Following the multiple announcements by the Compensation Law, -or the Ether Law? It was still a bit confusing for everyone- the world that should have panicked just sighed in relief as the buzz in their head had finally disappeared with an easily explainable reason.
Who, or what, other than the Ether Law could have been the reason?
As for those era-changing announcements, it became the main talk subject to everyone as well as the source of endless fantasies on the internet, which Rune joined with gusto.
From the IGS government's side, they only published an announcement calling for calm and expressing a clear “wait and see” attitude, or in other terms: Exactly how the government was expected to respond by the IGS’s principles.
The only visible and possibly alarming change that could be seen was the deployment of the orbiting defense fleet of every inhabited planet, in case the situation took a turn for the worse.
The Ether Law was after all still a complete unknown despite the emergency knowledge pack kindly given by the compensation law.
When nothing happened even after a whole week though, the schools that temporarily closed reopened, to the despair of every child and teenager calling for the end of the world, hoping to be released from their fate of being unable to play for an unlimited time during weekdays.
The buzz similarly didn’t reappear, like it had been only a dream.
After analysis and word dissection of the announcements by a lot of smart people, the moment everything was going to change should be during what the announcement called ‘Law Initiation’, a term that had been used only once.
Not that it told anyone what would happen, just that it would be the start.
Having been released from the buzz, Rune continued to enjoy his days of emptiness and happiness.
He wasn’t apathetic towards the situation, but nothing had really happened, no one was “dead by head buzz”, and being scared would change nothing.
The wait-and-see attitude adopted by the IGS government corresponded perfectly to what he wanted.
Being the eldest of the family, however, sometimes thwarted his plans of doing nothing when his mother could just call him and tell him, or order him, to go pick up his sisters out of school, to which he would of course respond: “Ok.”
And his mother, being used to his character, would just go do her thing.
So his days perpetuated on, sometimes a gaming night with friends, similarly unpanicked by the situation, sometimes a video day alone, most often a mix of solo gaming in between entertainment.
Until finally, after 3 weeks of waiting, the Ether Law made another move using the same means as the previous time.
Compensation Law Quota Announcement
Law initiation Imminent
Necessary ether density reached.
Opening of the global system imminent, access will be granted by being a dependent sapient being.
The global system allows ether to be used by non-ether life forms and is, therefore, currently your only way to manipulate basic ether.
Access will be created to access Dimensions, Information Board, Ether Wiki, Event, Status, Gathering Log, and Compensation through Global System.
And after that, what was the first reaction anyone interested in and dismissing the potential danger would have?
“Hu-hum!” Rune cleared his throat while thinking really hard about the system.
When it didn’t work, he used his voice, “System? Global System? Ether Law? System Cadabra? Hello, world?” Saying those things aloud would be normal in an immersive gaming room, but in reality, Rune was alone in his bedroom.
After this announcement and during the next 5 minutes or so, he tried in vain to invoke the global system spoken of in the announcement.
But even after calling it for what felt like hundreds of times, physically and mentally both, nothing ever happened. Neither a flicker in his vision, nor a physical feedback hinting he had done something.
“It probably means that a "very soon" for the Ether Law equals more than 5 minutes, no problem, no problem at all bro...” Exasperated and not ashamed at all, Rune could only release his frustration by talking to the air, trying to justify what he just did to the Universe itself.
Or maybe now he was talking to the Ether Law?
“If you hear me bro, can you give me access? Maybe? No? Ok no problem, not like I really want it, I can wait like everyone else, don’t prioritize me, I got it,” on those monologuing words, Rune opened his messaging app and made sure it was put on ‘notifications with sound’.
He wouldn’t miss the moment the access was given. At least that's what he told himself.
Every time there was a message, he couldn’t help but check it, hoping it was the right one, but after 2 hours he just started to let it go and only tried to access the global system when he thought about it.
Meaning not one time before he got sleepy and concluded it was enough for today.
Nothing could go wrong after all.
Waking up at who knows what hours and repeating his routine, Rune came back to his freshly booted up computer, and after turning on his app, he saw 999+ unread messages.
His first reflex was trying to access the global system by thinking about it, and on the first try, maybe even the zeroth try considering it was instant, he saw texts appear in mid-air in front of his eyes.
Compensation (1 pending)
Not stunned at all, or so minimally stunned that he didn’t feel it, he started experimenting.
Thinking of having it close, it just closed.
