Viewing as Guest
Chapter 11: Faith in your Friends
Date Published: March 16th, 2015
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Arc 2: The Power of Knowledge
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〘〙= Status, Combat Arts & Magical Spells
〚〛= Internal Thoughts
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Chapter 11: Faith in your Friends
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Elrick arrived in London through Heathrow and checked into a 5 Star Boutique Hotel. Elrick had chosen the 5 Star Boutique Hotel because it offered a complimentary VR capsule service and of-course Starlight Spark would pick-up the bill for the stay. Elrick logged into Atlantis and took a power nap on the couch while he waited for the other Executives of Starlight Spark to arrive for the meeting.
Elrick could count on 4 hours of sleep and he was sure it would revive him after hors of work overnight reviewing his proposal to the 4 Private Bankers that would show-up at the Hotel. By the time first of the Executives show up Elrick is fast asleep and Staffen decided that it would be kinder to let the obviously tired Elrick sleep a little more before what will undoubtedly be a complicated meeting of the Starlight Spark Board of Directors.
The scheduled Starlight Spark Board of Directors meeting was due to start in a little over an hour and so as the other Executives arrived one my one they ignored the Golden-Elf peacefully sleeping on the couch at the back of the of 4m X 4m room that functioned as management office meant to be used exclusively by one of the senior managers when they were in Atlantis.
A circular 5m diameter Glass Conference Room was installed at the centre of the 10m X 10m room. The process of installing a Conference Room and purchasing furnishings was done through the user interface and a single Executive simply picked them out on a holographic overlay and arranged them in the Starlight Spark Offices with simple hand gestures and once they were paid for the Holograms became real.
This convenient method of purchasing furniture was only available on Atlantis and in Realm Eternal one would have to visit the store and either arrange for items to be delivered or carry the items in one’s inventory.
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Everyone had arrived and they’re now seated around the 17 seat Round Table. The 16 were seated and it was now time to wake the sleeping Golden-Elf.
Bowden : " I think it’s time we wake the criminal"
They all burst out in laughter.
Bowden : " Armlet; if you could get Elrig so we can get this show on the road."
Armlet : " Got it"
After a few moments Armlet returns with Elrick and despite the fact that he had been sleeping he appears as if he hadn’t been sleeping; an effect of the Atlantis setting.
Elrick : " Hi guys!"
Bowden : " There’s our Criminal Mastermind!"
Elrick : " Really?"
Elrick takes is seat.
Bowden : " If the shoe fits?"
Everyone laughs because they’re all in a good mood; smiles everywhere.
Elrick : " Hahahaha"
Bowden : " Alright; let’s begin! Grinder; start the report."
Grinder : " As Starlight Spark’s Head of Finance I can now report on the financial state of Starlight Spark."
Grinder then sends a summary of the report to all the people in the Conference Room. He also sends a summery of the Realm Eternal Earnings.
~ Ding! ~
『Realm Eternal Earnings!』
Cash on hand = (1.14)X1200 + 162.65849 + 56.2314 – 500 = 1086.89029 Gold Coins.
Revenue = 878290000 Copper Coins = 87829 Gold Coins.
Profit = 884158903 – 105580000 Copper Coins = 778578903 Copper Coins
Grinder : " And so at 5 Copper Coins to $1 USD we are looking at $155715780.6 excluding the residual funds already in the Starlight Spark Corporate Account."
The reason for the Good Mood is revealed. Everyone Claps their hands in Applause after Grinder stops speaking and sits down.
Bowden : " Now that we’ve confirmed the Good News things get a bit complicated from here onwards; Elrick?"
Elrick : " Right; I’d like to preserve 35000 Gold Coins in Realm Eternal leaving 428578903 Copper coins to be exchanged into $85715780.6 for use in Starlight Spark Real world Operation. Our dividend yield is set at 15% and if we declare profit we can deduct $12857367.09 as dividends but I’d like to declare a $15 million profit and an 86% Dividend which would return $12900000 to shareholders in order to avoid a hefty tax bill for Starlight Spark. Even though Starlight Spark is headquartered in a Tax haven that charges only 5% it would still amount to $3642920.6755 if we declare a pre-dividend profit of $85715780.6."
