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FanFic Title: Realm Eternal
Chapter 27: Crossing the Rubicon
Author: NBosega
Date Published: May 28th, 2016

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Arc 2: The Power of Knowledge
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『』= Info
《》= Attribute
『』= Skill
【】= Sub-Skill
〘〙= Status, Combat Arts & Magical Spells
〚〛= Internal Thoughts
「」= Other

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Chapter 27: Crossing the Rubicon
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Part 1
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The days had gone by faster that Elrick anticipated and he’d quickly found himself on the eve of the deployment for Operation Elven Light.

His Higher Mana capacity had allowed him to acquire Elemental Magic faster than it would have been possible had he started on ado like everyone else; the lessons of their experience had been that it was prudent to wait until you had at least 500 Mana to attempt bonding with the Elemental Wisps.

Lorelei who had over 500 Mana units thanks to Spiritual Fortifications completed the first bonding in less than 5 Days, and the second was even faster thus proving the old adage that money is power. Those with the financial wherewithal to get ahead were already getting ahead and the Phoenix Consortium being a business had no interest in trying to limit the advantage that money provided; after all the money flowing into Realm Eternal represent crucial Revenue.

However money doesn’t necessarily allow you to cheat in magical expertise; Spell EXP governs the efficacy of Magic. The amount of Mana that can be poured into a spell is determined by the Spell EXP; this Elrick finally properly understood when he cast his first Spell which incidentally failed. Affinity determines the initial Spell EXP but that doesn’t mean you get a free pass on【Elemental Spell Focus】 EXP. The 【Elemental Spell Focus】 EXP is what becomes 【Mana Shaping】 EXP and affinity does not affect 【Mana Shaping】 EXP.

Central to the spell casting is that a particular spell’s 【Elemental Spell Focus】 EXP is determinant; it determines the ease of spell casting. What affinity does is give you more Mana to work with; so rather than pouring 0.000001 Mana into the 【Elemental Spell Focus】 Architecture Elrick gets to pour 5 Mana; therefore his high affinities making the process much simpler than someone with no affinity. For those without affinity in a particular Element it is recommended that they first use a magical Item with an Engraved 【Elemental Spell Focus】 to bypass the difficulties of working with minuscule amounts of Mana.

The drawback in using an Engraved 【Elemental Spell Focus】 to bypass the pouring of Mana into the 【Elemental Spell Focus】 Architecture is that you get no 【Mana Shaping】 EXP.

The magically Imbued and Engraved items that go as far as to allow the process to go from Mana Reserve to spell-output and consequently removing the need to learn and practice magic grant neither 【Elemental Magic】 EXP nor 【Mana Shaping】 EXP; as in the case of Mana-Guns, Mana-Rifles and Mana-Cannons.

Elrick had learned from operatives belonging to Starlight Spark’s Fifth Special Operations Cavalry that the top 20 ranked Atlantian Clan Chiefs could all cast spells with over 1000 Mana; that meant they had at least 1000 Spell EXP for an important spell. Elrick had heard that Lorelei could pour over 2500 Mana into a combination of Wind & Water 〘Electric Plasma Spell〙. Elrick theorized that she likely used a magical Item with an Engraved 【Elemental Spell Focus】 to grow her Spell EXP to a level that is sufficient; the benefit of real combat experience.

Elrick had decided from the beginning not to try and catch up with the other top Atlantians in magical ability; his goal now was to grow the one thing that would be a major asset to his Starlight Spark Clan ; 〘Divine Protection〙.

Unlike the Elemental Spells〘Divine Protection〙 starts at Zero EXP; there would be no benefit from affinity. Already Elrick’s 〘Divine Protection〙 EXP was approaching 2; having been in constant use since he acquired it from the Academy. That meant the maximum amount of Mana he could transfer per Spell use is just under 2 Mana. There was no viable method to increase the 〘Divine Protection〙 EXP gain so Elrick resigned himself to the slow churning of events. Having started at 1 micro-EXP reaching 1 micro-EXP was the first milestone and achieving 1 〘Divine Protection〙 EXP was the first initial wall; now Every use of 1 Mana generates 1 mini-EXP in 〘Divine Protection〙 EXP.

Elrick’s goal is sufficient 〘Divine Protection〙 EXP to grant an entire legion enough Mana from his reserves to turn the tide of a battle.

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Having witnessed Elrick’s tireless efforts over the past several days Lieutenant Commander Vava began to wonder if the prevailing methods was the best utilization of Elrick’s potential.

During a break Commander Vava approaches Elrick.

Vava : " How goes it Chief?"

Elrick : " Ah … Commander Vava? I can’t complain; things are what they are, and given my healing EXP level I’d be ignored if I wasn’t the Clan Chief."

Elrick looks at Vava nodding in agreement.

Vava : " But are you getting enough out of it to make it worth the effort?"

