Run on The Neopoint: Part Six
Chad spoke up. "We can't allow ourselves to think like that. The fall of the neopoint will erase millions of worker's savings across Neopia, and will ruin financial markets and create mass hysteria. Not to mention that these people we are dealing with are criminals, criminals who we have to punish."
"Good," Judge Hog said. "I merely wanted to know if you were doing this for the right reasons, Professor Chadwick. Now, how would you say we proceed?"
"We should probably freeze the Stock Market and prevent trading for the rest of the day," the Mayor said.
"No," Chad said. That sort of tactic had been done once before, and it had ended badly. "That will only signal to people that the Stock Market isn't safe. We need to prop it up instead. First of all, the Neopian National Bank needs to save Meridell Potato Company by extending it a loan. Next, we need to unfreeze LUPE Consolidated and appoint someone we know is clean as temporary CEO for the moment. Also, we need to tell King Skarl that we can beat whatever deal he has from Krawk Island, and send an emissary to the Lost Desert to get them to rethink the dubloon idea."
Just then, another message arrived for Judge Hog. "I have some new information," he said.
"There is another update," Judge Hog said. "We searched through the records, and saw that there has been a citizen from the Lost Desert who has purchased over five million neopoints worth of dubloons two weeks ago. We did a further check on him, and it turns out that he's one of Princess Amira's trusted advisors."
"In other words, he's probably one of the who tried to get the dubloon passed off as the new currency," Mr. Roberts said. "We should send a diplomat with that information to the Lost Desert."
"Our final move," Chad said, "would be to strengthen the Stock Market. If I was trying to destabilize the neopoint, I would also try to attack the Stock Market by first buying up shares over the months through various shell accounts, and once the panic sets in, the NEOAQ would almost completely collapse. I would then spread rumors that the Neopian National Bank couldn't meet its obligations anymore and that would cause a bank run, effectively destroying a lot of belief in the neopoint."
"So, I suppose the bank should start buying up shares?" Mr. Roberts asked.
"No," Chad said. "We don't want the bank to not have enough neopoints as to not be able to honor its obligations if everyone goes and demands their neopoints back. Instead, we need to think of some other way to get stocks back on track."
"There is an idea there," the Mayor said. "People have a great deal of trust in you, Professor, and you giving an interview on Neovision stating that you're betting on the NEODAQ going up again would be quite the booster to morale. I can have an interview scheduled for this evening."
There were a few more matters to settle after that, and then everyone left except Chad, who was staying in Judge Hog's office for his own safety. He turned on the Neovision. The NEODAQ was still in free-fall and had hit 1200. He could only hope that most Neopians would be smart enough to hold onto their shares for when they would go back up, but he still knew that many would panic, sell, and lose a lot of savings.
After two hours, when the deal with Meridell was done and it showed that Meridell Potato Company was no longer in the red and had received an extended loan, its share price rose a little from nothing to 3 neopoints a share. Then, the news about LUPE Consolidated being back in business came again, causing shares of LUPE to go back to 10 neopoints a share. It was still a far cry from its value before, but Chad hoped that the rising value from it would help stem fears that the entire Market was going to crash.
It was then that Chad suddenly sat in his seat with a jolt. He realized in a second what they had been searching for in his office, and he knew that he had to do something quickly.
In his office were the key codes to access the Virtupets RE-4-8790 server, otherwise known as the place where all the Stock Market's transactions went through, and also where the Neopian National Bank kept its virtual records. He had helped designed the algorithm, and those rather tedious access codes were if he ever needed to access it again.
But, if those pirates got a hold of it, they could, given enough time, hack into the server and completely wipe it out. He then remembered that there was some sayings that the pirates had been conspiring with Dr. Sloth, which meant that it was possible for them to hack the system given enough time with those access codes.
If that server went down, there would be no point in doing whatever they had done, the neopoint might recover, but then on the other hand it would harm thousands of Neopians. He had to tell someone fast.
Outside, he ran into Lightning Lenny and briefed him about the situation.
"I see," he said. "Well, we have several connections to people on Virtupets and we can contact them to secure the server."
Chad nodded and returned to the office but began pacing nervously. Had he been too late to stop them? There was nothing he could do about it then, but he couldn't help but blame himself for not having thought of this sooner.
Sometime later, Lightning Lenny walked in. "As it turns out, we did find someone trying to hack the server. Several Virtupets Agents found a Green Blumaroo lying unconscious, someone who we recognized as being an escaped prisoner by the name of Rex. Someone knocked him out cold before we could reach him though, which was something good as he was almost done. We don't know who did it, though based on the weapon we would suspect Ylana Skyfire, who we know had a grudge against him. So, it seems that that threat is out of the way. The access codes have been changed, so we needn't worry that they have the old ones."
Chad sighed, but had trouble believing that it was all over so soon. The NEODAQ improved over the next few hours, going up to 1600. Word got back to him that the Lost Desert was not going to be switching over to the dubloon, partly due to their efforts and partly due to protests from many citizens on taking such a move. Also, several officials had been imprisoned for taking bribes, it turned out that the official that they had traced had had a few friends that he was rather willing to rat out easily.
So, at the end of the day, Chad decided to go back to his house. He was still being put under surveillance, as they couldn't be sure that the pirates wouldn't be coming back to have revenge.
For the moment though, the markets seemed to be rallying and the neopoint stable. The dubloon had gained some value against the neopoint, but was still only a shadow of its former self.
"I should probably invest in as many stocks as I can right now," he thought to himself as he sank into his favorite armchair.
"I should agree," a voice said. Chad immediately jolted upright to see a Purple Lenny in front of him, wearing a fancy and dark attire. Unlike him, she seemed completely calm.
"Let me guess," she said. "The normal questions are running through your mind, who am I, how did I get here, and am I a thief? The answers are quite simple. I am simply called the Duchess, and I represent an organization known as the Sway. Professor James Chadwick, my organization would like to recruit you as one of our members."
"What?" Chad asked. This was far too much to take in.
"I suppose I need some explaining to do. We dabble in everything, Professor. Perhaps you would know some of our deeds better than our names. We stopped the Neopian National Bank from collapsing. We are the ones who caused the Stock Market Crash of 5 BN. And we are also the ones who stopped Rex from hacking into the Virtupets server, and helping you."
"What? But that was done by Ylana Skyfire!" Chad said.
"I suppose that is something that you would like to think. However, Ylana hates the Neopian National Bank, and would certainly do nothing to help it. No, we set up clues and assumed that you would have realized it in time to stop Rex yourself, but apparently we overestimated you and had to intervene and knock him out. Still, you remain to be one of the best economists around, and there are going to be further troubles from Skyfire and others," she said.
She then opened up a book she was carrying, and flitted to a page with a picture of a Blue Eyrie on it, and judging from the detail on it Chad had the feeling he was someone important, but from a small slit on the other side the Duchess took out a small ring with an emblem engraved on it.
"So, what will you do?" she asked.
Professor James Chadwick picked up the ring. He only hesitated for a second before putting it on. It somehow felt right on him, as if this was what he was really meant to do.
"And so we begin," the Duchess said.
I would just like to say that this is the series that took me over the 50th mark, and now I have over 50 Neopian Times entries. I remember when I really struggled to write articles and was really dejected when my first two articles were rejected. So I'd just like to say that you should keep writing, it may seem hard at first but you'll get the hang of it eventually.
I'd like to thank dark_shadow202020 for his guide on the stock market which helped in the history of stock market that I wrote about in this series. I'd also like to thank all of my readers for their support, and here's to fifty more pieces!