Grinder : " Yes $70715780.6 would have to be spent! However there are ways to spend money while preserving it; like investing it. In case it isn’t obvious Virtual Reality is Big Business; it’s not just gaming or entertainment. The Advent Consortium has sent up 15 nuclear powered Billion Dollar Satellites, and they are planning to put up a total of 150 of these next generation multi-platform communications Satellites. The AIVRE Systems and the Capsule pods don’t use Binary Code; it’s a completely new type of programming running an operating system that offers the highest level of security. That alone generates tens of billions in revenue through commercial encrypted data storage and communications."
Bowden : " Which brings us to the other Critical matter; the problems of Leadership. I’m a just Lab-Tech, and I pull down 60K a year. So the Idea that the 8K I invested a few weeks ago will now net me $260000 just blows my mind. My 2% is worth how much?"
There are some gasps as they all come to terms with the figures.
Bowden : " There it is! Who does that? Who turns $8000 into $3.5million in a little over a month? It’s Insane!"
They all look at Elrick.
Elrick : " What? I had nothing to do with that!"
They all laugh at Elrick.
Swordin : " Really?"
Axil : " Your not gonna take the Credit?"
Hammerin : " Geez!”
Bowden shakes his head while looking at Elrick.
Elrick : " It was a Fluke!"
They all seem to ignore Elrick’s protest.
Bowden : " Fluke eh?"
Grinder : " He is right though; it was a Fluke!"
Elrick : " Thank you!"
Axil : " What do you mean?"
They all look at Grinder.
Grinder : " I’ll let him Explain; Elrick?"
Elrick : " I didn’t intend to stockpile the Small Creatures because I didn’t know they were coming. I used the Gas because that was all I had left in the Arsenal; otherwise I would have burned them with Runic Fire like Everyone else! I had used-up all the high level Fire Runes burning everything in the immediate vicinity of Vhon; so when the waves of those things showed up all I had left to counter them was the Gas Grenades. I only realized the opportunity when the Red Elf-Dragons showed up because up until that point I thought we were all going to die; recovering the carcasses of the Small Creatures was a mute point until we were saved."
Bowden : " Accepted! Nonetheless you did quickly notice the opportunity, and that makes you somewhat indispensable to operations."
Bowden : " In any case I’m not qualified to Run what has become a Multi-Million Dollar Corporation in your stead; so I table a motion to appoint Grinder the Deputy Chairman and deputy MD of Starlight Spark."
Grinder : " Me?"
Elrick : " I second that motion!"
With no objections and apparent approval of the rest of the Board.
Bowden : " Let’s put it to a Vote; though with the support of the majority shareholder it’s a mere formality."
By a show of hands Grinder is elected Deputy Chairman and deputy MD of Starlight Spark.
Axil : " The ayes have it! Grinder; you are duly elected."
Swordin : " Congratulations; Boss!"
Everyone Claps their hands in Applause as Grinder shakes hands with Bowden and relieves him as chair of the current board meeting.
Hammerin : " In accordance with the resolutions from the last meeting your Salary is adjusted to the same level as that of Elrick at $2500 per month for the position of Deputy Chairman and $2700 per month for the position of Deputy MD of Starlight Spark. Total = $5200 per month.”
Armlet : " Bowden; you gave up $62k a year?"
Bowden : " It couldn’t be helped"
Grinder : " In that case I don’t need my Real life job which only pays me $70K. I’ll resign so I can focus all my attention on Starlight Spark."
Axil : " Dude; you went through a 3 year internship for that Job?"
Swordin : " Are you sure?"
Elrick : " Welcome aboard then; we will all be in your care."
Armlet : " Fuck it! I’m just a middle school teacher; I can’t see myself going back to teaching those snot nosed pimply faced obnoxious entitled brats it that private school for 40k a year after this. I’m all in!"
Shieldor : " I’m in too!"
Arrow : " Same here; no point going back to that shitty job!"
Ring : " Diddo!"
Blade : " What the hell? I’m all in!"
Swordin : " They can all suck it; I’m in!"
There is shock as 7 people announce that they going in full time on Starlight Spark.
