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The conspiracy of fools


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In a meeting room, deep inside an unknown business's office building with two dozens of anonymous various CEOs/presidents/board of directors:

1: "Are you !@#$@#$ serious? Turning the government into a puppet again?"

2: "Yes. The benefits would be massive."

3: "Did you live under a rock during the war and crackdowns? What makes you think we won't crash and burn?"

2: "The previous folks were too ambitious and noisy. They kept the pressure up even when the public was well aware of their intentions and were already rioting. We're not going to make ourselves obvious. We're going to plant some friends into the government and sprinkle money strategically without hiring an army of lawyers to make our plans obvious. Should crap hit the ceiling, we deny everything and jump off the sinking ship instead of stupidly sinking with it."

4: "But where to start?"

2: "That, I don't know."

5: "Should we use Sri Lanka as an example?"

6: "Uh, I'm not so sure if it's recent government shift was caused by a conspiracy, and it involves assassinating people. That is something I wouldn't use as it makes too much noise, especially if lots of people dropped dead or disappeared suspiciously."

7: "If we aren't going to silence enemies, how do we keep them quiet?"

1: "Stomp them during reelections. Fund friendly candidates with massive amount of money. You can't win an election if your opponents have lots more money to burn through. And if you can't get reelected, you don't have as much power to stop something. Unless if you're extremely popular."

3: "Regarding our strategy, we need to focus on the Legislative. Election is coming up next year and we need to prepare our agents for it. President Natas is simply too popular to be knocked out of the presidential election, but he can't do much if the majority of the Legislative is opposing him."

5: "And then we will proceed to destroy Natas's reputation shortly before the presidential election so we can implant a president that's more business friendly. With the Legislative and Executive branch under our control, all we have to do is patiently wait and replace dead/retiring Judicial branch's judges with ones that are friendly to us. Might even take decades, but it's worth the wait."

6: "[i]Decades[/i]?"

4: "That, or we get to fall the same way the previous group fell by being too aggressive. Which is the lesser evil?"

6: "But the longer this takes, the higher the chance we'll get caught."

1: "Good point. I think we should actively turn the judges into friends while packing the Legislative with our friends."

2: "Ugh, I'm not so sure about this. I don't think this plan is worth it."

1: "I don't understand. Deregulation always helps."

2: "But what if other businesses that are more aggressive ends up crashing the economy because of their actions?"

1: "The economy will crash first with the heavy regulation. It's costing all of us billions, and another few dozen billions in potential profits that would've never existed under the regulation."

2: "Enron."

3: "The one that marked a $8 million annual profit as half a billion in the 90's, actively hide its debts through, and inflated its income to the point where it defied the laws of gravity through accounting fraud before crashing and burning? Highly unlikely that will occur again."

2: "What I meant wasn't one company going down, what I meant was numerous companies becoming reckless in an unregulated economy and bringing everyone down with them when they crash hard."

3: "Still, that's impossible for a repeated reckless crash to occur."

Edited by HHAYD
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A few hours later, when !@#$ hits the ceiling:


4: "Yes, I can totally mind-read people dozens of miles away."

5: "Cool your jets. No need for profanity and insults."

6: "Didn't you also lash against her?"

5: "I was angry, not thinking clear."

6: "Sure."

5: "$%&@ this, I'm out of here. Who turned off the air conditioning anyways?"

4: "Maintenance crew blotched maintenance checks and ended up draining all of the coolant. Oh, and one of the workers died from accidentally inhaling too much of it."

2: "That might explain why we seem more angry towards each other. Miserable heat."

1: "Shut up."

3: "You know what? Let's call off this meeting for now until we all learn how to be mature."

4: "Why did I even bother organizing this in the first place?..."

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Few weeks later, in the EnFu Corporation (one of the 10 successors of the Midwest Republic Fuel and Energy Corporation), in Griff Skill's office:

Griff Skill, the CFO (Chief Financial Officer): "This is !@#$%^&*! We are not going to use the mark-to-market accounting! Don't you fools understand what brought Enron down?!"

Ted Frank, the CEO: "The mark-to-market accounting would reflect our situation. We are a fuel distribution company with long-term deals."

