The first time I came to this planet I was 16 years old, I was catching a ship to Sorontega and I had plenty of time to kill. Within the first two hours I was six drinks in and four grand up at the black jack table. Of course by the time my ship came in every penny of that money had been spent, but that’s just how it goes on Riker-6: someone gets rich, someone else gets poor, the wheel keeps on spinning and everyone lets it ride. At least that’s how it used to be.
The game changed when Kosmo started running things. All of the operators and the professionals cashed out and he dealt in a bunch of self-proclaimed actors and cut-rate con-men. People complained, sure, but the TBC was his Ace in the hole; as long as he controlled the network he controlled the people and nobody could call his bluff. Maybe if he hadn’t played his cards so close to his chest everyone would have been able to tell he wasn’t playing with a full deck, but somehow he managed to keep up his poker face. I guess everyone was so busy with Tech World and the Republic that he got lost in the shuffle. Lucky, then, that fate shuffled in some jokers before he laid his cards on the table. At the end of the day he overplayed his hand, we called his bluff and he folded, but what are we celebrating? Now that Kosmo tipped his hand we know that he wasn’t the only one in the game. There are others like him out there: stacking the deck, loading the dice, hedging their bets. There are others like him out there, time to ante up.