Of thirty-two people, eight would lose their jobs. It wasn't an act of malice, nor anything personal... the machine needed to protect itself, and in order to do so, it needed to spread its arms wide. The hammer strikes at random... it picks at parts... it sees gears, not the faces they wear.
Each knew it was coming, but they didn't know who would be chosen. Their jobs weren't being eliminated, just moved elsewhere... and when practicality sets in, this means that they'd be given to others. They knew, and they knew why... all that was left to chance was who, but now who was known. Some say that it's better when you don't know if you've been chosen, others say that the anticipation is worse than the reality of the act; I think this separates those who hope from those who expect the worst. Now that the hammer was in sight, both groups were joined back to one... the names had been read, there was no longer anything left to question.
The machine needed its new gears properly molded, and therefore, the old would train the new. As closure to an era of years of service to the machine, each would get to pass the torch directly, shaking the hand of the new one to hold it, looking him in the eyes, trying to hold back any tears of protest or feelings of betrayal. But there wasn't anyone to blame... this wasn't personal, it was just something that needed to happen. The hammer chose based on logical reasoning... it didn't know the names of those it chose... it only knew their functions. Hate would have helped to soothe these eight victims of fate, but there was nowhere to put their hate. The only ones to hate would be the ones who replace them, but they couldn't do this openly... they'd have to train them, teach them, guide them... probably only days before they were asked not to return.
In time, there would be eight empty desks, the computers given to their new owners, the chairs put into a large room to occasionally be used for conferences. The desks would remind those who remained of the friends they'd no longer see, about the years and years that transitioned into something unexpected, the desks' emptiness reflecting an emptiness that each gear did their best to ignore. Elsewhere, eight new desks would be new homes to activity and a hope for a future of stability, unaware that the hammer that gave them their new hope could just as easily take it away.