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Friday, 2 September 2011

Space Marines versus Tyranids (Discretionary versus Automated Trading Systems)

The last 88 survivors of Bravo Company from the 101st Space Marine Regiment huddled up together in a defensive circle formation around the communications tower. Ammo is low and the nearest space shuttle air- support can only reach them in 8 hours. Too little too late…

The last order from Headquarters was to hold this Imperial Army outpost at all costs. Evacuation is out of the equation. So is retreat as the outpost is now surrounded by the advancing Tyranids.

Imperial outpost D64 is similar to any other outposts that dot the arid red planet of Sram – a planet rich in uranium deposits. It’s a war between the Imperial Army’s attempt to colonize and plunder Sram’s wealth and the Tyranid’s resistance to protect their homeland.

D64 is a circular base with 3 rings of perimeter defense. The outer most perimeter defense is a buffer zone mine field, supported with automatic Gatling machine guns that were guided by movement sensors to mow down any survivors that escape the mines.

The next defensive line was a 5 metre high fortress wall manned by Alpha, Charlie, Delta, and Support Companies. They were supported with 20mm cannons with uranium tipped rounds and 81 mm high explosive mortars.

And the last ring of defense is the communications tower which Bravo Company was tasked to defend. Failing with, it’s their duty to activate the self-destruct sequence to initiate the small nuke device that is built into the foundation of all Imperial outposts. It is to ensure that nothing of value is left to the invading hordes of Tyranids.

The Tyranids have breached the first 2 perimeter rings of defense in 5 epic waves of fearless and unrelenting attacks. Taking down all the Space Marines who manned the defenses with them. Now is the calm before the next and final Tyranids wave to end the battle.

Bravo Company’s OC (office-in-charge) is dead. The survivors of Bravo Company are now listening to the Company’s Sergeant-Major for direction. A battle-harden veteran of 5 Imperial Campaigns over 3 planetary systems. They call him “Firefox” – for his ability to fire up his men in battle and his uncanny ability to outfox his enemies and stay alive in every battle.

“Sarge, how come these overgrown insects can beat us?” cried one Space Marine. The fear is palpable in the eyes of all the survivors. Morale is at its lowest point. “For goodness sake, we have the technology and superior fire-power! They only have fangs and claws… I don’t understand…”
Old Firefox knew he had to calm down and fire up these young frightened warriors soon and fast!

“Son, the Tyranids’ strength is their simplicity. Each Tyranid will not question the command of their Brain Bug. If they were told to charge, they do so. No questions, no debate. They just do as their told. Even if they know they are charging towards the mine field. Or to a hail of steel from our Gatling guns. Death means nothing to them. The Hive’s survival comes first.”

Old Firefox took a deep breath and continued. “Although we tried to break you all during boot-camp and mould you into one single fighting unit, we are still a group of individuals. During battle, each individual Space Marine does what he deems to be the best for himself – not the unit. There lies our weakness. We react differently in every battle, creating uncertainties for our commanders.”

All the Space Marines listened to old Firefox without missing a beat. Somehow Sarge’s words have managed to calm their frayed nerves.

“To the Brain Bug, he does not have uncertainties over his Tyranids. He knows exactly how each Tyranid will react in battle.” Old Firefox turns in a circle and looks everyone in the eye and asked, “What’s the one thing that the Brain Bug fears the most?”

“Our unpredictable behaviour?” One Space Marine asked from the back. All other space marines nodded their heads in agreement. Another Space Marine roared, “Our biggest weakness is also our biggest strength!” Now the morale of the whole Bravo company starts to turn.

Old Firefox smiles.

“Exactly! And what’s the last thing the Tyranids expect us to do?” 

Now everyone is pumped up and yelling “We charge! We charge!”

What follow is a blur and the stuff of Space Marine folklore…

The story changes each time it was told. Each time with more hyperbole.

The tale goes that the brave 88 Space Marines at Bravo Company from the 101st Space Marine Regiment did something that no Space Marine has ever done before. They threw away their ammo packs and grenades, and made a full bayonet charge towards to last wave of Tyranids attack.

Somehow, they managed to break-out of the encirclement. Once the Tyranids have overrun the empty outpost, the surviving Space Marines detonated the self-destruct nuke device from a safe distance away and wiped out all the swarming Tyranids who blindly followed their Brain Bug’s command to overrun and gather at the outpost…

It’s a glorious tale of pitting cold steel blades against fangs and claws. Titanium armour versus chitin. The day was won when men trusted their natural instincts, not technology.


  1. is this a fantasy?

    its better to be more an automated/machcanical trader than a discretionary trader, thats my experience.

    use your instinct when you are not sure what you are doing is asking for big trouble.

  2. Hello Coconut,

    Should be classed under Sci-fi stories, but for now, I group it under Fantasy. It's a story out of my fantasy!

    I am cheerleader for the human spirit. I can't support machines. Wait they become terminators how?

  3. haha, i mean mechanical trading system, not machines.

    means you have a certain fix system or plan or parameter you rely on when trading.

    is like a program trading but can be computerised or manual (like mine). but i'm also part discretionary.

  4. Ah I see Coconut!

    The only mechanical part of my trading is the stop-loss point I entered in the trading platform.

    This saves me from havng to look at the screen all day. The only time it sucks is during volatile whiplash markets. Pissed my off to be stopped out and then the market just reversed and tear away by the time I discovered it...

    Oh well, there's no 100% perfect system. Most of my trading is discretionary and with a 6 to 18 months horizon - I have more "wriggle" room to make up for my lack of speed ;)

  5. Hi smol,

    Wah, Warhammer? I felt like reading the series after reading your short story! :)

    Good job!

  6. Ha ha LP,

    Yes! Warhammer 40,000!

    I am a pseudo-Geek. Too bad my IT skills not up to par...


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