A Night Out with the Turks
part 7 - Just the Girls
Pamela let out an annoyed hiss of a sound as she stared back and forth between the seven of hearts that Deirdre had just placed on the table and the cards she held in her hand. "Can’t we play a damn game of poker already?" Her face twisted with disgust as she motioned that she didn’t have any cards to place down on the table.
"No." Kali smiled sweetly but didn’t bother to look up from her cards as she answered. "You know the rules; if more than one Turk is playing cards that doesn’t involve any stripping, then it’s a game of Up and Down." Her smile took on a sharp edge as she placed a six and a five of hearts on the table.
Elena secretly cursed her partner for not putting down an eight of clubs instead, so she could have gotten rid of four cards instead of just one. The problem with the game was that it basically relied only on chance, which got to be annoying as hell after a while. Yet as Kali had just pointed out, it was the only card game they could play tonight; part of a Turk’s basic training was learning how to cheat at cards, both to win and lose since an undercover mission could rely on either outcome. Considering all the illegal activity that went on in casinos and underground clubs, it was a necessary skill, and one that many a Turk had practiced until they became undetectable at it. Cyn was one of those Turks, and Rude had been helping Elena with her skills in the last few months, so there was no way they’d risk a game of anything cheatable tonight. The last thing the Turks needed was animosity amongst the ranks because of accusations of cheating.
Deirdre let out a whoop of laughter as she used Elena’s four of spades to get rid of several cards. "Come on, the game grows on you after a while. I think it took me about seven stake-outs." She smiled at her partner, who managed to place three cards down on the table. Elena had a feeling she was definitely not winning this round.
"I didn’t think we were really here to play cards, anyway," Cyn pointed out, setting her few remaining cards on the table so she could lift her half-empty large glass of margarita in a mock salute before draining it mostly dry.
"I think Pam’s just upset that she’s not getting any goodies tonight." Kali laughed and reached for the pitcher of margarita so she could refill her glass and Cyn’s. "We’ve had some great pots tonight."
"Because we haven’t been able to play for a few weeks," Becca commented before turning to Cyn. "You are a bitch, I’ll have you know that," she snapped as she motioned that she didn’t have any cards to play. Cyn didn’t take it personally and laughed off the weak insult.
"You shouldn’t have bet something you weren’t prepared to lose." Cyn motioned to the ‘pot’ in the middle of the table, which consisted of a gift card to a well known adult toy shop, two folded pieces of paper containing favors to be redeemed at a later time, an information disc and a Wutian throwing knife that had incredible balance.
"I shouldn’t be playing after you," Becca grumbled, then seemed to rid herself of the foul mood by having a drink. "Oh well, we’ve still at least one more round tonight, and that always has the best pot."
Elena nodded in agreement as she rearranged her cards, hoping to have a bit better luck that time around. Sharing in several pitchers of very strong margaritas had left a pleasant buzz in her veins, along with the chance to sit down and unwind for a few hours. Since Tseng was too busy with work and Rude wouldn’t be back until tomorrow afternoon, she’d arranged to spend the night here and didn’t have to worry so much about what she drank. Add to that the fact that she wasn’t on duty tomorrow and she cleared her throat as she held up her glass to be refilled as well. "Says the woman who won an IOU to have any weekend she wants covered in the last round." Dammit, she’d really been hoping to win that, too, since those were often the only days she could really spend some time with Tseng.
Pamela wrinkled her nose while fussing with her handful of cards. "I just want you all to know I think it’s damn unfair how I’m stuck writing out IOUs all the time." She looked at the data disc on the table and sighed. "I don’t have the connections to get all the fun stuff like you do."
A wicked grin on her face, Deirdre toyed with the blue dyed streak of her hair and set her cards face down on the table. "What you need to do is volunteer for a shift in the vid room for a day or two." She reached out to tap the plastic container of the disc with one of her blue painted fingernails. "Then you can get a wonderful amount of blackmail footage!"
"Such as when a fellow Turk is stupid enough to dent Rufus’ limo while fooling around in the garage," Cyn added, making a show of flicking the edges of her remaining three cards.
