Warped DNA

Summary:
February 25, 2015: Fitz and Simmons analyse the data collected from Rum Row and come up with theory (backdated scene)

The Triskelian


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FitzSimmons are close to getting somewhere with the Portal Buster; by now, the dynamic duo have dissected the strange, psybertech energy device, and using their combined knowledge, they have harnessed it and channeled it into the Portal Buster's mechanics.

Then, Rum Row happened.

Rushing into the lab, Fitz throws off his winter coat and begins to sterilize himself. "Oi! Simmons!" he calls out to his lab partner. "Get the samples loaded quickly!"

Time is of the essence!


Simmons is already there, she's been analysing some of the samples from Rum Row, as well as overseeing the autopsies conducted by SHIELD medical. She's even had chance to brief Agents May and Coulson on the events of the previous day.

Looking up from her microscope, her safety goggles securely in place, she gives Fitz a small smile. "Ahead of you, Fitz." Gesturing to the slides set out on her work table. Checking her tablet, she nods, "And the autopsy results have just arrived as well."


"Thank Heavens I wasn't here for it," quips Leo while throwing on his lab coat. Of anyone, Simmons knows just how much he hates dead things.

Entering his pristine lab space, Fitz sets a briefcase down on a designated 'dirty surface' and opens it, revealing his collected seekers. The control panel is raised, and he promptly begins downloading the collected data into the server. "I've never seen anything like that," he admits off hand to Jemma. "Bloody… horrible." He looks up from his work, asking, "What have you found?"


"Mmmmm, yes I do" Simmons responds absently as she scans the results just received.

"As the seekers showed, they were human but they DNA building blocks have been warped and changed significantly. " She frowns as she reads, glancing up only when Fitz opens the briefcase. "Initial Tox screen reveals nothing out of the ordinary, they'd been drinking but nothing particularly unusual"

On a display, Jemma pulls up an image, a Dali-esque rectangle and points "This was found embedded in the hip of the thin one." Fitzs briefcase gets another look, "What did you find onsite?"


"Soooo, what you're saying is that whatever changed them, they didn't use any kind of drug or chemical," Fitz surmises. "Because that would have left behind trace evidence." He crosses over so that he can look over her shoulder at the results. "No X-Gene, no pairings with known alien DNA, no metahuman mutations…?"

That symbol is given a look. "You should pass that through the SHIELD database. See if there are any matches."

Once queried, he walks back over to his control panel and begins typing away. "There was an energy surge. Barely there by the time the seekers were deployed, but… whatever… caused it… must have been enormous. This one doesn't seem to be trans-dimensional, but temporal." He snatches up a pencil and a pad of paper, but rather than write, he scratches his head behind the ear with the pencil. "The arithmetic will be difficult…"


"No need to put it through the database." Jemma smiles faintly as looks back at the symbol "When I said embedded, I meant it. We've already tested it. It was their wallet and the heat was so extreme it melted the leather." Melted, not disintegrated or burned up "Unfortunately the contents are destroyed, so no class there ."

Fitz gets an amused look as he scratches his ear with the pencil but that's short-lived as Simmons processes the information "A temporal shift? Interesting. And no, there were no mutations, X Genes or otherwise found. These poor souls were totally human…" Twisting her lips, Simmons leans a go against one of the counters, "Do you think they were caught in the energy blast or did they come through it?" With a frown, Simmons goes back to reading the results again.


A wallet. Burned into their flesh. Fitz looks as if he might become ill.

Closing his eyes, he waggles the pencil in the air, batting at some invisible thing as if doing so might ward off the horrible idea of having one's wallet singed into one's skin. "Okay, that, that, that's, that's… that's disgusting, Simmons. Disgusting."

Opening his eyes, Fitz levels a look her way from across the lab. "Just how hot are we talking?" he asks. "Depending on what level of heat it would take to… to do that… maybe I can determine how hot the energy wave must have been."

And, if he can do that, perhaps, just perhaps, he could run the numbers through theoretical calculations on time travel. There are plenty of them out there. It will take time.

Simmons' last question gets a distracted answer, for Fitz has now gone back to the drawing board with that pencil, scratching in the equations he can recall from memory. "I suppose it depends on whether they were sent here intentionally, or captured by accident." He chews on his lip for a moment. "I wonder how much forensic evidence we can really take from what we have. See if we can piece together a motive. I dunno, it sounds pretty difficult."


Simmons is distracted by the results she is reviewing and misses Fitzs' obvious discomfit "Don't you think it's rather fascinating?" Finally she stops scrolling through the results and taps her chin thoughtfully "When you said temporal, I wondered if our guests in medical were from here and now." A strange thing for a scientist to wonder but she's seen a lot of strange since joining SHIELD.

