"Remember my prince, that in the tiniest of seedlings rests the promise of renewed life-- and hope! Nothing is more precious than this! It is the reason why even the most vile of men remain not untouched at the vision of a child!"
--from the teachings of Rahani
Luther Mannkin, a child of Harlem, finds a red creature from "far away", who he comes to know as "Jemm". Luther brings Jemm home to live with his blind grandfather, who through his disability, is likely the most tolerable of humans to cross his path.
Hours ago, a pair of NASA scientists accompanied by CIA operative Charles Dade investigate a mysterious space craft that landed in a New Jersey swamp. Soon after discovering that the craft came from Saturn, the group is killed by robotic sentries, save for Dade. After running a scan and finding only human lifeforms, the sentries declare their mission incomplete and take off. When Dade comes to, he finds one of the scientists, his fiance, dead, and promises to make the aliens pay.
While hoping to surprise his brother Lincoln with Jemm the following morning, Lincoln has other plans that include driving off a hustler named Reginald who is collecting for a man named Claudius Tull. With his friend, Lincoln gets the jump on the hustler when he drops by, but Reginald came with back-up. A large man named "Bouncer" overpowers both Lincoln and his friend and would likely have killed the two had it not been for Jemm's surprising intervention. Although Bouncer is incapacitated, Reginald takes Luther hostage on the rooftop, threatening to drop him over the ledge if Jemm doesn't back off. To everyone's surprise, Luther's grandfather tackles Reginald off of the building, leaving Jemm to decide in a split second which person to save from the ground below. Jemm swoops down and rescues Luther, but his grandfather dies from the fall. Aggrieved, Luther lashes out at Jemm for not saving his grandfather, but comes to understand that heroes are never perfect, and that sometimes choices must be made. Jemm chose his friend, over an old man. The two walk off, with Jemm carrying "Gramps" in his arms... watched by the two robotic sentries.