Monopoly: House Rules

Newsflash: green living is the only way to exist on Usrylm (officially known to humans as TRAPPIST-1 d.) The inhabitants manage their global commerce through a vast network of forests. Not only do the trees contain databases and financial records, they also serve as transportation hubs for the flying creatures that ship products all over the world.

The following account is inspired by those well-organized Usrylmians.

When the last corporation on Earth swallowed up its lone competitor, the world stood still. Choice, free will and voting with wallets instantly became obsolete concepts. They joined earlier victims in the boneyard of hubris: stock markets, hedge funds, supply and demand. People wondered what would come next.

Travis Beltbender IV, CEO of One, Inc., also wondered what he should do next. Ever since his great-grandfather, Travis Beltbender, took the company private and bought out the original investors, One, Inc. had a singular mission: it strove to remove all friction between consumers and providers. To achieve this goal, the company was split into four divisions: Marketing, Procurement, Distribution and Accounting. Each division was supervised by a gamer. The top gamers competed every two years for the right to head up a division.

This process worked extremely well. It worked so well, in fact, that in just 98 years, One, Inc. was poised to take down Walazon, the only competitor smart enough to emulate One’s business model. The decisive battle involved the machinations of the Distribution Division, led by Aundoritha Malaprop. She leveraged Earth’s jet streams and One’s patented Tsunamitizer to disrupt Walazon’s global shipping. At the same time, she completed development of One’s Intercontinental Subterranean Transport Highway System, which maximized throughput. The obvious result was that more consumers bought stuff from One.

Travis Beltbender IV reflected on the damage caused by Aundoritha’s gamer mentality. She was an expert at so-called 4X games: explore, expand, exploit, exterminate. Travis felt that he should probably decommission the Tsunamitizer. As this seemed a noble goal that would also expand One’s reach, Travis ordered his executives to attend a planning meeting.

Aundoritha, of course, was the first to show up. She exchanged pleasantries with Travis while the other executives trickled in. Within ten minutes, the five most powerful people in the world were seated. Travis cleared his throat, called the meeting to order and began speaking:

“Well, we did it. Last man standing. A bit anti-climactic, what with Walazon scrambling around like wounded tarsiers. The Tsunamitizer was the bullet, but the Tunnel was the gun. Well done, Aundoritha.

“That said, the Tsunamitizer inflicted a lot of collateral damage, not the least of which was done to our chip fabrication plants. I believe that we should undertake reconstruction projects in the affected areas. Thoughts?”

The head of Accounting spoke up first, “Absolutely not, Travis. Let the governments handle their business. They don’t know it was us and we already have much work to do with the Walazon acquisition.”

Aundoritha agreed, “I’m with her. You never know when we may have to strategically deploy the Tsunamitizer. Doing so would wipe out our investment.”

The head of Marketing clicked his tongue in disgust. “Whether they know or not is irrelevant. The optics dictate that we help these communities.”

Finally, the head of Procurement opened his mouth. “Dad, what’s the point? We didn’t get where we are by playing nice. Of all the affected areas, only Taiwan is strategically important. We don’t source a damned thing from those other fourteen zones.”

Travis responded, “You do know that the Tsunamitizer destroyed Walazon’s ports. We own those ports, son.”

Aundoritha laughed. “Turn ’em into resorts. Whatever. Ships are so 21st century.”

Travis Beltbender IV looked at his number two and shook his head. They were outnumbered and it was probably time for the young kids to take One into the future. He made it official: “Very well. Just remember that with great efficiency comes great responsibility. Nerf not lest ye become nerfed. Nietzsche said this.”

With that, he handed the office keys to Travis Beltbender V, fist bumped Aundoritha and walked out of the room.