The Year of Job
by Jason Arsenault
Job loved money. Just knowing he had loads more than most was enough to
get him out of bed in the morning. Yet that would soon be a problem;
because, by the year-end edict, Job surely would be the one. Indeed,
since last year, he had been prominently, now exuberantly, in the lead
But this year, Job didn't care anymore, he had weighed his cards and
decided to go for it. Before December 31st, the day the richest man in
the world was to be executed, his assets--liquid or otherwise--were to
be confiscated and redistributed to the least fortunate. He had decided
to do something about it. He was going to use all his collected powers
to get to the actual Switch and put this godforsaken Neopol Cycle out
altogether. It was the only way he could stay on top. It was the only
way he thought he could have any real satisfaction out of life. But Job
He had a hell of a time bringing it all down.
Everything started falling upon itself about two weeks ago, during the cabal meeting at the end of November.
Peppered with wind and sleet, Job straightened his collar and walked
towards the group of ten men surrounding another kneeling, pleading for
"Sign the papers," Carlson, the second-to-next richest man on the
planet, said. Job's colleague pushed the waterproof tablet against the
"I won't," he replied with newfound candor.
Carlson withdrew his laser scalpel. "Hold him," he told the others. Two
men, clad in black trench-coats cut from the same luxurious material as
Job's, grabbed the stooge and outstretched his fingers upon a decayed,
"Sign the papers," he said again.
"Think of your family," another cabal member pleaded. "Think how better off they'll be with what you would leave them."
Soaked in chilling slush, the man only stared back before shaking his
head swiftly. Carlson asked again but didn't wait for a reply.
The stooge lost his pinky and Carlson's lack of surgical skills
accidentally cut another, and half of the next finger too; cauterized
it right to the bone. The man's screams were drowned by the wind and
Job sighed. One of the others turned to him and asked, "Loosing your
taste for this? You started this twelve years ago." Koch looked at him
sideways like Job was a peon himself.
This caused him to sigh again, but he then whispered, "I'm losing my taste for the whole Cycle."
"He'll do it," another man confirmed, staring at the stooge.
Carlson grabbed that man's cold, wet hair and lifted the face twisted
in pain. "Sign the papers," he said through clenched teeth.
The man did, immediately receiving a large sum from every cabal
member's total net worth. The stooge, who wished only to survive and
get out of the cold, became the richest man in the world. The contract,
as legally binding as they got, was so meticulously tight that any
regular folk had little or no possibility of liquidating even a small
fraction of these new riches before Truncation--hardly could he know
They left him, lathered in slush as he collected his wits and digits.
Despite Job's misgivings, everything had been going according to plan.
Until Job awoke to the chimes of his credit report, then almost choked
on his saliva as he saw the figures. He immediately called the second
highest-holder's number and said, "Carlson...What the frack?"
After Job explained, he reluctantly said, "I don't know who could move that much creds."
"You're trying to gang donate me again."
He denied it adamantly. "Maybe some group, so disperse and so large, they hardly shared more than a penny's worth."
"Some new trend, some new mass gang donation behavior by a group so
large our surveillance corporations can't even triangulate their core."
Job was wringing his fleshy phone to pulp.
"Jesus," was Carlson's only reply.
The first thing Job did exactly one minute after bank opening hours was
buy three theme parks at overly inflated prices. This didn't change his
net worth, of course, but it opened the possibility for unprofitable
Through one of Job's dummy dark-net news agencies he posted the
following add--The first person to die at any of these following
locations (GPS coordinates indicated) will have their estate granted
twenty million dollars (highest legally allowed prize payout in
America). Then he waited for the unfortunate souls who couldn't handle
this life, but that in dying might benefit their dependant families for
many years to come. So after one man unbuckled himself from the
roller-coaster and got decapitated inside a sharp turn, the arena was
deemed unsafe and the park was sued for lack of appropriate harnesses.
