Section 4 - Investigate *

It was about twenty minutes after Jane had ordered the other members of the camp out of the room.

Elizabeth burst in.

Jane was sitting in the chair opposite the bed in which the alien was splayed out seeming to doze. They both jumped as the door slammed against the wall.

“I must investigate it! Get out.” Elizabeth, eyes wide behind her inch thick spectacles, hurriedly ordered Jane to leave.

“I’m not going anywhere.” Jane looked incredulously at Elizabeth. “I’ve got no idea what you’re going to do to him.”

“It’s a him? How interesting.” Elizabeth completely ignored Jane’s rejection of her order.

“Well, yes, that’s my gut feeling. I have no way of telling.” Jane looked at the alien’s face, his eyes darting from Jane to Elizabeth.

Jane stood and moved between the bed and Elizabeth. “How can I trust you’re not going to do him damage?” Elizabeth seemed completely oblivious to the stress the alien was experiencing.

Finally meeting Jane’s eyes after realising she wasn’t budging, Elizabeth seemed to compose herself a little. “Alright fine, you can stay but you’re gonna have to help me with him. I just need to take some preliminary observations.” Jane wasn’t convinced but knew that it was better that she got Elizabeth on side now rather than stand in her way because of her protective instincts or egotistical reasons.

Jane half turned to the alien, keeping herself between Elizabeth and the bed. “This is Elizabeth. You can trust her, she might seem a bit mad but she’s a good person really. I’m not gonna let her hurt you.” The alien still seemed nervous but seemed to realise that he was going to need to play along for now at least.

After they’d both put on the surgery gowns and gloves they rolled the alien from the room he’d been kept through to the tiny surgery in the back of the medical centre. The gurney bed barely made it, wheels creaking under the weight of the mass it was supporting. They figured getting him onto the surgery table would be impossible without another four or five volunteers and Elizabeth was too impatient to get started they decided to keep the alien on the gurney. Jane found that she was glad, anything to keep from stressing the alien was a positive in her eyes.

Elizabeth quickly shook herself out of the wide-eyed adventurer mode into focussed scientist mode. She realised that their equipment whilst completely safe to humans anything might be dangerous to him. She remembered those old films where the aliens had been undone by the microbes in the water. The best assumption was to assume nothing. It seemed as though he was fairly comfortable on the gurney meaning that the rubber material and the cloth that his skin was touching was likely not causing him to have an allergic reaction. She reasoned that her rubber gloves were likely safe to use as well but she instructed Jane to keep an eye on the alien to see if he was in any pain at any point - any and all information was good.

Jane got the alien to focus on her for a minute and slowly explained that they were going to check his wounds and figure out if they could help him. She told him that if he was in pain or if anything felt wrong that he just needed to make a noise and they would stop.

Elizabeth wanted to check the effect of the metal on his skin so very slowly she pressed the side of the scalpel handle to his arm. Apart from a tiny flinch away from the cold metal there was no reaction. This told them that his nervous system might be similar to theirs, and that he might experience pain in a similar way.

They considered using some sort of anaesthetic or numbing spray to stop him from feeling the pain of what they had planned but figured that whatever they gave him could kill quicker than the stress and pain would. They figured that testing with different materials was safer than with solutions that they would need to get into his body - especially seeing as those solutions would remain in his body for sometime after being injected, possibly causing massive damage internally.

Focusing on the wound in side of his head, Elizabeth found a tiny shard of material that looked like metal. Using a tiny pair of pliers and after getting the alien’s assent in the form a groan, Elizabeth managed to pull it out. The aliens eyelids remained firmly squeezed shut but otherwise seemed to not be that effected by it. Elizabeth quickly filed the fragment away into a petri-dish on a counter for closer inspection later.

The ooze that had leaked from the wound in his head already seemed to be knitting the crack closed faster than human blood ever could.

