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First Meeting

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The brightness generated from the evenly spaced-out utility lights of the hallway did nothing to help the makeshift waiting room of the facility’s medical sector, if you could even call it that. As soon as you entered, the dimly-lit atmosphere was immediately apparent; even with the piercing glare coming from the hallway, it seemed as though a shadow was always cast within the area, preventing it from being completely lit and forever keeping it under the influence of its presence.

The only reason it wasn’t referred to as another containment unit for the scientists’ experiments was because of the objects scattered about; at every corner of the room there was a potted plant, and off to the right side there was a small coffee table in front of fairly large sofa. Had the facility choose to ignore the option of catering to its employees to some degree, this would otherwise look like a plain and empty room built for the sole purpose of detaining the laboratory’s ‘creations’ until further notice.

Kiwi supposed it could be worse; after all, if the personal demands of the employees were not met, the room would have otherwise felt as if it had been made to restrain some accursed abomination of the lab that had a high probability of escaping and therefore wreak havoc upon the world as a dangerous, unnatural force of nature brought to life by man. The scientists involved with the experimentation process considered themselves to be a prime example of such, although in their defense, they didn’t mean to appear frightening; despite their happy-go-lucky attitude and pacifistic nature, most, if not all, of the employees working at the facility were rather terrified of them, from the nervous glances given to them by the scientists to the loud shrieks that escaped from the mouths of the office assistants that accidentally ran right into them.

However, that was beside the point; their primary reason for being here was because they had another diagnostics test scheduled for today. It was simple enough; as soon as they walked through the door on the opposite side of the room, a small group of scientists were going to be waiting for them, where they will then have them go through an extensive physical, with at least two people taking notes on their health before finishing it off with a full-body scan for further documentation. Standard procedures as they called it; they wanted to make sure that they were aware of any “developing abilities” physical or otherwise in case they needed to go through further testing based on their assessments.

As if their sharp fangs, inhuman super strength, and abnormally large claws weren’t enough.

Still, it’s not like they really had a say in the matter; in all seriousness, the point of the physical examination was to help keep the scientists from panicking over any minute changes that could impact their performance for better or worse. Even then, they really couldn’t say anything literally speaking; their vocal chords were scrambled during the experimentation process, thus hindering their speech save for the occasional growl or bark.

They could only hope that they considered a universal translator as their next project.

For now though, Kiwi remained in the so-called ‘waiting room’ for the time being until the scientists were ready for them to come in for their physical. Understanding the amount of time it would take until they were called in, they choose the option of lying down on the floor for a quick nap. They moved across the tile floor as their claws tapped against the ground with a rhythmic clack clack clack as they prepared to lower themselves closer to the floor. They were just beginning to lie down when their eyes landed on something they had completely missed when they first entered the room.

Just a few feet away from them on their left sat a large, dark blue container. Circular in shape, the containment unit appeared to be rather small; Kiwi figured that if they were to completely stand up, it wouldn’t be able to reach their arm at its midpoint.

Intrigued by the presence of the mysterious containment unit, Kiwi decided to change their plans and amuse themselves by leisurely walking over to the container for the purpose of further inspecting it as a way to cure their boredom.

They were barely a few inches away when they made contact with another pair of eyes.

At the edge of the container was another experiment staring at them from inside. Her pupils were slitted like that of a snake’s, but instead of being upright, they sat on their side horizontally speaking. Peeking out above the rim was her nose, which Kiwi found to be rather pointy, yet still on the blunt side like that of a shark. Two wispy, fin-like ears were attached to her head in addition to a spiky layer of cyan hair that stuck out at different angles. Her skin started off as being a dark shade of blue with black freckles dotted along her nose and around her eyes before gradually becoming lighter in color.

What had caught Kiwi off-guard however were the tentacles protruding from the container, with two on the other mutant’s right and one on her left. They wriggled and squirmed repeatedly, twisting in on themselves in a manner that made it seem as if they were having trouble deciding on how to feel about their current situation.

It was during this moment that Kiwi realized that the containment unit in question was in fact a transportable tank as they took notice of the amount of water that it retained, just barely a few inches away from reaching the rim and overflowing. Turning their attention back towards the experiment, the other watched them from her spot in a crocodilian manner.

After a few minutes of staring at one another, Kiwi couldn’t help but smile. In the midst of their joy, their tongue lolled out of their mouth like a very happy golden retriever, but it didn’t matter to them. The facility was known for keeping their personal projects separated, making it hard to tell what went on deep in the bowels of the large, yet publicly inconspicuous research center. Such precautions left Kiwi wondering if there were any others like themselves beyond the rooms they frequented, but at last they knew the truth; there were other mutants apart from themselves. With this in mind, they were rather pleased with their discovery. Perhaps they were strangers now, but they could very well soon have a friend in just a moment.

