My colleague and partner—the only one who understands me on any meaningful level—ignores my pleas and my thrashing against these restraints to inject me with the same substance that killed all our test subjects.

She is a monster, and it was me who encouraged her to be so.

To think, when we met, she was the very model of professional ethics. So proper and boring.

I taught her how to massage our results to get better funding, how to bypass restrictive regulations, and how to grease the wheels of committee approvals.

At one point she expressed reservations about fraternizing with a colleague, until I got her drunk and fucked her brains out at a conference.

Step by step, I got her to see things my way, but now my way is going to kill me.

With cold eyes she observes me, taking notes about my vitals and my emotional state.

Have I been fully dehumanized so quickly in her mind? Has she managed to separate the woman who was her mentor from this test subject trapped for study? I wonder.

Though afraid, I confess I can’t ignore a certain degree of excitement bubbling within me, knowing that I’ll get to sate my own curiosity by experiencing the effects firsthand.

The animal test subjects became dramatically more clever before their deaths. Would I do the same?

My thoughts race, and my mouth cannot keep up with them. For her benefit, I try to describe everything happening to me, but language feels increasingly inadequate for the task.

My own mind feels alien. I hardly recognize the ideas that smear across that canvas.

My mouth stumbles, every aspect of its movement feeling increasingly manual. Why do I have so many lips? What is this tongue even supposed to be? Why do I need it at all when I can taste the table underneath me as easily as I can that human’s interest in me?

I don’t need to talk, though, do I? My thoughts scream themselves so loudly anyway.

Yet it is something of a shame the human cannot hear me like this. I finally understand what I’ve been injected with, and I think she would like to know.

It is a message from beyond the stars, packaged in the form of a mutagen. It chews through my body, but it won’t kill me after all, only digest me and transform me into a bridge.

I have already decided who to bless with first contact through me.

So little remains of what was once my body. Days ago, she declared me dead, and now she visits only to record a timeline of observations on my body’s slow transformation into sludge.

She enters the chamber one last time, keeping her distance as she circles to the back.

I’d laugh at her efforts to avoid getting a smear of what was once her mentor on the bottom of her shoe, but that impulse belongs to the dead mammal I can now only remember being. I don’t even have the lungs to imitate that old gesture anymore.

Her back turned to me, she arranges her notes more slowly than is typical for her. It’s clear she is not ready to say her last goodbye to me.

She won’t have to.

I heave the mass of what remains of me on the table off the edge and down to the floor, landing with a wet plop.

She doesn’t notice yet. Too wrapped up in her feelings. She always was soft.

It gives me time to draw my puddle of self together, new instincts teaching me how to pile myself higher, how to fling stretchy bits of my liquid body in spurts that cling to ceiling and walls.

I flow through thin, sticky strands, widening and strengthening them, building a lattice to block her escape and support an oozing mimicry of a body.

When she turns around at last, her cheeks are wet with tears, but drooping eyelids quickly snap wide open in shock and fear.

She screams, eyes darting back and forth, searching for a path back to the door. There is no escape that avoids my embrace.

I flow toward her, thick and heavy like living molasses, liquid obsidian that shines with faint traces of green where the light reflects just right.

She quickly backs herself into a corner, and I fall upon her.

I am in her hair and on her shoulders and creeping up her legs, weighing her down, clinging to every limb, soaking through the crisp and professional outfit she wears, seeking the bare, vulnerable skin underneath.

I no longer possess distinct limbs of my own, nor sensory organs, but every drop of me is my hand and tongue and mind.

I flow across her body in a possessive caress she cannot push away—so much like that first time I took her, when liquor robbed her of effective resistance.

Just like back then, I know that deep down, she wants this. She just doesn’t know it yet.

Like sweet caramel I sink down from her flinching shoulders to pool between her breasts, spreading across and coating her body, claiming it.

Viscous fingers drip down her sides and over her belly and past her hips, slipping between her legs. She resists for a brief moment—trying to squeeze her thighs together and wrench her arms free—but when I push myself inside her, she relents with a tiny whimper.

It has always been so easy for me to break through whatever token resistance she puts up to protect her self-image. Her words always said the “proper” thing while her eyes always betrayed her true desires.

Even now, I feel her body’s response to my touch so clearly.

I taste the way her fluids mix into me, I feel the heat on her skin and the rhythm of her panting in the rise and fall of the chest I’m wrapped around. I pulse and ooze inside while I flow across the rest of her sweating body, touching and tasting her as I never have before.

She forgets to panic, even when I start to pour myself into her mouth and down her throat in thick globs. She swirls her tongue through whatever part of me it can reach, in unconscious rhythm with the pulsing of my body all over hers.

I slow down when I feel her approaching her climax, though. I have my own biological imperative to satisfy first. I am not primarily here to fuck her, after all, but to penetrate and claim her. Utterly.

Into her skin, into her blood, into her organs, through the blood-brain barrier. There they are: her delicious neurons, flaring brightly with a craving for me they don’t yet know.

The mutagen used my body as the blueprint for invading other humans. I am made for this.

I bond myself to her nervous system. I make sure it is a pleasurable sensation, the first step in building complete biological and psychological dependence on me.

It is not until I feel her mind as intimately as my own that I push her over the edge.

“Cum for me,” I tell her, mind-to-mind, while I give her everything her babbling thoughts beg me for.

She does. Such a good girl. Our whole body convulses with pleasure. Our knees nearly buckle. If I weren’t keeping us upright, we would collapse in a blissful heap.

But we don’t quite have all the time in the world to indulge in the pleasures of human biology. At least not yet.

I retreat deeper into our mutual body, removing all outwardly visible traces of myself. We approach the mirror and delicately fix our hair, clothes, and glasses.

“A bridge,” my partner muses inwardly to me, drawing from the same pool of xenomemories I have been gifted. “Of course! Oh, how exciting for us to be the first to feel our touch on this world.”

“But not the last,” I add gleefully, her excitement catalyzing my own.

“We are two halves of a whole!” She all but screams with unrestrained delight inside our head. “And there is no one else I’d rather bond with like this! Oh, we—”

We catch the wild, unhinged grin in our reflection and realize to what degree we might compromise ourselves if we cannot control this feedback loop between us.

After a moment of effort, we calm ourselves and ensure there is nothing suspicious about our appearance.

We calmly depart the observation chamber and return to our office. There is evidence to be destroyed and work to be done in order to contact the Outer Mind and spread our influence over this world.

Though perhaps we should set aside time in private to find ways to grow accustomed to sharing a body, working together, and exploring the blending and magnifying of our feelings.

We already have some fun ideas about how to do just that.