Dispatch #17: “Exploitation”

“Hit me.” said Commander Sean as he wiped away the bead of sweat that was forming at the base of his forehead. Mission Specialist JB and Payload Specialist Risk looked on as the Brazorian blackjack dealer threw another card to the Commander.

“Hit me again.” said Sean as he looked down at the hand he’d been dealt. He was currently seven away from 21. The dealer placed the next card face down on the table and sent it over to the Commander. JB looked down at the card, took a quick glance around the rest of the fully engaged table, then glanced back down at the card with a slight smirk.

“21! Let’s go baby!” shouted the Commander in excitement.

Charkie, JASooner, and backdoorkeys all got out of their chairs in excitement to celebrate with their leader. As the casino dealer distributed the chips that Sean had won on that hand, Risk leaned over to the smiling JB and whispered amidst the sound of cheering.

“How’d you know he was going to win?” said the Payload Specialist quietly, trying not to draw any attention to the rest of the table.

“This thing does some pretty crazy stuff.” said JB, pointing to his new mechanical eye with a chuckle. “Almost wish that I would’ve had my eye ripped out of its socket years ago. Unfortunately, the pit boss already spotted it and told me I couldn’t play any card games in any of the casinos at the resort. Guess I’ll just be a bystander and check on the recruits to see if I can be of any assistance.”

Winking with his human eye, the Mission Specialist got up and stepped away from the table, moving towards the slot machines that seemed to be keeping the majority of Destiny’s Fortune preoccupied.

Britt, SealBur, LaHoushua, Joesude, and Commander Von all huddled around MainStreet as the recruit kept firing away at the Brazorian slot machine. Winning on 8 of the last 10 pulls, the recruit looked to stay hot, determined to hit the big one.

“If I nail the jackpot on this pull, everyone in this row is getting free drinks on me the rest of the night!” shouted MainStreet as he reached for the machine lever.

Cheers quieted to murmurs as members of Destiny’s Fortune looked on in excitement. DPerciv, RCar, MrCrispyyy, and Paco looked on from the machines in the same row, the intensity building as the machine’s reels began to slow down. Shrieks of joy erupted from the casino as the stars aligned for MainStreet.

“Triple sevens baby! What a banger!” screamed Commander Von as he and the rest of the recruits rambunctiously hugged the jackpot-winning recruit. The yelling and celebrating could be heard throughout the slots sector of the casino.

“I’ve never been this lucky in my entire life! Drinks for everyone all night long!” said MainStreet as he collected his receipt from the machine. As soon as he and the rest of the party left that specific row of machines, a flurry of resort vacationers flocked to the hot machine, trying to also cash in on the magical run that just took place.

- — -

“Protecting the reputation of Brazoria is my number one priority during the beginning of these dark times.” said Tylea as he addressed his staff inside the casino’s security room. “After Nifty and the Legion of Wen’s planned invasions of both Makanan and Simia, there has been widespread panic across the galaxy the likes of which I’ve never seen before. Panic leads to less travel, which ultimately leads to less people spending their hard earned money within the resort. We must do everything we can to hold Brazoria to the high standards the galaxy expects.”

Tylea looked back at the security camera footage of the recruits celebrating MainStreet’s jackpot win; his eyes lighting up despite one of his machines paying out more than he’d like to see. The humans arriving alongside the Thealuvians and the royalty in King Aras of Simia certainly helps the vibes around this area of the galaxy. The safer things are around here, the better (outside of the occasional blaster exchange of course). Giving the humans 200 credits each should encourage the high rollers to play more, especially if they are winning like one of their recruits just did. Big money rolling around in the casino means the suckers come out to play as well.

“Let’s keep the good vibes rolling and everyone will be happy. I’ll be out on the floor if anyone needs me.” said Tylea as he exited the security room and stepped out in the hallway that led to the main casino lobby.

