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Keyword: Best binary options system, Download fast profits, Fast Profits, Fast Profits Review, FastProfits, free binary options software, Binary Options Trading System, Free Trading App system U.S. Government Required Disclaimer - Trading foreign exchange on margin carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors. The high degree of leverage can work against you as well as for you. Before deciding to invest in foreign exchange you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment and therefore you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. You should be aware of all the risks associated with foreign exchange trading, and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if you have any doubts. The purchase, sale or advice regarding a currency can only be performed by a licensed BrokeDealer. 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It is intended for educational purposes only and NOT as individual investment advice. Do not act on this without advice from your investment professional, who will verify what is suitable for your particular needs & circumstances. Failure to seek detailed professional personally tailored advice prior to acting could lead to you acting contrary to your own best interests & could lead to losses of capital. *CFTC RULE 4.41 - HYPOTHETICAL OR SIMULATED PERFORMANCE RESULTS HAVE CERTAIN LIMITATIONS. UNLIKE AN ACTUAL PERFORMANCE RECORD, SIMULATED RESULTS DO NOT REPRESENT ACTUAL TRADING. ALSO, SINCE THE TRADES HAVE NOT BEEN EXECUTED, THE RESULTS MAY HAVE UNDER-OR-OVER COMPENSATED FOR THE IMPACT, IF ANY, OF CERTAIN MARKET FACTORS, SUCH AS LACK OF LIQUIDITY. SIMULATED TRADING PROGRAMS IN GENERAL ARE ALSO SUBJECT TO THE FACT THAT THEY ARE DESIGNED WITH THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT. NO REPRESENTATION IS BEING MADE THAT ANY ACCOUNT WILL OR IS LIKELY TO ACHIEVE PROFIT OR LOSSES SIMILAR TO THOSE SHOWN.
The morning alarm woke up Ghen. With an annoyed sigh, he stretched out his arm and silenced the foul-sounding chirps. Slowly sitting up in bed, he let out a deep yawn and got to his feet. Running a couple of chitinous fingers along his antennae to stimulate them to life, he made his bed and then went to his closet. Today was a work day, so he needed his suit. Once the pants were on, he stretched out his wings so that he could button up the shirt, then relaxing them once all the buttons were secured. Dressing for the day was done, now for the morning meal. Entering his kitchen, he took out the chilled leftovers of the evening meal last night and popped it into the radiator, first defrosting and then slightly cooking it. During that process, he also fished out a ceramic cup and placed it in his brewer, serving himself some synthesized caffeine. His idle thought led him to being amused that, when eaten directly off a plant, it has a concentration that could kill him three times over. But after going through some refinement and roasting, all it does is make him hyper. Once the meal was put together, his plate of heated leftovers and a cup of almost-piping-hot cup of Xia's, he took his time to enjoy it. His communicator vibrated. When he looked, he found it was from his boss. "Hello?" Ghen answered. "Ghen, the meeting's been moved up to a few minutes from now." His boss, Xkik, announced. "Apparently higher up has something important they want to say. We have a terminal ready for you, I'll message the login details." "Wha-, what's so important?" Ghen asked in bewilderment. "Did a water line rupture or something?" "No, nothing like that." Xkik replied with a slight chuckle. "It's actually about the rumors we've been hearing. That human corporation wanting to acquire us? That's what they're talking about." Ghen could feel everything inside his thorax drop to the floor. "That must mean it's true then, right? Did we get sold off by the Queen to this company then?" "Show up to the meeting and you'll get your answer." Xkik said simply. When he finished, Ghen got the notification on his communicator. There's the login details, allowing him to remotely attend the meeting. "They're about to start, hurry up." Once Xkik disconnected, Ghen worked fast to login and set up the remote viewing. Once everything was done, his screen started transmitting the meeting room. It was already packed. And off by the main board, he saw his answer. There was a human, resting against the wall on his two legs. Standing right in the center of everyone's view was the coordinator, Tizx, watching the clock periodically. As soon as the meeting's start time was reached, the coordinator began. "Alright everyone. I realize that this was rather short notice, so I want to say how appreciative I am that you made it. Now then, let's just get right to it. For some time now, many of you have been hearing rumors that a human corporation has been interested in us. Why? We never really knew. We're just an organization responsible for finding, extracting and providing water to the colony here all under the direction of the Queen herself. Well, as of now, I have the answer for you. Why don't I let Ryan say that?" Stepping back, Tizx motioned for the human, Ryan, to take over. With a nod, Ryan practically bounced over and then took the position. "Good morning to you all. I hope my Zazk is passable, heh. Anyways, the answer to those rumors, is yes. Terran Galactic Company is indeed interested in you all. Which now leads to me. I'm here to announce that, effective yesterday evening, this water company is now a subsidiary of Terran Galactic Company, under the name of Zilia Water Delivery." Many other sub-coordinators broke into hushed conversation, no doubt speaking their thoughts with each other about this move. Ghen could only wonder if this was even a good thing. What will the humans do? Will he still have his job? Will he have to learn how to deal with the ruthless humans? "Now, I am well aware this is quite the...uh, change." Ryan continued. "That's why I'm happy to inform you that, no, nothing negative or detrimental will happen to you. You just have new people to answer to. Operations will continue as normal, everybody here will still keep their jobs. The only real change any of you will personally experience is that Coordinator Tizx here will now report to someone else. On behalf of the Terran Galactic Company, we are extremely excited and are looking forward to working with you all. Thank you for your time." A week later. At least Ryan wasn't lying. After the initial shock wore off, things went back as they normally did. There were no terminations, no reductions in annual pay or anything. Nothing really changed. At least until this new meeting was called. Ghen was at the worksite this time, so he took his seat and watched as, once again, Ryan led the meeting. "Hello again, everyone!" He said cheerfully, his Zazk noticeably improved. "I hope I didn't end up looking like a liar, right? Everything's still normal, all that?" All the zazk in the room confirmed, providing comments to their pleasant surprise as well as lingering thoughts. "Awesome! Awesome." Ryan said jubilantly, his fleshy mouth revealing his bone-white teeth. "Now then, you're probably wondering why I'm here again, right? Well, I got another fantastic piece of news for you all! Two, actually. I'll start with the first: Zilia Water Delivery has just completed its IPO. The company is now publicly traded!" Ghen and the others voiced their confusion, having no idea what in the name of the Queen Ryan was talking about. What was Ryan talking about? What's an IPO? And why exactly is being publicly traded such a significant thing? "Oh, you guys don't know any of that?" Ryan asked in surprised confusion. After everybody confirmed, he let out a quick huff as he began his explanation. "Well, to begin, IPO is short for Initial Public Offering. Basically what that means is that, before today, Zilia was privately held. Only certain individuals could buy and sell shares here. But now that we're public? Literally anyone can buy and sell shares in the company, hence us being publicly traded." "Uh, what's a share?" Ghen asked, still completely lost. "Oh, boy..." Ryan muttered under his breath before returning to his peppy image. "To simply put it, a share is short for having a share of ownership in a company. When you buy a share, you're buying a piece of ownership, and when you sell, you're selling that amount." "So wait...if someone buys a share, they're a co-owner then?" One of the other team coordinators asked. "If they get enough, yeah." Ryan nodded. "You need a lot though, and that really depends on the company. If I had to give an answer though? I'd say usually you need to have a lot more shares than a lot of people combined to be officially a co-owner, but we call that being a majority shareholder." "And how do we do that?" Ghen asked, now growing curious but still not understanding why such a concept exists. "Simple. Buy shares." Ryan said simply. "And that leads into the second piece of awesome news. Zilia's corporate has a product in mind, a premium-package of water delivery. Instead of the usual water that you pump out, filter and ensure its potable before delivery, with the premium package, not only will you get that, but you'll also get all of the required nutrients and vitamins the zazk body requires! And they feel you guys have the best expertise and understanding to pull it off! So, here's what we're offering as a good-faith bonus: A 25% increase to your annual salary as well as being given stock options." Ghen wasn't sure about the second part, but the salary definitely got his attention, as well as everyone else's. Although his job was considered to have a good pay, Ghen isn't going to say no to a higher salary. In fact, he's been focusing his work on getting a promotion so he can come home with even more credits in pocket. "What do you mean by stock options?" Ghen asked after some time. Ryan let out that smile again, the one that revealed his teeth. "If you choose to transfer over to the new group, you'll be provided 50,000 shares in Zilia itself. Why's that awesome? Let me walk you through it. Right now, our last closing price per share was 3.02 credits. And if you have 50,000 shares during that time, you're sitting on 151,000 credits, if you cash it out immediately." "And why shouldn't we?" One of the coordinators demanded in an ambiguous tone. "Because the price per share changes a lot." Ryan explained promptly. "When we got done with the IPO? It closed at 2.73 a share. Right now? My money's on the closing price being 2.99 a share. However, we are extremely confident in this premium package being successful. If it does? Well, my bet is that the share price will skyrocket to 3.12 a share. If you hold those shares and the price gets to what my bet was? You'll instead get 156,000 credits. Just by holding onto them, you just made an additional 5,000 credits!" "And what if we have more shares?" Ghen questioned, now getting excited at the prospect of free money. "Even more money!" Ryan laughed a bit. "And don't forget about dividends, but that's for another time. The premium group is gearing up right now, we just need the workforce. If any of you wants in, I'll be back tomorrow with all the forms needed to make it official. Take the day and tonight to think it over, yeah?" Everything else melted into a blur. Ghen was practically on autopilot that whole day. Was this the secret to the humans' incredibly massive economy? How so many of them have amassed so much money out of nowhere? All you had to do was just buy this share out of a company and you get more money without even working? As soon as he got home, Ghen knew what he was going to do during the night. After feverishly looking through the galnet, now having the human race connected to it, he looked and gathered up as many books that were translated into zazk as he could find, all talking about the human economic system. The last time he undertook such an intensive study was during his primary education phase. And during his search, he even found forums on the galnet that were completely dedicated to the human's economy. All of them talking about strategies on what company, or stock, to pick. How to analyze a company's performance to determine if it was worth the money, or it had potential to grow over time. And that was when he discovered the humans found another method to the extremely simple buying and selling process. There were humans and some other immigrated