Elrick : " My healing and buffing skills are improving; as to weather they’ll prove useful to the sick and dying remains to be seen."

Vava : " Then perhaps we should change things up a bit?"

Elrick : " How so?"

Vava : " The training method here amounts to having these raid groups fight mock battles against each other. I’d like to have them fight something truly Powerful."

As Vava looks at Elrick it becomes apparent what Vava means by truly Powerful.

Elrick : " Wait? ….. I’m not that strong, and my Combat Arts EXP are as low as a newbie."

Vava : " But that is Golem Armour your wearing Right? That alone means you possess the fighting power of someone with an HP of over 45,000 right?"

Elrick : " Haaa!"

Elrick sighs; he suddenly remembers that all those from Deputy Legion Commander (Captain) and above have been equipped with a Starlight Spark Owned Class 4 Golem Core.

Vava : " What do you say Chief? Let’s mix it up a bit; I’d like to have you fight an entire Raid Group of these locals, and give them some experience fighting something much stronger than them."

Elrick : " Fine; as long as my Armour doesn’t get Damaged. It would be an expansive pain to repair it."

Vava : " I’ll bet! Wait? Don’t those things come fully loaded with both Imbued and Engraved Spells?"

Elrick : " This is a Level 3 Training Elven Golem Armour tailored to magic therefore inferior to similar Military Grade Golem Armour; offering a third of protection of the normal Level 3 Military Grade Golem Armour."

Vava : " That would put its Imbued and Engraved 《Durability》 at 5,000?"

Elrick : " Correct; though unlike normal Level 3 Military Grade Golem Armour the Level 3 Training Elven Golem Armour comes equipped with at least 110 Engraved 【Elemental Spell Focus】 Runes and 3 Imbued & Engraved 【Elemental Spell Focus】 Runes."

Vava : " Is it 10 Engraved 【Elemental Spell Focus】 Runes per Element? And what are the 3 Imbued & Engraved 【Elemental Spell Focus】 Runes?""

Elrick : " Yes; it’s 10 Engraved 【Elemental Spell Focus】 Runes per Element. the 3 Imbued & Engraved 【Elemental Spell Focus】 Runes are 〘Astral Shield〙, 〘Astral Flight〙 and 〘ElectroLaser〙."

Vava : " 〘Astral Shield〙 and 〘Astral Flight〙 are Psionic Magic, and 〘ElectroLaser〙 is higher order Light Magic Plasma Beam. Can you even generate an 〘ElectroLaser〙?"

Elrick : " The minimum Mana requirements for the lowest level 〘ElectroLaser〙 Beam is 7,500 units. That means I should reach the minimum in a few days, but actually using it would mean depleting my Mana reserves and abandoning all other magic."

Vava : " Then it’s no good; without the 〘Astral Shield〙 that Armour with only 5,000 《Durability》 would be shredded by Heavy Machine Gun Rounds. Incidentally the Standard weapon for the Starlight Spark Forces is the Starlight Spark produced Level 2 Chimeric Halberd; the lower half is a Rifle Barrel that fires Heavy Machine Gun Calibre Rounds. The Chimeric Halberd may not be able to fire as rapidly as Machine Gun Rifles since it’s restricted to 15 Rounds a minute to preserve the weapon, but each round can cause 800 damage to 《Durability》; which is orders of magnitude better than the 150 damage to 《Durability》 caused by Machine Gun Rifles ammunition. How much Mana does 〘Astral Shield〙 cost?"

Elrick : " Both 〘Astral Shield〙 and 〘Astral Flight〙 take Mana in packets of 500 Units. How long they last is a function of utilization; 〘Astral Shield〙 can last as long as 40 minutes if not impacted by hostile projectiles and Magic, but 〘Astral Flight〙 is a tremendous drain on Mana and can only sustain optimal flight for 11 minutes with the key determinant being Flight Speed; the faster you move the faster the 500 Mana units packet is depleted. It is estimated that in heavy combat both the 〘Astral Shield〙 and 〘Astral Flight〙 deplete the 500 unit Mana packet in less than 30 seconds. Both 〘Astral Shield〙 and 〘Astral Flight〙 are High order Spatial Psionic Magic that warps the space around the Armour to produce the effects. "

Vava : " I see. What about the physical enhancements? Shouldn’t they be harsh on the body?"

