a bay opened at the front of each alien ship and two canons slid outwards, pointing at the Kindness Cruiser.

"Steady, KindnessKit" Commander KindMan-One said to his co-pilot. "Put the Shields on full…"

"You'd better brace yourselves!" Joe-Computer added.

The Rigmorfin canons were fully extended and began to glow violently. Commander KindMan-One held onto the arms of his chair and held his breath.

Suddenly a tongue stuck out of the end of each canon and blew nasty raspberries at the Kindness Cruiser. Spit went flying and splattered all over the Kindness Cruiser windshield.

"Huh! KindnessKit where's the Shields?" Commander KindMan-One gasped, but without a moment's hesitation he quickly tapped the controls and the windshield wipers came on, clearing the view. With another tap on the controls, the KindnessShields were on full power and the next raspberries harmlessly bounced off and dispersed into space.

Commander KindMan-One glanced at his CoPilot-KindnessKit for only a second before he grabbed the communicator. He didn't want to say anything, but this was the third time this week KindnessKit had been too slow on the controls.

"Look you guys," Commander KindMan-One said, focusing back on the aliens. "I'm here to help you disarm. I know you don't want to hurt each other or anyone else for that matter. Let's just stop for a moment and take a second to step back. You guys can work it out. I know you can..."

The raspberries flew at the ship more and more violently.

"Commander, the ship can't take much more of this…" Joe-Computer warned.

Commander KindMan-One thought fast and tapped on the panel. Soft, gentle calming music streamed out of the speakers mounted on the outside of his cruiser.

Twelve angry Rigmorfin faces glared at Commander KindMan-One and CoPilot-KindnessKit on their Screen Monitors. Two-dozen angry tentacles tapped on their control panel. Suddenly electric guitars were screeching out of the alien-ships' speakers, completely drowning out the peaceful music.

Commander KindMan-One sighed. "I hate to have to do this guys, but you've left me no choice. I'm going to have to blast you."

He sighed again, and tapped on his control panel. A double-barreled bay on the front of the Kindness Cruiser opened up and two shiny canons projected outwards. Commander KindMan-One leaned back in his chair with his finger poised over the firing button. He closed his eyes and began to breathe deeply. In a moment he was completely relaxed. "May Peace Prevail On Earth," he whispered and pressed the button.

Suddenly there was a burst of light around each alien ship. When Commander KindMan-One opened his eyes, the alien ships were no longer glaring an angry red. Instead they both hummed a warm soft glow.

In his split-screen Monitor, Commander KindMan-One saw the twelve Rigmorfin faces smiling at him. "Thank you, Commander KindMan-One!" they chimed in perfect harmony.

Commander KindMan-One smiled. "You're welcome guys. Try not to wander into the Red Zone again, okay. The Raging Flares have been really violent lately and, well, you've seen what can happen when they hit your ships. You guys had a nasty case of Earthitis!"

The Rigmorfins nodded. "Thanks again, Captain Kindness!" they said and twenty-four tentacles flashed him the peace sign, and then did The Kindness Roll.

Commander KindMan-One blushed when he heard what they'd called him. News sure travels fast in space, he thought. Why he'd only been knighted as Captain Kindness the day before yesterday! Actually, he'd completely forgotten his new title. It was going to take some time to get used to it. He saluted them with a Kindness Roll as their ship sped away back into the Safe Zone.

Commander KindMan-One, er, that is Captain Kindness, watched them a moment, and sighed. "That's the second time today the normal Kindness Vibes didn't do the trick and we've had to use the Pure-Love-Rays," he said to CoPilot KindnessKit.

"Third," Joe-Computer corrected.

His train of thought distracted, Captain Kindness squinted, trying to recall the third confrontation they'd had that day. Try as he might, he just couldn't remember. Joe-Computer was never wrong, so why couldn't he remember? These space days were taking their toll and they still had their big mission to complete.

Reading his mind Joe-Computer pointed out, "We're going to have to do some heavy-duty refueling on Pure-Love-Energy."

Captain Kindness nodded. "I still can't get over how far the Red Zone has spread this year. I'd guess about 100,000 light years further than it was last season, wouldn't you think, KindnessKit?"

