Chapter 514 Flattery and Bootlicking
?As Tim and Siobhan were facing the first day of their mission, the imperial agency council meeting finally drew to a close. The meeting had lasted a very long time, as more than a hundred agencies had given their progress reports, each of which lasted anywhere from ten to thirty minutes. All told, the meeting itself was a 25-hour marathon session from the end of Aron’s speech to the end of the session itself.
The vast amount of revelations prompted a flood of news articles, each of which focused on a single piece of information. They provided a sort of cliff’s notes version of the IAC meeting for those who couldn’t remain glued to their screens for the entire duration. As it turned out, the vast majority of humanity was still uninterested in the minutiae of the day-to-day operations of their governments, so even though the full recording of each progress report was available in the Akashic Record, they chose to read the articles instead.
(Ed note: I can’t believe it, but Cliffs Notes aren’t really a thing anymore. They used to be condensed versions of the important bits of various books, kind of like if someone sat down and took a highlighter to a book in question. I guess they’ve been replaced by Wikipedia now, but they used to be essential resources for college students back in the day.)
The media, on their end, seemed to have finally learned their lesson. Their reports were as fair and balanced as it was possible to be, despite still subtly being pro-empire in the way they presented the information. That said, though, they couldn’t go too far with their flattery and bootlicking, as the Akashic Record contained the unvarnished truth and recordings of the reports themselves.
Still, the transparency in the imperial government caused the empire’s approval rating to skyrocket to such an extent that the possibility of a popular revolt taking place had drifted so close to zero as to be functionally the same. Even though most people didn’t sit through the meeting telecast, the simple fact that they could see it if they wanted to was enough to highlight just how different, and how much better, their lives were now than they were under their previous governments.
Those that did take an interest, however, were surprised at the many things they discovered when reading through the Akashic Record of the meeting. Like the imperial treasury’s report, where the agency head spoke of recovering and redistributing funds that previous governments had created for the citizens. Even though their currencies no longer existed, and most things had been municipalized, funds like Norway’s national wealth fund or Saudi Arabia’s national oil fund, among others, had been tagged as being created for citizens. Thus, the imperial treasury department had converted the amount in those funds to END and distributed it to imperial citizens who once held citizenship in those now-defunct nations.
That move, however, had caused quite a stir among non-citizens, who protested that they were once citizens of X nation and should have benefited from the disbursement as well. The empire met those protests with a resounding silence until Youssef Al-Mutairi, the Minister of the Exterior, released a statement: “Imperial decisions benefit imperial citizens. You, who have waived your privileges as imperial citizens, enjoy the benefit of not having imperial responsibilities. Thus, you do not share in the imperial benefits, either.”
The rather blunt statement put an end to the protests rather quickly, to say the least, and the non-citizens once again considered whether their initial decision to refuse to join the Terran Empire was in fact the correct one. It was a thought that was always close to the forefronts of their minds, lately.
Aron was hovering in orbit, surrounded by a runic shield. He was in reality, rather than the simulation, training to use his runes for most situations. As a backup, he was wearing a PAPS, but it was doing nothing other than gathering cosmic dust as he slowly drifted backward away from Earth.
[That’s a good distance, sir,] Nova said.
Though the planet still took up practically his entire view, he still felt the awe of the overview effect. “Despite seeing it in the simulation practically every day, I still can’t get used to this view,” he said, his eyes glittering from the beauty displayed in front of him.
[Sir, you need to start now if you want to finish in time to take your family on the vacation you promised them,] Nova reminded him. There was much to do and little time in which to do it if he still wanted to spend time with his loved ones.
“How’s the installation of the mana interface coming?” he asked.
A computer-controlled mana interface was foundational to most of his plans moving forward. The process was slow, however, as it had to be printed by the atomic printer in the Cube on Avalon Island and transported to orbit, as his current runic printing tech was still tier one and didn’t allow for intent. It could only print runes themselves, and for higher functions, he had to personally imprint them with the necessary intent.
For simple things, like PAPS, that only performed a single function, that was fine. Imprinting intent wasn’t necessary if the complexity of the runic structure was low. However, a control interface was very much a complex runic structure.
But with him having already bought intermediate runic knowledge, the complexity of the interface was easily within reach for him. That said, he no longer had to do everything himself; he could simply upload the design of the hardware including the runes to carve into it, and have it printed wholesale.
The only issue was the size of the thing—intermediate runic knowledge wasn’t enough to miniaturize runic structures above a certain complexity. Thus his presence in orbit in reality, where he was awaiting the completion of the final steps before he would be required to step in and charge it with his intent.
[Reactor output is connected to the conversion rune. You may proceed when ready, sir,] Nova reported.
“Alright, let’s begin,” he said, then relaxed his body and let his PAPS replace the shield he had been maintaining. What he was about to do required the majority of his attention; a lapse in concentration would definitely be costly.