Elrick : " Level 3 Golem Armours move at the equivalent of someone with《Strength = 4,200》, 《Agility = 4,200》, 《Dexterity = 4,200》, 《Durability = 4,200》, 《Endurance = 4,200》 and 《Vitality = 4,200》; that means quadrupling the strain on the body of someone with lower stats. This is the reason there is a requirement of at least 1,000 EXP in these particular Stats; because without them meeting the minimum requirements using the full abilities of the Level 3 Golem Armour would tear-up the muscles and shred the body to peaces. I barely meet the Stat Requirements, but my『Physical-Increase』 Skill EXP is over 3,500 from 【Strength-Increase】 EXP = 1,204 and 【Speed-Increase】 EXP = 1,087 and lastly【Body-Harden】 EXP = 1,258. Normally someone meeting the minimum requirements can go Full Burst with the Level 3 Golem Armour physical capabilities for 5 to 7 minutes before needing to rest for about 30 minutes to recover, but I should be able to go Full Burst for 17 minutes by using my 『Physical-Increase』 Sub-Skills to limit the damage to my body."

Vava : " Then a Raid Group won’t be enough; an entire legion would be more of a proper match for you. Heck I don’t think entire legions of Starlight Spark Cavalries would be able to contain your movements so it’s fortuitous that we have this Cobalt City Starlight Brigade."

Elrick : " What are you saying?"

Vava : " You’ve just admitted to being able to move 4 times faster than a speeding bullet for 17 minutes. Though the training bullets we use are a bit faster I think it won’t make much of a difference, and even if you get hit it won’t damage your Armour. What is of concern is that given your monstrous strength a direct hit from you could do serious damage so I’ll have to restrict you to the training weapons we’ve borrowed from the Adventurer’s Guild."

Elrick : " Eh?"

Elrick was stunned by the fact that Vava was completely ignoring his protests and going ahead with the plan to use Elrick as a substitute for a Legion raid Monster.

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Even as Vava happily explained the new training regime to the 10 worst performing Raid Groups Elrick could only acquiesce and comply with Vava’s orders; that because it is Starlight Spark policy for the Executives of Starlight Spark never to undermine Commanders on the battlefields. Vava is the Lieutenant Commander of the Starlight Spark Forces; second only to Commander Bowden Starlight. By Starlight Spark rules not even the Clan Chief who holds the military rank of Group Captain like the other executives can overrule a Commander.

Starlight Spark set it up that way to avoid confusion in critical situation and making it clear that there exist a definitive chain of command on the Battlefield and the 2 Commanders are the absolute top.

Thus witnessing even the Clan Chief who holds a Noble peerage rank actively accept and comply with Vava’s orders served to cement the inviolability of the Starlight Spark military hierarchy in the minds of all the Force members.

Even after his own Golem Cores confirmed Vava’s assertion that he could probably take on an entire legion of the Cobalt City Starlight Brigade under the training circumstances Elrick remained nervous because he instinctively knew that the training circumstance were completely bogus. Under real combat conditions there would be unrestricted use of tracking Runic Ammunition that would make his speed meaningless. But Elrick understood that from Vava’s point of view training is meant to produce responsive and innovative thinking that can adapt to any situation.

And thus the fighting began.

First Fight

Looking at the formation the Legion was taking his Golem Cores displayed options and countermeasures while clearly defining the paths of all the potential bullets aimed at him, and to this Elrick could only sigh. Vava was right all along; they were ignoring all the detailed information Vava had given them about Elrick’s capabilities and the limits of Elrick’s Golem Armour. As expected of untested recruits they had chosen a massed fire tactic hoping to somehow seal his movements with bullets and spells.

Having some understanding of Elrick’s strength they chose to form a tight formation with 4 rows of 15 shield carrying defenders in the front, 2 rows on the sides and a single row in the back.

In response Elrick’s Golem Cores were indicating that he should break through the front. The analysis was indicating that the defences would not hold.

When the Signal to begin sounded the Legion fired their Chimeric Halberds at the Elrick that had been standing 175m away from them, and Elrick for his part instantaneously activated 〘Astral Shield〙, 【Strength-Increase】 , 【Speed-Increase】 and 【Body-Harden】. The firing by the legion was unceremoniously interrupted by the Sonic Boom that collided with the frontline defenders sending people flying through the air and speed of swing of the training Halberd flinging defenders after defenders into the air with terrifying force.

In no time at all Elrick was savaging the centre of formation causing everyone to scatter in every direction. With the formation broken the defenders could do nothing but be pushed back by the bodies of those they were meant to defend collapsing under Elrick’s swing of the training Halberd.

In just 28 seconds Vava sounded the end of the battle and instructed Elrick to help with the healing of the injured. The training Halberd would induce a stun effect but the sheer power with which Elrick had been swinging it meant that there would undoubtedly be broken bones.

The ones watching were shocked into stunned silence which quickly turned into an Uproar.

Elrick could hear the clamouring voices.

???? : " Oy oy Oy oy Oy oy Oy oy Oy oy Oy oy!"

???? : " Shit!"

???? : " HaHaHaHaHa!"

???? : " HeHeHeHe!"

???? : " So that’s the legendary Clan Chief of Starlight Spark?"

???? : "The Fuck?"

???? : " Eh?"

???? : " The difference Money makes!"

???? : " Really?"

