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Amanda And The Gamblers RevengeBorn 1947, M, from Zurich, Switzerland
Casino City was going mad! Richard Raleigh was making too much money at the tables! Casino One was nearly broke, and Richard was now clearing all of the money from Casino Two. The gambling syndicates were more than worried – they were desperate! Was this the work of out-of-City syndicates, was this the interference of government agencies, or was this the plan of a greedy new in-City Syndicate? It could not be the work of one man acting alone against the Laws of Chance and Fate? Someone needed to examine the case – the job fell to the team of Amanda Spike.
“Suzanne, he has just left the bar!”
Amanda Spike grimaced as the voice from her team leader squawked into her earphone. At least he had remembered to call her by her operating name ‘Suzanne’.
“He is crossing towards the lobby, I suggest you intervene right now!” squawked the voice further.
Suzanne got up from the lobby sofa, straightened her skirt, smoothed her hair and advanced towards her moving target. Very casually but forcefully, she collided with the intended mark. As she hit his right side she said with a very surprised voice, “ Oh, I am so sorry I didn’t move out of your way fast enough!”
“Oh, that’s all right,” said the man, the mark, the target, “I saw you coming first and moved a little bit sideways.”
“It’s not that I make a habit of lobby collisions,” said Suzanne, “But I’m not so nimble today!”
“Maybe we could sit down together for while and discuss your disorientation,” suggested the man, the mark, the target, as he indicated the sofa from which Suzanne had just risen.
“Yes, that would be very nice,” said Suzanne.
“Very smart quick work, Suzanne,” squawked again her team leader’s voice into her earphone. The targeted man turned to her and said, ”My name is Richard Raleigh! Perhaps your earphone is causing your disorientation!” As Suzanne removed the offending earphone, her team leader’s squawk turned into an unheard gasp.
“You’re probably right about the earphone,” apologized Suzanne.
“I was just listening to the stock market results, and was distracted by depression!” lied Suzanne. “Oh, I’m Suzanne Drake, your local stock market expert!” Suzanne finally introduced herself. After exchanging chat for about ten minutes, Suzanne and Richard parted company, and had agreed to meet later that afternoon for a cocktail drink.
Amanda (as Suzanne) went quickly to the room upstairs where her team was monitoring and asked whether they had heard the subsequent conversation after she had removed her earphone. Bill Kidd, her team leader, replied, “Yes we recorded both of your commentaries, and I think this Richard might suspect that you might be something other than the local stockbroker. His comments indicate that he was certainly very awake! We must plan very carefully how you can get to the core of his attention, and find out whether he is acting alone.
Suzanne continued, ”Yes, at the next meeting with Richard I must try to extract some information on just how he manages to fool the croupiers and card dealers in the casinos. We have heard from only one affected casino, but soon I am sure other casino owners will want to stop this flow of cash away from them and towards Richard. It is hard to imagine that he works alone!
Bill Kidd added, “If he has a team they must be very sophisticated, there is no obvious presence of them around, and if he can communicate with them by telepathy then he will always be way ahead of any opposition! This whole business until now gives me much food for thought. I cannot see how he can possibly manage it all unless he won the favors of Lady Luck!”
Suzanne asked him,” You mean that Lady Luck is an actual personage? I always thought she was a figment of a superstitious imagination!”
Kidd continued, ”I don’t know if Richard Raleigh has contact with the supernatural, or just contact with the natural through superb means! In any case millions in several currencies have flowed from many casinos worldwide into his bank accounts!”
Amanda Spike was part of an International Crisis Team, this time focusing on very disruptive practices of coordinated gambling factions. Sir James Mace in the recently convened meeting of the International Crisis Team, had empowered Amanda, Jeremy Bard, Bill Kidd and associates, to devise their own observations -- independent from other active surveillance of gambling syndicates by several governments.
Their attention was drawn to Richard Raleigh by an old friend of Jeremy Bard. Ben Wise, an Associate at Casino Two, had asked Jeremy if he knew anyone who could help in ‘taking a look’ at a big stinging scam against his casino. Jeremy could not accept an official contract to study illegal business, but friends were friends -- especially if they became ‘clients’, whatever they got up to as long it was not illegal! Jeremy had his own opinions about the role of casinos in the world, but ‘taking a look’ was not illegal! Amanda was thrilled about the undercover role as Suzanne that was suggested, and Sir James Mace was always happy to undertake hazardous investigations of suspicious business.
