I like to plot our loud. Not only does it set a certain dramatic tone, it also makes your stupid ideas sound stupider and you smart ideas sound smarter. The whole process is more efficient. "Now, as I see it, there are two ways I can go about gathering more data about Demented's Disease." I was doing this plotting in my laundry room. It was below ground, and relatively secure. That's important, because whenever you plot aloud you run the risk of being heard. "I can capture powered individuals, and study their abilities. Good idea. Or, I could try to open some sort of hospital to gather all the sick in one place, and monitor them. Also a good idea. Two for two."
"The hospital thing seems more Noetron's department. Noetron, what do you think we'll need?"
"We'll need people to believe we are a legitimate hospital."
"Easy enough. We ask a real hospital for help."
"Rene Claude. The French kid whose mother we saved. We gave our research to some hospital, and they implemented it. They'll implement my research again."
"This will take a great deal of capital."
"How much money do we have?" The number flashed across my mind before Noetron could respond.
"About twelve million dollars in easily liquidated assets."
"If I can get, say, another fifty million, you can handle all the boring details?"
"That's what I was made to do."
How do you get fifty million dollars? If you are a supervillain, the options are endless. I could try to rob a bank, or the Federal Reserve. But heroes take a tough stand on that sort of thing. I could sell one of my inventions. But Sabien Pallis was the main buyer of that sort of thing, and we weren't on the best of terms. Gambling? No, I left that life behind long ago. The stock market...
"Noetron, do you think we could get our fifty million on the stock market?"
"The New York-"
"Too regulated. I know. One of the markets in the East."
"You've tried before. You could barely beat the market." Whoever said investment was a game of skill was lying. It was a game of luck. That's why I didn't immediately win.
"That was five years ago. Things have changed since then."
"How have they changed?"
Evil villain monologue time. "Firstly, I'd like to think I've gotten smarter since then. Secondly, I know you've gotten smarter since then. Thirdly, I have five more years worth of data. Fourthly, I have Justin working for me."
"That is reasonable."
"Of course it is. Now do me a favor and call Justin in."
"He says he's busy."
"I say he's not."
Five minutes later, Justin showed up. "I was busy."
"No you weren't. And zip up your pants."
"What are we doing?"
"Making fifty million dollars."
"No. Nobody's going to take fifty million in cash. Stock market."
"Oh yeah. I read through those programs you wrote."
"What did you think?"
"They were pretty stupid."
"Gee, thanks. They were able to outperform seventy percent of mutual funds. But you're right, they were primitive. Just a Markov analysis. Look for similar situations that happened in the past, and assume history will repeat itself."
"You have a better idea."
"Yes. About seventy percent of all the trading in the world is done by computers. In some markets, like Hong Kong, the fraction is even higher. Computer trading works by algorithm, so it is predictable. If we can determine those algorithms, we can predict seventy percent of trades before they happen, and predict how the market will move."
"I know. You'll start by hacking around, seeing if you can get the actual code behind the algorithmic traders. If you can't, Noetron has a list of over a trillion trades. See if you can figure out what circumstances cause what trades."
"Sounds interesting. Fun data problem. What are you doing."
"Working on the other thirty percent. We'll need some sort of statistical model. I'm hoping a simple Bose-Einstein type thing will work."
We both did some fairly brilliant work. I created a new subfield of economic modelling. Justin wrote some truly amazing algorithms, and came up with some very impressive hacks.
"I don't see why you had me stop snooping around that mutual fund."
"Because you would have robbed them blind, and you would have gotten caught."
"You don't trust my judgment."
"I'm a supervillain. You've never done anything worse than computer hacking and sexual harassment, and yet you've still spent more time in jail than me. So no, I don't trust your judgment."
Justin didn't seem surprised. "And why did we stop trading after we reached seventy-five million?"
"If you quintuple your money in a day, someone might notice. If you quintuple your money every day for a week, everyone will notice. I think a million dollars of revenue a day ought to be enough without attracting the wrong sort of attention."