The Vorgon Hold'em
Present Day, Risa
The evening Risian suns were shining on the beaches by the resort, but there was no one to enjoy the moment.
Instead, all the action was within the resort. All of it within the gambling hall, focusing on one prime point.
Where the Dabo table was, there was an empty table, save for three people sitting and some cards.
On one side was Captain Fludicus of the ISS Adam Smith. Clad in a formal suit, the Ferengi seemed to be taking some time off from his command. This however, was not the case, but whatever was happening here was still fun.
Opposite him was a Vorgon, a time-traveling alien species, looking at Fludicus with deep intent. Close by, his female counterpart shot a deadly gaze at their Ferengi opponent.
Between them was a Risian dealer and fifty-two cards: two in each of the opposing players, five laid out on the table and the rest with the dealer, who played with them while the two commenced their game over the table.
Surrounding the table were scores of bystanders, taking bets from a Ferengi bookie who went among them. Curious though that there was no bet between the two player.
Or so it seems, as the bets between the two players had already been set.
ISS Adam Smith, Three weeks earlier...
“Hey, who are you?”
Chief Engineer Thron was surprised to see two Vorgons in the Engineering Room of the ISS Adam Smith, seemingly trying to access a nearby console. The two ran off on being caught in the act.
Thron then rushed to the console accessed. With one look, he knew what was happening.
He tapped his combadge, “Engineering to Bridge. We had a break-in attempt and the culprits are now loose on the ship...”
The ship was locked down almost immediately. Standard procedure alongside with other conceivable measures were put into effect.
If there was on thing that Fludicus read and learn from his studies in the Academy, it was all the incredible and outrageous incursions that have happened on starships through the centuries. For such events that he may experience, he had implemented a series of protocols to be placed.
The ship was locked down immediately, crew were asked to stay in their positions, while security teams swept the ship deck by deck. Various shielding was set up throughout the ship, and the net closed in.
Whenever they cleared a deck, a shield was put up behind the security team so to ensure the deck was not intruded again. All entry points, right down to the Jefferies Tubes, were sealed with shields on all decks. Only the security and the senior staff were allowed to use the turbo lifts.
Soon enough, Fludicus and the crew of the ISS Adam Smith found their targets. The Vorgons apparently did not get far from the Engineering Room. They tried to beam out, but found the shielding hard to crack, they tried to access the turbo lifts and the Jefferies tube only to find them locked down and sealed. As they ran though the passage ways they met invisible walls and dead ends, and their options began to run out as those increased in number.
A security team led by Garso'Zan and Selven located the Vorgons in a passageway trapped between two forcefields. In a rare act of seeking for some recreation while waiting for reinforcements and containing the intruders, Selven and Garso'Zan began to shrink the containment field. By the time Fludicus caught up with his bridge officers, the the Vorgons were tightly trapped in a space no bigger than a clothes wardrobe.
Present Day, Risa
Two Kings, two Tens and an ace were laid out on the table. The King of Spades, the Ten of Spades and the Ace of Spades took up the left right and middle of the layout respectively.
The male Vorgon, seated and intense, gave both cards to the dealer facing down. The Risian dealer opened them, revealing a Queen of Spades and a Two of Spades.
“We have a flush,” the dealer declared as he rearranged the cards, “the suit of Spades.”
The Vorgon smiled. This was the moment he felt that his victory seemed close.
ISS Adam Smith, Two weeks ago
The brig of the ISS Adam Smith now held the two Vorgon intruders. They were slated to be charged for unauthorised entry into a Starfleet Vessel and attempted theft. While en route to Starfleet Command however, they were directed to Starbase K7 to receive some individuals interested in the Vorgons.
As the delegation beamed aboard the ISS Adam Smith, a familiar face caught his eye. Fludicus and the officer immediately exchanged pleasantries.
“Temporal Agent Philip Crey,” the the dark-skinned officer responded to Fludicus' greeting of introducing himself, “It's good to see you again.”
“I suppose our meeting has nothing to do with the our ongoing assignments,” Fludicus began, getting straight to business, “We have not been involved in anything related to time travel as of late.”
“Unfortunately, word of the break-in aboard your ship has reached the Department of Temporal Investigations. You may note that the Vorgons have an unfortunate reputation for travelling through time. So it is natural...” as the two began to walk to the brig, “that the Department would take interest in their secure custody.”
As the temporal agent and the captain entered the brig, the Vorgons noticed the former with some measure of shock and horror.
“No,” the female began to quiver, “Not him...”
“This is exactly the last thing we need,” the male remarked, “Why did you come for us?”
Agent Crey and Fludicus could only look at each other with bemusement as the Vorgons went hysterical.
Present Day, Risa
The Federation was familiar with Poker, but this is not the usual type played by many Starfleet officers. This variant, called Texas Hold'em, relies on the players to build poker hands using the cards laid out on the table and those in their hand. There was another way to win in this variant, that is to convince the other players that their hand is weaker than yours without either side revealing their hands.
Fludicus, still sitting at the Poker table. Looked at the hand his Vorgon opponent made and and then at his hand of cards. This game had high stakes. Victory for the Vorgons meant their freedom.
His eyes went between the hand and the cards he had.
Failure was not an option.
ISS Adam Smith Ready Room. 2000 Hours, two weeks ago.
“A very interesting session, “Agent Crey commented, looking at the result on his PADD., “I did not realise they could plan such a scheme like this.”
“They were planning an attack on Earth... all for the sake of saving their future,” Fludicus said flabbergasted, “madness...”
“This will be something for the Department to investigate,” Agent Crey said, “I am more interested in how you managed to make them spill the beans.”
Agent Crey slowly and quietly hatched his question, “Do you realise what you offered them in return for this?”
