IC: Cord McKerty Beachhead Sea Resort Cord wiped off his face with a towel on the sidelines. It was the second scrimmage between the two squads here on Wroona for camp, the Senators and the Force. He had wrapped up his stint out there for the Force, playing with people he still was trying to find chemistry with. The Senators had been whipping their asses up and down the field all scrimmage, their stars really paving the way through the heart of the Force defense. Max Qorbus easily dodged Wack Crollue, the Right Half Back, then stiffarmed Villie Bywash in the face, sending the Amaran down to the field. The Nautolan then passed to a wide-open Riff Persnor, who burned Kurta Thaar easily for three points. Cord looked to Jed Ortmeyer, the Coach for Thyferra; it was obvious that he wasn’t happy with his team’s performance here. Finally Pam Korthe blew the whistle, and the scrimmage was over. Cord didn’t even want to ask what the score was; it would have been too embarrassing to know. He instead took a drink of Gundarkade from the cooler and began to walk away. “McKerty!” came a yell. Cord turned around and saw Jed walking towards him. “Nice game out there,” the former Senator and Galactic Cup winner in 268 said. “I know it was rough, but you stuck it out, and that’s all I can ask for. You’ve got the guts to make it on my team anyday.” “Thanks, Coach,” Cord said. “You took a huge hit there from Reena,” Jed remarked. Cord just nodded sheepishly. “But you shook it off and kept going. Nice work out there, and I’ll see you at practice tomorrow.” “All right,” Cord said. He then kept walking to the compound. However, he then heard his name. Turning around, he saw Reena coming towards him, her workout clothing just as sweaty as his was. “Going to gloat about your hit?” Cord asked. “What? No, I just want to know if you’re all right,” the Hapan said quickly. “I didn’t mean to hit you that hard . . . I know it’s scrimmage, and I don’t want to hurt you out there . . .” “Nah, I’m fine,” Cord said. The Hapan looked relieved to hear this. “Any plans for tonight?” Reena asked. “Not really,” Cord said. “I want to watch some footage, of course, and then . . . I don’t know . . . I have nothing in mind. You wanna hang out or something?” “Yeah,” Reena said. She then lowered her voice. “Is your roommate going to be in?” “Maybe . . .” Cord said, shrugging. “Why?” “Just make sure, and then tell me,” Reena said. She winked and then walked away, leaving Cord unsure of what she had meant. Thirty minutes later, Cord had finished his shower, and had gone back into the heart of his hotel room. Ganos was sitting on his bed, looking at a datapad. “I thought you wouldn’t quit getting cleaned up,” he said. “It takes you forever to finish showering, I’ve noticed.” “Hey, it feels good after a long day of practice,” Cord replied. “You have anything going on tonight?” “Well, there’s some stuff going on in town tonight,” his roommate said. “They’ve got some shows going on for the night-time crowd down at the theater, and it would be interesting to go for once before we’re done here at camp. But, then again, I could just stay here and take a swim in the pool. What plans do you have for tonight?” “Just looking at film, really,” Cord said, scratching his chin. “I want to break down what I did wrong today and try to work on it.” “Understood,” Ganos said. “Not to be an ass or anything, but I’d rather go have fun while I still can in town before we really ratchet up the practices. I just need to shower, and then I’ll be out of your hair.” “Got it,” Cord said. His roommate went into the bathroom and closed the door behind him, leaving Cord alone in the room. He could then hear the rush of water in the shower through the bathroom door and the walls. Sighing, he pulled out his comlink and called up Reena. “Hey,” she said when she picked it up. “You hear yet?” “Roommate’s not got anything tonight here. We can hang out,” Cord said. “Awesome,” Reena said. “Would 1930 work?” “Yeah, that should,” Cord said, taking a look at the chrono. It read 1750; she wanted to hang out in an hour and a half. “All right,” Reena said. “See you then.” As he pulled out his game footage reel, Cord couldn’t help but think of the first date the two of them had had a week and a half earlier. Now he would get his chance once again to talk to her, to make sure that moment wasn’t going to be the last between them. Finally Ganos came out of the bathroom and left, so Cord was able to watch his footage. It was odd to see how slow he looked in comparison to the other forwards; it didn’t feel like he was slow, but compared to Qorbus and Wylega Persnor, he certainly looked like someone had filled his shoes with weights to keep him grounded. It was something he knew he would have to fix in the remaining time here at camp. Time seemed to fly past as he watched and learned. Then he felt his datapad buzz with an incoming text message. He picked it up and read. “Knock knock,” was all it said. He had no idea what all this was about, but then he heard a knock at the door. Pausing his footage, he went to the