Grinder : " Wait! Are you sure about this?"
Axil : " I guess I can be a freelance IT consultant"
Hammerin : " Axil; you too?”
Axil : " The Tide is rising!"
Armlet : " This is the ground floor!"
Hammerin : " What’s happening?”
Bowden : " It’s the effect of the dividends"
Axil : " If you’re single you can take a leap without worrying about the effects on a spouse."
Grinder : " It’s a good thing we increased Executive remuneration to $1000 a month; it will be needed."
It takes a while for things to settle down ad the next item on the agenda could now be addressed.
Grinder : " Since we have more funds available we can implement our plans 2 years early. Swordin; please explain your analysis."
Swordin : " After a thorough analysis of the 25 listed Asgard Continental Republic Academy Cities on Grandeur we have selected Cobalt City as the base for Starlight Spark operations. Cobalt City is nestled in a valley at the foot of Red Stone Mountains some 512km from the Northern Boarder and 327km from the Eastern Boarder. It is the northern most Continental Republic City on Grandeur and the primary garrison of the North East. Because it’s so close to the Equator the average temperature is 37 degrees Celsius and that means there isn’t sufficient commercial agriculture to meet the City’s needs; Ideal for our Hydroponics Operations. But what makes Cobalt City so Ideal is it’s proximity to the Red Stone Mountains. The Red in the stone indicates the presence of Iron which is essential for our plans. As you all know the planet Ado has a rather peculiar Geology; it’s 20 times Earth in size but 1.10257 Earth’s mass; essentially the same. The Realm Eternal Dwarf Forums indicate that the Continental Dwarves source their minerals from their mines on the 4th & 5th planets from the sun that is several times the size of Earth’s sun. Ado is the sixth planet and thus lacking most of the heavy elements."
Bowden : " Are the inner planets habitable?"
Grinder : " Therefore Cobalt City is Ideal for our purposes, and because it’s so far away from Camelot we will be able to secure a significant market for our products amongst both users and locals. Fortunately we have a financial windfall and can purchase a significant parcel of land for Starlight Spark to start operations. Before we were booted out of Realm Eternal we were able to glean some information from locals that indicated that a lot of Towns on Grandeur outside the Asgard Continental Republic Territory have been wiped out; entire countries have fallen. That means that any group of sufficient size and capabilities could claim towns and villages as their property. If the information is accurate there will be significant strife between rival clans and countries over control of territory."
Hammerin : " I would like to come back to how you plan to invest the money we take out of Realm Eternal; can you elaborate on the strategy?”
Grinder : " If you look at page 6 of Elrick’s proposal to the private bankers Starlight Spark will offer to purchase used REM-Sleep Pods for $2500, assigning $45million to this role. Analysis indicates that there are at least 50000 users who signed up for the discounted Open Beta REM-Sleep Pods believing it to be a gaming environment but after experiencing Realm Eternal would prefer to switch to a proper VRMMORPG. The Hipno Pods have a higher variety of Virtual Reality Platforms and according to forum polls a significant number is looking to sell their REM-Sleep Pods. We have already put out the advertisements on relevant Forums and sites. Of-course some will choose to auction their REM-Sleep Pods but we estimate that those who don’t want to wait for the right price will take up our offer. Each of the REM-Sleep Pods will need to be registered and linked to Starlight at a cost of $50 and transport to new locations could average $350 requiring $5million to be set aside for that purpose. Starlight will spend $20million on property in the vicinity of every Starlight Executive in order to serve as REM-Sleep Pod Cafés; most of the used second-hand REM-Sleep Pods will be used for this purpose. And finally every member of Starlight will be required to recruit 12 people of the same age to the employ of Starlight Spark."
Grinder : " Every member of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry will become a party leader and so 7 other people become necessary and the 5 additional people will go to the crafting pool. The role of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry will be to secure, collect and recover crafting material since we expect the sale of crafted products and food to be the primary revenue stream for Starlight Spark. If Elrick can successfully secure service contracts with the private bankers we will also be able to become a service provider to some of the wealthiest people. The goal of Elrick’s negotiations will be to convince the private bankers to use Cobalt City as a base for their clientele; this is a hard sell since they are much more likely to want to go to major Cities like Camelot and Valencia. However we believe that since the Real World wealthy are not Realm Eternal Nobles they will find it easier to settle in Cobalt City and other Asgard Continental Republic Academy Cities on Grandeur."
