Viewing as Guest
Chapter 30: The Price of Privilege
Date Published: September 26th, 2016
〘〙= Status, Combat Arts & Magical Spells
〚〛= Internal Thoughts
Where others would marvel at their own magnificence on having hundreds of thousands come out to meet them Elrick could not be so callous; that is because cheers rising to the heavens were those of a people driven to the depths of desperation. The people welcoming Starlight Spark to Norfork were clinging to the final sliver of hope in a frantic attempt to grasp the Light of Salvation offered by a relative newcomer to the malaise of Grandeur brought on by the whim of the entitled.
No; Elrick could not accept the cheers of the oppressed. With the 『Elf Eyes』 Skill Elrick could clearly see the sunken cheeks and the ragged state of the cheering crowd. Finally Elrick had come face to face with the Price of Entrenched Privilege; the unrelenting suffering needed to sustain a Privileged Class of Society. The suffering before Elrick’s spoke volumes about the true nature of Entrenched Privilege in an economically Stratified Society.
This time Elrick would not be able to look away and he would have to confront his own Entrenched Privilege. Elrick had been born to a land owner and his mother is the daughter of a long line of freedom fighters. But Elrick himself had turned his back on the illustrious history of his ancestors and chose to join the Privileged Academic Class in his quest for knowledge, and later Elrick deliberately joined the monstrous Corporate Class; the heart of the ruling class of the modern world.
It was during his short stint at the heart of so called modern capitalism that Elrick became properly acquainted with what it means to be part of the Ruling Elite of humanity. From their glass and concrete towers they preside over the new mercantilism social order. In the USA they call it American Capitalism but even then Elrick knew that it wasn’t Capitalism because Capitalism had rightly and properly failed during the great depression and had been replaced by Corporatism and Corporate Fascism.
For decades communist would be perplexed by the resilience of western Capitalism; blind to the truth that what they faced was never Capitalism. The ruling Privileged Class have never liked Capitalism because it came with the risk of failure brought on by incessant competition along with the constant emergence of new entrepreneurs; that kind of risk is wholly unacceptable to the ruling Privileged Class. Capitalism is too free a system and would pose a threat to their Privilege.
Capitalism was only acceptable to the ruling Privileged Class if they held a monopoly on Government State Power; that way they could manipulate laws and the state purse for their benefit. More importantly any entrepreneurs that emerged would be subject to regulatory capture and be forced to surrender their advantage to the Entrenched Privileged Class. Anyone industrious enough to develop a new method of production would be forced to share the technological advantage or be accused of anti-competitive behaviour by the very people who despise competition.
Elrick had seen it all, and though he is reticent to admit it to himself he too had been an agent of the Privileged Class. The Merchants of Death on Earth have since time immemorial held sway be it with country or church and through their control of wealth instigated the oppression and enslavement of the peasant class. In the modern economy the peasant class is the average worker who has thus far been betrayed by every structure and system that purported to stand for their rights.
During Elrick’s employment in the financial sector he would with the stroke of the pen move capital from one area to another and in so doing impoverish small villages without the slightest consideration. Now Elrick could well and truly understand that he and others like him had been collaborators in the enslavement of their own kin; turning good natured ordinary people into wage-slaves. The middle class is fictional illusion because there has only ever been 2 classes working class and the Privileged Ruling Class.
The peasant or working class had been consistently indoctrinated through religion or propaganda into believing that upward mobility is possible and given trinkets or exceptions who have climbed the social ladder as proof. As an educated Prion Elrick could not claim ignorance because he had been all too aware of the truth of the modern human civilization and chose to turn a blind eye to it’s evil. Now as one who was so easily cast-out by the ruling class and warmly taken back once his fortunes changed Elrick knew that he had no place amongst Privileged Ruling Class.
After becoming a millionaire a hundred times over Elrick understood the inclination to protect that wealth; even at the expense of the lives of the innocent. However Elrick was not the person he once was; he had miscalculated in a good way. Elrick had underestimated the effect the Memory Imprints from Sir Arwick and the 5 Cobalt City Academy professors selected by Winged Sage Falcros for the Memory Imprints protocol. Memory Imprints aren’t just a superficial change in memories and even Elrick had recognized that much.
Elrick now knew that some of the Memory owners personality Imprints with the Memory Imprint. This much was the secret to how Elrick had been able to so easily connect with people at his welcome celebration.
