What is Binary Options Trading? Analysis of Features ...

The classic WSB story - lost it all.

Going to keep this simple. EDIT: this isn’t simple and I should write a short story on this.
I am generally risk averse. I hate losing $100 at the casino, I hate paying extra for guac at chipotles, I will return something or price match an item for a few dollars of savings. I am generally frugal.
But, I somehow had no issues losing 10k in options...
How I started
I remember my first trades like they were yesterday. I was trading the first hydrogen run-up in 2014 (FCEL, BLDP, PLUG) and made a few hundred dollars over a couple weeks.
I quickly progressed to penny stocks / biotech binary events and general stock market gambling mid-2014. I was making a few % here and there but the trend was down in total account value. I was the king of buying the peak in run-ups. I managed to make it out of 2014 close to break-even to slightly down.
WSB Era
March 2015 was my first option trade. It was an AXP - American Express - monthly option trade. I saw one of the regular option traders/services post a block of 10,000 calls that had been bought for 1.3 and I followed the trade with 10 call options for a total of $1300.
I woke up the next day to an analyst upgrade on AXP and was up 50% on my position. I was addicted! I day-dreamed for days about my AXP over night success. I think around that time there was some sort of Buffet buyout of Heinz and an option trade that was up a ridiculous amount of %%%. I wanted to hit it BIG.
I came up with the idea that all I needed to reach my goal was a few 100% over night gains/ 1k>2k>4k>8k> etc. I convinced myself that I would have no problems being patient for the exact criteria that I had set and worked on some other trades.
Remember, the first win is always free.
I was trading options pretty regularly from March 2015 until August 2016. During my best week I was up 20k and could feel the milli within reach. I can remember the exact option trade (HTZ) and I was trading weeklies on it.
For those who have been in the market long enough, you will remember the huge drawdown of August 2015.
I lost half my account value on QCOM calls (100 of them) that I followed at the beginning of July and never materialized. I watched them eventually go to 0. It was another 10,000 block that was probably a hedge or sold.
In August 2015 there were some issues with China and all of us woke up to stocks gapping down huge. Unfortunately my idea of buying far dated calls during the following days/weeks after the crash went sideways. I quickly learned that an increase in volatility causes a rise in option prices and I was paying a premium for calls that were going to lose value very quickly (the infamous IV crush).
I kept trading options into the end of 2015 and managed to maintain my account value positive but the trading fees for the year amounted to $30,000+. My broker was loving it.
I tried all the services, all the strategies. I created rules for my option plays: 1. No earnings 2. Only follow the big buys at a discount (10,000 blocks or more). 3. No weekly options 4. Take profit right away 5. Take losses quickly 6. etc.
I had a whole note book of option plays that I was writing down and following. I was paying for option services that all of you know about - remember, they make money on the services and not trading.
I even figured out a loop-hole with my broker: if I didn’t have enough money in my account, I could change my ask price to .01 and then change it to market buy and I would only need to accept a warning ⚠️ for the order to go through. I was able to day trade the option and make money, who cares if I didnt have enough? After a few months of this, I got a call from my broker that told me to stop and that I would be suspended if I continued with this.
By the way, I was always able to satisfy the debit on the account - so it wasn’t an issue of lack of funds.
Lost it all. Started taking money from lines of credits, every penny that I earned and losing it quicker and quicker.
I was a full on gambler but I was convinced that 8 trades would offset all the losses. I kept getting drawn in to the idea that I could hit a homerun and make it out a hero.
I eventually hit rock bottom on some weekly expiring FSLR options that I bought hours before expiration and said to myself - what the f are you doing? I resolved to invest for the long term and stop throwing tendies away.
The feeling was reinforced during the birth of my first born and I thought - what a loser this kid will think of me if he knew how much I was gambling and wasting my life. It was a really powerful moment looking at my kid and reflecting on this idea.
I decided at that point I was going to save every penny I had and invest it on new issues with potential.
Fall 2016
TTD, COUP and NTNX IPO ‘ed I decided I was going to throw every dollar at these and did so for the next few months. I eventually started using margin (up to 215%) and buying these for the next 6 months. They paid out and managed to make it over 100k within the year.
The first 100k was hard but once I crossed it, I never fell below this magic number.
2017 - I did some day trading but it was mostly obsessing over the above issues. I did gamble on a few options here and there but never more than 1k.
2018 - SFIX was my big winner, I bought a gap up in June 2018 and my combined account value had crossed 400k by August 2018. I was really struggling at crossing the 500k account value and experienced 3 x 30-40% drawdowns over the next 2 years before I finally crossed the 500k barrier and have never looked back.
I still made some mistakes over the next few months - AKAO & GSUM come to mind. Both of these resulted in 20k+ losses. Fortunately my winners were much bigger than my losers.
I thought about giving up and moving to index funds - but i was doing well - just experiencing large drawdowns because of leverage.
2019 big winners were CRON SWAV STNE.
2017 / 2018 / 2019 all had six digit capital gains on my tax returns.
At the beginning of 2020 I was still day trading on margin (180-220%) and got a call from my broker that they were tightening up my margin as my account was analyzed by the risk department and deemed too risky. Believe it or not this was right before the covid crash. I brought my margin down to 100-110% of account value and even though the drawdown from covid hit hard, I wasn’t wiped out.
I stayed the course and bought FSLY / RH during the big march drawdown and this resulted in some nice gains over the next few months.
I am constantly changing and testing my investment strategy but let me tell you that obsessing over 1 or 2 ideas and throwing every penny at it and holding for a few years is the best strategy. It may not work at some point but right now it does.
I still day trade but I trade with 10k or less on each individual position. It allows me minimize my losses and my winners are 1-7%. I am able to consistently make between 3-700$/ a day on day trades using the above strategy. I still take losses and still dream about hitting it big with an option trade but dont feel the need to put it all on the line every month / week.
I finally crossed into the two , club. I know people are going to ask for proof or ban but I am not earning anything for posting and the details about some of the trades should be proof enough that I kept a detailed journal of it all. I have way more to write but these are the highlights.
Eventually I will share how I build a position in a story I love. I still sell buy and sell to early but I am working on improving.
TL:DR - I gambled, lost it all and gambled some more lost more. I made it out alive. I have only sold calls/puts lately.
The one common denominator in all successful people is how much they obsess over 1 or 2 ideas. Do the same. All the winners on this sub have gone all in on one idea (FSLY / TSLA ). Stick with new stories or ones that are changing and go all in...wait a second, I didnt learn anything.
submitted by jojo2021 to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

AMZN Trade Retrospective: Collecting a $.37 Credit for the Potential to Make Another $50

AMZN Trade Retrospective: Collecting a $.37 Credit for the Potential to Make Another $50
There are different ways to trade in a choppy environment. Here’s a deep dive on how I attempted to use weekly options to trade a potential bounce in AMZN, and collected $.37 initially, for the possibility of making $50 more, even though the trade ended up being only an $.81 winner.

The Entry

Last Thursday, 9/24, when $AMZN was trading at about $3000 a share, I was looking for a cheap way to play a bounce in the stock. During that time, my bias in the markets had begun to shift to a more bullish stance after seeing how the market had difficulty grinding lower. With that in mind, I wanted to play a potential bounce in tech. But I knew I didn’t want to pay a debit at all to play for a bounce that might not even happen, given how uncertain and choppy the markets had been, but I still wanted to set myself up to capture some large gains if AMZN did indeed bounce. Therefore, the strategy that made the most sense to me, was a Call broken wing butterfly.
Given that I’m a very short-term options trader who loves trading weeklies, I was trying to look for a cheap butterfly for the upcoming week that I could put on for a net credit. After exploring the options chain, I came across the +1/-2/+1 3300/3350/3450 call broken wing butterfly for the Oct 2 series. This fly, at the time (on Sept 24), was trading for a total of $.37 credit. Meaning, by putting on that butterfly, I would get paid $.37, and the following scenarios could happen:
  1. If AMZN decided to tank or hang out sideways and never get up close enough to the butterfly to expand the spread in my favor, then I’d walk away pocketing the $.37 credit
  2. If AMZN slowly crept up to reach exactly 3350 by expiration, I’d not only get to keep the credit, but also be able to sell the butterfly back out for $50. Of course, it doesn’t need to reach exactly 3350 by expiration. If AMZN slowly worked its way up to near 3300, then the butterfly would expand very nicely as well.
  3. If AMZN blew past 3400 by expiration, I’d see a loss, up to a maximum of $50 / spread (if $AMZN moves past 3450). That’s because the 3300/3350 long call vertical of the fly provides 50 points of coverage before I essentially start losing money from the 3350/3450 short vertical, up until that 3450 kicks in to cap off further upside losses.
So that is a rough outline of the potential scenarios that would happen with this trade.
Given the choppy market conditions, I was ok with risking $50/spread (point #3), in order to not lose money if I’m wrong on direction (point #1), while at the same time, keeping myself open to the possibility of the butterfly expanding in my favor (point #2) for some potentially very large gains.
But satisfying point #3 is tricky. I needed more data points suggesting that $AMZN wouldn’t surge higher early on in the trade. Because if $AMZN did surge higher early on in the trade, then while the 3300 long call would rise in value, those two 3350 short calls would also rise in value, and because there’d still be some time value left, they could be very juiced up and eat away at the profits of that 3300 long call, so much so that the 3450 long call won’t even be able to offset those losses, especially given how far out of the money that 3450 call is.

AMZN on 9/24, daily timeframe
Looking at the chart above on 9/24, we can see that AMZN was trading at around $3000/share. In order to reach $3300 (where the first long call of the broken wing butterfly is), the stock would need to
  1. Breach the 38% fib retracement (~AMZN=3131) of the move from the 9/2 high to the 9/21 low,
  2. Breach the 20MA and 50MA
  3. Breach the 50% fib retracement (~AMZN=3211)
  4. Breach the 61.8% fib retracement (~AMZN=3292)
before finally reaching the 3300 long call. All of these levels, I felt, should provide some resistance for AMZN to have to chew thru over the following week, before it even gets to the long call. And by that time, if AMZN did reach 3300, then the 3300 long call would still have a lot of extrinsic value left (somewhere around $20 on the last day), while the 3350 short calls would be very cheap (each around $5), so the entire spread could be roughly worth $10. Which would be great, because that means I’d be getting paid $.37 to make another $10.
So with all of the above considered, I chose to take on that upside risk, for a chance to make potentially $50 (realistically I try to aim for just half of the max profit: $25, and start harvesting profits and peeling off the flies at around $5-$10), and that day on 9/24, entered the Oct2 3300/3350/3450 call broken wing butterfly for a $.37 credit.
After entry, on Friday 9/25 and Monday 9/28, AMZN made steady progress upwards, from 3000 to 3175, breaching the 31.8% retracement and tagging the 20MA and 50MA from below.

AMZN on 9/28, daily timeframe
but this move wasn’t large and fast enough to expand the value of the 3350 short calls. In fact, theta did a great job draining those short calls, while the 3300 long call did a good job retaining its premium, so the butterfly had already expanded a bit in my favor, and I was sitting at about a small $1.00 profit.

The Adjustment

However, on Tuesday and Wednesday, AMZN began to stall out. By the end of Wednesday 9/30, when it looked like AMZN was putting in a topping tail, I decided that AMZN might not be able to make it near 3300 by expiration Friday, so I wanted to take in a bit more credit while I still could, before theta drained more of that 3300 long call. At the time, the spread was trading for almost $2.
That’s when I made a slight adjustment to the spread and sold the 3300/3310 call vertical.

AMZN on 9/30, daily timeframe
This essentially rolled the 3300 long call up to 3310, and I was able to collect a small $.44 credit for it. However, this adjustment did open me up to an additional $10 of risk to the upside, because now, the long call vertical portion of the butterfly is only $40 wide (instead of $50). Still, with only 2 days left for AMZN to go higher, I felt comfortable taking on a bit more upside risk knowing that theta is going to be working hard to drain those 3350 short calls if AMZN did decide to surge higher. And at that moment, I actually wanted AMZN to move more towards my fly. My deltas were still positive, and the risk graph showed that a move towards the short strikes of the fly would expand it by another $4-5 by Thursday.
So after this adjustment, the trade stood at a $.81 credit, and the profit potential on the fly was now $40 instead of $50. Which is still pretty good.

The Tease

On Thursday, AMZN showed some strength and closed above the 50% fib (3211), which meant that if on Friday, AMZN worked its way up to around 3300, the fly could potentially be worth $5-10. Things were looking good (on any continued bullishness, the next target for AMZN was the 61.8% fib retracement at ~3300). So I left the trade alone without making any more adjustments.

