On the slab (attn: Doc)
It was a normal day as far as being a medical examiner went. Only a couple of bodies on the slab that were waiting for their day in the sun- or in their case a day under the oppressive fluorescent lighting of an autopsy table. The first had been a relatively uneventful. The first body had been a clear case of ethylene glycol poisoning, again, and Nora had been by to grab Luis for lunch and took her own sick joy in laughing and adding it to her tally of ethylene glycol poisonings before presumably musing about finding an alternative to antifreeze that was less lethal because Jesus fuck people stop killing your spouse with fucking ethylene glycol. 

They had come back from lunch at a reasonable, on-time hour, and Nora went off to do whatever the fuck it is that people do at the end of their internship that didn't necessarily involve having to deal with Sepulveda. Which, really, left just the two men and the body that the police had brought in today. 

They didn't say that it was a particularly nasty body per-se, just that it had been found in a trash compactor. Because, of course, the men in this office had seen worse and the bag seemed to be containing something that was human shaped versus something that was shaped like a Halloween scarecrow stuffed into a trash sack. When unzipped and transferred and prepped, it would appear that the body was largely unrecognizable. It was that of an unremarkable Vietnamese woman in her early forties. Short black hair. Tattoo on her left ankle of a butterfly, and with her spine broken in enough places that she flopped like a twizzler when people tried to move her. 

There was a radio nearby, and nothing seemed to be amiss. That's how these things start- something doesn't seem to be amiss.
Nora not being in the room means they might have a slightly more professional audio record of the examination rather than something that will aggravate the hell out of prosecutor in the event it ends up being used in an inquest months from now. Now that the end of her internship is nigh, it seems the amount of tests Andrés asks her to run correlates with the amount of actual work he himself has to do. It's been slow lately.

She always has the option of returning to the front desk and keeping the receptionist company, but as much as he misses having a gossip buddy, nobody ever learned anything that will be helpful during their fellowship at the front desk of a county morgue.

ANYWAY: the trash compactor lady is scheduled for this afternoon, so Luis eats a light lunch and makes sure to go for a walk afterwards to get the digestive process moving along. Then he gets the body more or less arranged in the anatomical position and takes the photographs he needs to take and gets the hell out of the way.

The external examination was relatively short, since her insides were mostly mixed in with the outsides, and despite the fact that her spine is broken, that isn't what killed her. The trauma sustained by the woman's pelvis killed her before the compactor had done too much else. Her skull is mostly intact.

Her lungs and heart were otherwise healthy. Her liver appeared to be healthy before it got smooshed. So did her spleen. Luis is responsible for examining the contents of her stomach. The task of measuring her intestines, which are all over the damn place, falls to Andrés. Who does so without hesitation. At least the small intestine is still connected to the stomach and there's only minor rectal prolapse. It's just that they aren't nicely folded in the abdominal cavity anymore. Rude.
Look. I have school. And RP. And all my other time is taken up by sheer, unreasoning panic. I don't have time for Reddit.
-- ixphaelaeon
When one handled intestines as much as the doctor did, it was reasonable to say that you could get a little meh about the whole experience. They generally all felt the same, except when they didn't feel the same, and the weighing and measuring process is pretty standard and he doesn't do the awkward man's impulse of dragging one end to the edge of the room and the other as far as he could and remarking about how cool it was that they weren't pulled taut and they might still reach.

Andrés is a damned professional, thank you very much.

The world continues on until he hears what might be a familiar voice; if you ever watched the news in Denver, of course you knew her voice. She was a tall, rather lovely Vietnamese woman with manicured nails and a voice that screamed nine o'clock news.

"Vanessa Truong here standing outside of what appears to be a standard autopsy. Judy Nguyen, aged forty-three, has always been known for her love and appreciation of the medical profession, having worked as an LPN for the last seven years.

"But what caused Nguyen to be found in such disarray will unveil a terrible story of horror, cannibalism, and much more. After the break, we will discuss the findings of one such medical examiner and his findings may shock you."

There is silence, and the woman's intestines sound sloppy, feel as they always would, though there did appear to be a small lump about two yards in- something lodged in the tubing.

"Christ," Vanessa grumbled, "This isn't Buzzfeed... who writes this stuff?"

A quick look around revealed the obvious: there was a statuesque Vietnamese woman holding a microphone next to Luis and Luis seemed completely oblivious to her presence.
Andrés does not watch the news. Any time anything he needs to react to happens, his phone rings. Everything else he could give a shit less about.

