The ISDA Protocol

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The Adventures of Opco Boone, Legal Ace™

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main character arcs The lender of last resort (LOL)

Boone’s parents, subject matter experts, were killed in Boone’s infancy when an outsourcing delivery van by a vega-hopped rent-jacker collided with their

lawyer with recession-proof business and the cosmological constant

Consulting the mad scientist Dr hans zarkov style havid Dilbert, to work out what is going on

Oh my god there are dirty derivatives bombs embedded in every retail portfolio. If they can somehow be discharged together in a coordinated way

It's not possible


Yes but not impossible

There have been small experiments... What I'd these are just the start?

J.T. Palmer backstory - partner at same firm. At end, he is summoned back to his alma mater only to be not celebrated, but whacked, Goodfellow style and replaced as GC be a young partner... Roly Punchface

Punchface history — advised on many failed deals each of which generated more work in workouts, insolvencies. Apparent defiance of gravity turns out not to be gravity defying at all, but embracing. What is rent extraction to you is revenue generation for me: just giving fast, effective, timely and final proactive does not maximise returns. I need to sow uncertainty, doubt and create reliance. My product is dependence through the appearance of safety. All the better if that safety is in fact illusory.

Enforcement agencies are stretched to breaking point covering a raft of intergovernmental accords. It is tense. Tempers simmer. between them, the Exclusion Zone. Where neither regulatory perimeter stretches.

Offworld Bad-Bank Clean-Up Units send in remote-control SPVs to manage the tail risk. They’re dangerous machines: they can only operate in this toxic environment using off-balance-sheet technology that, after the great crash, is banned in the major residential markets. They have multi-core legal personalities – every now and then, one flames out. Its core shuts down and they carry on. They re-spawn.

Some go rogue. There is an ever-present danger of them escaping back into the major retail worlds.

Cayman is the off-world where forces deploy wealth creation bots – tax sheltering – film partnerships – basic entertainment model that exploits tax breaks for film subsidies – but not allowed on the onworld

Above the legal settlement the Cardozo Dam, and above it Lake Indeterminacy. Its massive assumption turbines powering the legal community, who live under the spell of collective nightmares (“ultramares”) of a colossal, potentially unending avalanche from above.

Where is marked on a white stick in the lake Abe right line above which indeterminacy has become so high that the floodgates automatically open. The community has worked for many years erecting qualification sluices, entry barriers and comprehension baffles to ensure that the bright line is never crossed.

The fables of the First Men

In primary school, Nurse Travers reads the orphans stories from myths and legends of the citadel, including the story of Reg Margin and the tricksy jester Vlad Paripasu.

End point

The crew feverishly race to stop the final cataclysm as the concatenated chain of FWMDs threaten to engulf the financial world once again. They avert disaster before realising that the whole financial world as, inadvertently, passed over the entropic event horizon of utter tedium and mathematically now has no choice but to roam forever towards the great, misty, tan entropic nothingness of the hereafter. The iron mountain.

The break-in

Having determined that Wickliffe is behind the smuggling operation, in the knowledge that the deployment is going to be unleashed to destroy the Cardozo Dam Legal squad orchestrates breakin to Central intelligence on Wickliffe Hampton. There is a briefing scene at legal squad HQ with a a map and strategy 4 drop then the the night of the raid apparently goes off without a hitch, the squad encountering only outsourced defence systems. The further into the citadel they get the more it becomes apparent that everything has been outsourced and there is in fact no controlling brain, but Wickliffe Hampton is like a a zombie what controlled by automatic impulse from without.

They trace all the way to the credit unit, only to realise it too is staffed by volunteers and children and dilettantes who are only worried about their revenue stream, most of which is coming from

The exclusion zone

When they signed the armistice the remaining banking superpowers resolved that never again would they engage in such futile destructive behaviour.

By BCB accord, use of FWMDs was forever banned, the superpowers agreeing, by conference at Bretton Woods, to create a multi-partite peacekeeping force with wide-ranging powers of inspection. Peacetime use of controlled derivative devices to power and heat for the world’s financial markets was, of course, permitted, but a pan-global regulatory force could inspect at any time.

