Adams fell to the floor in terror, as the building swung in a sickening figure eight. The earthquake was a bad one - niner-pointer at least. He stared out the window, as the ground undulated and burst. Flame and steam was everywhere. The window to his office was supposed to be shatterproof, it wasn't. He looked across the financial park at the new high rise building of the Dorcet Family, it was crumbling in on itself, and gravity was taking it to the ground, in dust and flame. Adams began to laugh at his good fortune. It would take years for them to gain what was lost, and his Family would move to block their every move. He only wished the bastards would have died in the collapse, but the Priests will find them all in their damnable repulsor pods, safe and sound, buried in the rubble… with air, food, and water, and not a dent or scratch on them. Their patented safety pods created a pocket of outra- dimension to hide in, till help came. Quantum stuff made them rich and gave Adams the creeps – who trusted that quantum gizmo stuff – a person could get cancer.
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The ground gave one more horrible shake and settled. Adams stood and wondered at the anti-grav suspension on the bottom of this fabulous building. Then shook his head. He was alive and the building was still upright, albeit short some windows.
He touched a node on the side of his head and a hologramic screen appeared to glow green, red and white in front of him, showing data on the state of his family and building. He grinned. Stock will soar. The suspension units will make them richer still.
Maintenance and housekeeping rushed in, to check on him, and start on the task of making his suites right. They worked with great aplomb. If it wasn't 'just so' who knew what form of punishment may befall them. It became a matter of company pride to do religious work with better than perfect results. Any form of torture was secondary to the need for an orderly universe. Those, whose duty here lay, knew the philosophic understanding that there were an infinite number of ways in which a thing can be messy, but only a limited number of ways for a thing to be tidy. Seeking that perfection was the job of priests and mystics.
The Maintenance Order and House Priests were a respected caste in this New World. Their holy orders were what kept the world worthy and well paced. Their seers had seen the signs, the sins of economic sluggishness, and predicted quakes. All would be made well and balanced and the bills for these services would be rendered and paid as a tithe and an indulgence to the greater church.
Adams thought of how little would be his indulgence and how outrageously expensive will be the sins of the disreputable Dorcets. He laughed out loud. Then pondered the fate of his nephew Jene and the mission. Their life signs were off line. That did not worry him. Jene did not like a leash. He worked better when his own resources were all he could count on. He knew that Jene was of the same ilk as the little monster. As for the beautiful Cassandra, he perversely fantasized having her. Leather, exotic oils and rose pedals filled those reveries without reason. Adams preferred the wham-bam method, and then quickly back to work. He wondered on the odd turn of his thoughts. His reverie broke when he heard the gong of the Cardinal, coming to give the holy estimate. Adam smiled; the world is good place indeed. He would kneel and kiss the ring and smirk at the small estimate. He would let an uncomfortable silence pass, then offer an extra thirty five- percent for upgrades and some unneeded remodeling. The Cardinal would bless his family and this house, leave pleased, and the skilled clerics would appear tomorrow, with blessed tools in hand, and all will be well in short order. The Orders would invest in his company and the Holy Circle of Economics will prove it's self again.
The old fraud left and Adams tested his personal comp system. He typed in his password and waited for confirmation. He executed a program and smiled. The earthquakes were coming more often and he knew that putting an office on Mars was now prudent. He placed his hand on a device by his screen and suffered a prick to his palm.
He waited for the results - 81% survival rate. Well enough - it was off to Mars. He walked over to the windows, the glass no longer there, and watched the chaos in the street. One gets very used to comfort, the lack of power, control, and comfort causes great upset. Such is the way of expectations – they are often and easily thwarted. One must be flexible. He smiled a large ugly smile. The Church would soon offer vast cash assistance and will take over the badly damaged Family Companies. It will cause an economic imbalance and war was inevitable. The Church has been quietly in the business of world domination for years. The faithful turn a blind eye and the heretic fringe is discredited. But he would be gone before that happens. He poured himself vodka from an unbroken bottle and wished his nephew well, with a heartfelt toast. If Jene survived he would find his appropriately fat ass, sure enough, and try to kill him - unless the deal was worth enough that Jene would keep his dear Uncle alive. It was not an expectation - it would be. Leverage is all – just leverage that’s all.
Why is doing what you love the hardest thing to do? Is it because failing what you thought defined you would be too devastating a thing from which to recover? If so, we stay where mere accident has left us.