The people of this reality were no longer expendable and for better or worse those that aligned themselves with him would become his responsibility; and Elrick would carry the weight of their fates on his shoulders. Elrick wondered if it would have easier had he chosen Memory Imprints from people who were altogether indifferent to the needs of other people, but then Elrick quickly dismissed that line of thought because he knew that even the Prions at Winged Sage Falcros had chosen people of a caring and righteous character to avoid a drastic personality shift.
It was in that moment, walking into that Dieing town of Norfork that he decided his own Fate.
He would become a Patriarch; an All-Father.
Sovereign of a people.
After the grandiose speeches were made Elrick and the other Starlight Spark High-Elves of Light got to work.
Using the talents of a Magical Surgeon on malnourished individuals would be wholly inefficient so Elrick directed his efforts to dealing with infections that exacerbated the physical states of the people in front of him. Members of the Starlight Spark force would then distribute some rations to the people with the hope that the sustenance they were providing would hold until Starlight Spark is able to secure some much needed food aid from the Commonwealth.
As a Commonwealth Noble Elrick had some access to the emergency food stockpiles and could mobilize enough food to feed a million people for a month. However any more and the other Nobles would take notice and begin creating roadblocks. Elrick knew full well that the other Nobles were using the Commonwealth emergency food stockpiles to generate wealth through complex schemes and if he interfered with that money making scheme he would be dealt with forthwith.
The Commonwealth maintained emergency food stockpiles because there was always the chance that the Demons would launch an all-out attack on Ado and the entire population would be embroiled in a long siege that would severely decrease food production. Thus to guard against that remote possibility the Asgard Continental Republic made sure to replenish the Commonwealth emergency food stockpiles. The Continentals have the Forest Elves, Wood Elves, the Brown Alvs and the Green Alvs who all possessed high affinity with plant magic; enough magic power to feed an entire world.
Elrick quickly realized that the internationally recognized Adventurers Guild is probably the closest thing to an international legal body and could therefore handle food distribution. However the Adventurers Guild was also subject to any number of restrictions that prevent it from interfering in the internal affairs of countries. Nonetheless the Adventurers Guild presented an opportunity to the Elrick who wanted to subvert some of its systems for his purposes.
A few days have passed and Grinder began noticing a few inconsistencies and he knew that the only one with the Authority to move Starlight Spark units and funds was Elrick.
This necessitated a call to Elrick.
Grinder : " Elrick; I’m seeing a lot of movement of personnel and associated funds needed for mobilization. Care to explain? I know it’s you because Bowden would have needed my authorization to move funds but as Clan Chief you are able to move small amounts without my authorization."
Elrick : " Ah that! You caught-on too quickly; I was hoping to leave you out of the troublesome things."
Grinder : " What are you doing? Why have you mobilized the entire Fifth Special Operations Cavalry?"
Grinder : " Just tell me!"
Elrick : " Fine! Haaaah"
Elrick let’s out a sigh.
Grinder : " What are you doing?"
Elrick : " It occurred to me that there might be a lot of normal skilled people who may want to abandon their countries; so I moved Fifth Special Operations Cavalry to fulfil that role."
Elrick : " An Administrative 2 Gold Coins per person. Already we’ve got over 7,000 families signed-up to join the Starlight Spark Clan in order to travel to the Commonwealth Realm. Assuming an average family of 5 we should see 70,000 Gold Coins by the end of the week."
Grinder is slightly shocked by the numbers but remains composed.
Grinder : " Why didn’t you tell me? I could have made the operation more efficient."
Elrick : " That’s because of the other objective I’ve assigned to the Fifth Special Operations Cavalry."
Grinder : " What objective?"
Elrick : " Is this line secure on your end?"
Elrick : " The other objective is the distribution of Narcotics."
Grinder : " Eh? What?"
This time Grinder loses all pretences of composure.
Elrick : " I was trying to keep you out of it."
Grinder : " Where did you even get Narcotics?"
〚Elrick : " Dude; it’s not like I can tell you that I Used ESA surveillance Archives to find out where the Commonwealth Nobles were storing their Illegal Narcotics”〛
Elrick : " I found out where some Commonwealth Nobles were storing their Illegal Narcotics then hired some proficient people to steal them by offering Ayana’s Elven Armour as half of the payment.”
Grinder : " What? So that’s why your Ayana isn’t around. Elrick; you could have told me that you needed cash."
Elrick : " Paying with the Elven Armour was preferable for both sides because it reduces the paper trail. I’ll be able to settle the outstanding amounts with the money gained from the transactions."
Grinder : " You hid this from the other Executives because most of them have used your becoming a Noble Clan Chief to gain acceptance into the Faculty of Knighthood and the Honour requirement would be an impediment."
Grinder : " How much money are we talking about?"
