Cryptocurrency and its Consequences

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"I'm sorry, but we have to let you go at the end of the month," his supervisor on site told him.

"Are you serious?!" Brayden exclaimed. "You're telling me with all the insane special containment procedures you guys upkeep, all the doctors on staff, all the business fronts, you can't keep on an IT guy?"

"It's exactly because of those things that we have to let you go," he explained. "Contrary to popular belief, the Foundation doesn't operate on a bottomless pit of funding. Sometimes expenses need to be cut to make things work. You have until next Saturday to pack your things."

"This is such bullshit!" Brayden shouted.

"You have my condolences," his supervisor answered, not at all looking sorry for the predicament he'd placed Brayden in.

As the supervisor left his office, Brayden slumped down into the chair at his desk. Great, now he'd have to find another job — and something told him he couldn't exactly put 'worked for a top secret organization' on his CV.

Well, if he was getting the boot anyway, he'd at least generate a little more cash before he left — just to keep him afloat until he could find somewhere else to work.

To that end, a thought quickly formed in his mind — Bitcoin mining. With all the resources the Foundation had, he could probably get away with stealing a few servers and getting himself some Bitcoin before he was kicked out of here. That'd be more than enough to pay the bills and live in comfort until he could get back on his feet. Maybe he'd even have some time to finally play that new Final Fantasy game.

A quick search of the network on site revealed plenty of devices more than capable of getting some serious mining done. That said, Brayden also wasn't an idiot. He knew that most of these machines were either housing complex AI way beyond his understanding, or a part of some convoluted and incredibly important containment procedures. He couldn't start commandeering devices at random and set loose a monster that would eat everyone.

As he browsed the devices on the network, he came across a series of pooled resources he'd never noticed when surveying the network topology before. Upon further inspection, Brayden was surprised to see just how many devices these resources consisted of — as well as the fact that none of them seemed to be occupied with performing any meaningful functions. Just to be safe, he sent a ping through the terminal to make sure they were properly connected, and other than taking a little bit longer than usual, everything seemed to be working just fine.

Alright he thought to himself, if I keep these running until next Saturday, I can probably get a couple hundred Bitcoin if I'm lucky. I'll be living in luxury!

With that squared away, he finished up the day solving meaningless tickets from old coots that had no idea how computers worked. It was almost scary how much this incredibly important, secret bureaucracy that supposedly kept all of humanity safe had so little knowledge of the technology they relied on to keep everything running.

After clocking in the next day and dealing with the usual early morning rituals, Brayden decided to check on his little 'side project'.

Opening up the crypto wallet on his desktop, he nearly fell out of his seat.

56,743.487 BTC

The number wasn't static either — it was skyrocketing upwards at rates Brayden had never seen before. When he set the devices to work, he expected to come back to maybe two or three dozen if he was lucky, not over fifty thousand. In a single night, he'd become absurdly rich- he was set for life!

And he still had six days before he was out of here!

Over the next few days, the Foundation saw a whole new Brayden. No longer did he get a temper when someone called him over to restart their computer or help reset a password. In fact, he was even smiling while plugging away at his mindless work.

Even his supervisor was surprised to see the sudden change. "Find a new job somewhere?" he joked.

"Yeah, something like that" Brayden responded flippantly before damn near skipping down the hall towards his office. Every day the Bitcoin in his wallet shot farther and farther up.

127,523.658 BTC

383,216.745 BTC

691,450.309 BTC

By the time Saturday rolled around and Brayden was packing his things, he had nearly a million Bitcoin sitting in his wallet. As long as he played his cards right and didn't spend too much in one place, he probably wouldn't even have to pay taxes on it!

Just as he finished packing the last of his things into a cardboard box, the entire site suddenly shook with a force unlike anything he'd felt before, sending his desk into the air briefly before crashing down, utterly destroying the desktop that was on it. Everything else in the office didn't seem to be in much better shape.

Thankfully, Brayden had managed to avoid suffering any serious injuries aside from a nasty bruise when a potted plant smacked into his side.

Curious, and a little afraid, he slowly opened the door and stepped out into the hallway. Apparently he wasn't the only one who had no idea what was going on — there were at least twenty or thirty other employees out there with him, all looking confused at the sight that laid before them.