aliens who made five times what Ghen could receive over a simple month just by watching the share prices during trading hours, and then buying and selling them at the proper times. Ghen's mind was just absolutely flabbergasted. He thought it was just some strange concept only aliens could make, but no, not with the humans. They've practically made their economy into an art or a science. No, not even their economy. Everything. If humans can see a way to make money off of it, they'll do it. And if there isn't, they'll look for a way. Healthcare was monetized. Galnet services, transportation, shopping at the store, they even made all of their utilities into profit-oriented companies. And it was there that Ghen paused, the realization slamming into him. Everything was monetized. Which means, if you don't have the money for it, you're not getting it. Right? Are the humans truly that ruthless? So obsessed with making money? To the point that they're willing to deprive their own people of the absolute necessities if it's a source of credits? Ghen let out a scoff. There's no way. Nobody is that cruel and callous. He's never been to the United Nations. He can't rely on what a bunch of random people on the galnet says. He decided that from here on out, he'll only go as far as saying that humans are a little obsessed with credits, nothing more. ... There he was. Ryan, sitting in the office provided to him. And there was a rather large line leading to him. Looks like word got around. Although, the line wasn't as large as he expected it to be. Maybe the others thought it was just a ruse? That there's no such thing as making free money by spending it on such a made-up concept? Ghen only knows that, if it is a ruse, it's an extremely elaborate one, where all of the humans are in on it. And he believes that's just extremely ridiculous. At the end, if he's unsure, he'll just take the transfer for the very real increase in his very real salary. And although he spent a very good chunk of the night reading up on how humans do things, he's still going to play it smart. He'll leave his 50,000 shares alone and see where it goes from there. "Good morning sir." Ryan greeted warmly once Ghen took his seat. "Now, name please?" "Ghen." He answered, barely keeping his nerves down. "Alright...and what's your position at this location?" Ryan questioned after scribbling on his form. "I monitor the pumping stations near the extraction sites." Ghen explained, staying on point. "To be more specific, I check to see if they're in need of maintenance, as well as reading the flow rate that's determined by the calculators installed there. If there's too little for what's needed, I pump out more. And if there's too much, I pull it back a little." "Nice...and how long have you been doing it for?" Ryan complimented with a nod. "As of tomorrow, ten years." Ghen replied, voice quickly changing to minor awe once he realized that fact. "Excellent. Do you have anyone in mind you'd like to replace you here?" Ryan questioned after another scribble. "If you don't have anyone, you're free to say so." Ghen took a moment to think it over. A bunch of names went through his mind, but one stuck with him. "Tilik. He's just been accepted here, but he's learned quickly. Very attentive and he always catches something subtle. I think he'll do really well in my position, even better actually." "Tilik, really?" Ryan questioned with a little shock, going through his completed forms. Ghen felt a short sense of panic in him. Did something happen, or was Tilik actually transferring? His answer didn't take long to reveal itself. "Right, Tilik was actually one of the first people to want to transfer here. He's actually requested to be part of the testing teams specifically. Do you have a second choice?" "Um...no, actually." Ghen replied, feeling a little ashamed. "Tilik was my only choice, to be honest." "Hey, don't worry." Ryan said assuringly with his hands raised. "Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, there's just nobody up to snuff, right? 'Kay, so, last question. Is there anything specific you'd like to do when given the transfer?" "If you need someone monitoring new pumps, I'd be happy to do that." Ghen stated. "So basically same job but with better payoff, am I right?" Ryan grinned. "I hear you. Sometimes, we're just not paid enough for what we're doing. I know I think that sometimes. Uh, our secret, yeah?" "Yeah, our secret." Ghen nodded, thinking it'd be better to have friendly relations with the human, just in case. "Awesome. Back on topic, that's it." Ryan announced, placing the form on his pile. "We'll give you a call when you're accepted." "Oh, uh, that's it?" Ghen questioned with a shrug in shocked surprise. "What, expecting a question like, why do you want to transfer?" Ryan chuckled a bit as he leaned in his seat. "You can bullshit all you want, but we both know the answer. Sweet money and stock options. Not saying that's a bad answer of course, just that it's pretty obvious." "I suppose it is." Ghen commented, realizing the point. "Also, you mentioned this...dividend? Is that for Zilia shares?" Ryan laughed a little bit before nodding. "Yep, announced before I came here. About 0.43 per share. Want to know why that's awesome? Instead of waiting for the proper price to cash out your shares, now? The company pays you for each share you hold." "A...Are you serious?" Ghen demanded, flabbergasted. Ryan nodded with his now-trademark grin. "Dead serious. If you get the transfer, and get those 50,000 shares? A little head math...right, if you hold onto those, in addition to your salary, you'll now annually be paid 21,500 credits, if you keep it at 50,000 shares. Only you can decide to sell or buy shares." Ghen just stood there silent and motionless, no idea of whether to believe it or not, to which Ryan just laughed. Once he walked out of the room, he managed to snap back to reality. Again, just focus on the very real pay-raise. He'll deal with the other parts later. After he returned to his spot, he spotted Tizx approaching by his desk. The coordinator seems to be as casual as always. "I saw you in that line a bit ago, Ghen." He said as he leaned on the desk. "Guess you're really taking that human's word?" "I mean, I don't know about all this share business or what not." Ghen began with a shrug, his tone sounding a little defensive. "But I mean, having a bigger salary? Course I'm going for it when I can. And if all this magic credits turn out to be real? You realize we can live like the royal servants, right? Get the best cars, the nicest food and all that?" "I'd be very careful, Ghen." Tizx warned in a sudden shift in tone. "Don't trust those humans. The way they just...obsess over money? Come up with more and more insane ways of getting credits? I don't know, it just makes my wings twitch." "You think this is a bad idea?" Ghen asked with a little surprise at the change-in-demeanor. "I think you should be careful, with the humans, and with what you're saying." Tizx replied, straightening his posture. "I wouldn't put it past those Earthmen to backstab you if it gets them a few more credits. And we all know how the royal servants get if any of us lowly commoners start thinking we can break into their circle." "I hear you, I'll be on my guard, promise." Ghen stated with a nod. With a confirming nod of his own, Tizx returned back to his duty, walking past Ghen's desk. Several weeks later. Everything became so much better. Ghen got the transfer. He didn't need to relocate to a new residence either. And after he was walked through into learning how to manage his stock account, and seeing that new form of payment in his hands, he already felt as though he made the best decision. But it was only when he decided to take those shares more seriously that he became privy to what he was given. After receiving the dividend payment, and actually seeing it was real, valid credits after transferring it to his main bank account, all he could describe was the most powerful high he ever felt. While his first thoughts were to buy himself a royalty-class car, some nicer furnishings for his home, or even a better home entirely, he ended up going the smarter route. After going back to his stock account, he discovered that Zilia's shares rose to about 3.22 credits in price. Knowing that this was the easiest money he could ever make, he took all of his dividend earnings and bought more shares in Zilia, bringing him to owning 56,891. And from his new regional coordinator, a human named Dylan, tomorrow is the grand release of the premium package. For just a monthly rate of 14.99 credits, the tap water will now include a sizeable portion of all nutrients and vitamins required in the zazk physiology. Still, Ghen has to admit. He's not entirely sure why anybody would want such a thing, if they'd even go for it. But, as long as he's practically swimming in easy credits, he won't pay much attention to it. And just like when he was intensively studying the basics of how the human economy worked, he barely got any sleep. His mind was constantly thinking about the things he would buy. Or rather, what other stocks to put his credits into. Even now he can still hardly believe it. Just spend your money on some, make-believe thing and, if you wait long enough and picked the right stock, you'll get more than you spent back? His mind even wandered onto what human colonies, or even their homeworld, Earth, was like. If everybody was making so much money, what kind of things would they offer? What kind of ridiculous service or product or item can you get? He's even debating on joining some forum and just asking around. Explain how he's new to how humans do things and was wondering what he should expect if he's successful. By the time he felt like he can go to sleep, the binary-stars of the system were rising from the horizon. After getting out of his bed and changing to clean clothes, his mind returned onto what-ifs. What if he bought better clothes? He's had his eye on that human brand of luxury clothes, Tessuti di Venezia, that's been all the rage amongst the royal servants. Or maybe he can go on vacation and just check out Earth for real? It was a short ride to his workplace from his home. After getting stuff his stuff and preparing to walk through the doors, he heard the roar of a car grow louder. When he looked, he saw the sleekest and quite possibly the coolest looking car he's ever seen. Each time the engine revved it would startle him, both from how harsh it sounded as well as just how intense it sounded. And after it parked, he saw the doors pop out and then slide along the body back. And there, he saw Tilik, the seat literally turning and extending out a bit before he got off. As soon as he saw Ghen staring, he struck a rather prideful pose after putting on his lab coat and then sauntered over to Ghen. "What do you think?" Tilik said, without any doubt inviting praise or compliments. "D...Did you actually buy that?" Ghen asked, unable to tear his eyes away from the car. "You're Queens-damn right I did!" Tilik laughed happily. "Thing takes off like a starship, has temperature-controlled seating, all-in-one center console, barely any bouncing on rough roads. Hoof, best decision I've ever made!" "How much did that thing cost?" Ghen asked after letting out an incredulous laugh. "Five million credits." Tilik replied, earning an absolutely shocked stare from Ghen. "And thanks to the incredible salary I have, in addition to all these shares and dividends, I'll pay back the credits I borrowed in no time!" Ghen needed a few moments before he could speak again. "All I've been doing is buying more shares." Tilik laughed and then patted the now-envious monitor's back. "Smart man. I got a little carried away, yeah, but not anymore. Any spending credits I got, going right back to investing. That's what it's called right, investing?" "Yeah, it is." Ghen nodded, feeling a fire light up in his thorax. "And also? Today's the day that the premium water thing is being released. Here's hoping it starts out well, right?" "Oh it will, trust me." Tilik chuckled as they both began making their way inside the workplace. "Lots of research, lots of study. By the Queen, so much of it...it'll make your head spin." And after hearing that, Ghen had a moment of realization. "Hey, Tilik? How did you get such a nice position anyways? Weren't you just studying under me before the humans came along?" Tilik let out a sigh after opening the door. "I'll be honest, I never