This drastically plummeted stock value, and Job, with a longwinded
teleprompted speech, deemed the venture unsustainable and sold it
massively undervalued. Another park was closed when an armored elephant
trampled through Job's amusement park in upstate Vermont, killing an
elderly couple and a child. It was deemed an act of god--who could have
foreseen such a creature crashing the gates? His full insurance
coverage wouldn't pay a dime. Excellent! Job was ecstatic to hear of
this perfect stranger's perfect plan and, after the rider was shot
numerous times during his arrest, Job was happy to upload the
hard-earned cash to his estate. The next turn of luck came when a group
of organised men-children demanded equitable access to the kids only
ball pen inside Globe-World. The upstanding gatekeeper-- bless his
heart thought Job--would not acquiesce and a full riot quickly ensued.
Numerous virtue signallers jumped in, defending, or accusing, either
side of unwarranted bigotry, swinging trash-cans and fence-poles of
justice at whoever was the most, or least, marginalized; clawing at the
eyes and ears of whoever argued for them to stop; the orgy of hate,
blood and blind self-denial tapered only when tear-gas and pepper-spray
rained upon them. At the sight of the resulting battlefield, there was
no question of keeping the park open, and thus, Globe-World was no
more. Job would open a memorial to honor the victims of today's
tragedy; paying the full fee himself, sparing no expenses; and, in
addition--so generous was he--that he paid all those who had lost their
lives, willingly or not, as well.
Looking at his pad, Job thought that today had been a good day; not
even in his prime had he been so efficient at legal capital burning.
Job took no pleasures in such frugality, but the one thing he valued
more than money was his life (so he could enjoy his money, of course).
"I've heard you've been busy," Carlson said once Job answered from atop his garden skyrise.
"Hardly half a percent, I need to get rid of another thirty-five, thirty-six percent before I feel safe again."
"The stooge won't know how to rid himself of that much, you should be safe after loosing twenty percent or so."
Job bit at his lips thinking this over. Carlson was being sloppy; he
wouldn't throw figures like that if it were his own finances that could
get him axed. I need to up my game, thought Job. "You can't be too
safe, you can't foresee any new group behaviour like the recent gang
donation. You might be next yourself."
It chilled Job thinking about it, he had put it behind him while he
spent all day spending money, but it had always been there, quietly,
behind his rapid mathematical arithmetic needed to rip himself off the
most efficiently. The taste of it remained: a group, a massive
democratic demographic, had united to rid the world of him, targeting
Job personally. What could he have done that was so horrible?
The next morning, Job knew he had to far exceed yesterday's output if
he were to get anywhere safe enough to survive another gang donation.
So when the banks opened, he got his favourite teller to produce an
exorbitant number of prize checks. They couldn't be "awarded" to the
same source, of course, but they could be "awarded" to whomever he
Then Job stepped onto the streets--a place he usually avoided due to
overcrowding and the smell of human by-products--to get into the next
phase of his plan. There, whenever he saw anyone with any noticeable
peculiarity, he would make them a winner. Those with the largest hat,
shortest shorts, bluest vest, highest belt, tightest pants, least
number of fingers, mutant with most amount of limbs, et cetera,
suddenly found themselves holding a fat check and a wide grin following
their introduction with Job, the philanthropist. Shortly thereafter, a
large crowd had gathered around him with hands outstretched, but he
couldn't simply give away his money; they had to win... somehow. He
dropped a handful, few enough to be declared as lost or stolen, then
crawled out through an opening while avoiding the trampling feet. He
wiped his brows, sighed, and remembered why he preferred to be
He continued but moved briskly to avoid being cornered by a poor mob
again. They were all happy to win, happy to meet a man who cared more
about loosing money than they did about getting any, but one man
"You're that rich bitch aren't y'a," the man said then spat on Job's hyper-reflective shoe.
Job was befuddled, his facial memory was usually impeccable, he was
sure he had never met the guy. How could he hate Job without ever
having met? It seemed so unfair.