Excitedly, they moved closer to the tank and raised their right hand (errr…..paw? They really couldn’t tell at this point) in order to set it down on the rim while they attempted to make light conversation.

Their claws were inches away from the containment unit when the other experiment suddenly moved.

With surprising speed, the mutant quickly rose from the water, revealing the rest of her body. At a glance, her arms appeared abnormally lanky in a cartoonish manner, and would have very well been mistaken for another pair of tentacles if it weren’t for the webbed claws that gripped the edge of the tank; meanwhile, her actual tentacles began to writhe as if they were a nest of angry snakes that were rudely disturbed from their slumber. Her eyes were narrowed as they locked onto Kiwi and pierced their soul; ears flattened, she bared her fangs in a snarl as a low, aggravated growl rumbled from the back of her throat, filling the atmosphere with a sense of hostility.

Kiwi’s eyes slitted in fear; they pulled their claws away from the tank, lowering their head and body in the process as they backed down.

When they first saw the experiment, they couldn’t help but think about how small she was as they had practically towered over her.
Now it was occurring to them that the only reason she had appeared small in the first place was because she had been lying down…..and as of right now, they were the small one here.

They could only hope that the other would understand that they were sorry.

With every passing second, the guttural growls continued to grow in both volume and agitation; a hardened stare was locked onto Kiwi, eyes alight with anger and ready to strike at any given moment. The friendlier mutant figured it was only a matter of time befor-

“Miriam!”

Surprised, Kiwi’s eyes widened, and they turned to face the newcomer.

From across the hallway in which they came from, a woman briskly moved towards both mutants. As she came closer, Kiwi could make out a few details about the unexpected visitor; she was much older in age based on the wrinkles that covered her face and her graying hair, which lightly bobbed up and down as she moved. She wore what appeared to be an oversized lab-coat, but upon further inspection, they deduced that this was because she was shorter in stature as she appeared no bigger than 5’0 in height. When she arrived at the doorway, they could make out the name inscribed on her ID as Saphy.

Turning back to face the other mutant (now identified as Miriam), Kiwi realized that her attention was now directed towards Saphy. Furthermore, there was a tonal shift in her growling; she no longer sounded completely aggravated, and instead sounded a little more inquisitive, as if questioning the woman that called out to her.

Saphy spoke once more.

“Now now Miriam, there’s no need to get upset with them; they were only looking.”

Miriam appeared to be listening; her growling had completely softened until all that could be heard was a small rrrrrr as she mulled over Saphy’s words. Her eyes had shifted to the side, implying that she was legitimately processing what was being said to her and carefully thinking about what she ought to do, all while refraining from making any sudden movements.

Meanwhile, Kiwi could only stand there and wait in anticipation to see what would become of them; during this small and somewhat tense moment, they couldn’t help but note how Ms. Saphy spoke to Miriam. It was as if she already knew her…..and based on how Miriam reacted, it seemed to be a very likely case. Question is, how could these two unlikely individuals have met? What’s their story? Have they known each other longer than Kiwi had realized, or was it all in their head? The questions continued to pour into their mind like water being poured into a bucket and spilling over.

In any case, they quickly snapped back to reality when they noticed Miriam moving. To their surprise, she slowly sank back down into the water until she re-assumed the position she had been in before. Once she had completely settled back down, Saphy calmly walked towards the tank and stood where one of her tentacles now idly sat. Gently, she placed both of her hands on the tentacle as if she were consoling it; as soon as she made contact, a second tendril rose from the water and high into the air before arching over and placing its tip on the back of both her hands, as if mimicking her.

With a soft, yet cheerful smile, Saphy warmly responded with “See? That wasn’t so hard now was it?”

Miriam answered her question with only a huff ; she continued to calmly sit in the water and allow Saphy to hold onto her tentacles while keeping an eye on her.

Kiwi could only stand there and gawk in befuddlement, bewildered by what they were seeing.

Having gotten over their fear, they now stood upright, their ears perked up and their eyes still wide with surprise as they watched the situation play out in front of them. This woman, of whom seemingly came out of nowhere, managed to pacify a creature that was probably three times larger than she was, highly irritable, and no doubt temperamental, with nothing but her words, and was now physically touching her and speaking to her as if she was nothing more than a child, all while still in one piece.

In Kiwi’s mind, she was clearly a force to be reckoned with despite her appearance saying otherwise.

Judging from everything that had happened up to this point, they had a feeling this wouldn’t be the last time they’d be seeing Saphy.

Nor would it be the last time they’d be seeing Miriam.