Meanwhile, the BCBH established five-sigma exclusion zones around the still-smouldering ruins left over from the great financial war, while massive IOSCO transport helicopters flew continuous missions over the “Lehman sarcophagus,” dumping gigatons of flame-retardant liquidity upon it and similar sites for years after the armistice.

Gradually, the financial world returned to stability and progress. The were, of course, flare-ups: no one expected a hiccup during routine testing at the massive BBA-LIBOR facilities in E14 in 2010 to cause a reactor meltdown, but the chain-reaction was swift and before it could be brought under control the gigantic IRS generators that powered much of London were knocked out for months. By the time the situation finally normalised, there had been significant casualties: not least when a transporter carrying upper management team ran out of plausibility and crash-landed on the very building housing the BOE’s crisis headquarters. The crash site was swiftly isolated and neutralised with credibility derivatives.

The education of Private Melvin

Melvin’s tragic character arc from not terribly good soldier to preying on innocent retail victims, and eventually the retail victims ganging up on him in his personal apotheosis. Increasingly sordid episodes where Melvin’s lack of moral fibre and corruption become increasingly evident as he spirals into depravity.

Starts with a routine patrol to clear out a bricks & mortar emplacement across the old information superhighway. Melvin reminisces about his brass-barrelled OSLAs and falls into a reverie about his old commander Bundie, warning the class of the likely slip in standards in future weaponry by the I.S.D.A. And he was dead right. Melvin snaps back to patrolling the greyfield strip mall, with E in his comlink. He takes on a videodrome. Expecting it to be dead and deserted, Melvin is surprised to see the radiation is unusually high. Melvin goes on closer and finds a hopped out long-head retail partisan. Melvin shorts him, killing the stock, and closes out his short with the partisan’s open position. He makes a small turn and gets a feel for blood.

Days later Enron blows.

Meanwhile E tries to act as whistle-blower and is pooh-poohed by higher-ups who are enjoying the easy revenue. Far from being suspended, Palmer reassigns Melvin and funds him.

Melvin moves on - his next mission he stumbles into the GameStop arcade. Make it look that he was lured into a trap in.

The Baker Street shakedown

Graeber is sitting in a squad-car waiting for his partner to return with coffee. An APB comes across the wireless about a cache of FWMDs in a grey car in the Baker Street area. At that moment a grey GMRA sedan runs a red light and Graeber knows he’s got his man. He pulls it over, demands to see in the trunk, and finds ... nothing. He shakes down the driver and his VIP passenger, with a 92 LFC in the solar plexus and demands to strip search the whole car. He rousts the trunk, throwing stuff into the street, then opens the back door and — there is this androgynous, youthful, dolphin-like being — Graeber is smitten, and is stammering an apology when his partner, Officer Melvin R Melvin, arrives with the coffees and donuts, horrified and recognises that the VIP is none other than Julian Wickliffe, chairman of the WHAMDAQ and politically connected guy. He quickly lets the car go, apologising profusely. Wickliffe is complementary about him as he goes, to his great relief.

If course the dolphin is/is concealing the weapons cache

They return to base, Melvin warning Graeber he had better prepare himself for a bollocking.

An encounter at the vega den

Across the squad room, Boone hears the group commander’s booming voice.


Opco leaves for an investigation.

Boone follows lead [NEEDS EVENT] that takes him undercover and into a “Vega Dens”, where supposedly legal synthetic alpha generators operate. underground clubs in London’s West End.

Opco tracks down old fellow vet Felix, who is now doing super well as the owner of a chain of Vega Dens. A vega dealer or “prime”, skims cash “commission” from clients but never partakes in its own product. “It’s just business.”

Unwisely, Boone accepts Felix’s offer of an alpha tray, assuring Boone that is is a legal, harmless high. It is served by a beautiful, otherworldly child. The child seems curiously unengaged. Dissociated. Boone goes to ask the child for more information but as it does the alpha takes hold and Boone falls deep into the well.

As Boone sleeps, The Romanian enters his chamber and arranges compromising pictures with the youth, then says.

“All right, Signa, get this schmuck out of here.”

Improbably strong, the slight youth lifts boone over one shoulder and takes him out.

Boone wakes up in a strange room, realises he is late for an all hands meeting back at the office and makes haste back.

