Dr. Venkatish studied the glassy Trattorian cityscape through his two-story window. Both well complemented the glass floor beneath him and the crystal staircase which faced the window and spiraled in elegance towards the marble first floor. An appetizing scent of truffles and foie gras wafted from the kitchen—likely his gold-plated housekeeping android preparing an early dinner for him.
He had chosen to work from home today in his 115th-story apartment. Examining his Lancian Cartier watch every few seconds, Dr. Venkatish swiveled his ergonomic white office chair towards his desk. In a strange divergence from the usual Trattorian proclivity towards glass, the desk was of a Venetian marble design and curved away from him, littered with floating Appel holoscreens and iPads listing off the commodity price indices of the day. Dr. Venkatish earned a living as a trader for the Pernault Investment Group, a major Trattorian commodities trading house that profited from the fluctuations in price of various essential materials across the BrikVerse.
With not a moment to waste, Dr. Venkatish muted the classical music that permeated his apartment and joined the teleconference call at exactly 3:30 pm. A grid of faces lit his screen, breaking out in a discordant cacophony before everyone settled down.
“Trading today has proceeded at a mediocre level,” scolded the COO, a stout and gruff executive with a pale complexion and large glasses. “Dr. Lapointe lost our firm ₮2.6 billion Trattorian dollars in the Scythian Transparent Ore Exchange after a premature purchase of green-transparent holdings. Had she waited for Zupponn to release the report on the new GT finds in the Hiksos Star Empire and Kingdom of Hesse, our firm would have been able to exploit an opportunity to capture more of the GT market.”
“Might I share some positive revelations?” a senior legal consultant interjected. The COO acquiesced, relinquishing the floor to him.
“The Trattorian Legislature has recently passed the Valorian Annex Habitation Development Act to encourage land use in the conquered territory,” he continued. “Consequently, the Trattorian Realtors Association has been eagerly negotiating with the Special Administrator to collect several planets for new real estate projects.”
“Thusly,” a deputy president added, “our short-term investment strategy ought to reflect the increase in demand of glass.”
“That’s not all,” the legal consultant continued. “In light of the recent Battle of Shamshir III, Scythian reinforcements along the Immortal border have threatened the Britannian East India Trading Company’s access to its clear-transparent mines in neutral space. This factor will likely increase the volatility in the price of glass in the short-term when coupled with increased demand.”
The Chief Investment Officer concluded the matter. “Order our Chicago traders to sell all of our grain holdings with Assyrian Limagraine and 15% of our AMScythia antimatter derivatives. We’ll dump the funds into clear-transparent futures contracts with the Viérre glass corporation.”
As the executives bandied on the best futures sales strategy, an alert appeared on Dr. Venkatish’s iPhone. From his colleague Dr. Bellini, the message’s subject line screeched at him with several exclamation points and “URGENT” in capital letters.
Dr. Venkatish excused and muted himself from the video conference, citing urgent investment opportunities exploration. He then replied to Dr. Bellini’s message and received her subsequent voice call on speaker phone.
“Dr. Bellini, I sincerely presume that you bear important information.”
Dr. Venkatish and Dr. Bellini had been amiable acquaintances since they met in the Stanford School of Business, sharing promising investment opportunities with each other in weekly dinners. Dr. Bellini, as a foreign exchange trader, oftentimes possessed news useful to him in calculating international commodities trades.
“This is pressing. Check the clock” Dr. Bellini urged, her voice hurried.
Dr. Venkatish glanced at his watch, which indicated 3:42 pm.
“I understand, Dr. Bellini, but I was in the middle of a daily teleconference call. Can’t this wait until—”
“The Bank of Britannia sets the WM/Reuters forex benchmark rates in a sixty-second window over 4 pm. I got wind from an investment partner that the Scythian Parnassus Banking Corporation is exchanging one trillion Scythian credits into USA dollars. You set up your forex portfolio like I told you, right?”.
“Yes,” Dr. Venkatish replied. “I invested ₮50 million Trattorian dollars into Scythian credits, just as you advised.”
“Excellent,” Dr. Bellini lauded. “My source encouraged me to inform all of my colleagues to sell their Scythian credits in USA dollars at a rate five ten-thousandths less than the current one thirty seconds before 4 pm—banging the close, if you will. Thusly, we can force downward pressure on the credit during the rate-determining period—”
“Hold on,” Venkatish interrupted. “Isn’t that considered insider trading? I don’t want the Comptrollers knocking on my door.”
Dr. Bellini replied with a cheer in her voice. “The forex markets are quite unregulated, by their nature. Anyway, we’ll split the profits, OK? Good luck with the remainder of your conference.”
“Wait—” Dr. Venkatish protested before a hang-up beep answered him.
As Dr. Venkatish unmuted himself on the conference call, he wondered to himself: from where, and how exactly, did Dr. Bellini obtain her tip? Although she mentioned an investment partner, he could not help but suspect some illicit involvement…