It was time.
The bell boy hastened to his position and struck the gong with his huge mallet. The resonating clang fell on all ears and the creatures made a hurried entry into the hallway, almost causing a stampede while they were on their way in. The assembly was perfect, with straight lines and pin-drop silence.
"Attention beasts of burden!", a thundering voice came out of the announcement system to break the silence. "I hate to repeat myself, but the Machine needs your flesh, blood and sweat to oil its jaws. Remember that you all have families to support. So make sure that you put the last drop of your blood and sweat, every bone and cell in your bodies to their full use."
The announcement drew blank stares from the creatures.
"Needless to say..." the voice continued, "...you'll be repeating this drill every single day. Your sacrifice might not fetch you any recognition or appreciation, but you will be rewarded with what we, your masters, deem appropriate."
The beasts simply listened.
"Now move it". blurted the voice, and the beasts began walking in a synchronised line, jumping one by one into the mouth of the Machine.
The Machine enjoyed its feast, and stayed up and running. Another day had passed.
It was all very good.