"You're gonna get trunked rich bitch," he said with more menace. Job
didn't know what to say, but when the man raised his fist, Job hunkered
low and slipped through another ever-growing mob of the poor. "We're
gonna get you," the man yelled over bobbing heads. Job couldn't hear
the full extent of the unjust rumors being shared, but when another
person pointed towards him, red-faced like a beet, Job immediately
decided to retreat from the streets.
For some reason they were listening to that angry man, and what he told
them seemed more important than all of Job's money. What an utterly
foolish concept. A piece of tin-can litter landed by his feet. Someone
had thrown it at him. Why was that man's hatred spreading like wildfire?
Enough of that he thought and called his emergency pickup. Two minutes
later swat teams had cleared a perimeter for landing and Job was
"Your sapphire gin, sir," the waiter said as Job sat in his central chair inside the limo-copter.
"Thanks Alfred," Job said to the man whose name he couldn't remember.
To cheer himself up from this dismal mood, he purchased another five
amusement parks with similar solicitations, an empty apartment
high-rise complex that he intended to arson--surreptitiously, of
course--three restaurant chains he would anonymously disclose "served
traces of cat meat in their dog burgers", and one large plasticware
sweatshop he would--a tide of nausea momentarily rose in his
Those should all cost him quite a doozy he surmised and sat back
draining high-priced alcohol (pennies worth, really) waiting for his
figures to plummet. But then something curious happened, or rather,
There must be some mistake he thought and went over the dummy dark-net
adds; his were posted. People should be suiciding by the boat-loads,
but nada, nothing. Biting his fingernails, he realised that those
amusement parks were holding their value. That uninsured building
complex hadn't burned yet. The restauranteurs didn't even seem phased
by unknowingly eating cat. And those union heads hardly made demands
beyond a simple dental plan. Damn it all to hell. He spilled his drink
as his heartrate sored. What was going on? His tried and tested methods
were leading nowhere.
A few panic and gibberish-filled phone calls to his already-overly
intimidated staff brought only more confusion. But he had to get to the
bottom of this mystery. He dialed his most efficient surveillance
corporation and talked directly to the CEO himself. Ted, the chief,
assured him that he would get to the bottom of this if he had to scour
every last niche inside the dark nets.
"I'm putting everything at your disposal, sir, our best investigators and data sifter."
Click. He hadn't said goodbye or thanks, but Ted had to understand how
Job felt right now. He still had about thirty billion creds worth of
Job leaned back and tried to control his breathing, but when he closed
his eyes all he could see was the vehement hatred from that man he had
never been introduced. "You're gonna get trunked rich bitch." Sitting
straight up, he realised then that that man knew what Job was trying to
do and that he had tried to curtail it. He obviously couldn't be the
only one, but the trend was there. And he feared it was growing.
The phone roused him from his much-needed snooze at the same time his
anxiety pushed him out of dreamland, double-teaming his burning jolt
back to cold-sweat reality. "I've some news," Ted said like he found
out Job had terminal testicle cancer.
"There's massive trolling on every one of your outlets; it seems a
large proportion of attention is put into informing people... not to
rip you off."
"It gets worse," Ted said and continued to apprise Job that some of his
lesser known offences were gartering mainstream attention.
"I didn't poison that peninsula," Job interrupted, "It was Carlson's crude shipment."
"The massive clearcutting in the Brazilian mountains."
"That lousy minister was supposed to handle it."
"The investments into unethical longevity treatments--"
"They're legal in Spain."
"The woman with cystic fibrosis you fired--"
"She was robbing me," Job pleaded.
"To pay for her treatments," Ted reminded him.
"What are we? In the age of the oppressed."
"They posted about the journalists you suppressed."
"They were blackmailing me."
"It seems there are extenuating reasons many people want you trunked."
Job sighed, it was so unfair. Why was he being penalized for being above everyone else?
"The group, as unbelievable as it sounds, that are aware of various
facets of your misanthropic endeavors, stretch around to globe at an
average of one person in eight. Otherwise, you also seem to have gotten
a minor cult following that worship your egregious hedonism and joie de vivre.