That said: he isn't listening to the news too closely, until he hears the name of the decedent. Judy Nguyen. He looks up from what he is doing, his eyes drifting into his periphery as other details come to him: her age, her profession, the state of her body.

What the fuck? he mouths without adding breath to the inquiry.

Luis doesn't seem to be paying attention to the radio. That's because he's paying attention to what he's doing. Fucking Luis...

At that point, his gloved hand encounters something that shouldn't be there. He frowns, gives it a proper palpating, and tells the audio recorder, "I've encountered a foreign body in the, ah, jejunum… going to see if I can visualize--"

What. The. Fuck.

His reflex is to ask who let her in here. Since he wasn't born yesterday, he draws two quick conclusions: either she has authorization to be in here and he somehow didn't hear her come in, or she isn't actually here.

"Oh que mierda?"

"What?" Luis asks, a note of alarm in his voice because the prosecution doesn't typically like it when the ME swears in autopsy audio and also he doesn't like it because it means something is really wrong.

"Nothing," Andrés says. "Just… hand me my scalpel, would you?"
Look. I have school. And RP. And all my other time is taken up by sheer, unreasoning panic. I don't have time for Reddit.
-- ixphaelaeon
When the scalpel comes, and it does come with the same sort of practiced ease that always comes when two people are accustomed to working together. There is tension and anticipation, though it seems that this was coming from the imaginary Vietnamese woman standing by Luis.
“Fifteen until we come back from commercial, Andrés,” she tells him. There is no camera crew. There are no lights save for the one shining overhead and through his careful excision (which, unsurprisingly, takes approximately fifteen seconds) he finds himself holding what appears to be a large glass marble.
It feels like glass, at least, through his gloves. The surface is smooth and some sort of cyan liquid swirls around inside when the ball is rolled. The jostling made the thin lining of her intestine light up where the ball had been resting. It is cold to the touch-
[ And in that second Andrés is not there. He is standing in a construction zone while their victim, Judy Nyugen, is running. She seems to haul pretty quickly in her scrubs but those Keds aren’t really built for anything except walking around a building, not the unfinished parts of… Union Station? It is dark outside. Not pitch black but certainly the time and type of dark that makes most people uncomfortable. There is something in her hand.
She swallows it. ]
“The footage we’ve just seen was provided by eyewitness Judy Nyugen. Ms. Nyugen- can you describe what happened that night and what brought you to the station that night?” The news caster holds the microphone towards the dead woman.
She pulls the microphone back, “Dr. Sepúlveda, what is your impression of what has just occurred?”
Let's get something out of the way right quick: Andy Sepúlveda knows, the way he knows he has 206 bones in his body, the way he knows he is left-handed, the way he knows he developed myopia as a child due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, that he cannot conduct Scientific experiments without using an Instrument. He has known this since he was 20 years old, when one Dr. Iona Lusk whisked him away to a laboratory that exceeded his science fiction-devouring imagination and shed light onto the last two years of his life.

He has never had a 'vision' or whatever the hell his daughter claims afflicts her. Used to claim. He has no idea if they still afflict her or not. He has never had any desire to make sense of them. So far as he was concerned, Naomi's 'visions' were nothing more than coincidental nightmares.

Whatever hijacks his consciousness for a few seconds hits him so hard that it punctures a well of concern in Luis, who was taking dutiful notes as his boss dictated what was happening. Luis looks over, unaware of Vanessa the Hot Newscaster or the microphone or Dr. Sepúlveda's distress. He becomes more aware of the last of these because it's rare that the man stops talking.

The audio recorder is still going. It has to keep going. Any gaps in recording, the prosecution could consider evidence tampering.

"Eh, boss?" he asks.

When the sensory anomaly releases him, Sepúlveda gasps and drops the marble or whatever the fuck it is.

Luis adds, "You don't look so good."

"Callate," Sepúlveda says, swatting away his concern like it's coming from a hovering drone and scooping the orb from where it had fallen into the decedent's open torso. "I've found a spherical object about, ah... where's the ruler?"

Luis hands it to him. He verbalizes the diameter, then hands it off to Luis to weigh.

"I intend to examine it more closely later." A beat, then he raises his voice: "Don't worry, Judge, I won't dismantle the object."

"How did it get in there?" Luis asks.

"She swallowed it."

"Jo..." Luis frowns. "Why?"

"I haven't gotten that far yet, güey, relax."
Look. I have school. And RP. And all my other time is taken up by sheer, unreasoning panic. I don't have time for Reddit.
-- ixphaelaeon

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