Stoontly^2

The leader of Kappa-4 sat down at the interviewing table. The interviewer, a Dr. Malcolm Haley, opened up his notepad.

"Good evening, Mr. Reed. Thank you for taking this time out of your busy schedule. I hear that I pulled you from your daily exercises?"

"Yes sir. You wanted to talk to me about the thing that we keep seeing, right?"

"Exactly right." Haley sat, fingers steepled. They both sat in silence for a moment.

"So, uh, did you want to know anything specific?" Reed asked.

"Not really. Just start from the beginning. When was the first time you started seeing it?"

He thought for a bit, before answering. "Uh, as far as I remember, when I was in Jakarta a year ago. Higher ups told me that I needed to do some recon. Some reports of a Marshall Carter and Dark warehouse, chock-full of those weird fertility statuettes that were anomalous in some way. So they dress me up, khaki shorts, button up floral shirts, sandals, typical tourist shit, but with enough to sell that I'm a typical rich tourist. First time wearing a Rolex, actually."

"We were talking about the creature that you saw."

"Oh, sorry. Yeah, I'm in Jakarta, I go to the warehouse, and no one's around. MC&D usually protect their wares fiercely, so I took it as a sign that it's just a regular warehouse. Checked inside too. Nothing. I call back, tell them there ain't shit, and that I need extraction. They tell me that the plane is going out tomorrow. Nothing I can do but just wait. So I decided to look around. You ever been to Jakarta, doctor?"

He received a shake of the head in response.

"Quite an interesting place. I liked the markets. Anyways, I wanted to go for a run, so I go to a park. I forgot its name, but it was decently wooded, with a tiny little path cut out."

"And you saw it?"

"Yup. Halfway through the trail, I started seeing a shape between the trees. I stopped for a bit, just to make sure that my eyes weren't playing tricks on me. And yeah, there it was. A body peering from behind a tree. And at that point, I was pretty weirded out, but I thought that maybe it was just someone taking a shit. I continue, only to notice the shape again. This time it was for sure not a person."

"Describe it for me. I take it that it is humanoid?"

"Decently, yeah. General bipedal structure. But it was thin. Like, this thin-" he held up his hand in a "C" shape, his thumb and index finger about 3 inches apart, "- I could only tell that after it turned away. It has claws. Like, imagine a set of fingers, but with another finger-length of claw."

"You're saying that its claws are about 3 or 4 inches long?"

"Eh, I think its fingers are a bit longer than a human's, so maybe 5 or 6 inch claws? Either way, it's pretty tall. I'd say 8 feet. Uh, its eyes are pretty weird. I don't know how exactly, but it just was. It had these tiny fangs, definitely shorter than its claws by a lot. Feet are pretty wide. Other than that, I can't really remember."

"How about how it stands?"

Reed stared at his interviewer blankly for a moment. "I don't follow."

"You said it was around 8 foot tall, and you are describing it as human like. Humans who are around 8 foot start having problems keeping their backs straight without support from crutches. You also described it as thinner than a regular human, which doesn't help on that front at all. Does it hunch?"

"I think there's a bit of hunch there. Not too bad, but it's definitely there, yeah. I think it's also missing a nose."

"Elaborate, please. Are there nostrils, or are those absent as well?"

"No, he had nostrils. But they're just on his face."

"'His'?" Haley jotted down a new section to his notebook titled "REED". "What makes you think it's a male?"

"I mean, I don't really, I guess it's just that it doesn't look really feminine. It's not like it had hair or anything." More writing went down in the notebook, noting the correction in pronouns. Haley suddenly figured out how to interview him more efficiently.

"So, tell me, throughout all the times that you saw this creature, has it ever communicated any thoughts or emotions, like smiling or laughing?"