Bowden : " We have restructured the Rank and pay of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry to be more like the military. I remain the Force Commander and get $800 a month; Vava is my deputy and has the Rank of Lieutenant Commander at a Salary of $600 a month."
Bowden sends a memo which is displayed on the multidirectional holographic display at the centre of the round table.
~ Ding! ~
『Starlight Spark’s Ranger Cavalry Ranks & Salaries!』
Bowden : " We’ve identified relevant people for the appropriate positions and it should add to force capabilities. Drawing on recent combat experience we are going to rely on the current members to provide training for the new recruits."
Elrick : " Though I expect the REM-Sleep Pod Cafés to be a significant source of Real World Revenue I also expect them to generate a lot of Realm Eternal Revenue thanks to sex tourism. To that end the agency I’ve hired to recruit prostitutes has compiled a list of prostitutes who have agreed to the terms of employment. There are 75 women per 8 hour shift and a total of 375 women allowing for a 40 hour work week at a salary of $250 a month. However the personal situations of the prostitutes necessitates Starlight Spark to provide housing, and to accommodate these prostitutes I’ve authorised a Cape Town Real-Estate Agency to find Starlight Spark a Farm within 150km of the Cape Town Central Business District at no more than $2million. Starlight Spark is also purchasing a small farm near Geneva Switzerland to serve as the Global Headquarters."
Shieldor : " Since Geneva is my Hometown I’ll be responsible for the property management and hiring the caretaker staff."
Bowden : " Elrick considers that good money after bad."
Shieldor : " I agree with that! The Planned Hydroponics Farm will produce Premium Organic Crops that will allow the property to pay for itself. When it comes to Hydroponics cheap land is as good as expensive fertile land."
Axil : " I agree; we can’t spend money on property that doesn’t earn money"
Elrick : " The Final matter on the Agenda is the Clan Alliance. The Crimson Hand, Winged Sage Falcros and their Affiliated Clans have invited Starlight Spark to join their Clan Alliance. The Crimson Hand has the 2 Affiliated Clans Flame Swords and Red Blade. Winged Sage Falcros also has the 2 Affiliated Clans Forever Knights and Sage."
Swordin : " Combat wise both the Crimson Hand and Winged Sage Falcros performed better than Starlight Spark so I have no problem joining up with them, but why do they want us in their Alliance?"
Bowden : " It’s the problems of Magic."
Armlet : " What problems"
Bowden : " Acquiring an Elemental Symbiote is only half the problem; using 〘Magic Spells〙 requires extensive use of Mana Shaping Magic. The Skill 【Mana Shaping】can be considered the most important 『Magic Skill』."
Axil : " Oh! It’s because it starts at Zero!"
Swordin : " Other than the Race Specific inborn talents almost all 〘Magic Spells〙 require Mana Shaping Magic. How much Mana you can shape is dependent on 【Mana Shaping】Skill EXP. To Shape the Magic Fire produced by the Fire Elemental Symbiote into a Fire Ball you need the 【Mana Shaping】Skill. Apparently buying the spell simply provides you with a holographic outline that you have to Shape the Mana Fuelled Magic Fire into. How much Mana you can put into a spell is dependent on both Spell EXP and 【Mana Shaping】Skill EXP; either one can be a limiting factor.”
Hammerin : " So Elrick; you’re recommending we join the Clan Alliance?”
Elrick : " Yes!"
Hammerin : " What’s the name of the Alliance?”
Armlet : " What are the terms?"
Elrick : " It’s called Nova Horizon. Realm Eternal allows Clans to form an Alliance Faction which allows the purchase of an Alliance communications network, joint ownership of property purchased by the Alliance, joint recognition by local authorities and other subtle benefits that include the sharing of reputation amongst the constituent Clans. The Alliance Faction Nova Horizon will allow us to gain access to the talent pool in Winged Sage Falcros; my information indicates that there are 52 PhD’s in Winged Sage Falcros. With access to the many academics in Winged Sage Falcros the crafting capabilities of Starlight Spark will increase exponentially.”