???? : " It’s that Armour; totally unfair!"

???? : " He’s performing at the level of an elite city guard!"

???? : " Damn; wish I could get my hands on that Hardware."

???? : " Do you have a spare $10million laying around?"

???? : "What?"

???? : " What kind of Idiot would spend that much on Virtual Reality Items?"

???? : " The kind of Idiot who’s the Founder of a Global Corporation."

???? : " Damn-it! Why do the rich always get a head start?"

Elrick continued the work of helping to heal the injuries that he himself had caused.

Deep down Elrick knew that his swift victory was bogus; he was wearing Armour that made him leaps and bounds more powerful than his opponents, and they weren’t allowed the most effective weapons for this scenario; tracking runic ammunition. The setting was certainly twisted in his favour and Elrick knew it, but it was important for the Cobalt City Starlight Brigade to learn these crucial lessons in training because unlike the Atlantians their deaths could be permanent.

Second Fight

After an hour for Elrick to recover his spent Mana due to the extensive healing it was time for the Cobalt City Starlight Brigade to try again.

This time Vava decided that a single legion wasn’t enough; so he picked 20 of the best performing Raid Groups to go up against Elrick.

Elrick for his part hoped that the 2 top legions of the Cobalt City Starlight Brigade would prove more competent, but as he looked on at the formations they were assembling he wondered if the leaders had properly assessed the situation. Then Elrick realized the primary flaw in the Cobalt City Starlight Brigade; they lacked Golem Core Implants.

Starlight Spark Cavalry Commanders would have immediately run analysis on Elrick’s movements and developed countermeasures, but what Elrick was seeing was a textbook response to the existential threat; they were hunkering down for a completely defensive battle with no actual signs of a plan to defeat the threat. Elrick could understand the reaction given the speed with which he decimated the previous legion, and even though the 2 legions now facing him were stronger their tactical ability was hardly any better.

By Elrick’s logic; if you get into Mêlée with an opponent with a 5% speed advantage then your defence has to be higher than the power of the enemy’s strike, and that will turn the fight into a test of endurance with the one with highest stamina emerging victorious. However getting into Mêlée with an opponent with a 10% speed advantage is completely suicidal because the probability of landing a blow drops beyond survivable levels.

To Elrick the Cobalt City Starlight Brigade hadn’t properly assessed the difference in power by analysing the information given to them by Commander Vava. Elrick knew there were few ways to win and the best one was a combination of ranged attacks and defensive magic. The top 2 legions of the Cobalt City Starlight Brigade were arranging themselves into 4 box formations that were not as tightly packed as the legion that collapsed under a single attack.

Elrick thought spreading out was a good call but they were still too close to each other and Elrick’s Golems were already putting together efficient attack patterns. The 2 Class 5 Golem Cores in Elrick’s buttocks both have an Analysis Engine tailored for different circumstances. The Communications Module Analysis Engine is geared to analysing sensory inputs for communications purposes; that includes detecting and analysing enemy communications. The Field Command Module Analysis Engine is geared for tactical analysis; that includes analysing enemy patterns and including information from the Analysis of the Communications Module.

Vava had specifically instructed all of the Cobalt City Starlight Brigade about Elrick’s Golems and their potential ability to see through their stratagems and intercept their communications. They were supposed to protect their tactical info but Elrick could readily hear their communications with the aid of his 【Sound Magic】; they hadn’t done a good job at protecting their tactical information. Now that Elrick had full use of 【Sound Magic】 his Communications Module’s Analysis Engine could isolate vibrations in the air and listen in on conversations as far away as several kilometres; this is why Elrick chose the Communications Module in the first place.

Thus Elrick could readily hear how the 2 legion commanders and their lieutenants planned to prosecute the battle, and the Field Command Module was actively adjusting the counter strategies.

When Vava signalled the start of the battle Elrick activated the plan developed by the 2 Class 5 Golem Cores. The Class 5 Golem Core in the Armour always devotes itself to operating the armour so it’s not normally part of the tactical analysis though it also has an Analysis Engine that is about 4% the capability of the unattached Class 5 Golem Core.

Like before Elrick instantaneously activated 〘Astral Shield〙, 【Strength-Increase】 , 【Speed-Increase】 and 【Body-Harden】. Then Elrick Activated the recommended offensive 〘Elemental Spell〙Volleys through the Armour’s Engraved 【Elemental Spell Focus】 Runes. Since all the available spells were at 5 Mana and lower they wouldn’t do any damage to any of the targeted trainee Soldiers, but the goal was never to actually do any damage; it was always a diversion.

Even when you know that the multiples of 〘Fire Bullet〙, 〘Wind Blade〙, 〘Wind Spear〙, 〘Rock Bullet〙, 〘Water Bullet〙, 〘Laser Beam〙, 〘Sound Destruction Wave〙, 〘Explosive Noise Ball〙, 〘Ultrasound Wave〙, 〘Psionic Beam〙 and 〘Psionic Bullet〙 coming in their hundreds at you cannot hurt you it’s natural to flinch and react. It is that natural reaction that Elrick was aiming for while firing the spells even as he moved at his fastest speed.

