Smitty was cranky as cy’Luca left their first, losing, match, but Richard still seemed optimistic. “I’ve been thinking,” he mentioned to Conrad, “If we win and Misfit wins, then you and I both get to go on vacation with our girlfriends.”
“Y’know, that could be nice,” Conrad replied. “That means we both have to win every match from here on out, though. And I don’t even know if they won their first one yet.”
“I’ve got faith in our girls,” Richard smiled, with proprietary pride. “Caity’s brilliant. So’s Renata, isn’t she, Mark?”
“Ren?” he said with surprise, turning to face them. “Maybe? I don’t study with her all that much, she spends most of her time with the other guys.” It sounded almost like that was a bone of contention, there.
“Complicated set-up you’ve got there,” Richard laughed. “When do you sleep?”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“Eris, Kylie, Ivette, Renata…” Richard didn’t seem as if he entirely approved.
“Ha, no, not Renata. I’m the only one in the suite who hasn’t had her.”
Conrad blinked twice. “Rafe, Joff... Eris and Kylie?”
“Yeah.” Mark sounded less than thrilled.
“Rafe doesn’t like sharing his toys?” Richard asked nastily.
“Hey, lay off man. He wouldn’t care. She’s just not biting. Which I’d totally understand if she was being anything like monogamous. But.”
Conrad turned his attention to the posting of the first round results. Their next match would be against Akinobu, and... He scrolled his finger down the sheet. Their girls had won after all, and would play against cy’Drake next. The loser of that would play the winner of their match with Akinobu. Hopefully they’d keep winning; Conrad didn’t relish the thought of playing against Kai’s team.
“Akinobu, hunh?” Richard hrrm’d. “That’s my crew-mate Coy.”
“Along with Ayla, Azumi, and Xaviera,” Mark nodded, then grinned. “I hear that’s Xaviera oro’... I don’t even know how to say it, now. Shahin and Emrys.”
“Really?” Richard looked startled. “That explains the new necklace, but they didn’t… wait, what?”
“Yeah, I dunno, man.” Mark spread his hands. “And you thought my life was complicated.”
Richard shook his head. “Yours is simple, isn’t it, Conrad? One girl, one guy? Even if you did get roped into a collar somehow…?”
“Oh, yeah,” he answered hastily. “Just me and Kai. And we’re not interested in changing that.” He hoped.
“Good for you. Well, let’s go beat Akinobu.”
They settled into their places in Pelletier’s classroom, and Conrad couldn’t help but think that it must be a little bit intimidating for the other team. The four of them were alone, with no backup, while cy’Luca had one of the deepest benches in the school. He himself stayed on that bench most of the match, in fact, which let him watch the other team.
Xaviera was, indeed, wearing a necklace, a light gold chain with a small pendant, but the collar didn’t seem to be slowing down her competition. Aelgifu, Shahin’s pretty blonde friend, on the other hand, seemed nervous and uncertain the whole time. The cy’Luca team, led by their Second Cohorts, defeated them handily, but they seemed to be good sports about it. Although, with the World’s Quietest Crew, it could be hard to tell.
Nevertheless, there was no great fanfare as the teams trooped back to the hall to check the roster. Conrad got the impression he wasn’t the only one hoping their next match would be cy’Drake.
It was, too; the Misfits, it seemed, were going to play cy’Linden. Richard frowned worriedly at the line-up. “They’ll get hosed.”
“Maybe,” Conrad nodded, pursing his lips. “Linden was playing awfully well. Don’t sell our ladies short, though.”
“Have you seen Caity?” Richard joked uncomfortably. “She’s barely over five foot tall.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Conrad laughed. “I’m just glad they’ve got Taro with them.”
“To what, slow them down?”
“Proctor or no, otherwise it’d be three Fifth girls and Wren in a room with all of cy’Linden.”
“Fuck.” Clearly, that hadn’t occurred to Richard. “Yeah. I’m glad Taro’s there.”
“We’ve got our own match to play, though. Drake’s people may not be the geekiest, but they’re slippery, every man of them.”
“Yeah.” Richard nodded. “Well, let’s go pin down some eels.”
“Right,” Conrad grinned.
It wasn’t, of course, quite that easy. There were a couple times when things got a little hairy; cy’Drake, after all, brought new meaning to the word “slippery.”
Finnegan warmed the bench the whole match, which left them facing Emrys, Dawfyyd, Rafe, and Nikita. The elder cy’Luca had the advantage on the hard sciences, but the categories weren’t always favoring them; by the third round, Anatoliy was the only Second Cohort still being fielded. Mark and Conrad joined him and Richard.
Professor Fridmar read off the first question.
“Category is Sports. Question is: Who is the only man to ever score two safeties...”
The buzzer interrupted him, and Conrad glanced around to see whose hand was down.
“Da. Full question was, ‘Who is the only man to ever score two safeties in a single NFL game.’ You want bonus then?”
“Please,” Mark nodded.
Fridmar read off the card. “Interceptions are more common than safeties, but Paul Krause has the most, with a career record of how many?”
“Eighty-one,” Mark replied.
Well. Maybe there was some use to the less scientific trivia after all.
Copyright © 2009-2011 Lyn Thorne-Alder with Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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