The mercenaries on Alitma’s bridge looked away from their leader, embarrassed. No one wanted to see the boss go soft.
“Why didn’t you tell me about your daughter?” Daniel asked Alitma.
“Would you have cared?” Alitma said. “Given how much you hate me, I was certain you'd let her die so I'd suffer.
Still stunned by Alitma's revelation, Daniel stood still, thinking.
"What do you want from me? Riches? Honor? You can have anything. Anything for the life of my beloved daughter.”
His voice grew increasingly desperate.
“Do you want to see me humiliated? Fine! I shouldn’t have tortured you. Or attacked your ship. Or tried to murder you. I … I … I am sorry."
At Alitma's apology, one of Alitma’s subordinates, a 12-foot-tall assassin with razor sharp talons, fainted in shock.
Though Trak was certain this was an emotionally intense moment, he still felt obliged to update his friends on the status of their doom. Keeping Daniel informed was one of Trak’s hobbies.
“With the cannon’s containment cells destroyed,” Trak continued, “the only thing holding back the plasma is the diamondglass heat webbing along the weapon’s interior and the Verian armor of its outer hull. The diamondglass will begin to crack right…”
The temperature of the cannon's outer hull shot up 200 degrees.
“… Now," he said. "Hmm. I was a few picoseconds late. I’m getting slow.”
“So, Daniel, you win,” Alitma said. “I surrender.”
And suddenly, though it surprised even him, Daniel felt compassion for the murderous alien snake in the nine-foot tall robotic exoskeleton.
“Alitma, I’m not a monster,” Daniel said. “If you had simply asked me in the beginning—”