Griff Skill: "Marking 20 to even 40 year long contracts as immediate profits? That really makes sense."

Ted Frank: "It does if you think about it."

Griff Skill: "Alright, we mark all contracts as immediate profits despite the fact that they will still generate small amount of revenue over the years instead of one big lump payment. The next quarter, we report no income because we marked all of the income from today to about 40 years as today's income. I think at least one stockbroker is going to have a heart attack from investing in a company that he or she thought would continuously earn over $100 billion in total profits, then the company suddenly reports over one billion dollar loss the very next quarter. That would also attract the Security and Exchange Regulation Commission's attention for sure."

Ted Frank: "It's really simple, all we need is additional contracts. Since everyone knows that we're making tremendous profits, they'll happily invest in us, allowing us to grow rapidly and obviously sign more contracts. Should that fail, we'll just create branch-off companies that only serve their purpose as creating more contracts or hiding debts and dress up loans as trades."

Griff Skill: "Are you really trying to duplicate Enron and whip the SERC into investigating us?"

Ted Frank: "Of course not."

Griff Skill: "The plans that you stated, Enron used them, and look what happened to them within less than 30 years."

Ted Frank: "We can do better and not fail."

Griff Skill: "Famous last words."

One of the board of directors, Eddy Qui, knocked on the door. "Come on in." Griff replied. Eddy Qui entered the office with two security guards. "What's the matter?" Griff asked.

Eddy: "The board of directors voted unanimously to fire you and promote Dan Abut to CFO. You have four hours to clean your office and leave."

Griff: "I don't understand."

Eddy: "You are a threat to EnFu. Your constant bickering and opposition to promising plans threw wrenches in our gears."

Griff: "Your [i]"promising plans"[/i] will only result in us crashing and burning. Wait, Dan Abut? He doesn't even understand hedging, short selling, dangers of currency value fluctuation, risk analysis, mark-to-market accounting, or other complex accounting. He's a deal broker, not an accountant."

Eddy: "The decision was already made. You're fired, Dan takes your place."

EnFu Corporation wouldn't be the only one to switch to unethical accounting practices to inflate their reported profits and hide debts...

Edited by HHAYD
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EnFu Corporation (EnergyFuel), a few weeks after the mark-to-market accounting practice was established:

Dan Abut: "Great news! Our stock prices have jumped by nearly 50% and Bank of Midwest is more than happy to loan us two billion dollars after reported half a million in profits! Should we go ahead and acquire Midwest Energy?"

Ted Frank: "I'm not so sure about acquiring other companies."

Dan Abut: "Well, as long as we don't try to acquire MRFEC's successors, we'll be fine."

Ted Frank: "I'll contact the board of directors and see what's their opinion on it."

GreenEner HQ:

1: "What do you mean EnFu's profits jumped ridiculously high?!"

2: "They used mark-to-market accounting..."

1: "Are you !@#$@#$ serious? How the hell are they suppose to continue to report high profits in the long run with that?"

2: "Dunno. All I know is that they got the investors and banks fall in love with them. Just look at their stock prices."

1: "And?"

2: "I'm fairly sure they have plans with the extra money loaned by the investors and banks."

1: "Aggressive market-share eating?"

2: "Yup."

1: "Um, wait, wouldn't we fall behind?"

2: "That's my fear. We might also have the use mark-to-market accounting to stay ahead if everyone starts using it."

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Unlike those who begun to switch to less ethical practises, to inflate profits artificially and hide debts, TriOptimum and Xanatos Enterprises continued to do things the hard, safe way.
They promised high long-term security to any investors, certainly higher than anyone else's - these two had been amongst the very few corporations supporting the rebellion against the corrupt government.
Purely capitalist policies had only one regulator - the corporations themselves. If the respective Boards of Directors or Executives didn't realize the [i]proper[/i] course - that is, ensuring that all paperwork is done properly, keeping their workers happy and doing everything within the law, only sometimes going into grey areas - then such policies could only fail. That was, at least, the train of thought that Ceylon's corporations had. Do things properly, keep yourself stable, invest long-term for success.
Use sane policies, in short.