"Whoever it is you caught on tape, Dee, they are so going to owe the
winner of this round." Becca stared forlornly at her remaining ten cards
and grabbed her glass for a long drink. "And they deserve it, too, for
forgetting about the cameras."
"A good thing about having all the new rookies on duty is that they’ll do lots of stupid shit before they learn better." Elena gave Pamela a sympathetic smile; she’d been in the other woman’s place before, though it had been worse for her since there hadn’t been any other new Turks for quite a while afterwards. "And you’re not the ‘newbie’ anymore."
"Thank god," Pamela moaned, then made a face as she once again had to pass without putting down any cards. "For fuck’s sake, I thought you weren’t supposed to be able to cheat at this game!"
"Technically you can if you hide cards on you," Cyn helpfully explained, her green eyes twinkling with merriment. "But since not one card has more value than another and we equally divide up all the decks, it makes it very tricky and easy to be caught."
Deirdre reached back to tug on her partner’s auburn hair. "I wouldn’t say stuff like that when you’re winning, idiot." Everyone laughed at the joke, especially when Cyn made a big deal of showing off her bare arms. The goal of tonight was to have fun and get drunk while hanging out with friends, so everyone was dressed more for comfort than a sense of fashion. Since Rude liked to keep the apartment on the warm side, most of them were wearing tank tops or sleeveless shirts, enjoying the brief respite from the cold weather outside. Elena picked at the thin fabric of her black cotton pants, which she usually wore when doing some light stretching while at home.
"It’s not like we’re betting for money," Cyn pointed out, which was another rule of any Turk gathering that involved cards. Not that Elena and other others minded, because this way the pot was much more interesting. She’d already won two IOUs to have her shift covered, incriminating pictures of Dom and two of the strippers from Jared and Sara’s wake doing things on Rufus’ secretary’s desk that they really shouldn’t, a full clip of bullets that had been smuggled out of the R&D department that made her slightly giddy just to think of the fun she’d have testing them and the promise of Kali telling her the story of what really happened a couple of weeks ago when Kali and Rude had shown up late for a debriefing. Rude actually had blushed when Reno had teased him for not being on time, which meant that the story *had* to be good and sexy as hell.
In return, she’d lost one IOU to do her best to ‘distract’ Tseng whenever Becca had need of such a diversion, a sphere of Lightning materia she’d confiscated from Reno a few weeks ago when the idiot had been zapping the rookies and a bottle of really good spiced rum that she couldn’t stand to drink. On the plus side, Pamela and Becca had supplied the tequila, Cyn had brought the little cream cheese puffs that Elena and everyone else adored, Kali had ordered pizza and Deirdre had bought some delicious cheesecake. It was rather difficult to worry about what they ate and drank tonight since the chances were good they’d be running their asses off in another day or two.
Then there was the added bonus of just sitting here and listening to everyone talk. Things had been a little quiet the last few days since Rufus was in Costa del Sol with Rude, Reno, Michael and Ling, so they were all looking for a bit of fun and some juicy gossip. Thinking about her boss made Elena smile even though she only got rid of one card again. "Did I mention about Michael’s recently discovered allergy yet?"
Everyone stopped drinking and playing with their cards to look her way. "No, you didn’t," Kali replied, a disproving look on her face as she threw a thankfully clean napkin in Elena’s direction. "Not even to me!"
"That’s because I just found out about it today, when Tseng called to let me know he’d be working all night." Elena frowned a little at the thought of her lover working so many hours, but knew he was trying to get things done while not being driven to the brink of madness by Rufus and Reno’s antics. "So, you know he’s down in Costa del Sol with Rufus and the others, right?"
"Hmm, and one day I’ll figure out how he got that assignment," Cyn bitched, having made it very clear that she’d have willingly killed a few dozen people to be in Michael or Ling’s place.
Patting her partner sympathetically on the back, Deirdre motioned for Elena to continue with her other hand. "Yes, yes, let’s focus on Michael, all right?" That prompted more smiles since it was obvious to everyone that she had a crush on the man’s Wutian partner and was always looking for information that she could take advantage of in some form or another.