They're gambling on your toppling the entire Neopol cycle altogether,
instead of voluntarily submitting to Truncation. 'Job never submits.'
is their slogan."
"What?" A new spark started glowing amidst Job's immense worry. Could
he really do it? He had enough capital to get the world's two largest
armies to bomb each other into oblivion, but the switch was two miles
deep under New York concrete, it needed subtler tinkering than full-on
MAD belligerence. Ted's words of dire warning faded as Job's
mathematical mind went back into overdrive. Even if he got rid of all
those billions, he could face another gang donation any time. The
Switch was the key.
The mega-computer, or the Switch as it had been ordained, computed
every social parameter known to humankind and, every seventy years,
generated a constitution to address ever-necessary social improvements.
The Mormon programmer, nearly a millennium ago, designed the system to
remove the inescapably-subjective, and ever-corrupt, human heart from
the socio-political equation. It needed some tweaking--at an
arbitrarily-decided seven decades--so a new legal constitution was
re-computed, mostly to correct for newfound ways that humans could
exploit it. Some called it utopia, others like Job deemed it "squashing
of the human spirit." Since the dawn of civilisation, there were always
Job-types that found loopholes, so the mega-computer tightened the
reins on every possible dimension and, ever since Job was a wee lad,
the Truncation system prevented the capital mega-geniuses from hoarding
copious amounts of inaccessible wealth. But there was another way, if a
new transition was desperately needed, one honorable person--devout in
every way impossible for an honest human being--that could pass the
trial of the four sentinels, would be granted access to the Switch and
could forge a precocious transition, ahead of the 70-year mark. Many
had tried, no one had ever succeeded.
Job decided then that he would be the first.
And like anything Job did, he did it with full audacity, winged it with
a powerful trust from the hips. Either way, there was no study group to
prepare for it, the tests, and natures of the tests themselves, were
reset after each trial.
You only had one chance.
The metro-complex that housed the Switch could survive a
Gigaton-fallout, it was resilient to tampering and resistant to any
natural calamity save for a world destroying asteroid impact. The
Switch was protected by hundreds of gun turrets, infrared scanning
sensors, guard dogs, and innumerable watchmen. To get to it, the only
known way, was to take the lobby elevator.
On sub-level 36, deep enough for a Mormon, Job addressed the clerk with
his request. Before the graying old man looked up, Job scanned the
waiting area and noted its spartan absence. No one was here; probably,
he surmised, because no one believed it could actually be done. God
forbid all those peons above would be completely satisfied with the
status quo; a laughable concept. Chuckling, he turned to see an old man
staring at him with eyes filled with a burning intensity. It caught him
off-guard, he had assumed some sleepy, bureaucratic dawdler, but the
man was appraising him the way Job studied stock micro-fluctuations,
staring into him like a hunting eagle.
Before Job could open his mouth, the man said, "This will not end well for you Job."
How did he know his name? Job had only resolved to come here today.
"You wish to activate the Switch ahead of the ordained time."
Jaw slack, he could only nod.
"And you are prepared to face the four sentinels?"
No, goddamn hell no, not anymore, not after looking into those eyes. "I
am," he said then cleared his throat. "I am ready." He repeated,
straightened his back. This wasn't a lethal trial, or at least others
whom had failed had been able to talk about it.
"Be warned, they know far more about you than you know yourself."
After the old man opened the gate, Job moved through a long walkway
painted like surgical steel. His footfalls echoed distant thunder and
the wall reflected his uncertainty to infinite folds. There was no way
he would maintain his composure staring at himself like this, so Job
did what Job did best, he went head first and rammed.
Through the juncture he saw the first sentinel. A tall man, clad in
armor, holding what Job hoped was a purely ornamental halberd. On his
left temple he saw a brain implant that supplied this
highly-dedicated-protector-of-the-Switch all the information he needed.