Then it reopened with another thought. Not a drop of sweat involved. Everything happened exactly as he wanted.
Before opening his compensation or any other options, he checked the conversation his friends had which he summarized in 2 points: They talked about compensations being equal to money, and that everyone would soon lose their jobs.
‘Not like I was expecting my career to be something to look forward to…’
Without waiting anymore, he opened his compensation with his thoughts.
Defective Law Knowledge
1 200 EP
Soon to be fantasy, this knowledge will be of no use and will from now on only be useful as a foundation to learn the properties of the Ether Law.
Defective Law Strength
Unfortunately, the exerted force of your living matter is associated with a defective law that will soon be rendered unusable by the complete Ether Law. Your previous efforts are noted and compensated for.
Defective Law Possession
In comparison to the size of this dimension, your possessions are meager.
Compensation Total: 1 410 EP
Rune certainly wasn’t expecting that, but if the Ether Law, or maybe the Compensation Law judged him like that, then there was no way to complain.
Who could he complain to if he disagreed?
Maybe only by reflecting on himself could he explain the whys of this compensation, so he did just that.
‘The knowledge probably comes from my studies and everything I learned to be graduated in exploration engineering? My strength comes from regular exercise, and my possessions…’
The last subject made him pause in his reflection.
Rune still lived in his parent's house so, yeah… Meager was the right way to describe his possessions other than immaterial money kindly.
Checking his app, he realized that the last message was from 1 hour ago.
It said something along the lines of “Yup it’s possible”, and above that was one of his friends saying they created a forum in the information board, followed by the name “X125 and friends45”.
Reopening his system and accessing the information board without hesitation, he could only describe this “Information Board” as a traditional forum of discussion.
Names he could understand, obvious references to the IGS pop culture, jokes he could read and laugh at…
Searching for a forum called “X125 and friends45” was made instinctive. He found it after just thinking about the name. It was the same reaction speed as when he wanted to make the system menu appear or disappear.
After finding it and in the same manner he searched for it, instinct or thoughts he didn’t know, the forum opened before his eyes.
[Jules: Yup really, I have two screens open, just try it and it happens.]
[Romain: Yeah, yeah, ok. All the other forums are talking about who has the best compensation.]
[Jules: Talking about that, from what I’ve read, some people have already created their avatar and now have super powers.]
[Peter: Why are they in such a hurry? You can also choose to not create your avatar. Personally, I’m going to wait for a little while and see what the frontliners have to say.]
“Sigh…” Heaving a sigh of relief after seeing his friends talk as they usually did, he decided to join the conversation by asking the first question that came to him.
[Rune: Yo guys, just woke up. How the hell did you have the perfect timing to open the system? Did you pull an all-nighter?]
[Jules: Yo Rune, and yup for the all-nighter! You’re just weak-willed for not doing it! We played the whole night and tried to open the system all the time, and then it suddenly worked.]
[Jules: What was your compensation Rune? I got 1 350 EP, Peter got 1 480 EP, and Romain got 1 390 EP, the majority of the compensation comes from the knowledge part, you should be around that amount, right?]
[Rune: Yup, I got 1 410 EP. Do you have any comparison to make? Like a super-duper scientist or a universe company owner? A kajo?]
[Romain: Some of those I do have, and they generally talk about thousands and thousands of EP. You also have the strength compensation. They’re not the same in case you’re wondering. Wait, I have the number on the next screen, I’ll copy-paste them.]
Rune waited for 20 seconds before Romain sent his next message.
[Romain: For strength, I have one who has a compensation of 8 510 EP, but the best of the best are the company owner. Some have compensations climbing up to 25 000 EP! What a load of horse sh*t, how are we supposed to own entire pans of galaxies as freshly graduated average citizens?!]
[Peter: Don’t have a seizure, at the end of the day it’s too little to make a difference, just a stat point costs 10 000 EP, and everyone has the right to a loan of 1 000 000 EP for their avatar creation. That’s enough to balance the game fully.]
[Jules: Fortunately they aren’t tradable, or the rich would buy everything, we still have a chance!]
[Jules: If you don’t know Rune, you can open a second or even a third screen, just go and participate in our effort of gathering information.]
As they continued talking about what they found, what was happening and all, Rune navigated through the information board and started finding some interesting nuggets of information.
For example, the 10 EP compensation for possession was given to everyone, even children.