Fludicus copied that tone, “I only offered a chance for freedom in exchange for the information. What stands between them is a game of poker.”
“What gave you this idea in the first place?” Crey asked, sounding almost like he wanted to scold him yet admiring the technique that Fludicus used, “Is it that Ferengi in you?”
“I am Ferengi...” Fludicus knows that despite the passage of time as well as the Captain Nog's profile in Starfleet that Ferengi are still notoriously stereotyped as a greedy materialistic species, “If I did not pull that off, they would not have revealed their intent.”
“Are you aware that if they go free, they may proceed to commit their temporal crime and wreak havoc on the timestream?"
“I am fully aware of that,” Fludicus replied, “I am also aware that they have not committed the crime, nor do we have any evidence of them committing such a crime.”
“The fact that they are travelling though time is proof enough that they intend to commit a temporal incursion.”
“I concede that,” Fludicus admitted, “However, we would not have the evidence you need without my gambit...”
Agent Crey felt defeated, “That is one thing I will give to you. We would not be able to build our case against them had you not offered them whatever you did...”
Fludicus took in a deep breath, “I could not offer a cheaper deal. Those Vorgons would not give up their information easily.”
Agent Crey nodded, somewhat very reluctantly, “We have all sorts of troubles with the Vorgons. I hope you know what you are doing...”
“Why Agent?” Fludicus asked, “Think I cannot handle them?”
“Can you consider the risk you are putting us all in?”
Fludicus only smiled, “Well, as a tactical officer, risk is part of my job. After all its my job to manage it."
Agent Crey seemed not convinced.
“If you think I am not, I bet the ship the Vorgons have that I would beat to them their chance for freedom while putting up a show for everyone....”
Risa, present day.
Fludicus took in the whole scene around him. The table, the cards in hand and on the table, even his opponent and the crowd around him. It was a moment to savour as all eyes fell on him.
It had been a gruelling twelve rounds. Twelve rounds of Texas Hold'Em. For every round that one won the other took for his own.
This was round 13. The deciding round.
Failure was not an option.
Fludicus seemed resigned. But everything had been made and done. It had all melted down to this.
All he needed to do is to show his hand.
Fludicus decided to hand one card to the dealer. It seemed to be a poor sign. What could be done with a single card that would outdo the Vorgon's hand?
The Risian dealer then revealed the card. The crowd and the players were silent as the King of hearts was revealed. The dealer then rearranged the cards to show Fludicus' hand. A murmur of shock and surprise rippled though the crowd on the reveal.
“Full house,” the dealer declared, “Kings and Tens.”
Fludicus could finally smile at his Vorgon opponent, who let his mouth drop in horror. Meanwhile, his female counterpart tried to turn and run, only to be flanked by two junior temporal agents who (kindly) took her by the arms and took her into custody.
The sitting Vorgon, seeing the writing on the wall, simply sat on as Agent Crey and several of his colleagues began to circle him. He looked at Fludicus one last time, showing no emotion or intent.
“It seems that we cannot change the future after all,” the Vorgon resignedly said, “Just like another Starfleet captain long ago... right here on his planet, you played your part... well.”
Fludicus could only smile as this opponent quietly accepted his arrest by the Temporal Agents.
Nighttime. Risa. Present Day
As the party lived up around a bonfire on the beach, Fludicus watch from afar on a balcony at the promenade. He sipped a mock-tail, wondering if he was going to return to the Dabo table for that long awaited Dabo prize that had been elusive to everyone for all these years. Failing that, he could still get a few rounds of fun at the cost of a few thousand energy credits.
“If there is one thing I would agree with the Vorgons, its that you played your part well...” Fludicus turned around to see Agent Crey clad in more or less the same style as him with a drink in his hand, “A well-played game back there Captain.”
“Thank you...” Fludicus replied as the Temporal Agent came to stand beside him at the balcony, “There are moments though I thought I may have failed at that point or worse. Still, I did not expect the game to be this close...”
“I myself had my misgivings,” confessed Agent Crey, “but you seemed to have proven otherwise in the end. Regardless of the facts, the Department of Temporal Investigations has taken the Vorgons into custody and will be... inquiring into their allegations and their actions thus far,” he took a sip from his drink, “Any plans after this?”
“Actually, I just issued a ship-wide leave for the crew,” Fludicus replied, “We are not going around for the next few days.”
“Ah, I guess you need that leave,” Agent Crey remarked, “However, I do have one last thing for you...”
Agent Crey pulled out a PADD from his pocket. The palm sized-tablet passed from Crey's to Fludicus who was shocked the contents of the PADD.
“These are command codes...”
“You earned it,” Crey said, “And I cannot find a better captain to take command of the vessel.”
“The Vorgons had a vessel at their disposal.”
“Where did you get these?”
“We are not quite done with them as of yet,” Agent Crey replied, referring to the Vorgons, “but we managed to interrogate them enough to... tell us where they left their ship as well as how to access it...”
“But a Vorgon Dreadnought cruiser,” Fludicus said, “You got to be kidding me...”
“We are surprised too,” Crey said, “Nevertheless, a deal is a deal. You promised to put up a show in not letting them escape. And that you did...”
“Well, while this is welcome, I do not know how to repay your... generosity,” Fludicus remarked as he checked though the specifications inside the PADD, “I suspect though that there's some strings attached.”
Initially coy but knowing that it would need to be said, Crey began, “Well, just for you to know, the ship had been inspected and stripped of anything suspected to be temporal technology or of any interest to the Department of Temporal Investigations. Having said that, the ship is now yours to command.”
Agent Crey then offered his hand, “I hope to see you again, aboard your prize of course.”
Fludicus took Crey's hand, replying, “I look forward to the same, in more cordial circumstances.”