"Full colors," Kara Thrace said with a laugh, slamming her cards down on the table. "There goes the last of your money, Doc. I promise I'll give it a good home."
The other two players at the table did their best not to laugh as Dr. Gaius Baltar threw his cards down in disgust. Lee bit down hard on his lip and tried to just stare at the cubits lying in front of him while the need to snicker died down.
Dee, in turn, was trying not to look at Lee as she collected all the cards into her hand. "Another hand everyone?"
"Everyone but Dr. Baltar," Lee said, throwing five cubits into the pot as a start.
"Sorry," Kara said with a fake pout. "And I was so looking forward to spending more time with you."
Baltar cleared his throat and leaned across the table towards her. "You know, this doesn't necessarily have to be the end of our night together, Lieutenant."
"You're out of money. That makes you pretty damn worthless in my book," she whispered, giving him a wink.
"Some things I have to offer can be better than money."
Kara licked her lips as she thought about what he was saying. If he was hitting on her, it wasn't really working. She wasn't even excited at the possibility of hoping into bed with the Vice President again. But still she was curious. "What could be better than money?"
Baltar leaned back and smiled at the whole table. "Have you ever heard of the Pleasure Principle?"
"Sounds like an adult film," Dee said with a laugh. She started dealing the cards, but as she got to Baltar, she paused.
"Deal him in," Kara said. "I'm intrigued at what he's going to offer me. I'll float him the money to get into the pot." She smiled at the man across from her. "Now, where were you?"
Baltar pushed his glasses up on his nose and continued on, "An ancient philosopher once said that we have multiple parts of the brain which co-exist to control our behavior. The one part controls all of our drives, and if it was not kept in check, we would walk around doing whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. No consequences. No pain."
"Sounds like my kind of guy," Kara said with a laugh as she put her cards in order.
Lee shifted in his seat. This conversation was starting to make him uncomfortable. It was like the good Doctor was trying to initiate some kind of foreplay in front of them all. "Get to the point, Doc, or we're going to have to deal you out."
"Pardon me, Captain. What I was offering is a little experiment into this Pleasure Principle. Winner of the hand gets twenty four hours to try it out. They can do whatever they want with no consequences. No objections. Complete freedom. So, what do you say? Sounds like something you might be interested in?" Baltar asked, giving her a sly grin.
Kara was about to tell him he was out of his mind if he thought that was a sufficient wager to go up against all the cubits already on the table when Lee cut in. "Dr. Baltar, you seem to forget that it's not just the two of you. I'm still in on this hand." Lee shook his head and added to the pot. "So maybe you should be asking me if your little underhanded attempt at getting in my pilots' pants is a large enough bet to keep this thing going?"
Baltar didn't even turn to acknowledge the truth in Lee's statement but continued to stare at the woman sitting across from him. "Well, Lieutenant Thrace?"
"Well, if Captain Tightpants is in, then I'm there," Kara said, throwing her last ten cubits into the pot. Her hand really wasn't that good, but she figured she could bluff her way into winning this lovely prize. Besides, she wouldn't doubt if Baltar had intended for her to win when he made the suggestion. It sounded like something suitably slimy which was exactly his type of thing.
"Just let me make sure of one thing. If we're going to do this, I want it done right. And on a ship-wide scale. It's no fun to have to limit yourself." Smiling, Kara pushed her head back to look at the rest of the pilots in the room. "Any objections from my fellow male pilots who I will be putting through hell when I win?"
From across the room, Helo paused in reading his book to give her a smile. "None if it's you, Starbuck. This place needs a little livening up." He gave her a wink before turning away.
"Thanks, Helo," Kara said, smugly staring down at her cards.
"Any objections from the ladies?" Baltar asked.
Dee smiled pleasantly at the man beside her. "Not if Starbuck promises to keep her hands off Billy."
Baltar narrowed his eyes at the blatant slight while Kara beamed. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Dee," she said with a laugh.
"And everyone's forgotten again that I'm still there," Lee said with a laugh. He turned to Kara and smirked. "I mean, if you win this, it's going to impact me quite a bit, isn't it?"
Dee watched as Kara's eyes flared a little before the Viper pilot smirked and turned her attention back to the cards in hand. If Dee hadn't known better, she would have guessed it was a little bit desire and a whole lot of anticipation reflected in Kara's eyes. Interesting.
"Trust me, Captain. I'm sure she didn't forget," Dee said, looking him up and down. "Pleasure principle indeed."
Lee blushed slightly as he looked down at his cards. Three on a run wasn't that great a hand to be playing, but he had gotten in too far already. Besides, he wanted to have a first hand seat to see where Kara went with this whole pleasure principle notion if she won.
"Cards, fellows!" Starbuck yelled, tapping the table.
Gaius placed his down. "Two with a Lady high."
