Tongo or Bust
Location: Deck 8 - Nokomis' Quarters
Nokomis took a breath and looked around the room, it was clean, nothing was out of order that she could see. If she had planned a quiet evening by herself she wouldn't have bothered with such careful preparation but she was about to play host to several of the senior officers, the exact number was unknown, and she wanted to make a good impression.
There was a table in the center of the room, the couch had been pushed back to allow for chairs surrounding it, as many as she could fit in. In the middle of the table stood a tongo wheel, it's bright colors gleaming with unused shininess. It might be a complete waste of effort but she really wanted tonight to go well and for others to have fun.
Varina strolled down the hallway of the Command officers' quarters from the lift. She'd received the invitation earlier that day and while she could have skipped it and wallowed in her anger at Darren, she decided she would at least try to have a good time. And it would be a good chance integrate with the crew, something she would have to do if she wanted this assignment to be successful. Besides, her interactions thus far had all been positive. It was such a 180-degree change from her experience the past few years.
As she walked, she decided she wasn't going to let anything stop her from having a good time tonight. At the appropriate door, she stopped and pushed the chime asking to enter.
"Enter," Nokomis called, glad someone was on time, perhaps even a few minutes early. "Hello doctor." She smiled warmly at the woman. "Would you like something to drink?"
Varina walked into the XO's quarters, admiring the extra space that came with the position. "Hello, Commander. I will start with a soda for now. I'll hold off on anything that may inhibit my winning until later." She grinned at the other woman. "How are you?"
Nokomis allowed the corner of her mouth to turn upward. "Probably a wise idea and very optimistic of you." She gestured for her to choose a seat at the Tongo wheel. "I'm fine, fine."
Varina nodded. "Well, we'll see how that works for me," she said of the aforementioned optimism as she took one of the seats. She would be glad when others arrived so that she wasn't the only one sitting.
"The others should be arriving shortly," Nokomis ensured the doctor and just as she'd said that the chime on her door sounded again.
Eilaea glanced at Vriha, then at the cut-crystal decanter in her hand and the dark blue-green liquid within it. It wasn't the best bottle she had brought aboard; but she was fairly confident it was of a better quality than most of what had ever been exported to the Federation and so would hopefully be looked upon positively by the rest of the crew. She glanced around, searching for the door chime to press, wondering if it was automatic aboard this ship; when the door slid open. A quick, reflexive flick of her eyes saw no visible threats within from her usual posture when waiting for a door to open: Ever just-so to the side somewhat, to allow her room to maneuver if some unexpected assailant or situation revealed itself when the door opened.
"Commander." Eilaea touched one fist to her chest in a somewhat more perfunctory salute than she would have given on duty; and raised the bottle she was carrying into view with a small grin.
"Welcome, make yourselves comfortable." Nokomis answered. "Very nice," she nodded appreciatively. "If you would like to choose seats at the wheel, we're just waiting for a few more people."
"Thank you, Commander," Vriha replied, entering and examining the table. She raised an eyebrow slightly at the wheel. "I am not familiar with tongo. I had thought it was something similar to the human game of poker?"
"Tongo is a Ferengi game, try not to hold that against it." She smiled. "It's a combination of cards and roulette. We'll go over the rules when everyone is here just to make sure we're all on the same page."
"Ferengi, undoubtedly, would prefer anyone to whom they invite to play to be on an entirely different page." Eilaea replied, eyebrow rising slightly at the game's origin as she set down the bottle she had brought and poured herself a glass, selecting a seat at the wheel which--predictably, perhaps--was the one with both the back facing a piece of furniture but also a decent access route to the door. "One which provides them with maximal advantage against....How is they say it? 'An Easy Mark'."
After a moment of consideration, Vriha selected a seat across from Eilaea, deciding that the position was more strategically beneficial in terms of dividing opponents between them in the game. There was also the calculation that while it left her back somewhat exposed, it provided both greater opportunity to secure a path to the exit and so was a risk appropriate for her to assume as the junior officer. "Perhaps this is why I was never introduced to it. I imagine that the Ferengi that tried to make a 'mark' of a Romulan would learn not to repeat the mistake."
“Though it is likely they would not live very long after the lesson...” Eilaea mused with a grin.