Without looking, as Job approached, he adopted a wider stance and
pointed his weapon towards the now motionless billionaire. The message
was clear, trying to circumvent the challenge was fatal. Looking back,
Job knew he could retreat without consequence to bodily integrity.
Before he could ask what the tests entailed--hopefully not brute
strength for this would be a short trial indeed--the cyborg said, "To
pass beyond, you must display your prowess of the material world. This
is the first and most basic of human qualities. To know this is to know
yourself. It is the means by which you attain comfort and security."
"What must I do?" He asked too quick.
A micro twitch, which might have been annoyance in the stoic and
unshakable sentinel, appeared at the corner of his mouth. The tall man
then planted his halberd onto the ground where it stayed perfectly
erect, surely by means of some magnetic doohickey. The man reached
behind his back. Job shielded himself before he saw the pad.
"We request something that is substantial of you. Something that you
would not part with easily. Job, this is the sum calculated precisely
Frack this, thought Job instinctively as he saw the massive figures. He
would fall well below Carlson--and receive his forever incessant
slurs--by losing so many billions of monies.
"You can also pass by means of physical combat."
But then again, at least he would also fall well below any mass gang
donation and be safe from truncation if he didn't succeed to pass the
other sentinels. Two birds with one stone. He pressed his thumb on the
pad. He had never been able to legally pay a sum of such magnitude, but
this was where laws were computed. He would fall somewhere between the
third and fourth richest, Job estimated.
The sentinel then grabbed his halberd and, in a very polished motion,
spun ninety degrees on his heal, ushering Job ahead without wasted
Not so bad thought Job, but if they all asked for such a bribe he would
run out of money and this whole venture would have no purpose
altogether. But the second demanded something entirely different.
Past the next junction, a shorter but still massive gentleman wore a
particularly interesting uniform that was something between a BDSM
dominatrix and a samurai. This cyborg held a wooden staff that still
had living leaves growing out of the top. His prick was showing and
that one didn't need any magnets. Job gulped.
"To pass beyond, you must display your prowess of the creative world.
This is the second and most potent of human qualities. To know this is
to know yourself. It is the means by which you procreate and conceive."
A Mormon designed this test? Really? What was the point of these
shenanigans thought Job before once again asking, trembling, "What must
The man looked down at him like he was an idiot, then said, "Create something of value."
Job started pulling at his hair, he didn't have a molecule of art or
music in his entire body. There was no medium around him, no brushes,
or trumpets, nor a sculping block. But suddenly, the walls around him,
which had been pristine, polished silver, activated and filled the
surroundings with pieces of Job's life he had no idea could, in any
way, have been filmed. There was a board meeting where he tore through
insoluble venture capitalist ideas, shutting each one down, then
frenziedly drew new diagrams. On another panel he was riding the miss
universe winner, seconds later, on different footage, she was giving
birth to a child that she had adamantly denied was his--the sentinel
knew otherwise. On the other wall face, footage of him during a cabal
Job's face flushed, he was going to get whacked with that hard stick for sure.
Those many years ago he had been on a roll, installing his new order of
things and designing how they could stay on top. Below the screen,
massive amounts of codes were scrolling, they had parameters for
everything. He saw himself speaking with fiery passion, how he would
not let his fiscal brothers fade under the tyrannical oppression of
this Neopol cycle. Job could almost see the steam coming off his
ardent, younger shoulders. They had bought it, paid for it, and signed,
he had shown them how to use the rules of this godforsaken constitution
to their advantages.
Job shook his head in dismay and contemplated what kind of apologies or
punishment would be necessary. But when he looked up, the sentinel had
turned, the way was opened.
Just like that...
"The creative fires are in your veins," he heard the sentinel whisper as he passed.
Ahead, the next cyborg sentinel was a woman. She held a sword and
looked to Job like a classic representation of Athena, the Greek
goddess of wisdom and warfare.
"To pass beyond, you must display your prowess of the intellectual
world. This is the third, but most important factor that elevates the
human mind above the purely animal. To know this is to know yourself.