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Many TriOptimum's and Xanatos Enterprises' competitors were filled with numerous people that were smart enough to bypass regulation and shatter traditions. But they weren't wise enough to understand why the rules and traditions existed in the first place or what brought down previous companies that used very similar strategies.

EnFu Corporation:

Dan Abut: "What was the Board of Directors' response?"

Ted Frank: "They gave it a green light. You can manage the acquisition, correct?"

Dan Abut: "Trust me, I've done plenty of merger and acquisition deals successfully before. Oh, should we also expand to other countries?"

Ted Frank: "Hm, we would need to acquire one or two competitors that have footing in foreign markets, and that would require lots of money."

Dan Abut: "I can make that happen. Just get the Board of Directors to approve it."

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Few months later, two weeks before the deadline of the yearly financial report:

Ted Frank: "Damn it! We lost !@#$@#$ hundreds of millions on !@#$%* acquisitions and they are tarnishing our report! And no banks are stupid enough to purchase the assets!"

Dan Abut: "No worries, I setup another company called the Joint Energy Investment to manage the bad assets and I already managed to raise about a hundred million dollars. I'm fairly sure Midwest Bank is more than happy to buy the assets through the JEI. Might not make sense, but it will be exploiting a loophole in their risk analysis. I can also make our report look even better through [i]accidental[/i] accounting errors to cover up the loss."

Ted Frank: "Do it fast."

It wouldn't take long for Dan Abut's accounting team to mark up the bad assets as profits instead of merely assets.

In the same building

1: "This doesn't make sense. Based on what we published, our Q3 financial report stated that we wired sixty million dollars, to an investment group called Greyhawk, that we owned just to hedge against a potential stock price decrease of some of our new assets. What the $%&@ is this?"

2: "Aren't we suppose to find a third party or something to hedge it? All we did was create more headache for ourselves as our investment group wouldn't have saved us one penny in the event of a stock price crash as it's using our money."

1: "I have no idea what are the executives thinking."

2: "I see this as a potential loophole to avoid reporting a loss They marked the investment group as a profit of $60 million while also marking it as a $60 million asset as EnFu owns it, just to counteract the loss of $60 million, despite the fact that we lost $60 million and gained nothing to pay for the loss."

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Billy Nays, Director of the Risk Analysis Department: "You $%&@-tards! What the hell were you guys thinking when you decided to spend the combined total of $2 billion worth of short-term loans, some that have to be paid back within two weeks, on a thorium power plant that would takes at least five years to be built and another two to three decades to recover the cost?!"

Dan Abut: "There isn't any problem with it. I already arranged to have the banks loan us more money to pay back the old loans."

Billy Nays: "And what are we going to do if the banks close up their wallets?"

Dan Abut: "Impossible."

Billy Nays: "I would use the word, [i]"impossible"[/i], with extreme caution, especially in finance."

Dan Abut: "Them? Denying loans to one of Midwest Republic's most profitable businesses? Quite laughable."

Billy Nays: "Speaking of profits, my department noticed there is at least $4 billion difference between our stated cash reserve and actual cash reserve, and the latter one is in deep red, real deep. Might want to do something about it."

Dan Abut: "As long as they don't know, the loans keep coming in and our assets and contracts generate sufficient revenue, we'll be fine."

Billy Nays: "And how do you know something outside of our control isn't going to throw a wrench into the gears and turn our stocks from investment grade to below junk grade?"

Dan Abut: "I'm tired of your department and you acting like cops. Why don't you make some profits?"

Billy Nays: "We make sure that the company doesn't accidentally shoot itself in the foot, and yes, policing the accountant book is our job. Wait, us, generating profits? Ridiculous, we're a support department like your department."

Dan Abut: "The company is competent enough to not shoot themselves in the foot without needing a baby-sitter, and the accounting department is making profits. All your department is doing is wasting our money."

Billy Nays: "Your department, making profits? What? I thought you guys are suppose to crunch numbers, not make them."

Dan Abut: "We place service charges on all of the accounting works requested by other departments."

Billy Nays: "Inter-company taxing..."

Dan Abut: "I have to go now, I don't want to be late for the meeting."

