Only one of the Destroyer’s 47 trillion minds was playing cards with the crew of Containment Facility One.
Most of the other minds were scanning Stuck Station for weak points, devising escape strategies, and thinking about freedom. A group of them were debating the merits of their planned murder, two were obsessed with the clavichord, and one wanted to try tacos.
The Destroyer’s minds were never in complete agreement.
But they did make decisions by majority vote. And the majority wanted the assassination to work, and the majority wanted to play Pac-Man.
The Pac-Man thing was a secondary objective.
“Are you sure I can’t persuade you to play Pac-Man with me?” the Destroyer asked the crew.
Pac-Man was a game invented on Earth 733 years earlier, and the Destroyer loved it the moment he saw Jeska play.
The game had been part of a bargain collection Jeska picked up at a sales-planetoid before she joined the Stuck Station crew.
The pack included Halo 48,889 and Immersive Wish Fulfillment Simulator. Sure, the programs were ancient, but Jeska had been bored and in a hurry when she got them.
Now she wished she had taken her time.
It turned out Pac-Man was the only program that would run on Stuck Station’s systems. Not because of technological incompatibility, but because someone stole the other two games before Jeska could add them to station memory.
Luckily Pac-Man had been so old the thief hadn’t even realized it was worth stealing. By the time the perpetrator came back to finish the job, the game’s code was already installed in the station’s Administrative Mind.
The crew knew the culprit well. But no matter how much they pleaded and threatened, they couldn’t get the other games back.