It was time for Tip.It to conduct another investigation. The idea occurred to me just after another Editorial Panel member (no, I won't say who) thought dropping a coconut on my head would be an amusing practical joke. Since the introduction of bonds last year, people had been paying a tax to convert bonds to be able to trade them again. What happened, I wondered, to all of these taxes? Where might the money trail lead?
Was it being used as a bribe to get the tramp out of Falador park and have him stop frightening children who went to play there? Was it going towards educating noobs and helping take beggars off the streets? Could it be used to clean up trash dropped all over the G.E. since it was "not worth much?" Or could it be something more sinister?
I suspected some people around RuneScape might be siphoning off this pot of gold, so my mission become to infiltrate their not-so-secret but heavily guarded union: Massively Overpaid Runescape Employees (MORE). The actual building was less impressive than their acronym—simply a small, vacant house in Falador. After staking out there for a couple weeks, I finally saw some action - people were walking into the house. And not just any people—rich, wealthy people in suits with security tailing closely behind.
I shifted my precarious position on the roof, glad no one had thought to look up at the exceptionally blue sky today. Soon I would hear something which would hopefully make all of the waiting worthwhile. I pressed my ear to the tiny hole I had cut in the ceiling as I heard one man begin to talk.
"Mr. Thompson, I think you'll be absolutely delighted to hear my latest proposal. As you know, our profits from bonds have helped to make all of us in the banking industry very rich, but now it's time to proceed to the next phase. This will involve Hans and the Varrock Palace Secret Guard..."
It was at that moment, after shifting just a bit too much on the roof, that I realized I should have better secured my position. I slid off the roof and dropped into a nearby bush. I stood up, spitting out leaves. That was all the information I was going to get, and I needed to get going before I was noticed. As I scrambled off, I decided I would interview a banker, apparently the people at the heart of the matter.
It was not long before I found and questioned one. "What exactly do you think merits your...generous salary?"
The poor guy didn't react very well to this at all. "Do you realize how difficult our job is? Every second someone wants to take out millions of coins, or thousands of noted items! And if that's not enough, take longer than a second and they start screaming about something called lag. And I need to care for my family—that means buying a house and paying for food!"
"With all due respect, sir," I countered, "You don't exactly need food unless you're going into combat." At that moment an arrow whistled out of nowhere, and as I just barely ducked out of the way, struck the banker in the knee. Heavy poison damage took place, and even if I wanted to use food on him, it was an NPC and it would not work. He died quite soon, which was a pity because I still had three more questions to ask him. That arrow was no accident—it was an assassination before he could reveal too much information.
I decided to try my luck on other leads, which next took me to Falador guards. It is a little known fact that the average lifespan of a Falador Guard is only 30 seconds, and this also makes them extremely difficult to interview. By the time I had finished introducing myself and my purpose, some idiot adventurer stabbed the guard through with a sword and killed him. I decided another solution would be in order, so I went for help. I returned with a "fast talker," someone who could communicate more rapidly by saying more words in the same amount of time. However, when I had them try to talk to the guard, the only reply they got out was "What?" before the were stabbed from behind and killed.
Exasperated I tried one more thing - safety in numbers. I gathered three guards and immediately began questioning them. "Well," one admitted, "We were given a generous raise in the city's budget this year. Something about new sources of revenue..." The first one was killed but I turned to the others. "Has anyone actually survived long enough to earn a paycheck?" I inquired of him. The sound of the second guard's slaughter pierced the air as the third contemplated the question. "Well, there was the this one guy.." His sentence remained unfinished as a dagger pierced through his platemail in the back, and it looked like there would be no more guards to interrogate for a while.
I made a last attempt to extract more information from my other lead - Hans. What could he be doing with all that money from selling free players Veteran Capes all of a sudden? I tried to talk to him in world 3 where he was out advertising, but my shouts were in vain over the kids screaming and I could not get through. I guess it will need to wait for the next investigation...