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Authors: Luca Pesaro

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Harris slumped lower in his chair, groaning
. ‘
But that’s madness. Europe has already announced they are staying closed, and Asia too. We’ll be swamped with selling; the entire world is going to use New York to get out of their positions
.’


I’m aware of that. We’ve all advised him against it, but Congress is already calling for the President’s impeachment. He thinks what we need now is transparency, a cleansing. The pieces can be picked up later
.’


The markets will crash. It will be like nothing we have ever seen before, much worse than Black Friday
.’

Ginter shivered, his hands playing with a silver spoon
. ‘
What about the big banks and the hedge funds, can’t they step in and hold it?


I’ve been speaking to them through the night
.’
Harris’s voice was tinged with resignation
. ‘
Most of them have the wrong positions. They all thought the Euro crisis was about to blow over, and have gone massively long. They’ll need to sell as well, to protect their capital base and depositors. Many will go bust
.’


So there’s nothing we can do?


No
.’
Harris buried his face in his hands
. ‘
Too many people have been compromised by this, anyway. We can only let it play out, and hope something else doesn’t crack. The entire financial system will be teetering on the edge as it is
.’

The Secretary stood up, his expression a mask of worry
. ‘
Then let’s just pray nothing pushes us
into the abyss
.’

Late Sunday night, something did
.

Results of the Italian consultation were tallied and made public. Horrified by the Hackernym files and the exposed betrayal of the country’s interests, Italians had reacted and voted to leave the Eurozone and return to their old currency. The country would default on the largest debts in history, and over three thousand billion dollars of debt held around the world suddenly became worthless
.

The Euro was no more
.

Epilogue

It lasted less than a heartbeat
.

Red
.

A picosecond in the virtual world of markets, a shadow fleeting by a server that was closer than most, just as the speed of light snitched the atomic clocks before the next micro-tick
.

Maybe it was a mistake
.

It had to be, really. This was not even supposed to be possible
.

Then the headlines crashed the screen. Big, bold, screaming headlines that would echo across the media for days to come. All markets had been closed, suspended. Frozen in time at the previous Friday’s close. The President had just announced an emergency G-10 meeting, all the major players involved. New rules would be set, a new design for the great game. Most countries would co-operate in reworking the financial system before anything could reopen
.

Like after 9/11. Like during World War II
.

There were flaws in Wall Street and around the world, the President had said. But it was only paper, numbers on computers. The real economy could and would go on until they were fixed
.

Scott Walker agreed
.

He looked away from the beauty of the blood-red screen and allowed himself a sad smile. The ocean beckoned to him, the surf breaking on the beach to his right. He had been staring at the market for hours, wondering if he should trade anything. Sweating, his palms wet. A part of him wanting to get in on the action, sell a thousand Futures and trade the crash. Like the old days

make some cash, enjoy the adrenaline screaming through his veins. But he hadn’t
.

And now it was too much, even for someone nicknamed

Yours
’.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average had just flashed out in the greatest collapse of all time. You couldn’t go lower than 0.01, and that was a good thing
.

Walker smiled and pressed the button that would release the full DeepOmega onto the
net, available to the entire world
.

It was time for everyone to try again
.

– The End –

Acknowledgements

There are many people to thank, and all of them have contributed to make Zero Alternative a lot better than it was, while the mistakes left are obviously mine.

Three Hares Publishing, by Yasmin Standen and Helen Bryant (nee Corner): I'm awed by your skills and tenacity, thanks for believing! Jennie Rawlings for the jacket and Sarah Quigley for proofreading: your excellence and great professionalism have made it a pleasure to work with you.

Lorenzo, who’s almost forced me to write it, and whose support, suggestions and friendship have been so important that I have no words left, for once. My early conspirators Luigi (as always above and beyond the call of duty), Eve, Cliff, Daria, Klaus, Luca R., and naturally the long-suffering Franchi – you’ve all slogged through the sludge, giving me the belief that there was something there.

Asia and Joshua, because you still loved a Dad who’d been using his computer far too much. And finally all the good, weird and interesting people I’ve met through all my years in Finance – bankers are not all bad, believe me.

BOOK: Zero Alternative
12.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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