“Gentlemen!”, the voice rose above the chatter in the room, “May you please take a sit.”
Jenkins leaned against the wall of the conference room, when the head started the conference. He moved away from the wall and walked around the round table in the centre of the room. He sat down next to the chief of the technical department he sat down. After everyone got seated, the chief executive went on.
“Let me welcome you to the conference today.”, said the head with a clear and loud voice.
“Today we want to discuss the newest results and findings of the objects 27 and 103.”
Jenkins watched a man on the opposite side of the table suddenly looking nervously up. He knew the middle-aged man with the red hair. It was Rey Ward, the man in charge of a big team as well as object 27. A few seats away from him two men started whispering.
“I hope”, the standing man paused and turned his face in their direction, “that I don’t have to remind you how important our research is.”
The two men, who chatted stopped and both leaned back into their seats. The chief nodded and continued talking.
“Mr. Ward, would you please present your results.”
The chief sat down in the empty chair in the front and Ward stood up. He saw straight at the boss, afraid to look into the round.
“I’m disappointed to report that”, he stopped and grasped for words. “I, ahmn, my team didn’t archive new results.”
He sighed and then continued, “Object 27 gets more aggressive from day-to-day. Unwilling to cooperate in any way. The last few days it also became nearly impossible to drug it, without taking a risk.”
“Did it start to attack you? I heard some rumours.”, a man asked next to him.
“No.”, replied Ward and sighted again, “But at the moment it seems to be only a question of time. Usually it does nothing, but the moment we start to get near it, it gets wild.”
“We can’t let it kill someone.”, a man two seats to the right of Jenkins knocked on the table, “It’s no use. We should kill it. It will be of more use for us if it’s dead!”
Jenkins leaned forward to see who spoke. It was Doc. Johnson.
“One day it will kill someone of your team.”
Jenkins sighted. The situation seemed to develop to another fight among the different department chiefs.
“It is too important to kill it!”, shouted Ward, “You already cut the other one in tiny pieces.”
“It’s called research. You should try it too.”, said Doc. Johnson grinning.
“Well at least I get results.”, he added.
Wards face went deeply red after the doctor spoke and Jenkins glance went to the chief for a moment. He also didn’t seem to be happy about the discussions development.
“And what kind of results?”, asked Wards deathly, “Let me guess, you don’t know what you found, but you found something, right?”
“Gentlemen, please control yourself!”, interrupted the chef at last, “This meeting is only about the objects 27 and 103, not about 26 and the results of the dissection.”
Wards and Johnson stared at each other but remained silent. That was the moment Jenkins waited for.
“May I interrupt too?”. He stood up. “I want to table a proposal.”
“Well, you would be next anyway, so please carry on, Mr. Jenkins.”, said the head throwing a few other angry glares at Wards and the doctor, so that they would stay quiet.
“Thank you. Let me explain from the beginning. Since last Thursday I’ve been in charge of object 103 and we got a lot of results after the object wake up, well”, he stopped and scratched his head, “woke up out of this kind of coma.”
Jenkins looked into the faces of the men sitting in the round. Everyone was watching him with interest, even the men who were bored with this meeting at the beginning.
“We think that 103 is a kind of shape shifter, but we have no idea how it morphs into another form. At the moment it has the form of a human. We checked its DNA, but there are no differences to any other human DNA. My team also searched the files, but no one with this appearance or fingerprints could be found. These are the facts.”, he stopped and looked down on his hands, before he continued, “It seems that it has taken a liking into the psychologist Emma Clark and she is certain about the things it has told her.”
Jenkins paused and ran with his fingers through his hair. When he happened to notice it, he stopped and lowered his hand again. It was difficult for him to find the right words, it was just so uncommon to suggest something like that. While thinking he had lowered his head and stared at his hands.
“Mr. Jenksin. Please, just tell us straight, what you have to say. We don’t want to lengthen the meeting.”, pointed the chef out.
“Excuse me.”, he looked up again and after another short pause he continued, “It told Miss Clark that its only purpose is to translate and communicate among different races.”
“Have you told it about 27?”, asked Ward surprised.
Jenkins realised that the man was still standing and now the two of them faced one another over the table. The face of his opponent looked quite shocked.