There was also an average for strength compensation for the greatest at around 8 000 EP, the system calling it the apex of the defective law or something like that in its “apology” message.
However, even if he tried, Rune couldn’t contain himself for long. Finding information and all was fine, but it wasn’t what he wanted to do after understanding a little more about the situation.
So, after confirming that as long as you didn’t agree to anything, nothing would happen, he opened the dimensions window of the global system.
It was slightly lackluster compared to his expectations, but Rune knew it was all but that. He decided to verify the veracity of what he learned first by checking the “Universe”, through mentally focusing on it.
Not able to bear ether life forms.
Fully stable. Dimensional anomalies impossible.
No restrictions on ether.
The Universe Dimension is the first dimension birthed by a critically defective law, as such, the ether density is abysmal and doesn’t allow ether life forms to survive.
This dimension is composed at more than 99% of emptiness, only the most fundamental part of the Ether Law has allowed this Dimension to birth sapient life and to exist in its current state.
‘Hum, yeah? I can enter the dimension I’m in? Ok, ok, why not, as for the description…’
The description was pretty useless as of now, but having it was better than not having it. Context was always welcome.
Of course, Rune already knew that everything interesting would come from the next dimension, the game-changing one, the dimension that would bring a new era due to it having what was missing in the Universe Dimension he was living in.
Able to bear ether life forms, Cannot birth life.
Slightly unstable. Dimensional anomalies possible.
No restrictions on ether.
The Void Dimension is the second dimension birthed by a critically defective law, it developed parallelly to the Universe Dimension. It was birthed to absorb the remaining traces of ether and allow the main dimension to develop according to the critically defective law standard.
Basic ether resources can be found floating about everywhere, dangerous grounds and anomalies coexist with better resources.
Compensation Law Quota Guidance
To gather and absorb resources you need to use your spirit to assimilate them once you get one. Death is a possibility during resource gathering.
‘I think… I’ll let smarter people decide whether the Compensation Law is our mother or not. For me though, it’s really trying to help us.’
Seeing once again a quota something, it really made Rune think about what ‘critically defective’ really meant.
With the weeks of waiting between the first announcements and the opening of the global system, the world, as in, the netizens, already came up with hundreds of explanations about the situation.
The vast majority of them did pure words and sentences analysis to make sense of what they were told, but only time would tell which explanations and theories were right.
For lots of people, receiving a ‘critically defective’ evaluation meant that the defective law they had lived under all their life until now had been missing nearly everything.
For the degree of completeness to have been 0.0501% during the evaluation, missing the “Ether” part of the Ether Law wouldn’t be strange.
Having learned that even after choosing to create your avatar, you didn’t have to create it now, Rune mentally selected to create an avatar.
Avatar (Basic Rank) (Tier 1)
EP: 1 410 EP
Stats Total: 100 (Exchange ratio 1 for 10 000 EP)
Health Regeneration: 10
Energy Regeneration: 10
Compensation Law Quota Guidance
You can modify your avatar before its creation, see exchange ratio, you can also invest your compensation.
The loss of your avatar (Health attaining 0) will be followed by a choice between rapid access after 10 days for the price of 10 000 EP, or waiting 100 days to let your avatar regenerate naturally with the ambient ether.
Your avatar is your single and unique safe access link to the Void Dimension, it can only be modified at its creation and can then only be upgraded using EP following it.
Your avatar is linked to your ether soul and can be used in every subsequent dimension opened as long as you remain a dependent entity.
10% of its stats are transmitted to the other side of the link, your original body.
This transmitted capacity is always rounded down (9 gives 0 and 19 gives 1).
You can integrate with your avatar to receive 100% of its capacity.
The Rank of your Avatar decides the percentage transmitted, increasing this rank is possible but is not advised due to the Avatar Add-On being something you’ll lose after gaining independence.
By accepting to create an avatar, you allow the Ether Law and its constituent Compensation Law to treat you as a dependent entity, allowing for dependent entity protections.
As long as one of your two bodies continues existing, the other will naturally regenerate with time or with a price.
In case of original body death, your awareness will be totally contained in your avatar until original body regeneration, with the same methods of regeneration available as your avatar.
Warning: By creating your avatar you will receive a debt equal to the amount of EP used, with a maximum of 1 000 000 EP debt, refundable during the next 10 years, without interest.
Rune didn’t want to admit it, but seeing those stats and reading the informative guidance text…
It really made him feel like a teenager with hot blood again.