The date is May 30, 2050. American company SpaceHex has finally launched its services for commercial flights to Mars, 30 years after SpaceHex made its first successful manned launch.
CEO and the son of the founder of SpaceHex, MR. XXMX(.)com|VII, known more popularly as the "bootleg version of Ironman no one asked for" to the masses, granted Satireday the opportunity to interview him.
"Mr XXMX(.)com|VII," I said, trying my best to figure out how to pronounce this gibberish, "could you --"
"Wait. Hold on right there," Mr XXM-(I give up) interrupted, "Firstly, you just butchered my name. The MX is pronounced as ';::,)' not a literal 'MX'. Secondly, that's the name my parents gave me, and before you try and tell me what it means, let me tell you that everyone in middle school already made me quite aware. I would prefer it if you called me Alpha Wolf or just John is fine."
"Oh. Okay. Well, John, I'd like to congratulate you on your success with both SpaceHex and PeslaMoTors. Not only are you the first man to commercialise space flights, but you also monopolised the auto industry with your fleet of self-driven cars."
"Thank you, I've worked long and hard for this," he replied, before promptly adding, "That's what she said."
I was painfully aware that he was not going to make this easy for me.
"So, John, could you give me the details regarding what are your exact plans for the upcoming commercial flights? How expensive will it be? What are your expectations from the program?"
"Well, just that," he said, "It's fully commercial now. You can pay to go to space. Ticket prices will be a bit expensive, but I guess that's the price you pay for exclusivity. I estimate that ticket prices will be $5 billion per person, with a $20 billion package for families. First blood relatives only, of course."
"Seems like not many people will be able to afford that. Have you had any customers as of yet," I asked.
"Well, of course. Plenty of people have already signed up. Trillionaire Jashim Bashon actually signed up in 2030, just before he was cryogenically frozen. He left my father a blank cheque for two tickets. One for him, another for his ex-wife."
"Now, I must ask you this. How do you feel about the public outrage over the commercialisation of space flights? People seem to be quite unhappy that you used tax payers money to develop SpaceHex's technology, but now are commercialising this technology at an inane level of premium," I said, adding, "Not to mention that you also seem to have colonised Mars, without anyone's permission and crowned yourself its 'supreme leader'."
"Look, you snooze, you lose," John replied, clearly starting to get annoyed, "That's what my father always said, and I stand by it. There are too many snowflakes who don't understand my vision. You have to be on the same level of intelligence as me to get it. As Tony Stark said, I AM IRON MAN."
He continued, "Everyone keeps complaining about capitalism and the capitalists, and how we're 'destroying' the planet. You think we don't care about you blue-collar workers, but look at this. When all of us capitalists eventually leave for space, who will have the planet all to themselves? All the poor pe- I mean blue-collar workers."
"But that doesn't answer my question regarding the use of taxpayers money. And what's the point of leaving behind a planet that, by most scientists' estimations will not survive another decade?"
"That's off-topic, we are here talking about space, not climate change, and I don't answer off-topic questions," he replied, almost as if he was reading off a well-rehearsed script.
"What about this referral only system that some people are complaining about. We heard that rapper Vanilla Rice wasn't allowed, even though he was fully prepared to pay the money, upfront in cash. How could you deny someone willing to give you 5 billion dollars in cash?"
"Oh, that was just a misunderstanding. We simply thought he was one of those black rappers," he said in a matter of fact way, "Listen, I'm Willy Wonka and these space trips require the golden ticket. Not everyone can get on board; there isn't enough space. This is very exclusive. And we don't want someone called 'Lil Doggy' ruining the mood for all our esteemed guests."
"So with the referral program, and the incident with Vanilla Rice, it seems to me that you're implying that your space flights are exclusive to only a certain type of people. People of a 'fairer' disposition."
At that moment, John seemed flustered, "Listen, I'm not racist. If that is what you're trying to imply, sir. I just have a different vision for life on Mars."
"I have only one last question for you, John. What's this about all the women trying to purchase your 'golden tickets' having to sign Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)?"
At this point, I had clearly hit a nerve with Mr XMXX(.)com|VII, because he threw a chair at me while screaming profanities and saying I no longer have the right to call him John.