Sam and the Corpse
A/N: See chapter 1 for disclaimer, spoilers, notes on AU, and why Xander has his eye back.
Sam Carter had seen plenty of weirdness in her time, so she wasn’t really surprised that someone was delivering a corpse in a coffin to the mountain. Not that she really believed she was getting a mere corpse. Or an ordinary coffin. Especially after seeing the sheer glee in Harris’s face at the prospect.
She cautiously asked, “Who is this Evelyn Fyffe-Davis, and why does she have a dead body for us?”
Xander grinned, “This is the proof you need to see, so you’ll believe me. First, we need to haul the coffin into the mountain and put it in a med lab. Then I need you and Doctor Lam to go over it with a fine-toothed comb until you’re sure it’s just a dead body in an ordinary coffin, with no secret alien science preserving it or mucking it up. And then
I can show you my proof. Oh yeah, and Evie is one of our NSAWC people out of Cleveland. She flew our proof out here once I asked the call center for Plan H.”
“So this is Plan H?” she checked.
“Yep.” He hunched over and rubbed his hands together like he was auditioning for the part of a mad scientist.
Sam watched Xander and decided Jack would love this kid. They’d probably be driving the rest of the SGC insane within hours, but they’d definitely hit it off.
Okay. Not that Sam didn’t trust Harris to a certain
extent, but she was going to make sure that the SGC was protected from whatever Harris was up to. She still remembered the nightmare situation they had when they brought Hathor’s sarcophagus into the SGC. She wasn’t going to let that happen again. There was a well-equipped NORAD triage room only about a hundred fifty feet inside the main blast door into the mountain, up on level 1, just this side of the security post. The front section of level 1 would be easy to lock off. She’d just have to talk General Landry into ordering NORAD to do it for them. She nodded, “Great. I’ll talk with the general about getting this set up, and you can go with Daniel and Teal’c to help your friend with your corpse. I’ll even tell security where to take the coffin.”
Once Harris was out of the room, it took Sam less than a minute to convince Landry. He didn’t want to initiate a foothold situation either, and the last thing anyone around the SGC needed was another sarcophagus with a surprise inside. After that, Sam called Carolyn and explained what she needed to be able to verify. Then she called Jennifer and explained what sensors and monitors she needed to bring up to level one. Sam didn’t know what kind of trick Harris might pull, but there was no way he was going to be prepared to defeat sensors based on Asgardian or Atlantean technology.
By the time Sam got up to the level 1 triage room and flipped on the lights, Daniel was wandering in too. He said, “Apparently, the Honorable Miss Evelyn Charlotte Eugenie Fyffe-Davis doesn’t like Xander calling her ‘Evie’, but she hasn’t been able to get him to quit it in the eight months she’s been in Cleveland working for NSAWC. Has anyone asked Jack if he has a twenty-five year old black-haired son running around loose?”
Sam knew he was kidding, but she still said, “Twenty-six years ago, Jack was still married to Sarah, and apparently they were very happy, even if Jack was disappearing for special ops work on a regular basis. I don’t see any extra children popping up from that part of Jack’s past.”
Not to mention that having Harris as a potential future stepson would be far too uncomfortable for her. Assuming Jack popped the question some day in the future.
Carolyn Lam came in next, wheeling a cart of portable med lab gear, to augment the sophisticated gear that was already in the triage room. A few seconds behind her came Harris and Teal’c bearing a plain wooden coffin and flanked by two NORAD MPs and Sergeant Michaelsen from SGC security.
Harris had Teal’c set the coffin on the floor over by a bare wall. Then he knelt down and pulled off duct tape that had been covering all the edges around the lid. He flipped open the lid to reveal one very dead girl. He said, “This is-“
Major Hailey walked in pushing a two-shelf cart of gear, and saw the body in the coffin. She choked. “Oh God.”
Harris looked up at Hailey in surprise.
Hailey managed to make herself talk. “Th-that’s Harmony Elaine Kendall, one of the students who died on your graduation day. Listed cause of death: b-barbecue fork to the neck and exsanguination. But she died… That was seven years ago!”
