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His Game

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Lambert had expected there to be some trouble, any time ships from two different corporations were in port the security forces got twitchy. Crew rivalries were nothing new. But, that said, she'd expected the trouble to come from a different member of the Nostromo crew. She sat at the bar, feeling like the spectator at a horrific accident happening in slow motion, and totally unable to look away.

"Watch the queen, boys, keep your eyes on the queen. Where is she?"

Lambert felt hypnotized, watching his hands as he quickly moved the cards in a complex pattern, his words a steady rhythmic patter behind it. The guy from the Devlin-MacGregor ship hesitated, then pointed to the left card. The card was lifted to show the jack of clubs, "Oh, sorry, the lady is elusive. Anyone else think they can do better, anyone with sharper eyes?" Another guy stepped up, slapping his money down on the bar.

It was fascinating, sure, but Lambert was a little concerned, the Devlin-MacGregor guys had been good sports, but with them mostly losing their money, only rarely seeing that elusive queen of hearts--well, things could get ugly soon.

Lambert'd seen him coming from the corner of her eye, or she'd have slugged the guy who slipped up close behind her at the bar. Instead, she let him lean against her, hooking his chin on her shoulder. She spoke just loudly enough for him to hear, "You know, I thought you'd be the one stirring up shit."

"Don't worry, Luv," Kane's breath tickled her ear as he murmured. "I'll keep him safe."

Of course, Lambert wouldn't have found that quite as reassuring if she'd known then what he meant. That he and Dallas had a signal, a very specific phrase in the patter. And Kane's job, when signaled, was to start a fight that had quickly pulled in most of the patrons in the station bar. Station security had tossed everyone back to their own ships and suggested it was best if everyone stayed there for the rest of their layovers. It was a neat trick, and explained a bit about how Kane and Dallas had built up the nest egg they had, even after buying that nice little house and a bit of property back home.