Always Bet Musk’s Oxen! | Hacker Noon

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Jackson was fresh off the Virgin Martian Express. He wanted to get down to Earth as soon as possible. He quickly made his way over to another end of the spaceport. He found the SpaceX shuttle was already booked.

“Full?” Jackson asked the clerk.

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“Yep, we are full everyday by noon…BOTH ways. The Rollerball Championships are this week,” responded the ticket agent

“Wow a thousand one way,” Jackson whispered under his breath as he checked his hardware wallet for digits.

“Rollerball Championship, don’t ya know?” The agent tilted his head a little as if Jackson might have a third eye in his forehead.

“Yeah, Yeah, I know,” Jackson responded curtly “What did you say passage cost?”

“One thousand dogecoin. There is no other currency in the SAZ.” The agent sounded a little annoyed.

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“Sorry, all I have is redcoin. I just got off the Martian Express”

The ticket clerk pointed above his head. Jackson saw a sign declaring dogecoin as the only accepted currency inside the Starbase Autonomous Zone. Now Jackson knew what the agent meant by the “SAZ” as well as what the exchange rates were. He actually had some dollars too but the exchange for doge was miniscule.

“I am a little financially embarrassed. Tickets to the Starbase Autonomous Zone are so darn expensive.” Jackson sighed.

The ticket clerk changed his tone seeing Jackson’s disappointment. “Don’t worry the prices will go down next week after the Rollerball Championships.”

“Thanks,” Jackson said trying not to show his dejection so openly. This development made things very complicated. If he stayed at Blue Origin Base, he would deplete his savings significantly. There would not be enough to get to the SAZ.

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Jackson would need to make enough money to survive for a week in the unforgiving environment of Blue Origin Base. Rough sleeping was simply not allowed. The drone police would pick him up within minutes of curfew. He would be given food and shelter, but he would also be immediately put to work in the lunar gold mines.

Jackson was not afraid of hard work. He knew enough about hard work to know the lunar mines were definitely an option. They actually paid some money over room and board. A hard worker could get out of debtor prison within one hundred days or so AND have a stake. This was certainly an option for a healthy young man but Jackson wanted to get to Earth as soon as possible.

He was so very tired of the confines of space stations, space ships and domes. He felt like an aquarium fish. Worse an aquarium fish who knew there were whole worlds without walls. Jackson yearned for a feeling he had never known. He had to get to Earth. The SpaceX shuttle was the quickest way to do that.

Jackson walked over to the cannabis bar. He selected some medium-grade flower and had the barista blend them into a vanilla latte. It was an acquired taste but his father had always liked it. In times of trouble, his dad would sit down over a vanilla cannabis latte and THINK.

His dad was a real thinker. He spent a lot of time thinking about what was the right thing to do. Jackson admired it for sure. However, he sometimes could get into analysis paralysis…or so it seemed to his son. Nonetheless, when things got complicated and confusing, it was these moments with a cup of cannabis where he seemed to find answers.

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Jackson remembered his dad saying, “Son, in times like these the best thing you can do is the RIGHT thing, but the WORST thing you can do is NO THING. Teddy Roosevelt said that.”

His dad liked Teddy Roosevelt quite a lot. He would go on to explicate, “Yeah, Teddy had it right. There are moments of action where doing nothing is truly the worst option. In those moments you need to get up and move and adjust on the fly.” Then his Dad would laugh and laugh and say, “Don’t worry son, Nothing is under control!”

Jackson was always comforted by the moments of confidence his father showed in the face of some pretty hard economic, financial, and health decisions over the years. In those moments, his father leaned on the one thing he said he had and that was a brain. He reminded Jackson it was the one true legacy he could give, the gray matter.

“When you’re in trouble, STOP and think. Make a god damn plan. Be creative. There is always a way out. ALWAYS! Never give up.”

He even had a poster framed in the living room with a frog choking a heron which was trying to swallow it. His dad never failed to smile when he looked at the poster. He said it was the look of surprise in the eyes of the heron which made him confident the frog escaped.