Elena paused to wet her throat with what turned out to be the remaining third of her drink, the glass quickly refilled by Kali. "Well, you know Costa del Sol, lots and lots of beaches and all that sun. It seems that one of the events Rufus attended the other day took place on one of the private beaches. Since Reno and sunlight don’t go well together, Rude had to call Michael and Ling to ask them to bring some sunscreen for the pale bastard, and Michael thought it would be funny to fill the bottle with suntan lotion instead." Her smile took on a cruel edge as she thought about what her fellow Turk had in store for him once he returned tomorrow; Tseng was *not* happy about the prank and the fact that a hi-potion had to be used on Reno to cure of him of a debilitating case of sunburn.
"No!" Kali winced and rubbed her hands up her arms, which were a healthy, almost golden color. Deirdre and Cyn winced as well, their complexions a lot fairer than everyone else’s, as befitted people who’d grown up below Plate and hadn’t experienced a lot of natural sunlight until they’d joined the Turks. "So what happened? I’d think you’d be telling us how Rufus or Reno ripped off the idiot’s balls or something."
"Oh, let’s just say that he won’t be picking up much of a paycheck for the next week or two and that Rude nearly knocked out a couple of his teeth." Elena sipped her drink and spent a moment wondering when she’d gotten drunk enough to not even taste the copious amounts of tequila in it anymore. ""However, Reno decided to squirt the remaining bottle of suntan lotion into Michael’s face, which is how they found out that he’s allergic to coconut oil of all things." Needless to say, Michael hadn’t been given the benefit of a potion.
Everyone was quiet for a few seconds, then Becca burst out laughing and
clapped her hands together. "That’s why he freaked when Ling and Rod paid
for him to have a lap dance the one night! The stripper was coated with the
"We all thought he was gay!" Cyn chimed in, the biggest of grins on her face. "And teased him so much about it that he ended up sleeping with another dancer and getting a bad case of crabs!"
"What?" Pamela rested her elbows on the table and propped her chin on her right hand. "I haven’t heard that story yet!" Cyn proceeded to fill her in on the amusing if a bit disgusting details while the rest of the round played out. No one was too surprised when Cyn claimed the pot.
"I wonder how he’d react to a coconut spiked drink," Deirdre mused aloud while Becca shuffled and dealt the cards. "Might be a good way to get Ling alone one night."
"Sweetie, I keep telling you to just buy a push-up bra and grow your hair out a little more, and Ling will do whatever you ask him to do." Cyn tapped her fingers against the back of the cards placed in front of her but didn’t pick them up yet.
"He was very taken with the one stripper who had hair down to her ass at the wake." A puzzled frown overcame Pamela’s face. "Is that a Wutian thing or something? Cyril’s girlfriend has long hair, too." She tugged at a strand of her shoulder-length black hair.
"I don’t think so, not when I’ve known a hell of a lot of guys who like long hair." Kali practically preened as she combed her fingers through her long, dark hair. "Okay, ladies, time to fill the pot, and make it good since this is the final round. We’ve only another pitcher of margaritas left and it’s past two in the morning."
"Is it? Fuck, we have first shift tomorrow." Deirdre rubbed her eyes but didn’t get up to leave the table. Instead, she picked her purse up off the floor and dug through its contents for a minute. "All right, we agreed that this was an all video round, right?" She smiled as she took out a small, plastic encased disc. "It’s an oldie but a goodie, guaranteed to have Rod on his knees begging to do whatever you want. How about footage of him fucking Scarlet in a conference room, eh?"
Elena almost dropped her drink when she heard that. "Eh? He was dumb enough to touch her? I thought she caused more diseases than tainted drinking water!"
Kali laughed and patted her on the back. "Just about! That’s a good one, ‘Lena!"
"Oh, what makes this such a gem is that it’s clear that *he’s* not the aggressor. He’s damn near screaming for his mommy at the end of the footage." Deirdre actually cackled, the sound low and evil. "You’ll find out why he doesn’t like fake nails on any of his girlfriends after watching this!"
