“The flaming mass lowers itself, ever so slowly, onto the face of Sandugo,” William chants. “All that is held together by the forces that drive life is torn apart by the intense heat and crushing impact. The lambalat progenitors, who sought to conquer land, perish before they even learn to stand upright. I have won.”
Benito eyes the meteor card with intensity, fully acknowledging death, and facing it head on. “The game isn’t over yet.”
“How is it not over? I have obliterated the planet. Chunks of molten rock are careening into space as we speak. There is no primordial soup from which to begin. There is no single piece of land present in any of our fields that could house your forces of connection. I have expelled a significant quantity of matter from these coordinates. I have let things run their course, as should be. You’d need a miracle in this godless universe.”
“I could wait.”
“I could just sit here and wait, and so long as I don’t take my next turn, I will never lose. Life does not hurry, Will, nor do the forces that bond.”
“So that’s it? You’re just going to wallow. You couldn’t turn things around, so you’re just going to suspend this moment, your moment of utter defeat, and bask in nothing but emptiness for all time?” William dropped his remaining cards onto the table, stood up, and began to walk away. Benito called him out before he could exit the game space.
“Or—I could harness the forces that drive entropy for my own ends.” This statement made William stop in his tracks and turn around. Benito chose a card from his hand and showed it to William. It was unmistakable, that etching. But what use would he have for it, William thought.
“Go ahead, draw from the discard pile. The last card used was the Meteor. Willing to damage yourself further, I see. It’s fruitless.”
“You mentioned that you had sent chunks careening into space.” Benito brandishes the Meteor card. “Every chunk will fly for as long as it needs, but one day, every single one will collide with a newly formed planet, not enough to destroy it.” William looks at Benito in utter horror. “Yes, Will. I have used your own forces against you. These innumerable meteors carry traces of organic acids and will introduce them to the innumerable new planets. Moons will form that churn the seas. Life will rise, a trillionfold. Not enough cards of this game exist that could possibly turn it around for you, I’m afraid.”
William dropped to his knees. Benito dropped his remaining cards onto the table as well and walked over to where his opponent knelt, and offered his hand. “Come, let us be free of this place.” Hesitantly, William took it. And so, together, they walked out of Deep Space, the Astral Door closing in behind them.