AMZN on 10/1, daily timeframe

The Flop

Unfortunately, on Thursday night, news broke out that Trump was diagnosed with Coronavirus, and the market fell lower. By the open, AMZN was already trading at around 3150, roughly 150 points below the fly. The spread had instantly lost all of its value, so I basically let it expire worthless and walked away pocketing the $.81 credit.

https://preview.redd.it/mpwrkjpk6xq51.png?width=4096&format=png&auto=webp&s=8dd7f4da7b000b2266ab57a3c23c1863f9423704
While the trade did not work out as well as I had liked, the important thing to note is that I was able to get paid even when the trade didn’t go in my favor. With options, there are ways to trade an underlying to a certain target without ponying up a debit, albeit at the cost of introducing tail risk, while offering the possibility of very large upside. This may be a style of trading that one can consider employing when the outlook of the markets is uncertain, as long as the trader is willing to make the necessary adjustments to control risk.
Which leads me to the following section:

FAQ

What if AMZN decided to surge very early on during the trade? What if AMZN had surged to 3300 with 4-5 DTE, hence juicing up the short calls and causing the butterfly to take on large negative deltas?
Even though the position would be very theta positive, I would pony up the debit to cap off the upside risk by buying the 3400/3450 call vertical, hence turning the 3300/3350/3450 broken wing butterfly into the 3300/3350/3400 balanced butterfly. From there on out until expiration, I would look for ways to reduce the debit incurred from that adjustment.

But what if AMZN tanked afterwards? You could end up getting whipsawed.
I’d rather be safe than sorry and make the necessary adjustments to avoid getting run over, because I don’t like playing the hope card. I could always undo the adjustment and look for ways to collect back more credit (at the cost of introducing risk elsewhere), depending on my new directional bias on AMZN at the time.

Your maximum loss is so large, $5000. I’d never make that bet, I would never risk $5000 to make $5000.
This style of trading is not for everyone. There are different ways to perceive risk. I don't really think of risk as binary as “max gain vs max loss”. If the trade goes against me, I’m not going to open myself up to the possibility of eating the maximum loss. I’m going to manage that risk and make sure that I don’t lose any money at all on the trade. Basically, I’m not going to just put on the trade, walk away to the prayer room, and come back at expiration and hope that AMZN expired at 3350.

Why not just join thetagang and slap on iron condors / credit spreads in this environment? You could’ve collected more credit by selling a 50 point wide put vertical with your bounce thesis.
Different traders have different styles. I personally don’t like pure premium selling strategies. I’d rather have long options in front of the shorts to open myself up for some large upside and convexity in the P/L curve, rather than limit myself to the concavity of pure premium selling strategies. Having long options in front of the shorts also helps me sleep better at night.

It’s hard to read this. Is there a more visual explanation?
Here’s a video on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uq76fZ3EME

TL;DR - I used weekly options to trade a potential bounce in AMZN, and got paid $.37 initially to do so, for the possibility of making $50 more. While the trade did not pan out, I walked away pocketing $.81 for being wrong.
submitted by OptionsBrewers to options [link] [comments]