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Jackson knew why his Dad had admired Teddy Roosevelt so much. When the early 21st century failed to produce another Teddy Roosevelt, the country his father was born in began to degrade. There was an incipient insurrection and a coup stopped by the richest man in the world. His dad said he knew America was done when the rich guy had to step in and save the republic by stopping an insurrection.

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This was the whole reason there was even a Rollerball League. When things degraded the big corporations and billionaires were the ones who could supply economic stability. People flocked to these economic and technological wonderlands. There was opportunity and safety in these areas. There was strife outside of these zones, at least in the DisUnited States.

“I think the Zerodogs have a chance!” shouted a man from a nearby table. Two of the women there laughed heartily. One reached into her expansive purse and pulled out a Golden Doggie. The Golden Doggie was a limited edition hardware wallet only available in Starbase Autonomous Zone. It was beautiful and gleaming in the way only gold gleams. She flashed it conspicuously. It was beautiful.

“I got one thousand doge here says the Musk Oxen are going to dominate!” she bragged loudly. “I did not come all the way from the SAZ to sit in the front row and watch the Musk Oxen lose.”

The man was cowed. He obviously could not match her bet. He held up a tiny slip of paper and said, ”I put fifty doge on them. I got four to one odds.” He gestured over to a flashing sign which read, bookmaker.

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“I love the ZeroDogs. My dad was a coder in Cupertino. He told me ZeroDog referred to the hex zero D the MacOS used as an end of line indicator. Apparently, Woz liked to refer to it as a ZeroDog.”

“Yeah, yeah, we all heard the cool stories about the ZeroDogs but stories don’t make Rollerball teams. Money makes Rollerball teams. We got the doge. We got the money. The Musk Oxen have won two Rollerball Championships in a row. There is gonna be a threepeat. We bought it!” bragged the rich “sazzer”

Jackson looked over toward the bookmaker. There was always a way out. One just needed to be bold. Four to one odds were quite good. Jackson could change the math with a well-placed bet. Otherwise, he could wait a few days and end up in the lunar gold mines. He could place a bet on an alternative path, but 4-1 was not quite good enough.

Jackson marched up to the bookmaker. He looked over the various bets which could be made. Surprisingly, the odds were 7-1 the Musk Oxen would score first and do so in the first period. It was a very specific bet, but it paid a sufficient amount to get a ticket to the SAZ. The Musk Oxen were notoriously slow starters and had only scored first once all season despite their dominant record.

Jackson thought about the other “score” bets, but really like this one because of its early conclusion. If the Musk Oxen scored first, such that Jackson got paid, it would happen in the first period. That meant the Rollerball game would still be in full swing. He could easily get a seat on the shuttle to the Starbase Autonomous Zone before the game was over.

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“Yessir, put it on the Musk Oxen to score first.” Jackson said confidently.

“Brave man,” the bookie looked up from his odds. “We are giving seven to one now. Damn Musk Oxen never score first, you will lose your money son.” He scanned Jackson’s wallet and gave him a tiny slip of paper.

“The ZeroDogs knocked off the Amazonians to get to the championship so anything is possible,” Jackson responded.

The ZeroDogs of Cupertino were wildcards. It would be an extraordinary upset over perpetual frontrunners, the Musk Oxen of the SAZ, to bring the ZeroDogs to the Championship. Jackson’s father taught him to be practical. The ZeroDogs were not going to win no matter how much their fans wanted it. The Musk Oxen would win and they would do so decisively AND IMMEDIATELY was Jackson’s bet.

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Jackson looked out of the observation dome. The space station was already teeming with smaller shuttles and viewing platforms. The Rollerball Championships were a big deal. A good game was inevitable! Jackson had done something. Now he would find out if it was the wrong or right thing, but it was nothing. He was trying to get to the Starbase Autonomous Zone ASAP.

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This was the only way. It would not take long to find out. Either the Musk Oxen scored first and did so in the first period or Jackson would be working in the lunar gold mines. The whistle blew and the Rollerball was in play.

“Holy Musk Oxen!”, shouted the announcer. “The Musk Oxen have scored on the first play!”

Jackson grinned and made his way back to the bookmaker. He was going to the Starbase Autonomous Zone after all. He was going to have a pocketful of dogecoin too. Things were looking up.

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