Maddie noticed it while making sure the collar (designed to prevent the ghost from using its formidable sonic attack) was fitted snuggly against the ghost’s throat. Had she not been focused on something so close to the odd phenomenon, neither she nor Jack would have discovered it. At least, not until they had begun the dissection phase of their examination. As it was, she’d barely even registered it, and the reason it had bothered her had eluded her for several minutes, resulting in a ludicrously delayed double take when it hit her.
Phantom had a pulse.
This led to a frenzied investigation into how else Phantom mimicked human body function. The answer? Almost every way, except for temperature and speed. Its pulse, while damnably present, was slow, and it breathed only rarely, even considering that it was effectively drugged and unconscious.
Before tonight, Maddie didn’t believe that ghosts could be unconscious. Her documentation for the chemical they had injected Phantom with said instead that it would induce a ‘low energy state’ in ghosts.
She tore her eyes away from her readings, from the results of scans and tests, and looked at Phantom, lying pinned to the examination table, jumpsuit stripped away, chest slowly rising and falling.
There was a black hole of unidentifiable emotion swirling in her gut. She would call it disgust, but…
She stood up, pushing away her office chair as she did so. Oddly enough, the small sound it made as it impacted the desk brought her a measure of satisfaction. She covered the distance to Phantom’s side in three quick strides.
Even up close, he was incredibly detailed, incredibly human. Even the skin under his suit. What was the point of this deception?
… Was it a deception at all?
She stood next to the examination table and watched his pulse flicker in his throat.