"It was difficult to separate clothing fibres from skin on the bodies, they'd been pretty well melded together" difficult, nearly impossible "In the end, we pulled some of the red skin and compared it against other strips… to try and determine skin versus fabric. What we believe to be fabric was a rayon and cotton blend, which isn't used in clothing manufacture today but they might have been wearing vintage clothing. So that's not conclusive." Pausing and taking a deep breath, Simmons looks back to her tablet and frowns "We attempted to date the fibres but the results were just wild. Each test we ran gave us different dates, some of the varying by centuries."

Looking back to Fitz, she shakes her head slightly "I'd like to believe that the clothing is vintage and affected by the temporal energy you found."


Fascinating? At that, Fitz merely stares at Simmons. If he didn't have so much data to go through, he'd probably end up arguing with her about that for the next five minutes.

Instead, he positively ignores that remark and goes back to his calculations. That is, until, she mentions the cotton and rayon blend.

"Wait a moment." He looks up, leaving his station and bringing the tablet and pencil around with him. "Come on, Simmons. You know quantum theory. It's all over the place, but think back to the academy. By and large, modern physicists have determined that time travel is, at least in theory, possible. However, most of the same physicists have also determined that it's highly more probable that people could travel forward in time than it is they travel backwards in time. Traveling backwards is time is like… like…"

He turns aside, walks away, and snatches up a spare beaker, which he promptly throws on the floor. It shatters, of course, which does bring a small grin to Fitz's face. "Traveling backwards in time would be as improbable as each of these shards rising into the air and reassembling themselves into that very same beaker. It's not impossible, just, really unlikely. Traveling forward through time, well, we do that every day. Lower yourself to the ground and you're traveling faster than you are up high, it's just such a small measure that it's practically impossible to measure outside of the arithmetic, and once you come back to your starting point, time has stopped bending."

He points over to her findings with the pencil, squinting a bit. "That… disgusting thing you found could be proof that these people were actually sent forward through time. Come on, Simmons, it's not bloody impossible. In fact, it's more plausible than this 'magic' stuff we've been playing with."


"I said I'd like to believe, Fitz" Jemma frowns at the broken beaker and looks pointedly towards the dustpan and broom.

As Fitz points to her data, she bites her lip and pulls up the next set of results "Travelling fast… " She considers the data in front of her "Two bodies seemed to superheated, one of them the blood had become an accelerant." Simmons thinks in that for a minute "The third seemed to have an increased heart rate and the sensory cortex was getting a real work out."


With a scoff, Fitz heads for the dustpan and broom. Like he'd leave his lab a mess, especially after he made the mess!

Fitz is halfway through cleaning up the mess, when Simmons' words prompts him to put both away and walk back over. "That makes sense," he says, snapping his fingers. "I mean, we don't know exactly what created this energy spike, but can you imagine the extremes it would take? To manipulate the space-time continuum like that? We're talking massive amounts of energy. Even contained and controlled, it would… it could be very hot, or have strange side effects." His words slow down, and he looks up at Jemma with wide eyes and a big frown.

"Maybe… even… warping the human body without changing its DNA…?"


Simmons smiles approvingly as Fitz cleans up the mess, leaning a hip against a counter and loosely folding her arms as she listens.

"That's what I'm beginning to believe" bobbing her head in agreement "There's no obvious tampering with their DNA and if blood can turn into accelerant…. Why couldn't the base DNA structure be warped like I'm seeing ?"

Standing, Simmons begins pacing around the lab as she talks "Let's assume that someone in the past is experimenting. Are they targeting this time or was this an error and how many times have they tried? There should be other records of similar occurrences in our past… We can check the databases for that." Turning, Simmons walks back the other way "Its also likely to happen again…. " Looking to Fitz, her expression is serious "Can we detect it, if it does ?"


Fitz joins Simmons in her pacing, scribbling equations as a method of agreeing, rather than nodding. "Right; if they've missed, we can track. If not, we must assume it's either happenstance, which is virtually moot. If they are targeting something, then there's a chance they're getting close."

When she asks if they can detect it, Fitz just can't help but grin. "Yeah… there's a way."


"I'll let Agents May and Coulson know what we're thinking and get some database searches done. " The more data they can pull together, the better. Raising an eyebrow at the grin on Fitzs face, Simmons responds dryly" Well, do tell."


At that, Fitz crosses the way to put a hand on Jemma's shoulder. "I can't. Someone with much higher security clearance than either of us insisted that I keep it secret. Even from you. Even from May." He looks into Simmons' eyes earnestly. "Just trust me, Jemma. There's a way."


Of course Simmons trusts her friend and covers his hand with hers. "I trust you, Fitz. And I'll trust that you'll involve me if this happens again."

Moving back to her work bench, Simmons notes "I'll get the brief written up on this with our findings, I expect the will be a few interested people."


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