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Old 01-09-2006, 08:04 PM   #28
JasraLantill
No One Liners
 
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Scotland, UK
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Chapter 6--part 5

Ithra had taken a wrong turn in the corridor when leaving the med bay and ended up in the maintenance bay, now doubling as the cargo bay since its conversion into a temporary dormitory. Mission, the Mandalorian, and Zalbaar were grouped around a large cargo cube, using it as a table and footlockers as stools. With Zalbaar in the middle, Mission and the Mandalorian sat facing each other, with a small deck of Pazaak cards and a pile of Zorgang nuts arranged between them on the makeshift table.

“Twenty!” the Mandalorian said, victoriously tossing down his card. “I win.”

“Hey, wait a minute… that’s a tournament card, Canderous!” Mission complained. “You can’t use that. That’s cheating!” Arms outstretched, she began to scoop the heap of brightly coloured Zorgang nuts towards her. “The pot’s mine by default.”

“Hey! You didn’t say that I couldn’t…”

Zalbaar roared.

Canderous scowled at the Wookiee. “Couldn’t you have chosen someone else to be the adjudicator?”

“He’s a perfect choice. No one’s stupid enough to argue with a Wookiee.” Mission picked up a bright yellow nut and popped it into her mouth. “Not even you.”

Zalbaar uttered a series of staccato grunts in quick succession, laughing as only a Wookiee could.

Ithra was about to turn and go in the other direction when Mission spotted her. “Oh, hey there!” She beckoned Ithra forward with her hand. “Come join us. I’m Mission. And this is Big Z,….”

Zalbaar growled softly in greeting.

“…and that’s Canderous. We were just passing the time. In case you haven’t noticed, hyperspace travel is boring. So, wanna play a hand or two?” Mission deftly shuffled some Pazaak cards in her hands.

Ithra looked at Zalbaar, then Mission, then back to Zalbaar, then Canderous, then back to Zalbaar.

“C’mon,” Mission pleaded, invitingly patting the extra space on her footlocker. “You can sit by me. I won’t bite.”

Zalbaar stretched his arms upwards and rested them behind his head in a relaxed manner. He grunted a few times.

“And Big Z said he promises not to bite either,” Mission translated.

Ithra took a few cautious steps forward.

“I might though,” Canderous said suggestively.

Ithra bristled. “Jolee didn’t warn me about Wookies, or Mandalorians for that matter, being inclined to bite,” she said tartly. “But he did advise me on the propensity Wookiees have for limb dislocation.”

Canderous chortled. “I’m sure I could manage to provide a similar service, if you ask nicely.”

Ithra flashed him a look that could have reduced the Mandalorian to a pile of smoking ashes.

“Just ignore him,” Mission said, giving the Mandalorian an equally dirty look. “And don’t worry about Big Z. I’ll give you plenty of warning if it looks like he’s getting angry. C’mon. Sit down.”

Ithra edged a little closer. “What are you playing?” she asked, squinting to see the cards Mission held.

“You mean….” Mission’s eyes widened. “You mean, you’ve never played Pazaak?”

Ithra tentatively shook her head.

“Never?” A glint shimmered in Canderous’ eyes. “Well, pull up a footlocker, sweetheart, and we’ll deal you in. Erm…minimum wager’s forty credits.”

There was a thump from behind the cargo cube.

“Ow!” As Canderous rubbed his shin, he glowered at Zalbaar, then at Mission. She gave him a quick, wry grin, and then smiled gratefully at the Wookiee.

“Like I said, just ignore him,” said Mission. “We’re playing for Zorgang nuts.” From the other side of the footlocker, she picked up a container from the floor. “Bought them in this shop Jolee showed me on Coruscant. But we can play for something else.” Mission rummaged through the small box. “I’ve got Fizz Busters, some Drontan Gums, Mini-Kips….”

“So,” Ithra interrupted Mission’s recitation, “this Pazaak…it is a wagering game?” Ithra inched forward with curiosity.

“Well…yeah,” Mission said. “It’s kinda boring if you’re not betting something. Besides, when you use something like Zorgang nuts, you can eat your winnings.” And with that she popped a few more of the colourful treats in her mouth.

Zalbaar roared in agreement.

“If you want to, you can watch a hand or two first. Big Z’s just the adjudicator, so it’s just me and Canderous playing really.”

“Of course, it’ll just be me winning,” Canderous boasted. “Okay, kid. Enough talk. Deal.”

Ithra carefully observed how the game was played. The first time, Canderous won as he predicted. The second set was won by Mission. And now it was the last hand of the third set.

“Nineteen,” said Canderous. “I stand.”

Mission smiled. Unlike Canderous, she still held all four of her sidedeck cards in her hand and her cards showing on the table only totalled ten. She drew her next card. “Six.” She threw down one of the cards she held. “And four makes twenty! Yes!” She swept the nuts that made up the kitty toward her and added them to her pile. “Victory is sah-weet!” she said, popping a bright blue Zorgang nut into her mouth.

“Are you sure you’re not cheating?” Canderous asked, giving her a menacing but playful squint.

“Hey! It’s not my fault that you’re not any good at Pazaak,” Mission countered. “So, Ithra, do you want to play? I promise I’ll go easy on you.”

Ithra gently bit her lip as she considered the offer. “No, thank you,” she said politely. “Perhaps some other time.”

“Oh. Well, okay.” Mission looked a bit hurt. “We could play a different game, you know,” she added. “Think there’s a dejarik board around here someplace.”

“I really have to get back,” said Ithra, backing away. “But thank you for the offer.”

“Right. Sure. Anytime. Just let me know.”

Ithra left the way she came in, but she lingered in the corridor for a moment.

“Did I do something wrong?” she heard Mission ask. “’Cause, I don’t think she liked me.”

“The Jantessans don’t ‘like’ anyone,” Canderous replied. “Not even gregarious, hyper-active, Pazaak-cheating kids.”

“Cheating? Cheating! I’ll show you who’s cheating!” Mission challenged. “This time you deal, and it’s double or nothing!”

Canderous chuckled. “You’re on. I never back down from a challenge.”


Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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Last edited by JasraLantill; 11-02-2012 at 10:12 AM.
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