No answer.

He'd purposely emphasized that he was asking KindnessKit because this blasted ship Computer they'd been assigned always had to monopolize every conversation with its vast knowledge base. Poor KindnessKit never got to get a word in. "Peace on, peace on, peace on," the computer began hiccupping, as it always did whenever it was nervous, excited, or asked to be quiet for a moment.

The hiccupping got worse, but still no answer from KindnessKit.

"106, 382.45 light years…" Joe-Computer finally burst out, unable to contain itself.

"KindnessKit?" Commander KindMan-One said more urgently and turned to his faithful CoPilot.

KindnessKit tried to raise his head to face him, but slumped forward and the light went out of his eyes. Captain Kindness jumped up and dashed over.

"Oh my gosh! Are you alright, KindnessKit?"

But CoPilot KindnessKit was motionless. Commander KindMan-One started to panic, "Joe, quick, call 911…" he gasped.

But then he noticed the blinking LCD light on KindnessKit's side. It must have been blinking for days. Joe-Computer snorted and rolled its eyeodes.

"I'm so sorry, KindnessKit!" he burst out. "I forgot to change your battery! Has it been 1,000 years already?" He checked his watch. Sure enough.

"Time flies!" Joe-Computer observed, in his most sarcastic tone.

With a fresh battery from the supply shute, KindnessKit was purring peacefully in no time at all. Captain Kindness affectionately scratched him under the chin for a while, until KindnessKit reminded him they had a lot more space to cover before they reached the coordinates to begin the special mission they were assigned.

"You're right, little guy," he laughed as KindnessKit leaped onto the control panel and started tapping with his paws.

"Coordinates set," Joe-Computer confirmed, with a hiccup or two, as KindnessKit meowed and leaped onto KindMan-One's lap for a little catnap.

Captain Kindness rubbed KindnessKit gently on the head as the Kindness Cruiser swung around and set off deep into the Red Zone, further than any Peace Commander had ever dared to go.

Chapter 2. The Dreaded Red Zone

"Once upon a time the Universe lived in relative peace and harmony. Of course there were conflicts, but living creatures respected each other and the planets they inhabited and treated each other with kindness, and this helped them to work out their problems peacefully.

"As life on other planets was discovered, fair and just planetary systems were agreed upon to ensure the peaceful coexistence of the many diverse cultures and ways of life that abounded in the vast Universe. Thus was set the foundation for the great Inter-Galactic Federation that presided over three millennia of peace."

KindnessKit put the Briefing Video on pause and snuggled in closer to Captain Kindness, barely peaking out through half-closed eyes. They'd watched this video a hundred times in preparation for their new mission, but each time the next part always made him cringe.

Obviously, Joe-Computer wasn't keen on replaying the next part either. It was hiccupping like crazy and pretended to be otherwise occupied when Captain Kindness pressed the remote to continue.

"Ship Computer!" Captain Kindness said sternly after the third attempt to coax it to restart the video.

"Peace on, peace on, peace on … Oh, alright!" Joe-Computer agreed reluctantly.

"No one knows for sure where the Raging Cloud of '29 came from, but the havoc it struck throughout the universe was all too clear. Wherever it passed, three thousand years of Peace was left in shambles and only half-memories. Wherever the Raging Cloud came, living creatures everywhere suddenly forgot how to get along.

"The damage was extensive and far reaching but nowhere was worse than in the dreaded Red Zone - a cluster of galaxies where the Raging Cloud seemed to settle."

Captain Kindness, KindnessKit, Joe-Computer and even the Ship itself shuddered.

Captain Kindness suddenly felt thirsty and put the video on pause. But it kept playing.

"No way," Joe-Computer insisted. "We're just getting to the good part now…"

Captain Kindness sighed, and shrugging sat back in his chair. KindnessKit purred away.

"The Inter-Galactic Federation had nearly been destroyed, and the Universe would have dissolved into chaos had it not been for an ancient society called the Knights of Kindness who, legend held, had helped to bring peace to the Universe three thousand years ago.

