<USS Banshee> "Gambling with Emotions" Pt. 2

  • From: "Brad Ruder" <GroundZero@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2003 00:44:01 -0700

"Gambling with Emotions"
by Lieutenant Joshua Asper
Lieutenant Sara Crusher
& Lieutenant JG Joe Castillo


Josh stared at him in shock as if he?d broken one of the seven cardinal sins, ?Are you kidding me??

?No, like I said I?m a social drinker and didn't have much time to be social at the academy.?

?You?ve never had bloodwine?? Sara asked.

?No, should I have??

Lark was the first to initiate action in the card game by sliding two cards to Josh ? the dealer ? after carefully deciding which two would be the best to lose. ?Dealer, I?d like two cards ? the ones that I need preferably.?

Biting into a chip, Josh passed the two requested cards over the table to Lark, who snatched them up immediately. Josh wanted to see some emotion register on his face, but it remained as cold as stone.

?Bloodwine is a potent Klingon ale. It'll knock you on your ass if you take even a shot full. Not many people can handle it.?

?Nasty stuff.? Jenny added.

?Hey, umm, no one bothered to tell me what the stakes were and what version of poker we're playing.? Joe stated as he watched Jenny slide three cards over to Josh, who promptly slid the corresponding number of cards back to Jenny from the top of the deck.

?Five card draw. No stakes as of yet, I figured we?d do a practice game to get warmed.?

?Try having it when you?re eleven. I was sick all night from one sip.? Sara piped in while making a face. Jenny was right ? it was nasty stuff.

Pouring a shot for himself and Sara, Joe?s eyes scanned the small group, ?Any other takers?? He frowned and looked at his cards, sliding one to Josh. ?OK, just checking. Give me one.?

?Wait a second, I?ll take a shot of that sexy.?

Joe proceeded to pour her one and pass it across the table, smiling as he did so. ?You keep calling me sexy, cutie, and it may go to my head.?

?Which one?? Jenny said.

He blushed visibly, ?Well, you?ll just have to find out, huh??

After passing the single card to Joe, Josh turned his stare to Sara and was happy to change the subject. ?How many cards for the lovely Sara Crusher??

?Only one, Josh.?

?Dealer will take three.? Josh said after giving Sara her lone card. The trio he slid into his hand didn?t help him much, but that was the way the cards were dealt and there wasn?t much more he could do ? besides bluff his way to the win. ?All right, Lark, you're the first to reveal. What you got, phaser boy??

?Three eights. Followed with a jack and a king.?

?Jenny?? Josh proceeded around the circle.

?Could?ve used that when that woman showed up in sick bay,? Jenny said as she savored the delicious liquid.

Joe perked an eyebrow, ?Which woman, Jenny??

?That Troi woman.?

?Oh,? Joe said, ?she seems nice to me. I don?t see why everyone hates her.?

?Loathsome woman. Come on Jenny, what you have in your hand??

She set her cards down, a grin spreading across her face as if she?d just taken over France ? which wasn?t that hard to do. ?Full houses my little boy toys.?

?Damn it. Well, this is just starting out so swell.? Josh stated. ?What you got, Castillo??

Joe frowned, ?Man, that sucks, cause all I have is two pairs ? two pairs of tens that is.? His frown got turned upside down and he smiled.

The doctor folded her cards with a sigh, ?Well, and here I was worried about Josh.?

?Well, crap. I don't want to play anymore.? Lark tossed his cards into the pile and folded his arms. Josh laughed as he playfully pouted about losing the first hand just as he stated he was going to.

?Too bad that was just practice.?

Again, Josh reached forward and gathered the cards and, again, he took another chip. ?All right. Ante up.? Asper tossed in a bronze playing chip and waited for the rest of the group to follow suit.

?So, who's going to the ball?? Lark said after laying his poker chip with the rest of them.

Joe looked oddly at his chip before tossing it in. ?How much are these little chips worth? Last time I played it was still with ?real? money. And, as for the ball, I?m apparently being forced to go.?

?We are, but we're not going nude.? Sara followed Joe?s lead and threw her chip into the center of the table; it was followed with a cacophony of plastic on plastic.

?Darn.? Joe stated flatly.

Lark eyed Jenny, ?I thought it was a requirement??

?No, it's up to the person. Cyanah and I have chosen to go dressed.?

Smirking at Sara, Joe teased, ?I was looking forward to that part.?

?Maybe next time, Joe.? Sara prompted as she took in the cards that Josh was avidly dealing to the quintet of card players.

?Not me. I'll be there in all this southern glory.? Jenny said with the accent that only she could pull off and still look as gorgeous as she was.

?Maybe there will be something to look forward too, then.?

?Got a date, Jenny?? Lark asked, still enable to pull his eyes from her, but it was as if she didn?t hear him ? or ignored him.

?Although there are some people who just don't need to go nude. Does anyone really want to see that fat guy in Engineering nude??

?Huh? What do you mean mon petite cheveuse rouge?? Joe?s words hung lifelessly in the air.

Jenny looked almost disgusted, ?Or Barney in Sec.?

Josh smiled. ?Seeing Robert from Engineering would probably be enough to make the Betazoid people wear clothes.?

?Oh yeah, I guess you?re right. Hey, Barney's a nice guy.? Joe added in defense of his security department colleague. But, you?re right; I wouldn?t want to see him nude.

?He's a sweet southern man, but he has more wrinkles then a sharpie puppy.? She picked up her cards and stared across the table at Josh and Sara.

Lark broke out laughing at Jenny?s observation before turning back to his previous question he?d attempted to ask earlier. ?So, Jenny, got a date??