Elrick : " I’m told it’s at least 250,000 Gold Coins. I’m having the Starlight operatives transact with at least 2,000 dealers so it will take time to collate all the cash. Also it would be difficult to explain the transactions to the authorities so I’m having them transform most of the cash into input goods for Starlight Spark Crafting. Either way Starlight Spark is looking at a substantial cash windfall that I’d like you to invest in the village."
Elrick : " We need a thousand of them; how much will that cost?"
Elrick : " Is it a fair price?"
Grinder : " Yes; yes it is. Given the potential benefits it’s a good deal. Also now that you’ve added to our coffers we won’t be in the Red so it’s fine to finance such a project."
Grinder : " There are all kinds of problems with that part of the project. Because of the sands storms out there and the lack of facilities too the Commercial Earth mages will cost 10 times the normal rate. That means even the basic village layout will end up costing at least 150,000 Gold Coins. There’s also the 250,000 Gold Coins we will have to put together for Psionic Barrier."
Elrick : " So again it comes down to funds. Let’s build Pyramids. Have the Starlight Spark Crafters design Pyramids using interlocking 2 ton stone blocks which can be assembled on site. We can have those kids from the Cobalt City Starlight Brigade help us assemble the Pyramids since they are stronger. Go to the academy and recruit more crafters if necessary we need to get structures set up out there as soon as possible. As for the shield one of the benefits of building within Commonwealth territory is that property can’t be taken by force so we can afford to wait a while."
Elrick : " Because of the disparity in wealth Starlight City will have to adopt Socialism as the economic policy. I’ve made too many enemies to attempt the open market model and the Commonwealth Nobles would use their greater wealth to force me into a subservient role. The only way out now is to create a Socialist Island and have Starlight Spark serve as the primary vendor to Starlight City and later to the Starlight Spark Kingdom that will be formed on the opposite side of the border."
Elrick : " Yes; a veritable monopoly on the business of Starlight City and later on a Starlight Spark Socialist Kingdom"
Grinder : " I see you’re choosing a system that has a sovereign at the top."
Elrick : " As an Atlantian immortal I can guarantee that the bribery of the locals is less likely to be significant. This way I can make sure that everything stays true to plan and not perverted by vested interest."
Elrick : " That’s why I’m doing some of the underhanded things now so I can maintain a squeaky clean image later."
Grinder and Elrick continued to iron-out the details of various plans.
It’s been 2 RET weeks since Elrick deployed the Fifth Special Operations Cavalry all over the Grandeur Continent and so far things have gone as well as can be expected; suboptimal but good enough to considered a success.
As expected it was not possible to develop countermeasures for every unforeseen situation.
Elrick had been using the ESA surveillance Archives to locate local narcotics distributions centres as well as rival competitors in the various targeted locales. Making sure to only approach individuals that would readily welcome a cheaper price in order to undercut their competitors and gain market share. Elrick avoided dealing with those who wanted to hold protracted negotiations and only associated with those willing to make a quick deal; a relationship with these people was not the goal.
So far 123 members of the Fifth Special Operations Cavalry had been killed while killing some 149 adventurous people in deals gone bad. However the bigger problem remains the 256 police and officials killed in order to cover-up the activities of the Fifth Special Operations Cavalry. The fact that this is in multiple countries would surely minimise the probability that the activities would be traced back to Starlight Spark but the killings and assassinations of officials were an obvious Red Flag.
Elrick knew full well that time and again he would have to slaughter innocents but he resolved that this is the only time it would be done to protect or advance the prospect of illicit profits.
The Fifth Special Operations Cavalry and its commander Cavalry Captain Sello had performed admirably under difficult and rapidly evolving circumstances. There would no longer be any questions about the value of the Fifth Special Operations Cavalry and its specialized training. Elrick had specifically selected Cavalry Captain Sello because he recognized Sello’s willingness to perform tasks that would not cover him in glory and few would ever know of their activities. Sello was all too happy to be Starlight Spark’s Spymaster having had that desire in real life but been prevented by a criminal record.
What Elrick completely misconstrued was the desire of common people in troubled regions to immigrate to the Commonwealth Realm.
Once word spread of a method to escape to the Commonwealth Realm requests to the agents of the Fifth Special Operations Cavalry increased exponentially. Before Elrick realised it he was being forced to recruit officers from The Second Mechanized Cavalry, The Third Air Cavalry and The Fourth Expeditionary Cavalry to support the administrative burden being placed upon the Fifth Special Operations Cavalry. With the exception of the First Ranger Cavalry Sergeants, Lieutenants and Captains from the other cavalries were being brought in to assist.