"The Knights of Kindness quickly leaped into action, traversing the farthest reaches of the great Universe in their Kindness Cruisers. Wherever they went, they helped to bring peace back to Aliens everywhere. They combated conflict utilizing their ultimate weapons of peace -- one part dialogue, one-part mediation, one-part conflict resolution, two-parts kindness, and all held together and reinforced with three measures of Pure Love Energy.

"In Less than a year, Peace had been restored to most of the Universe. Except for the Red Zone, which at first was small and contained to a few thousand light year radius around the Planet Earth in the Sol Solar System.

"But each year the Red Zone has grown wider as Negative Rays of anger, greed and fear have continued to burst out from the heart of the Red Zone, keeping the Knights of Kindness busy Keeping the Peace.

"No Kindness Knight has ever been able to enter deep enough into the Red Zone to reach the epicenter of the Raging Cloud around the Planet Earth.

"But recently the Greatest PeaceMakers of the Universe have detected a wave of CyberPeace emanating from the heart of the Red Zone that may allow access to planet Earth itself…"

"Ooh… ooh…" Joe Computer burst out. "Here comes the part about you…"

"Shush…" Captain Kindness whispered.

"Our bravest PeaceMaker, Captain Kindness himself, has volunteered for this dangerous mission, in order to bring peace to Earth, which as we all know, will vanquish the Raging Cloud and establish peace forever in our Universe.

"May Peace Prevail On Earth … May Peace Prevail Throughout The Universe…"

The screen went silent.

"I still get all choked up every time I see that," Joe-Computer sniffled. "I'm just so honored to be serving with you, Sir," he coughed.

"Meow," Co-Pilot KindnessKit agreed and snuggled closer, putting his purr-motor in overdrive.

Captain Kindness blushed as he always did. "Come on guys, you're just as brave as me. Together we'll succeed and we'll bring peace on earth."

"Hooray," they all cheered.

Captain Kindness wiped his brow. "Sure is getting warm in here," he commented. He knew, of course, that it was because they were getting quite deep into the Red Zone, maybe a hundred million light years from Earth, now. But he'd thought the shields would have protected them better.

"We'd better find that wave of CyberPeace fast," he mumbled.

Joe-Computer was thinking the same thing. "According to our calculations, it should focalize any nanosecond, Sir," he said, somewhat unconvincingly. His circuits were feeling a little more toasty than he preferred them to feel, so it was a little hard to muster up a convincing tone.

Then suddenly they all saw the Cyber- wave out the windshield.

"Peace on … peace on … peace on… Oh my," Joe-Computer gasped. "It's not quite as big as we'd hoped, now is it."

"No," Captain Kindness sighed. "And it's getting a little too hot to risk us all trying to ride in on it." He hesitated a moment, knowing he was going to have to argue his case. "I'm going to have to go it alone," he said, "and you'll have to pull the ship back to a safer distance outside the Red Zone. I'll call you for the return trip out."

"Okay. Peace on, peace on, peace on,.," Joe-Computer agreed eagerly, but KindnessKit wasn't going to let him away from his side.

"Look little KindnessKit. I need you to pilot the ship. I'm counting on you, pal."

How could KindnessKit argue with that? So it was settled. Captain Kindness pulled on his Heaviest-Duty Kindness Suit and Co-Pilot KindnessKit typed in the hyperlink they'd detected that would allow him to ride in on the wave of Cyber Peace.

Co-Pilot KindnessKit slid down and snuggled against Captain Kindness's leg. "I'll be back, KindnessKit," Captain Kindness sighed, and then he sat down in the pilot's seat and got ready to press the hyperlink.

Captain Kindness took a deep breath. "Okay, Guys," he whispered, "think Kind thoughts … May Peace Prevail On Earth… May Peace Prevail On Earth…"

"Hyperlink optimized," Joe-Computer whispered politely, then hiccupped as quietly as he could.

Captain Kindness pressed the enter key. A nanosecond later he was gone, whooshing through Cyberspace.

