"Woe to us. We have seen the end. We have seen the Destroyer. Our lives, our very worlds are forfeit to its mighty—Wait, are you writing this down? Not acceptable. These words are copyrigh—"
- the last words of Orohan,
famed poet of Universe 5427C,
just before the Destroyer
devoured her home planet.
“Poker? Pfft,” the Destroyer said with derision. “Now the Karkans of Universe 8,349,489D, they had a game that involved skill and strategy.
"They played for the lives of billions! They’d equip their planets with thrusters and their atmospheres with basic shielding …”
While he talked, the Destroyer signaled Q44 to begin the second phase of Cheat 207.
The cloud removed molecules from the top corners of the Destroyer’s Ace of Spades, whittling the card’s upper half to a point and adding the excised molecules to the sides of the cards.
After a few moments, the card resembled an smooth arrowhead pointing toward the ceiling.
Q44 didn’t see how changing the shape of a card would help win a poker game, but the Destroyer had said aerodynamics were an "important part of performing illegal poker moves."
Q44 had read the poker rulebook 374,443 times and didn’t find any mention of aerodynamics. However, it didn’t find any mention of cheating either, and Q44 had agreed to let the Destroyer do that as well.
The cloud assumed the problem was with the manual.
“The Karkans, you see," the Destroyer said, "had the entire propulsion system linked to the minds of the populace. The people would will themselves to smash into other worlds. It was beautiful, bizarre—”
“Before … you … ate … them,” Anderson said, bringing his cards near his central sensory node for a closer look. Anderson looked at his the cards the way his species did everything—slowly.
“Of course before I ate them.” the Destroyer snapped.
Q44 continued shaving the top of the card until it had a point so sharp it could pierce diamondglass.
The Destroyer’s murder weapon was now half finished.