317 Scale

    Once the scalpel plunged into the skin, Gu Jun felt a resistance against his force. He had reached the 'human-fish fascia superficialis'. The layer of tissue was similar to human fascia superficialis hence the naming convention. However, it had more blood vessels and nerve endings as well as a higher density of fat compared to humans.

    The keratinized skin formed scabs about the size of one's thumb. They could be peeled off scale by scale. Holding the scalpel, Gu Jun understood Xiao Huiwen's warning for a smooth control of applied pressure. His hands were like a calibrated machine as they cut accurately around the edge of the scale. The scale itself was left uninjured. It was not until Gu Jun used the tip of the scalpel to nudge underneath the scale and apply the tweezer on it that the piece was plucked off perfectly. At that moment, he turned to the system. The notification said, "Current autopsy completion rate: 0.01". That confirmed the creature lying on the table was indeed a Deep One.

    Based on his previous experience, dissecting one scale would not always equal to 0.01 percent obtained progress throughout the autopsy. The high number was because this was the first time Gu Jun spliced out this tissue.

    "Phew." Xiao Huiwen released the breath he was holding. He was once again impressed by Gu Jun's technique and mastery. Based on his working records, it had been some time since Gu Jun's last autopsy but even so, his handiwork was still flawless. The severed scale was perfectly preserved, the tissues under the scale were not injured at all. This meant that the fascia superficialis revealed under the scale was smooth and glistening. Seeing this, Cai Zixuan remarked softly, "I suppose this is what they would call 'skin like snow'."

    "Young man." Uncle Dan glanced at Cai Zixuan, "You have an even more unique taste than I do."

    On the other hand, Gu Jun studied the scale in his tweezer closely. Each of the scales possessed dark red capillaries but they were larger than normal human capillaries. They were visible to the naked eye. The capillaries dropped off the edge and bottom of the scale. They were probably used to connect the scales to their adjacent units. It had been named 'Scaly vein'. For some reason, the observation of the scales blurred Gu Jun's mind. He was given a vision of the Deep One diving into the depths of the sea. Deeper and deeper it went...

    If Gu Jun was the one who named this capillary, he would probably call this the scaly muscle. Even though the concept of 'muscle' came from Chinese medicine, it was not a unique term in autopsy science. 'Muscle' was an umbrella term, it included the meaning of muscle, tendon, sinew, joints and so on in modern medicine. But because of that, Gu Jun felt 'scaly muscle' would be able to explain the wide array of usage this tissue had compared to scaly veins. What was the use of scaly muscle? As a connective tissue between scales for contraction and movement, or it served a bigger purpose than that?

    "I have a feeling that this scaly muscle." Gu Jun said contemplatively, not realizing he had renamed the tissue. "Might be one of the keys to the Deep One's deep-diving ability."

    "What do you mean?" Xiao Huiwen asked. The team at headquarters looking in through video was made curious by this statement as well.

    "Solely based on this creature's biological structure, it cannot dive that deep underwater." Gu Jun stated, this was something being looked into already. "But as everyone knows, this kind of mutated creature's biological structure often can generate supernatural energy, for example, the corrosive patterns inside the zombie's bones." The same patterns did not appear on the Deep Ones' bone. This kind of deep sea creature had very low bone density as it aided in underwater survival.

    "The scaly veins can generate supernatural energy?" Xiao Huiwen stressed, for scaly muscle was not a technical term employed in autopsy science.

    "I believe they connect with each other to form a network." Gu Jun announced as he glanced at the carcass on the table. "These scaly muscles... I mean, veins form a network that cover the entirety of the creature's body. My hypothesis is that it is this network that helps the creature adjust to the underwater pressure." It was common knowledge to Gu Jun and members of the Spell Department that certain lines or patterns could produce energy. For example, the Ancient Seal, despite eluding the comprehension of modern science, it was proven to be effective. People looked at each other, the problem was there was no way to test out Gu Jun's hypothesis.

    "Perhaps we can try to map out the scaly network of this body." Gu Jun suggested as he passed the scale over to Cai Zixuan. "Zixuan, take pictures of every scale and number them. Focus on the situation of the scaly muscle, specifically on how each scale connects to each other. After we remove all the scales from its body, we will try to piece them back together, to see if we can reconstruct the scaly network. I know how hard that is but we shall try our best." The carcass was not completely uninjured. There were gunshot wounds around the chest, they ruined most of the scales around that area.

    "Copy that." Cai Zixuan nodded. This operation required more manpower so Uncle Dan hurried to make the arrangement. No one would claim that Gu Jun was wasting time, after all scientific research was all about trial and error. Before this, the other members had been viewing the scaly veins as individual units because the carcasses were not so well preserved. Furthermore, the dissected scales in previous autopsies were not as well-preserved as Gu Jun's handiwork. The fact that Gu Jun viewed the scaly muscle as part of a big picture could be a breakthrough. But Xiao Huiwen frowned and grumbled, "They are called scaly veins..."

    With that done, Gu Jun moved onto the next scale. He cut them according to the initial shape of the erythema on Xie Yiman's face. His incision was careful to limit the damage to the scaly muscle as much as possible. As the scales were parred off, the sense of familiarity intensified. Illusory visions swam in his mind.

    'It feels like...' A thought crossed Gu Jun's mind, 'I know this person...' The smell of Formalin stung his eyes, causing Gu Jun to frown. As he removed the next scale, the illusion coalesced and his head pounded. It was as if he was slowly removing a person's mask. The closer he came to completing the pattern, the clearer the human face that stared back at him.

    "Do you guys see..." Gu Jun asked the people around him, "A human face?"

    "No." Cai Zixuan shook his head. The rest did the same. However, Gu Jun saw clearly that a human face was hidden underneath the scales. It belonged to a middle-aged man with a strong jaw....

    'Is it my high spirituality?' He focused and tried to trace this partial face in his mind. He latched onto something in his memory.

    Then came the sound of the ocean.


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