"Volunteers for the Defense Forces with CAP scores of certain published levels will be afforded the opportunity to select others to emigrate and maintain their residences on other worlds while they perform their duties in the Defense Forces in accordance with their aptitudes and capabilities; certain high-priority individuals may select up to ten people to emigrate with for this purpose. Obviously, fertility is a criterion -- we will be looking to ensure the continuity of the human race as it expands to new worlds. Emigration is not a picnic -- colonization of new planets is hard, dangerous work -- but it is the future of the race and will provide the wellspring from which our eventual salvation will come."
David stared at the screen and tried to make sense of what the President of the United States was saying. He transferred his attention to the card in his hand. The card displayed the results of his CAP testing, his Capacity, Aptitude and Potential as it was now revealed. Those results had been a bit of a shock; he'd even questioned the result when he'd first seen them. After all he'd only taken the test when he was in town on a whim, he didn't expect to get picked for the Average Joes TV show, even if they did, as they'd said they where planning, to do a British version.
How could he, a mere estate manager in the wilds of Wales have gained a score of nine point one, he'd never heard of anyone with a score that high?
On the television the BBC switched from the live broadcast of the President's speech to their own studios. The host began, "The Prime Minister, after consultation with the heads of all the major parties and with the approval of Her Majesty has made the following statement," he shuffled his papers whilst the video started to run.
The Prime Minister appeared stood in front of the familiar black door of Number 10, Downing Street. A crowd of journalists, both print and television before him. They fell silent as he began his prepared speech.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, as you've just seen reported by the President of the United States the country, in fact, the whole planet is now facing an immense threat from these creatures, the Sa'arm. It is our duty, as a nation, to put aside our differences and unite to face this common foe. To this end I have tendered the resignation of my Government to Her Majesty and asked for permission to form a Government of National Unity. She has given that permission and so, in the next few days I will be announcing a new cabinet to face this terrible crisis with members from all sides of the House."
The Prime Minister looked up from his notes and gazed straight at the camera. "This will mean changes in our country, mandatory CAP testing will be introduced to all our schools, effective immediately. The age of consent will be dropped to fourteen and alongside that will be placed full sex education in schools. This will not," The Prime Minister, a devout family man looked like he was sucking lemons, "be based on the ideal family we've had for so long but on the future model that evacuation and colonisation have made necessary."
"I know this will be difficult, for many of us it will mean fundamental changes, changes that I am convinced are necessary for the continuation of our way of life. Over the next few days your government will make available the information we have so that you will be able to make informed decisions concerning the future as a whole and the part you can play in it."
The scene switched back to the studio and the presenter. "Religious leaders have, in most cases, accepted these changes with an air of resignation. Most citing that necessity should not be used as an excuse to confound God's word and hoping that the faithful will remain true to their teachings. Several Moslem clerics have pointed out that Allah allows more than one wife and the Mormons have announced a return to polygamy as their preferred form of marriage."
"In other news..." The scene shifted to a sports stadium and David ap Rhys sat back in his comfy armchair to think about the Prime Ministers words and his future.
Megan Rees looked around the noisy class of children and marvelled at the indifference they were displaying at the end of the world as she knew it.
The announcement carried on all of the television channels, the night before, and the ensuing burst of rumour and counter rumour had played merry hell with the nerves of adults. Yet here in her pre-school class of four-year-olds there was a total lack of interest in the turmoil and strife affecting the adult world. If only things could stay that way forever, thought Megan.
The announcement concerning evacuation and the importance of CAP testing had already caused two young mothers to return to her class close to tears. Pure chance had placed the local CAP testing station next door to the school and the pair, finding that they hadn't scored high enough to be considered for evacuation, had returned to watch their children.
The pair had sat watching and their anguish had become apparent to anyone who'd looked at them. In the end the raw emotion started to affect the youngsters and Megan had been forced to ask the pair to leave. They'd gone but she knew she could be facing a similar torment herself when she finally got tested tomorrow. At least she didn't have any children of her own to worry about, just these youngsters in her care.
As lunchtime approached she rounded up her charges and got them ready for the rush of mothers that always occurred at twelve thirty. In a way it was a relief to wave the children goodbye and head for the park and a leisurely lunch, though she invariably met half of them there as they had a play before being dragged off home by their doting parents.
Today was slightly different in that she was dragged into the conversation about the up coming invasion and the disbelief that some of the mothers were expressing over the way things had been organised. Most of them thought it should be women and children -- especially children -- first.
Megan figured that they were hoping the criteria would change and allow them to get away but she didn't hold out much hope for herself. She'd never been a fighter and with only an average education she wouldn't be much of a catch for anyone with a high CAP score.
One comment caught her attention, "If I find a man around here with a CAP score above seven I'm following him everywhere." The comment was greeted with laughter but Megan noticed that the two women she'd had words with earlier were looking very thoughtful.
Katherine Kurr, a mother of three under fives, added her barb to the discussion, "and what would you do for this man. I mean, have you read this crap they've put out about what your so called sponsor can and can't do?"
"I suppose you have?" someone asked with a hint of malice.
"Too true I have," she said, "I spent a good part of last night on the net and I'm telling you it's slavery by another name. The only good thing is that it works both ways, if you volunteer you get to pick a man and use him any way you want." The whole group dissolved into giggles at that, but it was tinged with a nervousness that was starting to creep into everyday life.
"What about you Megan, are you getting tested?" someone asked.
"Oh yes, there's no point not getting tested." She waved in Katherine's direction, "I was on the net too and if you don't have a high enough score to volunteer then you're dependent on being picked up by a sponsor to get off the planet, and a sponsor can only pick you if you've been CAP tested. No CAP score, no go, it's as simple as that. Besides," she said with a grin, "I might have a high enough score to take you lot with me."
This was greeted with another bout of, almost hysterical giggles before things settled down, but the truth was out there for all to see and already it was changing the way she and the other mothers around her thought.
David entered the volunteer station and looked around at the milling throng. The small market town had probably seen nothing like this since the Napoleonic or First World Wars when patriotism swept the nation. Before he could decide which way to go a big man in a strange dark blue uniform stepped up to him. "Marines are over that way, Sir, and the Navy is through here." he said, pointing first in one direction before swinging off in another direction.
David grimaced, there was no way that he was volunteering to fight, he'd done enough of that in two Gulf wars and Afghanistan thank you very much. "What other options are there?" he asked.
The sailor, as David labelled him, stopped dead, staring at him, as though the request was totally out of the blue. "Other options, Sir?"
"Yes, other options." he responded.
The sailor got a faraway look as though he was thinking of something else, then his eyebrows shot up as if the answer surprised him, before blinking a couple of times and refocusing on David. "If you go down that corridor," he said indicating a dark opening in one corner of the room, "to the green door on the left, someone will be along to help you, Sir."
David sauntered off casually, amused in his own mind at the gung-ho attitude of those around him, an amusement tempered by his own unpleasant experience of war. The green door was unmarked and when he pushed against it, swung open smoothly to reveal a plain office with a desk and a row of chairs against one wall. David plonked himself down on a chair to wait and automatically scanned the room, which with its beige paint was devoid of any point of interest.
.... There is more of this story ...