wanted your job. Not because it's boring or terrible, just...I didn't suffer so many sleepless nights in the science academy just to be a glorified button pusher. This is what I've always wanted. Doing science, solving problems rather than just applying the solution, you know?" "Wait, you got an academic certificate?" Ghen questioned, completely floored. "How did you end up beneath me then? I should've been answering to you!" "Simple." Tilik gave a heavier sigh. "A royal servant was asking for the same job I was. Take a guess at who got it." "Ouch. Good thing the humans came along when they did, yeah?" Ghen was taken aback. He never heard anything about a servant taking a job at his place. "Looks like you're proving yourself to be well suited." "By the Queen, of course I am." Tilik nodded. "Like I said, I nearly broke my wings through so many nights, got certified top of my class, all just to get pushed to the dirt because someone who was born into a particular family wanted the same thing I did? I know I'm smarter than any of those empty-skull servants back in the Center. I know that, whatever, uh...corporate? Yeah, whatever corporate wants out of science, I will xeek give it to them." "Well, let me know how things go in the lab." Ghen said, admiring his drive as they neared the main office floor. "Because this is where the button pusher needs to go." Tilik let out a laugh as he nodded. "Hey, how about we meet up at Queen's Fine Eatery tonight. I'll pay, yeah?" Ghen, at first, wanted to admonish him for choosing such an outrageously expensive place to go. But he quickly realized that, he truly is good for it, thanks to the humans. "Well, hey, if you're paying for it." ... It was a fantastic opening. After being told what news sites to keep in mind for stocks, he first heard it from Dylan, and then got more detail on Business Today. There was such a massive demand right from the start that Zilia needs to increase extraction just to meet it. But what really got his attention was the effect it had. Zilia Water Delivery's share price just blasted off. After seemingly holding steady at about 3.15, by the time he got home and logged onto his account, it already reached 7.04 a share. The calculator on his account told him that he got a value-gain of 54.26%. Never in his entire life had he felt such...joy. With all of the shares he currently has? He's sitting at 400,512.64 credits. He knows that it is woefully pathetic compared to what the royal servants have just in their pockets, but the fact that he has such money, just by owning some intangible concept? Why even work at Zilia? Why doesn't he just sit at home, figure out what companies to invest in and make his money that way? What's even the point in working a real job, getting a pathetic pay when you can just take the money you have, determine where to spend it, and get triple back? All just sitting on your wings at home, researching? He was so wrapped up in his excited high that he completely forgot he was going to meet Tilik at Queen's. After quickly and haphazardly putting on his nicer clothes, he got to the place only a few minutes late. Tilik was there by the guide, no doubt having been waiting for him. As soon as he strode up, Tilik's wings stiffned out some. No doubt he must've seen the numbers as well. "I can see your wings, Ghen." Tilik began with an excited chuckle. "Made some serious credits?" Ghen let out an incredulous scoff, struggling to find the words for a moment. "Incredible. All I'm going to say." "Likewise." Tilik chortled some before nodding to the table guide. "All here. Table please?" "Right this way, sir." The guide said politely. It was a short walk, travelling between round tables. The vast majority were populated by zazk, but Ghen was surprised at seeing a few humans here as well. No doubt corporate workers checking out the local food. He did spot them having bowls filled with some kind of mass. Some were brown, others white with what looks to be black specks on them. They arrived at their table. A rather nice one, affording a view out the windows into the busy colony streets. Once Tilik and Ghen settled in, the guide handed out the menus. "May I suggest our rather popular option for tonight?" The guide began. "Human ice-cream. Ingredients sourced from Earth itself. Very cold, but incredibly sweet, and coming in many flavors. The most popular amongst us is called vanilla-bean. The vanilla itself soaks in the cream for much of the process, and then the innards sprinkled on top of it near the end. Rumor has it that the Queen herself has demanded personal shipments of such a treat straight from the home of vanilla, an island on Earth named Madagascar." Ghen didn't even spare a single thought. "Vanilla bean ice cream then, please." "Same." Tilik seconded when the guide glanced to him. With a slight bow, the guide proceeded to ferry their orders to the kitchen. Thankfully it was just a short wait before the guide returned, carrying a large plate containing bowls of ice cream. Ghen could feel the saliva on his mandibles as the bowl was placed before them. He could just feel the cold air around that glistening mass of sugary goodness. The white snow decorated with the black dots of vanilla bean. Once the guide left them, Tilik and Ghen both dived in at the same time. As soon as the ice cream entered his mouth, touched his tongue, he exploded in incomprehensible bliss. The sweetness, the smooth and creamy mass, even the taste of vanilla he wasn't sure about was just absolutely delightful. It was so overwhelming that his entire body limped, slumping in his seat as he was forced to ride on the surging tide of joy and happiness sweeping over him. Tilik was no different. He too was taken completely by the effects of the ice cream, his wings fluttering some against the seat. Ghen could hear some noise. It was the humans they passed by. They were chuckling, grinning, and glancing over at them discreetly. Unlike the two zazk, the humans seemingly just enjoyed the ice cream as if it was just another nice dessert to them. Or perhaps they couldn't allow themselves to succumb to the high? And as soon as the wave of indescribable bliss and happiness subsided, Ghen knew. He just knew. This was the life. He wanted this. The ice cream was just the beginning. So many things denied because he didn't have the credits, or worse, not the blood. Because he was just a drone in the great Collective, even if he had the credits, he wasn't allowed because of what caste he was born in. That fire that sparked in him when he saw Tilik's new car? It exploded into a raging firestorm. And when looking into Tilik's eyes, Ghen could see the same. He was on the same page as Ghen was. Both of them were sold. They have the credits. And the humans? If you can pay for it, they'll never discriminate. All they cared about is if you have the money. And by the Queen, Ghen and Tilik will endeavor to amass as much credits as physically possible. The rest of the night faded into a blur. A blur that evokes only one thing. Bliss. It was only when he walked through the door of his pathetic hut that Ghen's mind snapped back to focus. His mandibles felt sticky. And he felt a weight in his stomach. How much ice cream did he eat? Whatever it was, he ate such volume that the lower-section of his throax extended and rounded out, visible even under his shirt. He felt something odd in his pocket. It was a receipt. 43,000 credits for ten bowls of vanilla bean ice cream. Was that ten bowls for both of them? Or individually? Ghen didn't care. He's good for it. Returning back to his calculator, he acted upon the decision that he had made at that eatery. He's acquiring as many books about investing and stock trading as he could find, frequent and study all the discussions and arguments presented by other like-minded individuals such as he, all to ensure he can live the good life. And he had a very good feeling Tilik was doing the exact same thing. Well, first, the gurgling in his stomach, as well as the feeling of something rising demanded his attention. Looks like he'll need to take the night off to let his stomach get back to normal. Three Years Later. Ghen looked out beyond the horizon, seeing the colony that he grew up in. On the far side was where his old house was. With only a simple robe on, made from the finest silk from Earth's nation-state of China, he relaxed in his seat. It was a long road. Stockpiling credits from pre-existing investments and from subsequent pays, he and Tilik made it. From having only half a million in assets and cash, now transformed to over eight-hundred million. And now, his call contracts on American Interstellar? They've just announced a breakthrough in their next generation of warp drives, reducing the speed coefficient even further, resulting in far faster travel. And with that, their stock price climbed sharply. Another hundred million credits in the bank. Soon, very soon, he and Tilik are about to become the galaxy's first zazk billionares. But that's not enough. There are many humans who are billionares. Only those he can count on one hand are considered trillionares. He's going to break into that circle. He and Tilik. Looking beyond the colony, he saw the abandoned building of the workplace he transferred to when the humans arrived. Turns out, the reason for such a high demand was that the humans also slipped in sugar to the tap water. As soon as that broke, many influential royal servants demanded investigations and outright banning of Terran Galactic Company's influence over the former government division. Zilia's stock price plummeted. But thanks to an advance tip from his human coordinator, Dylan, he and Tilik made a put contract. And that's where they struck gold, as the human saying goes. Dylan warned that if they were citizens of the United Nations, they'd be investigated and convicted for insider trading. But, since they weren't, and the Collective were only just introduced to capitalism, there's no risk at all. Now the colony is going through a withdrawal phase, Zilia has been dissolved and reformed back as a government division and are currently at work re-establishing the standard, plain water delivery. "Well, shit." Tilik muttered as he walked up to Ghen's side, taking well to human speech. "Looks like you win. American Interstellar's announcement really was a good thing. There goes a million credits. Ah well, the Royal Shipyards will make it back for me soon." "Oh? Did they just go corporate?" Ghen asked curiously, glancing to Tilik. "Hell yeah they did." Tilik chuckled, sitting down. "Queen and her retard servants fought it hard, but Royal Shipyards is now officially a human-style corporation. And, to a surprise to all the xenophobes in the galaxy, they're already being offered contracts for ship production. That'll raise the stock price pretty good." "What's that human word...?" Ghen muttered, already having a reply in mind. "Dick? Yeah, calls or suck my dick, Tilik." Tilik roared in laughter. "Already made them. Forty credits a share by this day next month." "I have half a mind to go thirty." Ghen chuckled. "Either way, until then, I heard from Dylan that he knows a guy who knows several prime human women who happen to be into zazk." "You're interested in women?" Tilik said as his wings fluttered. "With how often you tell me to suck you off, I'd have thought differently." "Oh, I always thought it was you who was into men." Ghen responded dryly. "Just wanted to be a good friend, you know? Considering how you never seem to make it past, Hey sweet thing, I'm rich you know." "Oh, go fuck yourself." Tilik countered with a little laugh. After he stopped, wings stiffened, he looked to Ghen. "So, know any royal servants we can put the squeeze on for more revenue streams?" "I got just the one." Ghen nodded, sitting up. "Fzik. He's been fighting to control the ice cream trade. Worried it's a corrupting influence. Got done talking with the human CEO of Nestle earlier. If we clear the way, he'll know how to squeeze a little more gains in stock price when he makes the announcement." Tilik's wings stiffened even more, signaling his approval. "Alright, time to throw some credits around, yeah?" AN: Sorry for the period of no updates. College is starting up, lots of stuff to clear and work out. Not sure why but I just got a bug up my butt about incorporating money and the stock market into a short. Here it is. Sorry if it seems abrupt, character limit fast approaching. Let me know how you guys think about it!
