Impact Site, Unknown location on the East Coast, US | Mid-September, 21:45
The holding cell was so quiet, it was hard to believe the entity inside was still alive.
Briggs could see it slumped against the back wall. It was incredibly Human-like: hair, limbs, a nose, mouth - though the ears were a little on the misshapen side. It was also incredibly not-Human as well: its frame was too thin and it had black-feathered wings sprouting from its back.
Limp, ashen locks were pulled back into the longest braid Briggs had ever seen, and stringy hairs that had escaped the braid stuck to the dried blood of the sticky wound that took up the right half of its face. Its skin was pale, making it hard to miss that its blood was stark violet with tiny glowing specks; like it bled some kind of bio-luminescent glitter.
The angel-like figure was an extraterrestrial entity responsible for a close encounter of the sixth kind.
It had already been injured when they had first engaged with it outside, at the impact site - the earliest reports mentioned it looked like something had damaged its face. Briggs doubted two things about the injury: that it could still see out of that eye, and that nothing on Earth could have done that damage.
"Has it talked yet?" Briggs questioned the white coat next to him. Briggs himself was no spring chicken and the years of many faces across his career felt more apparent at that moment. She must have been brought in for this situation specifically, because he couldn't remember the blonde woman's name for the life of him.
"No, he hasn't made a noise since he was brought in," the white coat replied, looking up from her tablet. Briggs glanced at the badge clipped to her lapel: Adams, Evelyn.
"He?" Briggs said, seeking confirmation more than asking. "We're sure this is male of the species, then."
"We believe so, however it's hard to confirm when we can't get much closer than this. In addition," Dr. Adams made a worried face, "This is our only specimen."
Briggs snorted. "So have someone go in and look up the thing's skirt."
He was being somewhat literal - the alien was wearing a long, black, robe-like garment that was snug around the forearms and slatted around the legs. The legs were covered by dark leggings tucked into sandal-toed boots. Over this odd garment was a bright blue scarf, darkly smeared from the facial wound, which wrapped comfortably around the neck and trailed off the alien's shoulders. Everything, save the scarf, was ornately trimmed with an almost-white silver.
Dr. Adams looked at him with cautioned eyes. "Sir, you know how hard it was to get the specimen in the laser-crating." She tapped against the humming window that looked into the cell, creating small, orange ripples as she did so. The alien did not react to the tapping.
Briggs again snorted. If it wasn't for the alien's impaired vision, they would have never managed it; it would be quite the trip back to their main base if the laser-crating didn't hold their extraterrestrial guest. "Several teams are still defrosting." Briggs glanced back to the alien, he could tell that their otherworldly visitor seemed to be listening to them. "What else do we know?"
Dr. Adams frowned, looking back to the tablet in her hand, seemingly flipping between the same two screens of charts and bulleted notes. "Like I said, we believe the specimen to be male. Counting the wings, he has six limbs. Based on the images of the impact site engagement, dental structure-"
"Seen sharks with nicer-looking teeth," Briggs gruffly summarized.
"As I'm sure you've seen," she went on, "his blood is different than our own. On Earth, blue or violet hemolymph is almost unheard of outside of crustaceans and cephalopods. The glow you see is a sort of natural bio-luminescence, what we theorize is some type of reaction to our atmosphere."
"Any ideas on why an alien looks like a damned angel?" Briggs shook his head. "I'm a secular man, Doctor, but it's a little disconcerting."
Dr. Adams blinked a few times, as if the alien looking like a supposed holy being hadn't crossed her mind as an issue. "Well, one could surmise ancient texts may have descriptions of them and their technologies if they've been in contact with our planet before."
At this the alien lifted his head, staring at Briggs with his one working eye; there was a sort of melancholic determination that made its way through the obvious physical discomfort. For a moment Briggs made direct eye-contact with him, unearthly blue meeting the grayness of Brigg's own. "Do we have anything on the ship's make?"
Dr. Adams shook her head. "Outer hull made of an unknown metallic substance; smooth glassy interior with enameled materials. They're still reconstructing what was recoverable from the impact site, Commander."
"Komantr," the alien said, his voice edged by a word he was unfamiliar with.
Dr. Adams jumped back from the cell a little. "He spoke."
"'Bout time," Briggs grinned darkly. He was about to reply when the alien stood up, Briggs could tell he was trying to hide how much he used the wall for help; trying to hide how injured he was.
"You... are... Komander?" he asked through his sharp teeth, his pronunciation better. "You lead... your people?"
"Yes and no," Briggs replied, noticing that Dr. Adams was too busy softly muttering about 'language absorption via auditory observation' to say anything else. "I lead a privately contracted military that works for some of my kind's leaders. We're 'warriors'; do you know what that means?"
"I know what a military is," the alien replied, staggering closer to the laser-crate window into his cell. His pronunciation was heavy on the consonants, but Briggs was mildly impressed at how fast he was picking up the English language.
"That's one less thing that needs explaining, then," Briggs snorted. "Where do your people come from?"
"Far away," he seemed to know this game, as he pointed a gloved finger towards the ceiling of the cell. "Too far for your people."
Briggs frowned. "Our people are called Humans. What are your people called?"
The alien seemed put-off by the question, almost insulted. "Alengiana," he finally answered.
"What is your name?"
"What is yours?"
"This is not a game, I know you're smart enough to know that," Briggs told the alien.
The alien regarded him cooly, before pulling his scarf up over the lower half of his face.
Not getting any additional headway, Briggs cautiously relented: "Commander Roderick Briggs."
"I am Arkanghelis Mikaal R'chasaye."
"Alright, Mr. R'chasaye," Briggs pretended like he didn't mangle the name, "You know what a military is. Did you come with a message from yours?"
"Of, not from."
"Are you looking to speak with one of the Human leaders?"
"Not yours," Mikaal spat out a little blood onto the floor. "A different leader, who is also here, who is not a Human."
Right then it was Briggs who felt somewhat insulted. "Are you a threat to this planet?"
"No," Mikaal replied, taking a short but cold pause. "But the Alengiana are."
"What do you mean by that?" Briggs growled. "In case you haven't noticed, you're in our custody! If you come bearing warning of threat to this planet, you tell us and no one else!"
Briggs glowered at Mikaal, but his temper didn't seem to penetrate the cool air surrounding the alien.
Mikaal placed a hand on the laser-crate window, observing the orange ripples carefully. The fresher blood on its face seemed to glow a little, spark to a life of its own. Some sensors outside the cell started to indicate a huge drop in the cell's temperature, which at that point the white coat had pressed an alarm button. The ripples seemed to stop, looking as nothing more than glowing streaks in the air.
And that was when the wall shattered into frozen shards.