Chapter 3. The Weekly Better World Kids Team Meeting

The Better World Kids had just materialized in Cyberspace, like they do every Friday afternoon for their weekly Better World Kids Team meeting. They'd stopped wondering long ago how they appeared together in Cyberspace, and just enjoyed it. Sometimes they were able to bring friends with them to their meetings. This week, however, they had an unexpected visitor from a galaxy far, far, far, far, far, far, really really far far away.

"The weekly meeting of the Better World Kids Team is now called to order," Ahmed was just saying as he typed onto his laptop. Then all of the sudden the Better World Kids heard a whoooshhhhing sound over the top of their heads and saw a rainbow blast of color whiz by.

"What was that?" everyone gasped. At first it had looked like a giant alien-looking creature in a spacesuit, but then it shrank so quickly that before they even realized what they'd seen, it was so small they couldn't see anything.

"Uh, sorry, it's just me," they heard a voice say, somewhere above them. But they didn't see anything.

"Over here," the voice said.

The Better World Kids squinted and stared where they thought they heard the voice coming from. Then they saw him, but just barely - a super tiny alien-looking guy in a spacesuit.

"Huh, who are you?" the Better World Kids gasped.

"Why, I'm Commander KindMan-One. Er, that is, I'm Captain Kindness," the tiny visitor stated as he floated above their heads. Although he was so small, they could hear his voice loud and clear.

"Well, actually my name is really Hector Narrow-Bottom," the visitor admitted. "Naturally, with a name like that I was happy to become Peace Officer KindMan, and of course honored to have been named Commander KindMan-One after 25 years as a Knight of Kindness in The Service of the PeaceForce. I was just knighted Captain Kindness, the day before yesterday, in fact, and I must say it is my greatest thrill to serve the Inter-Galactic Peace Federation for Peace in the Universe."

"But you're so small - how can you be Captain Kindness?" Johnny, one of the youngest Better World Kids asked.

"Well, I'm not that small back where I come from," Captain Kindness insisted. "Truth is, I'm not feeling myself right now. But besides, never underestimate the power of Kindness, my good sir," Captain Kindness said.

"Whoa, like do you have super powers?" José asked.

"Not really, just the usual Kindness Knight abilities to make peace with a single calming word. Dissolve fear with an act of kindness. Break apart jealousy with a hug. Mend conflicts with a moment of silent listening. And of course when all my peacemaking skills fail, I have my trusty Kindness-Blaster, filled with the purest of the Universe's pure love energy. But I guess I did forget to refuel, didn't I … and I was getting kind of low…" Captain Kindness paused a moment and his voice sounded all raspy.

"Sorry I'm not making too much sense," he wheezed. "I'm feeling kind of woozy. I know we're not exactly on Earth here in Cyberspace, but I think I'm feeling a touch of Earthitis coming on… Do you think you guys can help me out here…"

"Uh, sure," the Better World Kids said at once. "What do you need us to do?"

"Okay, well, I'm feeling lots of negativity trying to take my mind over. It's leaking into Cyberspace from Earth. I'm straining to keep it out of my head. Could you all just please think Kind thoughts. Your positivity would really replenish my peace waves."

"Uh … okay…" the Better World Kids stammered. It all sounded pretty alien to them. But then, that's exactly what Captain Kindness was, so it sort of made sense.

"Alright everyone, close your eyes and concentrate on saying the most sacred of all the expressions in the Universe with me."

"Okay," everyone said, with their eyes tightly closed, wondering just what the most sacred of all expressions in the Universe would turn out to be.

"May peace prevail on earth," Captain Kindness said softly.

"Huh?" the Better World Kids gasped. Seemed like an odd think for an alien to be wishing for, but they did as Captain Kindness asked, joining him in repeating the words slowly again and again.

After a few moments, Captain Kindness was breathing normally again. And he was a lot bigger. He towered over them as he floated above their heads. He zipped across the emptiness of cyberspace, whooshing overhead in a blur of rainbow colors.

"I feel good," Captain Kindness exclaimed. "I feel GRRRRREAT! Thanks so much! You Better World Kids really generate a great Kindness Energy - I never felt so alive!"

Needless to say, the Better World Kids had a lot of questions for Captain Kindness. But the one that interested them the most was why "May Peace Prevail On Earth" was the most sacred of all expressions - and how had their saying it helped restore Captain Kindness's strength?