Part 1 What if it wasn’t about anything related to the text? What if it was similar to the riddles that brought me to those pages? What if the mystery behind them was related to their page numbers, or hell the page numbers in general? Once at home I went to work. I told myself once more that I needed to get the full picture. So I went to write down all the page numbers in the book, one after another. When I was done, I took a step back and stared at the result. Yet, there was nothing that stood out to me right away. I haphazardly picked one of the secret pages. Page 427 was in front of page 811. Then I continued. 811, 812, 813, 814, 815, 816, 817, 818, 818, 820, 821, and right after was yet another secret page. This one was page 528. And after that, the regular page numbers continued. 822, 823, 824, 825, 826, 827, 828, 829, 830, 831, 832, 833, 834, 835, 836, 837, 838, 839, 840, 841, 842, 843, followed by another one, page 143. This list of ongoing numbers made me suddenly wonder. My thoughts drifted right back to what had gotten me to do this, the secret pages. What if they weren’t placed randomly? Yet, as I checked their distribution, it felt almost too random. I checked the number of regular pages before and after, put them in sequence, but there was no correlation. Then I got another idea. I added up all the pages before and after, but this also made no sense. Half the results were too big and exceeded the total number of pages in the book, by far. Then, starting at number 111 to 137, which I’d just added together, I got yet another idea. What if I only added together their last digits? The result I came up with was 648. Which was exactly the secret page that followed afterward! My eyes grew wide. I’d had it, hadn’t I? The hint I’d been looking for! I was going livid. Right away I went to the next one and calculated all the preceding numbers, only to come up with an entirely different result than the page number of the secret page following. Cursing I got up. It had been another goddamn coincidence. I laughed, but this time in abject misery, mocking my stupidity. How’d it be so damned easy, you idiot? There was no way. None of this was easy. None of it! But as I stared at the result I’d come up with just now, I noticed something. The result of my calculation was 702. The page number was 351. Wait. Wait. Wait. That’s half of 702! Maybe it really was nothing but a coincidence and I was just grasping at straws, but what else was I to do? The next result I came up with was 176. If I multiplied it by three, it gave me the page number of the secret page that followed it, 528. The number 715, divided by 5, gave me the page number 143 that followed it. I continued adding, dividing, and multiplying and it all checked out. All the page numbers of the secret pages resulted from calculations of the last two digits of their preceding pages. What does it mean though? Does it even mean anything? The exhilaration I’d felt ebbed away, and I sat there, staring at all my calculations wondering if there was any meaning to it. Yet, there had to be, right? This couldn’t have been designed as yet another red herring. This was too damned complex. No, there had to be a reason for this. What if there was an order? If I went through all the calculations I quickly noticed that the result was never divided by the same number. The highest number that a result was divided by was 26, the highest a result was multiplied by was 27. It was exactly 53 different calculations. With that, I started ordering them, one by one, starting backward from the highest division, to the highest multiplication. Then I put the topic of each page behind the numbers in the resulting list. I’d hoped for something. I’d hoped to find it starting with the page about the universe, followed by constellations and stars up to the evolution of apes, plants, and other animals. Yet, it was all mixed-up nonsense. There was no order to it at all! Even when I ordered them in other ways, trying to find any sort of correlation, it was always the same. Nothing, but nonsense. My hands started shaking as anger flooded through me. I crumbled up the stupid, ordered lists and threw them across the room. Then I cursed in sheer and utter rage. This was freaking stupid. This was insane! This was nothing at all, just pure fucking nonsense. I picked up a random object on my table and hurled it against the wall where it shattered into pieces. Then I threw aside a chair I found standing in my way and kicked over the small couch table, creating general chaos in my living room. I was stopped from going any further when my neighbors banged against the wall, screaming to knock it off and threatening to call the cops. That made me stop. The anger went away. I stared in shock at my living room. What the hell was happening to me? Why’d I done that? Why’d I destroyed my things at 1 am in the freaking morning? Then I slowly smoothed out the lists I’d created and put them on one of the few free spots remaining on my living room wall. Who knows, I might need it later. I laughed as I looked from them to the rest of the wall which was now entirely covered. Even worse were the stacks of notes that had accumulated in front of them. I was proud all right, but I also knew that this thing was absolutely insane. Once more, I couldn’t help but wonder what I was doing. Shaking my head, I turned around and made my way to the bedroom. Yet, as my fingers rested on the light switch, I turned around one last time. I stared at the mad lines, the mad paths who were connecting here and there. There was nothing but lines upon lines. Here and there, if I looked hard and long enough, I could almost make out shapes. I froze. What if it was a visual puzzle? What if there was a hint hidden in the shapes of the paths? For days I sat down, drew points and lines and connections, warping them into surreal shapes. This was crazy, wasn’t it? How’d it be visual? There’s probably not a damn thing to be got from this. This was stupid. Yet, I couldn’t stop. Each day, I spent my entire afternoon, my evening, and even half the night, drawing. And eventually, it all came to nothing. There was nothing but mad lines and not a clear shape in sight. I didn’t give up though, wasn’t discouraged. I was beyond that, far beyond that. What if there was something else? Maybe there was a hidden code between these pages? When I was at work, I’d completely forgotten about my former vow not to talk about the book or do anything related to it. Instead, I read up on cryptography. Going through article after article. I read up on Caesar Code and Binary Code, on the Polybius Cipher and Hex Code. I went mad with it. Before long I spent more time reading up on things than doing any of my work. Eventually, I even brought pages filled with numbers with me, cross-checking them for hits of any and all codes. I heard co-workers whispering behind my back, asking me what I was doing and I told them, I just hadn’t closed the weird articles after break time. They knew it wasn’t the truth. They’d heard me mumble, saw the little notebook I was writing in, noticed the endless lists of numbers I brought with me each day. My superior eventually came up to me. He asked me what I was doing with all those weird pages. I told him it was nothing but a little puzzle. “Well, Todd,” he started in a condescending voice. “You’re not here to do any of those ‘little puzzles’, you’re here to do your damn job. Where are the calculations for this month? I’ve been waiting for them all day.” “Oh, I guess, I’m almost done with them, I just need another hour or-“ My voice trailed off when he picked up one of the pages I’d been looking at mere minutes ago. Suddenly, when I saw him holding it, I felt nervous. “What even is this? It’s just random numbers.” He saw my face, saw the way my eyes grew wide when he’d picked it up. The hint of a smile washed over his face as he crumbled it up. He opened his mouth for another remark, but before he could I jumped up from my chair and ripped the page from his hand. He cringed back a step in shock at my reaction. “The hell’s wrong with you?” he screamed at me, but I didn’t listen. Instead, I carefully smoothed out the paper and made sure he hadn’t torn it apart. By now half the office had gotten up to watch the weird exchange. Only now did I realize what I’d done and how everyone was staring at me. Suddenly I felt very watched and almost sunk back into my chair. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to,” I mumbled but broke up under the pressure of all those eyes. “Get back to work and finish those damned calculations! If I see you tinkering with any of this shit again, you can clean out your desk!” With that, he stormed off. I heard people whispering all around me, some laughing, others speaking in a more reserved tone. Yep, I thought, it’s official. I’m the office nutjob. Right away, I forced myself to close all the Wikipedia articles I had still open and put away all my notes. And then, grudgingly, annoyed and half-mad at the distraction it represented, I went back to work. Somehow though, it felt meaningless, calculating all these stupid orders and filling out this customer database. What the hell was I even doing? What if it really was a code? What if it was actually a mixture, a double-code? My mind went wild with ideas. Five minutes later, I found myself holding one of my notes again. I couldn’t even remember taking it out. Pushing it back, cursing, and not a little afraid, I forced myself to work calculations until the day was over. At the moment my shift ended, I jumped off my chair and rushed for the door. People stared at me, looked after me, their faces a mixture of amusement and worry. I didn’t care. I had work to do. The important kind of work! I’d just tried to find another connection between the page numbers of the secret pages when my doorbell rang. I ignored it, but it just kept ringing. When it finally stopped, I sighed in relief. Just leave me alone, I cursed, I’ve got work to do. Then, mere moments later, my phone vibrated on the other end of the room. Dammit, I’d forgotten to mute it again. I waited for it to stop, but it started up right away. Cursing I went over to see who it was and noticed the name instantly. It was my friend Andrew. Annoyed, I answered it. “Yo, Todd, you home?” I heard his voice from the phone next to my ear and more distant, muffled from the front door. My first reaction was one of annoyance. Then I pushed the thought away. What the hell was wrong with me? This was Andrew. He was my best friend, the only one of our old group who still lived in the same city. Right away, I thought about how long I’d last seen him. Surprised I realized that it must’ve been weeks. One glance at the mad mess in my living room told me why. “Yeah, sure hold on,” I said over the phone and made my way to the front door. Andrew smiled at me brightly and held up to six-packs. “Haven’t seen you in forever, how about we have a few! I got quite the story for you, my man!” I smiled at him. “Sure, come on in.” We made our way inside and Andrew had barely set foot into my living room when he stopped. His eyes grew wide as he stared at the wall and the stacks of paper all over the place. “Holy shit man. I was wondering why I haven’t heard from you. The hell’s all that? You working on some sort of project?” “Kind of,” I mumbled a little embarrassed. I quickly picked up the papers on the couch and put them aside to make room for him to sit. “Sorry about the mess.” “Nah man, it’s all right. So, the thing I was about to tell you, you remember Thomas, right?” Thomas, I thought. Did I know a Thomas? Then I remembered him. Of course, I remembered him, he’d been part of our group. I rubbed my temples for a second before I nodded. “He’s getting married and you won’t believe who the lucky girl is!” With that, Andrew told me the entire story of how our friend Thomas had been dating Susan, Andrew’s cousin for the past three months, and the two of them had decided to get married. I listened, nodded here and there, even laughed a few times absentmindedly, but my eyes wandered to my notes again and again. For a moment I spaced out entirely, thinking about an idea that had popped into my mind just before he’d arrived. What if there was something about number sequences? I must’ve sat there for an entire minute, simply holding my beer and staring off at nothing when Andrew waved his hand in front of my face. “Yo, dude, you listening?” “What? Oh, sorry, no, I think I spaced out for a moment.” “All right, man, I got to ask, what’s all this? What sort of crazy thing are you working on? Haven’t seen you this into something in years.” I smiled at him awkwardly and then sighed and pointed at the book. “It’s one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books,” I started. With that, the flood gates broke open, and I told him all about it. He listened, at first curiously, but after a while, his face changed. There was visible concern, as I rambled on about secret pages, strange objects, and cryptography. “Todd, hold on, hold on, what the hell are you even talking about?” I stared at him. “The book. You know those secret pages must’ve some sort of meaning. At first, I thought there was a simple order to them, but it was too chaotic. If you add up all their page numbers though, you get 20670, and if you divided this up by-“ “All right, man, stop,” he cut me off. “So you’re adding up all those numbers, I get that, but for what?” I began explaining again, I tried, but he couldn’t follow me. “Yeah, I don’t get it, man. Just, what the fuck?” “All right, look,” I said and walked over to the wall covered in lines and numbers and started once more. I told him about the different adventure paths, the references, the secret pages, and when and how they appeared. His face was blank as I rambled on and on and on. “Yo, dude, you might want to take a bit of a break, this sounds, well, a bit crazy.” For a moment I was quiet, then a short, nervous laugh escaped me. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” He stepped up next to me, staring at the wall. “Shit man, you did all this? Just for a damned book?” Before I could answer, he reached out and was about to take one of the pages off the wall. My hand shot forward instinctively, batting his aside. “Don’t touch it!” I called out before I realized what I’d done. Andrew stumbled back a few steps, shocked. “Shit man, sorry, I didn’t mean to-“ And then it happened. I didn’t even listen to his words anymore as he bumped against some of the stacks of notes I’d placed neatly in front of the wall. They toppled over one another, the pages scattering all over the floor and intermixing. My eyes grew wide. Oh god, no, freaking god no. Anger rose in me. It had taken me so goddamn long to sort them all out, to order them. There was a freaking method to it all and now he’d destroyed it. He’d destroyed the work of entire fucking days! “What the fuck are you doing?” I screamed at him. He cringed back, only now realizing what had happened. “Hey, didn’t mean to,” he said and began picking up random pages. I ripped them from his hand and pushed him back. “No, don’t fucking touch them. Those two don’t belong together you idiot! Are you freaking insane?!” With an empty face, he watched as I gathered up some of the pages, stared at them, and began sorting them as best as I could. “You know, Todd, that’s what I should ask you.” “What the hell do you mean?” I snapped at him. “You destroyed the work of days! Days! This is-“ “This is what, man?” he cut me off once more. “It’s nonsense. It’s a freaking children’s book, nothing else.” That did the trick. I got up and stepped up right in front of him. “Nonsense? You’ve got no FUCKING idea, how far I’ve come! You’ve got no clue what’ve done already! And here you are telling me this is NONSENSE?” His face had grown hard. For a second he was about to say something, but then he simply shook his head and laughed. Without another word, he picked up his things, the beer, and left. If he said any words in parting, I didn’t hear them. I was already busy re-ordering my notes. It was hours later, when I was done sorting them all out, that I realized what I’d done and how I’d acted. For the first time, I grew truly scared. That hadn’t been normal. That wasn’t me. Why’d I gone crazy like this? I took first one step back from the wall, then another before I went to pick up my phone. When I tried to call Andrew, he didn’t pick up. Instead, the call went straight to voice mail. Then I saw how late it was, long past three in the morning. I wrote him a quick message, apologized for my behavior, and told him he was right. I should take a break from this entire thing. That’s what I did right away. I picked up my laptop, made my way to the bedroom, and this time I turned off the light without looking over my shoulder. I lay down on my bed and started browsing YouTube and told myself to just enjoy it and take a break. Yet, even as I watched video after video, the little voice in the back of my head spoke up again. It told me I should go on, told me to go back to the living room. You almost had it, Todd, you almost had it. Just one more hint and you’re done with it. Then you can let it go and you can- “Shut up, goddamnit!” I screamed at myself to quiet the subconscious voice in the back of my head. “I