RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

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Hilwo
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by Hilwo »

Nice, still really enjoying it :) Good to see they made it.
Malcolm wrote:Two directions to ah, escape if we need to.
This cracked me up :D

If it's about a year later, I wonder if you're going to add anything Trespasser related? You could have her helicopter leave as Malcolm and Levine arrive. But that's not book continuity, I know. Also, finding a massacre littered with dead raptors and emptied out guns might put a dent in their Lost World research plans.
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by Draconisaurus »

Thanks!

Hmmmm I doubt Anne will come into the story. That would probably extend the plot more than I'm going for. It's a nice idea tho. Drac crunches some ideas in his head. I am not totally sure what human activity will come about in the story. As mentioned, I am letting the ideas flow as I write them down.
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by Draconisaurus »

OBSERVATION

It was high noon. The two scientists had been observing specimens for some hours now, sitting atop the Explorer. The sun had already grown hot, and they had erected the rain roof for shade. The various species in the valley had taken turns drinking from the stream; most had opted to rest after, although two stegosaurs could be seen eating in the valley's far corner.
"Well," Malcolm said, breaking the silence, "I don't know about you, but these dinosaurs have made me thirsty. Maybe also a little hungry."
"Suit yourself," Levine replied. "I've had enough power bars to last me a bit." After gazing another moment, he raised his water canteen and drank. He then offered it to Malcolm, who accepted.
"You know," he said after handing the canteen back, "I've been mentally comparing the valley today with how it was before, on our previous visit. Much of it is the same: the apatosaur-parasaurolophus symbiosis, the parasaurolophus signalling, the erratic browsing intervals... But where are the predators? I would think by now we'd have seen at least one---"
Malcolm broke off as a hideous roar filled the air. It was distant, and hard to tell the direction it had come from. Some herbivores began to run in panic. Both men scanned the valley through binoculars for signs of the roar's maker, and didn't have to wait long. A forty-foot tyrannosaur barreled out of the trees, not thirty yards from the old High Hide site.
"At last!" Levine shouted.
Malcolm was still recovering. He trembled a little. Was it fear he was feeling? He took a deep breath, lowered the binoculars. He could still see the tyrannosaur, probably the adult male, in the distance. A safe distance, he thought to himself. He relaxed a little. He had had two encounters with this species before, both close ones... This time the animal was far away. Far, far away. His mouth was a bit dry. Levine had left the water canteen sitting in front of them on the rooftop. Malcolm grabbed it and drank what was left. He set the empty container aside, then raised the binoculars.
The t-rex had made a B-line for the apatosaurs, but now it stood still, roaring in defiance. The three sauropods now had their hindquarters facing the attacker, swinging massive tails back and forth, necks bent around backwards to keep watchful eyes. Stegosaurs, parasaurs, and trikes had now fled the valley or were busy doing so.
Malcolm's concentration was broken by a tap on his shoulder. Malcolm looked over at Levine.
"Up." Levine pointed. "Across the river."
Malcolm scanned upwards, seeing grass and trees and... There. A rex head, poking out of the foliage, watching intently. A juvenile; interesting. Quickly, he picked up his notebook and made notes.
"It could be the individual Sarah worked on," Levine said. "He looks old enough."
"Could be," Malcolm said. "His leg is hidden by the trees."
One of the apatosaurs backed closer to the adult rex, swinging its tail in a wide arc. The rex circled the group; the juvenile was now directly across the river from him. One of the apatosaurs walked into the river, still eyeing the adult rex. Then, seizing the opportunity, the juvenile broke cover and lunged forward.
Two of the three apatosaurs heard the new attacker and turned their necks to look forward, but it was too late; they had no time to turn their tails toward the younger predator. The young rex reached the third apatosaur and bit into its neck, eliciting a howl of pain. The rex stepped back, then forward, biting into the same spot, twisting his own neck back and forth.
By now one of the other two apatosaurs had turned around, making to strike the juvenile rex with its tail. The rex jumped back; the very tip of the apatosaur's tail hit the rex's flank. It hurt like a whip---the rex howled in pain and backed away.
"I suppose its not the rexes' turn this time," Malcolm said.
Levine remained silent.
Then, it fell. The apatosaur bitten by the rex was bleeding profusely, and had now fallen onto the riverbed. A pain-filled cry echoed through the valley.
Then abruptly, a second adult tyrannosaur, and a second juvenile, emerged from the foliage on the near side of the river. They joined with the adult male and charged the two other apatosaurs. The apatosaurs howled in fury, but ran away northward, away from the killsite.
"Well then," Malcolm remarked. "Guess they won't be going hungry today."
"Indeed." Levine watched as the tyrannosaur family began to feed, blood and viscera spilling onto the dirt and grass and into the river. Then he set the binoculars aside and began to make notes. He then eyed what he had just written, and said, "The velociraptors may be in luck, tonight, too. That carcass is sitting in the riverbed, a prime opportunity for---"
"Hey," Malcolm interjected. "If you recall, I gave you that idea."
Levine sighed. "Yes, I remember. It's more than an idea, though. Careful consideration of the details leads only to that conclusion. The river current, the carcasses found in the velociraptor nest..." Trailing off, Levine made more notes. Then he looked up again. "You know, we really ought to visit that nest. It was sadly absent from the InGen camera feeds."
Malcolm gulped. Of course Levine was right; not visiting the raptor nest would be very negligent. Some of the most relevant data about extinction might come from there, from the patterns of what seemed to him like an unsustainable culture of intra-species violence and---nevermind. The opportunity to visit would easily come within their two-week stay on the island. He returned his attention to the rex killsite, and to his notebook.

