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by Jeffrey J. Lyons © 2004

(Program Bulletin)

Welcome to the Fourth Annual Quad Worlds Poker Run. June 25, 2113. Grand prize: 4,000,000 credits.

Team Red: Willem Van Dongan and Pamela Preston. Willem is the experienced navigator of the sleek Benton 4-OH-5 with multi-skip capacity. Sexy Pamela has an incomparable reputation for her outdoor expertise on land, mountains, and water.

Team Blue: Herberto Gonzalez and Traci Sczek. Herberto competes in both brain teaser and sporting events. Traci and her slick Janverin 500 have topped racing competitions in all of the Quad Worlds including the exclusive New Mars 24. Both cruisers are outfitted with a topnotch Geosyntric scanner, provided exclusively Proto-Electrotech Inc., to speed up the recovery process.

No maiming or killing of the competition is accepted.

* * *

(Day Six)

VOICE OVER INTRO: (Music stab) This live feed is brought to you exclusively by I-CON, Corp. Your source for chip implants.

ANNOUNCER: Citizens. Absorbed in the excitement of the week's competition it all comes down to this tie-breaker. Team Red and Team Blue completed the four tasks in an even two-two split. Let's recap.

On day two, Blue claimed the Zyphod underwater pearl in a wicked 180-degree turnaround jump from New Mars to Tangent Station. The J-500 plunged into deep water, dropping Traci into the cavernous drop off point where she swam some 300 yards to seize the two pound pearl in less five minutes (Insert vid clip).

I-CON: "Traci. An amazing stunt."

Traci cocked her head and grinned," Thanks."

"What now?"

"I'm dripping wet and I'm pumped. I'd say that's a fair place to be"

* * *

On day three, it was leggy Pamela Preston who sprang gloriously from the Benton 4-OH-5, hooked only to a single stretch cord (manufactured by Vibrofax Inc.) above the peak of Mount Yvette in the most mountainous region of Purne, the third world. She ably grabbed the three-tone Helvetia Fern with one hand as her other hand grasped the cord, her only lifeline. She nearly missed her opportunity as Van Dongen abruptly began the ascent with Pamela in tow

(Insert vid clip).

I-CON: "How are you feeling after a maneuver like that?"

"My heart skipped a beat but hey, it's all in the game," Pamela said as she twirled the prized fern in her fingers. "Violet, red, and white. I love violet."

"What are you going to do now?"

"After my exhilarating naked romp with Willem? Go all the way." she winked.

* * *

On day four, Red nearly sideswiped Blue as they arrived almost simultaneously on Epheriman/L'Hambria, the most populous of the Quad Worlds. That near miss might have disqualified Red team under the "maiming or killing" clause. "Travel Epheriman/L'Hambria" and the Chamber of Commerce sponsored the task which required them to find a promotional brochure without the bespectacled face of founder Lance Epheriman plastered on the front. Amusing? Not with four million credits at stake. They scoured the kiosks and tourist traps for hours until it was the practical Herberto who discovered an outdated pamphlet in a dive bowling alley near an abandoned alley way in Center City

(Insert vid clip).

I-CON: "Herberto, you certainly know your way around Center City."

"What's to know? Nothing but bureaucrats and bums here," Herberto grunted.

* * *

Yesterday on day five, the odds were in Red's favor to discover a chunk of Philadeus V coal on the New Mars Colony thanks to Willem (Insert vid clip).

I-CON: "What do you see as your pros?"

"I expect to call on my memories as a miner here for at least one of the tasks."

"You mean your years as a prisoner here on New Mars Colony?"

"Did I say that?" Willem said with sourly.

There you have it. Willem maneuvered the Benton 4-OH-5 to a secluded previously unknown zone with abundant deposits of coal. Blue missed by a long shot.

* * *

ANNOUNCER: Today's tie-breaker is sponsored by LifeLines Rejuvenation Centers, with hundreds of clinics across the Quads. The task: to recover an ornate gold candlestick from the forges of Purne.

* * *

(I-CON download - Team Red - Interior Camera)

Strapped into their seats, Van Dongen winks at Pamela. She smiles back suggestively saying, "We should be strapped in together."

Willem responds, "I don't think I can go another round."

"I can be very persuasive," she purrs.

"Later," Willem turns serious. "Prepare for take off to Purne. I know a native blacksmith who can help." He jabs at buttons and the soothing engines of the Benton 4-OH-5 hum. Willem breathes deeply and waits.

* * *

(I-CON download - Team Blue - Interior camera)

"Ready?" Herberto asks tersely.

Traci nods. "As I can ever be."

"Chart a course to Epherimen/L'Hambria," Herberto orders.

"What?" Traci exclaims. "It's Purne. Didn't you hear?"

"Don't worry."

"Goodbye four million credits," Traci moans.

Herberto smirks as the engine hums. The interior lights of the J-500 dim. The countdown finishes and they blast off.

* * *

(Team Red camera)

"28 minutes to Purne," Van Dongan says. "No record but not bad."

"No Blue. This should be tit," Pamela says as she removes the strap with the logo for Natural Rays solar energy cells. "Let's find that blacksmith and collect our prize."

* * *

(Team Blue Camera)

Herberto chuckles and smacks his lips. "There's a landing platform there."

Traci follows his pointing finger and sighs. "So? Then what?"

"A gift shop," Herberto says wide-eyed. "You still don't get it? The heart of the Quad's tourist base?"

"Souvenirs? Enlighten me about why we're chucking out four million C's"

"They sell authentic Purne candlesticks in all the gift shops."

Traci starts to say something when it hits her. She laughs and shifts the J-500 into landing mode.

* * *

Traci and Herberto bow before the boisterous crowd and the I-CON tech crew catch a fleeting glimpse of Team Red returning to the Benton 4-OH-5 for some unfinished personal business.

This broadcast was a production of I-CON, Corp. your source for chip implants. All rights reserved.

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