The explosion echoed through the ship and, for a while, I thought we were sinking. I jumped around and clapped my hands, and generally made a fool of myself. It was over – the game would end. Finally! La, la, la.
I celebrated by stuffing myself with my entire chocolate and soda reserve, and then threw my weapons all round my room. I even looked out my most intact dress – the one that still had a sleeve – but my wave of exultation slowly dissipated when I realised the ship hadn’t, in fact, sunk.
It may have been wounded, but not mortally so.
My mood darkened. Where was that explosion? A quick review of the deck plan, and a proper think about what I’d heard, and I had a pretty good idea.
But hey, perhaps the game is at an end after all?
Weary from my injuries, I made my way to sickbay. After a while, a smoke haze filled the corridors, and when I got closer still, I could see a gaping hole in the wall, where the large window used to be. Glass crackled on the ground as I stepped through it. With a handkerchief delicately pressed to my mouth, I pushed through what remained of the double doors and into sickbay itself.
The nurse was still attending her station – good for her.
To her right, I could see sparking cables, black scorch, and shattered fittings. I stepped around the mangled remains of a wheelchair, and into the usually out-of-bounds recovery area. Here and there, a bed was still merrily burning. In the worst hit area, in the very epicentre of the explosion, I saw what remained of Bailey.
It’s over. The game is over.
That was certainly worth a smile.
I’d won. I’d beaten him, I’d beaten them all.
I had beaten the ship.
But then, as I turned to leave, I spotted a fragment of red paper amongst the rubble. What wasthat? I wondered.