The rexes spent about thirty minutes with the apatosaur carcass, taking their time to pick it clean in choice areas. Other dinosaurs stood clear, with the exception of the procompsognathuses which skittered about at the outskirts of the site, occasionally darting in for a mouthful before hurrying away from snapping tyrannosaur jaws. Then, finally satisfied, the rex family wandered away from the site, back into the trees. The compies hurried in.
"That was excellent," Levine said, tapping on a roof-mounted video camera. Malcolm hadn't realized it was on; he spoke up.
"You planning to share the film with anyone?"
"Well. I certainly can't see myself not sharing it. The question in my mind is when; the minute we make any public exposure of these dinosaurs' existence, we risk not being able to return for more study, to say nothing of what the Costa Rican government would do to the island and its inhabitants."
"Fair points." Malcolm looked down at his notebook. The same was true, of course, of his own ability to share his notes with general academia. He wondered what he himself would wait for, before sharing his discoveries. He shook his head, then returned to the subject of extinction.
"Well," Malcolm said, "as far as extinction behaviors go, we may be seeing an example here, where a thin sauropod population is brought down by one for a day's meal."
"I suppose," Levine replied. "It's still not clear how many sauropods live here. The InGen cameras---"
"Richard. There's no use denying the effects the DX prion has had on this island's species. Sorna's own brand of island dwarfism; adults never reaching maturity, causing a differential death rate..."
Levine grunted. "I'm fully aware of that detail, thank you."
"As I was saying, this kill might serve as an example of extinction-causing behavior at the end-Cretaceous. It seems possible that some tyrannosaurs made kills in excess of their dietary needs, putting both species on the line."
"That sounds possible. We'll want to keep records going, of course. We don't know how many days it will be before the rex family kills again."
"Indeed." Malcolm let his gaze turn to the old High Hide site, the broken scaffolding half-covered in foliage. "Greater mobility, as a standard condition, really is the better option. I'm glad we're not in a trailer or a hide."
"Certainly," Levine replied.

More time passed. The herbivores returned to their browsing, with the exception of the two stegosaurs who had evidently had enough excitement for one day and left for regions of the island with less going on. Then the apatosaurs had returned, coming upon the carcass slowly, making vocalizations Malcolm imagined might be their own form of mourning. This lasted a while; two additional apatosaurs had entered the valley, reacting to the remains in a similar way.
As the afternoon passed, the scene slowly returned to normal. One raptor was seen briefly, sneaking up to the fresh carcass, nibbling, then leaving. Levine wondered if it had some way to report its finding to the others, or if it, in its individualistic pursuits, would mean to keep the secret to itself. It was unclear how long it would take the dead body of the apatosaur to drift all the way to the raptor nest, although it could be seen that the carcass was already doing so. Levine made a mental note to try and observe the nest at the time of the carcass's arrival. In fact---
"Malcolm," Levine said, lowering his binoculars.
Malcolm finished the note he was writing, then looked up. "Yes?"
"It occurs to me that our impending visit to the velociraptors' nesting site is now highly time-sensitive. Any day now, that carcass will wash ashore downstream from where it currently sits. Viewing the nest now or after the fact will yield entirely different observations. We must plan accordingly."
"I suppose that makes sense. We'll definitely want observations of the nest under normal conditions." Malcolm paused, a look of debate on his face. Malcolm looked up at the sky. "It doesn't seem like rain is on the way, but one storm might be all it takes to wash that carcass to the nest site. Our Explorer is electric, barely any engine sound; raptors are partly nocturnal; I say we go tonight."
Levine affected a look of pleased astonishment. "I thought you'd never agree. I concur; going tonight is sure to reveal some of the most important details."
"Sounds good." They both returned to observation and note-taking.

