The Destroyer continued talking as if he hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary.
“I won the poker game,” the Destroyer said. “Four kings.”
The majority of the Destroyer’s minds were upset the plan had failed. A third of them were proud that he’d won the game itself without cheating.
“Now my idea. You ready?” the Destroyer said.
The crew was still in shock.
“Ready?” the Destroyer asked
Another moment passed.
“I said, ‘Ready?’” the Destroyer asked.
“Just say it,” Jeska said.
“You sure you’re ready?”
“Say it!” Jeska said.
“Say … it!” Anderson said.
“Say it, please,” Prnei said.
“My idea is … Let me out,” the Destroyer said.
And the Destroyer began to laugh again.
Jeska’s anger, which had been coming in waves over the past five years, became a tsunami. She picked up the pile of coasters that the crew had been using as chips and hurled them across the room.
She kicked over chairs, beat her hands against Anderson’s rocky back, screamed in anger, and stormed out the door.
Hoping to comfort Jeska, Prnei hurried after her, his tentacles making wet sucking sounds as he undulated along the ceiling.
Riox, awakened by Jeska’s outburst, watched her fade from view down the long hallway just outside the rec room.
“Was … it … worth … it … En…ti…ty… 1...0...7?” Anderson said, using the Destroyer’s technical name, a sign of deep anger.
“Giving up one of the only two games I can play, so I could drive Jeska to the brink?” the Destroyer said. “Yes.”
“You disgusht me,” Riox said, then burped. “What are we talking about?”
“Almost had you, Riox,” the Destroyer said.
Dazed and angry, Riox snorted and headed off after Jeska. He didn't understand what the Destroyer had said; he was just worried about Jeska.
Anderson stood alone at the table, feeling sorry for Jeska, but happy she hadn’t hurt herself hitting him. He considered chasing her. He wasn’t fast enough.
“I’m … hun…gry,” Anderson said.
“So am I,” the Destroyer said. “Always.”