As Dan Abut walked away, Billy thought to himself, [i]"This has to be the world's most incompetent CFO. Was the board of directors on crack or something when they appointed him?"[/i]

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In a meeting with the board of directors, a day before the uprising in Holy Empire of Ursalia:

Dan Abut: "There's an Ursalian power company up for bid, it's called Columbia Electric."

Ted Frank: "Starting bid?"

Dan Abut: "$100 million, I'd say we bid $1 billion."

Billy Nays: "I seriously hope you did your research and determine the exact value of the asset."

Dan Abut: "We don't have the time, and if we underbid, then other companies would grab hold of CE. I do know that CE covers significant portions of British Columbia."

Billy Nays: "For $%&@ sakes, you didn't even bother checking CE's annual profits?! What if CE reported a loss for quite a while? Not only we risk overpaying, but also risk buying a bad asset!"

Board of Director 1: "But we can make CE generate profits."

Billy Nays: "With accounting fraud, sure."

Ted Frank: "We did not commit any fraud."

Billy Nays: "Then how do you explain a $4 billion difference between the cash reserve that we told the public what we had, and the actual cash reserve nobody outside of EnFu knows?"

Dan Abut: "Enough derailing this meeting! Should we bid $1 billion on CE or not? Lets take a vote now."

As all of the board of directors voted in favor of bidding for CE, Billy Nays walked out of the meeting, fuming.

The next day in the same meeting room, when the uprising occurred:

Billy Nays: "YOU ABSOLUTE, IDIOTIC, $%&@-TARDED, RETARDS!!! Not only all of our competitors bid [i]under[/i] $200 million, but the value of Columbia Electric crashed down to less than $100 million when its stocks' prices crashed rock bottom, and the fact that all of the workers are striking isn't helping. Oh, and by the way, I checked CE's profits. It's about $5 million annually, in the red, no wonder why all of the other bidders bid so low. We just bought the world's most overpriced money shredding machine."

Dan Abut: "We never saw that coming."

Billy Nays: "Of course you didn't, because you didn't do your research before bum rushing into a landmine field. You didn't even check what assets or annual profits CE had! Now what are we going to tell our investors and banks?"

Dan Abut: "No worries, I can cover it up."

Billy Nays: "Oh for $%&@ sakes..."

Ted Frank: "Enough Billy, leave this room. I'm tired of your tantrums!"

Billy Nays: "I'm throwing one for one good reason, because all of you are acting irrationally."

Ted Frank: "Leave."

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"What? You mean someone actually bid over $1 billion for Columbia Electric?" Julius Navan, CEO of TransCanada, a national energy company, shouted in disbelief. Navan had been interested in purchasing the company, and amalgamating it to TransCanada, and strengthen its control over most of Columbina (OOC: British Columbia)'s electric industry. The fact that someone that wasn't him owned such a large portion didn't sit too well with Navan.

"You mean to tell me that we bid only $200 million?" The CEO spat out, making Rafael Vilnius, a junior associate, wince slightly.

"Er, yes, sir. Should we, er, do something about it?"

Navan glared. "No, we should sit here on our asses and let competitors take an advantage over us. Of course, we should do something about it! Now, who did you say bid for Columbia Electric?"

Vilnius hestitated a bit. "Um, EnFu Corporation."

Navan shot up from his seat, knocking it over. "EnFu? You don't mean...that corporation from the Midwest Republic?!"


Navan scowled. "Increase our bid to $2 billion. We want to show these $%&@ers that nobody messes with us."

"$2 billion? Y-you sure? But Columbia Electric had been experiencing...decline for some time now. According to its profit reports, Columbia Electric made only $5 million in profits, not including taxes, last year."

"That does not matter. Once we take over their assets and resources, we will provide capital and resources that would help strengthen it, and particularly us. Now get to it!"

"Yes sir!"

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Dan Abut: "TransCanada has upped their bid to $2 billion. We should increase ours to $4 billion and report the new bid right before any other competitors can respond."

Billy Nays: "Not going to happen. Let our competitors purchase an overpriced company that's bleeding about $5 million per year. Let's not forget that CE has recently reported that they're about $170 million in debt and that might be a good reason why they're owned by a bank who is very happy to get rid of CE. We should wait for another better opportunity."