Greed is Subtle

The morning alarm woke up Ghen. With an annoyed sigh, he stretched out his arm and silenced the foul-sounding chirps. Slowly sitting up in bed, he let out a deep yawn and got to his feet.
Running a couple of chitinous fingers along his antennae to stimulate them to life, he made his bed and then went to his closet. Today was a work day, so he needed his suit. Once the pants were on, he stretched out his wings so that he could button up the shirt, then relaxing them once all the buttons were secured.
Dressing for the day was done, now for the morning meal. Entering his kitchen, he took out the chilled leftovers of the evening meal last night and popped it into the radiator, first defrosting and then slightly cooking it.
During that process, he also fished out a ceramic cup and placed it in his brewer, serving himself some synthesized caffeine. His idle thought led him to being amused that, when eaten directly off a plant, it has a concentration that could kill him three times over. But after going through some refinement and roasting, all it does is make him hyper.
Once the meal was put together, his plate of heated leftovers and a cup of almost-piping-hot cup of Xia's, he took his time to enjoy it. His communicator vibrated. When he looked, he found it was from his boss.
"Hello?" Ghen answered.
"Ghen, the meeting's been moved up to a few minutes from now." His boss, Xkik, announced. "Apparently higher up has something important they want to say. We have a terminal ready for you, I'll message the login details."
"Wha-, what's so important?" Ghen asked in bewilderment. "Did a water line rupture or something?"
"No, nothing like that." Xkik replied with a slight chuckle. "It's actually about the rumors we've been hearing. That human corporation wanting to acquire us? That's what they're talking about."
Ghen could feel everything inside his thorax drop to the floor. "That must mean it's true then, right? Did we get sold off by the Queen to this company then?"
"Show up to the meeting and you'll get your answer." Xkik said simply. When he finished, Ghen got the notification on his communicator. There's the login details, allowing him to remotely attend the meeting. "They're about to start, hurry up."
Once Xkik disconnected, Ghen worked fast to login and set up the remote viewing. Once everything was done, his screen started transmitting the meeting room. It was already packed. And off by the main board, he saw his answer. There was a human, resting against the wall on his two legs. Standing right in the center of everyone's view was the coordinator, Tizx, watching the clock periodically.
As soon as the meeting's start time was reached, the coordinator began. "Alright everyone. I realize that this was rather short notice, so I want to say how appreciative I am that you made it. Now then, let's just get right to it. For some time now, many of you have been hearing rumors that a human corporation has been interested in us. Why? We never really knew. We're just an organization responsible for finding, extracting and providing water to the colony here all under the direction of the Queen herself. Well, as of now, I have the answer for you. Why don't I let Ryan say that?"
Stepping back, Tizx motioned for the human, Ryan, to take over. With a nod, Ryan practically bounced over and then took the position. "Good morning to you all. I hope my Zazk is passable, heh. Anyways, the answer to those rumors, is yes. Terran Galactic Company is indeed interested in you all. Which now leads to me. I'm here to announce that, effective yesterday evening, this water company is now a subsidiary of Terran Galactic Company, under the name of Zilia Water Delivery."
Many other sub-coordinators broke into hushed conversation, no doubt speaking their thoughts with each other about this move. Ghen could only wonder if this was even a good thing. What will the humans do? Will he still have his job? Will he have to learn how to deal with the ruthless humans?
"Now, I am well aware this is quite the...uh, change." Ryan continued. "That's why I'm happy to inform you that, no, nothing negative or detrimental will happen to you. You just have new people to answer to. Operations will continue as normal, everybody here will still keep their jobs. The only real change any of you will personally experience is that Coordinator Tizx here will now report to someone else. On behalf of the Terran Galactic Company, we are extremely excited and are looking forward to working with you all. Thank you for your time."
A week later.
At least Ryan wasn't lying. After the initial shock wore off, things went back as they normally did. There were no terminations, no reductions in annual pay or anything. Nothing really changed. At least until this new meeting was called. Ghen was at the worksite this time, so he took his seat and watched as, once again, Ryan led the meeting.
"Hello again, everyone!" He said cheerfully, his Zazk noticeably improved. "I hope I didn't end up looking like a liar, right? Everything's still normal, all that?"
All the zazk in the room confirmed, providing comments to their pleasant surprise as well as lingering thoughts.
"Awesome! Awesome." Ryan said jubilantly, his fleshy mouth revealing his bone-white teeth. "Now then, you're probably wondering why I'm here again, right? Well, I got another fantastic piece of news for you all! Two, actually. I'll start with the first: Zilia Water Delivery has just completed its IPO. The company is now publicly traded!"
Ghen and the others voiced their confusion, having no idea what in the name of the Queen Ryan was talking about. What was Ryan talking about? What's an IPO? And why exactly is being publicly traded such a significant thing?
"Oh, you guys don't know any of that?" Ryan asked in surprised confusion. After everybody confirmed, he let out a quick huff as he began his explanation. "Well, to begin, IPO is short for Initial Public Offering. Basically what that means is that, before today, Zilia was privately held. Only certain individuals could buy and sell shares here. But now that we're public? Literally anyone can buy and sell shares in the company, hence us being publicly traded."
"Uh, what's a share?" Ghen asked, still completely lost.
"Oh, boy..." Ryan muttered under his breath before returning to his peppy image. "To simply put it, a share is short for having a share of ownership in a company. When you buy a share, you're buying a piece of ownership, and when you sell, you're selling that amount."
"So wait...if someone buys a share, they're a co-owner then?" One of the other team coordinators asked.
"If they get enough, yeah." Ryan nodded. "You need a lot though, and that really depends on the company. If I had to give an answer though? I'd say usually you need to have a lot more shares than a lot of people combined to be officially a co-owner, but we call that being a majority shareholder."
"And how do we do that?" Ghen asked, now growing curious but still not understanding why such a concept exists.
"Simple. Buy shares." Ryan said simply. "And that leads into the second piece of awesome news. Zilia's corporate has a product in mind, a premium-package of water delivery. Instead of the usual water that you pump out, filter and ensure its potable before delivery, with the premium package, not only will you get that, but you'll also get all of the required nutrients and vitamins the zazk body requires! And they feel you guys have the best expertise and understanding to pull it off! So, here's what we're offering as a good-faith bonus: A 25% increase to your annual salary as well as being given stock options."
Ghen wasn't sure about the second part, but the salary definitely got his attention, as well as everyone else's. Although his job was considered to have a good pay, Ghen isn't going to say no to a higher salary. In fact, he's been focusing his work on getting a promotion so he can come home with even more credits in pocket.
"What do you mean by stock options?" Ghen asked after some time.
Ryan let out that smile again, the one that revealed his teeth. "If you choose to transfer over to the new group, you'll be provided 50,000 shares in Zilia itself. Why's that awesome? Let me walk you through it. Right now, our last closing price per share was 3.02 credits. And if you have 50,000 shares during that time, you're sitting on 151,000 credits, if you cash it out immediately."
"And why shouldn't we?" One of the coordinators demanded in an ambiguous tone.
"Because the price per share changes a lot." Ryan explained promptly. "When we got done with the IPO? It closed at 2.73 a share. Right now? My money's on the closing price being 2.99 a share. However, we are extremely confident in this premium package being successful. If it does? Well, my bet is that the share price will skyrocket to 3.12 a share. If you hold those shares and the price gets to what my bet was? You'll instead get 156,000 credits. Just by holding onto them, you just made an additional 5,000 credits!"
"And what if we have more shares?" Ghen questioned, now getting excited at the prospect of free money.
"Even more money!" Ryan laughed a bit. "And don't forget about dividends, but that's for another time. The premium group is gearing up right now, we just need the workforce. If any of you wants in, I'll be back tomorrow with all the forms needed to make it official. Take the day and tonight to think it over, yeah?"
Everything else melted into a blur. Ghen was practically on autopilot that whole day. Was this the secret to the humans' incredibly massive economy? How so many of them have amassed so much money out of nowhere? All you had to do was just buy this share out of a company and you get more money without even working?
As soon as he got home, Ghen knew what he was going to do during the night. After feverishly looking through the galnet, now having the human race connected to it, he looked and gathered up as many books that were translated into zazk as he could find, all talking about the human economic system. The last time he undertook such an intensive study was during his primary education phase.
And during his search, he even found forums on the galnet that were completely dedicated to the human's economy. All of them talking about strategies on what company, or stock, to pick. How to analyze a company's performance to determine if it was worth the money, or it had potential to grow over time. And that was when he discovered the humans found another method to the extremely simple buying and selling process. There were humans and some other immigrated aliens who made five times what Ghen could receive over a simple month just by watching the share prices during trading hours, and then buying and selling them at the proper times.
Ghen's mind was just absolutely flabbergasted. He thought it was just some strange concept only aliens could make, but no, not with the humans. They've practically made their economy into an art or a science. No, not even their economy. Everything. If humans can see a way to make money off of it, they'll do it. And if there isn't, they'll look for a way.
Healthcare was monetized. Galnet services, transportation, shopping at the store, they even made all of their utilities into profit-oriented companies.
And it was there that Ghen paused, the realization slamming into him. Everything was monetized. Which means, if you don't have the money for it, you're not getting it. Right? Are the humans truly that ruthless? So obsessed with making money? To the point that they're willing to deprive their own people of the absolute necessities if it's a source of credits?
Ghen let out a scoff. There's no way. Nobody is that cruel and callous. He's never been to the United Nations. He can't rely on what a bunch of random people on the galnet says. He decided that from here on out, he'll only go as far as saying that humans are a little obsessed with credits, nothing more.
...
There he was. Ryan, sitting in the office provided to him. And there was a rather large line leading to him. Looks like word got around. Although, the line wasn't as large as he expected it to be. Maybe the others thought it was just a ruse? That there's no such thing as making free money by spending it on such a made-up concept?
Ghen only knows that, if it is a ruse, it's an extremely elaborate one, where all of the humans are in on it. And he believes that's just extremely ridiculous. At the end, if he's unsure, he'll just take the transfer for the very real increase in his very real salary. And although he spent a very good chunk of the night reading up on how humans do things, he's still going to play it smart. He'll leave his 50,000 shares alone and see where it goes from there.
"Good morning sir." Ryan greeted warmly once Ghen took his seat. "Now, name please?"
"Ghen." He answered, barely keeping his nerves down.
"Alright...and what's your position at this location?" Ryan questioned after scribbling on his form.
"I monitor the pumping stations near the extraction sites." Ghen explained, staying on point. "To be more specific, I check to see if they're in need of maintenance, as well as reading the flow rate that's determined by the calculators installed there. If there's too little for what's needed, I pump out more. And if there's too much, I pull it back a little."
"Nice...and how long have you been doing it for?" Ryan complimented with a nod.
"As of tomorrow, ten years." Ghen replied, voice quickly changing to minor awe once he realized that fact.
"Excellent. Do you have anyone in mind you'd like to replace you here?" Ryan questioned after another scribble. "If you don't have anyone, you're free to say so."
Ghen took a moment to think it over. A bunch of names went through his mind, but one stuck with him. "Tilik. He's just been accepted here, but he's learned quickly. Very attentive and he always catches something subtle. I think he'll do really well in my position, even better actually."
"Tilik, really?" Ryan questioned with a little shock, going through his completed forms. Ghen felt a short sense of panic in him. Did something happen, or was Tilik actually transferring? His answer didn't take long to reveal itself. "Right, Tilik was actually one of the first people to want to transfer here. He's actually requested to be part of the testing teams specifically. Do you have a second choice?"
"Um...no, actually." Ghen replied, feeling a little ashamed. "Tilik was my only choice, to be honest."
"Hey, don't worry." Ryan said assuringly with his hands raised. "Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, there's just nobody up to snuff, right? 'Kay, so, last question. Is there anything specific you'd like to do when given the transfer?"
"If you need someone monitoring new pumps, I'd be happy to do that." Ghen stated.
"So basically same job but with better payoff, am I right?" Ryan grinned. "I hear you. Sometimes, we're just not paid enough for what we're doing. I know I think that sometimes. Uh, our secret, yeah?"
"Yeah, our secret." Ghen nodded, thinking it'd be better to have friendly relations with the human, just in case.
"Awesome. Back on topic, that's it." Ryan announced, placing the form on his pile. "We'll give you a call when you're accepted."
"Oh, uh, that's it?" Ghen questioned with a shrug in shocked surprise.
"What, expecting a question like, why do you want to transfer?" Ryan chuckled a bit as he leaned in his seat. "You can bullshit all you want, but we both know the answer. Sweet money and stock options. Not saying that's a bad answer of course, just that it's pretty obvious."
"I suppose it is." Ghen commented, realizing the point. "Also, you mentioned this...dividend? Is that for Zilia shares?"
Ryan laughed a little bit before nodding. "Yep, announced before I came here. About 0.43 per share. Want to know why that's awesome? Instead of waiting for the proper price to cash out your shares, now? The company pays you for each share you hold."
"A...Are you serious?" Ghen demanded, flabbergasted.
Ryan nodded with his now-trademark grin. "Dead serious. If you get the transfer, and get those 50,000 shares? A little head math...right, if you hold onto those, in addition to your salary, you'll now annually be paid 21,500 credits, if you keep it at 50,000 shares. Only you can decide to sell or buy shares."
Ghen just stood there silent and motionless, no idea of whether to believe it or not, to which Ryan just laughed. Once he walked out of the room, he managed to snap back to reality. Again, just focus on the very real pay-raise. He'll deal with the other parts later.
After he returned to his spot, he spotted Tizx approaching by his desk. The coordinator seems to be as casual as always.
"I saw you in that line a bit ago, Ghen." He said as he leaned on the desk. "Guess you're really taking that human's word?"
"I mean, I don't know about all this share business or what not." Ghen began with a shrug, his tone sounding a little defensive. "But I mean, having a bigger salary? Course I'm going for it when I can. And if all this magic credits turn out to be real? You realize we can live like the royal servants, right? Get the best cars, the nicest food and all that?"
"I'd be very careful, Ghen." Tizx warned in a sudden shift in tone. "Don't trust those humans. The way they just...obsess over money? Come up with more and more insane ways of getting credits? I don't know, it just makes my wings twitch."
"You think this is a bad idea?" Ghen asked with a little surprise at the change-in-demeanor.
"I think you should be careful, with the humans, and with what you're saying." Tizx replied, straightening his posture. "I wouldn't put it past those Earthmen to backstab you if it gets them a few more credits. And we all know how the royal servants get if any of us lowly commoners start thinking we can break into their circle."
"I hear you, I'll be on my guard, promise." Ghen stated with a nod. With a confirming nod of his own, Tizx returned back to his duty, walking past Ghen's desk.
Several weeks later.
Everything became so much better. Ghen got the transfer. He didn't need to relocate to a new residence either. And after he was walked through into learning how to manage his stock account, and seeing that new form of payment in his hands, he already felt as though he made the best decision. But it was only when he decided to take those shares more seriously that he became privy to what he was given. After receiving the dividend payment, and actually seeing it was real, valid credits after transferring it to his main bank account, all he could describe was the most powerful high he ever felt.
While his first thoughts were to buy himself a royalty-class car, some nicer furnishings for his home, or even a better home entirely, he ended up going the smarter route.
After going back to his stock account, he discovered that Zilia's shares rose to about 3.22 credits in price. Knowing that this was the easiest money he could ever make, he took all of his dividend earnings and bought more shares in Zilia, bringing him to owning 56,891.
And from his new regional coordinator, a human named Dylan, tomorrow is the grand release of the premium package. For just a monthly rate of 14.99 credits, the tap water will now include a sizeable portion of all nutrients and vitamins required in the zazk physiology. Still, Ghen has to admit. He's not entirely sure why anybody would want such a thing, if they'd even go for it. But, as long as he's practically swimming in easy credits, he won't pay much attention to it.
And just like when he was intensively studying the basics of how the human economy worked, he barely got any sleep. His mind was constantly thinking about the things he would buy. Or rather, what other stocks to put his credits into. Even now he can still hardly believe it. Just spend your money on some, make-believe thing and, if you wait long enough and picked the right stock, you'll get more than you spent back?
His mind even wandered onto what human colonies, or even their homeworld, Earth, was like. If everybody was making so much money, what kind of things would they offer? What kind of ridiculous service or product or item can you get? He's even debating on joining some forum and just asking around. Explain how he's new to how humans do things and was wondering what he should expect if he's successful.
By the time he felt like he can go to sleep, the binary-stars of the system were rising from the horizon. After getting out of his bed and changing to clean clothes, his mind returned onto what-ifs.
What if he bought better clothes? He's had his eye on that human brand of luxury clothes, Tessuti di Venezia, that's been all the rage amongst the royal servants. Or maybe he can go on vacation and just check out Earth for real?
It was a short ride to his workplace from his home. After getting stuff his stuff and preparing to walk through the doors, he heard the roar of a car grow louder. When he looked, he saw the sleekest and quite possibly the coolest looking car he's ever seen. Each time the engine revved it would startle him, both from how harsh it sounded as well as just how intense it sounded. And after it parked, he saw the doors pop out and then slide along the body back. And there, he saw Tilik, the seat literally turning and extending out a bit before he got off.
As soon as he saw Ghen staring, he struck a rather prideful pose after putting on his lab coat and then sauntered over to Ghen.
"What do you think?" Tilik said, without any doubt inviting praise or compliments.
"D...Did you actually buy that?" Ghen asked, unable to tear his eyes away from the car.
"You're Queens-damn right I did!" Tilik laughed happily. "Thing takes off like a starship, has temperature-controlled seating, all-in-one center console, barely any bouncing on rough roads. Hoof, best decision I've ever made!"
"How much did that thing cost?" Ghen asked after letting out an incredulous laugh.
"Five million credits." Tilik replied, earning an absolutely shocked stare from Ghen. "And thanks to the incredible salary I have, in addition to all these shares and dividends, I'll pay back the credits I borrowed in no time!"
Ghen needed a few moments before he could speak again. "All I've been doing is buying more shares."
Tilik laughed and then patted the now-envious monitor's back. "Smart man. I got a little carried away, yeah, but not anymore. Any spending credits I got, going right back to investing. That's what it's called right, investing?"
"Yeah, it is." Ghen nodded, feeling a fire light up in his thorax. "And also? Today's the day that the premium water thing is being released. Here's hoping it starts out well, right?"
"Oh it will, trust me." Tilik chuckled as they both began making their way inside the workplace. "Lots of research, lots of study. By the Queen, so much of it...it'll make your head spin."
And after hearing that, Ghen had a moment of realization. "Hey, Tilik? How did you get such a nice position anyways? Weren't you just studying under me before the humans came along?"
Tilik let out a sigh after opening the door. "I'll be honest, I never wanted your job. Not because it's boring or terrible, just...I didn't suffer so many sleepless nights in the science academy just to be a glorified button pusher. This is what I've always wanted. Doing science, solving problems rather than just applying the solution, you know?"
"Wait, you got an academic certificate?" Ghen questioned, completely floored. "How did you end up beneath me then? I should've been answering to you!"
"Simple." Tilik gave a heavier sigh. "A royal servant was asking for the same job I was. Take a guess at who got it."
"Ouch. Good thing the humans came along when they did, yeah?" Ghen was taken aback. He never heard anything about a servant taking a job at his place. "Looks like you're proving yourself to be well suited."
"By the Queen, of course I am." Tilik nodded. "Like I said, I nearly broke my wings through so many nights, got certified top of my class, all just to get pushed to the dirt because someone who was born into a particular family wanted the same thing I did? I know I'm smarter than any of those empty-skull servants back in the Center. I know that, whatever, uh...corporate? Yeah, whatever corporate wants out of science, I will xeek give it to them."
"Well, let me know how things go in the lab." Ghen said, admiring his drive as they neared the main office floor. "Because this is where the button pusher needs to go."
Tilik let out a laugh as he nodded. "Hey, how about we meet up at Queen's Fine Eatery tonight. I'll pay, yeah?"
Ghen, at first, wanted to admonish him for choosing such an outrageously expensive place to go. But he quickly realized that, he truly is good for it, thanks to the humans. "Well, hey, if you're paying for it."
...
It was a fantastic opening. After being told what news sites to keep in mind for stocks, he first heard it from Dylan, and then got more detail on Business Today. There was such a massive demand right from the start that Zilia needs to increase extraction just to meet it. But what really got his attention was the effect it had. Zilia Water Delivery's share price just blasted off. After seemingly holding steady at about 3.15, by the time he got home and logged onto his account, it already reached 7.04 a share. The calculator on his account told him that he got a value-gain of 54.26%.
Never in his entire life had he felt such...joy. With all of the shares he currently has? He's sitting at 400,512.64 credits. He knows that it is woefully pathetic compared to what the royal servants have just in their pockets, but the fact that he has such money, just by owning some intangible concept? Why even work at Zilia? Why doesn't he just sit at home, figure out what companies to invest in and make his money that way?
What's even the point in working a real job, getting a pathetic pay when you can just take the money you have, determine where to spend it, and get triple back? All just sitting on your wings at home, researching?
He was so wrapped up in his excited high that he completely forgot he was going to meet Tilik at Queen's. After quickly and haphazardly putting on his nicer clothes, he got to the place only a few minutes late.
Tilik was there by the guide, no doubt having been waiting for him. As soon as he strode up, Tilik's wings stiffned out some. No doubt he must've seen the numbers as well.
"I can see your wings, Ghen." Tilik began with an excited chuckle. "Made some serious credits?"
Ghen let out an incredulous scoff, struggling to find the words for a moment. "Incredible. All I'm going to say."
"Likewise." Tilik chortled some before nodding to the table guide. "All here. Table please?"
"Right this way, sir." The guide said politely. It was a short walk, travelling between round tables. The vast majority were populated by zazk, but Ghen was surprised at seeing a few humans here as well. No doubt corporate workers checking out the local food. He did spot them having bowls filled with some kind of mass. Some were brown, others white with what looks to be black specks on them.
They arrived at their table. A rather nice one, affording a view out the windows into the busy colony streets. Once Tilik and Ghen settled in, the guide handed out the menus.
"May I suggest our rather popular option for tonight?" The guide began. "Human ice-cream. Ingredients sourced from Earth itself. Very cold, but incredibly sweet, and coming in many flavors. The most popular amongst us is called vanilla-bean. The vanilla itself soaks in the cream for much of the process, and then the innards sprinkled on top of it near the end. Rumor has it that the Queen herself has demanded personal shipments of such a treat straight from the home of vanilla, an island on Earth named Madagascar."
Ghen didn't even spare a single thought. "Vanilla bean ice cream then, please."
"Same." Tilik seconded when the guide glanced to him. With a slight bow, the guide proceeded to ferry their orders to the kitchen. Thankfully it was just a short wait before the guide returned, carrying a large plate containing bowls of ice cream. Ghen could feel the saliva on his mandibles as the bowl was placed before them. He could just feel the cold air around that glistening mass of sugary goodness. The white snow decorated with the black dots of vanilla bean.
Once the guide left them, Tilik and Ghen both dived in at the same time. As soon as the ice cream entered his mouth, touched his tongue, he exploded in incomprehensible bliss. The sweetness, the smooth and creamy mass, even the taste of vanilla he wasn't sure about was just absolutely delightful. It was so overwhelming that his entire body limped, slumping in his seat as he was forced to ride on the surging tide of joy and happiness sweeping over him.
Tilik was no different. He too was taken completely by the effects of the ice cream, his wings fluttering some against the seat. Ghen could hear some noise. It was the humans they passed by. They were chuckling, grinning, and glancing over at them discreetly. Unlike the two zazk, the humans seemingly just enjoyed the ice cream as if it was just another nice dessert to them. Or perhaps they couldn't allow themselves to succumb to the high?
And as soon as the wave of indescribable bliss and happiness subsided, Ghen knew. He just knew. This was the life. He wanted this. The ice cream was just the beginning. So many things denied because he didn't have the credits, or worse, not the blood. Because he was just a drone in the great Collective, even if he had the credits, he wasn't allowed because of what caste he was born in. That fire that sparked in him when he saw Tilik's new car? It exploded into a raging firestorm.
And when looking into Tilik's eyes, Ghen could see the same. He was on the same page as Ghen was. Both of them were sold. They have the credits. And the humans? If you can pay for it, they'll never discriminate. All they cared about is if you have the money.
And by the Queen, Ghen and Tilik will endeavor to amass as much credits as physically possible.
The rest of the night faded into a blur. A blur that evokes only one thing. Bliss. It was only when he walked through the door of his pathetic hut that Ghen's mind snapped back to focus. His mandibles felt sticky. And he felt a weight in his stomach. How much ice cream did he eat? Whatever it was, he ate such volume that the lower-section of his throax extended and rounded out, visible even under his shirt. He felt something odd in his pocket. It was a receipt. 43,000 credits for ten bowls of vanilla bean ice cream. Was that ten bowls for both of them? Or individually? Ghen didn't care. He's good for it.
Returning back to his calculator, he acted upon the decision that he had made at that eatery. He's acquiring as many books about investing and stock trading as he could find, frequent and study all the discussions and arguments presented by other like-minded individuals such as he, all to ensure he can live the good life. And he had a very good feeling Tilik was doing the exact same thing.
Well, first, the gurgling in his stomach, as well as the feeling of something rising demanded his attention. Looks like he'll need to take the night off to let his stomach get back to normal.
Three Years Later.
Ghen looked out beyond the horizon, seeing the colony that he grew up in. On the far side was where his old house was. With only a simple robe on, made from the finest silk from Earth's nation-state of China, he relaxed in his seat.
It was a long road. Stockpiling credits from pre-existing investments and from subsequent pays, he and Tilik made it. From having only half a million in assets and cash, now transformed to over eight-hundred million. And now, his call contracts on American Interstellar? They've just announced a breakthrough in their next generation of warp drives, reducing the speed coefficient even further, resulting in far faster travel. And with that, their stock price climbed sharply.
Another hundred million credits in the bank. Soon, very soon, he and Tilik are about to become the galaxy's first zazk billionares. But that's not enough. There are many humans who are billionares. Only those he can count on one hand are considered trillionares. He's going to break into that circle. He and Tilik.
Looking beyond the colony, he saw the abandoned building of the workplace he transferred to when the humans arrived. Turns out, the reason for such a high demand was that the humans also slipped in sugar to the tap water. As soon as that broke, many influential royal servants demanded investigations and outright banning of Terran Galactic Company's influence over the former government division. Zilia's stock price plummeted. But thanks to an advance tip from his human coordinator, Dylan, he and Tilik made a put contract. And that's where they struck gold, as the human saying goes.
Dylan warned that if they were citizens of the United Nations, they'd be investigated and convicted for insider trading. But, since they weren't, and the Collective were only just introduced to capitalism, there's no risk at all. Now the colony is going through a withdrawal phase, Zilia has been dissolved and reformed back as a government division and are currently at work re-establishing the standard, plain water delivery.
"Well, shit." Tilik muttered as he walked up to Ghen's side, taking well to human speech. "Looks like you win. American Interstellar's announcement really was a good thing. There goes a million credits. Ah well, the Royal Shipyards will make it back for me soon."
"Oh? Did they just go corporate?" Ghen asked curiously, glancing to Tilik.
"Hell yeah they did." Tilik chuckled, sitting down. "Queen and her retard servants fought it hard, but Royal Shipyards is now officially a human-style corporation. And, to a surprise to all the xenophobes in the galaxy, they're already being offered contracts for ship production. That'll raise the stock price pretty good."
"What's that human word...?" Ghen muttered, already having a reply in mind. "Dick? Yeah, calls or suck my dick, Tilik."
Tilik roared in laughter. "Already made them. Forty credits a share by this day next month."
"I have half a mind to go thirty." Ghen chuckled. "Either way, until then, I heard from Dylan that he knows a guy who knows several prime human women who happen to be into zazk."
"You're interested in women?" Tilik said as his wings fluttered. "With how often you tell me to suck you off, I'd have thought differently."
"Oh, I always thought it was you who was into men." Ghen responded dryly. "Just wanted to be a good friend, you know? Considering how you never seem to make it past, Hey sweet thing, I'm rich you know."
"Oh, go fuck yourself." Tilik countered with a little laugh. After he stopped, wings stiffened, he looked to Ghen. "So, know any royal servants we can put the squeeze on for more revenue streams?"
"I got just the one." Ghen nodded, sitting up. "Fzik. He's been fighting to control the ice cream trade. Worried it's a corrupting influence. Got done talking with the human CEO of Nestle earlier. If we clear the way, he'll know how to squeeze a little more gains in stock price when he makes the announcement."
Tilik's wings stiffened even more, signaling his approval. "Alright, time to throw some credits around, yeah?"
AN: Sorry for the period of no updates. College is starting up, lots of stuff to clear and work out. Not sure why but I just got a bug up my butt about incorporating money and the stock market into a short. Here it is. Sorry if it seems abrupt, character limit fast approaching. Let me know how you guys think about it!
submitted by SynthoStellar to HFY [link] [comments]