It is the means by which you ratiocinate and calculate."
He thought about the previous test and wondered whether this one would
be as easy, but then she said, "Although there is ample evidence that
you have displayed intelligence in the past, it is the state of your
mind today that determines whether you are apt to proceed. Now sit."
A panel opened in the floor. A chair with a tabulated desk rose from
it. In the center, a screen lit and a program started. From the
kaleidoscope of colors and crappy graphics, it looked to Job like
childish videogames. But the software was anything but. The sentinel
eyed him without scruple, obviously waiting for him to start.
Job sat and took the controls. At first, he needed to guide a horse
around a castle in a rudimentary strategy game. Easy enough he thought,
and after looking at all the possibilities, he navigated through the
icons of enemy infantry. Whenever he took one castle, another slightly
more difficult puzzle refreshed in its place. This continued for the
better part of the hour before new varieties of "games" were put to
him. Soon he was navigating submarines through radar grids and
fabricating misinformation to confuse enemy intelligence.
After another couple of hours of these belligerent mind games, the
computer suddenly stopped, and his diagnosis popped up in the middle of
the screen: SUFFICIENTLY INTELLIGENT.
The mega-computer had ordained.
The Athena sentinel released a long sigh, Job didn't know whether she
thought he should have performed much better or she secretly hoped that
he wouldn't. But before he could dwell on this further, the door ahead
opened, he didn't hesitate, didn't even ask permission.
If the previous one was Athena, this one is definitely Aphrodite,
thought Job. She wore less than anything and made Wood sentinel look
like an old, bible-thumping conservative. He couldn't help but stare.
Why would she care, she was half computer anyways? She wore a bow, a
quiver, and tiny treads of transparent silk.
She didn't seem demure in the least and upon his arrival said, "To pass
beyond this final gate and reach the Switch, you must display your
prowess of the emotional world. This is the fourth but most important
factor that guides human decisions. It is the most powerful facet that
orients the population dynamics. To know this is to know yourself. It
is the means by which you forge change."
"Yada yada, can we get on with this please?" He said with confidence, having already passed the previous three.
Seeing the ever-subtle curling of her lips, his heart sank.
"You must answer my questions, truthfully."
"Why are you here?" She asked straightforward.
"...Here, I'm here to change this horrible system."
"So you say, and you are indeed motivated, but that is the decision you came to, not the reason behind it."
"It's a bad system and it has to go."
"On the contrary, it has been the most successful world constitution
ever conceived. There has never been so little poverty and suffering,
so much abundance and sustainability, both ecological and economic. It
"Look, it might be great for the peons," he said, then paused not
knowing if she would understand, "But it really sucks for the wealthy
and powerful. Those who hold higher ideals can't do very much. We are
tied down, we can't be as successful as we could be. It slows progress."
"But you have more than enough," she said, looking like she was actually considering what Job was saying.
"I want more."
"There is no other way."
"Your desires are ludicrous, they far exceed any human need."
"That is why I am here then."
"What?" She said, shaking her head, taking a moment to refocus her stare upon him.
"I am here to make greed a virtue again."
"That is also ludicrous."
"I beg to--"
The base of her bow hit the metal floor with a resounding crash. He
grabbed for his ears as the echoes subsided. She had made her point.
"Job. Why are you here?" Her voice echoed like from loud speakers.
He was getting nowhere and nowhere fast. Truth was a matter of
perspective Job knew, but she was the sentinel of the emotional world
and he had to ponder what she actually wanted. Did he even know
himself, deep down, why he really was here? Did anyone? It was time to
flip the Switch, because he hated this system, because he wanted to get
more money, because he didn't want to be truncated, because he didn't
want to die. The quivering of his chin somehow told him that he was on
the right track. Not dying seemed like something self evident any
animal would want, but it was perhaps too crude an answer.
"Because...because I'm afraid."
Her smile returned.
"I don't want to be truncated. Not this year, not next, not ever. I want to live."