freaking know,” I said quieter. “God, I freaking know.” I sat in bed, the video that was playing already forgotten. As video, after video played, I was on my phone, checking stars and numbers before I eventually drifted off to sleep. The next morning I didn’t even get to make myself a coffee. I was mad, pissed off and I wanted to finally make progress. For a while, I tinkered about the various codes I’d read about. What if there was a code, but what but if it concerned the entire book and not just the secret pages? What if it was related to the adventure after all? Maybe you could scramble up page numbers and- I stopped and rubbed my temples. Calm down, don’t go crazy. Calm down and take a step back. You don’t even know if there are any damned codes hidden in the book. You did well deciphering all the different adventure paths and the connections between them. You did well discovering all the secret pages. But what if there’s something you haven’t discovered yet? That was the question that told me what I had to do. Something I hadn’t dared to do so far. I had to go through the entire book. I had to make my way through it not following the adventure, but going page by page and look out for anything new. There might be chapters I hadn’t discovered yet, hadn’t read yet. With newfound energy and a new plan, I started right away. My phone rang shortly after noon, but this time, I didn’t even bother with it. I just ignored it. After all, I had more important things to do. This time I didn’t just write down chapters, choices, and connections. This time I wrote down every single thing that came up. I took note of every single object that was mentioned then added the page number, the corresponding path, and any reference I knew about it. It was a momentous task. I spent the entire day doing it and barely made it through the first 130 pages. The next day, Sunday, I didn’t even finish another hundred. The further I came, the more objects I noticed, the more combinations, and references. At times, I even had to go back, to cross-check things, and to change notes accordingly. It was the most enduring task I’d ever attempted, concerning this damned book and probably my entire life. It took me weeks. I finished stacks upon stacks of notes. I went to the office supply store multiple times a week buying stacks of papers I ended up filling by the day. Work during this time was barely an afterthought. I was barely functioning at all. I was typing in numbers and names almost on autopilot. By now I didn’t even get stares anymore. I was entirely ignored, a shell of a man, a ghost that stumbled to his cubicle in the morning and rushed back home in the evening. Days went by, then weeks, as I slaved away over the book’s many pages. Until one day, when I was finally done. I can’t even say how many weeks I’d been at it. There were stacks of hundreds of papers, maybe even more. Notes, references, objects, names, words, anything basically. I’d just created a table of how often each and every single object appeared and in which setting when I noticed a new hint. I stared at it with a giant grin on my face. The Ruby Orb had been the very first object I’d added to the table. It appeared in all paths:
Fantasy - 31 times
Space - 3 times
Stone Age - 2 times
Ocean and Pirates - 11 times
Desert Ruins - 29 times
Mountains - 17 times
City-State - 7 times
Ancient Rome - 5 times
Jungle Tribes - 13 times
Small Village - 19 times
Underwater Civilization - 23 times
As I wrote those numbers down, there was something about them. Somehow I knew those numbers. I went over them, staring at them for a while before it hit me. I cross-checked it online, and I was right. They were all prime numbers! Yes, I thought, I’d found something new! I quickly rechecked another object, the Desert Orb, and realized it was the same here, too. This one’s appearances made up a simpler sequence. It only appeared once in the city-state, twice in fantasy, and finally 11 times in the desert ruins. I couldn’t help but grin. I did it for another object, this one the Ebony Stick. It too appeared in all paths and its number was increased by two, starting at 4 and going up to 26. That’s when I knew what I had to do. I had to go through all the objects, all the hundreds of objects in the damned book, and check how often they appeared. There was a correlation, another part of the puzzle. I was exhilarated, in a state of glee and unbound excitement. These number sequences, maybe they were the key to figuring out what the secret pages meant, or maybe the page numbers in general. I started laughing. I could feel it, I was so damn close. I slept when necessary, ate when necessary, right there on the living room floor. It was only once that I thought about work, only in passing, and the idea that I should go never even came to my mind. My phone was at the other and of the room. I ignored it entirely during that time. It wasn’t important. This right here, that’s what was important. I was done by the end of the week. It was long past midnight on Saturday when I’d finally deciphered the number sequences of all 311 objects in the book. When I was done with my work, I looked at the tables of objects in a state of awe. I spread them out in front of me and marveled at the dozen or so pages. For a moment I was about to dive into them when I realized how tired I was. For the first time since the beginning of the week, I picked up my phone. It was off, must’ve been for days. I connected it to the charger and turned it on. I was bombarded with a plethora of notifications. For almost a minute the damned thing started ringing and vibrating. There were a few messages from Andrew, asking how I was doing and if I’d stopped with my damned obsession yet. I laughed and closed the chat. I’d also received countless emails. Most of them were from work and only now did I remember that I hadn’t shown up for an entire week. They started normal enough, reminding me to call if I was sick, became reproachful after a day or two, and finally angry. The last one told me this was the last straw. I should come in on Monday for a talk and be prepared to clean out my desk. It was strange how little I felt about it, how little it mattered in the grander scale of things. I almost laughed again as I threw the phone aside and laid down to catch some sleep. When I woke up, I went right back to work. I tinkered with the number sequences, looked at each one of them, added them up, multiplied, and divided them. It was the Crown of Ice that finally made me look up. When I added all its appearances together, I came to a total of 1000. This damned thing, I thought, it was by far the most common object in the damned book. I started to read up on it in my notes. It was said in the Manuscript of the Seven Seas, that the Crown of Ice was found in the Crypt of the Dragon. The Crypt of the Dragon was located in the desert ruins. I went back to it, page 1544, and read the part again. There were three choices. One sent me to leave without the crown and sent me back to a desert tribe. Destroying the crown ended in painful death while the third option was wearing it. All right, wearing the crown opened a secret passage that sent me to the location of the Magic Water and from there back on my way through the desert. Dammit, I thought I had something! I was about to go back to the list. Maybe the number thousand was another coincidence. Then something made me look up. The crown appeared in the desert ruins a total of 53 times. I thought about it. The desert ruins one was by far the shortest path. How long was it in total again? I stepped up to my living room wall and counted the chapters. When I followed them, there was only a single path that was longer than 50. It came to a total length of 78 chapters before it started from the beginning. Chapter 53 described what you found if you opened a chest hidden in the Ancient Pyramid. I read the entire chapter again. It was titled ‘The Treasure Chest.’ There was a total of 289 gold coins in the chest. When I went back to the list of objects, I noticed that the gold coin was mentioned a total of 289 times. The same was true for the sparkling diamonds. There were a total of 33 in the chest and the object itself came up 33 times in the book. I almost laughed when I noticed that it was true for the third object in the chest as well. I got an empty page and like a child, I wrote the words Chest, Pyramid, and Treasure in huge letters at the top of it before I went and added all the two dozen objects in the chest. While I did it, I wondered if there was something like this for every other object in the book. What if every object’s number of appearances was mentioned somewhere in the book? Not just in this chest, but just somewhere. And then, on a whim, I asked myself another question. What if certain objects didn’t? What if there were just a few or maybe just one whose number was mentioned nowhere? Maybe those were the important ones! For the entirety of Sunday, I followed through with this idea. I calculated, I added objects to yet more lists, I followed through paths and loops, studied my notes, and slowly, the number of objects remaining got smaller and smaller. Eventually, just as I’d hoped, there was a single object whose total number of appearances was mentioned nowhere. It was a small, red die. One that was mentioned here and there, only in passing when people played a game of dice in bars or the streets. There had to be something to this damned thing, I knew it! After this entire week, no after all these entire months, I finally had something, I’d finally narrowed it all down to a single object. A shiver went down my spine when I realized that this might be it. This might be the solution that I’d been searching for all this time! I went back to my notes about the red die and all its appearances. Here a few kids were playing with it in the streets, there was someone holding it in their hand, and here it rolled onto the floor when a fight broke out. Finally, I found what I’d been looking for. There was only a single instance in the entire book where you could interact with it. It was in a bar in space where you could join a futuristic game of dice. When the game was done, you could pocket the red die. The short chapter that followed it was mundane and almost unimportant. But when I read it, I noticed something else, not in the text, but the choices below. Weren’t they the same as in the chapter before? I went back to the preceding page and reread it. Yes, the same two choices, sending you to the same two pages. Almost as if picking up the die didn’t matter at all. Making it appear as nothing but a red herring. And I grinned. I grinned wider than I had ever before. There had to be a hint here, no, there had to be a way of finishing this entire damn thing. I wrote down the entire paragraph and went back to work, studying it. I checked everything that was mentioned in it: the page number, the chapter title, colors, words, anything I could think of. Until late in the morning hours, I pondered over this one, single paragraph. I could barely keep my eyes open when I stumbled upon it. It was silly, but I exploded with joy and was suddenly wide awake again. The number of words in each sentence was eight. The number of sentences was eight as well. There were eight sentences here, with eight words each. This was no coincidence. This was it, the total number of words was 64, the square number of eight. There was too much here for it to be a coincidence. I rushed back to the buck, almost stumbled over my feet, and threw open page 64. Like a crazed, starved animal I poured over the words on the page, almost pressing my face against it. The chapters, there had to be something here, the solution had to be right in front of me. Yet when I was done reading it, I was dumbfounded. The entire page comprised a single chapter, a chapter I knew damn well. And I realized that I knew the number 64 damn well, too. I was at the beginning of the fantasy setting. I read once more that I was a young farmer, standing in front of a burned down far, the bodies of his dead parents next to him and that I was about to set out on a grand adventure. For the next three hours, I analyzed every single word in the paragraph, every single one and I found as many hints as I could search for. I went back to the die paragraph and slowly I came to another conclusion and then another. The number of certain letters corresponded with the number of other objects in the space path. If you put certain letters from certain words together you ended up with yet another number. I followed every single one of them, but each one ended at another mundane position in the book. I slaved away over those as well, reached and analyzed them and I found more hints, more connections, more clues. And the longer and the more deeply I analyzed them, the more I could find, if only I wanted to. There was almost an endless number of nonsensical clues and hints if you wanted so. They were all leading me on, leading me around in a circle, on and on and on and on. And I sat there, over the damned book, over hundreds, if not thousands of pages of notes. I sat in front of an entire wall covered in information and I laughed. For long, terrible minutes I couldn’t stop laughing. This was all crazy. This was all entirely and utterly crazy. And finally, it clicked. At this singular moment it finally and ultimately clicked. There was no solution. The book had no solution. It finally made sense. I’d slaved away for weeks, no for months, and all I’d done was to walk in circles, continue from one hint to another, only to be sent back to the beginning. The entire damned book was a loop, a loop of loops with secret loops that sent you to more secret loops. And then, for the first time in months, I closed the book and put it away. After that, I slowly went and took down all the mad pages from my wall, stacked up all the notes, and put them together in a box in an almost apathetic state. I was done. All of this had been utterly meaningless, a fundamental waste of time. That night, I didn’t sleep. I lay in bed, contemplating a lot of things. My life, my work, the book, and why I’d been so taken by it. Yet, as with the book, there was no solution. There was nothing to it all. The next day, with the book in my backpack, I made my way back to the store. It felt as heavy as the world, an endless number of possibilities all resting on my back. I knew I had to return it, I had to get rid of it before it might throw me into another crazy fit. When I entered the store, the old man looked up. “Can I help you with,” he started but broke up, a surprised look on his face. “Well hello there, young man. Haven’t seen you in quite a while.” I only nodded, took down my backpack, heaved out the book, and brought it to a rest in front of him. “I’d like to return this.” The old man probed me for a moment. “We’ve got a no-money-back policy,” he said and pointed at a small, almost illegible sign behind himself. “Yeah, that’s fine, I just want to get rid of it. I’m done with it.” “So, you got your reward then?” I couldn’t help but laugh a little. “Guess so.” “What was it?” the old man asked curiously. “It’s meaningless, there’s no end to it. It just goes on forever.” “Oh,” he mouthed with an expression of surprise. “You ever tried it yourself, old man?” “Did once, when I was younger, but I got nowhere. Was too damned hard for me.” “There’s one thing I’m wondering about. Who the hell wrote a thing like this? I mean, it’s freaking insane. How’d’you ever write something like this?” “Well, to tell you the truth, there’s something I didn’t tell you when you first came in. I originally bought the book from a street merchant, half a century ago. He told me a few things, and I learned a few more over the years from other people.” “Like what?” “There’s nothing but rumors of course. The merchant told me it was written by the Devil himself. Then someone told me it was supposedly written by Machiavelli back in the day, to confuse a man who’d wronged him and drive him mad. There was also a guy who was convinced it was the work of aliens. The most plausible thing I heard is that there’s no single author, but that it was written over the course of centuries, with each new writer adding to it and extending it, making it better and ever more complicated.” “Heh, sounds about-“ I started, but the old man raised a hand and pushed his head forward, towards me. “There’s one more. Someone else told me it was written by no other than God himself as a big, giant joke about our earthly existence itself.” I laughed, but it was a weak laugh. Nothing but a giant joke, that fit it damn well, didn’t it? And as I stepped out of the store and stared at the city surrounding me, watching the urban bustle, I began thinking. People were hurrying past me, on their way to work, cars and buses rushed down the streets. As I watched it all, this ever-repeating bustle of civilization, I realized that it was all another never-ending loop. On and on and on we all went, doing the same thing over and over and over again. And as I walked on I started laughing. Maybe that was all right and maybe it didn’t matter. Who knows, maybe the book was true. Maybe all of this, all of life, all of existence, just like the damned book, was nothing but God’s big, giant joke.