[Fanatical] 25th Anniversary Sale Day 4 (Includes GUILTY GEAR XX ACCENT CORE PLUS R (-81%), Learn Japanese to Survive Complete Pack (-93%), F1 2020 Deluxe Schumacher Edition (-50%), Space Crew (-20%), Human: Fall Flat 4 Pack (-79%), BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle - Basic Edition (-53%) & More)

Hi Reddit, Day 4 of our 25th Anniversary celebration brings more games and DLC on sale! Join our party and enjoy big savings today.
Plus, with every basket over $4.99 you will get to spin to win with huge prizes to be won. Including spending sprees, free games and PC gaming accessories. You can find more information about this in our blog post.
You can also learn all about Focus Multimedia’s history with this overview of the company.
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Title DRM Fanatical Discount USD GBP EUR
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Aliens vs. Predator - Collection Steam 81% $4.55 £3.03 €4.17
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Gas Guzzlers Extreme Gold Pack Steam 82% $6.29 £4.85 €5.75
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Learn Japanese to Survive Complete Pack Steam 93% $2.99 £2.09 €2.78
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Rock of Ages Steam 77% $2.29 £1.60 €2.29
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SEGA Bass Fishing Steam 85% $1.19 £0.83 €1.19
SEGA Mega Drive & Genesis Classics Bundle Steam 70% $8.99 £7.49 €8.99
Shenmue I & II Steam 77% $6.89 £5.74 €8.04
Shining Resonance Refrain Steam 68% $9.59 £7.99 €9.59
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Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Steam 77% $2.29 £1.14 €2.29
Sonic Adventure DX Steam 85% $1.19 £0.83 €1.19
Sonic Forces Steam 77% $9.19 £8.04 €9.19
Sonic Generations Collection Steam 77% $4.59 £3.44 €4.59
Sonic Lost World Steam 77% $6.89 £4.59 €6.89
Sonic Mania Steam 77% $4.59 £3.44 €4.59
Sonic Mania - Encore DLC Steam 52% $2.39 £1.91 €2.39
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 - Episode I Steam 77% $2.29 £1.37 €1.60
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 - Episode II Steam 77% $2.29 £1.37 €1.60
Space Crew Steam 20% $15.99 £14.39 €15.99
SpellForce 3: Fallen God Steam 10% $22.49 £19.56 €22.49
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD Steam 54% $13.79 £11.49 €13.79
TEMBO THE BADASS ELEPHANT Steam 75% $3.74 £2.49 €3.24
The Banner Saga 3 Steam 55% $11.24 £8.43 €11.24
The Club Steam 85% $2.24 £1.49 €1.49
The Political Machine 2020 Steam 18% $12.29 £9.33 €12.29
Two Point Hospital Steam 72% $9.79 £6.99 €9.79
Two Point Hospital: Bigfoot Steam 52% $4.31 £3.35 €4.31
Two Point Hospital: Close Encounters Steam 52% $4.31 £3.35 €4.31
Two Point Hospital: Off The Grid Steam 35% $5.84 £4.54 €5.84
Two Point Hospital: Pebberley Island Steam 52% $4.31 £3.35 €4.31
UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH Exe:Late Steam 81% $5.69 £4.36 €5.31
Valkyria Chronicles Steam 70% $5.99 £4.49 €5.99
Valkyria Chronicles 4 Complete Edition Steam 70% $14.99 £11.99 €14.99
Vanquish Steam 77% $4.59 £3.44 €4.59
Warhammer 40,000 : Dawn of War Franchise Collection Steam 77% $32.19 £22.99 €31.50
Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War III Steam 77% $9.19 £6.89 €9.19
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Master Collection Steam 77% $8.73 £6.89 €8.96
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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution - Complete DLC Collection Steam 77% $12.64 £8.73 €11.03
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II: Retribution Steam 77% $6.89 £4.59 €6.89
Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team Steam 77% $2.29 £1.60 €2.29
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Steam 77% $6.89 £4.59 €4.59
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Collection Steam 77% $13.79 £9.19 €9.88
Warhammer® 40,000: Dawn of War® II Steam 77% $4.59 £3.44 €4.59
TOP SELLERS OF THE SALE
Title DRM Fanatical Discount USD GBP EUR
Yakuza: Like a Dragon - Day Ichi Edition Steam 18% $49.19 £45.09 €49.19
Yakuza: Like a Dragon - Legendary Hero Edition Steam 18% $73.79 £61.49 €73.79
SpellForce 3 Steam 75% $12.49 £9.99 €12.49
Metro Exodus - Gold Edition Steam 66% $22.09 £18.69 €22.09
The Jackbox Party Pack 7 Steam 15% $25.49 £20.22 €21.24
RESIDENT EVIL 3 Steam 55% $26.99 £22.49 €26.99
Anno® 1800 - Complete Edition Uplay 48% $51.99 £43.67 €51.99
Wreckfest Steam 50% $14.99 £13.37 €14.99
Yakuza: Like a Dragon - Hero Edition Steam 18% $57.39 £53.29 €57.39
Far Cry® 5 Gold Edition + Far Cry® New Dawn Deluxe Edition Bundle Uplay 80% $25.99 £19.99 €23.99
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Breakpoint - Ultimate Edition Uplay 76% $28.79 £23.99 €28.79
RimWorld Steam 15% $29.74 £23.62 €25.49
Disgaea 5 Complete Steam 60% $15.99 £11.99 €15.99
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Master Edition Steam 34% $39.58 £32.99 €39.59
Assassin's Creed Odyssey: Ultimate Edition Uplay 75% $29.99 £23.99 €28.74
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege - Deluxe Edition Uplay 68% $9.59 £8.31 €9.59
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Steam 34% $26.39 £23.09 €26.39
Baldur's Gate: The Complete Saga Steam 69% $28.09 £20.65 €22.45
Dead by Daylight Steam 60% $7.99 £5.99 €7.99
The Jackbox Quintpack Steam 50% $64.19 £49.25 €57.75
It wouldn’t be a big event without Killer! Slay that lockdown boredom and grab nine impressive Steam PC games in the brand-new, exclusive Killer Bundle 14! You will also get a spin of the wheel for a chance to get incredible prizes with every $4.99 purchase.
You can check out the Reddit Thread here
Title Genres Reviews Historical Low (USD) Trading Cards Times in Bundle
Peaky Blinders: Mastermind Adventure, Strategy, Indie 74% of 194 Reviews $10.25 No 0
Rec Center Tycoon Indie, Early Access, Simulation, Casual, Strategy 91% of 147 Reviews $8.99 No 1
Project CARS Game of the Year Edition Racing, Simulation, Sports 76% of 7508 Reviews $9.38 Yes 1
Talisman: Origins RPG, Indie, Strategy 83% of 90 Reviews $2.97 No 0
Close to the Sun Indie, Adventure 74% of 175 Reviews $7.50 No 0
Autonauts Indie, Casual, Simulation 90% of 2115 Reviews $4.99 No 1
RollerCoaster Tycoon®: Deluxe Strategy, Simulation 93% of 4109 Reviews $0.99 No 1
Chris Sawyer's Locomotion™ Strategy, Simulation 83% of 322 Reviews $0.99 No 0
Table Manners: Physics-Based Dating Game Simulation 61% of 131 Reviews $7.20 No 1
submitted by WeAreFanatical to GameDeals [link] [comments]

