Finding keepers

Andrew Saxon

Finding keepers

Chapter One

The casino was crowded. He walked away from the silver teleport screen, which he had just emerged, and moved toward the main entrance, walking slowly as he looked around the building. He immediately noticed the cameras and security screens, which did not bother him in the least. He scanned the ceiling and along the floor, but did not see a psychic scanner. He discovered long ago, that even if there was one present, it would not pick up the little bit of psychic ability he possessed.

He had studied a long list of big casinos in this quadrant of the Realm to select his next target, and he felt this one call out to him as he read the list. It was an old establishment that was built more than a thousand years earlier. He hoped that it had not installed any of the more recent security devices that made scamming them next to impossible. He decided to act normal and trust his choice, as he stepped through the entrance and strolled into the main game room. He looked calm and collected but he was ready to run back into the teleport field if anyone started moving his way. He briefly closed his eyes and felt no danger.

The casino was bathed in multi-colored lights and he could hear the bells and whistles of the electronic games out on the main floor in front of him. They seemed to be calling his name. He smiled as he walked by the long rows of tables and roulette machines that called to gamblers to come and feed them. Oh, what a voracious appetite they had! There were many different species at the tables, and he was amazed at how most of them enjoyed gambling. Even the amphibious races loved to try their luck.

He moved away from the gaming tables and slowly walked toward the electronic machines. He started at one end of the machines and began searching for his target. He casually looked up and down the long lines of machines as he passed. He had almost given up on finding what he was seeking but on the next to last row he saw it. One of the machines had a bright white aura coming off it. “Jackpot!” he thought. That aura was invisible to anyone without psychic talents, and this machine was a big money gamer. It was going to have a huge pay out.

Gamblers were scattered playing the machines on the row, and there was a woman playing the machine he wanted. He noticed that she was quite pretty. He guessed she was between twenty four and thirty years old. She had short blonde hair and was wearing a low cut, revealing top with a short skirt. Every one of the human males on the row would occasionally glance at her. She was athletic looking, had a trim build, and he guessed her to be about six feet tall. He went and took a seat next to her and watched as she inserted credits into the glowing machine while pushing buttons.

“Would it bother you if I sit here?” he asked.

The woman was startled and looked at him. She saw that this was a very good looking young man. He was a slightly taller than her, very athletic looking, dark wavy hair, and remarkable blue eyes, “You can sit anywhere you want,” she replied.

“I know, but some people don’t like anyone else close by; they feel it may affect their luck. I try to respect my fellow gamers.”

“You’re welcome to sit there.”

“Thank you. By the way, my name is Jake Talant. I just arrived from the Kosiev province.”

She looked at him and said, “My name is Cynthia Dodd and I’m from the Life Province. I’ve been here about a week. Good luck.”

“Thank you, Cynthia, and the same to you.”

He watched her out of the corner of his eye as she continued to put credits into her machine. He also began putting credits in his, but he took his time and looked around the casino as he played. No one appeared to be watching him and he did not sense any danger. He continued to monitor the glow coming off Cynthia’s machine, and after two hours he saw that it had reached the level where it was not much longer before it paid out. It appeared she was not going to leave the machine and he was going to have to act. He stood up and stretched and said, “I’ll be right back; I need to take a quick break.”

She looked, and smiled at him, and continued to push credits into the machine. He quickly left the casino and went into a gift shop close by. A pretty woman moved from behind the counter and approached him. “May I help you?” He could tell she was interested in him, but he had no time for her.

“Yes. Do you make deliveries to the casino?”

“Yes, we do,” she said as she moved close to his arm.

“I want to order a floral arrangement for a woman I care about and have it delivered within ten minutes. I know she’s in the casino right now, and I want to make sure she gets it.”

The woman frowned, stepped back, then looked around, pointed to an extravagant arrangement of flowers and asked, “Would this one do the trick?”

“How much is it?”

“A hundred credits.”

