Author : Desmond Hussey, Staff Writer

At 12:01pm Greenwich Time every vid-screen worldwide is interrupted by a mysterious broadcast. Every program on every channel airs the same ominous figure shrouded in thick shadow. “Greeting citizens of Earth,” speaks the mystery man after a brief, enigmatic silence. World leaders are called away from meetings or roused from sleep to watch the pirated broadcast, unable to stop it. Eyes and ears all over the globe are fixed on their media outputs.

“For two hundred years my identity and purpose has been carefully hidden from you.” The speakers queer voice modulates with a frog-like intonation. “But the time has come to reveal myself and my intentions. As of yesterday, by your own terrestrial laws, I have legally purchased all property, water and mineral rights, corporations, manufacturing and processing plants, patents, law firms and banks. I presently own 95% of the planet and its resources. I am,” an alien face looms into the light, flat and featureless, “your new landlord.” A thin crimson slash cracks the smooth, ebony salamander skin – a twisted smile. Twin, black pearl-like eyes gleam with inscrutable intelligence. The world holds its breath.

“My name is B’nar Khaffri Sul-nikat. I am what you earth people would call an extra-terrestraial, though I’ve lived on this planet far longer than any of you. I am an explorer from a solar system far beyond your current ability to locate. Even from a thousand light years away I was attracted to the wondrous beauty of your home; it’s variety of life and plant species so unlike most worlds in the cosmos. If you only knew how truly rare this oasis of life was, you would not have become so careless in your treatment of it.

“For reasons uncountable I have come to love this planet as much as my own, which is why, after a thorough examination of your backward economics and outlandish international and corporate laws, it became clear that I could simply buy it from you.” The being laughs, a sound much like a wooden bat being dragged across metal bars.

“It is ironic how much your species values so-called ”precious” minerals and metals, how much importance you place on ownership and legal rights, how much faith you have in an economic system so easily corruptible and flawed. I say ironic because the gold, diamonds and petroleum you deem so ‘rare’ and cherish so highly are, in fact, as abundant as the stars. I have seen entire planets made of diamond, oceans of crude oil, moons with rivers of gold. Yet on these common, base elements you would hang your happiness at the tragic expence of the unique and glorious diversity of life your planet offers; a treasure far beyond monetary quantification. Your backward obsession with shiny things, however, made it simple for me to amass wealth sufficient enough to purchase, over time and with utmost discretion, those industries and resources which represent your present civilization.

“It is time to protect my investment before your destructive tendencies reach their inevitable, tragic end. As of this moment, all mining and manufacturing will cease, all borders are dissolved, all banks are closed. I will grant humanity one year to vacate the premises before my new tenants arrive.”

B’nar Khaffri Sul-nikat fades back into murky shadow.

“Please, do not attempt to resist. You’ll find the effort most unrewarding.”

The television screen goes blank. The radio broadcasts only static. Seven billion newly homeless humans stare unblinking into thin air, like a gambler who has lost everything on a single bet, unwilling to believe the outcome; beaten at their own game.


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