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)

Hello, dummies
It's your old pal, Fuzzy.
As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great.
What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. I do my bit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post.
That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way.
We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps.
Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy.
TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle.
Ready? Let's get started.
1. The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life
The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows:
Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself.
Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part.
You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus.
That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it.
Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets?
2. A Hedging Taxonomy
The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now.
(i) Swaps
A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one.
Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered.
The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game.
I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging.
There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested.
Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure).
(ii) Forwards
A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me.
Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways.
People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances.
These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them.
(iii) Collars
No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray!
To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts.
(3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs
You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years.
First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA.
Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire.
Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR for a certain testing period... whatever. Now, this started out as a hedge position, just like we discussed above. The purest of intentions, of course. But then people realized - if bad shit happens, you make money. And banks... don't like calling in loans or forcing bankruptcies. Can you smell what the moral hazard is cooking?
Enter synthetic CDOs. CDOs are basically pools of asset backed securities that invest in debt (loans or bonds). They've been around for a minute but they got famous in the 2000s because a shitload of them containing subprime mortgage debt went belly up in 2008. This got a lot of publicity because a lot of sad looking rednecks got foreclosed on and were interviewed on CNBC. "OH!", the people cried. "Look at those big bad bankers buying up subprime loans! They caused this!". Wrong answer, America. The debt wasn't the problem. What a lot of people don't realize is that the real meat of the problem was not in regular way CDOs investing in bundles of shit mortgage debts in synthetic CDOs investing in CDS predicated on that debt. They're synthetic because they don't have a stake in the actual underlying debt; just the instruments riding on the coattails. The reason these are so popular (and remain so) is that smart structured attorneys and bankers like your faithful correspondent realized that an even more profitable and efficient way of building high yield products with limited downside was investing in instruments that profit from failure of debt and in instruments that rely on that debt and then hedging that exposure with other CDS instruments in paired trades, and on and on up the chain. The problem with doing this was that everyone wound up exposed to everybody else's books as a result, and when one went tits up, everybody did. Hence, recession, Basel III, etc. Thanks, Obama.
Heavy investment in CDS can also have a warping effect on the price of debt (something else that happened during the pre-financial crisis years and is starting to happen again now). This happens in three different ways. (1) Investors who previously were long on the debt hedge their position by selling CDS protection on the underlying, putting downward pressure on the debt price. (2) Investors who previously shorted the debt switch to buying CDS protection because the relatively illiquid debt (partic. when its a bond) trades at a discount below par compared to the CDS. The resulting reduction in short selling puts upward pressure on the bond price. (3) The delta in price and actual value of the debt tempts some investors to become NBTs (neg basis traders) who long the debt and purchase CDS protection. If traders can't take leverage, nothing happens to the price of the debt. If basis traders can take leverage (which is nearly always the case because they're holding a hedged position), they can push up or depress the debt price, goosing swap premiums etc. Anyway. Enough technical details.
I could keep going. This is a fascinating topic that is very poorly understood and explained, mainly because the people that caused it all still work on the street and use the same tactics today (it's also terribly taught at business schools because none of the teachers were actually around to see how this played out live). But it relates to the topic of today's lesson, so I thought I'd include it here.
Work depending, I'll be back next week with a covenant breakdown. Most upvoted ticker gets the post.
*EDIT 1\* In a total blowout, $PLAY won. So it's D&B time next week. Post will drop Monday at market open.
submitted by fuzzyblankeet to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Attention, my name is Vihaan Khatri.

My name is Vihaan Khatri, I’m 28 years old and I live in Kolkata. A week ago I bought a new Bentley, as it’s six months since I worked at the car wash and barely had enough to feed my family.
Now I’m going to tell you how a casual meeting changed my life and gave me the chance to earn $2000 a day. I’ll tell you a little about myself. Poverty – that’s how I would describe my whole life. My parents lived in poverty, I never went to university. After finishing school, I went to work at a car wash.
When I was young, my salary was sufficient for me. But when I got married and my daughter was born, I started getting into serious financial problems and permanent debt. What to do – I had no idea; the debts were mounting but I couldn’t quit the job because it was my only source of income..
One afternoon a new BMW drove into the car wash. A young man stepped out of the car, he looked to be around 18 to 19. I was always amazed how young people could earn so much money. I said to myself quietly: “What do you have to do to drive a car like that?” But he heard me and laughed. “Binary options” – he said and went away.
Those two words changed my life forever. When I got home, I sat down at the computer and started looking for some mentions of binary options. And so, a month passed: during the day I would work at the car wash, and by night I would read dozens of forums to understand how to use binary options. I found the Olymp Trade web page and registered on there for free.
They let me open a demo account for $10,000 using virtual money, as well as providing free instructions. This helped me a lot in the beginning, when I still didn’t know how to work with binary options and I didn’t want to invest my own money. On the Olymp Trade web page, all the calculations are done in US dollars I received the payments in US dollars as well. After two or three weeks, there was $10,000 in my account. The only problem was that this was only some algorithms on the screen, I couldn’t actually withdraw any cash.
That was when I decided to invest $100 in my account. I don’t trust some of the Internet web pages, so I didn’t want to risk too much. That night I didn’t sleep much – I traded all night, then I went to work. And guess what? That night I earned $153! All day at work, all I could think of was binary options. As soon as I got back home, I sat down at the computer, but tiredness got the better of me. That night I didn’t trade much – I earned just $33 and went to sleep. I remember those days well, the only thing that mattered to me was binary options – I would arrive home and start trading right away. After a week, my account had $1220 in it!!! I know, it’s not a huge amount, but this was only the beginning; I didn’t dare trade using large sums of money. I thought I’d better checkout the web page, so I sent a transfer of all my money ($1220) to a card. An hour later, I received a telephone message saying that the money was in my card! I was happy.
After that, I invested $500 in my account and started dealing more boldly. After two weeks I had earned $10,000, and within a month I had left work. After that, I paid of all my debts and for the first time in my life, I took a vacation with my family to rest. This didn’t stop me trading though, because to earn money, all I needed was a laptop, or a mobile phone with Internet access.
When we returned home, I bought myself BENTLEY and decided to write this blog just for you – workers like I was, who are fed up of working every day from morning until night, for a measly wage. Remember that life wasn’t given to us for that. Register now, and be sure to complete the instruction course in the demo account without risking losing real money. Nowadays, I don’t see any real way to earn money while sitting at the computer or telephone, except binary options. After buying the BENTLEY, there was still $27,183 left over in my account. My goal was to earn $300,000 by the summer and buy a house for my beloved family. Good luck everyone, and thank you for your attention.
submitted by makes-me-wonder to copypasta [link] [comments]

Attention. I am Vihaan Khatri

My name is Vihaan Khatri, I’m 28 years old and I live in Kolkata. A week ago I bought a new Bentley, as it’s six months since I worked at the car wash and barely had enough to feed my family.
Now I’m going to tell you how a casual meeting changed my life and gave me the chance to earn $2000 a day. I’ll tell you a little about myself. Poverty – that’s how I would describe my whole life. My parents lived in poverty, I never went to university. After finishing school, I went to work at a car wash.
When I was young, my salary was sufficient for me. But when I got married and my daughter was born, I started getting into serious financial problems and permanent debt. What to do – I had no idea; the debts were mounting but I couldn’t quit the job because it was my only source of income..
One afternoon a new BMW drove into the car wash. A young man stepped out of the car, he looked to be around 18 to 19. I was always amazed how young people could earn so much money. I said to myself quietly: “What do you have to do to drive a car like that?” But he heard me and laughed. “Binary options” – he said and went away.
Those two words changed my life forever. When I got home, I sat down at the computer and started looking for some mentions of binary options. And so, a month passed: during the day I would work at the car wash, and by night I would read dozens of forums to understand how to use binary options. I found the Olymp Trade web page and registered on there for free.
They let me open a demo account for $10,000 using virtual money, as well as providing free instructions. This helped me a lot in the beginning, when I still didn’t know how to work with binary options and I didn’t want to invest my own money.
On the Olymp Trade web page, all the calculations are done in US dollars I received the payments in US dollars as well. After two or three weeks, there was $10,000 in my account. The only problem was that this was only some algorithms on the screen, I couldn’t actually withdraw any cash.
That was when I decided to invest $100 in my account. I don’t trust some of the Internet web pages, so I didn’t want to risk too much. That night I didn’t sleep much – I traded all night, then I went to work. And guess what? That night I earned $153! All day at work, all I could think of was binary options. As soon as I got back home, I sat down at the computer, but tiredness got the better of me. That night I didn’t trade much – I earned just $33 and went to sleep. I remember those days well, the only thing that mattered to me was binary options – I would arrive home and start trading right away. After a week, my account had $1220 in it!!!
I know, it’s not a huge amount, but this was only the beginning; I didn’t dare trade using large sums of money. I thought I’d better checkout the web page, so I sent a transfer of all my money ($1220) to a card. An hour later, I received a telephone message saying that the money was in my card! I was happy.
After that, I invested $500 in my account and started dealing more boldly. After two weeks I had earned $10,000, and within a month I had left work. After that, I paid of all my debts and for the first time in my life, I took a vacation with my family to rest. This didn’t stop me trading though, because to earn money, all I needed was a laptop, or a mobile phone with Internet access.
When we returned home, I bought myself BENTLEY and decided to write this blog just for you – workers like I was, who are fed up of working every day from morning until night, for a measly wage.
Remember that life wasn’t given to us for that. Register now, and be sure to complete the instruction course in the demo account without risking losing real money. Nowadays, I don’t see any real way to earn money while sitting at the computer or telephone, except binary options. After buying the BENTLEY, there was still $27,183 left over in my account. My goal was to earn $300,000 by the summer and buy a house for my beloved family.
Good luck everyone, and thank you for your attention.
submitted by makes-me-wonder to copypasta [link] [comments]

Love May Be Blind, But It Blinded Me to a Problem Player

Act I: The New Girl

It all began back in November of 2019 (feels like it was ages ago). I was running a second pass at my first ever campaign, as the original group I had fell apart due to scheduling conflicts and interpersonal drama. This new group had started playing together in August and well... it was a rough start. I made the beginner mistake of taking in more people than I could manage, and by November 3 of those original players had dropped. Having this many players dropping in such a short time was a little disconcerting for me, and as such I tried to foolishly "recoup my losses". The next person I recruited was a pretty cool guy, but after two weeks he just stopped showing up/responding to messages on Discord. To this day, I have no idea if he was just too overwhelmed by school (we're all college students) or he died.
This disappearing player caused my anxiety over the stability of my campaign group to spiral further, causing me to open up my local university's DnD club Discord in desperation. That's when I found her.
Let's call her June. June was posting in the general chat, talking about how she was interested in joining a campaign since she had some extra free time. I then sent her a private message, and she expressed interest in joining my game. In this initial exchange, there was the first of many red flags:
Red Flag #1: She was incredibly inflexible with her character concept and was rarely willing to meet me halfway on things. The character she had in mind for my game was a Victorian-era Elf noble who hunted vampires. The "vampire-hunting" part happened to line up with the next arc of the campaign, but the "Victorian-era noble" part did not. The continent where everything took place did not have much in the way of "nobility", which was something I made very clear to her. Despite this, she would then proceed to reject any of my compromises for 3 HOURS until we both gave up and settled on something equivalent to a "lukewarm idea" concept-wise.
Another thing about the character she pitched to me was that the Elf noble had a retainer who was non-binary. That was totally cool in my book; however, besides the fact they were an alchemist, there was nothing else that was given to me regarding their personality. Remember this, it'll come back up later.