Richard Raleigh met his team in his hotel suite after leaving Suzanne. Richard’s team leader, Thomas Mackett, commented, “This Suzanne is obviously not working alone although she may spin you the tale of being a loner. The team behind her is very conspicuous -- either this is very cleverly planned to throw us off scent, or very stupid because they have limited resources, or even more clever to draw us out into the open! In any case someone must have alerted them to us - simply because of the style with which they are operating!”
Richard replied, ”That we will only know by observing them. I am sure that they are observing us, probably on a contract. I must assume that some casino, or group of casinos, want to stop our wave of winnings! When I meet Suzanne I will not communicate with you at all, and you can observe the whole meeting through your remote microphones and cameras. We must ensure that we give no hints about how we operate. After all with the flow of millions our way, some casino or other will not simply observe from polite distance -- but will certainly send in some hit man or doctor to end the streak of Lady Luck!”
Thomas Mackett commented, “Well, it has occurred to me that perhaps dear Suzanne herself is indeed a hit woman!”
Richard Raleigh replied,
“We’ll only know that by watching events unfold. For all we know she might be working for government agencies rather than crime syndicates! There are several other persons about who appear regularly at the same gambling tables as me, and a few are quite suspicious!
Just before she left to meet Richard, Suzanne’s team leader Bill Kidd said to her, “I’ve just been studying the videos we made of Richard over the last times he was in casinos and he seems to be tapping his fingers a lot on the furniture – this may be part of a signaling system that he uses? Anyway Suzanne, our mandate from Jeremy’s client is for the moment just to find out information, and not to attempt to immobilize Richard – for the moment, remember the moment!”
As agreed earlier, Suzanne and Richard met downstairs in the hotel bar to continue their introductions and clarifications of her stumbling about. Richard pretended that he knew nothing about Suzanne -- as if he and she were each here alone. Suzanne’s behavior clearly was meant to indicate that this was similar for her—alone and innocent. So they told each other background stories about their growing up and early adventures. Suzanne knew enough about Richard to know that his stories were at least modified -- if not complete fabrications.
Unknown to the other, each scrutinized the minutest movements of the other. As also did concealed cameras on their persons and cameras placed around the public space by the two teams - just before the ‘casual meeting’. So after this cocktail hour meeting the two excused themselves, but agreed to meet later that evening in Casino Three some blocks away.
Suzanne and Richard met in the lobby of the Casino Three (actually called Winner-takes-all), and agreed to sit first at the Long Bar. Richard was charming and Amanda (as Suzanne) felt quickly devastated. She was rapidly asking herself why she was spying on this lovely man. Very quickly she told herself that if it were not for the fact that she was engaged to spy on him, she would rather work with him in whatever he was up to!
Whatever Richard played he won. He cleaned up in blackjack, vingt-et-un, roulette, poker, and even the slot machines. It was uncanny! He knew exactly what to play and when to play it. Amanda (as Suzanne) had no clue how he was doing it. One could assume he was a natural game genius, or that he was Lord Luck! Or that he had some audio-visual implants in his body combined with multi-camera support and clever communications. The cards in the hands of the other players were probably continually observed, and the mechanical devices (roulette tables, slot machines) seemed to be fixed for him.
Suzanne was completely taken aback with Richard’s success. She was also completely taken with Richard! Amanda (as Suzanne) knew that she was not functioning objectively and in a dispassionate fashion -- as was required on the job! Suzanne returned very late to her room and said she was far too tired for a debriefing!
The next morning, Bill Kidd was still furious from the night before. Amanda (as Suzanne) was clearly suffering from a heavy head. Jeremy was a little edgy not quite knowing if this was the Amanda that he thought he knew, and trusted, and actually was in love with!
Despite her banging headache, ‘Suzanne’ got herself quickly together. She apologized to both for not following the behavior rules exactly. Admitted that she found the target very interesting but “No! nothing untoward had happened between them!”
