Ahhhh, Netvegas. City of Sin. Of bets gone bad, of betters gone worse, and of shady deals and terribly violent politics all hidden under the glowy gauze of florescent lighting.

The Netvegas Royale was the casino of casinos in Netvegas. The big one. The top dog. The king of the strip. If you wanted to win big in Netvegas, or you wanted to lose spectacularly-- you came to the Royale. So of course they had enemies, sure, but who doesn't these days? You turn your PET on, you've got viruses, you open your E-Mail, you've got viruses, you take a bathroom break, you've got viruses...

Incidentally, I don't really have to worry about that last one.


Crikkkkkkkkkk went the cards gripped in the space between BOB's fingertips, two smaller decks slapping against each others' corners as he shuffled them into a tidy disorder. The five patrons seated across the table from him stared on in awe; just because he was a machine, he was a spectacle; he was abnormal; he was expected to deal the best cards any dealer'd ever dealt, and to his credit, he damn well came close if he didn't meet that mark.

And even if he didn't, it still brought the customers in, begging to buy in at BOB's table. His hands worked magic as he dealt the cards in a perfect rhythm, the staccato slapping of cards being laid face-down the only sound that mattered. If he twitched, he'd lay a card face up. If he stuttered, he'd put the card down wrong. That would be expected, of a human dealer; small inaccuracies, small mistakes here and there. But not of BOB.

Not of a robot.

So to anyone else, it would be a rather high-stress job; one mistake and he was back in the repair room with the techs checking all his servos, after all. But for BOB it was peace. It was home. It was the one place he was free from--

"Boooob!" Shuffle called from that annoying little place inside of BOB's head. More particularly from somewhere near where the kidneys would be on a human being, but he wasn't picky with metaphors.

Yes, Shuffle? BOB called back, already dreading the question he knew the cardshark was going to ask.

"Ya almost done yet? I'm getting kinda... scritchy." Shuffle asked, confirming what BOB had thought.

Scritchy, sir? BOB retorted, feigning bewilderment.

Shuffle paused. "Yeah, scritchy. You know, antsy, uppity, kinda impatient... scritchy."

I see sir. Well, you will be pleased to know that I shall have my next break in... BOB paused, checking his internal clock, Three hours.


BOB almost chuckled, just a little under the breath he didn't have. It was going to be an entertaining night, regardless.