Feroza just nodded absently and strolled to the edge of their safe zone, where the Dragon presented her with another half-dead mechanoid. Eat, eat, he almost heard the creature say. You’re too skinny. How are you going to grow up into a flying carnivore the size of a school bus if you don’t eat your parasites like a good little Dragon?
He shook his head and looked back at Feroza, thinking of her walking out with her strikers to possibly die in the jungle, jumping from the back of their Dragon. The Dragon itself, no longer eating the parasites it killed, but killing anyway, spurred on by its love for them, apparently. And in their hate, the Leviathan’s parasites continued to attack.
“These mechanoids,” he said, “they don’t act like animals. They sacrifice themselves.”
“Why not?” said Feroza, accepting another gift from the Dragon. “We humans sacrifice ourselves.”
He winced. Was she playing with him?
But she went on as if unaware of what she was saying. “People join into armies to defend their territory. If space aliens landed on an aircraft carrier, the crew would notice and try to stop them, wouldn’t they?”
“You think those things are soldiers?” Victor pointed at a bouncing hoop-shape that uncoiled in the air to become a serpent with a cluster of tentacles for a face.
Feroza caught it, pulled it apart, and welded it to his chest. “I told you, they don’t need to fit into one of your categories. They just are.”
“But their behavior still has to make sense,” he said. “Why do they keep coming? Is there some sort of Petrolean Parliament issuing orders? A Petrolean police to make everyone obey?”
“Hm,” said Feroza, looking out at the attacking monsters. Their Dragon lurched to snatch up something that looked like a crab made of barbed wire. “It’s a good question. Why else would they behave so selflessly?”
“They do not!”
“What?” she turned to face him. “What’s wrong?”