Ever wonder how the lab rats get their results so quickly? Finally, the answers are revealed! As usual, CSI is not my sandbox -- if it were, Hodges and Wendy would have intimate knowledge of each other's topography already. And a certain Time Lord and his Essex Girl companion belong heart and soul to the BBC.

How They Do It
by Alice Day

"I need those results back ASAP, Wendy," Catherine Willows said, handing over the capped swab. "If we can match Musberger's DNA to the epithelials at the crime scene, Brass can bring him in tonight before the pervert finds a petting zoo and sodomizes another innocent cow."

The DNA technician looked at the swab and sighed. "I'll do my best, Catherine."

"Thanks, Wendy. We really need it tonight, okay?"

As the shift supervisor left, Wendy stared at the mountain of evidence bags in her IN box and groaned. It was a truism of the crime lab that every CSI thought their evidence took precedence over everyone else's. As a result, there was no way on earth she'd be able to get everything done and process Catherine's swab in one evening.

Across the hallway, she spotted David Hodges storming out of the Trace lab. To her surprise, he continued the storm into her own lab, waving a slide in the air.

"Look, I know I'm a genius and my limits are few, but I do have some," he snarled. "And Captain Brass is working my last nerve with the constant calls -- 'what's the gummy substance we found on the vic, Hodges, why don't you have it broken down yet, Hodges, I need to know what it is, Hodges.' I already have four other CSIs nagging me for trace results -- if the man didn't carry a gun and scare the crap out of me, I swear I'd rip him a new one!"

"I've got my own problems, okay?" Wendy snapped. "Catherine and Vega want to make a bust on the bestiality case, so they're asking for a DNA breakdown before end of shift, plus I've got an IN box that looks like the aftermath of a frat party."

They were interrupted by the panicked arrival of Henry. "I'm screwed, you guys," he moaned, "Nick wants these tox results yesterday -- I told him it takes 24 hours to run a heavy metals assay, and he just said, 'Well, you did it in 4 hours last time -- what's the problem?' And the doc just sent up a batch of blood from that multiple out in Henderson -- how the hell can I run a drug screen on ten different samples in one shift?"

"Dammit," Hodges swore. "This is what happens when you're competent -- people keep expecting you to work miracles."

The lab rats exchanged a long, silent look.

"I suppose..." Henry said slowly. "Well, we could ask for some help."

"From who?" Wendy snapped.

The other lab rats stared at her, and the DNA tech twitched. "Oh. I thought we were only supposed to ask him in emergencies," she said in a small voice.

"This is an emergency," Hodges said.

"If we don't ask him for help, we're all dead," Henry added.

"Fine, then we're agreed," Hodges said. "Get all your evidence and meet back here in five minutes."

Three hundred and sixty seconds later, he slapped a lid on the cardboard storage box full of unprocessed evidence and shoved it into Wendy's hands. "Okay, you take them down," the Trace technician said. "He likes you."

"Oh, no -- I took them last time--"

"And he agreed to run the tests," Hodges pointed out. "Look, you remember what Greg said -- as long as you don't go inside with him, you'll be fine."

Yeah, and last time he told me things about Grissom and Sara that, frankly, I did not need to know. Grimacing, she hefted the box and left the lab area, turning down a shadowed hallway lined with doors. She stopped at the last door; under normal circumstances, it was the entrance to a 3' x 4' janitor's closet. Under these circumstances, it was something more. Dammit, I know Greg said it's just a different kind of science, but it still feels wrong.

Swallowing hard, she hammered three measured thuds on the door, then another three, and stood back.

An odd grinding noise filled the air, and a strip of light appeared under the door. It swung open, revealing a tall, gangly man in a striped suit and brown overcoat, his dark hair groomed into a quiff.

"Ah, hello!" he said cheerfully, his brown eyes blazing. "Wendy, isn't it?"

"Yes," she said.

"Need some more tests run, do we?"

"Uh, yeah," Wendy muttered, handing over the box of evidence.

"Righto." He took the box and leaned back into the impossible depths of a room that looked nothing like the janitor's closet. "Donna, set up the lab -- we've got extractions to run," he shouted.

"Again?" came a nasal Essex accent.

"You know the agreement." He grinned at Wendy. "So, how's Greg?"

"Oh, you know," Wendy said, scuffing her foot. "Up and coming CSI hotshot."

"Not surprising, really," the man said, nodding. "Once I convinced him to hand over the hair gel, he turned out to be one of my more useful companions."

"I heard that!" said the nasal Essex accent."

The man rolled his eyes. "Anyway, be back in a jiff."

He closed the door. The strip of light faded with the grinding noise, then came back. Once again, the door popped open and the strange man stood there with the evidence box and a sheaf of complete, accurate and utterly impossible test results.

"Right. With regards to your priority cases, the DNA does belong to Musberger -- poor sod, he had a bad experience on a dairy farm, changed his whole outlook on women," he said. "The Tox report is negative for heavy metals, but the drug screen is positive for PCP and St. John's Wort, of all things. As for Trace, it's fresh ambergris -- tell Hodges to point Brass towards a connection with illegal Japanese whaling."

Wendy accepted the materials and the printouts. "Thank you," she said, flushing.

"Think nothing of it -- I'm happy to help. Oh, and just a word to the wise," he tapped the side of his nose, "don't take Maryland to work on Thursday. Friday either. Oh, and ask Hodges out sometime in the near future. If Earth is going to have any chance of surviving the Qanbo plague in 2042, it's going to need a DNA researcher named Gilbert Hodges, if you catch my drift."

I don't wanna know I don't wanna know I don't wanna know, she screamed inside her head. Out loud, she muttered, "Okaythankyoubye," then turned and ran back down the hall.

The stranger leaned out and watched her flee. "Tell Greg I said hello," he called.