"Well…" Reed's eyes trailed off. "Well, I guess. There was this one time, we got orders to disrupt a caravan moving anomalous items the old fashioned way, camels and all. So we're trekking across the desert, when Smiths hears something. I'm not sure if you met him, but his ears are like Dumbo, so he's sorta our ears. He says it came from the south, so we set up, ready to ambush them, when I start hearing a tapping coming from behind us, like someone's smacking the sand with their foot. I thought one of the new recruits was nervous, but it didn't stop, it even got a bit stronger. I turn to see what was making the sound, only to see a gang of Yemeni desert thieves trying to sneak up on us. We made short work of them, but while we're cooling down from the fight, I saw the thing up on a dune some 100 yards away. And call me crazy, but I could've swore it just waved at me. Almost like it was saying 'You're welcome'."

"Great. You think it developed that from watching humans or that it's sentient in a way and associates the gesture as acknowledgement as well?"

Haley wrote down a few key words under both sections of his notebook.

"Never mind that, actually. What do you think it eats? I'm no biologist, but it seems more like an herbivore than a carnivore. Long claws for digging for roots and tubers, small "fangs" or tusks to help in that regard, or maybe as a mating display. You ever see it eat anything? You think it even eats?" he asked while finishing up his thoughts on the paper.

"I'm pretty sure it's an omnivore. I once saw a goat in a jungle, looked completely destroyed. No animal I know of eats meat like that, and it didn't seem to be human, or else they would've taken the whole thing, right? I saw it in the distance, staring at me expectantly."

"Maybe it wanted you to have the rest of it. It seems decently intelligent, especially to understand that those Yemenis you mentioned were out of harm you. I think that it might be a pack animal, or perhaps even one that can form its own "tribes". You ever see it call to others?"

"No sir, I never hear it make a sound. I've been as close as just a few yards, and the only sound it makes is breathing and walking. And now that I think of it, I've never seen him open his mouth."

"Hmm, maybe it isn't as civilized as I suggested. Y'know, you never said, is it wearing clothes? If not, are its genitalia any different from a human's?"

"No sir, not clothed. I just never see anything down there. Not sure if it feels embarrassment or not, but either way, it just isn't clothed."

Haley smiled. His method was working.

"Alright, here's a list of places that you continuously saw while on duty. You gave this in while filing the creature. Now, let's take a look." He studied the sheet for a minute while Reed fidgeted with his wedding band. "Interesting. You mentioned Jakarta, and that's right here, but you got pins on multiple continents. One deployment it's with you in South America, the next you see it all the way over in Australia. You think it could hide with you in the plane?"

Reed shook his head. "They make sure that the plane is clear every time it takes off. They really don't want a containment breach. They really, really don't want one all the way in fucking Australia."

"Alright then. I think this is the last thing really. How are you sure it's the same one? That it isn't a different one every time?"

Reed resumed playing with his wedding band. He really didn't know how to answer that question. Haley wrote only under Reed's category.

"Alright then, if you feel as though it's the same one, it might just be it. Variation in a species can be wildly, well, varied, and it's hard to believe that you saw it this many times without it being different to any other sightings. So let's entertain a single creature. What we have here is a single 8 foot tall humanoid with claws and fangs, a slight hunch, absent nose, and possibly absent or retracting genitalia. It seems to be of decent intellect, much like an ape's, and can understand human social signs and possibly structure. Anomalous properties are that it is a previously undiscovered species of animal with no obvious recent ancestors, and its ability to seemingly move between whole continents with ease. Does that sound about right?"

Reed stayed silent for a bit, before murmuring in agreement.

"You sound disappointed, like you expected more."

"Well, I don't know doc, I just hoped that you could confirm a thought that I had about it."

"And that is? Pray tell."

"I don't know… I just wanted it to be… deeper."

"Deeper? Like, more sentient? Did you want to relate to the thing?"

Reed's silence answered him.


CREATURE

Humanoid
About 4 inch thickness
Claws, 3-4 5-6 inches long (Possible herbivore?)
8 feet tall (Back problems, possible haunch)
Nose absent
Hairless
Genitals absent from view
Understands hand wave signal
Somewhat intelligent, possible pack animal?
Carnivore or Omnivore
Not Clothed
Reed possibly attached to it.
Solitary


REED

Pareidolia
Projecting own ambitions onto creature
Maybe hoping for its sentience
Would suggest keeping him away from the field for a bit