Ted Frank: "I agree with Dan. I don't think there's going to be a better opportunity next time."

Billy Nays: "Fine, don't look at me when you buy a debt-loaded money-shredding crappy asset and end up sinking rest of EnFu with it. I'm tired of arguing with you guys."

[i]Billy Nays got up and stormed out of the room[/i]

Dan Abut: "Let's hold a vote, who's in favor of bidding $4 billion for CE?"

It wouldn't take long for EnFu to report that they have quadrupled their bid, seconds before the deadline. CE would also report shortly after EnFu's report that they discovered their debt wasn't about $170 million, but a little over $1.2 billion. EnFu would end up absorbing their massive loss, but would find ways to hide the loss through, as usual, fraudulent accounting tactics.

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Billy Nays: "You're firing, the entire Risk Analysis Department?..."

Ted Frank: "There's no need for one."

Billy Nays: "Maybe because all of you kept ignoring us and hiding your glaring mistakes through unethical accounting tactics?"

Ted Frank: "Shut up, you're fired, now leave. You have two hours to pack your stuff. Our security guards will escort you."


Not only EnFu announced that they fired their entire risk analysis department, but they also decided to expand into water and internet. Almost all of the investors and banks were surprised. Why the hell would a business destroy their main measure of detecting risks and taking measures against such risks, and why would EnFu expand into sectors that they aren't familiar with?

However, many of them didn't worry. Besides, didn't everything EnFu touched turned into profits?

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Ned John, the treasurer of EnFu, was looking at the document of Greyhawk II and III, both created by Dan Abut. Greyhawk II was created to hedge against stock price drop of Columbia Electric after all of the banks refused to hedge against CE without unreasonable amount of fees. However, looking closer into the details of Greyhawk II, Ned discovered something quite horrifying.

EnFu would give Greyhawk II thousands of EnFu's stocks, to hedge against CE's stocks. Should CE's stock prices drop, Greyhawk II would have to give the equiviant amount of lost money in form of EnFu's stocks back to EnFu.

It made no sense, and if EnFu's stocks' prices also drop along with CE's stocks, Greyhawk II entity would run short on cash for sure.

For Greyhawk III, it was even more absurd. It was same as Greyhawk II, except instead of hedging against CE's stocks, it would hedge against EnFu's own stocks. Should EnFu's stock prices drop, EnFu would pay a set amount of money, to itself.

Ned quickly realized that Dan wasn't interested in protecting the company's profits, just merely avoid reporting any losses. He would proceed to reject both entity creations, knowing that it would be too easy to knock down both entities and wreak the balance sheet by simply reducing stock prices.

Dan would proceed to create the two entities anyways.

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The new internet and water divisions were a disaster from the start. The internet division, Interconnect, faced stiff competition from various ISPs and had trouble trying to combine their newly purchased ISPs with an acquired online video distribution/streaming company. It didn't help the dire situation when they attempted to enforce aggressive throttling and went as far as throttling some of the customers that had 50 megabit download/10 megabit upload connections down to 1 kilobyte download/1 byte upload speed for "excessive" usage, even if it meant checking email or downloading Windows' update. They also placed crushing bandwidth caps, ranging from 40 megabits to 300 megabits. However, Interconnect's video distribution/streaming were an exception to the throttling and caping. When customers started complaining, the division responded by denying everything and citing that based on some extremely obscure sentences in the terms of service, they can place whatever cap they wish whenever they please.

It would take the Federal Communication Agency (FCA) a reasonably short two weeks to march in with their lawyers to spark a legal battle that would cost Interconnect enormously in money and PR after Interconnect's customers started pouring hundreds after hundreds of angry complaints. FCA deemed Interconnect's throttling/capping hypocritical and anti-competitive as it would harm all other video distributions/streaming businesses, and anti-competitive tactics were frowned upon, especially extremely obvious ones.

The water division, Midwest Water, had it easy and managed to buy a water delivery system that served Monticello, Illionis and planned to expand. However, within three weeks of operation, it was under serious flak for water contamination and any plans for expansions were shelved.

