While the Colonel contacted Hammond I asked Major Christian to introduce me to Doctor Leland. I figured it was better that I get to her before anyone else from the military did. She was alone in one of the scientists' quarters, standing in the middle of the room when I opened the door. She didn't look surprised to have a visitor.
For a moment we just stared at one another. That wasn't like me either, but there was something about the doctor I just couldn't put my finger on. Something strange. That wasn't to say she looked abnormal; she was several years older than I, her height and build were similar to mine, her hair was long and brown. I couldn't tell what color her eyes were because she was wearing sunglasses that reflected my own image back at me. Her hands were stuffed into the pockets of her black coat. I opened my mouth to speak, but she beat me to it. "Major Carter. Hello."
I stiffened slightly. "I'm sorry... do we know each other?"
Leland smiled, but as I couldn't see her eyes the expression didn't seem completely genuine. "We met a while back," she said, her voice firm and as solid as the glaciers she studied. "I'm not surprised you don't remember. It was some time ago."
The funny thing was, I did remember her... almost. There was certainly something familiar about her, even if her bearing was somewhat severe. "Well... I just wanted to tell you thank you. What you've found could prove to be very useful."
She raised her chin slightly. "It's a ship, isn't it?"
My answer was preplanned. "We're not sure what it is, Doctor, but it's obviously been there for some time."
"If the military is interested, and you want to keep this a secret, it must be a ship," said Leland calmly. "It sure isn't a frozen wooly mammoth. Please, Major, drop the pretense."
I pursed my lips. "I mean it when I say we don't know what it is."
The doctor took an unexpected half-step towards me. The movement was so sudden, so jerky that for an instant I thought she was going to fall. Then, in the next instant, I was seized by the fear that she was preparing to attack me. My eyes fixed on her pocketed hands. Was it possible that she was holding something? A knife? A gun?
But it seemed that she in fact had only stumbled. Both hands came out of the coat pockets as she moved quickly to a nearby chair. "I'm sorry," she muttered, sitting down. "I must be a little warm." She looked up at me. "Tell your commanding officers... I'm offering my services in studying whatever you've found. I know the area. I could help you discover when and how it got where it is."
I waited a moment and then nodded slowly. "I'll tell them," I said.