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Chapter 4 An offer, base plus commission

“Ben, let's go to my office, and we can talk about this,” said Jacob, waving his arm for Ben to follow. They walked down the hallway and entered a plain room. There were several chairs and a couch surrounding a coffee table with an eight-inch square black cube on it. “Office Celeste if I may impose,” said Jacob. Instantly the walls were covered with tall wooden bookcases. A fireplace blazed in the corner, and a large picture window looked out onto an alpine meadow. “It's a hologram Ben, and thank you, Celeste,” Jacob said. A women's warm voice responded, “You're very welcome Jacob.” Ben swiveled his head around looking for Celeste. The only person in the room with him was Jacob. “Who is Celeste?” asked Ben. Jacob pointed toward the cube, and said, “This is Celeste, and she is the metaphorical encyclopedia you would be selling if you accept the job.” 

“I'm not sure I understand. Am I supposed to sell a talking box?” said Ben “Celeste would please introduce yourself to Ben,” “I would be pleased to Jacob. Hi Ben, I'm Celeste, and it's truly a pleasure to meet you, although we had already. I gave you your test playing the role of the computer. At my fingertips, I have the majority of information known to mankind and have been uploading everything available about Bliss while I have been here this week. Would you like to know your credit score, Ben?” Startled by the question, Ben stammered, “Ah no thanks Celeste, I already have an idea what it is.” “Why Ben,” she said, “It's perfect. You currently have a balance of 100,000 credits in your account. I shifted a little money away from Galactic Charge-All's accounts and moved it into yours. Their ugly credit collection bots acquired a nasty virus at the same time. I'm talented at this sort of thing. We wouldn't want your fiscal distress to push you into taking a job you didn't like. You have to really want this job.”

“Ben,” said Jacob, “Our organization is just known as the Library. For over two hundred years we have been collecting information, sorting it, and then selling it as a source of income. We have also been fortunate to have had substantial sums and resources endowed to us through the years by generous patrons. We saw the Great Collapse coming and moved off earth years before the Earth's singularity explosion which proved to have been a good decision, as expensive as it seemed at the time. Even our skills couldn't have foreseen that calamitous event.”

“We do what we have always done, and during our visit to Bliss we have been mining data, and concluded some low key information, and technology sales. Places like Bliss still have infrastructure and technology, and most data mining can be done from orbit by tapping into wireless communication systems. But on all too many planets, the level of technology is too low to allow data collection from afar. This requires visiting in person. So, in short, the job is to visit these places, assess conditions, collect what information is available, and where opportunity presents, sell, or trade our information in a way that will help uplift the inhabitants. This is not an easy job. It comes with some personal risk and requires special skills to do this. We believe you have these talents,” said Jacob.

“But how can I do this? You can't even get to some of these places,” asked Ben. “Yes, you can. We are going to provide you with an impressive toolkit. You will have a ship and Celeste's help. The first step is to go with us to our facility on Alexandria where you will get small implants to help you communicate better with Celeste, some training, and off you and Celeste go. As for pay, you will get $100,000 credits per year, 3% of any profitable sales and room and board are provided. By the way Ben, we are leaving in three hours. If you're going to accept this job, be back here by then. If you choose not to accept the job, the money Celeste has given to you is yours to keep. We will await your decision.” A startled Ben stood, shook Jacob's hand and said, “Thank you both.” Somewhat stunned Ben walked out of the office.

“What do you think Celeste?” said Jacob. “I really liked Ben. I think he's the one.  He's smart, intuitive, and didn't freak out anytime during the process including accepting me. I think he will be back here in about two hours. You only lied a little about the job this time. You're getting much better Jacob.”