41, because just thinking about it makes me laugh.
Vetra/Jaal: Adopting a pet.
“So, how’d you get stuck on this duty?”
Jaal glanced up. A drop of blood clung to a scratch above the eye not hidden behind his eyepiece. He was, of all the damn things, smiling. “I volunteered.”
Vetra snorted. “You didn’t.”
“It is so interesting.” He rubbed the back of his hand over his brow, smearing the blood. She seriously considered, uh, volunteering to clean it up for him.
Real smooth, Vetra.
“Is this not why you are here? To study it?”
She blinked. “Jaal. It’s a pyjak. A pest. A chocolate-devouring pest, which is absolutely the worst kind. I’m here to kill it.”
Jaal looked so aghast, she had to stop herself from laughing. “It’s a joke. I promise. Ryder’s weirdly attached to it.”
“I do not think it so weird, as you say. I study it. It studies me.”
“It throws its shit at people.”
“Perhaps its version of a … joke.”
“I like sarcasm better.”
“Yes. I have noticed this.”
Her body’s reaction to the way Jaal said the word noticed connected with her was so stupid she almost wished the dumb pyjak would lob some crap at her just to distract her. The pyjak chittered like it was laughing at her.
Death was too kind a fate, really.