Frank has pulled his bench so he can lean against the wall and put his feet on it. I pick the bench next to him, sit down and say, “I don’t think I am ready to brave that level of capitalism.”
Frank starts laughing, “It’s so funny that you say that! You see, you are in the “Church of Money!”
He’s having a hard time staying on his bench; I must have hit a funny bone. Eventually, he gets control of himself. Once he does, I extend my hand towards him, “I’m Jeb, pleased to meet you, Frank.”
Frank shakes my hand, “And it’s a right pleasure to meet you, Jeb. I haven’t been caught off-guard like that in some time. I really needed a good laugh. I guess you are one of the newly revived and not a digitized human – the digitized have usually been here in Nirvana before and know what to expect. No magic, just logic.”
“You are correct, and I am one of the revived. I haven’t seen anything, and still, this isn’t what I expected.”
“Well, it’s going to get stranger and stranger, so throw out any video game nonsense in your head. This is a virtual world; that much is true. But, it isn’t controlled by an organization to tell a story. It’s a living environment that is constantly changing based on whatever organizations are vying for control. You will find medieval hovels and castles, Asian influences everywhere, steampunk towns, and floating cities. This space has no real rules, so it’s the leaders of the people who set the tone of an area. Some organizations, like ours, find a foothold in many larger settlements. But the only consistent thing is that it’s the powerful who decide.
The Church of Money is essentially a death bank. Store your goods here for a small fee, and when you die, you can retrieve them, re-equip and return to your adventure.
There are other religious organizations in Nirvana, and like the physical world, they have their agendas. Our organization is one of pure capitalism; we earn money from the storage fees, the merchants, and the artisans. We also earn money by transporting goods and loaning money. We earn a little on everything and a lot when there is a significant risk. We employ people to fulfill all the supporting roles needed to run a bank, retail stores, shipping company, etc. Just like in the physical world, people want to keep their stuff safe and grow their holdings. We make money here and there by bridging the gap and fulfilling a need.
Now, my role is to greet the newly risen, give them a simple robe to cover their nakedness and help them retrieve what they want from it if they have a storage box. I am usually bored out of my mind, so I make it a personal duty to provide suggestions and advice to those who visit the chapel when I’m here.”
“Well then, I’m lucky that you were on duty.”
“Probably not; most of the AIs try to place Revived Humans in places and, at times, that where they will find a friendly face. This is about the most they can do since they are very restricted in how they can interact with any of us. Digitized humans have a better idea of what they are getting involved in, and Visitors, like me, can log out and research.”
“What are Digitized humans?”
“Humans who have given up their bodies to become digital constructs. They differ from you in that this is usually a planned procedure, and private resources have been arranged before they make the transition. They are not dead before the procedure, so their citizenship has never been revoked. Revived humans have died; accidents and cryogenic facilities are the two primary sources of Revived humans. Both groups only have about a 30% chance of success. So, congratulations, you made it!”
“Those aren’t great odds.”
“True, but we aren’t allowed to talk about what’s going on in the physical world. You’ll have to wait until you can interact with it. Just know that Revived humans have a few additional protections under the law, and that’s why they are distinguished from Digitized humans.”
“Ok, seems obvious that if I am here at the bank that I should make a depost.”
Chuckling, “Great, I don’t even have to sell you on the splendor! Do you want to deposit coins, items, or both?”
“I better understand the fees before I choose.”
“Sure. New customers get a physical box, one foot square, for five iron for the first month. After that, it’s one silver a month, and we recommend paying in advance for at least six months. Any unused time is fully refundable, but only in whole month increments. However, if you are even one day late, the contents are sold unless you have money on deposit. If that’s the case, we will deduct storage fees until you are out of money, and then the contents will be sold. So you have an idea, it’s generally ten units of one coin to make a larger coin, so ten iron to make a silver. The clothes you are wearing could each be purchased for a few irons. That trident might cost a few silver, and a good belt knife is at least two silver. A simple knife might be an iron coin or two, and a decent meal is going to cost between a few coppers and an iron. A simple room at an inn without bed bugs is likely to be five iron a night or a gold coin if you pay the month in advance and haggle decently.
The money you deposit doesn’t earn interest. You are just guaranteed that it will be here, at this specific church, when you want it. If you want your money transferred to another church, there’s a fee unless you withdraw it and take it there yourself.”
“So, are there credit cards or something?”
“Nope. But things in your inventory cannot be taken from you unless you die. If you have any, your pockets may be ransacked by any thief with the nerve. You can, of course, be mugged or knocked out and stripped.”
“Good to know. I’ll take a box and make a deposit.”
“Let me summon another altar monitor, and I’ll take you back.”