“I know the rules, that’s why I’m sorry, but it happened. Miss Clark heard of the rumours and thought that 103 could help. So she told it about object 27 yesterday.”
“Objects must not know anything of others. It is one of our basic rule. You know that!”, barked Doc. Johnson. “It’s not only a sign of incompetence, but also you risk our research. How do we know what they will do, if the know that they are not alone. They could …”
“Oh, stop it!”, interrupted Ward.
“They could plan a complot! Maybe kill someone!”
“You are just afraid of getting hurt by these creatures. Jesus. Just go back to your …”
The chef executive knocked hard on the table and stood up. “Silence!”
Ward sat down quietly and Johnson stared angry at him, knowing how he wanted to complete his sentence. Jenkins remained standing and when the chef confirmed that the brawler finally stopped, he looked at him.
“Mr. Jenkins please continue.”
“Yes, sir. First object 103 is cooperative and it doesn’t seem to be of any danger.”, Jenkins stopped again for a moment, because it felt like a lie. “Also Miss Clark thinks that 103 could be able to communicate with object 27.”
“You said something about shift shaping…”, began someone in the back, but Jenkins already knew, what he wanted to say. “No. It refuses to change itself again. It said that while it’s here it won’t do it.”
“So you mean it could be possible that they communicate?”, Ward asked impatiently.
“It assured us that it speaks many languages.”, replied Jenkins.
“How can you believe this and call yourself a scientist?”, Johnson laughed, but stopped when he met the chiefs eyes.
“So, what do you think? Do you think it will work?”, asked Ward again.
Jenkins looked at Rey Wards face. He seemed more than helpless with his current situation and what could possible go wrong? It wouldn’t be anything else than another experiment. Jenkins took some breaths and finally answered.
“Yes, I think it could work.”
Jenkins opened the door to the control room of object 103. A few people of his team sat on several computers, which were positioned in the back of the room. He ignored them and walked to the control panel which stood before a big glass wall. Through this glass he could look right into the room of 103. He saw Miss Clark sitting in there, talking to it. He fixed 103 with his glance, but began to talk to Dylan Allen meanwhile.
“They want to try it.”, he said, while he still stared at 103.
In the next moment 103s head shot up and stared at him through the glass, as if it had heard him. A chill ran down his back and he looked at the man beside him.
“Did you tell them everything?”, asked Dylan grinning.
“They wouldn’t believe me.”, he sighed, “hell, I still can’t believe it myself!”
The last week was just too strange. A creature which is a shift shaper and always seems to know what you are going to do or say isn’t something anyone would accept. It shocked Jenkins every time, when he thought about how easily Miss Clarks handled this creature.
“Anything new?”, he asked after a while.
“Yes, Amiah asked for video tapes of the alien.”, said Dylan.
“Stop giving it a name.”, reminded him Jenkins thinking that it already knew, that the proposal would be accepted.
“She asked us to give her one.”
Jenkins sighted. It bothered him, that his team began to give this creature a name after such a short time. It was only seven days ago, since most of them have begun to work with the object.
“So, should we get some tapes for her?”, asked Dylan.
He scratched his head and thought about it for a while, until he finally answered.
“Yes”, he lowered his voice, ”But make sure to give it some, well, just don’t let it see things it shouldn’t.”
The man before the control panel laughed out lout.
“So, we shouldn’t show her one, where they drug this alien thing.”, he turned around and touched a woman on the next seat. “Mary, please get some proper video tapes of the 27 alien.”
“I have some errands to do. Inform me immediately if something happens, Mr. Allen.”, said Jenkins and while he walked out of the room he heard Dylan saying ‘Yes, sir.’ behind him.
Jenkins was leaning against a wall again and thought about the other heads of the behaviour research departments, when one of them happened to stopped right before him.
“Are you sure it will work?”, asked Ward nervously.
“I really don’t know. Emma Clark the psychologist in my team still thinks it will work well and everyone will be more than happy about the results.”, Jenkins answered ironically, but his opponent didn’t notice that.
“When you first suggested this at the meeting two days ago, I thought you were, well, crazy.”
Ward looked down the corridor. “But now I think it is my last chance. If this won’t work, I don’t know what to do with 27.”