Elrick : " Not necessarily; what they have is a High Council that approves any membership application. The bulk of the 275 members of Winged Sage Falcros have all gone through a review process before they were allowed to join. Winged Sage Falcros would probably have thousands of members if it wasn’t for the screening process; they don’t want people who are just trying to benefit or those just wanting to get close to the Lady Lorelei."
Elrick’s responses seem to satisfy the concerns of everyone.
Grinder : " Since this is a Clan Issue we need to put it to a vote; by a show of Hands all those in favour?"
Everyone raises their hands.
Hammerin : " The Ayes have it!”
Armlet : " We are joining Alliance Faction Nova Horizon."
Grinder : " That’s all on the Agenda for this meeting; is there anything that anyone would like put on the record?"
Hammerin : " Yeah; I’d like to know why Elrick rejected the publicity Deal”
Hammerin displays the cover of Fortune magazine with Hiroshi Nakamura’s Half-Elf half Winged-Folk Avatar on the front cover with The Shogun of Virtual Reality and $47million plastered with big bold red letters.
Ring : " Oh shit!"
Hammerin : " We could have been number one on the Clan Rankings?”
Elrick : " Starlight Spark in Clan Rankings is an incredibly bad Idea because it would increase the cost of doing business. Not to mention all the parasites and hangers-on it would attract; people selfishly trying to rely on us."
Arrow : " What do you mean it would increase the cost of doing business?"
Elrick : " The Natives of Realm Eternal aren’t Game NPCs; they react to information. That means they would hear about Starlight Spark having lots of money from users and the prices we pay for goods and services would go up leaving us without the option to plead poverty. It would create all kinds of complications; including making us direct competitors to Clans like Nakamura. And I can’t compete with guys like Hiroshi Nakamura."
Ring : " What do you mean you can’t compete with guys like Hiroshi Nakamura? We made more money than him didn’t we?"
Elrick : " Prestige is a game of popularity; a popularity contest! Hiroshi Nakamura is very popular; he’s got girls lining-up around the block to fuck him. That guy is the quintessential Alpha Male both in VR and in Real Life. Closer examination would reveal the disparities between Starlight Spark and Nakamura. The Nakamura Clan earned $47million by taking 7 Legions into a cave system and clearing a classic undiscovered Dungeon in the form of a Werewolf Nest; a legendary feat that has rightly earned them a place of Honour. In contrast Starlight Spark earned its money by picking up stuff off the ground; the kind of thing that would earn us the reputation as greedy mother-fuckers. Hiroshi Nakamura may be a Jackass but he’s also an Epic Hero!"
Grinder : " Ah NO!"
Hammerin : " God dam-it Arrow!”
Swordin : " For Fuck’s Sake Arrow!"
Armlet : " Why the fuck did you have to ask Arrow?"
Arrow : " What?"
Bowden : " You didn’t read the memo did you Arrow?"
Glares are aimed at Arrow from everyone in the room except Elrick who stood up crossed his hands behind his back and Faced outside the room.
Elrick : " It began long ago in the land of …"
The others continued to murmur.
Axil : " Not this Again!"
Elrick : " I SAID! IT BEGAN LONG …""
Elrick’s raised voice quieted the room as they understood that they had to listen.
Bowden : " I guess it can’t be helped."
Grinder : " Let’s get it over with!"
Once the room was silent Elrick started again.
Elrick : " It began long ago in the land of Arias with the birth of one blessed by the Gods of Ancient Magic. The young Mage …..”
And so they were subjected to yet another retelling of Elrick’s experiences during the first 4 months of playing the MMORPG Ancient Magic from Elrick’s perspective. This included the exaggerated accounts of Hiroshi Nakamura’s crimes against Elrick; including the final sin that forced Elrick to become an eccentric Crafter.
Elrick : " In the End the young Mage was betrayed and the betrayer was proclaimed a Hero by the populace. The Son of a … I mean the Jackass Hiroshi Nakamura never acknowledged that it was thanks to my efforts that the legendary raid was won!"