When Suzanne’s Team looked carefully at Casino Three’s own video recordings they could indeed see the hands of cards of Richard’s opponents. So they knew his field of vision in the card games, but did not know how the information was sent on to him. Also they did not know how the gambling machines could be cracked simply by staring at them like goats – presumably not!
Jeremy suggested to Bill Kidd, “Perhaps we should look at the employment records of the casino employees – at least those at the tables where Richard made his winnings? Perhaps we should also check that the maintenance records of the roulette tables and slot machines?”
Claire Sight added, “Perhaps Suzanne could observe the sequence of head and hand movements of Richard during his next gambling spree, and follow carefully the sentence wordings of the croupiers at the various tables that Richard visits”.
Suzanne and Richard were clearly becoming a well known pair among the casino personnel and the regular gamblers. Suzanne, and Bill Kidd via video-audio links, observed Richard very carefully. Every word, every scratch, every hand movement, every word; every sneeze, sigh, and sniff by Richard was recorded by Bill Kidd’s Boys. But equally Thomas Mackett and team observed Suzanne’s activities and possible links to her Team. Richard was concentrated upon his gambling -- and won again continually, and very much!
At Suzanne’s debriefing Bill Kidd announced, “I am sure that the operation supporting Richard must have more than just audio-visual experts and computer wizards. They must have cooperation of personnel at each game in the casino. This implies an operation of enormous scale”.
Jeremy Bard added, “This may well be the case. From the personnel records it may be only a coincidence but all of the suspicious personnel, from croupiers to security to maintenance, were all selected by the same employment agency! Furthermore, perhaps the biggest surprise, the head of this agency is Ben Wise – exactly the ‘friend’ who called me in, in the first place!”
Amanda speculated, “It certainly looks as if two giants are contesting each other. Now that Ben Wise’s syndicate is emerging as a suspicious rather than an innocent party, it makes me wonder who Richard’s team represents?
Jeremy also speculated, “Well it is unlikely that Richard is working for government agencies without our knowledge. So either his team is working for another syndicate against that of Ben Wise, or that Richards team are working entirely on their own against all syndicates!”
Amanda suggested, “Or perhaps some even clever combination of all of the above!”
Sir James Mace had joined Amanda’s Team for this debriefing,
“Interestingly enough I have just heard from the National Tax Office, that the two casinos hit by Richard Raleigh’s coup are enquiring about possible deductions for losses against taxable profits from all their other major casinos. So the case is attaining National proportions - and indicating that even some large criminal organizations are testing possibilities for future tax manipulations! Normally at this point I should pass the business across to the Intelligence Agencies -- but they do tend to exaggerate things, and run around grunting and shooting people, before asking useful questions! I think I will ask this Team first to proceed further to a clearer position before calling in the Big Guns!”
The next day a surprise meeting took place, Ben Wise had asked Jeremy if they could meet. Ben began, “I understand that you are observing Richard Raleigh during his winnings in our casino?”
Jeremy replied, “And how would you know that, is our Team so amateur that flies can see every move?”
Ben continued, “Oh No, It’s just that a couple of croupiers observed some unusual activities around their tables - quite separate from the activities of Richard Raleigh”.
Jeremy did not wish to permit this line of discussion further and so asked, “What do you plan to do about compensating your huge losses due to Richard Raleigh’s gambling successes? I am sure you cannot find insurance companies prepared to cover such losses?”
Ben answered “Well actually the two largest insurance companies are both owned by the same corporation that owns our casinos. This is not common knowledge because it might suggest to uninformed clients that the two insurance companies work in collusion. In any case the losses are not insured, and we must find another way to recompense ourselves.”
Jeremy laughed and joked, “Don’t tell me that you are going to ask the National Tax Office for compensation for your losses?”
Ben blushed but did not answer.
Suzanne and Richard had apparently established that their relationship was more like that of siblings rather than anything else. This meant that Amanda could participate more dispassionately, and with the care and concern of sister Suzanne rather than of amorous Amanda. Nevertheless she knew her options were quite reduced when it would come to making large-scale decisions about criminal or even crooked behavior of her ‘brother’!
