Chapter 23:

On Top of the World

A Place between There and Now

“Ok then, if you think that Gazation is so great why don’t you just tell me about it next?”

“Eh, didn’t you say you wanted to hear more general information about Europe?”

“That can wait, I would prefer to hear about Gazation first.”

“Oh ok, if that’s what you want sure, so where do you want me to start?”

“I leave that to you just start wherever you want.”

“Well, ok then, let’s start at the very start, I will go more in-depth though, I just know a lot more about Gazation than the others.”

“Do as you please, I don’t mind.”

“So, Gazation was originally called Studio Nightfall and made videogames.”

“Oh, that’s interesting.”

“Why is that?”

“Well, it just so happens that I know a lot about Studio Nightfall, probably more than you, so if you have been talking out of your ass in any way for the past hour, I will know.”

“You should really start trusting me more, you need to understand that I don’t profit in any way from lying to you, at least not in this situation or do you see any way I could profit from what I told you this far.”

“Well knowledge is a weapon, you could, for example, make me distrust your enemies or make me trust Gazation and hate Inditaid and Europe even though they all are equally bad. Just to make this clear I don’t think you are lying for any sort of personal gain, but I also know that humans have a natural tendency to over-exaggerate everything they talk about. That being said, you can continue if you want.”

“Well, I also still have a question, why do you know so much about Studio Nightfall?”

“Wouldn’t me telling you about this make it way easier for you to lie to me?”

She looked at me angrily.

“Ok ok, calm down, I played their games from a young age and I’m currently an employee for their marketing sector, I was a level designer first but switched fields after one year due to, well I don’t really know why, but the company just wanted me in the marketing sector.”

“Indeed, that’s interesting. Anyways Studio Nightfall released the game Limit Break in the year 2040.”

“Yeah, we are currently working on that, or we were at least.”

“Anyways, the game was a surprise hit, it broke many records and launched Studio Nightfall to the top of the industry. There were deals with other companies that wanted to buy the studio, but they weren’t successful until the biggest console producer in the world Tecload tried to buy them for around 500 million credits.”

“We, we didn’t use credits, not in the year 2039, we still used Yen(¥).”

“I know the credit was first adapted in the year 2048 but I don’t know how much it is in-“

She stopped

“In Yen it’s around 55 billion.”

“What was that?

“What are you talking about?”

“Never mind”

“They however didn’t accept the offer. To say that their employees weren’t pleased would be an understatement. Due to pressure from below the higherups created a new contract, a fusion between the two companies. Their only request, they not only wanted to keep their name, but they wanted to name the fusion of the two companies Studio Nightfall. Tecload first thought that this was just a joke, but it wasn’t and against all odds, they actually agreed, despite the fact that Tecload was almost three times larger than Studio Nightfall and a part of the biggest company in the world, Thesis. In the following years, there was a huge shift in the company and a former Studio Nightfall employee became the new CEO of the new Studio Nightfall. Over the next decade, the focus of Studio Nightfall shifted away from consoles and became the biggest producer of Technology based on the new T-Code. They build the first true Virtual-Reality by taking the entire world code and inserting it into a gigantic framework and while this was the arguably largest innovation they created this far, it was by far not the one that brought them the most fame and with that the most money. They created one thing that truly changed the world and their position on the market. They called it Blue Pill, it was a small device that you could clip to your ear, it would then scan a huge set of numbers that were somewhere inside your code with the note </00102#brain_activity/>. It would then send signals to the brain and made the user fall asleep immediately. What they did now is clear the cluster of numbers that stood behind the brain activity bracket and replaced them with numbers they got from other dreams. While they couldn’t create new dreams they could save “good dreams” and live through them again and again. But the best thing came only after the masses began using it, people started to find out how and where the device saved the data and started selling it on a black market of sorts. Studio Nightfall however noticed this and made it illegal to sell brain activity data, which was gained via one of their devices, so whenever someone wanted to sell a dream of value, they first needed to get a programmer to read and extract the cluster of numbers for them which was just too expensive and rarely paid off. It was also nearly impossible because the dream data could only be used if it was extracted during the dreaming process, any later and the cluster wouldn’t resemble a dream but instead a part of the person’s consciousness and its thinking process. The next thing they created was Dreamscape, an online shop where people could buy and sell their dreams. They made billions and grew larger than Thesis. After winning a trial against them, they first became independent and then bought Thesis for 12 billion credits. After tha-”

“I have a question.”