Next, they moved onto the bigger gashes in his side. It looked like there was more of the strange metallic material lodged in there. Elizabeth suggested that if cut away a little of the flesh surrounding the wound they could pull out the shard much easier. Jane wasn’t convinced and spent a couple of minutes trying to describe what they were planning to do to the alien. He didn’t seem to be unable to comprehend what they were suggesting, so Elizabeth pushed to just go ahead with it cautiously and to stop if he made any noise or motion to stop them.

She showed him the knife clearly and then moved it slowly to his side. His eyes tracking her the entire time, Jane was sure he would flip out and grab Elizabeth as he’d grabbed Paul an hour earlier. Instead he just watched as the scalpel drew closer to his flesh. Elizabeth brought the scalpel to the edge of the wound and pressed careful intending to extend the line of the wound slightly down his body away from his head.

Only this didn’t happen. As she pressed into the flesh with the scalpel, it didn’t cut. The skin remained intact as she applied more pressure only flexing slightly, but not tearing. Her eyebrows pulled together - Elizabeth tried from a different angle cutting towards the wound, thinking that possibly the edge of the wound had hardened somehow. Even when beginning from this new angle the scalpel couldn’t cut into the flesh.

Jane saw the alien’s face relax slightly, he looked almost smug.

“Right.” Elizabeth said, stepping back and seeming to actually see the alien for the first time. It was like it had only just struck her how alien he actually was.

Taking a different tack Elizabeth pulled Jane round to her side of the table and gave her a pair of tongs telling her to spread to wound as wide as she could. Elizabeth then picked up a torch and the pliers - without first looking to get the alien’s assent she inserted the pliers deep into the gaping wound to grab a hold of the large sharp fragment buried under the surface. The alien groaned slightly but Elizabeth ignored him. Once she could see the pliers clamped around the fragment she began to slide it out of the wound, hopefully in the direction that it had come.

On it’s way out of the wound the fragment caught the edge of the wound and sliced through the flesh. Elizabeth gritted her teeth and waited for a spirt of blood - as would be standard in the human version of this operation, however none came, instead black tar began to seep from the wound slowly. Elizabeth, slowly coming to terms with what she was seeing got Jane to remove the tongs she’d been using to hold the wound open before the tar reached them. Together they pushed the flesh together and saw how the tar seeped over the wound, beginning to knit it together. Standing back they saw the flow of the tar stop once the wound was closed and Elizabeth found herself marvelling at the speed at which the ooze had hardened - it reminded her of lava flows building new land on volcanoes. Jane didn’t spend any time basking in the glory of the biological wonder, she was quickly back over the other side of the table watching the alien’s face.

His eyes were wide, Jane was pissed off with herself for not stopping Elizabeth from rushing into removing the fragment. She watched as another set of eyes she hadn’t even noticed previously on his face opened, they were smaller and placed just beneath his main eyes and away from the centre of his face. They eyes were different from his main eyes. Whereas his main eyes were a dark blue with lighter spots in the centre, these had a deep red tinge and more of a insect-like compound structure. Once again Jane was violently reminded how distinct they were from one another - she’d become almost used to his massive body and dark grey flesh, strangely shaped skull - but this discovery was almost too much.

She found herself stepping back, not wanting to deal with the reality of the situation.

Whilst Jane was in the middle of her breakdown, Elizabeth looked up from the wound she’d be watching heal itself. She saw Jane’s eyes locked on the alien’s face and found herself gasping on noticing the second pair of eyes. Ignoring Jane’s internal struggle she quickly moved to look more closely at the second pair of eyes.

“Amazing. Possibly, infra-red sensors?” She asked nobody in particular.

As soon as she’d spoken, the eyes snapped shut. The alien grunted and stared up at her, his main eyes seemed to be trying to communicate what his voice could not - deeply felt hatred, barely contained rage.

Over the other side of the table, Jane had regained herself, patting her gown down and straightening her mask. She came over to his side and laid her hands on his upper arm. He turned his head to look at her, his head tilting slightly, instantly looking less threatening.

“Ok, now that that drama’s out of the way, we can crack on with checking this fellow out properly.” Elizabeth said slapping his shoulder with too much force for Jane’s liking, the alien barely noticed.