Author : S. Clough aka Hrekka

She bent the corners of the cards up off the table, as if checking their values. She didn’t even see them – her focus was on Mayweather across the table. She’d memorised her cards as they were dealt, and trusted her memory implicitly. If you couldn’t trust your own mind, what could you trust?

Tag glanced at her, lips slightly apart. Her knowledge of the Saurian’s body language was sketchy at best. This made bluffing against him somewhat of a nervewracking experience. He was sitting to her left, and to Mayweather’s right. She ignored his gaze, instead maintained her watch on Mayweather. Before the game started, the three of them had made the Duarcher put on a Faraday helmet – it meant that his face was hard to read, but he couldn’t use the hardware in his skull. No-one could be sure that the room was camera-free. Remontoire had already folded, and was currently gazing desolately at his ever-diminishing stack of chips. He was the only other baseline human that she’d seen for days.

Mayweather gave a long sigh. He pushed his cards forward.


“I call,” she said, turning to look at Tag.

Tag turned his cards over. A straight: three, four, five, six and seven. She flipped her cards over with one finger, revealing four twos.

“Win,” she said simply, tilting her head and smiling.

Tag stood slowly, and reached round his belt. There was a metallic clink. Stepping backwards, he raised a stubby handgun and pointed it straight at her.

“No you didn’t,” he said.

A blinding flash dazed all the players momentarily. Tag fell to the floor, scrabbling for his weapon. Remontoire had pulled a little guassgun, and the slug had punched a two-centimetre hole in Tag’s firearm. She didn’t know whether to put this down to spectacular accuracy or spectacular inaccuracy on Remontoire’s part.

She kicked Tag’s gun away from his groping fingers, and turned, planting her foot on the back of his head, smashing his face into the floor. He twitched, and went limp. Remontoire landed a crack on Mayweather’s neck with the butt of his gun, and the unfortunate mark slumped across the table. She emptied Tag’s pockets, and Remontoire relieved Mayweather of everything he had.

She went to the door, and called to their associates in from the corridor. Two burly men quickly dragged the unconscious Mayweather and the bleeding, moaning Tag outside.

Rem dropped his gun back into his holster. They dumped everything on the table, along with all the cash. Sitting down opposite each other, they carefully split the pile between them, with two smaller piles forming for the heavies who were even now dealing with the other players.

She stood, and shook Remontoire’s hand.

“A pleasure doing business with you.”

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