By the time Elrick regained some measure of control there were hundreds of thousands of people signed up to join the Starlight Spark Clan and promptly leave their region and country. Erick had predicted several thousand families would sign up and his most optimistic prediction was about 20,000 families. However Elrick had been too naïve in his calculations and had Expected Loyalty to Nation from those who had essentially been trapped by the Privileged of the society.
A revision in Elrick’s analysis had become necessary.
Elrick is in long range communications with the Cavalry Captains Cavalry Captain Ebni of the First Ranger Cavalry, Cavalry Captain Thana of the Second Mechanized Cavalry, Cavalry Captain Davis of the Third Air Cavalry, Cavalry Captain Abram of the Fourth Expeditionary Cavalry and Cavalry Captain Sello of the Special Operations Cavalry.
It is important to maintain constant contact with the various elements now that everything is in flux and everyone is committed.
Elrick : " Captain Davis; How is it going?"
Cavalry Captain Davis : " Milord; I believe the Third Air Cavalry has submitted all the relevant reports on our air search of the designated locations."
They had already started addressing Elrick as Lord after realizing that the Starlight Spark Clan was building a small town and Elrick’s peerage would rise to that of a High Noble.
Elrick : " So there’s no improvement?"
Cavalry Captain Davis : " I’m afraid not Milord. The area is vast and there’s the requirement of remaining hidden."
Elrick : " You understand how important this is; right?"
Elrick : " Operation Elven Light is a success, but that success will be rendered mute if I’m unable to change the material conditions that created the crisis. The local Lords will simply reproduce the situation elsewhere. I need the demons to force their capitulation."
Cavalry Captain Sello : " If I may sir?"
Elrick : " Go on."
Cavalry Captain Sello : " Milord; the Third Air Cavalry will never find the Goblins."
Cavalry Captain Sello : " I don’t mean this to be disparaging towards the Third Air Cavalry. I would go as far as to say that none of the Starlight Spark Cavalries will find the Goblins because we are simply not sufficiently skilled and experienced. Even Milord will fare no better than any of us."
Despite Captain Sello’s utterances Elrick maintains his composure.
Elrick : " Then what do you propose Captain Sello?"
Cavalry Captain Sello : " We need a King Rank Earth Mage."
Elrick : " Eh?"
Even Elrick lost his composure.
Cavalry Captain Ebni : " A King Rank Earth Mage is a bit ……?"
Cavalry Captain Sello : " I know; believe me I know what I’m saying. But it’s the only way."
Elrick : " If Starlight Spark moves a King Rank Earth Mage there’ll be a spotlight on our finances because being able to put together the 40,000 Gold Coins to hire a King is not a simple matter. Everyone will know that we’ve been charging people 2 Gold Coins for the Privilege of joining the Starlight Spark Clan as a way to circumvent the Commonwealth Immigration Regulations."
Cavalry Captain Abram : " I wouldn’t be surprised if there are moves to strip Milord of His Noble Title as the easiest way to plug the loophole."
Elrick was delighted that the Class 4 Golem Cores had transformed the officers into competent individuals that are worth far more than he was paying them and he resolved to at the very least Triple their salaries.
Elrick : " It’s true that the simplest way would be to strip me of the Nobility because the other method would simply take too long. It would take at least a year for them to concoct the legislation for both the Council of Nobles and Council of High Nobles to approve get it through the Asgard Continental Republic’s Own Federal Legislature. Whether they can actually strip me of Nobility will depend on his Majesty Lord Elron’s willingness to risk the Ire of the rest of the Asgard Continental Republic to protect me by granting me Honorary Citizenship of Eastal. Things become a lot easier if I uncover a Demonic Infiltration."
Cavalry Captain Sello : " The only way to detect the Demonic Infiltration is with skill of a King Rank Earth Mage. Milord; you know this as well as anyone. The Demons aren’t stupid enough to leave themselves exposed, and they no doubt have used sophisticated concealment magic. So it is therefore imperative that we have someone who can feel the structure of the very ground; detecting even the tiniest abnormality in the way the mountains are formed."
Cavalry Captain Sello : " Milord; you should have sent out a King Rank Earth Mage a week ago, and if you continue to delay we will need 2 or more King Rank Earth Mages"
Elrick : " Eh?"
Elrick is taken aback by the implications and begins to reexamine his own intransigence.
Cavalry Captain Abram : " Captain Sello; I’d advice caution in the way you Address our leader. Have you properly considered that you’re suggesting that Starlight spend the equivalent of Hundreds of millions on this project? Is there even the money for this kind of endeavour?"