More time passed. The parasaurs left as evening started; they walked, as Levine had seen non their previous visit, single-file into the jungle, possibly under the same pretense of latrine-usage. Levine suggested they retrieve fresh samples.
"Dino poop collection, I see... You know, we don't have the trailer's chemistry unit this time."
"Of course not. But did you think I wouldn't include a minor equipment equivalent? It's not much, but we can perform some simple analyses, and return home the with the fecal specimen upon leaving."
Malcolm grunted. "Just don't put it next to the sandwiches."
"Hah, hah..."
"Well, let's get going."

The two scientists packed their top-side equipment into the back of the car; this time Levine drove.
"Just remember," Malcolm chided, "this isn't your Ferrari. It's not even a combustion engine. No need for speed. This is a small island; everything here is fairly close by.
"Yes, yes," Levine said with a dismissive wave.
They both buckled up; Levine maneuvered the Explorer to face back in the direction they had arrived from, then drove ever so slightly faster than Malcolm had been driving.
They had come halfway down the Ridge Road when, coming around a corner in the switchback, Levine abruptly hit the breaks.
"Well then."
In front of them lay a small herd of dinosaurs... Pachycephalosaurs.
They stared.
"Isn't this convenient," Malcolm said, lying back in the seat and setting his hands behind his head.
Levine noticed the defeated posture. He smiled, rolling his eyes, then said, "That's why we have this." Levine switched on the computer which sat in the center of the dashboard. It took a little time booting; finally an options-screen appeared, the letters TFS ("Thorne Field Systems") adorning the top. Levine navigated menus using the swivel-mounted keyboard.
"...Ah-hah."
Levine stroked two more keys; then, the deafening sound of a carnivore's roar thundered out of speakers mounted on the outside of the vehicle. The pachycephalosaurs looked up and around, ceasing their leisure activities. The sound continued to play; the herd grew visibly nervous. Finally, one of them let out a distressed baying, others copying them, and all at once the herd began to run down-hill.
"Yes!" Levine shouted.
Malcolm was shaking his head. "I'll be damned. I forgot Thorne mentioning he'd added this last month. He got the idea from me reminding him about Sarah's predicament, surrounded by pachies around the old Explorer."
Levine looked over. "It was your idea, then? Very nice."
"Well, actually, I ran the problem point past Sarah, and she came up with the idea of speakers."
"I see. That might explain the African predator options in the menu. I chose 'lion'; I suppose some sounds are effective across the vast stretches of time, across paleontological periods even."
"Indeed."
The dust before them settled slowly, revealing a cleared road heading down-hill.
"Shall we?"
"Yes," Levine said, and they headed down the rest of the switchback.

Some time later, they arrived at the parasaur latrine. Distant honking sounds were heard as they arrived, along with a somewhat offensive scent. Levine spent the next few minutes avoiding procompsognathus bites while collecting urine and feces.
"Finished," Levine announced abruptly.
Malcolm had been wandering around idly. Now his face lit up.
"Excellent. Let's get going. I was thinking, I know a---"
"Not yet, not yet," Levine cut him off. "I haven't analyzed the specimens."
"Right."
Levine went to sit in the back of the Explorer, setting up equipment. Malcolm sat in the front passenger seat; feeling bored, he checked the battery, then turned on the dashboard computer. Swiveling the keyboard towards him, he navigated menus until he came to the display of the InGen field cameras. He began flipping through them.

Twenty minutes later, both men were finished with their doings, and famished. As the sun began to sink below the volcanic rim of the island, and after driving a short distance away from the wilderness latrine site, they broke out their first dinner: rehydrated mashed potatoes and vanilla yogurt.
After being half finished, Levine broke the silence.
"I must say, the problem of observing the velociraptor nest has been stealing my attention ever since we made our plan to visit."
"Really?" Malcolm replied after a bite of potato. "It hasn't bothered me a bit."
"What bothers me," Levine said severely, "is the way to reach it. Our previous arrival consisted of a life-threatening plunge through boulders and thick foliage, downhill. The first point on our minds must be how to reach the nest safely."
"Well that's simple. Just follow the riverbank back the way you left last time."
Levine shook his head. "Too exposed. The raptors would see us coming..." He pictured the nest in his mind. "No, this time we must find the connecting section of river from the south. Somewhere near that helicopter landing field."
"I guess that makes sense."
The two finished dinner in silence.
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