Captain Kindness floated back and forth above their heads and told them all about the Inter-Galactic Peace Federation, and how all the aliens of the Universe lived in peace. Except for Earth, of course. On account of the Raging Cloud that had settled over the Earth, creating the dreaded Red Zone.

He told them that for thousands of years aliens everywhere have said, "May Peace Prevail On Earth," knowing that someday, when there is peace on earth, Earthlings will be able to join the Universal Peace Federation, and there will be peace everywhere in the Universe. "This single expression has been said so much with so much kindness, peace and love energy behind it" he told them, "that it is the most magical expression of all, now."

The Better World Kids told Captain Kindness that they used that expression, too. It did help them quiet their minds sometimes, or feel close to each other, when they said it after a moment of silence together. But it didn't really have 'magic' in it.

"Well, that's because on Earth there's so much negativity that the Kindness Energy can't focalize enough to create what you'd call magic. But here in Cyberspace, it looks like you Better World Kids can generate so much Kindness Energy that you can do almost anything."

The Better World Kids had to agree that in cyberspace their adventures were magical! They felt really good about themselves as they realized that it was their heartfelt wish for peace that caused their Better World Kids Team meetings to send them on such unusual adventures. They all were quiet a moment, enjoying the silence together.

"What's the Universe like?" Erin asked after a moment or so. All the Better World Kids were eager to learn more about the Universe, now that they'd found out that Earth wasn't the only planet with life on it.

Captain Kindness told them about some of the most amazing things in the Universe. "Actually, we could probably take a quick spin around the universe, if you wanted to," Captain Kindness said. "I'll bet with your peace powers, you Better World Kids could transport us back to my Kindness Cruiser in an instant, and then we could take a tour of the 7 Wonders of the Universe."

The Better World Kids loved the idea. "What are the coordinates of your Kindness Cruiser," Ahmed asked as he got ready to type them into his laptop. He was the Better World Kids Team Secretary, and it was when he typed a web address on his computer that the Better World Kids were able to be transported through CyberSpace together to enjoy all the adventures that they'd been on.

Captain Kindness told the coordinates to Ahmed. Then they all joined in a circle and concentrated on the magical expression they all loved, "May Peace Prevail On Earth." Ahmed clicked the link and suddenly they were all standing together on the deck of the Kindness Cruiser.

"Peacetastic!" Captain Kindness exclaimed.

Chapter 4. The Seven Wonders of the Universe

The Better World Kids really loved meeting Co-Pilot KindnessKit. "He's SO CUTE!" they all laughed. They really flipped when they heard his purr-motor going after they rubbed him under the chin.

"Yep, KindnessKit was the first Kitty I put together, back when I was just a kid. Wouldn't even ever think of getting a newer model. Nope, KindnessKit and I have been through everything together. Just have to remember to change his batteries, every thousand years or so."

The Better World Kids really got a kick out of Joe-Computer, too. They didn't even seem to mind how he went on and on about everything, showing off his vast wealth of knowledge. They just thought it was so cool to have a super computer like that who could talk to you. The hiccupping did get on their nerves a bit after a while, though.

The Better World Kids felt amazingly proud when Captain Kindness asked them to join him in refueling the ship with Pure Love Energy. "We'll be able to refuel in no time with the Kindness Energy you Better World Kids have got going!" he assured them.

Sure enough, it wasn't very long at all after they'd sat in a circle quietly focusing on peace and love and the sacred expression, "May Peace Prevail On Earth," that Joe-Computer quietly, then more loudly interrupted their quiet time. "Sir, we're completely filled to the brim," he stated. "And, I might add, with the highest octane I've ever seen!"

Captain Kindness took them on a quick tour of the Universe, showing them so many amazing sites that it would take a whole book to describe them all. The Better World Kids had to admit that the 7 Wonders of the Universe really were the most amazing things they could imagine. They zipped through space from one landmark to the next, instantly in a heartbeat after they whispered the sacred expression together after a moment of silence. Commander KindMan-One couldn't stop marveling at how powerful their Kindness Energy was.

