CHAPTER 28 – II
It was true that Aricame had more human followers (at his disposal) than ever before. It was also true that through continued practice and dedication he had accomplished a level of mastery of his Championship powers that no other Champion before him had ever achieved. And one other truth was evident as well: he never felt more vulnerable. Stievo’s reach was expanding at the same rate as his own, possibly faster, and Aricame knew he had to continue to gobble up as much of the world as he could.
Given the strength of his Other, he did not want to engage him directly (though he would still poke the bear when the opportunity presented itself). Instead, he continued to study the Board and hone his ability to play the game on a mental plane. The concentration that this required sharpened his mind, allowing him to focus much more intently during the hours of the day not consumed by the game. The main beneficiary of this enhanced focus was the business dealings of Ohrmazd Corp.
Synthesizing the insights gleaned from both the rational language of computing and the extra-rational experiences of hallucination, Aricame was able to revolutionize the world of computers. His machines began handling ever-increasing data sets at ever-decreasing time intervals, while taking up a fraction of the physical space. The largest multinational firms in the world clamored for this technology and made Aricame exceedingly wealthy. But what really excited him was his budding gaming empire. It was one thing for Aricame’s computers to allow business to operate more efficiently; it was another thing entirely to get into the homes of as many people as possible via computer games. And the two aided each other: as business spread and profits increased around the world, so too did the buying capacity of regular folks who could then purchase his gaming machines. It was a cycle that fed itself and gave him a new means of spreading his message that used to just focus on subversion, empowerment, and rebellion, but now also included expansion, consumption, and experience.
The technology that drove the game was Aricame’s advanced artificial intelligence and his groundbreaking visuals that touched nerve centers in the brain that no other media had yet accessed. It was as if he was creating tiny robots that could burrow into the human mind and rewire it. The possibilities were truly tantalizing for Aricame, but he still ran into barriers. This new strategy required robust economies (both national and local) and he was shut off from certain corners of the planet by the Ahriman Group. What’s worse, it was Stievo’s supposed “pure and noble” message that spread where Aricame’s own could not.
No other animal hoards beyond their future requirement
No other animal shares beyond their local environment
Deficiency is not so much eradicated
As abundance is thusly just reformulated