Ruby gasped as Quartz suddenly grabbed her by the neck and threw her onto the top of the crate like she weighed nothing. Well to him she probably didn't.
"Don't," he growled warningly.
Ruby remained where she was, rubbing her neck and quietly catching her breath. Quartz looked away, simmering. Behind him the rest of the crew shifted uneasily as the immediate silence deepened uncomfortably. The ambient night life around them seemed to be of a different world, the "normal" world that all of them at least in this moment wished they were part of. The "normal" world was safe. Their immediate future contained more danger than they were used to.
Quartz eventually looked up, his slightly flared wings and lowered tail indicating definite annoyance. "Did you know?" he demanded, his voice low and dangerous.
Ruby frowned. "I knew they hung out," she answered carefully, "I didn't know she'd claimed him."
Quartz's lip curled, baring his fangs. They were in some serious shit. "Didn't know? Or blinded by bitcoin?"
Patreons get the actual script excerpt this scene comes from. It's a bit longer and slightly spoilerific.
The "bitcoin" currency they use in AER is actually some far future version of bitcoin, which I initially had fun developing a platonic solids based coin system for before I simplified it down to bits and bobs because money that divides down that much does my meagre dyscalculiac brain in. Then I went through a phase of wondering if I should have the economy based more on a bartering kind of system and have the currency be time (hours, minutes, possibly seconds) but didn't change it as at the time (that is also going to do my head in!) there were a couple of things I couldn't work out how to price (those have since been resolved so I can now use it if I wanted to). It is however nice and universal in a way that dollars aren't really, and it seems perfectly plausible as other people (or at least @InterNutter) use a time currency.