Act II: The Status Quo

After hashing out character details, June then proceeded to tell me that...
Red Flag #2: She couldn't make the day/time we met up for our campaign. Due to some other obligations she had, she wasn't able to make our regularly scheduled time. In all of my infinite wisdom I thought no problem, let's just get everyone to reschedule for this girl. Thankfully, this actually ended up working out and our day changed from Tuesday to Monday.
After June joined, I had become confident that the "balance" had been reset. June was a fantastic RPer and her character had served to be a great thematic foil to one of the other PCs. Until we all went on hiatus for winter break, things were moving smoothly. But in hindsight, it really wasn't.
Red Flag #3/3.5: Constant "below the table" messages and aggressive callouts. During sessions, June would send me Discord DMs constantly asking me questions about the game along with her comments on certain situations. This was highly distracting, and it eventually got to a point where I would ignore them. She would also make comments about encounters, saying stuff along the lines of "this is railroady as hell" or "x monstecheck is bullshit". I also tried my best to ignore these, but at some level, it did get to me.
Then there was winter break. That's where things escalated.

Act III: The Incident

On the night of Christmas Eve, I was browsing through Discord and saw on our campaign Discord a message from June. She appeared to be in distress and needed someone to talk to. I quickly responded and messaged her privately. She told me about the situation and I ended up talking to her and keeping her company until 5 A.M. on Christmas morning.
Now, the reason I mention this specific incident is that after this point we started talking to each other a lot. Sometimes it was every day for multiple hours at a time. At some point during those conversations, I began to catch feelings for her. This led to me eventually confessing to her in February. What was her response? Well...

Act IV: The Fickle Heart

In regards to my feelings, June told me she knew, giving me what equated to a "non-answer". I took this as rejection and carried on with my life. As for how June acted as a player, now that she had been in the campaign for a couple of months, some things were becoming painfully evident:
Red Flag #4: She took wayyyyyyy too long on every single turn of her combat. I get that some people need time to think about their turns, especially if they're playing a spellcaster. However, she was playing a FIGHTER and a BARD. Bard can have some complexity, but most of the fighter is running up and hitting things. She would spend 5 minutes of everyone's time figuring out that her best option was just to run up and hit something or cast an enchantment spell that would end up failing anyway because her bard saves were low.
Red Flag #5: She wanted homebrew, but her stubbornness kept me from coming up with anything for her. I tried. I really did. But when we discussed making homebrew modifications to her character or I gave her character a magical item, she would always complain about it. It didn't matter that I had spent literal hours of my time thinking about/discussing it with her: No, if it didn't fit the very exact flavor she wanted, it was bad.
At some point, I talked to her about these issues along with the issue of her character's NB retainer having zero defining character traits (besides being non-binary). In regards to my concerns, she genuinely felt bad, realizing that she was failing to respect both my time and position as the DM. As for the retainer, she stated that my characterization of them was "not what she envisioned" and that it was "regrettable" that she had introduced them as only being NB. This was true, but I gave up any further discussion of that due to red flags #1 and #5.
Remember that "non-answer" I had mentioned? Well when quarantine hit, I was finally given a response. June told me she had feelings for me and since I was still interested I decided to risk it and had her come over one night. The morning after I went to work, excited at the thought of being in a relationship (after being out of one for two years). However, she then sent me a text while at work telling me how she finally ended her relationship with her ex-GF (whom she was in an open relationship with). Given that I had been cheated on before, this triggered bad memories for me and I ended up breaking up with her right away after that. Even though we remained friends, both our friendship and my campaign started to take a turn for the worse.

Act V: The Fall

Outside of sessions, June and I began to get into fights more and 90% of what we talked about was the fact that she still loved me. She refused to quit my campaign, claiming she was "too invested" and I lacked the courage to kick her out, having just kicked out someone else a few weeks prior. So she stayed in the campaign and I tried my best to weather it out. But then I got a message from one of my other players, Sam, who told me...
Red Flag #6: She had a tendency to "hog the spotlight" with her character. Sam expressed frustration at how June's character was "stealing her character's thunder". Sam was playing a full-on bard, but as a person she tended to be quieter and more introverted than June. As a result, many of the chances that Sam could've had to shine as her bard were squashed by June. When I read this, I was pissed. Sam had been with me through the entire campaign: She showed up on time, told me when she was gonna miss a session far in advance, and overall was a wonderful person to play with. I immediately sent messages to June confronting her about this.
Jump to the final session of the campaign. This was it! The epic final battle against Orcus was upon my players. With a mega-session to accompany it, I invested all of my efforts into making it the most satisfying session yet. I had spent hours practicing my Orcus voice, recorded a "last time on..."-style audio reel recapping events from the entire campaign and meticulously crafted endings for every NPC that the party held near and dear to their hearts. However, despite all of this, June's actions caused the campaign to end on a sour note.
During the Orcus fight, June decided to use an item she had bought from a magic item shop (the Slice of T'pir Weir Isles from TAZ) to try and convince Orcus to trade it for his wand. I told her that Orcus had gotten a natural 20 on his Insight check to tell if it was a good deal or not (which made sense given the fact the party had unanimously refused his previous offers to cooperate with him). She got upset and immediately left the Discord call all of us were on.
This sent me into a panic as I frantically messaged her, begging her to come back. You see, I planned on having her character be a key part of the final vignette of the campaign and with no plan B in sight everything felt like it was falling apart. I managed to get her to come back, but her refusal to speak combined with the hostile energy caused me to have a panic attack. June announced to everyone that we should take 5, and I calmed myself down to continue.
Then, in a move that nobody could have totally predicted, on June's next turn she said to everyone "my character stabs herself and is now dead." At this point I was tired of it so I just let her be a moody bitch and continued on my way with everyone else. After defeating Orcus in his layer of the Abyss and returning to the Prime Material Plane, I attempted to retcon her suicide by saying that her character was with everybody to which she vehemently replied, "no she's not." I did my best to change the final scenes on the fly and once the session was over she left the call again and began messaging me, saying how she should've left when I kicked the last guy out and how I should've let her do the trade since "I reward people for doing OP shit." I remember sending her a message along the lines of "I'm not gonna put up with this horse shit" and then proceeded to kick her off of the server and block her.
TL;DR I fell in love with one of my players, she fell in love with me. After I found out she was still in a relationship, I broke it off, which caused her to be miserable and make my campaign worse for it. Before I confessed to her my desperation to have a new player join my game caused me to ignore all of her red flags as a "problem player" that manifested not only before she joined but ALSO as the campaign went on. Long story short... don't simp.
submitted by MrHackWack to rpghorrorstories [link] [comments]

