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Casino Royale-with-Cheese, Part 10

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Undercover at Money2020, our man in Las Vegas ls lost in booths, babes and benjamins. But can agent 0111 stop a killer new technology from falling into the wrong hands? It’s Main Street vs Infinite Loop in the major new blogbuster from CHYP End… welcome to… Pay Another Day

Part 10: Bitfinger

Back at the casino, Bond decided to take an R&R break at the tables. He had a formula. He needed three things to win. A beautiful woman on his arm, a gin and tonic in his hand and a lucky drunk Scotsman at his table.

The beautiful woman was walking towards him. “I don’t gamble,” she said.

“I don’t either”, said Bond, “I use a cautious probability-based strategy. It’s called Card Risk Assessment for Blackjack Scenarios, or CRABS for short. Why don’t you come with me and I’ll show my CRABS in action.”

She reached out an elegant hand. “Bailey”. 

“Bond”, he said, taking her arm in his. “James Bond”.

Curious, she walked with him past the slot machines towards the Blackjack games. Bond was looking along the tables to see if Lady Luck might be smiling on him tonight. She was. At the very last table, he heard what he had been hoping for.

“I’ve nae idea whether I’m up or doon, and I dinnae care now I’ve a wee dram or two!”

Perfect. James sat her down and slid in between her and drunk Scotsman. And started winning. His conservative and cautious approach married to aggressive doubling and buying at the right time served them both royally. When they stumbled blinking into the bright lights of the strip three hours later, Bailey 3Jane Marie-France Tessier-Ashpool was a hundred dollars to the good.

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Later that morning, Bond had just settled down for breakfast when he became aware of mounting panic in the crowd around him. People were staring at their iPhones in disbelief, showing their neighbours the news reports!

M.C.X had launched a first strike. President Cook had pressed the red button. All over America the lights were going out. The lights on the contactless terminals, that is. No-one could tap and pay in CVS. Or 7-Eleven. Or Rite Aid.

“The madmen”, Bond said under his breath as he rushed to report this unexpected development back to base. “The madmen. What are they doing?”

The strategy made no sense to him.

“Bows and arrows against the lightning”, he muttered, scanning news feed after news feed.

There was no way that they could take A.P.P.L.E out with that first strike, which meant that A.P.P.L.E’s revenge was guaranteed and certain to be terrible. And indeed it was. A.P.P.L.E’s MX missiles (Media eXclusion missiles) meant that it literally rained bad publicity across the whole of the M.C.X. empire. Within a couple of days, it looked all over.

McDonalds, which accepts Apple Pay at its 14,000 restaurants in the United States, said Apple Pay accounted for 50 percent of its tap-to-pay transactions. And Walgreens, the nationwide chain of drugstores, said its mobile wallet payments had doubled since Apple Pay came out

[From Apple Pay brings significant increase in mobile payments to retailers like Whole Foods and McDonald’s, increases awareness of Google Wallet and… | Killer Apps TV]

What’s more, under cover of the A.P.P.L.E assault, G.O.O.G.L.E forces were beginning to encroach into M.C.X. territory and spies reported that the breakaway republic of T.A.R.G.E.T had already announced that it would allow A.P.P.L.E forces a base in its app.

“App and pay,” Bond reflected, “is more important than tap and pay in the long run. M.C.X might never regain the strategic heights. I don’t understand why they jumbled together their new payment system and their new mobile QR code app.”

Given the panic, Bond decided to lay low for a day or two, so he moved out of the Aria and went off the Paris. His heart sank as he walked through the door. The line to register was an hour long! Bond stood wondering whether to miss the Money2020 Pool Party that he had been looking forward to. Out of nowhere, N. appeared at the head of the queue. Bond noticed him flash a small piece of black plastic at the clerk, and as if by magic a new line was opened, just for N. Even Bond was impressed.

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The only card he had with him was that driving licence that S. had given him. He flashed at it the clerk. Nothing. Bond put it away quickly. Odd. It normally worked.

“I wonder if it’s a forgery?” he thought to himself, and began to wonder what might be a quick and efficient way to find out. And then it came to him. Via a connection, Bond sent a message to the Israelis. Back came an invitation: Starbucks at 3pm.

“Good idea”, Bond said to himself. No-one will expect a top secret meeting 

They were there at three on the dot, milling around in the crowd. Bond put his driving licence on the table and took a photo of it, and mailed to the AU10TIX operative opposite.

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“Let me know”, Bond whispered, and turned back to his latte.

A couple of hours later the message came through. “It’s real”, they said. “We’ve done detailed image analysis to look for alterations and found none, so we can ran data extraction algorithms to get the details. They all match up.” 

Just when Bond was feeling on top of things again, bad news arrived from the boss. “There’s been a security breach”, said G., “and I thought you’d want to know right away”. Bond glanced down at his phone: there was a message from the service, pointing out a tweet that the big data analysis Watson-style supercomputer had picked up earlier:

G. was on Wickr in an instant. “Take him out”, she said without a hint of emotion.

Bond was ahead of her. He was already planning an invitation to Shevlin. A meeting at his favourite place in Boston, Post 390. Clam chowder, the best crab cakes in the city… and a dash of Polonium.

[Final Chapter! Part 11: Licence to Bill]

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