"Your nearest McDonalds, 2 minutes away". We've all seen the signs, but by 2020 it was literally true almost everywhere in the industrialised world. It only took one bright spark in the marketing department to ponder the possibilities of extending the claim and the expansion ballooned. First into smaller towns and villages and along all transport routes, but gradually arching further out into the countryside. The unmanned frying stations in the Himalayas were a challenge, but were a boon for lost mountain climbers. And soon they'd done it - wherever you stood on the globe you were no more than two minutes from a Big Mac.
With a network like that, it made sense to expand its responsibilities and before long we had McPost, McMarket, McLibrary and all the rest. Thirty percent of the population were McEmployee's now and that wasn't the end of it. Someone pointed out that two thirds of the earth's surface was water, and was ripe for a few sail-throughs. They had to develop some more fish meals to solve delivery problems but the network was a roaring success. It only seemed natural to leap beyond the confines of the two-dimensional surface of the globe with the first McSatellites, which allowed the McMedia network to really get off the ground.
By the time the world's governments realised the security threat they were faced with (who's afraid of a burger chain when you've got the hundred year war against terrorism to worry about?) it was already too late. There had been a few skirmishes with anti-globalisation protesters, but with the majority of the world working for them and bases girdling the planet, the eventual take-over was inevitable.
McEarth was a surprisingly happy and prosperous place, once the first purge had finished, though the outside observer might have wondered about the origins of the two-letter prefix bolted on to every word, like one of those codes you punched in before dialling to get cheap calls, back in the old days. South America was evacuated and turned into a gigantic cattle ranch, and to celebrate the centenary of the liberation a massive terrascaping programme was initiated. On the opening of the first McDonald's on the moon, you could look back past the blinking golden arches of the satellites, not to the blue planet but to the massive grinning red and white head of Ronald Himself.
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