There was so much to see that the Better World Kids couldn't decide which of the 7 Wonders was their favorite. There were the Great Pyramid Planets of the Egyptolonia7 Galaxy, whose gravitational pull caused them to dance together in a perfectly choreographed display every afternoon.

There were the Hanging Gardens of Planet Babylonia with the most beautiful gigantic and strangest-looking flowers and plants the Better World Kids could have imagined hanging from puffy clouds.

And the Great Zeusophone that towered over the planet Olympiata, trumpeting waves of joy that thundered throughout the universe.

The Planet Ephesus was home to the famous Art-Em-Is-Great Temple, which captivated them as it displayed a new work of artistic beauty each instant. Each glimpse of beauty was pulsed out to the Universe providing the creative spark for all works of art that would be created.

In the Halicarnassus Galaxy there were 22 planets filled with statues of the Universes' greatest peacemakers. Each monument towered a thousand feet into the sky and blazed a different color of the rainbow.

There was the firey statue on the planet Rhodes that was so huge and colossal that it lit up the sky and brought life-bringing warmth to a thousand once-barren planets that floated nearby.

And of course there was the Great Lighthouse at the very center of the universe, on the Alexandria Asteroid, that pulsed out a beacon of hope each instant as it whispered, "May Peace Prevail On Earth." The Better World Kids could hear the whisper echo throughout the entire universe and they were filled with a real sense of hope that someday this wish would indeed come true.

The Better World Kids were so grateful to Captain Kindness for showing them these wonders and so much more. They were only too happy to help Captain Kindness to see the wonders of their world, especially since that was his mission and they wanted to do whatever they could to help him accomplish it.

Chapter 5. What a Wonderful World!

Joe-Computer was a little hesitant at first when Captain Kindness asked the kids to use their Kindness Energy to transport the Kindness Cruiser into Cyberspace. He remembered only too well the singey feeling that came over him when they first tried to enter the Red Zone. But Captain Kindness was sure the Better World Kids would have no difficulty transporting them into Cyberspace.

Getting to the actual planet, however. was a completely different matter. Captain Kindness realized that even the Better World Kids wouldn't be able to generate enough Kindness Energy to bring the Kindness Cruiser to the Earth's surface. There was just too much negativity.

"But we can go home after our meetings?" Jamal said, echoing the other Better World Kids' thoughts.

"The negativity has been hanging over the earth for so long," Captain Kindness explained, "that Earthlings are used to it. They're not immune, of course. We've seen some nasty things going on in our remote viewing facilities. People break out with nasty cases of Earthitis all the time, doing really mean things to each other…"

The Better World Kids had to admit that unfortunately violence was all too common in their world.

"But there's a lot of good, too!" the Better World Kids assured Captain Kindness.

After they'd materialized in Cyberspace, the Better World Kids took Captain Kindness on a virtual tour of the planet, showing him just how much kindness and beauty the Earth had to offer. Ahmed's fingers were getting tired from typing in all the web addresses as they leaped from one hyperlink to the next to show their new friends as many Earth-sites as they could.

They showed him beautiful landscapes and sunsets, beaches and forests. They showed him towering skyscrapers and bridges that scanned giant bodies of water. They showed him people working together to help feed the hungry and people helping to heal the sick. They brought him to celebrations where people danced and sang and prayed together and the feeling of love and connectedness was so strong you could practically see it floating in the air.

"There really is a lot of Kindness Energy here on Earth!" Captain Kindness marveled. "Much more than we realized!"

Unfortunately they couldn't help seeing some of the negative things, too. Captain Kindness sighed after they'd accidentally landed on a website that talked about a war that was going on. "Gosh, this really could be a wonderful world, if only people tried harder to get along with each other."

"And treated the earth with respect, too," the Better World Kids agreed. Then they hyperlinked to another site that showed how compassionate people can be and Joe-Computer couldn't help commenting, "I've weighed the good and the bad, and there's quite a lot of both here. But overall, there is great cause for hope of peace on earth after all…"

Everyone agreed.