Swordin : " Ah thank God it’s over!"
They all sighed.
Hammerin : " Grinder; Quickly!”
Grinder : " With this I close the meeting!"
The meeting was now officially over and anyone was now free to leave.
Grinder : " Elrick; I’m on my way to London. I’ll see you in about 5 hours for the meeting with the bankers"
Elrick : " Alright then!"
Both Elrick and Grinder logged-out of Atlantis.
Armlet : " As annoying as it is it’s good to see that Elrick can still act out his eccentricities."
Hammerin : " He act’s so differently in Realm Eternal that you forget that he’s a bit of a comedian”
Swordin : " Arrow; read the God dam memo! Otherwise we’ll have to hear Elrick’s rants about fractional reserve banking, the gold standard, Archaeology Egyptology, the UN and so on and so an."
Arrow : " Sorry!"
Bowden : " Don’t worry too much about it; I think we all needed to be reminded that he’s still Elrick."
Arrow : " Did Nakamura Hiroshi really take credit for Elrick’s efforts?"
Axil : " Not deliberately; he was caught up in the moment and accepted the credit for the success of the Raid without acknowledging to everyone Elrick’s significant contribution."
Swordin : " It wasn’t a legendary Raid for that matter but a mid to low level field Raid. And yes it would have been impossible without Items crafted by Elrick since the average level of the Raid Group was 40; that’s 10 levels below all other Raid Groups that cleared it."
Armlet : " It’s what made both Mithriliar and Hiroshi Nakamura Famous."
Arrow : " Was Elrick really that crucial?"
Hammerin : " Elrick was a decent Mage but It was his Title Crafter that made all the difference.”
Swordin : " Elrick completed a hidden crafting quest that earned him the Title Crafter which gave him bonuses to his crafting Subclass as well as giving him the ability to use the skills of any crafting Subclass."
Bowden : " His engraving crafting Subclass made him a Legendary Crafter."
Axil : " Hiroshi Nakamura apologised many times but …"
Swordin : " Our leader tends to hold a grudge"
Hammerin : " People in the scientific community tend to get odd about giving credit where credit is due.”
Armlet : " That part can’t be helped"
Arrow had only been a member of their Ancient Magic Guild for a little over a year so he hadn’t been there at the beginning like Grinder, Axil and others so he could be forgiven. Despite their complaints about Elrick’s rants against this and that they all found it a bit humorous, and at time even Elrick would perform his rants to entertain his friends.
For his part Elrick was relieved to see that the Executives of Starlight Spark were stepping-up and taking responsibility for running Starlight Spark in preparation for his absence. Reassured by the competence of the Executives of Starlight Spark Elrick could face the terrors of Chaos Island with confidence that all was well with Starlight Spark.
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That evening Elrick and Grinder held a meeting with consultants from 4 separate private banking institutions. After long discussions and a visit to the Starlight Spark Offices in Atlantis in order to make an assessment of the full value of Starlight Spark an agreement was reached to by Realm Eternal Currency at 98cents on the dollar of the prevailing Realm Eternal Currency purchase rate.
The contract is valid for 3 years and includes a $50million loan to Starlight Spark at an annualized 5.5% interest rate; the loan could be repaid in Realm Eternal Currency at 98cents on the dollar of the prevailing Realm Eternal Currency purchase rate. Elrick and Grinder walked away from the meeting with $84001464.988 + the $50million Loan.
It was obvious to Elrick and Grinder why the bankers included a $50million loan in the deal. To make sure that Starlight Spark provides them with a constant and predictable flow of Realm Eternal Currency at 98cents on the dollar of the prevailing Realm Eternal Currency purchase rate. The 4 banks were willing to share the $50million loan risk equally amongst them.
For their part Elrick and Grinder readily accepted the loan because it gave the $69001464.988 + $50million to spend once the $15million was declared as pre-Tax profit. Elrick and Grinder planned to preserve $19001464.988 in assets that could be easily converted into cash in order to maintain liquidity and the bulk of the $100million would be invested in property and 17 REM-Sleep Pod Cafés; one near each Executive of Starlight Spark.
