His name was Peter. He was Argentinian by origin, Russian by birth and at the time of this narrative had become anarchistic, destructive by inclination. He had been in the working for six years in the Soviet diplomatic service since he was nineteen. During his service he had traveled from Moscow to Budapest, Paris, Rome, Tehran and now ended up in New York. He was Russian by education but he thought of himself as Argentinian from his capitalistic nature. Although the Soviet would have wanted to carve out the Argentinian from his soul it was not so easy. Educated in Soviet Russia he received extensive knowledge of math, physics, psychology, economics, computer programming and languages and many things that are not taught in school. The latter were learned to get the things that you want in a society that does not give you the things you necessarily need. 'If I could be a King of the world' he lamented one day over vodka and a cigarette amongst his embassy comrades, 'I would try to make these American celebrity gods dance like puppets with my riches'. The thought captivated him. He dreamt of leaving this despicable country of America, and the monotonous drab job for a jet to Monaco or Santiago.
These thoughts were only for fleeting moments before he went back to moving stacks of papers to his higher up in the Manhattan residential building where the embassy was located. Peter's work was boring in task and only required the smallest of thought to perform. The jobs in the embassy were a series of small tasks broken up among many people as was done in communist times. Peter learned to do his task, not ask for more and not to complain. That way he would get a modest pay check and get to live in one of the most capitalistic countries in the world. Pushing papers and writing small documents for a bureaucratic machine he did not believe in. Had he been Russian alone he might have had some patriotic thoughts and stayed at the Embassy when bankruptcy hit after the fall of the Berlin wall. He could have been content in his elaborate and comfortable one room 20 meter squared apartment in Manhattan if he thought that this was the life for him. However, Peter saw himself as being a king in a world where anybody could call themselves king.
So after several months of this dream of becoming king he focused his skills in computer science, psychology, economics to be the king that he wanted to become. He would do it using high frequency trading. Being Russian he was a fond chess player. And this game that he embarked in real life commenced with Peter studying the board before making a move. Peter had strolled through Manhattan's banking district, the famous Wallstreet, where all the banking action happened. He observed well dressed men in black suits with colored ties walking on polished shoes getting out of an endless stream of yellow taxis in the morning. There were other men that were less polished then the first arrived a little later taking the subway and entered the buildings with paper cups of coffee. They were just pawns that he could manipulate. He walked around the city during his time in New York to see well dressed men, with polished shoes coming out of banks, credit unions, or hedgefund offices. Near place where the well dressed men were found there were well protected wires that connected to the buildings .
Peter knew these wires connected to computers. These computers could transmit packets upon packets of data that his grandfather could have only dream of doing with the telegraph. Instead of one dot and line in one second it was an endless stream of information in microseconds. Packets of data showing stock prices of XYZ or bond prices of GHI and currency prices of ABC trading against currency RST. It was an endless blur of information which moved everyday without any structure. It was an organism with multiple heads, multiple tails and plenty of teeth. People tried to train the organism without any success. Peter learned that it may not be necessary to train the organism but only need to predict where its tail is going before its head goes. This data traveled through large secret wires where a tunnel was made underground then above ground to switches, then back underground to New Jersey, to more switches and then channeled back to Manhattan to more switches then spreading out again to the world. In his sparse studio apartment he layed down a map of New York to pinpoint the location of the wires that went through the city. The map had several black lines like an endless black adder they snaked up through the city making the network. He made a star three blocks from Broadway where the wires overlapped. There he found a room that could be rented for a week. So Peter devised a plan on how he could make money for nothing. First he took a temporary sick leave from his job, booked a room around where he put a star on the map and made a new identity.
Then Peter went out and bought components, the newest computers, a server and a lot of cables. As mentioned earlier in the story Peter taught himself to computer program in school. His skills in hacking were essential in getting around sometimes strict Russian firewalls and to find out more information than he was entitled in his high profile job at the embassy. Next he made a bank account to be routed in the Cayman islands under the name Monty Dickens and tickets to travel there when he completed his plan. So for the next few weeks he set up his centre that would change his life. With a small computer, a router and some lock picks he went to the back of 529 Broome street. At 11 most people in this Soho apartment building were already at home and being a Monday night asleep. As he was white dressed well Peter would have little altercations if someone was suspicious. Using the lock pick he entered the a redbrick building built in the 40's and quickly went down to the basement. There was a router in the basement where the hedgefund gained access to the network. With only a few wires he became the man in the middle and suddenly had access to a flood of information. The next day looking like a European tourist he checked into the room above where the router was stored. An old Jewish lady nearly blind met him at the door and with barely few words spoken showed him the room. The room was sparse with only a single bed , a small wooden desk with an uneven leg and a reading lamp. Ugly brown flowered wallpaper covered the walls. The only decoration was a painting was that of a wimpy down trotten looking man sitting on a bench in black and white. An old television was set in the center of the room. Peter knew these old buildings had many holes. So it was no large feat to connect the router one floor below to his computers.
