Run on The Neopoint: Part Five
Chad was snapped out of his reverie by the arrival of Judge Hog, who had come personally to see him.
"What seems to be the matter, citizen?" he asked.
Chad gulped and told him the entire story.
"So, do you have any proof of all of this?" Judge Hog asked.
"No," Chad said.
"Well then, there is the fact that there were some pirates running around Neopia Central University today, who we were asked to take in and we have. Not to mention that Mr. Keiths just came in today, saying that he had just remembered, then forgotten, and then remembered again that the pirate who had attacked him had mentioned you. We were actually just about to send a few Defenders for your safety," Judge Hog said.
"What will we do now?" Chad asked.
"In such a situation, we would probably go to the best economist in the city," Judge Hog said.
"And who's that?" Chad asked.
"You are, obviously," Judge Hog said, bemused.
"Right," Chad said. "Well, my opinion on the issue is that they'll probably go and cause a lot of confusion, and then during it try to get one of the economies, like Altador or such to stop accepting neopoints, and would then cause further panic. Following that, they would swoop in and offer the dubloon as an excellent substitute."
"Indeed," Judge Hog said. "And how would we go about stopping this?"
"The obvious thing to do would be to shore up the investment markets, you know, ensure that the National Neopian Bank is stable, check to see if the stock market is keeping up, and ensuring that no economy running on neopoints goes bankrupt," Chad said. "A task much easier said than done."
"Do you mean to say that the National Neopian Bank might fall?" Judge Hog asked with new interest.
"It is almost unthinkable, but yes, something like that might be exactly what would cause the economy to tip," Chad said.
"Come with me," Judge Hog said. "To my office, this might be better discussed there."
Judge Hog sent a few Defenders to investigate Neopia Central U. and to see what was left of Chad's office, while the two of them got into an elevator to the top floor.
Judge Hog's office was one filled with papers and such on one side, and other exercise materials like several punching bags on the other side.
"You see," Judge Hog said, turning around, "we had to come here because some of this stuff is sworn to secrecy and cannot be said outside of this room to anyone else, clear."
"A while ago, there was a similar thing, in which the Neopian National Bank was involved. Fortunately, it was stopped, but even in that case it turned out that it had been orchestrated by pirates, namely the Governor McGill himself," Judge Hog said. "I'd suspect that he's the one, or rather, he's the only one capable of organizing something so big, and perhaps the only one who would benefit from such."
"There might be others though," Chad said. "We should probably go and run records to see if anyone has bought a large quantity of dubloons lately."
"Hmm, that I can do, but we would have to of course assume that they ran their transaction through Neopia Central, because I'm not sure how much the rulers from other lands would agree to something like this. Also, it is assuming that whoever bought those dubloons did them legally, which isn't all that likely if pirates are involved," Judge Hog said.
"True, true," Chad said absentmindedly. "So what was it that happened to the bank?"
"Well, it is much safer now and more secure, so a bank run on it isn't likely to happen," Judge Hog said. "Is there anything more that we can do?"
Chad had a nagging feeling that he was overlooking something. Namely, why did they want to go into his office? True, there were some important papers in there, but what was it exactly that they wanted?
Chad flicked on the Neovision set in the room and grabbed a stool to watch. There was no more market news, as the market had closed. Judge Hog was busy with his paperwork.
Chad kept trying to figure out just what had happened, and he made it a point to tell Judge Hog that he should go and get protection for Monica as well as the Neopian Economic Institute, as those people might have gone for those as well. Judge Hog also sent a few people to Chad's house as lookouts, in case they went there to search.
Now that Chad thought about it, BOTT had probably been going to collapse anyway, due to the reason that so many cheap bottle faeries were being released. It was probably just a coincidence that it happened at this time.
Chad eventually fell asleep, and when he woke up he saw that the sun was high in the sky, it must have been at least nine in the morning. Judge Hog wasn't in his office, but there was a tray of water and toast, with a note next to it.
I knew you'd be tired, and I didn't want to wake up a hard working citizen. The tray is for you, and in case you need me, tell Lightning Lenny, he's my second in charge there.
Chad finished the simple yet wholesome breakfast, and then turned on the Neovision to check on the market. The NEODAQ index had dropped one hundred points, expected as people were generally scared whenever a stock went bankrupt, but it would pick up again given enough time.