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After London Elrick went over to Edinburgh and spent some time on his father’s farm. There is a ten year gap between Elrick and the next of his siblings in Scotland; his sister. The 2 youngest boys are 11 and 13 in age that meant Elrick had very little in common with his Scottish siblings. Elrick had even less in common with his half Indian 12 and 16 year old brothers back in South Africa.
Elrick’s brothers back in South Africa are very athletic and his South African Indian Stepfather is a pronounced Cricket Fanatic. And so Elrick’s brothers in South Africa had been provided with the best Cricket tutelage their Oncologist father could afford, and because of that his brothers were well on their way to becoming great Cricket players; even professional.
Compared to his Agricultural Scientist mother and Oncologist stepfather Elrick’s Farmer Father and housewife stepmother seemed rather simple to Elrick. But there was comfort in the simplicity of their idealic lifestyles in Scotland. While on the farm Elrick could comfortably walk the farm without worrying about his personal security; a far cry from the armed security guards protecting the family back in South Africa.
While on the Farm Elrick looked over his Father’s finances and when he saw a potential financial hole he decided to plug it. Using his own money he ordered Solar panels from Germany for all the buildings on the Farm, he bought a mini methane Bio-Plant from England for the production of both thermal and electrical energy from animal excrement and foliage, and finally he ordered permanent magnet wind mills for electricity generation from China.
The overall cost to Elrick was $870000 and it amounted to an 80% energy cost reduction. Elrick could see the relief on his father’s face when he explained how he had plugged the looming financial hole of the family finances. With the improved financial position Elrick’s father could easily afford the upcoming University tuition for Elrick’s 17 year old sister.
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When Elrick returned to Cape Town after spending 20 days in Britain he oversaw the instillation of REM-Sleep Pods at the purchased farm and at the Cape Town Starlight Spark REM-Sleep Pod Café. Starlight Spark had spent an average of $2.5million on 17 REM-Sleep Pod Cafés to a total of $42.5million and each Executive of Starlight Spark had been responsible for the Café in their region.
While Elrick was in Britain he had used rented VR pods to connect to Atlantis to meet with the other Executives of Starlight Spark to iron out difficulties as they arose. Elrick, Grinder and Bowden had met with the other leaders of the Nova Horizon Clan a number of times to work-out the details of the Alliance. There were complex negotiations that took days to reach resolution.
After lengthy discussions the other 6 Clans acquiesced to Starlight Spark’s demand that Nova Horizon be based in Cobalt City and in return Starlight Spark would forgo leadership of Nova Horizon despite Starlight Spark technically having the most members at 3079 people. Starlight Spark had successfully recruited new people who fit the personnel criteria.
The Crimson Hand had been cut down to 786 people after the goblin fiasco and its affiliated clans Flame Swords and Red Blade had 345 and 289 members respectively. As for Winged Sage Falcros the Affiliated Clans Forever Knights and Sage had 542 and 425 members respectively. Numbers aren’t everything since the Crimson Hand and Winged Sage Falcros are ranked 5th and 7th respectively having earned over $10million during Open Beta.
By spending $45million buying REM-Sleep Pods at $2500 Starlight Spark gained 18000 REM-Sleep Pods; another $4.27million was spent to transport, register and link the Pods to Starlight Spark. 2862 Pods went to the new employees of Starlight Spark and an initial 50 Pods designated to every REM-Sleep Pod Café. However the demand at the17 REM-Sleep Pod Cafés was so high that Starlight Spark was forced to send all the remaining Pods to the Cafés.
In the end 15138 Pods were distributed to 17 REM-Sleep Pod Cafés. Where the demand was highest more pods were assigned creating a situation where the Cape Town, Lagos, Chicago, New York, London, Berlin, Manila and Mumbai Cafés had more than 2000 REM-Sleep Pods allocated to them. The price was set at $3 per hour in developed countries and $1.5 per hour in other markets.
The 17 REM-Sleep Pod Cafés were generating an average of $23844.5 in daily revenue; far more than the Executives of Starlight Spark had predicted. The profit being generated was estimated at 45% of revenue; annualized at around $4million. People wanted access to Atlantis and Starlight Spark was rapidly emerging as a leading provider of Atlantis access services.
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