Despite the party members’ initial fears, the first few days passes without incident and the crew members slip back into their regular roles after spending a while getting used to the fact that they have paying customers on board once again for the first time in a while.
After his heroic efforts in fixing the Princess Grim takes a well-deserved rest. He dusts off one of his favorite Dostoyevsky novels, Crime and Punishment, and listens to the engines purr…
…‘it is odd, though,’ thinks Grim, ‘I don’t remember when I started liking Dostoyevsky.’ Shaking his head he tabs his datapad to his bookmark and begins singing softly as he reads;
“Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain
And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.
Oklahoma, Ev’ry night my honey lamb and I
Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk
Makin’ lazy circles in the sky…”
The four passengers seem to be getting on very well together with even the initially quiet Jan Ceglarski opening up a bit during the regular meals that they have together, although he still neatly avoids answering any questions as to his profession and his reason for visiting Aki. The passengers spend the first three days of the jump watching holovids, reading books and chatting but soon get bored of the routine.
Ceglarski suggests that they play a few hands of poker, explaining that he is no expert but knows how to play. The others are keen as long as the stakes are low and so they start playing at just a credit per hand. Max joins in with them as he too is getting a little bored, likes to play but also has little skill in the game. The five of them spend the rest of the day playing.
Ceglarski seems to have told the truth – he’s not terribly good at poker and loses far more often than he wins. As the other players are winning quite often, they get more and more wrapped up in the game and so continue playing until late into the evening before they decide to call it a night.
Will takes Max aside and cautions him to take a sensible business-like approach to Ceglarski and the gambling.
“We don’t want to get taken by some confidence guy, probably a Swordie, in league with starving Avites who seize the ship for unpaid debts when we get there!”
“No worries, mate,” Max replies with a cheery grin. “I know that gambling’s a mug’s game unless you’re a card shark or a casino-owner. It’s just worth a bit of coin to ‘ave somethin’ interestin’ to do onboard for a change.”
He hands Will his handcomp which contains access to all of the party funds. He then pulls Cr. 1000 from his pocketbook and stuffs it in his pocket, handing the pocketbook over to Will as well.
“But just in case I do get caught up in the excitement, best that you take care of this so that, once the grand has gone, I’m done.”
“I trust Jie has advised Cegarski of the ‘house gets 50% of all winnings’ rule,” Will adds. “In no uncertain terms of course.”
“I’m not sure that this is a very good idea,” comments Autumn. “We don’t want to get any more bad reviews from disgruntled clients on shipadvisor.com after all.”
“I would say that ‘the ship’ takes no part in, nor condones any gambling activity that may occur on board,” Arvor adds. “Any such activity is assumed to be between willing participants, and is none of our business. Employees engaging in such practices are assumed to be doing so outside of their capacity as employees, and as such do not represent the ship and do not entail the ship or its corporate entity in any such activities.”
Max shrugs, “Works for me. Whatever keeps the punter’s ’appy is fine with me.”