As he was about to turn it off when something flashed on the screen. Apparently there was a new update about the market. Chad watched transfixed, as the screen declared that Meridell Potato Company was now bankrupt. Apparently, it had been having a bad year anyway, and then some petpetpets had come and eaten away most of their crops. Finally, unable to pay its creditors or extend its line of credit, the company was forced to declare bankruptcy. A side note showed that they had been unprepared to deal with the pests, as they were a variety normally found on Krawk Island.
On Krawk Island, Chad thought. So this was what they had planned. All affiliated companies like Kau-Kau Farm had had their shares drop in value, and now it seemed that the panic in the market had really increased. There were several interviews on now showing various pets who were sad and telling stories about how they had lost all they had.
The NEODAQ index a few days ago had reached a height of 2400, and dropped last night to 1800. Right now, it was at 1750 and was dropping by the minute. This was not good, it was often estimated that a loss of one neopoint in the NEODAQ index led to a loss of one hundred thousand neopoints all over Neopia. A drop like this in around seven hundred points would have cost a loss of over seventy million neopoints all over Neopia. All within only four days.
Another news flash came up quickly, and Chad almost forgot to breathe as he read that LUPE Consolidated shares had plummeted. Apparently, one of their CFOs had been caught in an inside trading scandal, and the company's assets had been frozen for a while. Panicked investors had quickly sold off the stock until it was now worth 1 neopoint a share, and it would have gone lower if they had been allowed to do so.
LUPE Consolidated was the final nail in the coffin for the Stock Market, Chad realized. BOTT had been in the red for a long time, and not many people paid attention to Meridell Potato Company or bought it shares, but LUPE was a well-respected name in the market, and for its shares to fall from 65 neopoints a share to 1 neopoint a share gave out one message: if LUPE Consolidated wasn't safe, it probably meant that no other stock was safe.
The news then quickly changed to a special report from the Lost Desert. Chad almost changed the channel before he realized that it was saying something about the dubloon.
"Many people will be awed to note that the Lost Desert is now collectively rebuking the neopoint as its currency, and has chosen to adopt the dubloon instead," a Green Krawk said. "This came after it came to the attention of Princess Amira as well as Princess Nabile that the dubloon had actually originated in the Lost Desert and was used for sea trade, but lost use when such trade stopped. They have decided to embrace this dubloon as a way of returning to their roots, as a countermeasure to those who would say that the Lost Desert is forgetting its true roots and becoming too liberal."
Chad groaned internally. This was one thing that he had not been expecting, but then come to think of it, he had once stated in a paper that it was odd that King Coltzan gave out dubloons considering that it was the Lost Desert. But then if what the reporter was saying was true, it would explain why so many dubloons were found in the Lost Desert sands near the shrine.
The door to the office opened, and Judge Hog walked in. He was not alone, there was also a Green Skeith who Chad recognized as Mr. Roberts, who owned the Neopian National Bank, and a Gold Grarrl wearing quite a lot of shiny and expensive knick-knacks who was the Mayor.
"So I suppose you've heard the news," Chad said, pointing to the Neovision.
"The NEODAQ has fallen nine hundred points by now," Mr. Roberts said. "We've had most of the situation explained to us, but we're here to discuss what we must do."
"Indeed," the Mayor said. "If this is all true, than an economic apocalypse will ensue, which we cannot allow to happen."
"I have more news though," Judge Hog said as a Defender walked in and handed him a message. He flipped through it. "We've intercepted a message to Meridell from Krawk Island. Meridell Potato Company fed most of Meridell, and now that it is gone, a famine would have ensued, but the Governor of Krawk Island offered a reasonable deal for exporting grain, provided that they are paid only in dubloons."
"And of course, that will increase use of the dubloon further," Chad said. "So taking down MP hit two Weewoos with one stone, it dealt a blow to the Stock Market as well as encouraging use of the dubloon in Meridell."
"We have to act immediately," Mr. Roberts said.
"Are you so sure?" Judge Hog asked. "As far as I'm concerned, it really isn't the Defender's duty to save banks or stocks. We serve justice. And tell me this, why should be stop a dubloon takeover if it is going to happen? What would be wrong with a new currency around the globe?"
To be continued...