Hideki geevoed two months later. He looked haggard and was definitely calling from somewhere other than his studio. The major stock indices and gold prices had been steadily rising ever since he started using his algorithm, and Neil had taken that as a good sign. He had no time to talk with Hideki when his algorithm needed to respond to these new fluctuations.

“What’s up, Dekky? You finally decided to get some sunlight?”

“Something bad’s happening here, Neil. The tremors haven’t stopped and they seem to be getting longer and more frequent. They evacuated our street today! Haven’t you been following the news?!”

“Haven’t had the time to scan through the news, but I’m sure my algorithm has been diligently scanning away! Did I tell you I just tripled my earnings in 5 days?”

“You still stuck on that algorithm of yours? Listen, I gotta go, Neil. Another tremor just started. I’m not sure how much more of this we can take”

“Later, Dekky. And stop being so dramatic. California has little shivers all the time”, Neil retorted and signed out.

***

Two days after the geevo with Dekky, Neil started getting alerts on major deviations in his model. Something big was happening in the markets and his algorithm was slipping! Neil started investigating. The word-markets were reporting a large number of ‘crashes’ and ‘crumbles’, but the stock prices seemed to be climbing ever higher.

Neil finally decided to check the news feeds. And there he found it — from California, from Oregon, from all over the west coast. Something big was going down. There had been widespread earthquakes and damage all along the San Andreas Fault. So that explained the ‘crashes’ and ‘falls’ in his word-markets! The stock exchanges were going through the roof, with investors betting heavily on construction companies, oil and gas corporations, and anything else that may find itself with more work once the reconstruction efforts started. The only sector that really took a dive was the tech sector, especially companies that were based in the Valley. The market already had an answer to that too, shifting its focus on IT companies that were located in the D.C-New York corridor.

Neil’s algorithm was having its own problems. With the massive influx of words that denoted a fall, the algorithm was making the wrong picks. If only he had accounted for natural disasters in his frequency calculations… he needed to respond quickly to make the best of this situation.

Neil sat down at his workstation again. He wondered if Dekky was doing fine. He sent a geevo request – no response. He shot off a text and went back to modifying his algorithm.

The Market is unforgiving to those who wait. There was no time to lose.

*

Part I | Part II