Jake handed her a hundred credit bill, “Remember; ten minutes.” He took a card, wrote a note, and put it in an envelope, “Please make sure she gets this card.”

The woman smiled and said, “We’ll do exactly that.”

Jake went back into the casino, took the seat next to Cynthia again, and started putting credits into his machine. “Crap! I was gone too long; my machine has gone back to the start”.

He waited, then he heard, “Cynthia Dodd, please come to the front entrance. Cynthia Dodd, please come to the front entrance. You have a delivery.”

Cynthia looked up and looked around. Jake said, “It looks like someone wants you.”

“But I don’t want to give up my game. I’ll lose my place. I just feel it’s going to be a winner.”

“Cynthia Dodd, please come to the front entrance.”

Jake said, “Tell you what I’ll do. I’ll keep the machine going until you get back. I had to leave mine, so it’s not like I’ll be giving up anything.”

“Would you?”

“Absolutely, but if it hits while I’m here, then I don’t want you to be angry at me.”

Cynthia smiled, “I won’t, and thank you.”

“No problem.”

Every human male playing games on the row leaned back to watch her leave. Even Jake shook his head and said to her admirers, “Wow.”

She turned the corner and Jake began feeding credits as fast as he could. The glow from the machine was bright and getting brighter by the second. After four minutes, he saw Cynthia turn the corner coming back to her machine just as the machine emitted a loud horn and began announcing over the casino’s speakers, “Jackpot! We have a winner! Jackpot! We have a winner!”

Cynthia’s smile disappeared as the casino pit boss came running up with a photographer to take Jake’s picture. A crowd gathered and he was surrounded. Cynthia dropped the flowers she was carrying to the floor, took a seat at another machine, and placed her head in her hands. Jake saw her and heard the pit boss announce, “The grand prize of 250,000 credits has just been won by this player.”

Jake looked at Cynthia again and began to feel guilty. He yelled over the crowd noise, “I only own half of it.”

The pit boss raised his hand and silenced the crowd, “What do you mean, you only own half?”

Jake saw Cynthia raise her head. Jake pointed to Cynthia and said, “We were both playing this machine; she gets half the winnings. She asked me to hold this game for her, which I did.”

Cynthia was shocked, but the pit boss pulled her over to the game and announced, “We have two winners!” The crowd cheered and Cynthia put her head close to him, “Why are you doing this?”

“Because it’s the right thing to do; this would have been yours.”

Suddenly, out of nowhere, three Stars Realm security agents came up and grabbed Cynthia by the arm. “You need to come with us.”

“Why? What’s going on?”

Jake looked at them and said, “What’s wrong, officer?”

“You say this lady asked you to hold her table and split the winnings?”

“Yeah, but not exactly like that. She just said she felt like the game was going to win.”

“Well, you can keep your winnings but we are here to apprehend a psychic that has been using her power to take the casino’s money. You actually won all of it”

Cynthia looked frightened, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The three agents left with Cynthia in tow yelling her innocence.

The pit boss put his hand on Jake’s back and leaned close, “Please, don’t let this bother you. Let me have your Realm Card and I’ll transfer the funds.

Jake continued to look at the three agents dragging Cynthia into an office behind the machines as he handed his card to the pit boss, who scanned it with a machine.

“There, all done.”

“Thank you,” Jake said, and began moving slowly at first, then more quickly, toward the front entrance. If they were looking for a psychic then he needed to get far away as quickly as possible. The money was safe. Armand would transfer it, as soon as it arrived, to an account off-planet, from which he would then transfer it to an account that could not be traced. Armand was worth every credit he charged.

“Time to leave.” He made it out the entrance without being stopped, and started walking quickly toward the teleport terminal. As he approached, he had a sudden thought, “What if she’s psychic and doesn’t know it?” He stopped his forward rush and it dawned on him that if she did have any psychic ability, she was going to be blamed for all the casinos that had lost money. He looked at the floor while people stepped around him as they entered and came out of the tele ...

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