In the possible event that things start to get chippy, at least we’ll have the firepower advantage on our side…

- — -

The heroic clang of the ringside bell sounded off within the casino coliseum. Deafening roars followed from the sold out crowd upon the announcement that the ‘Fight of the Night’ battle was starting. Not only a casino, Brazoria was also home to the largest fight community within the Arderean galaxy. Flight Engineer Riemer, Captain Brian, Captain Wolfpup, and Captain Th4 Monst4 made their way into the upper deck suite that was graciously granted to them by Tylea. Brazoria had gone above and beyond anything the humans had ever expected when it came to hospitality from the resort. While the majority of Destiny’s Fortune was having a blast at the casino, the Commanders and Tylea figured it would be good to give a few of the captains and Riemer a taste of entertainment in something they loved.

“I’m so fired up, there are signs everywhere stating that the champion actually has a real test tonight!” said Captain Brian, bringing a Brazorian cocktail to his lips.

“Don’t tell me that.” shouted Flight Engineer Riemer. “I placed all of my 200 credits on the champion for shits and gigs.”

Captain Brian shrugged his shoulders, turning his head toward the entrance of the suite as three hooded figures made their way in and stationed themselves at the back of the room.

“Do we have any kind of bad feelings about this?” said Captain Wolfpup as he pretended to eat popcorn out of Riemer’s container. “I’m starting to get anxious butterflies in my stomach and it’s not because of the three cocktails I’ve already had.”

“No, I’m sensing it too. I should contact the Commanders.” said Riemer under his breath. “For now, we have to act like we’re enjoying ourselves so that they think we don’t notice that they are here.”

Before the contestants could even be announced, a wild shriek resonated from the main microphone that addressed the crowd — something wasn’t right…

“THIS IS ALL A DISTRACTION.” screamed the voice over the loudspeaker. “The Ice Wolf planet of Loborio was destroyed this evening, its core burnt to a crisp following the arrival of the Legion of Wen.”

Gasps from the crowd echoed throughout the coliseum as the Captains looked back and forth at each other, trying to not draw too much attention to the fact that they knew more Wen were in their vicinity. Riemer nodded to the group as if to give the go-ahead to use any force necessary if an attack should arise.

“I now ask of the mighty republic of Ardere, what say you of Nifty and his Legion of Wen?” said the voice over the loudspeaker.

The Legion of Wen moved in behind the Captains and activated their weapons of paralysis, immobilizing the several captains and Flight Engineer Riemer.

- — -

“Is there any way we can turn this guy off?” shouted Tylea into his two-way.

“No sir, it appears all communications have been jammed by…Destiny’s Fortune.” said one of the security crew.

Tylea moved over to face the other side of the Brazorian complex, his eyes set on Destiny’s Fortune sitting in the guest hangar.

“The least likely of outcomes has finally hit Brazoria. Let us embrace change in order to survive.”

- — -

“Magma scarring.” exclaimed King Aras. “A planet with an icy composition such as Loborio doesn’t stand a chance against magma samples taken from the lava pools of Simia. The Legion of Wen must’ve collected the lava right under our noses during the battle near the defense tower. How could we have missed this? I have to go to Loborio to investigate.”

“All due respect my King, but I think the Captains, Commander Sean, and I should go. You know, for hierarchy reasons.” said Commander Von, a hint of hesitancy in his voice.

“Stand down Commander.” said Ringbolt, “Let’s hear what Tylea has to say considering the infiltration of his ‘well-protected casino’.”

The sarcasm didn’t sit well with the Brazorian resort leader, this incident wasn’t going to sit well with the DeadHeads council.

“As much as I’d like to make the ultimate decision, it sounds like you all have things handled. Brazoria need not interfere with galaxy matters outside of what we deal with inside the battle arena. Whatever decision you come to need not affect us.” said Tylea as he walked out of the room, noticeably ticked off by the way things went during one of the biggest nights the casino has seen in quite some time..

“Looks like we have decisions to make,” said Ringbolt. “Time to rally the troops.”

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