A few days ago before the PR/legal crap-storm:

A truck driver parked his truck, which held 30 tons of aluminum sulphate, which were meant to remove impurities in the water. The driver asked a supervisor where he should offload the stuff and the supervisor pointed toward one of the recently newly installed tanks that marked, "aluminum sulphate storage".

What the supervisor didn't realize was that the wrong tanks were installed in the wrong places due to higher up supervisors' carelessness, and the "storage" tank was connected directly to the main artery of the water system.

It would take mere hours for the water to become highly acidic with the chemical reactions resulting in the creation of sulfuric acid and inflict detrimental effects on the residents' health, residents who were completely unaware of the problem. And to add insult to their injury, the pipes were made of zinc/steel and were soldered together with tin/lead, three of the four metals were susceptible to being dissolved in contact with acids. Drinking a cocktail of lethal concentration of metal, [i]delicious[/i].

Normally a water company would take drastic actions if even a few reports of water contamination came in and tell their customers to immediately stop using the water. It took a little over 1,000 complaints and about a week for Midwest Water to reply, and they replied it by stating, "The local water is slightly contaminated, but it should be safe for consumption. It is recommended that the water is to be slightly diluted with orange juice" in the local newspaper's advertisement section.

Apparently Midwest Water's management fell asleep in chemistry class. You never attempt to neutralize acid by treating it with more acid, which would be equivalent to treating a house fire with napalm strikes.

Oh, and already four people died from drinking the contaminated water, and hundreds more that haven't dropped dead were hospitalized. It wouldn't take long for multi-billion dollar class-action lawsuits and criminal investigations to roll in.

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Ted Frank: "!@#$, !@#$, !@#$, !@#$!"

Dan Abut: "We're looking at a loss of at least $10 billion..."

Ted Frank: "We don't have that kind of a money, and we can't afford to take on two civil lawsuits and two criminal investigations. There has to be a way for us to get out of the mess."

Dan Abut: "I can setup a dummy corporation and sell the water and internet divisions to it. Not only we can book it as profit, but we can also avoid recording the losses. I trust you know what you can also do."

Ted Frank: "Alright, do whatever it takes to get rid of the dirty assets. I'll try to deny everything and claim that all of the blunders were made by the division's management, not the top management."

EnFu would manage to dodge the mess, temporarily.

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Columbia Electric was hemorrhaging cash before it was even purchased. It had massive debt and declining profits, and EnFu quickly realized that there's no way they can reverse CE's situation without sinking themselves as well. The stock prices surprisingly were stable, only because EnFu reported twisted information to fool investors into thinking that CE is very profitable. However, Q1 financial report deadline was approaching fast and CE's financial situation would leave a very bad mark on EnFu's financial statement.

Dan easily convinced the board of directors and Ted Frank to temporarily sell CE to JEI for about $20 million to get CE off EnFu's accounting books. EnFu would still have full ownership of CE and absorb its operating losses despite it being marked as JEI's property. JEI would hold onto CE and until EnFu could find a customer that is willing to purchase the bad asset.

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As Billy Nays walked around in his new house, he was steaming. "They fired me for doing my job, when I just took out mortgage for a new home, and didn't give me any severance package."

He thought about the recent offer from Midwest Republic Financial Times. He had terabytes of confidential financial information stored on his laptop. MRFT was offering a very attractive package, $200,000, and identity security from those who want to take revenge due to the publication in return for all of EnFu's financial information.

He reached for the phone.

Four weeks later:


Dan Abut: "Someone gave them information."

Ted Frank: "Must've been one of the damn employees from the Risk Analysis Department."

Dan Abut: "Our main concern isn't tracking down the rogue employee. Right now, we need damage control. Our stocks crashed from $170.91 to $101.45 within minutes of MRFT's publication."

Ted Frank: "Can we sue them?"

Dan Abut: "Not really. We can't prove that they broke into our database or something to get the information or if they bribed one of our employees. And they won't tell us who spilled the beans for sure."

Ted Frank: "God dammit!"

