Who Pulls The Strings in Aristeia

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— The mega-corporations.

— That’s a bold statement, Mr. Khatt.

— Harsh but true. I was Red Hinkley for three years. I know how everything works from the inside. Money rules everything at all levels.

— What’s Vissiorama’s role in this?

— Vissiorama is a referee - a judge bought by the companies to feign neutrality. It's like a scarecrow to keep the spectators quiet at home, thinking that everything has legal grounds and everything is copacetic.

— What about the Commissioner?

— The Commissioner is a body that depends on Vissiorama, purchased by the mega-corporations. Look what happened this season: Maximus lost popularity in comparison to Wild Bill or Miyamoto. What a coincidence, right? The Commissioner approves a new scenario package that benefits the champion of the corporation that spends the most money. For now, only a couple of them have entered into the AGL. In the next season, we will get tired of seeing them with the ziggurats.

— However, Vissiorama has been a sponsor until very recently, when it announced its resignation.

— Bah! They will find a way back. They will think of something. Their game; their rules. Vissiorama and Oxyd are way smaller corporations that have to invest in Aristeia!, and fight against the big powers. They put money of dubious origins into this facade. What's more, the viewers don’t give a damn - they just want to see the gods of the hexadome bleed.

— I don’t understand, Mr. Khatt. Explain yourself, please.

— In Aristeia!, money rolls in constantly. Do you actually believe that the only income comes from the "legal" activities of these companies? Governments such as Yu Jing and Pan-Oceania allocate a lot of funds. The cartels and organized crime magnates are involved as well. How else do you think Hannibal's team became so well regarded? Because of their own merits? Ha! There is no luck, there is no hard work. In the Hexadome, there’s only a place for those who the powers want them to be there. Aristeia! cleans a lot of dirty money, Miss. How do you think the Nomads have managed to get rid of Vissiorama?

»Behind the witch is none other than Tunguska, and Tunguska means money. After taking Vissiorama out of the fray with a Spectacular Display of Theatrics, Tunguska has turned off the flow of money to many of these small companies. It’s a warning. I am positive that if we published a list of those affected, most of them will have some debt to the powerful Bank of Tunguska. But don’t worry, Vissiorama will be back.

— Do you mean that the results of the matches are rigged or agreed upon beforehand in some way?

— Not the regular ones, but things change once the trials begin. The title of Bahadur's translates into a gigantic viewership, and therefore, advertising income. It also changes politics, as are the cases of Maximus or that legless girl.

»Look, I lost my last semi-finals at the Omadon Arena against Wild Bill. He’s not one to scoff at.

— Wild Bill is one of the best...

— Yeah, sure. The dude is really good, I won’t argue about that. But during the pre-combat medical check-up, they inject him some drugs. They tell you that they are used to perform better, to endure pain and those kinds of things. Your sponsor decides for you: you are just a puppet in Maya, and no boss wants his puppet to have their strings cut. Not only that - in addition to these "combat" drugs, they give you something else. Look, I have never, never failed a thirty-meter shot with my Reaper. That day, I failed two. What the hell! I can swear by the most sacred thing in the world that my arms obeyed some ”other” orders.

— That’s a very serious accusation. Your allegation implies a level of technology that only the best army of the Human Sphere’s elite units have access.

— Who else? Moto.Tronica is the main military contractor of PanOceania, the hyperpower. What do you think that Moto.Tronica sells? It’s not exactly Maximus action figures, I can tell you that…

Excerpt from “Ari$teia!”

A report by Sandrah Chen available in Arachne[1]