door. Ganos couldn’t be back already, could he? He opened the door to see Reena leaning against the door frame. She was wearing just the simple black swimsuit that she had been in on their last date. “Hi,” she said simply. “Uh . . . hi,” Cord said. He hadn’t expected her to come up to his room, and definitely not so scantily-clad. So this was why she had asked about Ganos . . . everything made sense now. “Can I come in?” the Hapan asked. “Yeah, come on in and make yourself at home,” Cord said. Reena went inside and sat down in one of the chairs. Cord then went back and sat on his bed. “Watching footage?” Reena asked. “Yeah,” Cord replied. “I had no idea I was so slow out there,” he remarked. “I’m not trying to be mean, but you do seem a step slower out there,” Reena commented. “I thought you said you liked to cut in mid-stride.” “I do . . . but it’s hard when you have pros bearing down on you from all sides,” Cord admitted. “Like I’ve said before, try running on the beach. It may hurt a little at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be in better condition. If you can cut on the beach, with all of its little quirks, then you can make a cut on a Limmie field and make defenders lose their balance.” “Hm, I might have to try that out,” Cord said. His mind then wandered to Reena’s presence. Why exactly was she not wearing much clothing? “Um . . . what’s with the lack of clothes?” he asked. Reena just smirked. “It’s so damn warm out there that I feel more comfortable in this.” “So you want to go down to the pool again?” Cord asked. “Or the ocean? I’d be up for a swim . . .” “No, this is fine,” Reena said. “Besides, do you think ill of me for doing this? Is it wrong for a woman to wear this in front of a guy who likes her and she likes back?” “Um . . . no, not at all,” Cord said quickly, trying not to offend her. He loved looking at her body this way . . . it just seemed like she was trying to prove a point. “I must say, though. You rock that thing.” “Thank you,” Reena said. “I happen to like it myself.” She then paused. “Well, if I’m interrupting or anything, I’ll be on my way . . .” “No, stay here,” Cord said. Reena, who was motioning to stand up, stopped. “I like your presence. It relaxes me a little,” he lied. In actuality, he was afraid he might screw it up with her, and then she would never talk to him again. “You want to go back to watching your footage?” Reena asked. “I could . . .” Cord said. He flipped the game footage back on, and his attention snapped back to that. However, Reena then came down at sat next to him on his bed, leaning against him. Cord could feel her breathing and her gentle bare skin against him, and he found it difficult to pay attention to the screen. Limmie was now a detached entity in his mind, replaced by Reena’s presence. It began to consume him, and his mind wandered. How nice that first date had been . . . if only that could happen again . . . “So, do you have any other moves that you like to do on the field?” Reena asked. “Not really . . . but I have some bedroom moves I really like,” Cord said without thinking rationally. Reena smirked. “Oh really? Well, seeing as there is a bed here, and no one around, how about you show me those moves?” She then kissed him on the cheek, and Cord was sent back into lust mode. Within a matter of seconds his shirt and shorts and her bikini hit the floor, and the two of them kissed as they slipped underneath the sheets. Perhaps there was something between the two of them that had been unleashed, and neither wanted it to end. Three Days Later, Room #248, Late Cord leaned down and kissed Reena lightly on the forehead. This time around, they were in her room and her bed as they prepared themselves to have a session there. Neither wore any clothes; those had been discarded on the floor already. Reena’s roommate, Gayla Renhorn, was not supposed to be in tonight, as she was hanging out around the pool and wasn’t expected to be back until very late. “Cord, I know it’s been a long time coming, but . . . I love you,” Reena said. “I love you too,” Cord said. He kissed her again, felt her pulse as it raced. His heartbeat was starting to peak as well, the prize in sight once more. “Gayla always said that I should get a boyfriend,” Reena said. “I’ve found one.” “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever been in a relationship with,” Cord said. “Oh come off it, you must have had someone else,” the Hapan said. “No, I haven’t. None like you,” Cord said. He reached down once again and kissed her, and the Hapan kissed him back. This was their moment. “Reena! What the hell are you doing?” came a very familiar voice, a very familiar one, from behind them. It was Gayla, and she wasn’t happy. IC: Gayla Renhorn Gayla’s first training camp with the Senators had been different than those she had on Onderon. First and foremost, she hadn’t gotten to work out at a resort world with the Crazy Dragons for camp. Second, she didn’t have her best friends there with her. Sure she had made good with Jenna Leed, the Dragon’s captain, early on, but there was nothing