FutureICX AMA with nblaze (Midos) and the ICON Pilipinas Community

Hello ICONists! Today we’re happy to outline and highlight the intricate components of FutureICX, our vision for the dapp’s future and the reason for its creation through this AMA with ICON Pilipinas. Many community members have highlighted questions they’d like answered and were happy to discuss the foundations of our project, our ideas and how FutureICX differentiates itself from other gamified trading applications within the blockchain sphere! We look forward to answering all of your questions!
nblaze: Hey everyone! As most of you probably know I’m nblaze from ICON P-Rep team Midos and together with the P-Rep team Sharpn we have built the FutureICX.io app, which was released earlier this week. This has been quite a long and exciting journey which started almost a year ago and we are all very excited that we have finally been able to achieve such a successful app release with so much positive feedback coming in our direction.
Jenny: How did you come up with the idea for FutureICX and how was this project started?
nblaze: Well, as a long-term holder of ICX, I have always been fascinated by ICON’s system and was looking into ways to contribute to it. I began extensive research surrounding the best P-Rep teams to delegate my ICX to, but somehow this did not feel enough, and I wanted to do more for the chain (and respectively for my investment). After jumping through a lot of different plans and ideas, including lotteries, raffles, games, payment systems etc., I noticed that a lot of people in the trading channels love to make predictions; long story short, approximately half a year later I partnered with the Sharpn P-Rep team. We’re extremely grateful for a Grant that the ICON Foundation and the ICONation teams provided us and we continue to press forward with amazing results.
Jay: Throughout the entire development journey, there's sure to be plenty of ups and downs experienced. What's one particular fond memory that stands out to you the most?
nblaze: Oh, I would need to go all the way back to the planning phase of FutureICX. I had gone to bed pretty late one night as I was very excited about the Dapp idea, but somehow, I constantly kept hitting a brick wall in trying to figure out how it would work. No matter what I thought of, several hours of planning later I have thought of something critical that would be a major issue. That night I was tired and honestly becoming a bit discouraged that I would never find a system that would work. After going to sleep, I woke up approximately an hour later with a clear idea about the system that I would like to use for FutureICX. I had no sleep from this moment onwards, just got to my computer and worked on it all night. It was really an ‘Eureka’ moment that I'm quite fond of.
Jenny: What are your plans, either near-term or longer-term now that FutureICX has been released?
nblaze: Of course, we are still working on FutureICX’s current state and are making sure that everything is running well. The app is stable, and players are happy with it. We have already started making plans for our next development stage through and although I cannot share very much, I can tell you that we are aiming for 3 additional original trading games, additional trading pair predictions and maybe even different crypto payment options. Hopefully everything will go well, and we would be able to reach those targets (and who knows, maybe more).
Twitter and Telegram follower questions
theanerz: What is the Mission and Vision of FutureICX?
nblaze: I like this question as it is simple and yet very complicated to answer. FutureICX is aiming to be a multi-purpose platform that could be used by a wide range of players. It could be used as a mean to get additional gains from trading, as a learning tool, as a proof-of-skill or even as a fun app that you can have fun and gamble on. It is also very beneficial to the ICON chain as it not only creates transactions, it could also be a replacement of the ‘exchange’ trading in which no ICX are leaving the system (thus reducing sell pressure and increasing the price of ICX) and finally as a tool which can reduce the circulating supply as the ICX tokens placed in predictions are locked until the outcome is processed.
I wrote an article a few days ago about this exact topic – what has inspired us to make the app and what are the benefits of using it. Anyone interested can find it at this link:
https://forum.icon.community/t/futureicx-io-vs-conventional-trading-article/1069
ricnnobre: FutureICX is a platform for traders and therefore a minimum of knowledge in technical analysis is needed to predict where the value of ICX is going. Doesn't that restrict the audience that will use the platform?
nblaze: True, the platform is for the most part aimed at traders, however most people that trade in it are not professionals. This allows for beginner traders to have a tool where they can compete with a lot of similar skilled traders instead of professionals, whales and institutional traders and this makes FutureICX a good learning tool to use. The prediction times are also fixed so this eliminates second-guessing and reacting emotionally on a trade that you have already set. As you are not competing against the bank, this also gives the players the opportunity to progress with their prediction sizes as they get better and even potentially make a living out of this if they are good enough and hit their predictions on a regular basis.
It can of course also be used as a fun gambling tool as a lot of traders seem to be using the exchanges for that anyway.
RGerburt: DApps in which users spend money without obtaining any benefit causes loss of interest over time. Does FutureICX have any form of reward for traders who fail to succeed in their predictions? How to maintain the loyalty of users, mainly those who are not good traders?
nblaze: We have put in great efforts in trying to be helpful to such players. FutureICX offers dividend returns (each 1 icx that you spend gives you 1 dividend point and the dividend points respectively give you a % of the dividend pool, which is 10% of the amount of ICX that all players spend, at the end of the week – you can see details of that on top of the main screen and in the ‘help’ section, which is the place where our system’s theory is located). One of our awards also gives returns to the player that has spent the most. If that doesn’t work, you can always go for an ‘influencer’ strategy and have your friends and followers generate dividends for you (every 1 icx spent by someone that registered via your affiliate link gives you 0.5 dividend points)
lavicrep69: They call us Betlords of the Icon Pilipinas we are one of many supporters of FutureICX. I just would like to know, because for us statistics and achievements are really a big deal. I saw the "Tropies (Sniper, Marksman, Cannoneer, Monthly) and the ICX reward" that you will get from consistent playing/predicting. I’m just wondering if you have global ranking of top players on each trophy or tier like a data base link on blockchain that we can always check to improve our standing? And will we have a "copy prediction options?” I’m sure it will be a good idea coz we can follow players and see their statistics.
nblaze: There are such options, but we are planning to expand on those. In your ‘Profile’ page you can see how many awards you have earned, the most recent ones and how much you have earned through them. The monthly awards are also giving a monthly ranking of the top 10 players and giving them rewards for it. However, we do understand that we will need to and will improve even more in this direction
nhene00: The market today has a lot of development projects on the blockchain platform. One of the factors that makes the platform appealing to many users is its special features. So, what are the outstanding features and advantages of FutureICX to attract users and investors?
nblaze: We truly believe that our app was designed in a really unique way. You have the exchanges, binary options and futures on one hand, you have the raffles, lotteries, casinos and games on the other. We try to be none of those and to provide a new experience to our players. We also think that we offer a unique system, created from scratch, that benefits a lot of different types of players and strategies. As every other platform though, we would need the users/community’s support and feedback in order to progress even further. We do not believe that this will be an issue with ICON’s community though.
ThomaXMiller: How will the dividends/point system work? When will the $3000 Pool be distributed?
nblaze: You earn dividend points with every prediction that you and your affiliates make, and you get a % of all prediction amounts respectively to the amount of points that you have at the end of the week
CHARLoTTE9o: If it’s less risky and much more profitable for traders, how will you and the whole team benefit from this?
nblaze: The app has built in 5% commission, that is how we profit (you can see the full details in the 'help' page of the app). It is also not much more profitable for all traders of course; it simply provides better opportunities (according to our own deductions of course) than a normal exchange would.
Ketz23: DeFi is one of the hottest topics in the blockchain space right now. Can $ICX share your opinions on DeFi with us? Do you think that DeFi will disrupt the existing financial system? What is Unification approach towards the DeFi sector?
nblaze: I don’t think that I’m qualified enough to give such comprehensive opinion in Defi in general I’m afraid.
willydavec1: You mentioned earlier about gambling, more games to play,
In this era where there are tons of cryptocurrency gambling addicts, do you have any plans to minimize their addiction? A good project needs to care for its users/gamblers/players. Do you have any plans for them, any limitations? For example, 1000 USD worth of loss, they must be restricted for a few hours, something like that.
nblaze: I believe that it would be hard to get addicted to our app - its 1 prediction/day or week, that is not a major concern imo. Also please keep in mind that this is no gambling application - you are not playing against the house and you can easily be profitable long term. So, an 'addiction' could mean improving your trading skills and making a living out of this.
Neajmik: The hardest thing about any business is not building a product. What is often the hardest is getting people to use the product. How will FUTUREICX team resolve this to make your project become mass adopted and be more attractive in investotraders eyes?
nblaze: True, we are doing our best from the app's side - getting feedback, building a product that our players like, promoting it to the best of our abilities. I think that the rest is up to the actual players: if they like it, they will naturally promote the product. I also think that the affiliate system would help a lot with that as a player could earn by being a 'promoter' and not even playing a single game (although not playing would limit his potential gains).
SiliLovers: How does it feel after the first daily prediction was resolved earlier?
nblaze: Amazing. 2500 ICX placed in predictions on the first day, quite a bit of positive feedback, happy winners all around. I love it!
lavicrep69: If I am an ICONist and use d’apps like ICONbet how will you convince me to play FutureICX if it was my first time?
nblaze: We wouldn’t. We believe that ICONBet has their own player market and we have ours. The activities on both platforms are completely different so there will be no need to pull players from one to the other. ICONists could play easily play on both and be equally happy with their experience
Neajmik: What are the ways that FUTUREICX generates profits to maintain your project and how can it benefit both investotraders and your project simultaneously?
nblaze: We have a 5% commission for that, so we don’t actually aim to benefit from the players' losses, on the contrary, we try to limit them for the less experienced traders. That is why each prediction amount is split into: 80% into the selected reward period pool, 5% towards the weekly/monthly awards, 10% towards the dividends and 5% to our team so we can keep improving the Dapp. That gives players opportunities to gain, even if their prediction did not come true
HiImGroot: What are your plans for global expansion; is FutureICX focusing on only trading at this time or are you focused on building and developing your Dapp for more quality experience with users?
nblaze: We’re hoping that with the second phase of our app we will be able to go into different crypto markets as well. This is still a long shot of a plan and requires a lot of variables to piece together but if we are able to do this, that would generate ICX transactions (as our Dapp is fully based on the ICON chain) while we are processing predictions that are payed with other cryptocurrencies.
matT325: Where do you see FutureICX 2 or 3 years from now?
nblaze: As a large gamified trading platform with a lot of players, many more trading games and options and working with a lot of different chains and projects while generating icx transactions in the process.
LadyCrows: To advertise a project, you need to provide benefits and features, security aspects of the project. How does FutureICX differ from other decentralized trading applications?
nblaze: There are quite a bit, so I’m not sure that I can list all of them in one short message. We have multiple gain channels, tiered rewards, dividends, awards, independent affiliate gains, our Dapp is fully decentralized (so every transaction is secure and verifiable), we are using a decentralized oracle for results (fairness and security), our tx process time is short and recorded on the chain thanks to ICON as well.
ThePredator11: Why did you choose this platform name "FutureICX?
nblaze: This was entirely a team Sharpn contribution. I picked Midos as an app name - they suggested FutureICX and we went with it and kept Midos as the name of my P-Rep instead.
CryptoHodler22: If you put in an amount of $ICX for a long term prediction you can't stake them. Is there a form of divided for long-term wages?
nblaze: That is absolutely correct – you would not receive any staking rewards for the duration of the prediction and that is the main reason that we have not set up a ‘monthly’ prediction or something like that. FutureICX is not aimed to make long-term holders to unstake their bags and come play. It is focused on the circulating ICX that instead of going to the exchanges, can come to ICX and have greater benefits from that.
In terms of if the players are not losing from locking their ICX into a prediction on FutureICX, instead of staking them, the staking rewards for 10 days are around 0.2% - with FutureICX the rewards start from 120% and you could earn up to 450%/day if you know what you are doing
I think that as with anything else, you have to balance your targets and decide what would be the best strategy for your money
Ramle13747634: What is the greatest risk that you've taken before you do the first move of making the FutureICX that was released recently? Is it worth it to take the risk?
nblaze: I think that building FutureICX was a very large risk in itself for me as in order for the project to see the light of day, I have personally spent almost an year working on it without any payment so far (while financing some parts of the app’s development out of my own pocket) and without any guarantees that I would be able to finish it. However I think that it was worth the risk and I would definitely do it again – I have not done this app to make money and have no delusions that it will make me rich or something. Im just happy that Im seeing it live and players loving it so far. This motivates me to develop FutureICX even further and provide even more fun experiences for the Iconists
Neajmik: You received a lot of questions related to utilities and technology, future vision etc. So now I want to ask what do you want to receive from the community?
nblaze: The greatest support that we can receive from the community is spreading the word about our app, about your opinion of it (good or bad it doesn’t matter – you are entitled of your own). At the end of the day, we have designed the app to be attractive to newcomers and to reward properly the proactive players assisting us with that task (via the affiliate bonuses), however our PR resources are limited and we would appreciate any help that we could get.
So if I have to summarize – talk with people, brag, show off, discuss, even rant about FutureICX to people, it will all be of help to us and will also earn you extra gains 😉.
submitted by nblaze77 to helloicon [link] [comments]

[The Scuu Paradox] - Chapter 18

At the Beginning
Previously on The Scuu Paradox…
  The smell of burning wood was all I could focus on. The fires had long died out, making it difficult to see in the darkness; despite all other modifications, Kridib’s eyes weren’t able to see overly well in the dark. Every five minutes, Radiance would send an infrared scan of the colony to help him and his team with their advancement. Despite all that help and the four missile strikes, progress was minimal. Of the forty-seven people sent to the planet, eleven had been killed and five more severely wounded, rendering them useless in battle. From what I could see, Rigel’s forces had clustered in specific points of the colony, giving up the rest: a sensible strategy that had allowed them to ambush three of our teams while suffering negligible losses themselves. As things stood, the enemy forces had positioned themselves in two areas of the colony. Both spots encircled a specific building—mine and the captain’s locations—making further missile strikes impossible.
  Update? Kridib asked me through the mind link.
  Nothing, I replied. Rigel had left shortly after our last chat, taking the third-contact rods with him. Since then, I had remained safely isolated in the room and completely alone. Half of them have probably gone to sleep.
  Tell me if anything changes. Kribib looked up. A dozen sats were visible in the night sky. We’ll be making another go soon.
  I don’t think that’s a good idea.
  So far, Kridib had made four attempts to reach me, all of them unsuccessful. His approach, though chaotic at best, had managed to keep him alive. There had been a close call during which his left arm had been grazed by a bullet, though that time the man hadn’t frozen.
  Everyone has to sleep, Kridib said, heading back into one of the buildings that had been transformed into a ground base of operations. I’ll go first.
  Must I wake you? I asked.
  No. With that, the link was severed.
  To a degree, I was thankful, though not too much. Forcing whatever strength I had, I moved my head to look around the room as much as I was able. Nothing had changed in the last four hours, but at least it let me do something. The last time I felt remotely similar was when I’d had my sensor systems knocked out, though even then I was able to use my shuttle AIs to paint me a picture. Here, I was completely helpless and, to a vast degree, blind.
  “Do I get any water?” I asked as loudly as my lungs would let me.
  There was no reason to expect an answer. Even if anyone was awake on the lower floors, they would be on lookout duty. Saying it out loud, though, made me feel better for some reason. To my surprise, the door to the room opened.
  “Thought you were above those things.” Rigel walked in slowly. Even with my lack of focus, I could see that he had changed clothes. The colours were dark enough to be considered a uniform, although I couldn’t make out any other details. “You can’t swallow, remember?”
  “My mouth feels dry,” I explained.
  “Too bad.” Despite my poor vision, I could hear him smile as he said that.
  Walking slowly, he made his way to the stool near me and sat down. From this distance, I could see him taking something from his front pocket. In the dim light, it was impossible to tell what exactly.
  “Still having problems focusing?” Rigel asked.
  “Yes.” There was no point in lying.
  “Pity. Agora works well on organic tissue. Not on techno-mongrels,” he added with a laugh. “If you weren’t one, you’d be dead. There’s a win for you.”
  And you’re not making any sense, I thought.
  “Nice murder troops you got out there. Quick and efficient. A few years ago, the locals would’ve had fun pulling their wings off. Time leaves its mark.” Rigel flicked the object. It let out a peculiar metallic sound. “No action, no combat sims, just the local pests that roam the planet. Those were brought here too, did you know?”
  “I heard about it.”
  “Another brilliant idea from the bureaucracy. Create a full ecosystem. Plants, critters, predators... all must be present and carefully maintained. We tried killing them off once. Those were the days. Three colonies setting out, killing everything in sight until the orbital station stopped sending food.” There was a slight pause. “And you know the best part?” Rigel leaned towards me. “None of that happened.”
  If I could have pulled back, I would have. There was no way of knowing if these were insane rantings or if he was referring to a dark op coverup. Considering he was from the Salvage Authorities, either was possible, and both options were equally undesirable.
  “I went through your data, Elcy.” Rigel rubbed his hands. “You know things you shouldn’t.”
  “Because of my past, I’ve been placed on special assignments,” I said. Technically it was true, though we both knew it didn’t explain away the inconsistencies.
  “You knew about the third-contact artifacts before. You’ve operated them before.” He moved his hand closer to my face. I felt a cold metallic surface touch my cheek. “You’re searching for something. Something that you’re not supposed to find.” He moved the object away from my face. “Here’s my offer. You answer some of my questions, and I’ll answer some of yours.”
  “That’s one way to get court-martialed.” Not to mention there was no guarantee my self-destruct chip wouldn’t go off at any point.
  “Please don’t give me the line that the fleet is going through all that trouble just to rescue you. If you were that valuable, you’d never have been sent to this hell in the first place.” Rigel stood up. “What are the odds of the fleet extracting you in one piece? Two percent?”
  “Point-seven-three-nine,” I corrected. Frankly, I was surprised they were going through all the trouble. “Give or take.”
  “Less than one percent,” Rigel snorted. “It’s your call. You have three hours to make it. Before I leave you, here’s a freebie. This planet, it isn’t some randomly colonized world in ‘unexplored space.’ We’re in the buffer zone—the border between the Scuu and human space. Think about that.” He made his way to the door. Reaching it, he stopped and turned around. “Oh, and we’re constantly being monitored.”
 