"Well, this isn’t as amusing on a ‘let’s watch a friend get tortured level’, but it should come in handy one day." Cyn added her disc to the middle of the table. "Remember how someone kept raiding the locker room a few years ago?" Everyone but Pamela nodded, and Elena’s hands clenched into fists as she thought about the really pretty and expensive set of lace underwear she’d lost as a result. "We thought it was another Turk since the cameras went all wonky whenever a theft occurred, so I set up one to take pics every half a second and didn’t tie it into the network. What you see before you, ladies, is one of Cait Sith’s earlier ‘test runs’."
That bit of information nearly made Elena fall out of her seat and Kali spilled some of her drink onto her t-shirt. "You mean Reeve is a damn panty thief?" Kali gasped in shock, the expression turning to one of deviousness when something clearly occurred to her. "Oh, what I could do with a bit of blackmail material like that."
"Let’s just say it’s not the only proof I have, which is why I’m willing to give that tidbit up. I rather like the idea of the bastard having to deal with several of us to keep his precious image squeaky clean." The animosity on Cyn’s face was echoed around the table, even by Pamela; no Turk was pleased with the way that Reeve had sided with an enemy and given up information that had cost them precious lives, let alone by the way he tried to make ShinRa jump whenever he snapped his fingers now.
Pamela sighed as she offered up her portion of the pot. "Like mine
stands a chance, now. Remember the stake-out mission two weeks ago?" She
waited until everyone nodded before continuing, her eyes slightly glazed and the
words a bit slurred. "Who wants to see Joel hitting on a half-assed
It took a few seconds for the words to sink in, and Elena was grateful that Kali had set her glass down a minute before. "Wait, Joel, Mister ‘keep anything with a dick as far away from me as possible’ hit on a trannie?"
"Even better, Elena, it was a trannie who could make Rude look feminine!" Pamela tossed back her head as she laughed, a tear running down the left side of her face. "Ah hell, all he cared about was the fake tits, obviously. I also have on there the audio recording of Carmen calling him a blind idiot, amongst other things. It took her twenty minutes to get through to him he wasn’t hitting on a ‘real’ woman!"
"Damn, no wonder he practically begged for a shift in the vid room the next day!" Deirdre tipped an imaginary hat off to Pamela. "How did you get to it before he did?"
"Because Jackson was working surveillance that night and he likes a woman with a bit of muscle to her." Pamela’s smile was very pleased just then, and the answer certainly explained why she hadn’t been complaining about the lack of a boyfriend recently.
Kali chuckled and held up the quickly dwindling pitcher of margarita. "I
hear he likes it when you spank him."
"That’s footage for the next game, I’m thinking," was Pamela’s quick reply.
Becca clicked her tongue and tossed her contribution into the pot onto the
table. "Gee, and here I only have something that will embarrass at least
eight Turks still on the payroll. Anyone care to see footage of what happened at
the New Year Eve’s party eight years ago?"
The room was actually quiet for a few seconds. "Oh, don’t you even tell me that someone missed a camera that night!" Kali whispered, her face turning bright red. Across the table, Deirdre seemed overwhelmed by the urge to drink as much alcohol as she could while Cyn had a disturbingly proud smile on her face. Elena could only share a look with Pamela since that was before her time, and knew she’d do her best to win the pot tonight since her sister would still have been a Turk back then. Not to mention that should be before Reno took to sleeping with Rufus, which meant she’d finally be able to use something incriminating against the bastard.
"Sara managed to smuggle one in." Becca’s smile faltered for a few seconds while Deirdre raised her glass in a silent toast. "Anyway, it’s a copy of a copy, but still of good enough quality to make a few people squirm once they know you have it!"
"You’ll be lucky if you don’t end up shot when word of that vid gets out!" Kali warned, her good mood appearing restored. "Ah well, it was one hell of a fun time even if we broke as many laws as we could that night." She held up a small disc before making a show of placing it with the others. "Now, this is something that isn’t meant to be shown about, but enjoyed by the winner. It’s just a little something from my private collection." She winked at Elena as she sat back in her chair and picked up her drink.
