Chapter 25

"King me!" Glint chirped as he scooted his digital pip into Failsafe's back row.

The holographic checkers board hanging in front of him suddenly exploded into a shower of digital cubes. Murky darkness filled the Exodus Black's cabin.

"Oops," the AI said. "I accidentally knocked the board over. How clumsy of me."

"Well…" Glint fidgeted, inching toward the exit. "I should get back to the Guardian. We're going to visit your neighbors!"

"Great! Next time you come by, I'll reveal their true origins," the AI volunteered slyly.

"But you said you didn't know where they came from," Glint objected.

"You asked why they never visit me, not the nature of their existence. Those are two different questions!" Failsafe said.

"But come again," the AI continued, "and I'll tell you everything you want to know about the Hive necromancer who ripped the concept of Headless Ones from the Human subconscious."

"…But only if I come back to visit, right?"

"That's right," said Failsafe, smugly. "I hear that's called 'incentive.'"