Daniel had spent his time inspecting the body, which was now covered by an environmental hazard suit. He had just taken his off and put it over the... whatever it was. He didn't think it was human, as he had first assumed. Too small. Too many appendages. Perhaps it was alien?
No, that's just silly. It had too many other similarities to terrestrial life - two eyes, two ears, a mouth and a nose, to name the obvious.
And it breathed. Slowly, but it breathed.
"O-Over here!" he squeakingly shouted when he heard the lift doors open, dropping his cellphone.
He had described what he saw to the man at the medical station, but the doctor had sounded as confused as he himself was.
Get it together, man. You're a scientist. Be rational about this.
He could try to convince himself he was rational as much as he'd like, but he knew he was in panic.
"Th-the victim is breathing. W-we need to ge-get it out of the tunnel to somewhere warm.." he stammered.
First now, he noticed how cold he really was without the suit - it felt like the skin on his hands was crystallizing! As he tried to stand up, his fall was cushioned by the arrival of the medical team. Before his eyes darkened, he saw the other two humans converge on the creature.
Tarry was utterly perplexed by what was going on in his lab. It had some of the most advanced medical equipment on earth, yet none were able to get a clean scan of the animal sleeping in his bay. They had only the apparent lack of open wounds to imply that it didn't have splintered machinery inside it.
With some effort, he had managed to collect both a skin and a blood sample, despite the fact that it seemed to be excreting a layer of non-newtonian gas, of all things. He sampled that as well.
They were able to wash the cold body, hook up an IV and keep it in a temperate cover soaked in antibiotics, but their limited resources were obviously better spent helping the man they knew how to treat than trying to figure out how this thing worked. He had suffered frost burns across his entire body, and he was coughing up blood, telling a story of frosted lungs. Even hooking up a respirator would be dangerous.
In comparison, the small bundled animal appeared to be doing fine. It was even breathing on its own, despite evidently lying in the helium-filled tunnel longer than its human counterpart, and having most of its skin seared with second-degree burns. Only second degree, after lying at the center of a fireball that had melted metallic alloys...
Outside, he could hear the tell-tale sound of an ambulance arriving.
Seeing the man safely off to the hospital, he wondered to himself if keeping the animal here was truly what was best for it. The plaque on the wall recited the hippocratic oath he had taken when he started studying medicine, and he had to suppress a tinge of guilt. Their lab might be cutting-edge, but it didn't have the capacity for large operations nor did anyone have a clue what the thing they had in custody was. He turned to his assistant, and decided to swallow his pride.
"Christina, could you try finding a... highly educated vet to take a look at this thing?"
They all knew as well as he that the heart of the ALICE detector, a hundred meters underground, wasn't exactly a natural habitat for animals, so the odds that even a vet would know anything about this were extremely slim. Yet they might be more qualified to acquire the knowledge needed to treat it and less likely to panic at the sight of an unknown creature.
Tarry assured himself that if he had sent it off to the hospital, someone would have gotten scared and caused a riot, risking the poor thing's life. He decided that they could at least try to find out more about what they had here, and then fill in the vet on their findings later on.
"We still have a patient, people. I suggest we get to work on analyzing the samples I took earlier, and I'll try to classify animal traits for when the vet gets here. If anybody has a good idea for treatment, don't hesitate to present it."
Everyone silently turned to their tasks. They were no doubt as clueless as he was.
Tarry activated his recorder and put it on the desk next to the patient.
"The animal, bar its blistered skin, seems to be in one piece. There are no open wounds, but it bears mentioning that we were unable to take an X-ray image of its bone structure, so it might have internal injuries. Breath is surprisingly steady, at least, so it has obviously not inhaled any of the liquid helium we were told had leaked.
It is unconscious, but all signs point to it being out of any immediate danger. We'll know more once it wakes up and tries to move.
As for body features, it has a rather large head for its size, with a slightly snout-like nose. The eyes are closed behind singed eyelids, and set relatively straight-forward, yet not quite as much as for a primate."
Ears pointing almost straight up on the sides caused Tarry to consider the possibility that it was a canine. Inspecting the mouth falsified that hypothesis, though, as it lacked the canine teeth that signified the species.
Going further down the body, the first thing to note was that it had six primary appendages. A giant insect, then? Closer examination revealed that four of the appendages had hardened ends, like hooves, while the two on the middle were very soft, and hung loosely along the middle. They were sort of reminiscent of cooked chicken wings. The thought made Tarry's stomach growl.
There was also a hairless tail at the end of the it, the inspection of which also revealed that the animal was in fact a mammal, and a female one at that.
"The entire creature is roughly 1.03 meters long from snout to tail-end." he reported.
"It weighs incredibly little for its size – only 4.36 kilograms. That's roughly the mass of a small dog, spread out over a much larger animal."
After describing a few more features, he decided to let the animal rest while he analyzed the data. He smeared some more moisturizing cream on the burnt skin while checking if there were any obvious fractures in its bone structure, and pulled up the wet covers again.
One of the nurses soon visited his office to inform him of the progress of the hematological tests. So far they had only confirmed that the blood contained hemoglobin, the oxygen bearer found red blood cells, which implied that it was a vertebrae. That was consistent with his earlier observation that this was a mammal of some sort.
Hooves placed the specimen in the equidae genome family, so he asked for a specific test comparing it to the genetic records of a horse. Not standard information in this lab, but easily accessible.
He also decided to request a comparison to large bird DNA, primate DNA, and dog DNA. The equine hypothesis currently had the most credibility, but a good scientist investigates multiple venues of possibility.
With that in mind, the creature did look similar to the ancient greek mythological creature, the pegasus...
Fauna Sutler hadn't gotten a word from the damage surveyor yet, but she had gotten her hands on some data from the machine that was registered before it was shut down. The muon count from the outer detectors were off the charts for a fraction of a second before the overload. It was probably just an indication of there being a power surge, considering that the blasted thing didn't even work anymore.
She picked up the phone to call the ALICE access point for an update, just to be told that there had been an accident and the damage surveyor had been sent to the medical bay along with someone else who was found down in the tunnel. They were waiting for the ventilation system to drain the leaked liquid helium before venturing in with a second team of people.
The helium is leaking? Damn.
Helium was starting to become expensive nowadays. Perhaps they should turn off the ventilation system until they could modify it to be a helium collector? No, that'd be even more expensive, and take longer. They had to know what they had to work with before they could work with it.
Oh well. No sense crying over spilled helium.
She decided that she would go visit the damaged damage surveyor in the medical bay, and hear his preliminary report in person. She had the time, nothing interesting was happening at the CERN Control Center anyway.