Humans love to win. They don’t all win because some are procrastinators, others are quitters; some are just too dumb to succeed. But the moment one of them makes it, they huddle around them like the winner’s generating fire and they’re naked on Pluto. Not much happens when the winner’s winning. The rest often set everything else aside to watch this person break barriers and surpass boundaries. Of course, this consumes valuable time that they could have used to do something constructive that could make them something great like one of them you know: winners.

This is not a story about the quirks of the human species. It’s a story of a group of humans, winning humans, those on the fringes of what their species thought possible.

Jereni Stin looked at the monitor of one of the ship’s rear cameras to see the dwarf planet Eris become a shrinking speck in the distance behind him. In front of him was uncharted territory, the interstellar medium where the Voyager 1 had disappeared.

Communication was being done in hours and at that point, you were on your own. If something happened outside here, say an interstellar Bigfoot showed up and tried to step on you, it was unlikely a giant lego could be made and sent to you in time to prevent it. The most that could be done was make a note that there’s an interstellar bigfoot somewhere out there. If you died, you’d be given an astronaut’s funeral. A few last words would be said before your coffin was gently nudged to drift into the ship’s incinerator. Your ashes would be crushed and then recycled for use by the other astronauts growing crops.

Almost all were asleep with only a few skeleton staff working when it happened. The ship, Mach 20, appeared to halt. At first, it looked like a major device malfunction when Nick, the ship’s chief navigator, received a message that all engines were operating as required.

As the crew struggled with the instruments an encrypted message came in.  It took some processing to decipher. It was a barrage of sounds, screeches and even light codes. A good 20 minutes passed before a language that could be understood was processed. It was old Sumerian,  a language last spoken when the pyramids were being built. Translated into modern English it said, “please identify yourself.”

Protocol for the possibility of meeting foreign life had been created. “This is Captain Jereni Stin of the Mach 20 space exploration vessel. Who are we speaking to?” He asked as coherently as he could.

A new message returned, “This is the Intergalactic Committee of Sapient Species. Please state your species.”

He exchanged curious glances with Nick.

“Human” He replied, “Homo Sapien,” he added as an afterthought.

After a moment a new message came back. “Humans have yet to complete their five-millennium banishment from the Intergalactic Community of Sapient Species and so cannot leave their solar system. Please return to your planet.”

Murmur had broken out on the ship with many now awake.  Jereni was now joined by the ship’s vice captain on the deck, “what are humans banished for?” Elesis asked.

“Theft of forbidden data from the Observers mainframe, Murder of several emissaries. Humans are not allowed to leave their solar system until they have completed their sentence. Please return to your home planet.”

Jereni tried to communicate further but he only received the monotone response. “Humans are not allowed to leave their solar system until they have completed their five-millennium banishment. Please, return to your planet.”

 

 

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