Shoreleave - Hold 'em



==Chiratamad sh'Kasuv family residence==
==late evening==

Taking a long sip of her ale, Chira studied the cards in her hand, those already on the table before her, and the growing pot of financial tokens.  Finally, she sighed and set both glass and cards on the table.  "I'm out," she said.  "This round is lost to me."

Tharalan chuckled as he tossed another token into the pot.  "And to think you used to dominate us all at this game," he scoffed.  "You're losing your touch."

Chira crossed her arms.  "I did try to introduce the game to my friends on the Flambeau," she said.  "Chase said it was like an infinitely more complex version of poker; Ashara said it was an infinitely more boring version."

All three of her spouses chuckled.  "Humans have so little patience for complexity," Amatea sniffed as she laid two cards in the discard pile and drew two new ones from the deck.  "And really, must they relate everything to their own terms?  'Andorian poker, Andorian ale, nothing can simply be what it is with them."

"It's just their way, Tea," Shorax said in his placid voice.  "Helps them make sense of the universe.  Put things into context."

"It's disrespectful," Amatea replied, still sorting her cards.  "They act like everyone is just them with blue skin or...or pointy ears, or something.  Your bid." She added the last as she tossed her own bid into the pot.

Chira closed her eyes for a moment and let her spouses' voices wash over her.  This was, in truth, an old argument.  Amatea would complain about humanocentric attitudes while Shorax calmly defended the pink skins more out of a sense of fair play than anything else.  Eventually Tharalan would change the subject with a joke and the mood would lighten.  It was the kind of mundane domestic routine she had loathed once; she had fled halfway across the galaxy to get away from it.

Funny how much she had missed it.

"I think it's time we end this," Shorax said, placing his cards face up on the table.  "My friends, allow me to introduce you to the General's Cabal."

Chira leaned forward.  "Very nice, Shor," she said.  "Well played."

"Ah, ah," Tharalan said, wagging a finger as Shorax began to collect the pot.  "It's true that a full General's Cabal is very interesting, but even generals answer to someone."  He placed his own cards down.  "Enter the Queen's Council."

Shorax snorted good naturedly and leaned back.  "Well played, indeed," he said.

"And almost good enough to win," Amatea said with a chortle as she triumphantly placed her cards.  "For even queens kneel when confronted with the Emperor's Coterie."

Tharalan threw his head back and laughed at the turn of events while Shorax and Chiratamad both applauded.  To win with the only unbeatable hand in the game was a rare thing, indeed.  Amatea bowed her head with mock graciousness as she swept up the tokens.  Tharalan gathered the cards and began to shuffle, nimble fingers flying.

"What say, everyone?  Time for another hand?"


Chiratamad sh'Kasuv and family