“Which would be?”

“How did they change the brain activity stat if they discovered that technology decades later?”

“They didn’t, not directly, they just found out what you need to do to the human brain to make the numbers change naturally.”

She was good, she had an answer for everything. Maybe she was even a bit too good.

“Fine, go on.”

“After that, they changed their name to Gazation, they thought that a studio in the name just wasn’t that fitting for the largest company in the world. Now that they potentially had infinite entertainment their focus hugely shifted to providing the product the people needed besides Gate. That was the new name for Blue Pill. They didn’t hate the old name, but their marketing team suggested that the word pill could bring people that didn’t understand the reference to immediately think of it as a sort of drug which would be bad for marketing. While any other console or tech producer would have never been able to provide products like snacks because, in the eyes of the customers, they would be nothing more than “Gamer Snacks”, extremely overpriced products with low quality whose only selling point was their connection to their other products but Thesis which was mainly an online shop widened their scope. They could sell everything, to whoever they wanted and by rewarding those that bought their products in the online shop with discounts in the genre section of Dreamscape they effectively bonded their customers to both stores. They also held a monopoly on the dream business and while there were attempts to copy their technology they all failed for two reasons, quality, and scale, in the industry of dream shopping the company depended on its customers the same way they depended on it, with no people to upload dreams there was no reason to use the device. The last thing that could cause them damage was pirating but they used multiple layers of encryption to make it hard to give someone else your dream. The final nail in the coffin of piracy came with a few reports of people dying because they feed their devices an encrypted set of numbers. This was bad for their publicity, but it also stopped all forms of piracy. They gave a statement about security and that there was nothing to be afraid about if you got your dreams legitimately showing that not a single person died in the past 2 years that the device was on the market. A few people heard about this, and they would be responsible for the next scandal surrounding the Gate. They were CIA agents and saying that what they did was bad for Gazation’s publicity would be an understatement. They tried torturing terrorists with broken dreams, but they died in the progress. After the public got wind of this the press tried as hard as it could to ruin Gazation but they were too large, and nothing could stop them. At that moment almost 45% of the earth’s population used Gate to flee from reality on a daily basis and more than 50% used Thesis. The next thing the press found proved to be a way larger problem, the filtering system. It was weak at best and people tried to upload not good dreams but exactly the opposite, they uploaded nightmares. There is no simple pattern in the brain activity numbers that would show that it is a nightmare, so people could just upload a nightmare for every phobia to the shop under titles like “Sunset at the beach😎😎😎” for low prices and cause thousands of people to live through it all without the ability to wake up before it was over. The more the Media talked about it, the more influencers screamed at their microphones to please stop the trolls the more people started doing it. The problem got so bad that people couldn’t use any results when sorted by newest and any dream that didn’t have ads or a price was not what it claimed to be.”

“But couldn’t they just moderate it manually, if a moderator experienced the dream, they could just simply ban it if it wasn’t what it claimed to be?”

“That was exactly what they tried next but there were just too many dreams to be moderated. They still tried to verify as many dreams as they could manually so that their users would have a smaller but still large ever-growing catalogue of dreams to choose from. This changed however after multiple moderators committed suicide, they quite simply experience too many nightmares for a human to handle. The other moderators that quit their work described it as non-stop terror in interviews. They finally solved their problem with the addition of the Escape Button. While it was called button it was not a physical object but a phrase or a thing that the user could just think of. It worked this way: you do a configuration dream and are asked to think of the Escape Button. They then do multiple scans and save how it changes the brain activity and advanced algorithms then reproduced the changes in thousands of dream situations to create a user-specific Escape Button. Whenever the user now thinks of the escape button while dreaming, he will be kicked out. Before that happens, Gate makes a copy of the numbers at that time and if you accidentally thought of the Escape Button you can just reenter your dream where you left it.”

“That’s convenient but why did you talk so much about Gate, why is it so important how it works?”

“As I said, I will go more in-depth with Gazation.”

“So, you told me all that for no reason?”

“I thought you would find it interesting”

“That’s all?”

“If you ask me like that, no, there also was another reason, it would probably be hard to understand what came afterwards without this.”

“Well, then go on, I don’t want this to have all been for nothing.”