This news feature from the future is MONTAG FICTION #013

J. K. MITTWOCH Associated Press November 6, 2027

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL. (AP) – The eight richest people on the Earth will leave its atmosphere at noon today.

They represent half the wealth of the entire planet and more than half of humanity's hope for the future. If all goes according to plan, they will pave the way for the entire human race to take to the stars. If anyone can do it, these men can.

The billionaires' ship should dock with Melon Husk's extraorbital space station colony within the year. Once settled in space, they intend to tackle the problems of Earth by pooling their resources and to return within the century with solutions to our political, environmental, and economic problems.

"I'm going to give Husk a piece of my mind up there, I told him robot supersoldiers were a terrible idea."

Gill Bates, 72, will leave behind his 66,000 square foot mansion overlooking Lake Washington, in favor of 165.8 cubic meters of living and working space in Husk's space laboratories. Belinda and the remainder of the terrestrial Bates clan will continue his philanthropic work in his absence. When asked about his plans for the trip, Bates said: "I'm going to give Husk a piece of my mind up there, I told him robot supersoldiers were a terrible idea."

Business magnate Barren Wuffett, 97, would normally be disqualified for spaceflight due to his advanced age, but after a 2012 bout with prostate cancer, was found to have abnormally high immunity to radiation. After a battery of tests found that his physiological responses were on par with invertebrates such as cockroaches, he has agreed to periodic testing of his personal gene expressions under increasing doses of cosmic radiation. When asked for comment about this risk to his personal health and safety, Wuffet chuckled, "Foolish mortals, in Husk's space laboratories I will become as a god!"

Biff Jezos, 63, after merging Half Foods and Blamazon Drones to create Drone Foods, has invested heavily in nanotechnology which will benefit him and his companions in space, an entirely new culinary frontier. The Jezos bots are semi-autonomous body-safe nano drones carrying artificial scent particles that will fly through their mouths and noses during meals, convincing them the rehydrated pastes and cubes they consume taste of comfort foods such as peanut butter and fried chicken, as well as luxuries they have been accustomed to such as lobster, caviar, and foie gras. When asked about his favorite flavor, Jezos cried, "I can't wait to taste the flesh of the youth again."

The mysterious Spanish billionaire Omancio Artega, 91, who built his fortune on the Zaza retail empire, converted an entire subdivision of his clothing manufacturing conglomerate to create custom space-worthy garments for the crew. Which means Zork Muckerberg, the youngest intergalactic billionaire at 43, will have to abandon his wardrobe of grey t-shirts and hoodies in favor of the mandatory skin-tight, temperature-controlled synthetic onesies. Muckerberg remarked, "I can always put a hoodie on over it, right?"

"I can't wait to get to space and start growing new bones!"

Carl Swim Hulu, 87, who owns almost all telecommunications in Latin America, says he will miss his six children, who will continue to manage his investments in his absence. Barry Bellison, the 83-year-old CEO of the Delphi corporation, said "I can't wait to get up to space and start growing new bones!" When asked to clarify what he meant by "new bones," he added, "You've got no idea how many extra bones Husk can stuff in these meat sacks," and refused to elaborate further.

Snarles Choch, 92, stated his interest in developing new energy technologies in space, "to prove global warming was a setup. When Husk and I complete our giant laser arrays, then things will really start heating up! Bwahahahaha!"

For the last two years, the economies of several small countries have been devoted to preparing their mission to the stars. However, some speculate they have no real plans to return. And if they do return, they may no longer be humans as we know them.

Brichard Ransom will christen the Virgin Intergalactic ship Safina by breaking a bottle of champagne over it before its launch at Cape Canaveral this afternoon, during which he will stare into the twin flames of the departing ship's rocket boosters and whisper, "God help us all."

Copyright 2027 The Associated Press