"As you all know, since the inception of the census program almost two hundred and fifty years ago, we have all adopted a system of nomenclature that involves a numerical code and a family name. The purpose of this is organizational as well as unifying, and it is an important part of our lives."
The students were not exceptionally interested in what they were being told, having lived this exact information their whole lives. Many of them were chatting amongst themselves instead of listening.
"Yeah, sure, unless you believe there was another purpose the public was not made aware of," whispered one boy spookily, grinning at the absurdity of the idea.
"Just like the identification chip implanted at birth is more than just a name tag," said another with a chuckle. None of them took the conspiracy theories very seriously, but then, no one but the theorists themselves ever did.
"So it is that every child born is named in this fashion; their father's family name comes first, and then their number, which is a measure of how many descendants their original ancestor has to date, written in our naming language. Fa, as you know, meaning zero, Gi one, and No, Te, Ha, Ki, Lo, Pe, Ru, and Da being the rest of the numbers, up to nine. That makes you, Cari Ha Gi Lo Gi," said the professor, suddenly snapping his head toward one of the chuckling students, thereby causing them all to instantly shut up. "The fourth thousand, one hundred, sixty-first descendant of the original Cari."
The boy's friends poked and prodded him. "Ooooh, aren't you special, Logi!" Logi swatted them away, and the professor went on again.
"All of this you already know, but I'm required to repeat the information just in case, since the turnover is rapidly approaching. And I can tell by the blank looks on many of your faces that you do not yet know what that is, so I suppose it's a good thing I'm going over it."
The students seemed a lot more attentive by this point. Many of them had heard mention of the turnover, but didn't actually know what it was, and even more of them had never even heard of it.
"The turnover is the day, two hundred and fifty years after the census program began, that our numbers reset. If we kept going at this rate, we would soon reach numbers large enough that we would have to add digits to our names, and that would cause all sorts of confusion and annoyances. So, we roll the numbers back, take all the living members of the family groups, and assign them new numbers! So you, Faru, could be Nogi one day."
The students burst out in laughter and jeered at Faru, a boy who was not very happy he had been told he could be Nogi one day, Nogi being the cutest, girliest girl in their class. The professor grinned and waited for the students to settle down before continuing.
"Another important thing to make note of is that when the turnover occurs, you may request to officially have your family name changed. To whatever you would like."
The students had many mixed reactions about this, but they were generally all excited. No one ever got to change their name, not ever. The ability to choose what they were called intrigued them, and the professor was having difficulty keeping order. To make matters worse, there was a knock at the door at that time. The professor gave up and answered the door, coming back into the room soon after with a young man trailing behind her.
"You may sit down in the second layer," said the professor. "Quiet down, everyone!" she said, but the studyroom was already almost silent, everyone being busy as they were, staring at the new face.
"Everyone, this is our new student. His name is..." she looked at the page she had been handed, "...Fafa... but we already have a Fafa in this learningroom," she muttered. "So I suppose we shall call you... Brint."
The studyroom went completely silent. There was already a Fafa in the class, Wilsi Ha Te Fa Fa, which meant that the professor should use the new student's middle name. But she had skipped right to his last name, and that meant that the new student's full name must have been Fa Fa Fa Fa, or zero zero zero zero.
Whoever this new student was, he was the first person in his line.