This time Elrick aimed straight for the leaders of the 4 box formations; this would be a classic decapitation strike.

The first of the 4 box formations broke apart at the pressure of the Sonic Boom being generated by Elrick’s running speed. The fact that they had been distracted by the spells meant that by the time they realised that the spell volleys are a smokescreen Elrick had already torn through the second of the 4 box formations and was now heading for the Third. By the time he finished savaging the third of the 4 box formations the fourth had began to react, but rather than break through their defenders Elrick simply jumped into the middle of them and began tearing them apart.

With all the leaders dispatched the 4 box formations crumbled into a chaotic Melee with everyone trying to surround Elrick. However Elrick was now at his leisure and could decrease his Armour speed to a manageable 50% of Maximum and easily dispatch what remains of the 2 legions.

Seeing the result Vava signalled an end to the battle.

This time the battle lasted a little over 4 minutes and in that time Elrick incapacitated more than a third of the combined 2 legions. While Elrick helped with the healing his Field Command Module reviewed the results of the battle; the spell volley had consumed 4,000 units of Mana and that forced him to limit the amount of Mana going into 【Strength-Increase】 , 【Speed-Increase】 and 【Body-Harden】 to 750 units of Mana, and that meant the strain on his body from using the Armour at Full Burst was much higher; he’d need at least 2 hours to fully recover.

However Vava had other ideas as he passed recovery potions to Elrick and happily proclaiming that since 2 legions weren’t enough Elrick will face down 4 legions in an hours time.

Elrick let out a big sigh.

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In the next 4 battles Elrick abounded the spell volley and used his innate Spell 〘Aura Burst〙 to conceal his movements and added 〘Astral Flight〙 to his repertoire to give himself more room to manoeuvre. With 〘Astral Flight〙 now in play he could pickoff the dangerous opponents and leadership at his leisure; never giving them the opportunity to organize a proper attack and defence. They explored multiple stratagems but the inexperience of youth meant that they lacked the depth of knowledge to overcome their predicament; Elrick won the battles in under 15 minutes.

Ultimately Vava decided to command 2 legions against Elrick.

From the planning phase Vava used security Magic Fields (wards) to prevent Elrick from listening in, and Vava used the Runic Communicators that had already been shielded to relay instructions. Vava had chosen to bring the battle down to a party level reinforced by terrain control and management.

Elrick’s first attack was interrupted by a barrier; the previous legions had tried using Earth Walls but Elrick would blow the wall of earth into the defenders, however the wall of fire in front of him concealed a layer of earth spikes, and as he hesitated a hail of bullets rained down on his position and anticipated paths of retreat. The parties were too spread out for Elrick to draw them into a chaotic melee, and Vava who had the ability to track his movements thanks to a level 4 Golem Core could call in attacks from a concealed location.

Every-time Elrick tried to attack a party he would find himself in a quagmire of traps and a massive counterattack would ensue forcing his 〘Astral Shield〙 to burn through precious Mana reserves at an alarming rate. When Elrick’s golems detected a weakness it turned out to be a trap that sucked him into Legion spells that burned through even more Mana. Vava was clearly forcing Elrick into using his 〘Astral Flight〙 in a haphazard stop-start method thereby further accelerating Mana Depletions.

It was obvious to Elrick that Vava was running the clock on Elrick’s Mana reserves but there was little he could do; Vava was taking advantage of the fact that Elrick is still a Golem Armour Novice. There was only one way for Elrick to win at this point; find Vava and defeat him. However all the other times Elrick thought he had located Vava had been traps, and ultimately frustration caught the better of Elrick and he found himself in a 〘Spinning Plasma Vortex〙 legion spell that ultimately depleted his Mana reserves.

Commander Vava had achieved victory by sacrificing 15% of his force and ending the battle in 8 minutes.

Elrick’s streak was finally ended.

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Part 2

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Later that evening Elrick attended a Starlight Spark Board meeting at the Corporate Offices of Starlight Spark in Realm Eternal. The Starlight Spark Tower conference room strictly reserved for use by the Executives of Starlight Spark overlooks Cobalt City. Everyone is present and Winged Sage Falcros is represented by Egret Collins and another of its Executives.

The key subjects on the discussions schedule are 1) VirtGold and its Associated VirtCoin, 2) The implications of the Advanced Torpor Deep Sleep State.

Every VirtGold constitutes 100 VirtCoins and both are the wholly unanimous 【AIVRE】 Based CryptoCurrency due to be launched by the Advent Consortium. The information gained through a number of reliable sources indicate that the central banks of at least 114 countries would make purchases of the new 【AIVRE】 Based CryptoCurrency; signalling the beginning of the end of the United States Dollar as the preferred currency of international trade.