“I heard it got worse?”, asked Jenkins watching the dramatic change of Wards face.
“Yes, it has.”, he said with a low voice, “One of my team members, James, he got hurt. Not really serious, but the team starts to get frightened of it.”
“Well, at least they don’t start to befriend your object.”, sighted Jenkins.
“Befriend? What do you mean?”, asked Ward. “It’s strange that there are no rumours about your research.”
“I also wondered about it.”, said Jenkins thoughtfully. “My team gave 103 a name and they still call the object by it, even when I told them, that 103 isn’t human.”
“What’s wrong with a name?”, Ward stared at Jenkins as if he could read his mind, when he would stare just a little longer.
“Well, I just think, it’s not a good idea to get to friendly with it.”
Both looked down the corridor as they heard the voice of a woman speaking.
“Are they coming?”, whispered Ward.
“Yes, it’s Miss Clarks voice.”, answered Jenkins.
“… expect too much.”, said Emma Clarks, when she walked around the corner and a girl with black long hair walked next to her.
“Jesus, don’t tell me…”, whispered Ward, when they came closer.
Behind the two women there were four guards with weapons in their hands, watching every move of the black-haired girl. The group was also followed by two scientists.
For a short moment Jenkins laughed Ward, who thought that object 103 has to look like an ugly monster and not a shy looking girl. Even after he told them on the meeting that it looked like a human.
“Odd world, isn’t it?”, Jenkins said to Ward and set one foot after the other to move away from the wall.
“We are here, Amiah.”, Emma explained to it when they stopped before Jenkins.
103 looked at her and then turned her head to the door left from her. Jenkins watched it, while another chill ran down his back.
“You told her, ahem, it, well, ahem, which door it is?”, Ward whispered confused while he looked at the right and left door of the corridor.
“No, we didn’t.”, Jenkins answered.
Ward stood puzzled next to him, but he ignored it.
“Miss Clark and the guards will come along with…”, Jenkins began, but he stopped when its eyes met his.
“I will go alone.”, said the shift shaper with a clear high voice.
“That’s not possible. It is to dangerous.”, said Jenkins, but it sounded more and more like a lie.
“It will be okay.”, said it and stepped closer to the door.
“Are you sure?”, asked Miss Clarks and 103 nodded.
Then she turned to Jenkins and dragged him down the corridor, leaving the object and the others behind.
“No, we can’t do that.”, said Jenkins, even before she could start to convince him.
“But you could destroy her work in there, if you send this scary guards with her!”
He stared at her and wondered about her word choice. It seemed as if he was a little child, who has to be taught by her.
“She knows best how to handle other species…”
“It’s for 103’s own protection. Someone of Mr. Wards team was attacked by 27.”, Jenkins interrupted.
But his victory shouldn’t last long. She only expressed fear for a few seconds, before she began to look confident again.
“She will be all right.”, she said, “But I feel badly for the other B.R. team. It sure left a huge impact on all of them.”
Jenkins stared at her and when she noticed it, she continued talking.
“So, you will let her go alone?”
“I told you, it’s impossible. You know…”, he tried to explain, but she wouldn’t listen.
“It was her idea from the beginning. None of us, knows more than her. You know that, so why…”
Jenkins stopped listening. It wasn’t the first time, she lectured him about 103 and its knowledge. While Miss Clark kept on talking, he glazed back and saw Ward staring at object 103. He seemed kind of troubled again.
“… not polite.”
The psychologist stood herself between Wards and Jenkins.
“James. Jenkins.”, she said slowly and angrily.
“So you think 103 will be alright, even if it is alone?”, asked he, before she could lecture him more, about not listening at her.
“Of course, if it is her, she can do anything. I’m sure.”, said Miss Clark with the voice of a proud mother.
“Then we will try it.”, said he and finally gave in to her request.
The two of them went back to the group and informed them about the result. Miss Clark was in her best mood, while Jenkins’ bad feeling grew. It didn’t make it better, when 103 looked at him and he thought that he saw it grinning.
After a few minutes everything was explained and Ward and Jenkins went to the control room from 27. Meanwhile Miss Clark and the others would wait outside for the signal to open the door.
