Night vision paints the rolling water of the South China Sea in ethereal shades of green.  The boat cuts through the water silently, its electric impeller producing no engine or cavitation sounds.  There’s nothing but the hiss of water rushing past the angular carbon-fibre hull and the slop of distant waves.  Ariadne looks around at the other occupants of the boat, the spherical detectors of their goggles turning them into giant insects crouching down in the hull.

She feels an electric tension in her chest, growing with every nautical mile they approach their target.  Floating out on the ocean, somewhere between the Philippines and Vietnam, she is keenly aware how far from Paris she is.  Reading the brief in her flat, she never imagined she would be here in a blacked out boat, surrounded by hard, silent men and women.

Up ahead in the darkness was the oceanic trading platform Shen Nong II, situated at the intersecting light cones of the SGX and Hang Seng exchanges.  At this local maxima, encased in a waterproof tomb, unsleeping machines undertake relativistic statistical arbitrage on behalf of their human masters.

Wearing the shell of a fishing vessel around their boat, they’d been bird-dogged all day by pirates.  They’d run loud and hot, staying ahead of the pursuers until darkness fell.  Once the sun went down, they scuttled the shell and ran silently – though more slowly – on towards their destination.  Ariadne had seen the lights of the mother ship and its roving interceptor off in the distance an hour or two ago, but they’d grown faint, vanishing into the dark of night.

Ariadne bites her lip in the darkness and clutches the handle of the mil-spec case holding her laptop a little tighter.


~ by Electro-mechanical Man on April 16, 2011.

2 Responses to “Ariadne”

  1. This is so damn hot.

  2. Thanks Brendan – I also stole this idea like it’d been left with keys in the ignition.

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