Prnei Star Nebula Galaxy looked like a six-foot-tall black-and-white octopus with ten long tentacles.
On his homeworld, the word Prnei was an honorific, like the old earth title “Mr.” or the belch sound used on Argoq 5.
Through of series of bizarre coincidences, Prnei is also the name of Prnei’s species. It wasn’t always.
The Prnei speak mostly through gestures and changes in skin color, and, ages ago, the Sugsa—the first intelligent species to land on the Prnei world —had difficulty communicating with them.
When not using translation clouds, the friendly Sugsa could only pronounce two Prnei words: one was "Prnei" and the other was an expletive.
As a gesture of good will, the Prnei decided to change their name to make it easier for their new allies to pronounce—they changed it to Prnei, not the expletive.
The name-change helped ease some of the tension between the two species, especially after the first, second, and third Sugsa diplomatic missions ended with horrifying suddenness.
The Prnei would have changed their name anyway if the Sugsa had asked. The Prnei were an agreeable people.
As for the Prnei sitting above the poker game on the rec room ceiling, the Stuck Station crew had decided that calling him "Prnei Star Nebula Galaxy" was too depressing.
The crew could not see real stars, nebulas, or galaxies and would never see them again. So they just called him Prnei.
As he was the sole member of his species on board, Prnei was fine with that.
He would have been fine with that, even if he had not been the sole Prnei on board. He would have been fine with that, if, instead, they had named him after an expletive.
Prnei was even more agreeable than his species, sometimes irritatingly so.
“You always let me win,” the Destroyer said to Prnei. “I want a real challenge.”
“It is an honor to bring a friend to victory—” Prnei said, quoting a family proverb. Following his own advice, Prnei had folded as soon as he got his cards.
He lost every game he played; he considered every player his friend.
But before Prnei could finish the quotation, the Destroyer finished it for him.
"More so to keep friendship forever,” the Destroyer said, in a far-away voice.
That statement was uncharacteristic of Entity 107, Prnei thought.
Prnei always called the Destroyer by his Containment Facility One classification. He felt the term “the Destroyer,” though accurate, was too harsh.
As of late, Entity 107 has said things that are … odd, Prnei thought.
None of the other crew appeared to notice the change in the Destroyer’s tone, and, if they did, they didn’t show it. Stuck Station residents learned quickly to tune out most of what the Destroyer said.
Prnei didn’t mention his concern.
I would not want to make anyone uncomfortable, he thought.
Just as abruptly, the Destroyer returned to his normal, grating tone.