“I … raise,” Anderson said. He took one of the coasters imprinted with the words “Containment Facility One Staff” and placed it in the middle of the table.
“I raish!” Riox said, startling everyone as he woke from his sleep.
“You’re … still … hold … ing … your … hand … from … four … rounds … a … go.”
“Sho?” Riox slurred.
“We know what cards you had,” Prnei said. “Not only that, a few of them stuck to you when you passed out on the table."
Riox looked down and saw two cards plugging two of the twenty slit-shaped gills that dotted his body.
He coughed, trying to dislodge the cards. One fell out and dropped to the floor. He coughed harder, but the other card remained.
He sighed and gave up. He only needed a few open gills to breathe anyway. He was too inebriated to realize he could have pulled the card out with his hands.
“Deal me in,” Riox said. Then he belched.
“You must wait for the next round,” Prnei said.
“Oh,” Riox said. He hesitated, then said, “I love you guysh.”
“We know, Riox,” Jeska said.
Riox turned his attention to a snapping sound on the ceiling.
It was Prnei, still cracking a tentacle like a whip.
It looked like Prnei's tentacle had a mind of its own. That would have been a ridiculous notion.
The tentacle actually had three minds, like all of Prnei's tentacles. In each limb, one brain handled instincts, one brain handled reasoning, and one handled trivia.
Unfortunately for the Prnei species, the increased number of minds did not give them an intellectual advantage.
Though the thirty brains acted in tandem, each brain was quite small. Most species considered the Prnei species of average intelligence.
As for Prnei the individual, he was only sometimes aware of his irritating habit. It was a motion of pure instinct: ten of Prnei's minds, the ones driven by ancient impulses, used the snapping to keep his body ready in case prey came near.
“Would you shtop that?!” Riox said.
Prnei realized what he was doing and stopped, chagrined. He knew how much the sound annoyed the crew, and he tried to keep it to a minimum, especially when Riox was awake.
The sound gave Riox a splitting headache. Most sounds did.
Riox examined the room to remember where he was.
"Drunk and hung-over at the same time?" the Destroyer taunted.
“Alwaysh,” Riox said without malice, belched again, and fell back onto his cards, asleep.
Riox was wasted, but the crew knew it wasn’t his fault.
“Always nice to have a visit from our resident souse,” the Destroyer said.
The Destroyer's weapon would be ready in three minutes.
Then he could escape.