“You may begin,” Elara said.
“It used to be human,” the coroner said.
Hugh examined the internal organs. Heart, liver, lungs. All the usual suspects. Some of the organs were deformed, but still appeared functional.
“How to explain this,” the coroner began, clearly trying to come up with a dumbed down version. “Umm. Well, to simplify…”
“The orthograde spine,” Hugh told him. “None of the other bipedal vertebrates show the same adaptation. Penguins stand erect but their biomechanics are completely different. The other upright vertebrates, ostriches, kangaroos, and so on, do not exhibit orthograde spine during locomotion. The S curve of the spine with lumbar lordosis is unique to humans. Other primates show C curve.”
He moved his hand to indicate hip. “The examination of the femur will likely indicate large femur head size and valgus angle typical to human.” He moved his hand further to the foot. “Evidence of longitudinal arches. Even though there is partial hallux opposability, the structure of the foot indicates adaptation to bipedal locomotion. There is no reason for a predatory simian animal to exhibit these characteristics.”
“He’s a healer, Malcolm,” Elara said quietly.
“Sorry,” Malcolm said.
“Hallux whatcmacall it?” Bale asked.
“Opposable big toe,” Malcolm translated. “Like in an ape.”
“They’re good climbers,” Cortes said.
Stoyan leaned forward examining the feet. “And good runners. Calluses.”
“Whatever was done to it, was done in childhood,” Malcolm said. “There is no evidence of undeath or atrophy typical to vampires. But the abnormalities in the organs are severe enough that a normal adult human wouldn’t survive the transformation. Unless we’re dealing with some sort of regenerative virus like Lyc-V.”
“Is there any evidence of past regeneration?” Elara asked. “Bands of new tissue on the bones? New teeth?”
“Not in the three we opened up so far. I’ll let you know if we find it.”
“Do you have protocol for handling vampires?” Hugh asked.
Malcolm looked offended. “Yes.”
“Keep to that protocol for them until we know they’re not going to regenerate and rise.”
“We’re not amateurs,” Malcolm said.
“If I thought you were, I’d put my people here to stand guard,” Hugh said.