Lee felt his heart speed up just a little. If Dr. Baltar was stupid enough to bring up the idea of betting such a ridiculous thing and he had nothing, Kara had a shot.
"Lee?" Kara said softly.
She rolled her eyes but did as he said. "Three on a run. Beat that, flyboy!"
Lee's eyes widened. He had been a pilot for almost nine years now, and he had played his share of triad during that time. But never, not even once, had he seen two similar hands played at the same table. It was practically impossible.
Kara interpreted his hesitation as an admission of defeat and jumped up to pump her fists in the air. After her little dance was complete, she started looking around, "Hmm. I wonder what my drives are going to beg me to do today."
He always loved it when Kara did her victory dance at the card tables. There weren't enough times that she had actually been happy enough to break it out. In truth, it made him slightly sad.
That is, he would be sad if only he could stop laughing.
"Not so fast," Lee managed to choke out, pushing his cards down onto the table. "Three on a run. Looks like we tied, Lieutenant."
Her face broke out in confusion as she leaned down to check his cards. "That's impossible," she said, shaking her head.
"No, it's statistically improbable. There's a difference."
Kara gave him an annoyed look as she settled back down into her chair.
"So you won." Baltar's words made her sit up a little straighter as what had just happened really dawned on her.
"Yeah, I did." She smiled and pointed at Lee. "But so did you."
"I didn't bet against him," Dr Baltar protested. "I bet against you. And you were the one to put up the money to get me into the pot."
Lee pushed his chair back and stood up. "Well, as much fun as it would be to listen to you two debating the nature of your little bet, it's about time I hit the rack."
"Wait!" Kara reached up to grab his arm and pulled him back down into his seat. When it was clear that Lee wasn't going to try to leave, she turned to Baltar. "I put the money up for you, but that money went into the pot. Therefore the bet went into the pot. And everything there is half mine, but it's also half his."
Lee nodded and stood up again. "Good to know, Kara, but I still want to hit my rack."
"Ah. Following your drives," Dee said with a laugh as she started to collect the cards. "Is your drive wanting any company? Because I'm off shift."
"You're incorrigible," Kara said as she started to pick up the pot the two of them had won. "Hold on a second and I'll come with you, Lee. We should divide up this money before I forget and keep it all. Because you know I will."
Lee gave her a small nod and waited by the door until she had caught up with him. Together, they continued down the hall side by side. They walked in silence as Kara counted out the cubits and split them in half.
"So that was interesting," she said, holding Lee's half out for him to take.
"I don't think that went the way Baltar planned," Lee said. He pushed open the hatch to the bunkroom and stepped inside. "Hell, I don't think that went the way I planned, either."
"Sad because you might actually be forced into doing all the things you've always wanted but never thought you could do?" When he didn't answer, Kara walked over to sit on her bunk. She slid her hands behind her head and stared up at the bunk above her as Lee clambered up the ladder to lay in it. After a moment, she asked, "So what are you going to do first?"
"The little something extra we won on that triad game. What are you going to do first?"
"I hadn't thought of it. All I can think of is getting some sleep."
"Well, I know what I'm going to do," Kara said with a laugh as she stood up. She heard Lee shuffle as he turned to watch her walk across the bunkroom and open Helo's locker. After a moment of riffling, she let out a triumphant cry and held up a cigar. "Got it! I knew he was hiding a Sagittaron in there. The Fleet ran out of these months ago."
"He's going to kill you."
"If I remember correctly, he agreed to the bet."
Lee rolled his eyes and turned back over. "He's still going to kill you."
"No consequences." She could practically hear Lee stiffen at her words.
"Some actions have consequences no matter the game you're playing. Don't let this little bet get away from you."
She should have known he'd kick into his protective mode at the mention of no consequences. Before she could start teasing him, though, he kicked the covers down off his bed violently and started complaining, "Why the frak is the bunkroom so hot today?"
"I think there was a back up reported in the pipes or something equally boring. Nothing big enough to necessitate the pouting or whining, though." She lit the cigar and placed it between her lips. "Why are you being such a downer about this whole principle thing anyway?"
"I'm not being a downer," Lee said, stretching his body and repositioning himself so that he was looking up at the ceiling of the bunkroom. "I'm just saying that it's not that exciting a thing for me. There's not many drives I have that aren't rational enough to be followed on a normal day." He sighed and shut his eyes. "And with that, I really need to get some rack time. So I'm following my drive to tell you to frak off."
Kara narrowed her eyes at him and watched as his breathing slowed to a stand still. "No irrational drives, my ass," she grumbled, puffing away on Helo's cigar while still staring at the sleeping CAG. She would show Lee. By the end of their twenty four hours, she would have him engaging in all kinds of drives he wouldn't have given in to on any other day.