"Don’t tell me it’s you and Rude having sex," Elena said as she gave the disc a dubious look. Yes, Rude was hot as hell but she wasn’t sure if she really wanted to see her partner being fucked.
"It’s even better than that." Kali waved her hand as if to dismiss what Elena had just said. "Let’s just say that I’m the one doing all the work."
"Oh hell, you’re using the strap-on, aren’t you?" Elena *knew* she wasn’t drunk enough to handle this and grabbed her drink, which she almost spilled when Pamela let out a loud squeal.
"Okay, I will trade a month’s worth of weekend shifts to whoever wins that thing." The dark-skinned Turk looked ready to start hyperventilating. "Since *someone* has turned into an extremely possessive and greedy bitch, it’s the closest I’ll ever come to sex with the man." She didn’t seem offended when Kali gave her the finger.
Deirdre picked up the disc and gave it a good look before returning it to the pile. "I don’t know, that might be too good to trade." She gave her partner a dirty look. "I swear, if I ever find out you’re cheating at this game I’ll wipe all your hard drives clean, you hear?"
"It’s not my fault I’m just lucky at this game!" Cyn made a big production of standing up so everyone could see the tight jeans and clinging tank top she wore, which would make it difficult as hell to hide any extra cards. "But you better believe I’m gonna do all I can to win the pot this round!"
Elena sniggered as she gave up her disc. "Oh, wait, it gets better." She didn’t continue until she had everyone’s rapt attention. "Anyone interested in why Reno started growing out his hair, hmm?"
This time it was Becca who almost fell out of her chair. "Wait, you telling me you got vid of Reno *and* Rufus? Now I *know* you’re fucking Tseng because that man puts a complete and total lockdown on all that goodness!"
"We’re talking footage of them in an elevator, and Rufus damn well knew the camera was on! In fact, he thinks he’s the only one who has a copy of this disc." She waved it about a little before adding it to the pile. She was very proud of being able to make a copy without anyone catching on to her, especially since Tseng did such a good job of destroying any recorded evidence of Reno and Rufus’ public sexual escapades.
"I damn well love you," Cyn moaned, her eyes glazing over for a second before being taken over by a predatory gleam. "Ladies, you so don’t stand a chance now."
Kali nudged Elena in the side. "Why are you giving up something like that?"
Elena blushed slightly and tried to hide it by fussing with her hair. "Tseng almost found the file the other night while using my home computer. I decided it was best to burn it to disc and stash it somewhere safe, and figured I might as well make a copy." No one here was stupid enough to let other people know about the disc, not when Rufus and Tseng would have all their hides if they ever found out. Maybe if Becca didn’t win the pot tonight, they could work out a private trade later on.
Pamela picked up her stack of cards and flipped them over. "Well, I don’t think anyone’s just gonna give the vids to you, Cyn, so be prepared for one hell of a fight." She managed to sound tough for all of three seconds. "And, ah, don’t forget about my offer for the Rude disc."
"It’s gonna certainly be a fun last round." Deirdre had to blink
her eyes several times to read her cards. "Erased hard drives, Cyn. All
that delicious porn gone bye-bye."
"For fuck’s sake, I’m not cheating! You can pat me down and change seats if you like! Stop being so jealous that you’ve no luck at a damn child’s game, you harping bitch."
"I love you, too." Deirdre blew a kiss at her partner, causing Cyn to laugh. "And don’t think I won’t take you up on the offer for the pat down!"
Kali cheered the small Turk on when Deirdre and Cyn stood up. "I think she just wants to cop a feel, Cyn."
"Yeah, she’s been working on a new program for too long and needs to
get laid." Cyn winked and then burst into giggles when Deirdre started to
tickle her. "Bitch, just squeeze my tits and get it over with."
