Challenge #02621-G064: Reach Out And...

Born without the ability to speak, the human wrote or use signed language to communicate, though they could speak mind to mind, most did not like that at all, it gave them headaches. But as they worked on the havenworlder's ship, their first assignment, they heard something. But it was in their head. They went to the gravity drive and realized... that is who they were hearing. They spoke back, one mind to another, and in doing so the two ended up friends. Ever since then the ship operated at peak efficiency, the drive was happy! At least, until the human said her contract was ending. -- Anon Guest

Gifts are odd things. So, too, are disabilities. The very essence of the word tells all about the way society views those who have it. Dis, from the lack or wrongness of what follows - ability. Those who are not able to do as those who normally do. It is a word forged in industrialism, quenched in capitalism, and honed in prejudice. It is used as an excuse to isolate, to other, to punish, as if any of those can help improve someone's life.

That is the way it was, and had been, for far too long. It was the way life was for Human Joi, until the stars opened, and let us come. We are Sings-the-song-of-the-stars, and we are... a gravy drive. We work for the ship known colloquially as The Ferryman. My Nae'hyn say we are the heart and soul of the ship, and they are right. This story is not about them.

This is about Human Joi. They were not one of my Nae'hyn, who understand these things. They were a Human escaping the wreckage of an Earth ruined again and again by people who found it convenient to get rid of other people via wormhole for hundreds of years. They were one among many, like so many passengers we carried. Seeking out a better life, an improved civilisation... to desperately go where none like them had gone before. They were part of our passenger manifest, in seating barely above that of livestock or cargo, because that was all they could afford. We... heard them. We were not supposed to hear them.

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