The potential end of the $ USD as the primary reserve currency would have devastating consequences for the US economy and that of the Allied European Union and its Currency. Thus the instigators of the VirtGold 【AIVRE】 Based CryptoCurrency are undoubtedly those against the hegemonic dominance of NATO allied countries on the Global Financial System. That meant Corporations choosing to abandon the traditional FIAT currencies for the VirtGold 【AIVRE】 Based CryptoCurrency would essentially be choosing a side.

The primary selling point of the VirtGold 【AIVRE】 Based CryptoCurrency is that there would only ever be 500 Trillion VirtGold; that’s 100 Trillion VirtGold and 400 Trillion VirtCoin. That means that there is an absolute limit on the amount of VirtGold and its Associated VirtCoin available, and the 500 Trillion VirtGold Advent Consortium had produced is all there would ever be; there would be no further printing of money. The cryptography of the 【AIVRE】 Based CryptoCurrency is such that not even a Trillion Quantum Computers could brute-force the Encryption.

Elrick wanted to abandon FIAT currencies in favour of VirtGold and its Associated VirtCoin.

Elrick : " We can’t Afford not to make this move; the cost of waiting would be needlessly expensive."

Egret Collins : " Taking early action would be nailing our colours to the wall; essentially choosing a side."

Elrick : " This may very well be my Rubicon Moment; but I’m not willing to loose due to fear."

Egret Collins : " Rubicon Moment? You’re putting all of us on the line; dragging all of us kicking ad screaming across the Rubicon with you."

Elrick : " I’m already on the firing line; and because of my newly found Fame I’ve had to let Lorelei’s father take me in at Lorelei’s insistence for security reasons. We are already targets! That said the South African Government is Allied to China, Russia, India and Brazil; thus by both residency and citizenship I’m already on the other side, and my British citizenship won’t protect me. The South African Government will give us protection if we don’t oppose them. Therefore for my own safety I have to go along with this global shift in financial markets. I could move to Britain, but I can’t trust any of the NATO Allied Countries because they are firmly in the pockets of the Corporate Oligarchy and their Overlords. Besides; the collapse of the Dollar bubble is inevitable."

Bowden : " Hey; don’t sell America Short!"

Axil : " Yeah; It’s the greatest country in the world!"

Egret face-palms; clearly knowing what happens next.

Elrick : " Really? In what way is it the greatest country in the world?"

Bowden : " The Biggest per capita GDP?"

Elrick : " No; that would be a number of thriving Tax Havens. And per capita GDP is a false narrative because the top 1% account for 70% of the national income now."

Axil : " Greatest Military!"

Elrick : " It has the most expensive Military; that’s not to say it’s any good, and bean counting won’t help you in this regard. What we’ve seen from recent wars is that US military power is effective against weak and defenceless nations, but against near peers the major assets like Aircraft Carriers and So-Called Stealth would prove Redundant. Between Memory Imprints and Golem Core Implants you guys should be smart enough to figure it out now right? The world system is a fraud!"

Axil : " The US is the Oldest Democracy!"

Elrick : " The United States was never a Democracy."

Bowden : " The Fuck? Of-course it’s a Democracy!"

Even Bowden had gotten animated.

Elrick : " 「They ought to be constituted as to protect the minority of the Opulent against the Majority. 」"

Egret Collins : " Ah; James Madison."

Axil : " Who’s that?"

Egret Collins : " One of the Framers of our Constitution; perhaps the most important. He said that during the Constitutional Convention Debates, and that was the prevailing wisdom of the day. As expected of a Prion; Elrick knows far more about the nature and structure of the United States than the vast majority of Americans. I suggest that the both of you give-up on this argument; because it can’t be won."

Bowden : " You’re also suggesting that our country is a fraud?"

Axil : " What kind of American are you?"

Egret Collins : " I’m a Prion. The Golem Cores may have closed the gap between us but that hasn’t changed the difference in knowledge."

Elrick : " Don’t get upset; the problem besetting the United States goes back to Aristotle. Even Aristotle noted that of all the political systems Democracy was the best, but then proceeded to point out that if ancient Athens became a Democracy the poor would get together and confiscate the property of the wealthy. Aristotle’s solution was the Welfare State. What we see in the United States is the opposite solution; limits on democracy. The consequence of the United States choosing limits on democracy is that over time democratic values became eroded, and it decayed into an Imperial Republic. The United States has professed Values and Ideals, but the evidence suggests that the country itself is opposed to those same Values and Ideals. With all this talk of Liberty, Freedom and Democracy we forget that the United States is the Lovechild of European Aristocrats; the very people who had the financial resources to build ships and send them loaded with Slavic Slaves to the continental United States to set up plantations. The United States wasn’t built by the pilgrims; it was built by slaves. It was the European Plantation owners that carved-up what would later become the United States of America. In fact it was the same Planters who decided to Racialize Slavery whose security requirements necessitated the acceleration of the industrial revolution. If that’s not enough to recognize that the United States was never a democracy then why is it that almost all democracies in South America, Africa and Eurasia that were overthrown were overthrown by United States allies? In nearly all the coups where a democracy was overthrown it was replaced by a business friendly Fascist Dictatorship."

