Daniel had seen octopuses in pet shops before.
A cloud- and gene-modded octopus could survive in the vacuum of space, understand basic commands and, most importantly, help around the home. Before his life fell a part five years ago, Daniel had considered purchasing one to aide in repair work.
Of course, Daniel wouldn't buy the alien in front of him. Not enough arms … and too much attempted murder.
“I'm sure you wish to continue your tour,” it said. “Stuck Station is truly beautiful. You'll like it. At first.”
Daniel continued to gape, and the creature noted Daniel's confusion, but misunderstood the cause.
“Many pardons,” the creature said, apologizing again. “Even with the cloud translating, my speech must sound muffled.”
Then with a blast of moist air, the creature coughed and grunted, and the vertical lines running down its lower half expanded.
The tentacles -- the ones that made up the creature's snail-like foot, the tentacles that Daniel had thought fused -- curled upward, like someone peeling a banana upside down.
For some unfathomable reason, the alien had been holding the tentacles straight down, like a human pressing her legs together and walking on her tiptoes.
With its ten tentacles, it looked much like every other octopus Daniel had ever seen … except this one rested on the ceiling instead of the ocean floor.
“If I keep my arms rigid like that, it blocks my mandibles," the creature said, which made an odd kind of sense. As Daniel had seen earlier -- when the creature tried to eat him -- the creature's jaws rested underneath it.
"Very difficult to talk with one's feet in one's mouth, as your species says. Can you hear me more clearly?"
Daniel just stood there slack-jawed.
“That is much better,” the creature decided, and shook itself to get the kinks out of its ten arms.