The Man (Bradbury)

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The Man
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A spaceship crew landed on a planet where a miraculous man had just visited, healing and comforting the inhabitants. The captain, feeling overshadowed, initially dismissed the event as a rival's trick, but later sought the man desperately.

Captain Hart and his lieutenant, Martin, landed their rocket on an unknown planet, expecting a grand welcome. However, they were met with indifference from the locals.

Captain Hart — captain of the spaceship; cynical, impatient, and driven; later becomes desperate and obsessed.
Martin — lieutenant on the spaceship; patient, understanding, and faithful; decides to stay on the planet.

The captain was frustrated and demanded to meet the mayor. Martin was sent to the city to deliver the message. When he returned, he informed the captain that their arrival was overshadowed by the appearance of a remarkable man who performed miracles and healed the sick.

“Why do we do it, Martin? This space travel, I mean. Always on the go. Always searching. Our insides always tight, never any rest.”

The captain was skeptical and believed it was a trick by their rivals, Burton and Ashley. When Burton and Ashley's rockets landed, the crew members were found dead or dying. They revealed that they had not visited the planet before and had been caught in a cosmic storm.

Realizing his mistake, the captain decided to continue his journey to find the miraculous man. Martin and some crew members chose to stay on the planet. The captain left, vowing to find the man and ask for peace and quiet.

“I’ll ask him for a little—peace and quiet.”

The mayor of the city remarked that the captain would always be a little late in his search, missing the peace he sought, which was right there on the planet.