Alitma continued his rage-fueled rant, oblivious to everything around him.
So oblivious, in fact, that he hadn’t noticed when Trak regained control of a small portion of the Afterthought’s communication systems a few moments earlier.
Just after Alitma called Daniel a “failure," the Mek had muted the Afterthought's viewscreens. For three minutes, the crew couldn’t hear anything the gangster yelled.
The quiet ended when Alitma took a deep breath (Rosovs only need to breathe once every 30 minutes) and noticed that Rachel-7, Trak and Daniel weren’t looking at him.
"Daniel!" he yelled.
Alitma wasn't used to being ignored. But what really bothered him was that they hadn't heard some of his best insults!
While not exactly witty, the scornful words were hurtful and accurate. In the past, the unfortunate beings who had faced Alitma's verbal abuse tended to classify his style as "very thorough."
He ordered his science officer to reestablish control over the Afterthought’s communication systems.
The science officer complied, but, because he was still hung over, he accidentally increased the volume levels far beyond those considered safe for human hearing.
“Pay attention!” Alitma screamed at the Afterthought.
Daniel cried out as pain shot through his skull.
Immediately, his internal medical nanobots surged into the wounded eardrum tissue, ready to repair the damage. Without the cloud's intervention, Daniel would have been deaf in a matter of seconds.
Certain that his enemies could hear him now, Alitma picked up from where he left off.
He had stopped right after comparing Daniel to a useless amoeba—only more unlovable—but just before he had planned to call Daniel’s garment choices "tacky" and "out of style."
He is very thorough, thought an increasingly depressed Daniel.