His name was Jimmy Smith. He was the first human to ever be accepted into the Space Corps, the vast fleet of the Galactic Alliance, an ancient institution whose origins were shrouded in legend before Lord Phan ever visited Earth. Jimmy didn’t get a lot of respect. In fact, you could say his credentials in the Naval and Exploratory Research program didn’t impress his captain aboard the Sequent at all.
The Sequent, by the way, was Jimmy’s name for the ship. It’s actual designation was the Seq Nod, a Welborn term meaning “fair horizons.” Jimmy just spoke to his girlfriend, Olga Gemm, for the last time, without even knowing it, after receiving word of the assignment to the Danab border. Jimmy knew all about the Danab. He wasn’t sure if Olga could appreciate his situation , because she isn’t human, couldn’t possibly feel the sting of the mere mention of the Danab in the same way he did. He didn’t want to scare her, though. He was scared enough for both of them.
The Danab border is basically the last place any human wants to be, considering the long history of war between the two races, but Jimmy must have known it was always a possibility, must have had it gnawing at the back of his brain like bad Bith’mari stew, which he learned far too much about, just serving aboard the Sequent, even though he’d long grown accustomed to discovering strange new alien sensations as he fought to be that first lucky human in the Space Corps. He had to keep reminding himself that he actually volunteered for it, that he actually wanted to be there, that he’d asked for all of it. It only worked sometimes. Most of the time, he was simply wishing it could be so much easier. Shouldn’t there at least be a little more respect for his accomplishment?
Well, there would be other humans after him. Maybe they would bask in glory. Maybe they would make the whole experience a little more recognizably human. He just shook his head whenever he even tried to think about the toilets on the ceilings of the bathrooms aboard the Sequent…
He’d somehow survived as a member of the crew for several years. Actually, it had been three years. He had no idea how that’d happened. He was enough like you that when he saw that the year was 2069, he chuckled a little to himself.
A lot had happened to humanity before this point, and a lot more would happen later. For now, let’s just respect poor Jimmy Smith, because he endured martyrdom for his dream. The ship was lost, just as he’d feared. But there were times where he could believe in that dream.