Cavalry Captain Sello : " I’m well aware of the implications. Furthermore the Lord Elrick expects honest and robust counsel when in conference. The Special Operations Cavalry has already signed-up over 227,000 people into the Starlight Spark Clan so the funds are available. Also given the demand to escape from the deteriorating situations in the various countries at risk the number of people joining Starlight Spark Clan for that purpose could easily reach 7 million within the next 2 RET months."
They are all Surprised.
Cavalry Captain Ebni : " 7 million?"
Cavalry Captain Thana : " The revenue from 7 million is an extraordinary sum."
Cavalry Captain Abram : " Theoretically that is."
Elrick : " Theoretically that kind of Gold is worth a lot in the Real World. However if we tried to convert that much Gold into Dollars we would collapse the Value of the Realm Eternal currency and I suspect that we would not live long enough to make the deal. All those people holding Realm Eternal currency won’t like us devaluing their money and would not waist a second considering whether to send over people inclined to doing that kind of wet work in the real world. Those of us who enjoy breathing would do well to refrain from doing anything to antagonize those who would take seriously such a provocation. The market economy is not the Ideal preached by its purveyors; it is a fraud carefully managed by vested interest who would not hesitate to send over killers to those who threaten them. All the Narcotics Cartels cultivated by the CIA and its Allies have created an international network of killers who have infiltrated every nation and can be hired cheaply for both Espionage and Assassination."
Elrick : " You’re Right. We’ll need at least 7 Kings."
Cavalry Captain Ebni : " 7 Kings?"
They are all Shocked.
Elrick : " No; 7 Kings that are publicly acknowledged. Another 4 Kings will need to move clandestinely. From the 7 we’ll need 4 Earth Kings, 1 Plant King and 2 Sword Kings and from the 4 we’ll need 2 Earth Kings and 2 Shadow Kings."
Cavalry Captain Thana : " Sword Kings and Shadow Kings? Why?"
Elrick : " The problem here is that the minute Starlight Spark moves a King Rank everybody will be looking at us so it’s better to make a big splash with the seven Kings so we can hide the movements of the 4 Kings Starlight Spark will be sending to hunt for Demons. We will have the 4 Earth Kings work to build up Starlight City a bit. The Plant King is for the eventuality that Forkland will cut us off from the Teleportation System; keeping the food supplies flowing will be necessary. As for the Sword Kings; one of the Sword Kings will go to guarding the Pope and the other will be at Norfork to intimidate the local Lords into abandoning any idea of settling things with force. Sure they’re rich enough to hire their own Kings but that would give them away to Kentridge."
Elrick : " Obviously using the Gate would tell the Goblins they’re coming so they’ll have to jump the border by other means. An air ship will be helpful in this regard but since those are a dead giveaway we’ll have to hire a few Expert Psionic Mages to take them across from one of the neighbouring countries."
Cavalry Captain Abram : " Does Starlight Spark have connections to this many Kings?"
Elrick : " The 7 have to come from the Commonwealth; that much is a given and there’s no sense antagonizing the proficient people of the realm by not choosing them for a lucrative contract. We can’t trust the southern Nobles and their charges so let’s hire from those associated with Nobles close to the Liberty alliance. While we’re at it let’s see if the Ashcroft Republic can lend us the other 4 Kings; a country is much more capable of keeping a secret than most organizations. Can I leave this to you Captain Sello?"
Elrick : " Then on to the other Matters."
Cavalry Captain Ebni : " Ah; since there’s more funds I’d like to lighten the load a bit. The guarding of the Cathedral has been hard on the protection detail, and even with the Church of the Tree of Life taking us in because we refused to leave it to them and essentially forced them to accept our protection the fatigue is setting in. I’d like to hire a few more expert rank parties to lighten the load."
Cavalry Captain Thana : " We need to hire more Atlantians."
Elrick : " Understood; as soon as more funds become available we can begin the process of getting the other Cavalries to full 16 legions."
Elrick : " That means hiring more crafters; both local and Atlantian. I’ll have Grinder look into it."
Cavalry Captain Abram : " I’d like to deploy to Starlight City."
Elrick : "Why?"
Elrick : " I thought there was adequate training?"
Cavalry Captain Abram : " We’re the Expeditionary Cavalry. I have 2 legions training with each of the other 4 cavalries at all times and I hardly get the opportunity to bring them together for an Expeditionary Cavalry operation. Now that the Rangers have deployed this is a perfect training opportunity."
Cavalry Captain Abram : " I’ll make sure to bring that up at the budget allocation Conference."
With that the assessment meeting was concluded.