Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer
He stares from the screen, hair in fashionable disarray, jowls freshly barbered, teeth so white they nearly shine, eyes like glass beads.
“Good evening. I am appearing before you tonight to explain a few things that have been attracting media attention. As the topics I need to discuss are important, all other programmes have been suspended until this broadcast is complete.
“I have attended several meetings to discuss how to tell you what I need to tonight. In the end, we all agreed that truth will save time and provide clarity, despite possibly being upsetting.
“To that end, I feel it best to start with a simple statement: if you do not provide something, you will soon be no longer of use. The delusion of free time is no longer tenable. You need to be either performing useful labour, or engaged in nurturing of the next generation of labourers. Titles and descriptions of what constitutes ‘useful labour’ will appear on the front pages of government websites at the end of this broadcast.
“I know this is going to be a difficult pill to swallow. Some of you with socialist or charitable tendencies may consider some form of protest over the next few days. I would strongly advise against it. The Marutya have no understanding of civil liberties and are liable to respond with excessive force.
“Which brings me to the biggest change that should have the smallest impact, if you act calmly. Earth has been purchased by the Marutya, a race of golden-skinned bipeds from Utya, the planet our astronomers call ‘Teegarden b’. Earth will henceforth be known as ‘Saaitsau’. The Marutya envision no real changes except for the modifications to ‘free time’ as I have already described.
“We, the leaders and rulers of nations, along with business heads and selected other notaries, have collectively accepted the Marutya’s offer on behalf of all of you, and will soon be departing for Utyasaat, where we will establish a colony from which we can act as advisors to the Marutya, should we be asked. Rest assured we will be working assiduously to ensure that centuries of human heritage are respected.
“This planet, Saaitsau, is now a produce world. Your Marutya owners will provide further information, such as quotas and shortfall penalties, to you directly via the sixth-generation telecommunications network that will become active immediately after this broadcast. Should you not have a personal handset, one will be delivered to you within the week. Like all sixth-generation technologies, it will be free of charge or tariff.
“We expect there to be a minimum of disruption during the transition period. The Marutya are experienced civilisation integrators, after all.
“For now, please stay calm and remain in your homes. The curfew will remain in force, along with the restrictions on movement and public gatherings, until the Marutya have finished analysing the labour potential of each neighbourhood. After that, freedoms will be restored based on agreed targets being met.
“Thank you for bearing with us during the difficult times we have endured over the last two years. Be assured things will soon return to a new normal, one in which you and your loved ones can finally achieve lives of rewarding production.”