“Greeting Vrennj, my name is Dalac, you requested a lawyer?” he said.
“Yes, Dalac, thanking for coming so quickly,” Vrennj began. “Ted here, who is from Earth, is wondering how he can avoid fighting the dragon.”
“Hmm,” Dalac muttered at looked at Knowles. “You put on the crown?”
Knowles reached up and pointed, “This crown?”
Dalac’s pleasant smile disappeared. “You called me Ted. No need to be trite. I assume that you signed all the waivers and permissions before doing so.”
“Yes, but I didn’t understand what I was actually signing or even that I was signing,” Knowles explained.
“They don’t use lawyers on Earth?”
“Yes, but I wasn’t aware that I needed one.”
“And yet here we are, Ted,” Dalac said.
“Here we are,” Vrennj repeated.
“So is there any way we can convince a judge or somebody that I really didn’t understand what I was doing?” Knowles asked.
Dalac resumed his previous smile. “I don’t think that will be necessary.”
Vrennj looked confused. “Really? I thought that this would be a problem.”
“Actually,” Dalac, looking very pleased with himself. “As this has been happening more and more often, I made an arrangement with the Senior Master Commission just a few days ago. It was the matter from the gentleman from Triton 3.”
“Oh, I heard some rumors, you were involved with that situation?” Vrennj asked.
“Yes,” Dalac’s smug look became smugger, “I think we set a precedent which will allow future contestants out of commission settlements. Ted, if you would rather not fight the dragon, there is no one to force you.”
Knowles sighed with relief. “Thank you Mr. Dalac. Is there a form I need to sign?”
Dalac chuckled. “Form? Dear me, Ted, there are quite a few forms that need to be tendered. But first, do you have an account with the Greater Gaming Bank and Trust?”
“Um, no, do I need one?”
“It would be easier for the transfer of funds.”
“Funds? What kind of funds?”
“It would be handled in GGBT Credits, I not sure of the exchange rate with Earth money. We’ll get the ribo counters to do that.”
“Ribo?” Knowles asked.
“It’s a type of seed,” Vrennj answered. “He’s talking about accountants.”
Knowles nodded. “How much funds are we talking about?”
“I would image three or four hundred GGBTs should do it.”
An immediate look of calm flowed over Knowles face.
Vrennj held out her hand and the floating screen came alive. “Ted, do you use Yen or Marks?”
“I use dollars, American Dollars,” Knowles said.
“Let’s find out – Of course the exchange rate might vary on the specific time.”
Dalac looked very pleased with himself as if he trained Vrennj to say it exactly as she did.
“Hmm,” Vrennj began. “It seems that 400 ribos would come to three billion US Earth dollars.”
“Here is the form for the exchange,” Dalac said. “We can do this immediately before the rate changes.”
“Umm, I don’t have three billion US Earth dollars,” Knowles mumbled.
“Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Knowles. If there is anything I can aid you with, please have Vrennj call my office.” Dalac said as he stepped through the fading wall.
“Hmm,” Vrennj said as the wall re-materialized, “I guess you will need to fight the dragon, after all.”
The energy drained from Knowles face. He sat down and gasped.
“Don’t worry, Ted, we’ll give you through training.”
Knowles looked up with sunken eyes, “How much training does it take to beat a dragon?”
“Approximately one half hour.”
“How can I learn to slay a dragon in a half an hour?”
“Slay?” Vrennj was aghast. “Oh my, Ted, we would never slay anything on this world. Why would you ever think you needed to fight to the death?”
“I guess I assumed that it would be to the death.”
“We have a saying about ASSUME, Ted. Do I need to tell it to you?”
“No, Vrennj, we have the same saying, I think.”
“I hope you’re not making another assumption, Ted.”
“Then, what is the fight about?”
“It’s about three rounds, each lasting fifteen minutes. The one who first successfully scores a headlock lasting ten seconds wins.”
“Oh, I guess it will be quick then.”
“The dragon will try to grasp you with its tail and you would need to climb to just under the dragon’s head. The neck is thin enough for you to capture it with your elbow.”
“I should last about twenty seconds.”
“Nonsense. You will go the full three rounds and you will fell the dragon, in a manner of speaking, within the last thirty seconds of the third round.”
“Vrennj, is this fight rigged?”
“Rigged is such a harsh word, Ted. Let’s just say we have a plan of action, which both sides know about.”
“I see. I guess there is nothing left but to do it.”
“Nonsense, Ted. We have a lot to do. In a few minutes will be the pre-fight weigh-in. Then the press conference and a major photo-op for the fans. After that, we’ll visit the hospital and you will meet your sick and dying fans…”
“Fans? I have fans.”
“Of course you have fans, Ted. We have the best fans that money can buy.”
“You buy my fans?” Knowles was incensed.
“We’ll we technically rent them. They’ll be your fans until after the match. Then we’ll rent them for the next challenger.”
Vrennj shrugged. “It’s just business.”
“What lying to people, using them?”
Vrennj sighed as if knowing where the conversation was going. “Look Ted, this whole thing has been around for several of your centuries. We don’t like it that much either. But the planets on the outer rim are very brutal. The people there don’t have much in their existence that makes them happy. They tune in to these fights religiously. It gives meaning to their lives – something to look forward to after a constant struggle to survive.”
“Do you really believe that, Vrennj?”
“It gets me through the day,” Vrennj muttered. “So, we’ll believe what we’re doing and get ready for the weigh-in, right?
“Right,” Knowles grumbled.