  Gamma-Ligata, Cassandrian Front—615.11 A.E. (Age of Expansion)
    The third wave of shuttles approached my forward left hangar one by one. The instant they came within three hundred meters, I was handed over direct control of the AIs. As with the previous batches, the first thing I did was to have a set of isolated subroutines flash the memory and purge the entire operating system. That done, I sent out a mini-sat to latch onto and assume control of the shuttles. It was a slow and tedious process, but necessary considering the circumstances.
  “How are things?” Wilco asked from the bridge. Augustus had gathered most of his officers to a private meeting in his quarters, leaving Wilco in command. This wasn’t the first time it had happened, but each time it did, it felt strange.
  “Everything’s going as planned,” I said, as the first shuttle went under my control.
  A quick internal scan revealed that there were sixty-two people aboard, all cuffed and tagged. All of them were tagged as infected, and, to my surprise, none of them were sedated. The instructions were to take them in and monitor their actions at all times, and only to engage if they threatened the ship. Normally, I’d be confident that Augustus knew what was going on. With everything we’d gone through since I’d joined the front, I didn’t think there was anything in the galaxy that could surprise him. I was wrong.
  Finishing my internal check of the shuttle, I directed it to the outer hangar doors and had it dock. The passengers—all of their identities classified—waited till I covered the walls with disembark notifications, then stood up and quietly proceeded to get off, in orderly fashion. I could tell by Wilco’s expression that he found it unnerving.
  “A thousand and eighty-two passengers on board,” I said on the bridge and in the captain’s quarters. The moment the last person set foot in the hangar, I would eject the shuttle from my hangar-bay, self-destruct it, and proceed with the next.
  Delegating the task to my isolated subroutines, I reviewed the instructions I had received. The proper ident protocols and authorisations had been used, ensuring that I would do as instructed without asking questions. An emergency transmission from an unidentifiable ship had led me here. I knew nothing about the ship’s name or specifics, and I wasn’t allowed to get close enough to get a visual. The only things I was allowed to see were its shuttles and mass. Everything else was open to interpretation.
  “Have any of them said anything?” Wilco asked.
  “No.” I displayed images of the hangar bay and the corresponding corridors surrounding it. As part of my instructions, the entire section was sealed off and quarantined. “They’re eating.” They also appeared to be healthy, although the instructions stressed no one was to come into contact with them under any circumstances. “I’ve received no indication of how long we’re to keep them. Did the captain get an indication?”
  “No,” Wilco said in his usual somber voice. “Is everything sealed off?”
  “Yes.” I rechecked. “No way in or out without captain’s approval.”
  “Set a buffer zone.” The man went on. “No one goes in or out without my permission.”
  “If you say so.” It wasn’t difficult. The area in question had been made empty to accommodate the quarantined arrivals, though it seemed a bit too much. “Want me to put sentinels?”
  “No. We don’t have to hurt anyone, just hold them.” He slinked down in his chair. “They’re the Med boys’ toys. We don’t get to play with them.”
  Med boys… Only Wilco referred to the Medical Core in such fashion. As most organisations, they were part of the fleet, yet their specific area of expertise gave them as much authority as the Salvage Authorities and the BICEFI combined. As a ship, I knew fairly little about them: they had the power to impose quarantines and cordon off entire planets if they wished. They were also the only organisation with the power to hold an active captain in check. Possibly, that was the reason Augustus didn’t get along with any of his medical officers. According to the public files, the Med Core had created the inner-body nanites and were instrumental in getting humans into space. There were also whispers that they were involved in creating the first ship-cores, although I found that unlikely. Even so, they had more authority than anyone aboard. Even on the front, we had no option but to obey.
  “It won’t be practical heading into war with them,” I said as the second shuttle entered the hangar bay.
  “Not our call. We’re to hold them until a Med ship picks them up,” Wilco sighed. “And monitor everything they do.”
  “How is that different from anyone else aboard?” I ventured a chuckle.
  “You don’t need to know,” the lieutenant said darkly.
  Another thing about Wilco was that he had the uncanny ability to make any topic of conversation dark. I ran a few simulations testing various responses, then decided not to respond further. In the best-case scenario, there was a twenty-seven percent chance he found my reaction funny.
  “Elcy.” Augustus granted me sensor access to the captain’s quarters. “What’s the ETA on the cattle?”
  “The passengers will be all aboard in seven minutes, captain.” A decade of attempts to mellow his behaviour had brought me no results. “Five, if you need me off in a rush.”
  “Get it done in five,” he barked. “We’ve got new orders. We’re joining a purge fleet. Go on yellow. Get the grunts prepped.”
  “Aye, sir.” I issued the order to everyone aboard. Seconds later, ground troop officers and sergeants were shouting their troops into order. “What about the passengers, sir? Won’t combat expose them to unnecessary danger?”
  “There’s no unnecessary danger,” Augustus barked again. The rest of the command staff had already started leaving the room. Their expressions ranged from mild annoyance to disapproval. Whatever discussions had taken place, they must have been unpleasant and one-sided. “Monitor them at all times and don’t interact until I say so.”
  “Understood.”
  It sounded like another escort mission, and I didn’t like escort missions. Normally, it would just be troop detachments or—if we were very unlucky—some mid-level bureaucrat or admiral’s aid sent to do a front-line inspection. Transporting quarantined personnel wasn’t in my usual purview, although if it had been, I’d never know.
  “What’s the course of treatment they must undergo?” I asked.
  “No treatment,” Augustus grumbled. “That’s for the Meds to figure out.”
  “All passengers are tagged as infected. Regulations require we provide immediate medical attention.” I felt my words sound hollow. If Augustus had the authority to provide such, he would have told me already. The only thing I was left was to go through the motions, expecting to receive the obvious denial.
  “Just monitor them, Elcy! That’s what we’ve been told. And whatever happens, don’t interfere.”
 
  Just monitor them.
  I had spent three months and thirty-nine hours monitoring the passengers onboard. Through battles and repairs, every single action had been carefully observed, recorded, and stored on external data storage. For the most part, nothing happened. The people would live boring, perfectly organised lives, almost as if they knew they were being watched. There were no scuffles, few arguments, and only one incident resulting in injuries when a Cassandrian fighter managed to slip through my external defences and fire a salvo at the hangar bay. Their health condition also seemed no different than when they had come aboard. I had dedicated a dozen subroutines to collect any potential symptoms in an effort to determine the type of disease they had, but had come to no conclusion. Then, one day, they were all gone. I had no memory of the Medical ship that had taken them, or where that had happened. The only thing I was certain about was the time—precisely two thousand, one hundred and ninety-nine hours since the last of them had come aboard. Everything else remained restricted.
  Looks like there’s always someone monitoring someone, Sev. If Rigel was to be believed someone was monitoring the planet. The question was who.
  Seconds turned to minutes, then hours. Hundreds of times, I considered looking into my restricted memories for information regarding the third-contact artifacts or the events in gamma-Ligata, and each time I found a reason not to. As Rigel had said, the chance of me getting off the planet alive was less than one percent, but the knowledge of the existence of the possibility kept me acting. And then there was Rigel’s offer…
  Rad, are you monitoring me? I asked, attempting to latch on to any open communication protocols. A connection was established, but instead of linking to Radiance, I found myself connecting back to Kridib’s mind. On cue, an info burst from Radiance followed, giving the latest scan. This time, I could see the location of our forces. The total number had increased to seventy-four, Kridib included. Nearly eight percent were gathered close to the captain’s expected location. Kridib and five more were closer to me.
  Get ready, Kridib said. Moments later, bursts of gunfire echoed in the distance; they were going for the captain first.
  The mission had begun. From here on, I could see several potential outcomes. In all of them, there was a high probability that Rigel attempted to make a deal.
  When I was a ship, Augustus had taught me one key thing when it came to missions: regardless of the depth of predictions and the computing power at their disposal, humans always boiled down a situation to a simple binary choice. Rigel wanted something from me and had invested too much to let his chance slip. Before the outcome of Kridib’s rescue mission, Rigel would come here to get an answer to his proposal. All I had to do was wait.
  As I lay, I watched Kridib run through the darkness towards my location. Unlike before, he was wearing night vision goggles, letting him make out his surroundings better.
  No thermal? I asked as Kridib made his way through the streets. The smell of burned vegetation could still be felt.
  That’s what you’re for.
  Not a reply to be thrilled about, but one to be expected. Cross-referencing Radiance’s latest scan, I started analysing every frame of Kridib’s stream. The first few minutes passed without incident. Judging by the intensified background gunfire, the locals were more focused on keeping Renaan isolated than stopping Kridib. Twenty-eight seconds, later the first shot sounded.
  Sniper! I shouted straight in Kridib’s mind.
  “Cover fire!” he shouted, rushing for cover.
  Watch out for a cross, I warned.
  The shooting intensified. Based on the area scan, the group was a few hundred meters away. One strong push and they’d be here. That said, I knew that the building was guarded by more than seven people. If I were in Rigel’s place, I would have dedicated at least three dozen.
  Concentrated fire focused on the second floor of a building, blowing off the entire wall. There was a brief scream before a rocket flew into the spot, hollowing the entire structure with a blast.
  Heavy weapons? I asked Kridib. I didn’t think Radiance’s captain would resort to such firepower, considering third-contact artifacts were involved; one direct hit, and the entire colony might well end up a smouldering crater, not to mention the potential communication repercussions. Maybe there was truth in Rigel’s statement that Flight Commander Nitel was getting desperate.
  As I was following Kridib’s advancement outside, the door opened once more—as predicted, Rigel had returned. He was wearing the same set of clothes as three hours ago. I found it puzzling that I couldn’t spot any semblance of a weapon on him.
  “Your masters have gotten desperate,” the man said in suspiciously calm fashion. “Looks like they’ve sent everything they had to get Renaan.” He walked up to me, then leaned over. “And just a handful to get you.”
  “Are they winning?” I tried to smile.
  “Beats me.” Rigel didn’t seem bothered. “You thought about my offer?”
  “I did. And I don’t think accepting would be a good deal. If I wait for them to rescue the captain, your bargaining power ends.”
  “Oh?” The man chuckled.
  “There’s nothing else the fleet would be willing to trade.” Except potentially the pyramid artifact. Even then, I didn’t see them sacrificing the Gregorius. “Once the captain boards a shuttle, it’s over.”
  A person of Kridib’s squad fell as they were approaching my building. I heard the unmistakable sound of bullets piercing armor, then silence. That was the thing about sound suppressors: one could get killed, and there still wouldn’t be any sound of one hitting the ground. I wanted to turn around and see what had happened, potentially to help. There was a seven-point-three chance that the wound wasn’t fatal. Kridib kept on moving forwards. That’s what made him a ground trooper… it also caused me pain.
  “What if I kill Renaan?” Rigel mused. “I won’t lose much. Everyone down here’s dead anyway. Someone in the fleet has gone through a lot of shit to get Renaan back. They’d lose a hell of a lot more.”
  “What if they save the captain?” I countered. “Either way, we’ll soon find out, and you’ll have no offer.”
  “Quantum paradox logic?” Rigel sounded surprised. “Strange hearing that from you, missy. I’ll have to skim your file once I’m out of here.” He paused for a moment, then dragged the nearby stool over—making a deliberate sound—and sat down. “Truth is, once the moment ends, we both lose our chance. Are you okay with that?”
  Why are you so confident? I wondered. Even if I were to agree, he wouldn’t be able to get much from me in the next ten minutes, even less if Kridib managed to reach my room. His squad had already made its way to the building proper, facing less than expected resistance. From what I was able to see, there were two snipers left on the upper floors and two machine-gunners on the first. All auxiliary positions on the nearby buildings seemed to have dealt with, although there was no sign of Ogum.
  “You’ve dealt with Salvage before, I can tell,” Rigel pressed on. “You won’t get another chance like this.”
  The old man’s with me in the basement, I told Kridib. No guards in the room. He’s ex-Salvage Authorities. Take him, and the mission is over. Saying that hurt slightly. Despite being the enemy, and a threat to the war effort, he remained human.
  “Then I guess I’ll never know.” As I spoke, I saw Kridib charge at the building. As before, there was nothing fancy about it, just determination and insanity. Several bullets flew so close to him I could hear them, but this time none of them hit. “Your bargaining window is over. No deal.”
  Kridib emptied his sidearm at the door in front of him, then rushed in. I could see no guards inside, just a set of hastily built staircases. Whatever the original purpose of the building was, it had been transformed into a field center at some point—likely during a previous escape attempt. Probably a group similar to ours had made it their temporary base, then left it as it was once they had completed their mission. No wonder Rigel had had me transported there. Kridib didn’t waste time making parallels, instead drawing his second sidearm and rushing down.
  At least two floors down, I said. I’m not hearing any of the gunfire.
  Is he armed? Kridib asked.
  Unsure. Not that I can tell. There are artifacts, though.
  “Such a teacher’s pet.” Rigel sighed after a long silence. “In the end, you’re nothing but a ship.” He stood up.
  He’s standing directly from the door, I said to Kridib. Seven degrees from center. Small frame, average height.
  Kridib fired three shots. Three bullets drilled through the alloy surface. Half a second later, Kridib followed kicking the door in.
  “Just one small thing.” Rigel took a tube-shaped object from his vest pocket.
  Meanwhile, I was staring at an empty room from Kridib’s eyes. It was at least three times smaller than the one I was in, bare and completely deserted. There was no Rigel, no me, no equipment, just a single metallic cube the size of my fingernail placed neatly on the floor.
  “Renaan was never the target.” The old man bent down and injected something in my neck. A new cascade of connection requests followed. “You are.”
—-
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NADEX KNIGHT 2 Hour Binary Options System to Expiration Review

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