He couldn't remember who he was. He couldn't remember how he had come to be here, or for how long he had been chained to the wall. From the holes in the mask, he could see the opposite side of the room--a translucent red energy field embedded into dark stone. Beyond that, he could barely make out a corridor through the field's glare. Sometimes, he saw men in robes moving past it, but he couldn't remember who they were either, or why he felt such chills when they passed. He had to get the mask off. He wasn't sure how or even why, but he knew it was the one thing that truly restrained him here. That is, when he could *know* anything, and his thoughts didn't simply dissolve into inky, oily darkness. It was so hard to think... The manacle on his left arm. He had to remember that, he knew he had to. One of the screws keeping it fastened to the wall was loose. He had spent...Weeks? Months? Years?...focusing on it, willing it in futile desperation to turn. And sometimes, miraculously, when the darkness subsided, it did. He almost had it now. One more millimeter, and he could finally do it. His body aching in pain and anticipation, he tensed his fingers and twisted them, reaching out with his will even as the darkness swelled up once more to take him down... And then he fell limp again, breathing hard. It felt like he had tried to push back a mass driver piston. But he'd done it. Something small and metallic fell to the stone floor, clinking against the rocks. He waited one minute. Two. Enough to regain his breath, enough for the ache in his muscles to recede somewhat. Then, he twisted his body and pulled his left arm back as hard as he could, teeth gritted to stifle any grunt of effort. There was resistance, but it wasn't enough. The second nail holding the chain to the wall snapped, and his arm fell to his side, no longer suspended. Finally! No sooner had his arm fallen to his side when it shot up again, scrabbling at the mask over his face, finally finding the lip where it connected and pulling up... Lytrinn remembered everything. They had separated him from Kian. The Dark Siders' leader had taken an interest in him, dragging the other Jedi deeper into the temple. The cultists, for their part, had toyed with Lytrinn for a while. They'd locked him in electrocuffs and beat him, spat on him, and did their level best to humiliate him. Of course, that had ended when he'd managed to damn near strangle a particularly careless one with the cuffs, and made his first escape attempt. That was when they'd put the mask on him... Lytrinn shuddered a bit, and turned his head down to look at the strangely-marked piece of cloth he held in his hand. A Dark Side torture device. The Sith had created them long ago, to safely hold and eventually corrupt Jedi prisoners. He had been lucky indeed to make his escape, but for now, there were more pressing concerns. Once again, he twisted his fingers, and the manacles on his other limbs opened with a muted click. The moment his bare feet hit the cold stone floor, Lytrinn stumbled forward, barely catching himself with his arms on the opposite wall. For several seconds, he stayed there, breathing hard and trying to remember how to move his legs. Finally, feeling started to return, and he could stand again. “Well,” Lytrinn said, when he caught his breath. “That was the *easy* part...” _______________________________________________________________________________ Nearby, in a makeshift common room, two dark-robed figures spoke. One, his hood covering most of his scarred face, paced about as if impatient. The other, a short-haired woman, sat laconically, cleaning a deactivated vibroblade. “I’m sick of this place,” . The first figure muttered, as if to no one. His compatriot shrugged. “We all are, Malivan. Can’t you at least find something more original to complain about?” Malivan’s mouth contorted into a snarl. “Well, what else is worth complaining about, Leona? Got any ideas?” He snapped angrily. “Oh, I don’t know…” Leona started, her voice mockingly innocent. “Maybe the fact that the Master is dead, or that the bastard who killed him stole our one way off this fucking rock, or maybe,” Here, she lowered her voice to a harsh hiss. “The man who’s taken over is halfway from cutting us to pieces.” The scowl on Malivan’s face was gone now, replaced with a look of cold fear. “Watch what you’re saying!” He whispered sharply. “We’re in deep enough shit as it is without Vhall having an excuse to string us up!” “Like he needs an ex--” Something had shifted. Though they spoke no words to each other, both felt it, like a blaster bolt through plexiglass. Something had awoken. Someone had awoken. “The prisoner!” Both of them had thought and said it at the same time. Leona stood hurriedly, flicking the power switch of her weapon and twirling it as it hummed to life. Malivan, drawing and activating his own weapon, began to creep towards the cell at the end of the adjoining hall, his companion following not far behind. He had a bad feeling about this…. _______________________________________________________________________________ Footsteps. Lytrinn could hear two sets of them heading towards the door, moving slowly and methodically. Cultists. On any normal day, he could take them with his eyes closed, but today--or tonight--was far from normal. His limbs ached harder than they’d ever had before, his head still pounded like someone was trying to hammer their way in, and it felt like he hadn’t slept in weeks. And they’d be well-rested, armed, and imbued with the Dark Side… He needed a plan. Lytrinn looked down to the one remaining manacle on his arm, and the rusty chain attached to it. That was a start, at least. A vibroblade would cut right through, but all he needed was one good throw, and one would be down. He couldn’t afford to rest or hesitate. Even if he did get a weapon, there was no way he’d win any drawn-out fights, so he’d have to end this quickly. Drawing deep upon the Light, he crouched into a fighting stance, taking the chain in both hands and readying himself. The footsteps slowly grew louder, then stopped. A hand tapped at a keypad, and the humming glow of the energy field ceased. And when a hooded figure leaned in to look around, Lytrinn made his move. He threw the chain as hard as he could muster, whipping the cultist directly in the face and causing him to howl in pain. The man’s hands instinctively scrabbled at his broken nose--and the vibroblade fell from them! In an instant, Lytrinn threw himself forward with the Force, grabbing it before it hit the floor and slashing it through its owner’s midsection. The second cultist then jumped forward, her blade raised in an overhand strike. Normally it would be child’s play to block such a strike, but in Lytrinn’s state he couldn’t be sure of even that. So instead of blocking, he stumbled back gracelessly, putting the rest of his Force energy into throwing his vibroblade forward. As the cultist completed her strike, her companion’s vibroblade impaled her, and she too crumpled to the ground dead. For his part, Lytrinn stumbled back into the far side of the cell wall, and gracelessly slumped into a sitting position, exhausted. The Force had only just returned to him, and in his current state, he was little more than a half-starved bag of bones. How long had he been chained up here, in the Dark? His eyes started to close of their own volition, but he blinked them open furiously. There were four other cultists in the compound at least, to say nothing of their master. Kian! The memory of his companion was such that it drove Lytrinn to his feet once more. He couldn’t feel Kian anywhere. That couldn’t be good. Was he dead? Did the Dark Side master take him off-world? Or was he simply beyond his ability to detect? All of those options worried him. Escape seemed unlikely, but he hoped beyond hope that it was exactly what had happened. He had to capture a cultist alive. He would figure out what happened to his fellow Jedi. And, if at all possible, he would rescue them. Suddenly, Lytrinn didn’t feel sleepy anymore, and the pain subsided slightly. He could feel the Force rushing back into him, clouded but still there. It would sustain him, for now. He stepped over the bodies of the fallen cultists, taking the vibroblade from the hands of the woman he had impaled. This would do, until he found his lightsaber. The hallway he now stood in was closed off at one end, leading to a larger room that, thankfully, seemed unoccupied. Lytrinn gathered the Force around him, weaving a cloak around himself that would erase his presence from the minds of the weak-willed. It would be enough for the cultists, hopefully, but definitely not for the Master. So he would have to be careful. Now it was his turn to creep down the hallway and into the next room, which was indeed as empty as he had found it. But now, he was starting to hear more movement. Somebody had felt what had happened, and somebody was coming. Lytrinn shuffled his way into a corner, making sure not to step on any of the debris that partially covered the room’s stone floor. The place looked worse than he’d remembered it, as if the cultists had just stopped caring about personal hygiene. Had something gone wrong for them, too? As the thought passed his mind, the remaining four cultists charged into the room, blades drawn. One of them--the eldest, a balding man with a thin brown mustache, was not carrying a vibroblade at all, but an orange-bladed lightsaber. My weapon! Lytrinn almost gasped. He wasn’t expecting the Master to allow a mere cultist to carry the blade of a captured foe, but it was no matter. In fact, this was good news. A Jedi, after all, formed an innate bond with their weapon, such that it became more an extension of themselves rather than an inanimate object. And that was what would save him here. Lytrinn reached out, both with his arm and with the Force, and the blade flew from the balding man’s hand and into his own. As the weapon touched his skin, he let down the Force Cloak, feeling a surge of warm, familiar energy, like seeing an old friend for the first time in years. The ensuing fight lasted all of five seconds. The cultists barely had time to react before Lytrinn threw the vibroblade crosswise, decapitating one of them before he could raise his blade. The next two charged, but he cut both of them down with a single sweeping strike. Desperately, the balding man scrabbled at his belt for a weapon, but before he could reach it, the lightsaber blade he once held now stood centimeters from his throat. Lytrinn’s voice came out hoarsely, between ragged breaths. “Where....is….Kian?!” The cultist’s eyes were wide with fear, and as he slowly raised his hands to his head, he stammered out, “The Jedi? He-he’s gone. Escaped. He killed our master, stole our only way off the planet. We’ve tried to contact help and find the ship you came in, but…” Lytrinn let out an audible sigh of relief. So the master was dead, then. And Kian had gotten out. He must have thought that I was dead… “What’s your name, cultist?” “Vhall, m-m-aster Jedi.” “Don’t ‘Master Jedi’ me.” Lytrinn slammed the pommel of his weapon into the cultist’s head, and he crumpled to the floor, unconscious. Pausing to rip the vibroblade and the set of electrocuffs from his belt, he fastened them to the man’s arms and dragged him up the stairs. Apparently, the room had been built into a cave, one whose mouth stood about ten meters away from its entrance. Deeper in was likely where the cultists slept, and where Kian had been held. At the cave’s mouth was a portable comms antenna. That had been what they were using to get help? It seemed good enough, but no one had been close enough to reach them. They have no idea where my ship is. That would only make sense, he supposed. They had hiked a ways from their landing site before they encountered the cultists. The master would have known where he and Kian were from the instant they arrived, but of course, he was dead. And these cultists’ senses would be nowhere near as refined. He made his way to the beacon, and calibrated it not to an interplanetary frequency, but to a local binary one. There was a subsystem in each Jedi shuttle that was tuned to the same frequency, allowing him to pinpoint the location. At first, nothing showed up, but then a code in binary returned. It was a request by the shuttle’s mainframe system, asking whether or not it should head on autopilot to Lytrinn’s location. Once more relieved, he typed in an affirmative response, then sat, meditating, waiting for the T-6 to arrive. Finally, he heard the engines of the Jedi craft in the distance, growing louder and louder until it roared everywhere, then went silent. The T-6’s landing ramp opened, hitting the sand with a dull thud. Grabbing his prisoner by the cuffs, Lytrinn dragged him up the ramp and fastened the cuffs to a nearby pipe. “Computer!” He called, once again hoarsely. “Activate autopilot. Set a course for Ossus.” As the ship hummed to life again and rose from the charred surface of Empress Teta, Lytrinn finally allowed himself to feel exactly how tired he was, and stumbled his way towards the shuttle’s sleeping quarters. He barely got halfway before passing out on the hard metal deck.
