"It's odd, no one really has ever...well, requested to work with the XJ" said the scientist casually flipping through the clipboard as he strolled down the hallway.

"Well, I think stories about this bloody shit are greatly embellished." the woman said adjusting her glasses.

"Heh, okay then ma'am, be that way. Just remember this thing is known to fuck with your head, and I'm pretty sure this is the first time command approved a woman to oversee it, and I think we both know how..."


"uhm, what I...uh, what I mean is...I mean women aren't any less qualified but maybe aren't as...mentally fit to uh...I mean..."

Suddenly the two stopped, at a large, steel door marked "X.J. 9-0-4-1"

"oh thank god--hey, we're here. Godspeed."

Before the woman knew it, she was alone.

She struggled to open the large door momentarily. Then it seemed to ease.

As she walked to darkened corridor, she passed several rooms full of strange chanting.

"Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name..."

"Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu..."

"La ilaha illallah muhammadur..."

"I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee..."

Alrighty then.

From there, there was just a single door at the end of the hallway. When she entered it, she was met with a large glass window, and numerous people in white coats staring down at the inside of the adjacent chamber. As she came more into the room, the scientists all left, except one.

He, put his hand on her shoulder, and said, "Please, just remember Kondri. Please."

The look in his eyes didn't show he was just trying to get on her good sign. They showed, genuine concern. Trauma. As if he has seen things that even he still struggled to comprehend.

She stammered, a spat out a "Thank you Dr. Mattan", and he took his leave.

As he left, the woman took a step closer to the glass panel. As she peered into the chamber, she saw the red humanoid facing the wall opposite her. It turned around, and as the chills began intensifying, it smiled.

Suddenly she comfortable.

"Hello there, Friend", it spoke softly.

The woman stood there wide-eyed, not even just scared to speak, just sort of at a loss for words.

Finally, after it seemed an eternity, the conversations began.

"What is your name?", the woman asked.

"A name is merely an arbitrary designation, a random combination of sounds. I believe names should convey the nature and essence of the thing being named. It represents the history and reputation of the being named."

"So, what do you call yourself."

"I call myself nothing, I am only known as a Friend. Everyone's Friend.", the being said.

"Ok then Mr. Friendly, what are you doing here?"

"Being a prisoner, is that not obvious?"

"Oi, you know what I...ah..."

Suddenly the woman's head started throbbing, as if she had been hit in the head with a bat.

"What's wrong, Dr. Lenatzel?", the anomaly crooned.

Ignoring how or why the thing knew her name, the woman shambled out of the room, and as she cleared the corridor, screamed for someone to bring her to the psych ward.

Physically, she was fine. Something was up though, her brain scans were...peculiar. Her brain waves were periodically overlapped by a sudden burst of random waves, just a simple explosion of straight lines, and then nothing. She was prescribed some Oxiracetam and told to get rest.

When she got into her dorm, there was something on her desk.

It was a flower, doused in a strange, black liquid. Attached to it was a note.

"I enjoyed talking. Come down and see me sometime :] ~Mr. Friendly"

"Care to tell me how this got on my desk last night?", the woman asked through the glass panel.

The thing walked towards the wall with the glass panel, smiled and said, "Seems obvious, don't it? I put it there."

"Hmph, well I think the guards would like to know you've been out of your cell."

"Oh please woman, if you were going to do anything, you would've done it already."

The woman anxiously looked to the door, and back at the creature.

"Y'know, I like what I've heard about you. You're tenacity, you're attitude, even you're name, 'Lenatzel', it's got a nice ring to it."

"Yeah, how did you know my..."

"A name that puts a smile to my face..."

"Okay then, I'm clearly getting nowhere so I'm going to just lea..."

"A name I could entrust with all my secrets..."




"Well then, let's see where this goes..."

Five days in the management caught on to something odd. Lenatzel stopped coming in for the mandatory psych evaluations. She spent more and more time in XJ's chamber. Her dorm was awash in strange chants, she downloaded tons of mp3s using the company network. Chanting, weird Kabbalah chantings, Pagan prayers, pleasured moaning. Plastic explosives stolen from the armory, the cameras in the containment sector going in and out at random intervals, 'faulty wiring'. It didn't take long for them to figure out what was going on. The Commander specifically requested to take on the confrontation.

They approached her in her room, that's when the breach started.

The woman was humming gleefully when the two men entered the room, armed. One of them had a shotgun primed right at her head. She knew what she had to do.

She pretended to submit, but at the last second elbowed the guard in the stomach and grabbed the gun. Both men put their hands up in the air and she got out the plastic cuffs from her desk drawer. While subduing the men, the commander started talking.

