Articles - ArticlesPart Two
December 20th, 29482
Omni-Trade, Highrise 15 - Apartment 6
Jennifer is making her husband dinner, hoping to surprise him with his favorite dish, ceviche. Her mother-in-law had given her the Reyes family recipe which had been passed down for generations as a wedding gift.
Married for almost 6 years, she had to adapt and endure the move to Rubi-Ka weeks after the honey moon, leaving friends and family behind to live at the far reaches of the known universe.
She had no regrets, knowing well in advance the kind of life she would have to live as a wife of an Omni-Pol officer after she fell in love with him.
Being in a different world provided her a new opportunity to continue with her fascination with botany since Sheridan IV hadn't been a great source of interest even with the terraforming that created new species of plants.
Oscar had brought her plants from the Shadowlands, which she had secretly planted in front of their apartment, in plain sight. It was illegal to bring anything alive from that dimension, but she knew many employees had brought not only plants but even monster parts across into Rubi-Ka.
The table was set and the food was almost ready. "He should have been home by now, I hope that he didn't get another last minute call to deal with more savages".
Her loyalty and love for her husband who in turn had been a very dedicated omni employee all his life had been an attractive aspect of their relationship. If only the rebels were not constantly trying to disrupt the peace and understood that Omni-Tek was working for the good of humanity. But no, to her all of those "clanners" were nothing more than savages who thrived in the chaos, blood and misery they brought upon other omnis like her.
For a moment she feared her husband to be hurt, then remembered that his insurance had never failed and that he was in top physical condition. Yet it wouldn't hurt to make sure, she lifted her arm and tapped the comm on her wrist calling her husband's number.
Omni-Entertainment District, near Baboons
A lone man walks the streets, cursing his luck, and his greed. For years he had been able to hide it, placing small bets here and there to satisfy his gambling fever. Keeping an appearance of propriety and being above such vicious habit.
Seven weeks of winning every bet had made him feel like a god. Every yalm race, leet fight, zigball match he put credits on, became a winner. He had won three hundred million credits, six months worth of pay in just a few weeks without lifting a finger, just on pure guts and instinct.
Tonight he lost it all in the first hour of playing cards; then his pride and greed took over. He borrowed money from his bookie to get back in the game. The interest was steep, 25%. He was confident he could repay the two hundred and fifty million.
How confident he felt when he sat back at the table, carrying two hundred million in chips. All he needed to do is play it cool, get his three hundred back plus another fifty for the loan. The target was five hundred and fifty and he knew he would hit it.
It took him almost an hour, but he had recovered everything he had lost. At six hundred million he was a born winner. He had one of the strongest hands and was raising the pot, forcing others to fold.
It came down to him and a young guy who looked as if he has just came out of puberty. He had seen him trying to bluff a weak hand several times and felt a strong raise would make him fold.
With a quarter of his chips on the table, he pushed another fifty million forward. It should've been enough to make the kid fold. He didn't.
Instead he pushed all his chips in response. All in.
He took another peek at his own five cards. There was only one hand that could beat him, and he felt that the kid was trying to bluff him into giving up the pot. He asked the dealer how much his opponent had added to the pot.
"Five hundred. Do you call?quot;
Half a billion credits the kid threw at him without flinching. Stupid kid, must be the son of some rich hot shot who has no worries about money. A small fortune to someone like himself, and probably to the kid, his lunch money.
He called and with a cocky smile turned his cards. Four corporate kings and a seven of notum, he had four-of-a-kind. His hand reached for the pile of chips at the center of the table.
"I'm not finished." the kid said.
He stopped, he had been rude. The least he could do is let his young opponent lay down his cards. "Alright son, let's see what you have then".
The world seemed to move in slow motion as he saw the kid lay down the one hand that could beat him. Four corporate aces and another card of no consequence.
Things were blurry after that. Joss, his bookie's words were still playing in his mind.
"You should have quit when you were ahead. I tell you what, since you are such a good customer I'll give a week to pay up. After that, well you know how it is. It's just business."
A quarter of a billion. Jobe Bank wouldn't loan him that kind of creds without some sort of collateral he didn't have. Seven days to get a fortune or god knows what would happen to him, to his wife; his family and friends would be shocked. The scandal, the inevitable internal affairs investigation... how could he get out of the hole he dug himself into?
The beep coming from his com link momentarily cleared his mind. Checking the ID he knows Jennifer is calling. Looking at the time he realizes that she must be worried, he was supposed to be home over an hour ago.
He answers. "Hi honey. No, everything's alright; I was just was stuck filling some forms. You know how things are at the office, arrest one lowlife, file three hundred forms in triplicate so we know the who, what, when, how and where from the moment he broke the law and such. I'll be home in ten minutes dear. No, I didn't eat anything, I'm starving. A surprise? I can't wait. Yes, see you soon. I love you too".
He wasn't really hungry, but he had to act natural. He should be hungry, but losing six hundred million in one hand could make anyone lose their appetite.
Omni-Entertainment District, Baboons
The "kid" had won, as planned. Weeks of setting it all up and the mark has fallen for it, hook, line and sinker.
Joss was satisfied, he loved it when a plan came together. Now he had another 'Pol in his pocket. No shot at him getting the kind of money he owed, and once the week was up he will be "generous" to extend the time at 25% interest per day. By the time the fool would realize that it would be impossible to repay the debt he'd be willing to do anything.
All the players worked for him, and the "kid" was a pro that could go toe to toe with anyone and clean them out.
Things were easier when the weakness was females, liquor or some freaky fetish. Easy to trap some idiot with some underage girl, provoke a fight with a drunk and claimed he killed someone or just take some holo pics of a grown man dressed like a lolita... hard to explain that one when it's all over the gridfeed for anyone to see.
Gamblers are the tricky marks, specially those who keep their addiction secretly and low key as Oscar had.
He allowed him to win, over and over to build his ego. Three hundred million wasn't much to risk compared to the possible income he could rake in with that fool working for him. At least a couple of billion before he gets killed or caught.
Even if he did get arrested somehow, Joss knew he wouldn't be touched.
Some well placed "donations" every year to a few selected bureaucrats and investigations against him would close or evidence would vanish or become "inadmissible" in any corporate court.
Everyone has a price, and he had enough money to buy his way around the entire world. He wasn't called "Doctor Slayer" for nothing. Having started a rumor of being a former doctor who had killed every patient who he didn't like had given him a great start within the criminal elements among the neutrals.
Arriving a few years ago with just a few million in his pocket, now his "ventures" earned him several billion each week. Gambling, Loansharking, Blackmail, Identify Theft, Highjackings, Smuggling, Prostitution, Drug Trafficking, and more all run from legitimate establishments which are run by "partners" who get to keep their businesses if they look the other way to all the illegal activity under their roofs.
Those who don't agree, disappear; "selling" their business to some unknown person who is more willing to deal with Joss the way he likes.
Soon enough he will expand into "The Happy Rebel" and run his operation under the noses of those Sentinels that hate the neutrals so much. He found it amusing and very fitting.
As a new arrival he had made the mistake to go to Tir first, gotten shot at point blank range and woken up at a reclaim terminal in Newland.
"I'm gonna love to sell those sents weapons which I will probably jack from their own base. With the Str8ballerz gang already working for me there, it will be easy to expand my business in the clan capital" he thought.
This appeared to be a very good year to be a crime lord, oh yes, a very good year indeed.
*=Rubi-Ka Standard Time, same as GMT in real time.
Thanks to all the Rimor roleplayers who have agreed to appear in this mini-series. Everything which is done by their characters has been approved by the players behind them.
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