"That is true, but you knew that this trial would not end well for you,
yet you chose to proceed. That is a somewhat selfless act for a man
intent of living to fuel only his greed."
That did stump him. He looked back, the way--glistening, but now long
and hazy--was still open for retreat. He could withdraw and count his
blessings, this year. But what about next, what about Carlson or Koch,
or the other members of his cabal. They might be next, and it would be
oh-so-tedious to make new collaborations as lucrative as their
friendships. Perhaps, he even had to admit a certain sentimental
camaraderie that he might miss if they were gone.
"No, I have to do this." He said, answering his own thought process. The sentinel took it in kind.
"Why are you here, Job?"
This was infuriating.
"To rid us of this, all of it, this godforsaken cycle has to end so my soul can live in peace."
"But you still fear death, why?"
"Because...because I'm afraid to be forgotten... We all die, and I
can't change that. But I want my legacy to continue, I want what I
built to be meaningful when I'm gone. I'm afraid that after I die no
one will remember. That everything I ever did was completely for
naught." He hadn't noticed the tears that started to stream down his
cheeks. There, are you happy now? though the man who hadn't released
this kind of emotional outflow since he was a rebellious teenager.
Her smile curved even further. The clank coming from behind her caught
him off guard, he had forgotten about the whole trial. But the path was
open to him now. Ahead was the switch and a new future for all of
He wiped his tears, straightened his back, and marched forward with newfound jubilation.
"Job, because of what you will do today, you will not be forgotten for a long, long while."
Somehow, he had imagined something more elaborate and grandiose for
something so powerful, not something so crudely literal. Yet it was the
only thing standing in the middle of the room. One large lever with a
crank handle that was a physical reset switch for the mega-computer
housed below. This piece of technology was older than the entire
complex protecting it. Job could see patches of rust near the base and
worried that the computer-intelligence might have faired time even
worse. The lever had a certain archeological austerity to it. He
wondered whether he should avoid touching it with his bare hands. But
he shook that thought away.
Without any further hesitation he went to it and pushed the lever to
the opposite end. He had imagined earthquakes and apocalyptic scenarios
worth of an effect, but he heard nothing. The only thing that happened
about thirty seconds later was a giant screen lit ahead of him. A
generic androgynous face without any facial hair manifested itself from
the silver background.
Then a voice, which seemed to be a mix of all four sentinels combined,
addressed him. "Job, today you have shown us that striving for success
and evolving beyond the limits of human capacities is inherent to the
psyche of our species. Stagnation is just as disastrous as uncontrolled
growth. Despite answering the physical requirements of each person on
Earth, we must also stimulate their minds to surpass themselves, to
create an improved individual from the struggle to overcome adversity.
This strengthening adversity, the striving to surpass, wasn't computed
in the previous model but it will be programmed now."
He glowed with pride.
"Despite this, the obvious success of the truncation system prevented
wealth from being segregated which had compounded poverty. Thus it
shall be maintained, but modified."
Job raised a hand to slow this giant head down.
"In order to maximise the competitive edge that is necessary for
progress, the wealthiest individual will now be granted a reprieve,"
the machine mind continued.
"Oh, Jesus thank you."
"However, the second through fifth richest will have their assets liquidated, to be reintroduced into the population."
The richest, last he checked, was the now-left-handed stooge. The
second through to the fifth, why that was Carlson, then Koch, and
then...oh god damn it.
The doors closed behind him. Above ground, the new constitution began
being broadcasted as the sun rose in the east. The new day 0 would be
today and the appropriate summons were sent.
The Cycle of Job had begun and through its success, would be renewed a great many times.
The statue that deified the saint who had sacrificed his own life,
selflessly for the greater good, now stood, three feet taller than the
Mormon programmer's, near the entrance to the metro-complex in New York
© 2019 Jason Arsenault
Bio: Outside of speculative fiction, I am a neuroscientist
working at the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto
in Canada. I have also published over a dozen scientific publications
in biochemistry and neurobiology.
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