Meeting him with a smile, Jenny shook her head, ?Nope. No one?s asked me.?

?Would you like to go with me??

?I?d love to go with you, Mr. Lark.? She smiled that southern smile.

?So, where are you from Jenny??

Sara watched the conversation unfold and slipped the dealer ? Josh ? three cards and went back to her drink. Josh handed her her trio of cards and looked at his hand that he seemed to have neglected since becoming engrossed in the conversation, or just observing it happen.


Joe frowned and downed his drink. He poured Sara, Jenny and himself another shot. ?Congrats, Tome, you?ll be one of the men escorting one of the more beautiful women.? Jenny gave him a quick peck on the cheek for his sweetness. Joe turned and looked at Sara. Winking, ?Most of the other beautiful women on this ship are escorting each other.?

?I wonder which man Mrs. Troi will sink her well-polished nails into.?

?Come on Joe, Jennifer, how many cards?? Josh was becoming to get upset that the conversation was getting in the way of playing cards even though he enjoyed talking. He had a good hand; he only needed a couple more cards to make it a winning one.

?Damn right we are.?

Jenny quickly gave up her two. Josh gave two back to her.

?Hold your horses, Josh, geesh. I rarely get a chance to socialize anymore and you?re usually so tightlipped when we run ? can you say something besides how many cards?? Joe seemed a bit agitated.

?He can. Or at least he use too.? Jenny smiled, ?Such a sweet talker that one.? Her words were accompanied by a piercing glare from Sara. She didn?t seem phased, ?Just to get an ear full back in the day when you passed a certain office in sickbay.?

?Thank you, Jenny, maybe later you and I can see just how sweet we can talk to each other?? Josh looked at her with the look that only he could pull off. He then perked an eyebrow; ?I don't follow you on the sickbay part, Jen.?

Jenny sighed, ?It took me an hour to pick up the mess the last time you stormed out.?

?Yeah, well, that's what happens when you find out the woman you love is cheating on you.? Josh stared at Sara, ?All right, Lark, you've got opening bid.?

?Shut up Jennifer. No need to dish about the past.?

?Ah, but the past can be so entertaining.? Joe said calmly.

The phaser specialist looked at his cards for a moment, contemplating, then tossed in a single bronze chip, ?I'll open with 5.?

?What can I say? When you find the love of your life you go for it.? Sara bluntly as she nibbled on a chip ? taking in Lark?s bet.

?Well, the way I look at is if it's the opposite sex you?re being cheated on with its not that bad. ?Oh, try the dip Sara, its real good.?

?And you leave the rest of the people in the dust ? how delightfully nice of you. Jenny, you're bet.? Josh shook his head.

?Hey, anyone talk to Heather lately? How?s she doing?? Joe asked, changing the subject.

Blindly throwing in about five chips, Jenny scoped out the two ex-lovers, ?Well, it would appear that you both have bees up your bonnets.?

?She's doing quite well.? Josh stared absently at the mound of chips tossed in, ?You just tossed in one hundred replicator rations, Jen.?

?Don't eat that crap anyway.?

?So what do you eat?? Joe asked.

?Wouldn?t you all like to know?? Jenny said to Joe, a mischievous look in her eye.

?I would actually.?

Sara choked visibly.

?You OK, Sara?? Lark asked, looking concerned.

?Hefty bet, Joe, your bet.?

?Too rich for my blood.? He tossed in his cards in defeat. He downed another shot and poured another one. ?Want some water, hun??

?Sara got it.? Jenny said winking at Joe. ?Even if it's not to her personal taste.?

The young doctor began to choke more, grabbed the glass of water and downed it. Her face turned a deep crimson and answered Lark and Joe?s request to help. ?No, I?m fine.? A weak smile wafted its way across her face.

?Oh grow up, Dearie.? Jenny said as a laugh escaped her.

?Did I miss something??

?Yes, you did.? Lark informed him. ?I fold,? his cards joined the rest of the mess in the center.

Jenny leaned over and whispered something in Joe?s ear. Joe turned a delicate shade of scarlet, ?Oh?.

?Sara, one hundred on the table. You in or out??

As Sara placed her bet and stared into her cards ?I?m in.?

Josh wasn?t about to be outdone. ?I see the hundred and raise you twenty-five.? He tossed in his chips, turning an eye and a grin to Jenny.

?Ooo, little boy likes to play. OK. I see your twenty-five and up it another fifty.?

?Getting into the big bucks now.? Josh said turning back to the redhead doctor.

?Man, that?s like a month's worth of rations. I wouldn't be able to give up that much food bad or not.? Joe said incredulously.

?I would play, but I have this affinity for eating. Something about filling my body with nutrients and making sure I don't keel over and die from starvation. Then again, it's just me.? Lark tossed in his cards in a fold and stretched, watching the rest of the game play out.

Sara looked long and hard into her cards; her eyes dancing occasionally to the stack of chips massing at the center of the table. She sighed, ?Oh, what the hell. I call.? Her chips clanged menacingly as the pot grew.

?I call,? Josh said matching Sara?s bet, ?what you got Jenny??

?Pair of threes.?

Lark couldn?t help but laughing out loud hysterically. ?They called your bluff!?

?You bet that much on a pair of threes?? Joe asked.

?And you Sara?? Josh turned to Sara with a gleam in his eye, he knew that whatever Sara had that he?d match it at least, or beat it.

?Who knew...? Jenny said adding her cards to the stack of folded cards on that table?s surface.

?Oh, just a silly little straight flush.?

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