Netting detail


Meanwhile things slowly turned to normal for commando Opco Boone of the I.S.D.A.’s crack drafting squad. He can’t stop thinking about the kid with the vacant eyes.

Thoughts snap back to coalface. A colossal wall of tedious shit.

Though still shell-shocked, he has a desk job now as a once promising career ran stale and drifted into dead end — netting compliance — but he quietly bridles at the timidity of his role, the department, and the uneasy peace of the post-crisis world. His hand still shakes and he has PTSD whenever anyone says “margin”.

New crew

His CO asks for his report. He follows him into the office and lays it down: unkempt, stuffed with scraps of paper, scrawled notes, faxed sheets.

Opco is following a series of odd coincidences which are turning him to a view that mysterious forces are gathering in the shadows, and is privately collecting evidence to assemble a theory and back his theory up. The Vega Dens of Soho are building up odd concentrations of correlation. That is what you would expect, in Vega addicts, but Boone believes the dealers are getting correlated.

CO stops him, irritated and disinterested with his ludicrous theories, and urges Boone to get on with the netting analysis, which needs to be done by Friday, or there will be serious (internal, formalistic, consequences).

Boone complains that there is so much to do, and it is all so boring, and CO says, the good news is you have a new team member to help you.

It is Graeber, who has been demoted out of Eagle Squad. He has been put out of harm’s way on the netting detail for the duration of the joint association working group business day convention that is being held in town.

Anxious to avoid further disruption or embarrassment from loose cannons while the Joint Association Working Group’s Business Day Convention is in town, and the precinct is overflowing with the luminaries of Military Financial Complex, Palmer assigns them Graeber to Boone’s to netting detail. “The guy’s a liability. See if you can’t keep him out of trouble for a week would you?”

Learning the ropes

Boone is unhappy but has no choice. He starts to train Graeber on netting and assigns him Luxembourg as his first jurisdiction. Very important to get clear, succinct summary.

Netting epiphany postponed

Graeber works at the Luxembourg opinion, until late in the night. He cannot make head or tail of it. The schedules, the assumptions, the reference to obscure provisions of Germanic law and the Napoleonic code. The defs, the anti defs, the assumptions and the qualifications.

Dawn is coming up and, delirious, Graeber resolves to pay the Luxembourg lawyer a visit.

Graeber has made a beeline for an avocat’s office in Av. John F Kennedy in the Belgian Quarter. As Palmer’s bad luck would have it, L’Hôtel des Grandes Moules Frites, the venue for the Business Day Convention, also happens to be in the Belgian quarter, in avenue J F Kennedy.

Man overboard

Boone’s arrives, looking for Graeber but he is gone. On his desk, an address scratched in the blotter: Leclerc, Leclerc et Cie, Ave. J F Kennedy.

Realising the scope for disaster, Boone makes a beeline for the quarter, where eventually following powers of deduction, he finds Graeber, shaking down a poor Belgian netting attorney, bruised and bloody, babbling mindlessly about aleatory contracts (Graeber shouts “YES OR NO, GODDAMMIT”) and the avocat has just launched into a lengthy, sobbing description of what a Belgian corporation is not when Boone arrives, hauls Graeber out and remonstrates with him on the street by the Manneken Pis.

At just that moment Wickliffe’s silver sedan rolls by, catching Graeber’s attention. Wickliffe tells him to forget it and focus on the netting, but then sees the the child from the alpha den, dressed immaculately and bejewelled, emerge from the sedan in the company of — Julian Wickliffe himself. Both Boone and Graeber say, “there is that kid!”

In his pocket the walkie-talkie screeches Graeber! Boone! If you don’t get back here! [The point of no return to normality]

Boone thinks, fuck it, were committed now.

The business day convention

Boone and Graeber follow the pair into the L’Hôtel, where they lose them in the hubbub — there follows a surreal sequence of hallucinogenic images, like a ghost train of different sessions, plenary sessions, break out sessions, tea breaks and so on until Boone suddenly finds the child, propped up against a bar, looking anxious. In his swoon, Boone sees —or thinks he sees — multiple identical clone children, each being chaperoned by adults in dark glasses.

Boone accosts the child but she — or he? it is oddly hard to tell — does not recognise him. They have a conversation, Boone again mistakenly quaffs vega, she presses a card into his hand and as Boone slurs and stumbles, is whisked away.