Axil : " Haaa?"

Bowden : " Why are you making it sound like the United States is the bad guy?"

Egret Collins : " Because few if any Countries can Claim that the United States supported their liberation from Tyranny. Even the Cold War was largely about preventing the vast majority of the population of the world from democratically choosing Socialism; neither NATO nor the Soviets liked Democratic Socialism. Democratic Socialism is analogous to Egalitarianism and for all its flaws Democratic Socialism almost always reduces the concentration of power; and Political Elites everywhere prefer a concentration of power. In the United States concentration of wealth produces concentration of power which in turn produces even more concentration of wealth; it’s a vicious circle we’ve been trapped in since the founding of the United States. What this vicious circle has produced in the United States is the only developed country with 35% poverty rates; and extreme inequality in Education, HealthCare, Salaries and fundamental access to Human Rights."

Grinder : " It’s not just the United States; the entire western world is populated by Faux Democracies."

Swordin : " Then perhaps we should take a side."

Hammerin : " Isn’t collapse inevitable? We should get ahead of it."

Elrick : " I’m not talking about overtly taking a political position; even if that is what such a move would imply. I’m saying that we pretend not to notice and do what makes financial sense; just like the Executives of the Advent Consortium."

Egret Collins : " Right; the governments who own the Advent Consortium may see the introduction of the 【AIVRE】 Based VirtGold and its associated VirtCoin as part of a grand political strategy, but the Executives of the Advent Consortium likely see the 【AIVRE】 Based CryptoCurrency as a method to get out from under the mountain of debt and ultimately cement their dominance over Virtual Reality technology."

Armlet : " So in the end it’s about money."

Arrow : " Or perhaps who controls the money."

Ring : " Who makes the money and who has access to it?"

Elrick : " My point exactly; the 【AIVRE】 Based CryptoCurrency is meant to be wholly unanimous. If at least 114 countries are going to hold the new 【AIVRE】 Based CryptoCurrency in reserve then it becomes instantly viable for international trade. The best part is that we can avoid not just the reserve banks but also the commercial banks in a single move. The Advent Consortium has been burning through an inordinate amount of cash; now reaching a trillion US Dollars, and all financed through debt. The banks must have thought they could control the Advent Consortium by leveraging the debt, but by producing the 【AIVRE】 Based CryptoCurrency the Advent Consortium will be able to clear the trillion US Dollars in debt it has spent on Factories, Satellites, Fibre-Optic Cables and a Global network of Advent Wireless Communications Towers."

Egret Collins : " The Advent Consortium is essentially turning the FIAT currency system on its head. And by giving a discount to all those who register to purchase bulk VirtGold they are making it seem like a Stock Market IPO. It’s devilishly ingenious!"

Arrow : " What’s the initial rate?"

Ring : " Yeah; it might be worth getting in on it privately."

Elrick : " The initial rate will be set at 10 VirtGold to the United States Dollar. Registered pre-orders get 40 VirtGold to the United States Dollar provided they buy a minimum of $50million USD worth."

Hammerin : " Won’t it be easy to short the VirtGold? What would stop the Federal Reserve from buying a trillion and then turning around and selling it?"

Armlet : " Wouldn’t that crash the VirtGold and thus make it no longer viable?"

Arrow : " And we would lose."

Ring : " Surely there are countermeasures; right?"

Egret Collins : " There are purchase contracts for pre-ordering VirtGold; you’d have to hold it for at least 15 days for between 160 million VirtGold and 1 Billion VirtGold, 30 days for between 1 Billion VirtGold and 10 Billion VirtGold, 180 days for between 10 Billion VirtGold and 100 Billion VirtGold, 360 days for between 100 Billion VirtGold and 500 Billion VirtGold, 912 days for between 500 Billion VirtGold and 1 Trillion VirtGold and 1825 days for anything over 1 Trillion VirtGold. Thus the Federal Reserve wouldn’t be able to purchase enough VirtGold to crush the VirtGold Market. And selling cheaply supposes that there would be a buyer at that cheap price. From what we’ve heard the Chinese and Indian central banks have signed on to buy 10 Trillion VirtGold and 7 Trillion VirtGold respectively. Russia will buy around 4 Trillion VirtGold and the other countries will buy a collective 27 Trillion VirtGold; leaving just 7 Trillion VirtGold for the rest of the market from the first 55 Trillion VirtGold Initial Public Offering amount that the Advent Consortium is releasing."