At the end of the hallway, sunlight shone in through the broken and crumbling roof where some sort of strange craft had landed. As the unfamiliar cockpit whizzed open, smoke poured out from within, temporarily clouding his vision.

Once the dust had cleared, what stood before them seemed to be some sort of humanoid…squid looking thing.

"Greetings," the creature began in a high-pitched voice, showing a surprisingly solid grasp of the English language. "It is my understanding that this facility has recently been using computing resources from the Library."

Brayden had no idea what this thing was or what it was on about, but one of the researcher's spoke up. "Excuse me…are you referring to the Wanderer's Library?" she asked.

"Indeed," the squid-like entity answered. "You see, my peoples' planet is kept safe from the deadly, life-killing virus that unfortunately plagues our world through a series of incredibly complicated magical rituals, performed by a vast server farm that is kept in the Library for safekeeping."

Already Brayden could see a handful of doctors quickly tapping away on their pagers or ducking back into their offices, probably to call up an MTF squad to contain this thing. Brayden wasn't familiar with how the day-to-day operations worked — that was outside of his pay grade.

"Recently, our servers have seemed to stop performing their necessary magical algorithms, and already our ecosystem has seen a drastic decline. We have come to plead with you to cease the siphoning of our resources at once."

Brayden didn't know what this Wanderer's Library was or how it worked, but it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this shit was probably his fault. Still, lucky for him, nobody else out in the hall knew what the hell this alien was talking about — none of them had any meaningful IT knowledge. Still, a few heads turned his way curiously, as if looking to him for answers.

Clearing his throat, Brayden dabbed a bit of sweat from his brow with the sleeve of his shirt, quickly thinking up a bullshit lie to cover for himself. "Right- yes! I umm, I think I know what you're talking about! We've uh, been using those for some very important containment procedures- orders straight from the top!" he lied.

A few faces looked at him with a puzzled expression. The woman who'd asked about the Wanderer's Library earlier spoke up again. "I didn't hear about any new containment procedures on site. Does anyone know where the director is?" she asked.

Thankfully for Brayden, the director wasn't around at the moment. Maybe he was on call at another site or something, but it worked in his favor. "Y-yeah! He spoke with me about it, said he'd send something out to you guys soon I think…" he answered. The people around him didn't seem to be buying his story.

Meanwhile, the alien entity seemed to feel exactly how Brayden had when he'd been told the news about being let go. "Our planet is literally dying."

The situation only continued to grow worse as the director turned the corner behind Brayden, mouth dropping at the sight before him. It only took a few minutes for that nosy lady and the others in the hallway to fill him in on what was happening.

"I never gave you any such orders- I didn't even know about these so called resources" he explained, slowly walking towards Brayden.

Brayden's shirt was practically drenched in sweat now, all eyes on him as he desperately searched for an answer. "Then…then it must've been the O5! I bet they sent me something posturing as you, you know for like…secret security reasons or something!" he blurted out.

Brayden fully expected to get some sort of horrifying punishment. Would he be force-fed amnestics? Killed by an MTF squad? Or worse- would he be sent off to the 'ethics department'?

Instead, the director stopped in his tracks, putting a hand to his chin in thought. "It…wouldn't be the strangest thing I'd ever heard." he answered.

Briefly, Brayden's body relaxed. "Yeah, exactly! That must've been what happened!" he exclaimed.

"I'll just check real quick."


Before Brayden even realized what was going on, the director was already on the phone, talking to someone in a hushed voice that Brayden couldn't understand over the sudden ringing in his ears. All eyes were on him now — the site director, everyone he worked with, and even some crazy alien entity. Seriously, when was someone going to grab this thing and lock it up so Brayden wouldn't have to deal with it anymore? He just needed to make it a few more hours and he was home free!

After a minute or two that felt like an eternity, the site director hung up the call. "The O5 have requested your presence immediately in regards to these containment procedures" the director said. The words were enough to make Brayden feel as though his heart was about to explode.

There Brayden was — a lowly IT guy gasping for breath after just giving the most convoluted, bullshit story he could make up on the spot to the literal shadow cabal that possibly ran the world.

The more they angrily looked back at him and the longer they remained silent, the worse the sinking feeling in his gut became.

Brayden had a feeling he wasn't getting his severance package.

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