From their sibling talks, Suzanne had deduced that Richard’s ploy was actually part of huge scheme - where one casino syndicate is trying to bankrupt another. This notion was supported by Bill Kidd’s Team’s reports about the activities of Thomas Mackett’s Team’s activities and abilities. Suzanne observed for herself that Richard indeed had a huge team of infiltrators among the croupiers and other casino personnel. So Richard did not need to communicate – every time when he is on the scene his croupiers make sure he wins, not at all obvious so that all involved have escaped attention for a long time. What Suzanne did not understand was why Ben Wises’ crooked croupiers were helping Richard to steal from Ben’s casino? Was this a double double-cross, or just plain sifting off the excess cash? Perhaps an answer would come when Richard visited the casino of the third syndicate tonight?
Suzanne and Richard entered the Casino Two (actually called Too-Much-Money casino) that evening. Richard’s winning streak soared on relentlessly. There was no sign of Ben Wise, but as the crowds gathered around Richard’s conquests the Casino’s management were moving in -- sweating around their collars and down their foreheads. The management had no real reason to prohibit Richard – even if he was known there previously, his winnings were actually stimulating the other guests to play a bit more wildly. So what the casino lost to Richard, they more than made up from the losses by the wannabe-rich-like-Richards!
After celebrating Richard’s third major appearance as Lord Luck, with winnings in the multi-millions, Suzanne and Richard parted for the evening after drinking a winner’s cocktail!
At Richard’s debriefing Thomas Mackett reported, “I do not think Suzanne is working for another casino, nor for the Gambling Police. Perhaps she works for an insurance company, or the National Tax Office, or some Intelligence Agency. We must still tread carefully in the future”.
Richard completely surprised Mackett by suggesting that they pack up, pay all of their support teams including croupiers and casino staff, and drop out of sight until next year. And no, he had not arranged to meet Suzanne in the near future!
At Suzanne’s debriefing, Sir James Mace reported, “We were totally surprised to discover that Richard Raleigh is actually sending huge sums of his winnings to charity. Do you have suggestions as to what we should do next?” asked Sir James of his Team.
Jeremy began, “The Casinos clearly have lost millions. But these millions are spread across three syndicates with no evidence that one syndicate is stealing from another. It is clear that my ‘contact’ Ben Wise has a strong role in this business -- but not yet suspicious, after all it is not clear that he is getting any payback from Richard! It is true that Richard has set up a counter organization by appointing croupiers, etc., in probably almost all casinos.
Amanda interrupted, “At least he is providing employment for a rare breed of employees who would probably not find work elsewhere!
Jeremy continued, “ Interestingly enough there is no indication that their appointment has been discovered by the casinos who employ them. So they could continue as ‘sleeper’ personnel at least until the next season when no doubt Richard will visit again as he had done already. It turns out that this is his third season of winnings from all three syndicates!”
“We could decide to let the whole scheme run longer until one casino after another goes bust! If Richard sends most of his winnings to charity, even though he keeps a percentage of his winnings - he is not stealing from the government. Actually he is not really stealing from private persons - if you do not allow that honor to the casino syndicates and those behind them!”
Sir James Mace summarized,
“I will pass on your recommendations to allow the observation situation to continue. Under our supervision of course! I will ask Claire Sight to set up a surveillance Team, and Jeremy Bard to continue to examine all information collected. I think also that Ms Spike would prefer to be relieved of duties here and undertake new tasks as they arise? Any comments?”
Jeremy cleared his throat and commented, “We suspect that Richard’s Team have learnt to communicate by head implants, but Richard still needs to talk to enable this -- so there are some subtleties of working here that we might also study for future projects? We also doubt that Richard’s Team have not yet invented the devices to communicate by telepathy. Despite this, a couple of military organizations have already funded them for such research!”
Amanda offered a few further comments, “I have discovered that all of Richards Team working as croupiers and card dealers are members of ‘Gamblers Anonymous’. They are individuals who apparently have conquered their addiction to gambling. However they still have a definite anger towards the casinos - which took advantage of them and systematically took their money over years. They have started a sub movement, which they call ‘Gambler’s Revenge’. There is a level of organization one step up from Ben Wise, who apparently was only trying to deceive his own Associates -- and funnel their money into his bank accounts!
Amanda blushed a little and added, “I will certainly be more careful if I wander again into a casino, and someone comes up to me and calls me ‘Suzanne’!”