{From the Log of Emerson Crane}
{Subject: "Lamassu"}

They found him prowling around some ruins in Egypt. Apparently the historians or archaeologists or whoever the hell runs those things opened up a recently excavated temple to the public. That didn't sit well with our new charge. Started flying around and scaring the tourists. We were on it within the hour. Cameras confiscated, memories altered, hundreds of suddenly confused tourists were sent back to their hotels with slight headaches, and we managed to bag us a new friend.

I wasn't on the recon squad that picked him up. Everything I'd heard came through rumors floating around the base. Gag orders or no, rumors are always buzzing around this place, even when those involved swear up and down they didn't breath a word. I guess its like a regular office that way.

They didn't bother calling me in until a week after the fact.

"Emerson," Finch had said, coming into my office without even knocking. "We need someone to talk to that thing.”

I put down the file I'd been going over. "And you want me? Tie, I'm flattered-”

Titus Finch snorted. "We've already been through all the experts. Now we're just going down the rung and covering all the clearance three personnel until we get a hit. You're just up next."

We started off together down the hall, Finch leading the way as was his clearance two right.

“What happens if I don't work out?"

"Then we go to Angela Crowley. Then Dominic Cutner. Then Sue Dr- ."

"I get it," I said. "So. Tell me about our new friend."

There wasn't much to tell, really. It was a new find under the care of Dr. Schall that refused to cooperate.

One short walk and an even shorter physical description later, we reached the transitional wing, section eight.

'Transitional' is just the nice way of saying 'prison'. Yeah, I know I shouldn't think it, but it's true. It's the holding area where we dump anything that hasn't cooperated as well as we'd hoped, but didn't want to kill just yet. A dead subject never did anyone any lasting good.

Each holding cell has a small waiting room stationed just outside its door for safety purposes. Protocol said a medic would be on standby, as would a couple of security personnel and whatever lab monkeys were assigned to the job inside the room.

Tired faces looked up at us as we entered the room.

'Hey," said a harried looking man in a lab coat I took to be Dr. Schall. "You up next?"

I nodded. "Yeah." I noticed the scarring around his eyes. Like he'd gotten into a fight with a cat and had lost.

"Titus brief you?"

"Yep."

He raised his arms and waved me towards the door. "Go on in," he said. "English is okay, Arabic is better. No sudden movements. Watch out for the claws, and for the love of God don't scare the damned thing. Scared is worse than angry."

I nodded, took a deep breath. Slowly, I creaked open the door and let myself in.

The holding cells are on the whole pretty much identical. Occasionally you get a weird looking one for a particularly 'special' guest, but just picture a cement box, toilet in one corner, cot in the other, and you can't really be too far off the mark.

As soon as I stepped in, a low growling started from somewhere off to my left. Remembering what Schall had said about scaring it, I slowly raised my hands and took a sidestep towards the opposite wall.

"Hey, fella," I said, not daring to turn my head to look at it. Another sidestep. "It's all right," I said in what I hoped to be a soothing manner. "I'm not going to hurt you."

Only when I was up against the wall did I dare turn around.

Titus had told me what to expect. Hell, the vague rumors I'd been hearing all week had done a better job at describing this thing then he had. All the same, it still didn't prepare me for the latest subject.

First thing I noticed? The wings. Of course it was the wings. Huge, mottled brown and yellow things they were, loosely folded around it like a sort of shield.

It sat on its cot, upright, but pretty much hidden by the wall of feathers. Below the feathery cocoon where the wings met bed, a tail that looked remarkably similar to that of a lion's poked out and draped over the edge of the cot.

It was, I figured, probably sitting cross legged.

The growling hadn’t stopped.

“Hey there,” I said. “It’s all right. I’m here to help.”

I lowered my hands to my side and fought the urge to grab hold of the stunner hanging on my belt. Something about the growl grated my teeth and set me on edge.

I tried for jovial.

“I hear you haven’t been settling in quite as well as we’d hoped.”

The tail lashes out, back and forth like a cat’s.

“I get you. I really do. You had a nice thing going back in Egypt and they just moved you to this crummy little box. I bet they didn’t even tell you why.”

The growling stopped. I took that to be a good sign.

“And that security guard,” I leaned back against the wall and casually tucked my hands into my coat pocket. “All those damned tourists. Well, they were in your territory. Walking around like they owned the godsdamned place, right? I mean, you were there way before them. Way before any of them. What right did they have? They deserved everything you gave them.”

One of the wings drooped down a bit, revealing a mop of tousled black hair falling over a large pair of yellow eyes.

I quickly glanced away. Didn’t want to make it any angrier than it already was. I hadn’t been expecting the eyes. I guess I’d figured they‘d look more like the stereotypical cat eyes- what, with the skinny pupils and all.

"LOok At mEE."

You know the sound you make in the morning when you've been sleeping with your mouth open? How your voice is all grainy and raw that it doesn't even sound like a human should be making it? That's what its voice sounded like. It was raw, and he put weird emphasis on the words.

I guess there was probably an accent buried under there somewhere, but if there was, I couldn't catch it.

I did as it said.

Its wings furled back as much as the room would allow, and I got my first good look at the charge.

It was like someone had taken a bunch of dolls and things, ripped them apart, then had tenderly fit them back together all jumbled up.

It was humanoid. Except for the lion ears, it could've passed for a human from the neck up. Its torso looked human too, though it was still wearing the hospital gown they'd given it upon arrival, so I'm only really guessing on that bit. Even its arms could've passed for normal if no one looked too closely at the clawed hands. The furry bull legs, though, those were a bit of a giveaway. And the tail. And the wings. Eyes, too, come to think of it. . .

Okay, so that thing had a sixpack's chance at an AA meeting for passing as human.

It glared at me for what was probably only a few seconds, but felt like an eternity and a half. Just as I was wondering whether or not to break the silence, he spoke in that broken voice of his.

"LeaVE."

"Are you certain you don't want to-"

It crouched. "LeaVE NOw, or I Will tAKE ouT your eyeS."

I dove for the door. Not fast enough, apparently. It jumped off the cot and raked its claws across my arm. I screamed. It roared- God, it could roar. No wonder it sounded so strange speaking, a voice like that was made for roaring.

The others, finally getting off their lazy arses, opened the door for me and helped me into the waiting room. The door was slammed and barred behind us.

Bless all medics; the useful doctor in the room was on me instantly, swabbing my arms with stuff that stung but would probably do me good.

"Well," I said as he patched me up. "That's was pointless."

"I don't know," said Finch. "I think you've made a real breakthrough."

"Oh yeah?"

"Mmhmm. The last guy who went in came out with his eyes bleeding."

Schall raised a hand. "Yo."

"Finch, you're an ass." I shrugged off the medic as politely as I could and headed for the door. "Next time you want me in on one of your little projects, make sure the damned thing's not out for blood."

"You had a stunner."

I didn't bother with a response and instead headed for my nice, safe office. I still had the report on the gorgon fiasco to work out.

The last I heard about lion boy was that Suzanna Dramori from sector twelve was working with him. I asked Finch once how it was working out for the two of them. Apparently even humanoid lion bird bulls can get crushes; he's been nothing but a perfect gentlemanimal since her first day. So long as nobody tells him she's married, things should work out okay.

I'm glad. Really. I hate seeing anything put down, but the humanoid ones, or the ones that can speak really get to me. I know it shouldn't be like that, but it's true.

Ah well. That's enough reminiscing for now. We just got call that there's a little selkie boy who turned up in a Parisian orphanage. Me and Angie are going to go pick him up, then maybe check out the Eiffel Tower.

{End Log}

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