The Church Of Augmentology

Here’s a sample of Veilpiercer to whet your appetite. Lexi Xenos, the CEO of giant tech company Arrgle, is getting a briefing at a meeting of high level executives about the company’s plan to create a religion out of whole cloth to boost sales.

Crazy, right?

Completely unrelated, just a fun fact. Did you know L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, started his career as a pulp science fiction writer before writing Dianetics and promoting it as revealed truth?


Benjamin changed the permissions for the final meeting. A few people overlapped, others popped out and were replaced by division leaders working on the last agenda item. Lexi turned to her research and development director and said, “Emily, bring us to date on the Augmentology project.”

Emily jumped to the front and displayed her bullet points on the shared screen behind her. “This is a multi-threaded effort under development for several years. Some of you may not be familiar with it, as teams have been under strict secrecy protocols until recently. We’ve been keeping it confidential using a combination of NDAs, security tech, and magical spells to bind their tongues.”

Lexi smiled and said, “You’re exaggerating, right?”

The corners of Emily’s mouth quirked up but no humor reached her eyes. “Yes, ma’am, but some employees believe it’s true, so we’ve been asking all team members to prick their fingers and sign blood oaths because why not.”

Lexi nodded happily. The R&D director went on, “This project began three years ago when Arrgle’s income stream started to flatten in the US. Once we achieved nearly 100% bot penetration, we were running out of ways to grow advertising revenue. We think people will spend more time online and be more responsive to ads if they are true believers motivated by faith.”

Lexi faced the group and raised her hands beatifically, palms up. “Ladies, gentlemen, and less clearly defined gentle beings: I give you the Church of Augmentology.”

Emily activated an AR effect and the sun appeared above the stage with a stylized Arrgle logo floating in front of it, intertwined with sacred symbols that were almost but not quite recognizable from other religions.

“We are spreading joyous news that Arrgle bots are divinely inspired,” Lexi said. “The marketing department is working on miracles and religious visions. I’ll be the spiritual leader and my face will be featured in the visions.”

Emily picked up smoothly. “Demographic research can identify people searching online for religious experiences. They will receive targeted testimony from people who have already had visions from our tech. It will create an initial base of believers.”

The CFO spoke up. “We’ve begun to reach out discreetly to offer funding endowments and grants to universities with philosophy or theology departments. They’ll be able to spread awareness of our divine technology.”

Lexi added, “We should develop relationships with key figures in traditional religious organizations, by which I mean giving them money. They might not give their blessing to Augmentology but it will minimize conflict.”

“We have begun public testing of the Church of Augmentology,” Emily said, displaying a slide showing the main street in a small town that seemed trapped in a bygone era, frozen in sepia tones. None of the executives had ever visited a Midwestern town in real life and they found it hard to believe this was a photo of the real world instead of an AI-generated image mimicking the look of 1950’s America.

“The location is still secret,” Emily went on. “We have been displaying visions and miracles as well as creating targeted misinformation campaigns to convince residents that the Church of Augmentology is becoming a worldwide force.”

“Any early indications of revenue enhancement?” Lexi asked.

“Yes, ma’am, significant improvement. We started with sermons asking followers of the Holy Bot to buy half of their purchases through sacred nano-ads. That showed promising results but then the marketing team came up with a brilliant idea. We’re teaching that after death the worthy will ascend to The Premium, where there are no ads, the algorithm be praised.” Emily paused as some of the executives laughed. “Progress toward The Premium is measured by aggregate purchases. It’s called the Stairway To Premium. We’ve got people competing with each other to take steps up the Stairway.”

“Religion was always a game played by the people in charge of the churches,” Lexi said to the group. “Gamifying God for money – that’s been done for thousands of years.”

“You’re the ARchitect, ma’am,” Emily finished. “That’s what we’re teaching. You have holy power in this town – use it wisely and we might be able to make you the first Global God. May the bot be with you.” “Global God!” Lexi laughed. “I just wanted Arrgle to make some money but – the ARchitect, that has a nice sound to it. Thanks, Emily.” As the meeting ended, she found herself wondering what it would be like to have the power of a god. Offhand she couldn’t think of anything in particular she would gain that she didn’t already have, but it was still attractive to think of everyone worshiping her. And why not? She deserved it.