The publication was very eye-opening for almost everyone. However, due to EnFu's focus, no, obsession with profits, it neglected many very basic corporate rules, one of them keeping track of finances. As a result, even MRFT's accountants and lawyers, including ones they hired from outside firms, had trouble deciphering and analyzing the unorganized jumble of numbers and presenting them in a less confusing format. Investors and banks wouldn't fare much better in analyzing EnFu's mess, but they all know EnFu's balance sheet is a lot worse than what they thought it would be.

It would severely bite EnFu in the future when the need for a much more organized balance sheet arises.

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Ted Frank: "The banks are getting itchy. They're demanding payment as soon as possible."

Dan Abut: "That's the least of our concerns. All of our hedges are falling apart. CE's stock prices also crashed as well, and we still have to deal with the two criminal and civil lawsuits."

Ted Frank: "We're going to rehire Billy Nays."

Dan Abut: "What? Are you serious?"

Ted Frank: "Fine, what's our exact financial state?"

Dan Abut: "What do you mean?"

Ted Frank: "Actual debt, cash reserve, total annual income, total annual expenses, etc."

Dan Abut: "Um..."

Ted Frank: "We need him because he's the only one that understood our mess of numbers and can help us out of the crisis."

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Dan Abut: "You looks awful today."

Ted Frank: "The board approved Billy Nays's rehiring, created the financial crisis team to counter the stock price decrease, placed him as the head of it, and they want me gone."

Dan Abut: "Why's that?"

Ted Frank: "They think I'm partially responsible for the recent stock price crash."

Few hours later, in the financial crisis's temporary office:

Billy Nays: "If we're going to fix EnFu's financial mess, we need information. Ted, do you have the loan maturity schedule?"

Ted Frank: "I can get it in a few days."

Billy Nays: "What do you mean you can get it in a few days? You're suppose to have it right now! We need it now! What have you and your department been doing the whole time?!"

Ted Frank: "..."

Billy Nays: "If we don't have the schedule, how are we suppose to know what loans we have, [i]and when are we suppose pay them back!?!?[/i]"

Ted Frank: "..."

Billy Nays: "Alright, do you have an accurate balance sheet with actual cash reserve stated?"

Ted Frank: "Um, no."

[i]A stress ball's filling exploded out of the covering[/i]

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Dan Abut: "God dammit, I am NOT going to hand over damaging answers to the MRFT!"

Grek Quire (Director of the PR department): "Ignoring them will arouse suspicions among the banks and investors if they decided to inform everyone that EnFu is unwilling to cooperate, they'll think we have something to hide."

Dan Abut: "Alright, what am I suppose to do when they ask, [i]"Do you understand your own finances?"[/i]. If I say yes, they'll ask me to interpret the mess, if I say no, then they'll think I'm incompetent!"

Grek Quire: "I'll ask MRFT for a list of questions they'll fire at you to help you be prepared. Is that okay?"

Dan Abut: "Fine."

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Dan Abut: "Me? Holding a press conference?"

Grek Quire: "The banks and investors want their questions answered. Ignore them and they'll walk with their money."

Few days later, at an EnFu's press conference:

Everything was going well, Dan was actually doing a good job.

Sort of. The bankers, investors, journalists and analysts attending the conference notice that he was very optimistic and often avoided questions. One journalist raised his had. Dan pointed to the raised hand and said "The person wearing the orange polo."

Such person, Josh Austin, was a journalist for MRFT, and one of the most aggressive kind. He asked, "Do you understand EnFu's finances?"

[i]"!@#$..."[/i] Dan thought to himself. He responded, "Yes."

"Why is it that EnFu, the only company in Fortune 50, to not report their balance sheet without the help of the media?" Josh asked.

"We'll report our balance sheet within a few weeks." Dan replied.

"Is it possible that EnFu has something to hide from its banks and investors? Something dark, such as rising debt and falling total profits?" Josh asked.

"No. EnFu is not declining. It is growing greatly." Dan replied.

"That's your personal opinion, but numbers do not lie, and we would like to see the numbers to make our judgement." Josh asked.

"Like I said, we'll publish it soon enough." Dan replied.

When Josh attempted to ask another question, Dan, fuming, ignored him and picked on another person. At the end of the conference, Dan couldn't resist getting the last word in.

"Josh Austin, you $%&@tard."