What should be hard in this game? What should be fun?
Hi all, I had iterations of this post in my head for several leagues and I am genuinely interested in other's people opinion as I changed my mind twice in the Harvest league about it. So what do I want to talk about - what makes this game fun? And is it complexity / difficulty or not? So what exactly am I getting at? Let's compare the start of the league vs mirror-tier items in every slot because Harvest let significantly more people experience that. I personally hate levelling, maybe because I've done it so many times or maybe because it's not engaging. Some time ago there was a bump in campaign bosses difficulty and it has actually helped me to have more fun while running the same content again because I was challenged a bit and it didn't feel like an unnecessary chore. Feel free to disagree / write your opinion on that.
Next we have maps, I'm not a casual player so my expectations is to reach full atlas and T14+ every league and every character and usually I need to upgrade gear once from my starter "just hit maps" to progress to full atlas completion. Some leagues in this also started to become, a chore and I have mixed feelings about it. White maps just don't exist in my head, T8-T13s depending on the drops are nice because my gear is a bit weaker so I need to focus more on the screen, dodge more and actually interact with the game. I actually like to be ambushed by Betrayal content for that reason. But after some level of gearing I just run through maps and the most important stat for me is movement speed. It still can be fun because I can set some goals - this league I'm buying seeds in bulk and crafting just for the sake of creating items. But the gameplay itself is not engaging. And thus not fun of itself. This is where league mechanics make or break leagues for me, if it is all the same thing - different league I'm not having that much fun. But very important point - I know that many people do! Many people like to gear up their characters up to the level that the content is not difficult at all and they can autopilot tens or hundreds of maps. After Delirium and pushing 100% delirious T19s I had loads of fun - I had content that was extremely rewarding to play the game. Not rewards-wide (that aside) but pure excitement from killing monsters - you know the thing you do in ARPGs ;) But this content is viewed as purely optional so not many players are fussed if they don't / can't do it. There is a lot of talk on this sub about Harvest is the first league a casual player can kill Sirus (not A8, just regular one). And that is one perspective, but what every boss in Red maps offered a similar thrill? Just as a thought experiment. Would you enjoy PoE if you had to upgrade your gear in a meaningful way between each tier between T11 and T16? I don't know how this would look like in terms of balancing / gearing options or other things but it is an interesting perspective.
So let's talk about bossing. Should any guardians / conquerors be challenging? Should you able to out gear them in a week? Two weeks? Later? What about Elder? Shaper? I know that many people would start a discussion now about the drops and how it is not profitable to run them, or fun to run them if you loose money or they don't drop anything. But shouldn't that be also connected? What if each of the conquerors was a really hard fight, but with guaranteed Conqueror Exalted orb? What if it was challenging but with the same drops as now? It's interesting that now there is a lot less discussion about Uber Elder compared to Sirus - I know about the feelings of the fight itself but I can't shake the impression that it's because Uber Elder is a "side content" while the game itself leads all players to Sirus. Almost nobody mentions Uber Atziri, even further to the side in terms of content. I really enjoyed that fight until reflect was too much (or in other words bullshit), you couldn't over gear for it easily unless you played a miner and just phased her out, so it was always challenging. Going back to main villain - is the Uber Elder fight fun? Is it because of the mechanics only or drops? I have terrible Sirus RNG in Harvest, killed him 30+ times on A8 and got one woke orb, no woke gems, no other noteworthy drops. Still have the same amount of fun doing him - which is small but positive. I didn't do much of Uber Elder but the fight itself feels less random and it's always fun. I feel like also there is more things to care in that fight which makes it more engaging even without loot comparison. I also know that once I learned the Sirus fight I'm much more comfortable to go a bit under geared there but I don't want to try it with Uber Elder. How is it for you? Do you enjoy fights for the mechanics or drops? Or somewhere in between?
Delve is interesting for me. If you don't start early in the league once you get going the first X levels are annoying because you are too strong and for the last couple of leagues the rewards for first levels are bad. So you are missing out on league content and grinding down just for future sake. Personally I would love if doing maps up to T16s would progress the mine to that monster level, especially with how rewarding recent leagues are. Afterwards I can say delve is fun for me because you are getting pushed towards getting better gear and at delving. Never personally reached 1000 or lover so maybe it's just one strategy or full immunity afterwards where it becomes a bit binary - either you can do it or not - would love to hear a perspective on that.
So you might expect at this point that I'm against Harvest crafting because it makes the game too easy. I'm not. I really like to make gear myself. I really like that I'm working towards something, that I'm progressing affix after affix. I really like that I don't need to trade or look for gear, I'd rather look for how to make it. But does being over-geared take enjoyment from other (core) parts of the game? For me it does. The solution I would look for is introducing more harder content rather than removing gearing options. Or expanding on gearing options - certain affixes that have 90, 95, 98 level requirement. If 400 pdps foil is enough to do all the content then maybe the solution is to make content that needs 550+pdps foil (or 600, or X), not to remove the ability to have 500+ pdps foil by more players? Because I think it boils down not only to "how easy" it is to gear. Not is it via crafting or trading, but what levels of gear is available vs how difficult is the content. Maybe this is a good place to ask a question to all the players who enjoy speed mapping - would you enjoy speed mapping yellow maps? Or white maps? Why not? Why are you aiming to casually map T16s and not double beyond, 100% delirious T16s? I don't want to sound elitist because I know that I would probably be pissed after years in red maps if I couldn't progress into them from one patch to another (looking at you PoE2). So what is your opinion on that? Also is gear your aim or means to enjoy other parts of the game? That's it, I don't offer any wisdom or solutions, just asking questions. I hope for different answers just because so many people have different knowledge about this game and like different things about it.
I have tried both with v0.990 and v0.980, Installed OpenAL, reseting my computer and reinstalling the game and OpenAL several times... nothing is working :( My computer has 4Gb VRAM so I know that isnt the problem. This is the log for v0.980:
As 2020 continues to unravel with people worried about their health, livelihoods, jobs and general way of life, one thing at least can remain constant - Groestlcoin's release schedule. We at the core Groestlcoin team really hope everyone is doing well and coping with what 2020 is throwing at us all. For anything to change in this world, major and seemingly dramatic change and chaos unfortunately needs to first ensue but rest assured everyone will come out of 2020 much stronger people! The Groestlcoin team have been working on a vast amount of new technology during these uncertain periods which we would like to share with you today. Groestlcoin Core 19.1 The full list of changes in Groestlcoin Core 19.1 are too long to list here so we won't bore those who do not want to see every slight change here. For that, please go to https://github.com/Groestlcoin/groestlcoin/blob/2.19.1/doc/release-notes/release-notes-2.19.1.md. Instead we will list a general list of changes here. We recommend upgrading to this version if you are running a full node yourself.
New User Documentation
New and updated RPCs
New Settings Implemented and other settings updated
RPC and configuration options removed or deprecated
Various low-level changes
How to Upgrade?
If you are running an older version, shut it down. Wait until it has completely shut down (which might take a few minutes for older versions), then run the installer.
If you are running an older version, shut it down. Wait until it has completely shut down (which might take a few minutes for older versions), run the dmg and drag Groestlcoin Core to Applications. Users running macOS Catalina need to "right-click" and then choose "Open" to open the Groestlcoin Core .dmg.
https://github.com/Groestlcoin/groestlcoin Zeus GRS iOS Wallet Release Zeus GRS: A mobile Groestlcoin app for Lightning Network Daemon (LND) node operators. To use Zeus, you must have a running Lightning Network Daemon (LND). You must provide Zeus GRS with your node's hostname, port number, and the LND macaroon you choose to use (hex format). If you're running a Unix-based operating system (eg. macOS, Linux) you can run xxd -ps -u -c 1000 /path/to/admin.macaroon to generate your macaroon in hex format.
• Scan LNDconnect functionality • Dark and light theme • Option to lock app with a pin • Open Source • Connect to your node - Zeus GRS let's users connect to their existing Lightning node, allowing them to send, receive and manage their channels. • Multiple Wallets - Zeus GRS allows users to create and control as many wallets as they'd like.
https://github.com/Groestlcoin/zeus HODL GRS iOS Wallet Release HODL GRS connects directly to the Groestlcoin network using SPV mode, and doesn't rely on servers that can be hacked or disabled. HODL GRS utilises AES hardware encryption, app sandboxing, and the latest security features to protect users from malware, browser security holes, and even physical theft. Private keys are stored only in the secure enclave of the user's phone, inaccessible to anyone other than the user. Simplicity and ease-of-use is HODL GRS's core design principle. A simple recovery phrase (which we call a Backup Recovery Key) is all that is needed to restore the user's wallet if they ever lose or replace their device. HODL GRS is deterministic, which means the user's balance and transaction history can be recovered just from the backup recovery key.
• Simplified payment verification for fast mobile performance • No server to get hacked or go down • Single backup phrase that works forever • Private keys never leave your device • Import password protected paper wallets • Payment protocol payee identity certification • Apple Watch support This application is licensed under MIT. There is no warranty and no party shall be made liable to you for damages. If you lose coins due to this app, no compensation will be given. Use this app solely at your own risk.
• Multi-currency, Supporting more than 20 FIAT currencies.
Multi-language, Supporting more than 20 languages.
Export TXHEX - You can get your transaction HEX (TXHEX) without broadcasting it, and only do it with the relay of your choice.
Be in control - On your Groestlcoin wallet your private keys never leave your device.
Multiple wallets support - This wallet aims to support the highest wallet standards. Currently supporting HD, HD Segwit, HD BECH32, Native SegWit, Legacy single-address, SegWit single-address, and this app allows you to have as many wallets as you need on a single app instance.
HD wallets - The Hierarchical Deterministic (HD) key creation and transfer protocol (BIP32), which allows creating child keys from parent keys in a hierarchy. The HD Wallets will generate you different public keys for each transactions.