"He's using you Lenatzel, you have to break free!"

The woman continued, "No, you're lying! I know him, he cares. You're the reason he's in here, trapped with the real monsters, you're the reason any of these monsters exist!"

"Is that what he told you? He's lying to you, don't you understand that??"

"He would never lie to me! He loves me! He's told me things, secret things, things that he would never tell anyone!"

She finished tying up the guard and moved to the commander, warning him not to try anything stupid. He continued, "He's got a million of them! What has he told you, about The World of Bone? How he came from Tel Meggido? How about how he's killed hundreds of children? How he ripped Tom's kids' fingertips off?? Huh?! Has he told you those things?"

"Yes actually," she said finishing the tie around the commanders wrist.

"Well shit."

Lenatzel ran back over to her desk and took two little packets of C4 out of a drawer.

"Now, you two are going to stay here and starve to death, bye schmucks!"

As the woman ran off into the hallway, the two men lamented their situation.

Camera feed apparently didn't cut out when Dr. Lenatzel had planned, clearly showing her running into XJ-9041's chamber with the C4 in hand. Security forces could not be mobilized in time to intercept her before she blew the chamber.

"I'm here, my love!" the woman said sing-songily as she entered the room.

"Excellent! Please, blow the observation panel, so I can be free, with you!"

"Already on it!", she cried, affixing the two bombs to either side of the glass panel. Quickly, she ran out of the room and even halfway down the corridor the blast was still enough to knock her down.

The explosion rocked the entire facility, or at least the entire wing. It was at this point that the commander escaped his entrapment through unknown means in an attempt to recontain XJ-9041.

The blast was loud, even though it was so far away.

"The fuck was that?", the subdued guard said.

"Probably Lenatzel blowing the fucking chamber. God damn it, looks like this is happening."

Suddenly, the commander's suit shuddered, and from the crease of the mask a small lanky tentacle shot forth, slapping the plastic cuffs between the wrists until it ripped. From there, multiple tentacles shot from the crease, hoisting the commander up, simultaneously freeing the guard as well.




"Oh yeah by the way I'm Gascot. Uh...please don't tell anybody."





She was prepared for gunfire, but it was still terrifying. Her beast came forward and sliced the security team right in half, and they continued running.

Finally, they saw the iron doors leading out of the containment sector. If they got through there, it'd be smooth sailing.

As they got close, suddenly and iron plate dropped in front and behind them. Someone activated the emergency containment system.

"That's quite enough Lenatzel."

The commander emerged with a .357, armed and ready. "You've gone too far here, it's over. You know you won't kill me."

She scoffed and said, "Oh yeah, I won't. But he will."

The Commander cooed, "Really now? Please, if you were going to do anything, you would've done it already."

Lenatzel seemed taken aback, both at how her puddin' hadn't eviscerated the man before them, but how the commander knew what it had said to her.

"Come on, Lenatzel. You know he doesn't really love you. He's done this before, we've been here five times already. If he really loved you, you think he'd stand me holding a gun to your head?"

"Y...STOP IT! YOU'RE...YOU'RE MAKING ME CONFUSED!", she screamed, turning away with tears in her eyes.

"No, you don't turn away, YOU LOOK!" the Commander screamed as he yanked the woman close, putting her in a headlock, forcing her head up so her eyes met the creature's, pointing the gun to her head and cocking it for dramatic effect.

"If he loved you Lenatzel, he would kill me! So come on big man! Show the lady you love her, FUCKING. KILL. ME!"

The creature smiled and said, "Here, allow me."

The creature took its claw and shoved it through the woman's stomach, coming out the other end and stabbing the commander, causing him to recoil. Agitated, the commander took aim and fired a round into the anomaly's eye.

As it stumbled backwards in pain, the panels retracted and security squads rushed in. After subduing the target with stunsticks, they dragged him back to the chamber and turned on the gas. Make him suffer for a few hours.

Meanwhile, the commander rushed to the woman's side, but she was already dead.

Her eyes remained open, preserving the look of shock, heartbreak, betrayal. It said so much, it told a story. A woman, so desperate for some form of love, she turned to a goddamn hellspawn to fill the void inside of her.

In that moment, the commander thought to himself how lucky he was to be 'normal', or as 'normal' as he could be, at least.

"I am sane. I am in control of my mind. I know what is real, and what isn't."

In a horrible sort of way, it was comforting to think this, and in a certain way, seeing her like this made him feel better.

Then the commander turn and ran.

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