Friday, July 26, 2013

The Poker Table: Part One

            "I'm not so sure that this is a good idea," John Peter said.
            "Come on, Bulldog," Killjoy urged his friend, using his nickname. "This thing is a sure bet. Well, as sure as you can get while you're gambling."
            "That's exactly what I'm worried about," John said. "Gambling, by definition, isn't a sure thing. That's why it's called gambling."
            "I know that, but I always win," Killjoy said. "It's like taking candy from babies for me. Every time that I have ever walked into a casino or sat down at a game of cards, I have always walked away a richer man."
            "So what do you need me for, then?" John asked. He carried a blaster from the table where he had been cleaning it and hung it in the armory. "Take your money, win enough to pay yourself back and buy the core, and we're good to go."
            "I can't get into a game with high enough stakes for that," Killjoy said., "not with the pittance that I have. But I know that you have a fair amount stashed away. Your money could get me into the right game."
            "I do have some put away," John agreed, and a hell of a lot of good it's done me, he added to himself. "I have that because I saved it and didn't take it to the gambling tables."
            "I promise that I can double your money and get a new core for the Safe Haven," Killjoy said. "I just need enough money to get into the game."
            "If you're so all firing good at gambling, why do you only have 'a pittance?'" John asked as he retrieved a large weapon from the weapon vault and took it out to the armory's repair benches. His best guess was that this hunk of metal was a prototype of a heavy weapon, but he had yet to see it work. Maybe today would be the say that he figured out how to fix it.
            "Don't really remember," Killjoy answered honestly. "I guess I probably spent all of it as quickly as I could win it."
            "And what's to say that you won't spend my money as well as your winnings?" John asked. He had already decided to help out Killjoy but quite frankly enjoyed making him beg.
            "You'll be there," Killjoy answered. "Besides, I'm going to be playing for a new core for the ship. It's hard to spend that."
            "I'll help you," John finally said without even putting aside his tools. With a quick head motion, he flipped his magnifying visor down. "I do have one question, though."
            "What is it?" Killjoy asked mid-fist pump. He was so thrilled to finally have financial backing for his plan that he was willing to answer almost anything.
            "How is it that you're so good at winning?" John asked. "Do you cheat? Because as a member of the Space Corps, I'm not allowed to tolerate cheating."
            "In that case, I don't cheat," Killjoy answered. "And nobody will be able to prove otherwise."
            "Well, you know what they say," John said. "It's only cheating if you get caught. I don't subscribe to that theory, but people who gamble are just begging to have their money stolen by cheaters."
            "We also need it a lot more than they do," Killjoy said. "With the stakes that we'll be playing for, our opponents could probably lose an entire planet in a bet and not have it affect their pocket book."
            "Yeah right," John said. "People don't actually bet planets."
            "Yes they do," Killjoy disagreed. "Don't be surprised if you see a few of them changing hands tonight."
            "No joke?" John asked, still focused intently on the weapon in front of him. "After everything that I've seen, that will be a new one for me."
            "Not me," Killjoy said. He grabbed a rifle from the weapon vault and sat down at the repair bench across from John. "I actually owned one for a short while. Three hands, to be exact."
            "Three hands?" John asked, looking at his friend momentarily. "I thought you always walked away richer."
            "What's it tell you that I lost a planet and was still richer than when I started?" Killjoy shot back.
            "Either you had very little to begin with or it was a pretty crappy planet," John answered immediately.
            "A little of both, actually," Killjoy said.
            "So, when are we starting this ill-conceived plan?" John asked. He had faith in Killjoy to deliver but was still ever the pessimist, at least in speech.
            "Well, the high stakes won't start until later," Killjoy said. "By later, I mean midnight or later. I do want to hit up a few low stake games early on, though, just to dust off my skills."
            "So nine o'clock?" John asked. "We can tell Cap that we're going out to look for discount equipment for the armory."
            "I have been meaning to pick up some spare charge mags for the laser rifles," Killjoy agreed. "The blaster we have enough for but not the rifles."
            "Nine it is, then," John said. "I hear that all of the best dealers open shop then."

            "Agreed," Killjoy said, but they were not thinking about the same dealers.

1 comment:

  1. For reference, other readers, the story buttons are finicky. Click on the title to the right of the screen if it won't show up using the buttons on top.