Varina chuckled at the analytical banter between the two Romulans. She chimed in herself. "I'm beginning to think it's a very good thing we don't have any Ferengi playing tonight." She lifted a brow as she looked from one to the other.
Eilaea for her part merely gazed back, a knowing, satisfied expression on her face as she gave a small nod to this statement.
Nokomis didn't laugh because she wasn't entirely sure they were teasing, but she smiled and tapped her foot waiting impatiently for the rest of the guests to arrive. After a few minutes of doing this she realized how impatient she must look and stopped.
"Well, it appears it's going to be a small group," she said rather dissapointedly. "Perhaps we should get started after all. She took her own seat and began to shuffle a deck of cards. "So . . . rules."
"Yes, please," Varina said with a grin, her accent showing through. "Perhaps a reciting will help my play."
"It will certainly help mine," Vriha remarked as she took a seat. "Since I do not know the rules and have never played."
Varina glanced to her left, attempting to mask her mild surprise. She wouldn't have expected such a revelation from a Romulan...unless it was a ploy to get them to relax. That she could believe. She looked back to Nokomis for the instructions.
"Alright, I've made the game a little more Starfleet friendly. The object of the game is to have the strongest hand without running out of influence and to match the cards in your hand with the cards on the table but also to use the dice to form runs of three. Diamonds are the most valued cards, followed by hearts, spades and clubs." She looked around to make sure no one was lost.
Varina nodded absently, keeping track of the refresher.
"I assume the method of matching cards will become apparent once we receive them," Vriha observed tentatively. "But what is influence?"
"I'm going to deal you each four cards and then on the table there will be two cards for each of you face down and one face up. The rest go here." She put them face down when she was finished dealing. "You each get a reserve token and an evade token and one hundred chips. These are your influence."
The doctor looked at her hand once it was dealt and glanced at the others for any hint of whether they'd gotten good hands or not. The move was more out of habit with card games rather than expecting any kind of foreknowledge from anyone at this table.
As the cards were being dealt Vriha had nodded understanding of the term 'influence', but upon looking at her hand she new questions arose. Diamond was easily recognizable, but while three other shapes were identifiable among the cards either in her hand or face up on the table, none of them resembled a heart, though both the red and black bisymmetric images could resemble a human heart in cross-section, depending on angle of cut... Of course, since it was a Ferengi game, perhaps it was the shape most resembling a Ferengi heart. Did they have three chambers that might be stylized like the black symbol with three lobes...?
Eilaea glanced at her own hand in similar musings, and looked over at Nokomis. “Would it be possible to show us an example of what each of the four potential symbols looks like along with the term for it?”
"Of course," Nokomis set out four cards, diamonds, hearts, she pointed to the other red card. "Clubs and spades."
Varina looked at the others and blinked. Even the smallest things still amazed her. Card suits were so ingrained, as a Human, that she hadn't considered that other folks wouldn't know. She nodded to herself, glad for the periodic reminder that not everything was as obvious to everyone.
"Thank you." Vriha nodded and quickly assessed the value of her hand in conjunction with the cards on the table. "How do we proceed from here?" she asked, hoping the rest of the game wouldn't present further conundrums in interpretation.
"I'm just going to run through a practice hand so everyone follows along the rules." Nokomis placed three cards down on the table, facedown in the very front of each player. "These are what's called the free exchange. In a typical round the first person would pay the buy in cost. The dealer gets to set the cost of buy in which for this game we'll just say it's five. The risk is the sell cost minus the buy cost. The only time you can avoid paying the risk is if the buy cost is higher than the sell cost because that makes the risk zero. If you don't pay the risk you fold and we move onto the next player."
"You have three options for beginning a hand. Once you look at your cards you can either evade, aquire or confront. Evade means you simply fold your hand either by using a token which costs you nothing or paying to evade, confront is to call a person who has raised or aquired. And of course aquire is simply to raise the cost of buying. But you have to make your actions known before you pay the risk at the start of your turn. Everyone with me so far? The rules are a bit complicarted but I think once we get moving everything will become clear."
She looked at their confused faces, even the Romulans appeared to be trying to keep up. "Let's just figure it out as we go," she smiled.
Lieutenant Commander Nokomis Diza
Executive Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant Varina Hightower
Chief Medical Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant Eilaea t'Keirianh
Operations Officer, USS Orion
Sublieutenant Vriha t'Ehhelih
Science Officer, USS Orion