“North America’s only interest in New Las Vegas right now seems to be skimming off whatever easy cut of the winnings are theirs. They don’t withhold for non-citizens, so that’s dried up to almost nothing. There’s no government money coming in the hab, just taxes out. The currency controls and bank regulations aren’t good for business, and nobody wants to do business in USNA dollars. They may just go the way of the Hawaiians,” Diana predicted.
April looked alarmed. “You’re going to make them think we’re exporting revolution!”
“No, no, no… maybe the Hawaiians are exporting a little, but I’m not even a Home citizen. Come to that… I haven’t declared I’m a Hawaiian citizen either. If I have a few friends from Home, that’s my concern. Gunny dropped a few dollars he had laying around losing value at the tables, and Sylvia played a bit too. I know you keep things pretty close to your breast, Kido,” Diana said, holding her hands in close like she had a hand of cards, “and you seem to have sources. “So it might not surprise you to know Eduardo came ahead to get things set up, and we joined him for a little vacation.”
“Muños?” April asked. That did surprise her and she couldn’t keep a poker face. All her ‘sources’ had failed to tell her he’d gone off to New Las Vegas. He hardly ever left Home. She knew Dianna had been out with both Gunny and Eduardo. Silly her, she’d worried that might drive a wedge between Diana and Sylvia, because she’d seen Sylvia with Eduardo a few times at the Fox and Hare, and she liked both of them. She was holding her breath worried Sylvia would give her the boot if she horned in on Eduardo. Finally the obvious hit her between the eyes like a mule kick.
“Yeah,” Diana went on, seemingly oblivious to the fact April hadn’t a clue, “we all get along just fine,” Diana said, meshing her fingers together to show how well. “So we all got a big suite together at the SpaceX place, The Aurum Orbit. It had a hot tub that was damn near big enough to do laps, and it was at a half G like your place. I really like that, because you uh, sleep so well.”
“Sounds delightful but expensive,” April said, composed again.
“Honey, Eduardo pulled the same thing you did at your nightclub. He’s an owner and they all hopped to as soon as we came in and treated us like royalty.”
April had no idea before what sort of business Eduardo dabbled in. She was learning all sorts of things today. “Well, I’m glad you had a good time. You do buy the round-trip ticket I hope, in case the house prevails?”
“None of us are obsessive like your sweetie Heather worries about. Gunny lost the most and that was just a few dollars North American. You might as well lose Monopoly money. The fun thing was Sylvia. She was supposedly there for the unveiling of one of those huge glass panels she does. They put it up a ways inside the main entry so traffic has to flow around it. Eduardo was there but three other guys running the casino were there too, all dressed up and making an event of it. The camera crew arranged everybody to each side facing the camera, real dramatic like, but with a clear shot of the panel when the cloth dropped away.
“Everybody shook hands all around and they had a couple servers pouring champagne off to the side to cap it off, but first the CFO had a flunky standing to the side with a velvet chip try. Instead of chips it had twenty Solars laid in a chip groove and he made show of presenting her fee to Sylvia. I don’t think she wanted it to be so public what they paid her to sculpt it, so she didn’t take the tray or scoop up the coins. She just picked up the end one, balanced it on her thumb like she was going to flip it in the air, and asked him, “Double or nothing?”
April couldn’t help but smile. She could imagine the exact challenging tone Sylvia would take if she were irritated.
“Well he might work for a gambling house, but the fellow was no sport himself,” Diana said. “He looked like his knees were going to give out to take a twenty Solar bet. He declined with an awkward rattled refusal. He didn’t even look at his partners to see if they were game. That’s the kind of story people will tell years later, and it won’t ever serve him well.”
“Except a few bean counters who will nod solemnly in agreement,” April said.
“Lord yes, they are of a kind aren’t they?” Diana agreed. “Eduardo just smiled. He might have gone for it. With the newsies standing right there with the camera it would have been worth it as advertising even if she’d won.”