It’s just gone one and the last of the cargo-lifters has crawled up and out of the Bergstrom loading apron. A great bloated slug crawling out over the sleeping suburbs – its benthic bulk silhouetted against the glow of the city-proper. The chorus-line keening of its engines shifts in register as it passes overhead, dopplers down an octave, fades – and then there is just the ‘whit-whew’ of a solitary Mimidae, the growl of the cicadas, and the hiss and the hum of the road-train freighters out on the boulevard.
It’s just gone one, and it’s a great time to make some cash.
Twen’ and Swift and the rest of the South-Street crew - four, all told, but they mark themselves as a ‘crew’ out of kind of personal perversity – are clad in their usual carbon-black overcoats and trews – with the gold-and-magenta fractal patternation of the crew-colours all shot through . Subtle geometries shift under the external fabrics – mechanisms wicking away sweat (it’s a balmy night, still hovering around the low-eighties) and sipping and scavenging power for future use.
The crew feels cool, calm, and charged.
They’re lugging a collection of two-gallon jay-cans - purloined from the service-depot; flat-packable and biodegradable, with the right enzymes. They’re warm to the touch – catalytic surfaces burning through the murky Colorado River water they sluiced up from the muck and the mud down under the boulevard bridges. That warmth is a strange sensation; like they’re alive – even though it’s exactly the opposite; a wholesale slaughter and culling down of native biota and bacteria, until pure water osmoses through to the sterile bladder and the residual crud and crap is excreted out onto the street – or your shoes, in Gammel’s case.
Swift laughs – they kick the shit along, for a while, until it soaks into the greensward street.
As they near the site Twen’ checks his phab, thumbs up the tickers and the projections, broadcasts them out to everyone’s earpieces; and out to Swift’s new lenses. It’s mainly for the theatre of it – a few runs of the game and you begin to realise that the feeds only show you the market as it is – not what it will be in sixty-or-so seconds. That minute or so makes a difference - and an experienced player learns to see the map and the point-cloud not as data and declarative analysis, but as a field of forces and flows. See where the market wants to go – where it wants to roll and tumble – and you could make quick cash. If you read the data live, though, you’d always be responding – another little blind, cog-wheel agent, slugged with view-costs and stung by the oxygen-tax, haemorrhaging coin until you either tapped out… or tapped on.
Or, you could do what the crew was about to do. Don’t call it cheating – call it structured time-keeping. Call it insight. Call it basic AP biology. Because it’s night, now, and the swathe of forest running down from the College to the Colorado is turning the Calvin Cycle on its head, and breaking down complex photosynthesised sugars into water and cee-oh-two. Which normally means that the site empties out – the cost of oxygen priced through the roof.
Twen’ and Swift and all the rest aren’t interested in the price of air now, nor the price in sixty seconds. They’re interested the price tomorrow morning – when the sun-crowds and the campus kids stalk out into the bosque and brushland of the site. If they play the market tonight – in the faint noctilucent light and in the enveloping heat – they can salt the pattern, shift the registers; set up a ground state that will alter the cell-values across the extent of the site.
Alter them selectively, though – set up barriers and borders – boundary conditions that will hit the morning-kids, and hit their wallets harder. And the South-Street crew – six-strong – strung out in all the liminal locations through the site; ready to rake that capital in.
The near the edge of the site; Swift dims her glowpads – Gammel kills his antique, hollow-shell headphones. Single-file, they slink through the leaf litter and slip under the perimeter mesh – springing open the telescoping nozzles on the jay-cans as they cross into the marketplace. As they hit the ground they begin to pour – blessing the ground – blessing the site. And as they pour, they watch their wallets grow – not dramatically, but enough to counteract the cost of each breath, every awkward, stumbling step.
It’s been a terribly dry summer, and each mil, each minim, is worth its weight in oxygen.
It’s just gone one, and here, in Austin’s only un-park, the market is about to get gamed.