For a second, there's nothing beyond savage joy and the fascinating beauty of the fine red line of blood trickling out of Card's forehead.
And then times begins to move again.
There's a feeling that goes with knowing you've completely fucked everything six ways to Sunday and back again, screwing the pooch on your way there with your head up your own ass and your balls making the decisions because your brain didn't so much leave the party as was never invited in the first place.
It's not a good feeling, at all.
Knowing that you've just done all that to your best friend as well, is a whole lot worse.
Card's on the floor and the smell of gunshots, shit, death, and fear is ripe in the room.
And Michael knows this was the worst decision he's ever made.
It's a visceral hit, hard and low in the stomach, and he lurches to a sink to be sick.
There's a point in any war where it's no longer about brilliant tactics or superior force, a point where all that's left is endurance. That's the reason why modern warfare rarely lasts more than five years. Go at it for that long, without a break, and you break.
There was a time when Michael could have smiled, put his own gun away, and then waited for the right time to take Card out.
But that time died when he felt the pulse in Nate's neck stop. It died with Anson pulling his strings and the gut-deep revulsion of having to destroy people to save Fi. It died with months of no sleep and too much stress. It died when it turned out Card had betrayed him, and fire engulfed that minivan in Panama.
The man who could have made the cold decision here died months ago and the man that's left is too shell shocked to think of anything right now beyond how completely fucked they all are, and how it's all his fault.