Sam had a sudden impulse to call in a lot more MPs with a lot more weaponry. She was in her usual BDUs, since she had changed clothes as soon as they got Xander Harris back to the SGC. She had an automatic under her left arm in a standard holster, and she had a zat in a special holster at the small of her back. But the sheer terror coming off Major Hailey was making her worry. Hailey had been through plenty of training, and years of off-world missions. She had a purple heart with clusters, and an Air Medal. The mere fact that Hailey was freaking about this made Sam think that Hailey had seen some unverified intel in the web searches and was just now making a mental connection. That didn’t bode well.
Harris just said, “You got all that in one night of web searches? I’m impressed. Sunnydale’s hard to research.”
Hailey managed to say, “I had help.”
Harris said, “All the help in the world doesn’t mean you’d remember every little detail. Heck, even I didn’t know what Harmony’s middle name was, and I knew her from about first grade on. You’re really good.”
But Sam was worried. Hailey had been under attack from lethal little green energy balls, and besieged by Jaffa forces, and faced down by one of Ba’al’s clones. Sam had never seen Hailey so obviously spooked. She was going to have to find a moment to find out what was wrong.
In the meantime, she had a task to perform. If this was really a corpse of a girl who had died seven years ago, there had to be evidence of the mechanisms used to preserve the body. There was no sign of any degradation or decay, which was really… odd. Suspicious, even.
While she checked for temporal effects or stasis methods, she let Carolyn take blood and cell samples. Then Carolyn had two corpsmen run a CAT scan on the corpse while she analyzed her samples. Sam took the time to make sure that the plain wood coffin was really just as it looked. She checked, but there was nothing high-tech about the plain pine coffin. The most sophisticated thing about the coffin was the brass hinges. When the CAT scan was done, the corpsmen put the corpse back in the coffin at Harris’ suggestion.
It didn’t take long before Carolyn said to Sam, “Well, she’s dead. No heartbeat, no respiration, no biochemical activity, no real brainwaves – meaning there’s nothing on the EEG that isn’t an artifact from the electrical devices in the room. Body temperature’s the same temp as the coffin, which is below room temperature because of the travel on that jet, but there’s also no sign of cellular breakdown that we’d see if the corpse had ever been frozen. I don’t know how they kept her from decaying for seven years. And she’s not a clone. I checked on that, since you mentioned the Asgard, and there are none of the DNA markers from a cloning process. I’m checking the blood now to see what sort of preservatives they put in her.”
But Sam knew something else. There was no Gou’a’uld symbiote in the body, and not even any naquadah. She and Teal’c would have sensed it, well before the CAT scan. And there was no evidence of temporal shifts or interdimensional travel, nor was there any sign of Asgardian or Ancient methods for stasis preservation. She had the equipment to pick up those.
Carolyn looked up from her analysis system and said, “Okay, this is impossible. There’s no preservative in the blood. And it’s not even human blood! I’m doing a quick DNA scan, but…”
Xander smirked from his chair. “Try pig first.”
“Pig blood? In a human’s veins? That would be lethal!” Doctor Lam insisted.
“Yup.” Xander didn’t add anything else.
After another ten minutes of work, Carolyn finally said, “You got me. It’s mostly pig’s blood, some bovine too, with some other types of blood we don’t have in our archives. But mammalian, not extraterrestrial.”
Sam looked over at Hailey, who was just sitting on a stool. But Hailey was abnormally pale. Frankly, Sam thought she looked like she might pass out. What was going on with Hailey?
Xander smirked, “Okay. Everybody agree Harmony’s stone cold dead, and not in stasis or something wacky like that?”
Sam reluctantly said, “Yes.”
Xander rubbed his hands together. “Egggggg-cellent.” It was even worse than Jack’s imitation of Mister Burns. “Now for the next exciting clue. Look at her in a mirror.”
Sam was sure that she heard a tiny whimper coming out of Hailey.
Carolyn picked up one of her medical mirrors, looked into it, and gasped. Sam quickly pulled a dental mirror off one of the med trays and looked at the corpse’s reflection.
Which wasn’t there.
She could see the coffin in the mirror. She could see the interior of the coffin. The body had no reflection. She snapped, “This is impossible!” She tried to figure it out. Perhaps it was some sort of psychic interference causing her not to be able to see the body in her mirror – in any mirror. Maybe some manner of invisibility device that only worked on mirrors. No, that wasn’t technically feasible because of…
She started to ask Hailey, but Jennifer was holding a mirror of her own. Jennifer had backed up against a wall. And Jennifer was nearly hyperventilating.