• SegWit - SegWit enabled by default • Full encryption - On top of the phone multi-layer encryption, GRS Bluewallet can encrypt everything with an added password. Biometric security (touch ID, Face ID) is not safe, so you will have an additional password to encrypt your wallet instead. • Plausible deniability - A custom made feature thinking about your personal security. GRS Bluewallet allows you to define a different password which will decrypt a fake wallet set up. For any situation you are forced to disclose your access or when you don't want or you can't show your real wallet. • Open Source under the MIT License. • Watch-only wallets - Watch-only wallets allows you to keep an eye on your cold storage without touching your private key. Easily import your address or xpub and watch it from your app without ever touching it. • Lightning Wallets - Wallets with support for the Lightning Network Protocol. Unfairly cheap and fast transactions. You can send, receive and refill your wallets. • Bump and Cancel transactions - Ability to bump and cancel sent transactions with "Replace-by-fee" (RBF) and ability to Bump received transactions with "Child-pays-for-parent" (CPFP) on Native Segwit wallets (bech32/BIP84). • Plug-in your Groestlcoin Full node new - Ability to plug-in your own Groestlcoin Full node through Electrum Personal Server (EPS), ElectrumX or Electrs. Don't trust, verify for a maximum sovereignty. This application is under MIT license. There is no warranty and no party shall be made liable to you for damages. If you lose coins due to this app, no compensation will be given. Use this app solely at your own risk.
https://github.com/Groestlcoin/bluewallet GRS Lightning Wallet Released GRS Lightning: An easy-to-use cross-platform Groestlcoin Lightning wallet GRS lightning leverages Neutrino to give users a lightweight option to control their own funds, as opposed to running a full node or trusting a third party to play custodian. Features • A User Experience for Everyone • Fully Non-Custodial with LND • Powered by Neutrino and Autopilot • Open Source
This is still early technology and there's a risk of losing all of your funds. We recommend not putting in more money than you are willing to lose. Using the same mnemonic seed between installations or device is not recommended. Keep the app open till its fully synced, this will take a WHILE.
• Provides a fully functional wallet interface, allowing you to send and receive funds across the Lightning Network with ease. • The user interface is responsive and will adapt to fit any web enabled desktop, tablet or mobile device. • You can search the Lightning Network graph, manage peer connections and open & close channels with ease. • The plugin has QR support, enabling basic encoding & decoding of QR codes. • GRS LND For WP also adds a number of WordPress 'short codes', allowing you to embed LND functionality directly in your website pages and posts.
GRS LND For WP can be installed directly from WordPress. Simply navigate to the 'Plugins -> Add New' page and search for 'GRS LND For WP'. You can also view GRS LND For WP on the WordPress.org Plugin Directory To install the plugin manually using source code from this repository: Download the latest plugin release from this repository. Browse to the 'Plugins -> Add New' page of your WordPress admin panel. Click the 'Upload Plugin' button, select 'Browse' and choose the release .zip that you downloaded in step 1. Press 'Install Now'. On the next screen, press the 'Activate' button to turn on the plugin. You're done. You should now see the 'GRS LND For WP' link on your WP admin navigation menu.
https://github.com/Groestlcoin/grs-lnd-for-wp GRS Unstoppable Wallet - Android MainNet and TestNet Unstoppable GRS is open source non-custodial fully decentralised wallet. The engineering process behind this wallet is radically driven by libertarian principles. Exclusive control over what is yours.
• Control your crypto - Unstoppable GRS is a non-custodial wallet. The private keys never leave your phone. • Keep your crypto safe - When you enable the lock code on your phone's operating system, no one will be able to access your wallet funds even if your phone is stolen or lost. In case of a device loss, Unstoppable GRS makes it easy to restore your wallet on another device. • Be independently unstoppable - Unstoppable GRS was engineered to remain online and fully-functional indefinitely. Transfer Groestlcoins regardless of local government regulations. No entity can stop you from sending or receiving crypto or force Unstoppable GRS to stop working. Finally, you have a secure crypto wallet to spend Groestlcoin, and send & receive crypto. • Stay private - With Unstoppable GRS you are connecting directly to decentralised blockchains without any restrictions or intermediaries. Only you can see your assets. There are no accounts, emails, phone numbers, identity checks, or third-party servers storing any private data. This application is under MIT license. There is no warranty and no party shall be made liable to you for damages. If you lose coins due to this app, no compensation will be given. Use this app solely at your own risk.
https://github.com/Groestlcoin/unstoppable-wallet-android Groestlcoin Esplora Block Explorer Released (Mainnet and Testnet!) Groestlcoin Esplora is an open-source Groestlcoin blockchain explorer. This JSON over RESTful API provides you with a convenient, powerful and simple way to read data from the Groestlcoin network and build your own services with it.
• Explore blocks, transactions and addresses • Support for Segwit and Bech32 addresses • Shows previous output and spending transaction details • Quick-search for txid, address, block hash or height by navigating to /<query> • Advanced view with script hex/assembly, witness data, outpoints and more • Mobile-ready responsive design • Translated to 17 languages • Light and dark themes • Noscript support • Transaction broadcast support • QR scanner • API support Groestlcoin Esplora is licensed under MIT. There is no warranty and no party shall be made liable to you for damages. If you lose coins due to Esplora, no compensation will be given. Use Groestlcoin Esplora solely at your own risk.
• Custom HD key derivation added • Added Esplora support Live version available at https://www.groestlcoin.org/webwallet. But it is recommended to download the webwallet offline and run it on your pc. Open index.html to get started. The built-in wallet can be used with any (non) existing mail address and any password. This application is licensed under MIT. There is no warranty and no party shall be made liable to you for damages. If you lose coins due to this app, no compensation will be given. Use this app solely at your own risk.
Remember the mail address and password you used otherwise you will lose your funds.
https://github.com/groestlcoin/webwallet Groestlcoin LND Updated to v0.10 The Lightning Network Daemon (LND) is a complete implementation of a Lightning Network node. Lnd has several pluggable back-end chain services including grsd (a full-node), groestlcoind, and neutrino (a new experimental light client). The project's codebase uses the grssuite set of Groestlcoin libraries, and also exports a large set of isolated re-usable Lightning Network related libraries within it.
• Macaroon Bakery • Multi-Path Payments • Weakness Addressed by MPP • Single-Shot MPP Payments by Default • Custom Onion-Tunneled TLV Payment Metadata Records • New Payment Type: keysend • First-Class Rebalancing via Circular Payments to Self • Local balance check • Privacy Enhancement • Validate Sorted Uncompressed Short Channel IDs • Add payment_secret to BOLT 11 Payment Requests • Cross-Implementation Protocol Compatibility Fixes • Decoupled Min HTLC Settings • Option Upfront Shutdown Support • Sweep Small Outputs • Autopilot External Score Trigger • Channel Fitness Tracking • Pathfinding Improvements • Deeper Feature Bit Inspection • Updates to Default gRPC Settings • Uniform lncli Hex-Encoding • Updates to QueryRoutes • New RPC Calls • Default unsafe-disconnect Setting and Deprecation • Peer to Peer Gossip • Invoice Handling • Channel State Machine • On-Chain Contract Handling • Architectural Changes • Multi-Path Payments Sending Support • Payment tracking • Lifted Invoice Limit • PSBT Funding • Anchor commitment format • Watchtowers tor support
https://github.com/Groestlcoin/lnd/ Groestlcoin Eclair Updated to v 0.3.3.0 Groestlcoin Eclair (French for Lightning) is a Scala implementation of the Lightning Network. It can run with or without a GUI, and a JSON API is also available. Groestlcoin Eclair requires Groestlcoin Core 2.17.1 or higher. If you are upgrading an existing wallet, you need to create a new address and send all your funds to that address. Groestlcoin Eclair needs a synchronised, segwit-ready, zeromq-enabled, wallet-enabled, non-pruning, tx-indexing Groestlcoin Core node. Groestlcoin Eclair will use any GRS it finds in the Groestlcoin Core wallet to fund any channels you choose to open. Eclair will return GRS from closed channels to this wallet. You can configure your Groestlcoin Node to use either p2sh-segwit addresses or BECH32 addresses, Groestlcoin Eclair is compatible with both modes.
• Multipart payments • Trampoline Routing Preview This application is licensed under Apache. There is no warranty and no party shall be made liable to you for damages. If you lose coins due to this app, no compensation will be given. Use this app solely at your own risk. Groestlcoin Eclair is developed in Scala, a powerful functional language that runs on the JVM, and is packaged as a JAR (Java Archive) file. We provide 2 different packages, which internally use the same core libraries:
eclair-node (headless application that you can run on servers and desktops, and control from the command line)
https://github.com/Groestlcoin/eclai Groestlcoin C-Lightning Updated to v0.8.2 C-lightning: A specification compliant Lightning Network implementation in C. C-lightning is a lightweight, highly customisable and standard compliant implementation of the Lightning Network protocol.
• We now support gifting mgro to the peer when opening a channel, via push_msat, providing a brand new way to lose money!
Invoice routehints can be overridden using exposeprivatechannels:
• Wallet withdraw transactions now set nLocktime, making them blend in more with other wallets.
• Preliminary support for plugins hooks which can replace the default groestlcoin-cli with other blockchain querying methods (API may change in future releases though!). • listforwards now records the outgoing short_channel_id, even if it wasn't possible to start forwarding. • Plugins can set additional feature bits, for more experimentation. • More than one plugin can register for the htlc_accepted hook: others will become multi-user in future releases. • Prevent a case where grossly unbalanced channels could become unusable. • New config option --large-channels (also known as 'wumbo') which enables opening channels of any size. (Note that your peer must also support large channels.) • This release includes a keysend plugin, which will enable receiving 'keysend' payments, as first introduced by Lightning Labs. Note that the included keysend plugin is receive only for this release. Nodes which do not want the hassle of spontaneous unrequested payments should add 'disable-plugin=keysend' to their config! • We'll now announce multiple connection endpoints for a single 'type', e.g. multiple IPv4 addresses. • Big performance improvement in the pay command (~1s speedup on average). • c-lightning nodes can now participate in creating larger channels (with the --large-channel config option). • We now wait until the first payment through a channel before updating the feerate; this should help with some spurious closures at channel open or re-connect that were occurring against older versions of other implementations. • A new command getsharedsecret for getting the BOLT-compliant shared secret finding for a node and a point. • Facilities for building rendezvous compatible onions has been added to the onion devtool. • Plugin options will now respect the type they were given in the manifest. • Fixes with plugin cleanups and hangs. • Python2 has been removed as a dependence.
https://github.com/Groestlcoin/lightning Groestlcoin SparkWallet Updated to v0.2.14 Groestlcoin Spark Lightning Wallet Android: A minimalistic wallet GUI for c-lightning in Android. Groestlcoin Spark is currently oriented for technically advanced users and is not an all-in-one package, but rather a "remote control" interface for a c-lightning node that has to be managed separately.
• Fix bug with missing channel reserve • Fix channels view • Detect if the "base directory" is provided and default to the Groestlcoin mainnet network subdirectory within in. • Don't display unconfirmed onchain balance • Fix: Some QR codes not read properly in the web QR scanner • Fix: Resolve TLS issues with NodeJS 10 • Electron: Update to v8 • Fix bug in automatic credentials generation • Fix Android crashes caused by plugin-local-notifications • Cordova Android: Allow connecting to server in cleartext This application is licensed under MIT. There is no warranty and no party shall be made liable to you for damages. If you lose coins due to this app, no compensation will be given. Use this app solely at your own risk.
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