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Amity Anew

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"We call it the Freak Show." Brackish bounces on his feet with excitement. This was always the best part, seeing the look of wonder on his rare guests' faces. And on the delightful occasion, fear.

Brackish's smile fades as he looks away, however, waiting for lack of reciprocation in enthusiasm. It is surprisingly unfound.

"This is incredible..." Milton's voice is nearly a whisper as he outstretches a slightly shaking hand towards the center tank.

"Oh! Please don't touch that." Brackish jumps forward to stop him, taken aback at his companion's unexpected brazenness. He gently grasps the man's hand and the spell is seemingly broken as Milton turns to blink at him.

There is no fear in his eyes. He has demonstrated a remarkably reserved personality thus far, something Brackish would've thought would be boring and tiring instead of curiously intriguing and enigmatic, but now Milton's eyes are shining like something has sparked within him. His smile stretches under his goatee and Brackish is suddenly aware of their proximity and the fact that he's still holding the man's hand.

He clears his throat and speaks uncharacteristically quietly, "This is the most intact biological evidence of extraterrestrial life on Earth and quite likely the most precious scientific discovery of our lifetime. There isn't much more to be learned from these specimens that we haven't already tested, observed, or dissected from them. Our singular goal now is preservation." Brackish's throat feels dry. When was the last time he held someone's hand? Do people normally smell this good? How long has he really been isolated down here?

"Sorry. I understand, Dr. Okun." Milton's words are sincere and professional, but the look in his eyes is a ravenous hunger for further disclosure and an eagerness to join the other scientists in their groundbreaking work on humanity's most exclusive research here in the underground labs of Area 51.

Brackish waits for something more from the other man, eyes drawn to the small unconcealed smile still on his face. The moment awkwardly stretches and he clears his throat again, dropping his hand and stepping backward. "Good. Uh, good. We can move on." He wrings his hands, chasing the warmth of the contact as he walks away.

Brackish turns at the door to say something else but stops when he sees the other man still staring up at the specimens in the tanks, hands now at least politely clasped behind his back. "Dr. Isaacs?"

"Oh, sorry," Milton says as he blinks his eyes again and shuffles after Brackish. "I just..." He glances back at the tanks and the corner of Brackish's mouth lilts in an affectionate smile. "This is the kind of work I've been dreaming of."

Something in Brackish stirs at the raw honesty in the other man's voice and the familiarity of his words. This person is so real and genuine. For some reason, Brackish can tell he already trusts him wholeheartedly.

He claps a hand around Milton's shoulders and escorts him into the next room. "Honestly? I know exactly what you mean." He basks in the warm feeling of the contact now, embracing the burgeoning urge to befriend the stranger. His voice goes soft again, perhaps responding to the overwhelmingly positive sense of long-awaited companionship. "We can come back later and I'll answer any questions you have about them. But for now," He smiles at Milton who shyly reciprocates, "I have so much more I want to show you."