The second time do Boone wakes from a Vega-induced Stupor. He is in a luxury GFS suite at the Hacienda. Satin is rumpled and next to him a still, sleeping, alien form. It is the kid. He does not know how he got there but reaches out to touch its form to find it is quite cold. At the same time he notices a small hole in the window, billowing the sheer curtains, and a trickle of blood between the youth’s shoulder-blades.

The cables from an exterior window cleaning unit run outside the window. Did he see someone in a suit? Boone gives chase but he is still woozy from the Vega. By the time he gets to the ground the man has gone. He races back up to the room, but to his horror find the cleaning staff are in the room and there is no sign of the body.

The child is dead. Liquidated. The regulator is already there, standing over the body. Very weird. There are no creditors. No parents. No records. No police file. No-one recognises her. Only record ties her back to a boarding house for orphans. In the Cayman Islands. Boone picks up her wallet. There is a card saying only “Ugland House, 121 South Church Street, George Town.”

CB radio interlude. It is Palmer. “Boone: where the hell are you?

Boone dissembles and mumbles.

“Well truth be told, I don’t care where you are. Just get yourself here, and fast. We’ve got a live ongoing situation. Suspected FWMD.”

Melvin’s short squeeze

Boone and Graeber hasten to a strip mall on the outskirts of the city where a police cordon is formed, and a press scrum assembled. Melvin is holed up, barricaded in the GameStop premises. It’s in the old Blockbuster building. Melvin’s flagship fund vehicle — a twin-class 2/20 clipper out of Georgetown — is badly holed and leaking liquidity. He’s shipping fire from all sides but — weird — the conventional combatants’ artillery depots are all silent. Third Point, Icahn and Pershing Missile have actually sent down a peace-keeping detachment. Ackman is crying. The flak seems to be coming from the demilitarised civilian quarters.

“But that is impossible. The proles don’t have anything like the firepower. Melvin is big - he’s got strong supply lines running back... this can’t be happening!”

The GameStop situation isn't over. Melvin squeaks “my shorts! My shorts! As the promontory on which he is marooned is thrust higher. The rate of ascent is slower but it is clear there is no way down.

Graeber flees into the retail maelstrom, taking bedding and placards he has at last found his calling.

J.T. Palmer hollers “Graeber! Graeber! You'll be killed! But to no avail.

Clear-out of the retail ghettos

IOSCO tanks roll into the demilitarised zone, bombing civilian facilities in the search for concealed FWMD. Wickliffe lends munitions and vehicles to the effort, pulling out pink-haired day traders in a cynical show trials that suggest some malign retail force, and that Wickliffe and the professional industry is the victim.

Meanwhile a resistance is brewing — the Occupy Wall Street movement led by none other than Officer Graeber.

Attention is thus diverted toward the retail clear outs and the protests, while the FWMD smuggling can continue apace.

Boone notices the grey sedan, with the driver, going the other way.

The alpha dens

Background in the synthetic alpha industry. The problem is the massive downside tail risk.

It becomes clear to Boone that all these brokers are lined up the same way, all are geared to make a small but accumulative commission return on these alpha hounds on their alpha, but no-one is factoring in the negative alpha.

Romanian is “the adviser”, with plausibly deniable tendrils stretching back through Enron, ltcm, Madoff back to the south sea bubble etc. He extracts rent from the venture, and limits liability, and is gone before you know you are fucked, leaving no trace.

He moves effortlessly above us, he is mimetic, and invisible and a disposition. Confusion, misplaced certainty, safety, comfort. A false sense of security. A personalisation of hubris. Romanian reduces back to law firm partner.

BH is the Romanian. Pulls out his money before the final collapse. The fund is all limited recourse, there is no way back to him. Meantime the wounded victims call up their mercenary consulting firms to manage the unwind and shareholders fallout, and there he is again , the adviser. He is Wickliffe's nemesis though Wickliffe doesn't realise it.

Babbling idiots in executive suite as a running theme. Chip wants it to happen? Oh yes, I did I? I'm dashed if I can't remember. It seemed a jolly good idea, didn't it?

Idea that limited recourse cell dies and leaves nothing for coroner, receivers to do.

The race is on to find the potential source

Need a setback