When Jenkins and Wards entered the room, they made it just in time to see 103 entering the room through the big glass window. But Jenkins looked around. He noticed that this room was quite bigger and the room was packed with a lot of papers and electronic devices.
But he couldn’t let his mind wander to long and he stared through the window again. He thought about what 27 would see when it looks at the window. Yet he already knew the answer: a mirror.
Like everyone else he watched 103 walking deeper into the room. A few technicians next to him whispered something about the recording, but everybody else was silence.
For a long time nothing happened and Jenkins relaxed a bit. Maybe he had a bad feeling without a reason. He looked at the shift shaper, while it stood in the room, starring at the other creature. His glance wandered. Object 27 was a tall and thin creature with grey skin and black eyes like the darkest night. It just ignored her, like Wards said. Suddenly 103 began to move forward.
“What is she doing?”, screamed a woman and jumped from her seat.
Jenkins stared at her, while she turned around looking for someone and in the end stopped, while looking angrily at him. Her red hair was completely mixed up and gave her appearance a wild touch.
Hell, why me, thought Jenkins.
“Didn’t you tell her not to go close to 27?”, she shouted loudly at him.
But before Jenkins could even think of an answer, she already had turned back and pushed a button. She bent over a microphone near her and began to speak.
“Don’t go any closer.”, she said, trying to sound calm.
103 didn’t react to the voice, but was now only a few meters away from the alien and it began to show its first reaction towards her. The grey creature turned its head to 103.
“Did you push the right button?”, said someone, but the woman ignored the technician and tried again.
“It’s dangerous! Stay away!”, she scream into the microphone and object 27 looked shocked for a moment. Yet the girl didn’t react.
“Get her out!”, scream the woman, but everyone was looking at the alien, when it began to speak.
“Shit”, someone swore, “the door is locked!”
“What do you mean…”, the red-haired woman began to say, but she stopped and tried again to persuade the shape shifter to back off.
Suddenly the grey creature jumped up and screamed at 103 in an unknown language. The girl like creature stopped and stood close to the other one, which was three heads taller than itself.
Suddenly all people in the room began to get lively and started to shout things through the air. Jenkins didn’t really listened to them, but he understood that all the electronic devices were disturbed by something and that the door to the room couldn’t be opened. He nearly had to laugh. It wasn’t the first time something like that happened. He knew it was 103s fault, but couldn’t get out how it had done it. For a moment he thought that it maybe planned everything. Could it know more than he thought or was he just paranoid?
Jenkins watched how object 27 tried to hit the shift shaper, but it avoided all attacks as if it was the most natural thing in the world. But when the alien couldn’t scare 103 of, it seemed to feel troubled and only a few seconds later it began to go wild.
Everyone got louder around Jenkins, while all watched how it tried to catch the shift shaper to hold it down. It screamed and the strange language filled the whole control room. Jenkins followed their tag game with his eyes through the room. Object 103 would quietly avoid the attacks, while the alien would get angrier by chasing it down.
Suddenly 27 caught the girl like creature and knocked it against the wall. Jenkins breathed in deeply. This was bad.
All people in the room became quiet and starred at them.
But then the grey creature let 103 free and went a few steps backward. It starred at the shift shaper and Jenkins could see that it still talked to 103. But he couldn’t really hear the voice.
Must be the fault of the broken repeater, he thought.
Jenkins looked at the girl like creature. It was still staring, but hadn’t spoken a single work during the event. What was it planning?
In the end the grey creature turned away and went to a corner to sit down. Object 103 followed its movements with its eyes and when the alien sat down, it also turned away, walking to the door. The human voices around Jenkins began to rise again.
“… wait. Yes! It’s green again!”, someone shouted over all the noise in the room, “I’ve opened the door!”
“Get her out of this room!”, scream the red-haired woman into a microphone again and the guards opened the door and took the object out of the room.
But Jenkins didn’t watch 103 at this moment, moreover he looked at the grey alien. It looked at the scene with interest, but when the door closed again, it began to stare at the empty wall in front of it.
Then Jenkins turned around to face the door, but during the turn he shared a short look with Ward. There was nothing he could say and he decided to leave the room, without talking to him.
Somehow it was the result that he had expected.