Chapter 6. I'll Be Back

Captain Kindness would have been quite content to continue sightseeing for much longer - he really liked Earth a lot. But as they were just about to glide along another hyperlink, Joe-Computer called out, "Hang on, Ahmed. It appears that the Cyberwindow is narrowing quite a bit. We'll have to leave soon, if we want to make it back out."

"Perhaps it's because it's getting late and we really should be adjourning our Better World Kids Team meeting," Sunanda pointed out.

"Ah, that would explain it," Captain Kindness agreed. "But can you Better World Kids explain something else. We've noticed the Cyberwave peaks at specific times. It's much stronger at those times. If we can figure out why, then maybe we can find a way to help peace on earth to come."

Captain Kindness had Joe-Computer check over the records. "Obviously the Friday afternoon peaks are due to your Better World Kids Team meetings. That creates a narrow but clear channel into Cyberspace," Joe Computer began as he searched his memory banks.

"A narrow, but nice clear channel at Noon in each time zone…" he continued.

"People all around the world join at Noon each day in saying 'May Peace Prevail on Earth'" José exclaimed.

"If only more people would join in," Maya sighed, "It would create a larger beacon of hope.

"There are two specific times of year when the channel is the clearest," Joe-Computer continued. "It looks like there's a huge spike on September 21 and the one leading up to December 25 on up until January 1 when there's another big spike."

Hearing this made the children very excited. They all began speaking at once, explaining just why this was happening. Embarrassed, they apologized to one another and urged everyone else to continue. But they didn't have to re-explain, because Captain Kindness had easily been able to process what each of the Better World Kids had said.

He heard Erin, Jamal, Solomon and Erin say that September 21 was the International Day of Peace, a day that the United Nations urged all the world to join together to create a day of ceasefire and peace.

He heard Ling, Johnny, Michiko and Ahmed say that during the Christmas season people were much more likely to be thinking about things like peace on earth and goodwill.

And he heard Maya and Sunanda explain that January 1 was One Day in Peace, a chance for the world to begin the new year with a day of peace and sharing.

"Well," Captain Kindness laughed and he was really excited. "Wait until everyone hears about all this. We can join in all around the Universe sending you peaceful wishes at those times. That will increase the peace field and help shrink the Raging Cloud."

"And maybe this year for the International Day of Peace, people will make it the most peaceful ever," Ling exclaimed.

"And the Kindness Energy will be so powerful it'll spill over the whole world…" Jamal added.

"And it'll make that Raging Cloud go away…" Sunanda continued.

"Which will help Earthitis from spreading," Johnny said.

"So people won't be so out of control and can remember to be kind and compassionate," Michiko exclaimed.

Everyone was really excited and very hopeful.

"Sir the window is shrinking fast" Joe Computer warned.

"I guess we'd better go," Captain Kindness sighed. He was really sad to be going. "But I know that we'll be back really soon, with a clear channel right to the heart of the planet. I just know that someday soon there will be peace on earth and then finally there will be peace throughout the universe."

The Better World Kids hugged Captain Kindness, KindnessKit and even Joe-Computer's monitor. They joined together in a moment of silence, and after they said, "May Peace Prevail On Earth" together, the Better World Kids found they were sitting in the familiar emptiness of Cyberspace looking up at the Kindness Cruiser floating up ahead.

"Goodbye!" KindnessKit and Captain Kindness waved through the windshield. Then in a blur of rainbow color they zipped up, up and away through cyberspace off to the most distant reaches of the Universe.

"Wow!" the Better World Kids sighed. "This sure was some meeting!"

The Better World Kids logged off and went back to their homes with even more reason to try to make this year's Peace Day the best ever.

As each drifted off to sleep that night in their own part of the world, they were almost sure they could hear Captain Kindness's voice somewhere out in the great universe whispering "May Peace Prevail on earth." And Co-Pilot KindnessKit's purr-motor, humming away contentedly, too, not to mention Joe-Computer's hiccupping "Peace on … peace on ..."

There were smiles on the faces of every one of the Better World Kids as they thought about the fact that there was already peace in the rest of the universe and someday finally there would be peace on earth.




© 2000-2014 Robert Alan Silverstein
Illustrations © 2014 Vineet Siddhartha