[i]Many of the people attending the conference were stunned[/i]

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Dan Abut was soon fired by the board after "conducting an inappropriate action". His verbal lashing indirectly resulted in EnFu's stock prices to further drop and it wouldn't take long to break EnFu's shaky foundation that strongly depended on the stock's value to increase. Already all of EnFu's entities that were assigned to hedge against stock price drops were falling short on their payments to EnFu.

Edited by HHAYD
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Fredrick Andrew was appointed as the CEO of EnFu within a few weeks of Dan's firing.

What the board didn't realize that if they were to look into Fredrick's resume, it would show that he lacked experience. However, Ted Frank convinced the board otherwise.

For two reasons.

Because inexperienced people are easier to turn into puppets than more seasoned people. Plus, Fredrick, like Ted, is aggressive and is willing to take huge risks.

Few days later, at a meeting between Ted, Fredrick and the board:

Fredrick: "I suggest we purchase the Port Internet Corporation in Legion. It is up for bid, $100 million. The estimated profits will be in the dozens of millions considering the amount of customers it serves."

Board member 1: "Do we know PIC's debt level, or any other additional information about it?"

Ted: "There isn't enough time. The auction expires in 48 hours."

Board member 2: "We should bid $200 million."

Fredrick: "No, $800 million."

Board member 3: "Why so high?"

Ted: "It's an anonymous auction. Nobody knows who else bid on it, and how much they bid. What if we were to bid $200 million and someone beats us by $100 million?"

Fredrick: "And if we were to acquire it, we could show to our investors and banks that we're a safe investment."

Board member 1: "Fair enough."

EnFu's board of directors, CEO, and CFO failed to learn their lesson from the bid on Columbia Electric...

Edited by HHAYD
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At the Financial Crisis meeting:

Billy: "Oh god, please don't tell me you guys just bum rushed into another mine field."

Fredrick: "We didn't run into a mine field."

Billy: "No sane business would ever acquire an asset that is losing over $20 million per year, has over $600 million in debt, a horrible public relations with its customers, and is under heavy investigation by a foreign government, [i]FOR A !@#$@#$ $800 MILLION[/i]. You shouldn't have even poked it, especially when our own finances are a mess!"

Ted: "We didn't kn-"

Billy: "Of course you didn't, because, wait, did you do your research?..."

Ted: "There wasn't enough time."

Billy: "Kill me."

Meanwhile, in Legion:

The customers were upset for sure. They were enraged by PIC's numerous excessive throttling and hard bandwidth cap. They were further enraged when one of PIC's employees leaked information detailing PIC's role in crushing and absorbing other ISPs. When PIC decided to use heavy-handed tactics to deal with the angry customers, such as cutting off service and still charging them for it, filing lawsuits or blocking them from certain websites to stop them from spreading the word, that provoked protests outside of PIC's various offices, including their HQ.

Such commotion also attracted Legion's government's attention, resulting in a criminal investigation to find if PIC committed any crimes.

PIC's finances were also a complete wreak. Crushing and absorbing competitors took a heavy toll, and when significant amount of customers walked off and did without internet, PIC suddenly found itself in a lethal situation. Large debts and rapidly falling income, such combination was a burning dynamite stick for any businesses. After the banks took control of PIC in response to their failure to pay their debts, they wanted to get rid of the toxic asset ASAP.

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"Greyhawk IV, what the hell is this?" Ned John muttered to himself as he glanced through the 20+ pages, highlighting important sections. After two hours of reading and rereading the packet of papers, he quickly realized Greyhawk IV was just as logical as Greyhawk II and III.

Greyhawk IV was just as same as the other Greyhawks, except it used CE's stocks to hedge against PIC's stocks.

It was downright suicidal and insane. Columbia Electric's stocks were already crashing, and PIC's stocks weren't doing so well either. The document stated that CE is to distribute hundreds of its stocks to Greyhawk IV. Should PIC's stocks crash, Greyhawk would cover EnFu's losses from the stock price crash, by giving it CE's stocks, the stocks that EnFu already owned.

As usual, he refused to sign the papers, wrote his comments regarding how illogical the document was and gave it to his secretary to send it back to Ted.

Also as usual, Ted would create Greyhawk IV anyways.

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