like having Reena and Tank around to help ease her into life as a member of the Senator organization. She had spent the last few weeks taking reps at the midfield spot, which was her primary position. She had been informed that Ravil We’kyr (formerly Gynordis), the Bothan midfield coach, in accordance with the massive turnover that had occurred in the Senator Front 6 personnel-wise, and the fact that Allie Orchetrada, the famed 262 Senator coach, was now in charge of the offense instead of old stalwart Andrew Mundle, there was more at stake here. Orchetrada had said from Day One that two midfielders would make the starting lineup. However, since there were three standout middies on the roster, herself, captain Alysha Romax, and Demetra Silkins, someone would be left out. In order to give them all minutes, Orchetrada had put in place a system that she had developed during her days with AC Coruscant, an entry-level pro Limmie club. It was called the “Triple Alliance” midfield system; the name sounded stupid, like something from a history textbook, but no matter the name, it made sense given the potential of the three players. The system would utilize two midfielders in their normal capacity, and another one, a “wing” of sorts, would be a rover-type player, assisting the offense and defense depending on the situation while still leaving two midfielders on the field. Gayla liked her autonomy, but didn’t want to not start, either. The rover would come off the bench as necessary; the minutes would be good, but not like starting minutes. She wanted to start, and she would work as hard as it took to get there. It had been difficult to mend fences with Max Qorbus, the Nautolan who had led his Chandrila A&M Rovers to a win in their game back in 270 against CorTech and eventually beat Gayla out for the Helmsman Memorial Trophy. Although Qorbus had been somewhat nice to her during and after that game, there was still some animosity between them, which Gayla thought probably stemmed from her rift with Aeron Vos from the Air Fleet Academy and then on Onderon. She had no clue why he had been drafted along with her, and had tried to avoid Vos whenever possible. She also had to deal with Jayla Leed, the Senators’ starting goalie, who probably still had a chip on her shoulder from being passed up by Onderon when they had selected Gayla #2 overall in the first ELL Draft. What had really made this camp interesting was getting to finally play on the same field as her younger sister Alex. Alex, after hearing about Gayla’s exploits at CorTech, had transferred there immediately after her sophomore season. The Mean Green had sucked both years she was there, but obviously the Senators had seen enough in her play to sign her to a contract. It was on one particular night that she had been invited to hang out by the pool by Tank. She had gone and talked to her teammates for a while, but then she realized that she needed rest. Practice was starting to wear on her, and she knew that sleep would at least give her some temporary relief. So she went back to her room. As she pulled out her key, she thought she could hear voices inside. Nah, she thought, that had to be the players next door. Some of the Thyferra players were next door, and had obviously been playing video games late the last few nights. Gayla had wanted to slam her fist on their door to make them shut up, but she had decided not to. If they got a noise complaint, it was their fault, not hers. But the sounds didn’t seem to be coming from there; what a shock. Instead, they were very faint, almost impossible to hear from outside. Gayla held her breath and slid the keycard into the slot without a sound. She then entered her room. Yes, the voices were in here. Had someone broken in? It was at this point that she turned the corner and saw Reena and that McKerty kid both naked in Reena’s bed. Gayla couldn’t believe it; so this was why Reena had seemed somewhat dodgy the last few days around her. She was sleeping with McKerty! Her mind filled with rage. “Reena! What the hell are you doing?” she blurted out. Reena looked up from her bed, her eyes wide. “Gayla,” she said. “This isn’t what it looks like!” “I know exactly what it looks like!” Gayla shouted. She was seeing red now. “Get out of here!” she yelled at McKerty, who looked absolutely terrified that he had been caught in the act. “Go on, get moving!” McKerty got off the bed and tried to put his pants back on, but he was so nervous that they fell down to his ankles after slipping from his grasp. “I said GET MOVING!” Gayla reiterated, and McKerty just scampered away, still trying to keep his pants up and hold his shirt in the other hand. “I never want to see you around here ever again!” she said for good measure. Her attention then turned to Reena, who had covered her naked body with the bed sheet. “Reena . . . how could you?!” Gayla said. “Gayla, let me explain . . .” Reena said, but her roommate cut her off. “I know exactly what you’re up to,” Gayla said, steamed. “You’ve been letting that little punk get in your pants, haven’t you?” “I