He turned on his computer and he was instantly connected to the biggest stock exchange the world has ever known. Through this pipeline he saw that the American big banks selling 1000 shares of a FRAQ at 25 1/2 to traders Deutcht central banking FRAQ was a company that found oil deposits and produced equipment and technology for extracting oil from the earth. Peter send a request from the small firm he set up for a trade of 1000 shares at 15 1/2 . The computer program that Peter developed and the only one in the world that could do this started putting orders for the stock at increments of 1000 with increasing prices. What started as 15 1/2 slowly increased to 20 over an hour. The big banks increased their buy orders as well. He monitored the buy chain at the start of the snake which increased to the tail. The price soared within two hours and Peter sold off everything making a healthy profit. The banks and hedgefunds could not trace anything to the man in the middle. The banks in America blamed the Germans. The Germans blamed Lehman's. At the end of the day only couple of million and some pride were lost. When the men left in there now wrinkled suits they were not worried. A small news story was aired on a financial news station about FRAQ but there was very little concern.
When Peter awoke the next day he was well rested and a couple of million dollars richer than he was the day before. He grabbed some breakfast checked that his connection was still operating and checked the recent trades on JUD a hot Chinese commerce site that people have speculated all summer. They were going to put forth their quarterly results and people were e pectijg something big. Peter weighted this emotion he heard through the television and from the newspapers. A wave of speculation went over Wall Street and the brokers could either be drowning in money of floating over top of it. Peter knew it was time to act while there was some insecurities in the market. People's fear or confidence is only short lived. He bought 10000 shares and then 30 micro seconds later bought 30000 then the algorithm did a loop buying increasing amounts of shares then dumping them before they reached the en of the wire back on Wallstreet. All the transactions were filed through the bank of Germany. The Americans from Lehmann and some other top firms sent a fax to the Germans which Peter intercepted. 'There seems to be something corrupt with your computer system. Please find immediately.' Peter sent an immediate letter to the New York Times editorial whereby . The authour's name was the pseudonym of a Dead Swiss economist. By the end of the day the Chinese stock got a huge boost then collapsed, as nobody knew the real value behind the stock. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce was furious and thought it was trickery from these old world powers. The Chinese stock and several other high profile stocks showed similar fluctuations from the after the attack from the computer algorithm. Small and large investors worried about the instability and started taking out money until the market seemed stable. News agencies and talking Wallstreet heads showed the charts of several different stocks speculating. Some stocks that were not even traded by the algorithm both chaotic increases and chaotic decreases. Fear and speculation changed the stocks. The big banks in America blamed the big banks from Germany with Chinese companies in the middle. Peter was planned his next attack in between long naps and shopping. The scorpion always strikes more than once to make sure it's pray is paralyzed before the kill. The organism of the market got over its midweek bellyache and continued along the capitalist train. Peter's algorithm bought several stocks as an Americans who bought several layers of Chinese and German stocks. The bell at Wallstreet rung to signal the start of the trading Thursday trading day but it was already too late for the American traders that took to the floor. The traders in Frankfurt were also in disbelief at the speed the American traders bought and sold the Chonese stocks as well as several publicly traded German stocks. The pacifist Germans unleashed their inner Saxon rage and unleashed a war cry that Peter heard in the the late edition of the German newspaper Bild. The Germans started buying more of their own stocks vastly inflating the price. The Germans downgraded the Chinese stocks to underperform then sold off their American assets. An opposite reaction happened on the other side of the pond with the Americans buying up there own assets that were down by 25% and sold off the German assets. The American banks upgraded many of the Chinese stocks to outperform with no reasoning given. Both the traders in Frankfurt and New York became frantic and panic sunk in. Men with disheveled shirts and ties paced on the floor among other men with equally sweaty armpits and tossled hair. Screams to to buy, sell or hold were on their screens. The Germans did not know what the Americans were doing and the Americans were as perplexed as to what was happening in Europe. T
They were only men though and men were subject to the passions of man and could not behave under the logic of a computer. The men's trades in Frankfurt and New York were equal and opposite, but slow. Peter's computer algorithms predicted this and changed the prices accordingly. By three o'clock in New York the Times reported that German banks waged war on American stocks. The front page of the Frankfurt Gazette showed the German ambassador, a fat bald man with glasses and small like sausage fingers, with a red face said 'This is a Finance War! The Chinese were not on the cover of any papers but started asking for the huge amount of money owed to them by both German and American banks at an increased rate. A finance war now was at a full strength with bankers on guard. Two countries sinking each other and the third bankrupting the other two. A war that lasted less than a week but cost over 10 billion dollars and the dignity of both sides. The heads of state upon learning about this called each other to avoid a catastrophic meltdown of the major economic powers.
The only real winner was Peter who after transferring more than 5 billion to several accounts disconnected his computer and was never seen again. When the bell rang on Friday the Americans and Germans again took to the floor with little enthusiasm. After several minutes of silence and a few clicks and murmurs people started to talk without any trades being put through. The managers came down from their offices and then their managers came down from higher floors to see why no trades were being made. Finally from the highest floor the head of the biggest stock exchange in the world came down to see this anomaly. After a 15 minute meeting with white collared fat executives they declared the stock market closed. The main wire that transmitted the trillion packets of data that snaked through the city was down. With the meltdown being diverted the heads of the stock exchange speculated that there could be a breach in the system. So inspectors were called and every meter of the wire was checked. At 529 Broome St. they found the cut wire and several wires leading up to the apartments above. The police armed with appropriate warrants were called to search the above apartments. A little old lady nearly blind meekly answered the door. When asked about the tenant that lived there for a week she could not recall any description of him. The only information the police could get was his last name: 'King'.