Elrick : " The Advent Consortium has made it clear that it will not buy back any of the issued VirtGold and after the first 55 Trillion VirtGold they will only release 10 Billion VirtGold a month for the foreseeable future. However just from the 55 Trillion VirtGold the Advent Consortium should net $1.9 Trillion USD; a sufficient amount to clear the Advent Consortium debts and all current construction projects."

Grinder : " Let’s put this to a vote; will Starlight Spark use VirtGold and its associated VirtCoin as the primary transactional Currency?"

By a show of hands the Board votes to use VirtGold and its associated VirtCoin as Starlight Spark’s primary transactional Currency.

Elrick : " The Ayes have it!"

Grinder : " From here onwards VirtGold and its associated VirtCoin will be Starlight Spark’s primary transactional Currency. Now for the subject of the Advanced Torpor Deep Sleep State; also known as HyperSleep."

Egret Collins : " Haaaa! Yet another troublesome matter from Advent Consortium."

Elrick : " Basically my request here is that you include the $15million owed to me in the purchase of the Starlight Spark’s purchase of VirtGold that way I can benefit from the discount and when the value of VirtGold shoots up I can make sufficient profit to buy myself a spot in the Advanced Torpor Deep Sleep State Program."

Bowden : " You want to go into HyperSleep?"

Axil : " Is this HyperSleep even safe?"

Elrick : " Ah? Right; I haven’t properly explained it. Through extensive study of the Fat-tailed dwarf lemur of Madagascar for long term space travel the data was collated and through 【AIVRE】 simulations the Advanced Human Torpor Deep Sleep State Program was developed to produce the HyperSleep Capsule Pod. Two months ago construction began on 8 sites; that’s a site in China, Northern Russia, Southern India, Germany, New York State in the USA, South Africa, Australia and Brazil. Each of the facilities is being built at a cost of $125 Billion and is given the diplomatic status of an Embassy. The Facilities are in essence self-sufficient nuclear bunkers; powered by at least 7 of the most advanced Naval Nuclear Reactors, and run by the computing power of 15 【AIVRE】 systems. Each of the facilities will host 250,000 HyperSleep Capsule Pod; with buy in currently set at $57 million USD. Buried over a kilometre underground the wealthy can comfortably sleep for long periods of time in relative safety. The sleep cycle is estimated at 5 to 10 years. You should look at this as a kind of expensive home. By my analysis it will be a very long time before the HyperSleep Capsule Pod is available to the general public because the HyperSleep Capsule Pod is directly regulated by an 【AIVRE】 system and that makes it inherently expensive. Adding to the complication is that the wealthy who can afford to buy it for themselves are unlikely to share it with common folk; for security reasons. Thus I don’t expect full wide-scale implementation of HyperSleep Capsule Pods for at least 200 years, and if I go into HyperSleep I will likely live long enough to witness such an age of wisdom and reason. Assuming the coming economic turmoil doesn’t trigger a nuclear war."

Grinder : " Wait? You think there’s a risk of Nuclear War?"

Egret Collins : " Once the Lavishly Opulent Decadent Wealthy are Safely in their Nuclear bunkers the risk of Nuclear War increases exponentially."

Elrick : " Which is why I want to be safe. With the Prions gearing up for an ultimate clash with the Lanteans I don’t want to be caught up in a Nuclear War. You should all think very carefully about your personal security and that of your families."

Swordin : " Nuclear War?"

Hammerin : " Humanity isn’t that irrational."

Elrick : " Really? In the Cuban missile crisis the liberal John F Kennedy threatened war over missiles in Cuba; casually ignoring American missiles in Europe and the previous attempted invasion of Cuba along with Assassination attempts on Castro that brought on the Soviet missiles. In response to American nuclear Brinkmanship Nikita Khrushchev sent this message; 「We and You ought not pull on the ends of a rope, which You have tied the Knots of War ….. Because the more the two of us pull, the tighter the Knots will be tied…. And then it will become necessary to cut that Knot, and what that would mean is not for me to explain to You. ….. I have participated in 2 Wars, and know that War Ends when it is rolled through Cities and Villages; everywhere sowing death and Destruction. ….. For such is the Logic of War. ….. If people do not Display Wisdom, they will Clash like Blind Moles, and then Mutual Annihilation will Commence.」."

Egret Collins : " Rationality is not a Guarantee. The indefinite combination of Human Fallibility and Nuclear Weapons will Destroy Nations."

Elrick : " So yes; the Risk of a Catastrophic Global Holocaust Exists Today!"

Egret Collins : " True"

The room went silent.

The Board approved both of Elrick’s proposals, and it was clear that they would all carefully consider their own security. Fortunately they were all very wealthy and could afford to buy slots in commercially available Nuclear Fallout shelters.

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