just . . .” “Reena, you’re killing me, you really are,” Gayla said, cutting Reena off again. “Don’t you see? You’re letting him exploit you! He’s nothing but some two-bit rookie who sleeps with women just to satiate his youthful desires! All you are is a tool for him, nothing more! I can’t believe that you’ve stooped this low. How many times did you help me get my mind out of the gutter? Hm? Back in college? You were the respectable one . . . and look at you now, sleeping with a college-aged guy who has no sense of decency in his body. Where is that decency now, hm? You make me sick.” “Gayla, let me explain,” Reena said. “What is there to explain?” Gayla asked. “I understand quite clearly. When are you going to grow up and realize that you were being exploited? You should be thanking me for saving you from that degrading act.” “Listen to me,” Reena said. “You keep bothering me about not having a boyfriend. I get one, and then you come and scare him off!” Gayla just snorted. “Boyfriend? Since when, Reena? Since when? Just because you were going to sleep with him doesn’t mean that he’s your friend. He’s just using you, nothing more. He doesn’t care for you, he certainly doesn’t love you, and that will never change. That punk is just going to get you in trouble, mark my words. I’ve seen how you seem to think you’re becoming great pals. Well, let me tell you something. He’s a scumbag, and I don’t want you to fall for him. I order you to keep your distance and never let yourself be degraded by his little punk ass!” “Ordering?” Reena asked, her voice starting to escalate. “Who do you think you are, my mother? ” “I’m your friend!” Gayla shot back. “And I’m being a friend by getting you out of this mess you’ve found yourself in! Shame on you for turning your back on me, after all we’ve gone through. You need to listen to me, as a teammate, as a friend!” “A true friend wouldn’t tell someone to stop seeing someone they really like!” Reena retorted. “You’re being overbearing, Gayla, and I can’t stand it anymore! You can’t tell me what I can and can’t do! It’s my life, and I’m going to live it the way I want to. No one can change that, you understand? No one, not even you.” “Fine then,” Gayla said. “Since it’s obvious that you’d rather stoop low to that frakkers’ level, and won’t listen to reason, I’m not going to bother to keep pushing you to see the light.” She reached down and quickly packed her stuff in her duffel bag, not even finishing zipping the item before hoisting it over her shoulder. “You’re dead to me,” she said as she walked towards the door. “And don’t come crawling back to me when he’s finished with you, asking for help, because you won’t get it.” “Don’t go,” Reena pleaded. “I’m out of here. Never show your face to me again.” Gayla then slammed the room door behind her in her frenzy. Outside in the hall were several Force and Senator players, wondering what in the hell was going on. Gayla just walked down the hall to the lift, not saying a word. In practice the next day, Gayla watched Reena like a hawk. But when her former roommate tried to look at her, she just looked away. When the teams were running drills, Gayla made sure to keep her distance, still stewing over Reena’s actions and stubbornness. How could Reena betray her like that? It made her want to punch McKerty in the face, which she actually got the chance to. McKerty had the ball in a drill, and Gayle laid the lumber on him, sending him down to the turf. “See that, asswipe?” Gayla said, looking down. “That will teach you not to abuse women at your leisure. That’s all you’re good for, you little piece of . . .” Then she felt herself be roughly pushed aside. She looked up at Tank, who was frowning. “Gayla, what the hell are you doing?” the Herglic demanded. “None of your damn business,” Gayla shot back. “I’m sure it is my business,” Tank said. “You have no right to go and taunt a teammate like that.” “You have no idea,” Gayla said. “And I have every reason to kick that little punk down.” “Why?” Tank asked, stern. “What Maker-given right do you have to pull something like that? Hm? What the hell has gotten into you today?” “Nothing, I’m fine,” Gayla said. “Now let me go.” But Tank held his grip. “Not until you tell me what’s going on,” the Herglic said. Then the whistle blew, and Pamila Korthe came over. “What’s going on?” she demanded. “Something’s gotten into Gayla here,” Tank said. “And she won’t tell me what’s on her mind.” “Renhorn, is that true?” Pam asked. “Not at all,” Gayla lied, still trying to wriggle free. “You’re a terrible liar,” Pam commented. “I saw that taunt on McKerty. You don’t pull crap like that, Renhorn, or you’ll find yourself on the bench. Or, worse yet, we’ll ship you off to Kessel. That would settle you down a bit. Maybe it would push your ego down as well. Hit the showers; you’re done.” Gayla shook free of Tanks’s grasp and walked off the field, not even making eye contact with anyone as she passed by. It was going to be a long, cold shower. TAG: No One And another cliffhanger brought to you by the Gunny School of Cliffhangers!