"Nah, I can do that anytime." Deirdre sat back down again and tried once more to put her cards in order. "So, since I haven’t seen Tseng banging his head against the wall lately, I assume that things are going mostly well in Costa del Sol, the coconut incident aside?"
It took a few seconds for Elena to realize that the question had been addressed to her. "Ah, yeah." She felt a little guilty about passing on things like this, but figured that it kept her friends and coworkers from trying to get personal details about her relationship with Tseng from her. She’d made it very clear that she wouldn’t pass on stuff like that, not when it might mean a loss of respect for Tseng. "Ask Rude about the incident in the coat room, but other than that, Rufus is too busy to fool around, I think."
Becca and Kali both snorted in derision at the same time. "You mean that there’s too much press around." Becca folded her cards together and tapped them against the table. "I hear the Midgar Times is willing to pay twenty five thousand gil to anyone who catches those two in the act. It’s your turn to start, Pam."
"That’ll barely pay the hospital bill of anyone caught taking those pictures," Kali pointed out. "I must admit, it’s rather fun being able to beat up the press again."
"Oh please, you mean ‘stalkers’." Cyn clicked her tongue in disgust and paid attention to the cards that Kali put down. "Luka’s still trying to track down a recording of Reeve calling Rufus about the incidents and Rufus putting him in his place." She stared pointedly in Elena’s direction.
Fidgeting in her seat, Elena resisted the urge to hide behind her cards.
"Look, I’m pretty sure Tseng does have a copy of that conversation, but I
haven’t had any luck in finding out where. And even if I’m having sex with
the man, I’m *not* breaking into his computers to look for it!" She was
lucky if she had sex once a week as it was with her lover’s busy schedule
lately, there was no way she was going without completely.
"Wuss. Ah well, I’ll tell Luka to keep trying on WRO’s end."
"You could always trick a rookie into looking for it," Deirdre suggested.
Cyn obviously gave it some serious thought. "We could add that to the list, I suppose." She grinned in delight and somehow managed to get rid of three cards. "I love playing with the newbies."
"Just wait, I still remember all the shit you guys tricked me into
doing," Pamela grumbled. "Though to be fair, it was mostly Tosh who
got into trouble."
"And now there are several of him running around, oh so eager to prove how bright and clever and daring they are." Kali’s warm laughter filled the room. "It’s so much fun, messing with their heads."
This time it was Elena doing the poking in the ribs. "Says the woman who just slammed one of the rookies headfirst into a locker for trying to make a pass at Rude." And people thought that Rufus was jealous.
Kali’s smile just then was as pleased as it could possibly be. "I find a few demonstrations like that are the best way to get my point across."
"And slamming someone into a locker is a hell of a lot less incriminating than you shooting them with your own gun," Becca remarked after cursing over the fact that she couldn’t get rid of any cards.
"Despite what most men think, big breasts do not mean I’ve a tiny brain." Kali poured the last of the pitcher into her and Elena’s glasses. "Okay, everyone’s on their own now, you know where the bar and the fridge are."
"Morning shift," Deirdre reminded her, eyelids drooping as the late night wore on her. "Mind if I crash on the couch? I’ve a spare uniform in my car."
"That’s fine with me." Kali draped her arm over Elena’s
shoulders. "We’ve got the bed."
"I always thought you refused to sleep with your partners!" Cyn laughed when Elena blushed. "Aw, you’d be so cute together."
Elena needed a drink before she could respond. "Does that mean you’re comparing me to Rude?"
There was more laughter over that comment, then Becca talking about a cute blonde she had a few dates with a month or so ago. One of these all-girl get-togethers, Elena would have to invite everyone to her apartment and hide some surveillance equipment; she was certain that some of her male coworkers would pay dearly to listen in on the conversations tonight. Then again, that might lead to the guys trying to crash these parties, which would spoil the fun.
It looked as if Cyn was well on her way to winning this round, as well as Deirdre passing out from all the drinking. Determined to do the best she could, Elena focused on the game and what she could do with a month free of working any weekend shifts. While she highly doubted that Tseng would let her videotape that time ‘well spent’, she’d still be able to truly enjoy herself.
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