In 1958, when the Pioneer mission started, the human race was embarking on a space race. At the time, there were 2.94 billions of us on this blue planet. We only sought to find out about the Moon and closer planets. Ten years later, we had sent men and brought them back, and our appetite for space exploration increased.

1960 was the Year of Africa, a year in which 180 million people would declare themselves free of colonial bondage. It was a year of unbridled hope and optimism, signifying the birth of the many free children of Mother Africa who would take back the land of their fathers.

Year 2028

“This is Xavier Awanpour reporting for CNN in Lagos, Nigeria where the Pan-African Space Agency (PASA) has just been inaugurated, with the commitment of all 52 member states of the African Union to put Afronauts in space by 2035. It’s the most ambitious goal of the as yet untested continental government, which was only formed in 2026 after the disastrous global drought. As you know, Sub-Saharan Africa was worst hit by the heat waves and droughts caused by the global warming phenomenon, and that seemed to have sparked a renaissance on the continent, a fire that literally raced across the youth of Africa who responded to the call and rose up magnificently to the occasion.  President Chinuachay Begy declared it the greatest test of African freedom to achieve a foothold in space by the middle of the century.”

“Well Xavier, with the European Space Station, NASA and CNSA already operating Marsian bases, do you think there is anything new Africa can bring into space?”

“Yes Mark, that is indeed the question here amongst the various astronauts, cosmonauts and taikonauts invited to the occasion. All these are represented and well established in the further reaches of space, and it appears that there is still going to be a lot of collaboration to further the African dream”

Year 2049.

“They’re leaving, captain. It appears to be an exodus.”

“But why?”, asked Captain Mnvbn. Their long-range scan of this solar system was a bit dated, yes, but what could have happened in the space of 3.4 parsecs?

The humans in the Golden Disk were healthy adults, and their planet was as lush as Rask had been. Why would they seek the cold of space in such numbers?

Their first glimpse of this extraordinary race had been a chance encounter by a colony scout ship, prospectors with licence from the Primes to colonise any hospitable planets within 20 parsecs of the galaxy the humans called Centurion.

They were not surprised to find more vehicles after the chance encounter with the Voyager. What surprised them was the speed of advancement. From a civilization that had only recently entered space, the humans seemed very eager to explore it. Their ship had met and scanned a dozen more vehicles, each more advanced than the previous, in less than a full orbit back on Rask.

But now they were close enough, passing by a gaseous giant of a planet, their scanners could pick up signs of human activity on nearby planets. They were terraforming on the red one, and changing the atmosphere around the pale one. But their blue gem, the one that so resembled his home planet, it seemed to have changed too.

It was starting to darken and take on a red hue. It seemed hotter, more densely populated than it had been when they set course. What happened?

“Intercept one of the ships. Find one with living beings and question them. Why are they leaving?”

“Yes captain.”

Once aboard and up close, the humans were less impressive. The pale pink skin of the three males and the dark female would make for interesting research but for now, he had only one question.

“Why are you leaving your planet?” Captain Mnvbn asked. “We have travelled across the galaxies since we came open your spacecraft. We come in peace, but we are looking for a new home”

“Well, you’re out of luck. The Earth is dying and we got out as soon as we could. Better look for another planet” the female said.

Captain Mnvbn was perplexed “Dying? It appears bursting with life…”

“Overflowing actually” she said.

“Everyone is looking for a way out, new frontiers to settle” said one of the pale males.

“Well, not everyone. We left the Africans behind”


“The Africans? What are they?” Captain Mnvbn asked.

“Who are they” the dark female corrected. “They are my people.”

“Are you not all one people?”

She snorted, and the other humans averted their eyes.

“Why are they left behind”, the captain asked?

“Because we couldn’t keep up. Because in the end, after our resources had been plundered, and our lands ravaged and depleted, they told us that we were net carbon producers, and it was our fault the Earth was dying, so we got to keep it” she said contemptuously.

“They said we still used fossil fuel vehicles, that our nuclear power plants were outdated, dangerous and inefficient. They made us limit our birth rate, to match theirs. They told us that we all had to be equally responsible for keeping the Earth green, but they had a head start on everything we wanted. It was obvious to my mother that day when she spoke about it being the greatest test of our freedom. Except she didn’t think, couldn’t imagine, that freedom on Earth meant bondage to Earth. They lied to us”

“Well, that’s unfortunate, because I lied to you too. You see, we are not tourist. We are scouts. And we didn’t come in peace, that’s just what they make us say to new colonies” Captain Mvnbn said with a smirk.

“You see, there is no freedom in space.”