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Round One

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The stuffed bear stares at him, button eyes filling with mounting horror, facehugger jizz smeared all over its plush features, and then its chest bursts open.

"What's that," Dave asks, flatly, as it shakes out its leathery wings and folds its arms up to its chest.

Tavros reaches out with one hand; it jumps onto his palm. "It's a pteromantis! They’re not too common, even among flying-class fiduspawn."

Its beady, multifaceted eyes stare back at Dave's sunglasses.

"It flies."

"And kills and eats other pteromantises, if you tell them to. I usually just, uh, breed mine, without letting them kill each other. They're rare enough that I can sell them afterwards."

"Will it try to eat me?"

"It might, uh," Tavros, still holding it, stands up, and goes to the other corner, where there's some things that look an awful lot like cockroaches in a cage. He tosses a couple to the pteromantis, which snaps them up, then brings it back to Dave.

As it crawls over onto Dave's hand, Tavros says, "I'm communing with it, so it won't, as long as I don't get too distracted."

"Great." Dave looks down at it; it looks back up at him.

It's a mottled grey-green, and looks sort of like a praying mantis. Its middle legs are the supporting bones to a set of leathery wings, though it also stands on four legs, leaving the frontmost two free.

It bares its teeth at him, so he bares his too. He stifles the urge to pet its scaley little back.

"Pretty sweet," he says, handing it back to Tavros. "So what are we gonna name our canniballerina bug baby?"