the mis-information age (the visitor part 10) (enemy! part 5) (taniwha part 0)

day 9 of my cousin larry's unannounced and unplanned for visit . the longer it goes on, the more my life in dunedin ceases to be what it had been before larry's popping in.

man it's making me yearn for the good "old" days, and by old i mean ancient, of 65 million years ago larry is always going on about...

sure i'd have been part of a competitive and aggressive pack of my own kind. sure i'd have stood no chance in such a setting due to my size and lack of development. sure i'd never known the joys of friendship, civilization, puters, fountains, or the dictionary, but at least i wouldn't have to watch the deconstruction of everything i'd built in the civilized world...

today started off innocent enough... well at least as innocent as it can when you have a fully grown bull tyrannosaurus rex crashing at your place (even if it is a botanic garden you happen to live in)...

all was innocent, except for one out of place truck parked outside salmond hall this morning...

little did i suspect that the germ-man had prepared he's greatest strike yet... how was i too know... i hadn't figured out he was behind larry's terrible tumble the other day at bench hill...

yet in his cold calculating germ-mind, the germ-man had thought of a way for his tripping larry with a banana peel to trigger something far more sinister. one that was going to make me and larry regret some of our actions earlier in the week... and make my future in new zealand a whole lot more complicated...
at around 6:30 i got a call from my landlord ben the gardener on my "cell"phone.
"traumador you better find a TV now!" ben urged me.

larry didn't feel like coming to see what ben's concern was about, being still a little sore and stiff from his tumble the other day. though we tyrannosaurs are built tough, taking a full-on fall down a hill weighing 6 tonnes is still going to muck you up.

arriving at the garden cafe a few minutes later i found everyone, staff and costumers, with their heads all glued to the TV in the corner...

it was the middle of the evening news, but instantly my total attention was caught by the next segment. "now a special investigative report examining a growing threat to public safety that has developed in dunedin the last week."
it switched to some reporting standing in front of salmond hall. for a moment i was overwhelmed with thinking (which if you have a brain as small as mine is a bit of a big deal). public safety risk, and here he was in front of a place that many of my friends (namely owain and craig) lived at!?! were they in danger? were they going to be on TV?!? why hadn't they told me!?!?!

little did it occur to despite all this thinking that i should have considered the story would be about ME!

snapping me back to the moment having missed the reporters introduction to himself and the piece. "tonight my investigation looks at the increasing presence and menace of dinosaurs here in dunedin. over the past week news one has been bringing you coverage of the attack by a tyrannosaurus rex on a car unprovoked here in otago, but in this exclusive report we bring to light a number of other terrifying and shocking developments in this prehistoric invasion of the south island."

my heart skipped a beat...

"this was the scene just three days ago, when a jurassic killer," man do reporters ever do any research on things before they report them? cretaceous. cretaceous killer! "attempted to attack a student here at salmond college student residence."

oh no i thought. how could i have let larry talk me into his plan of getting the germ-man back? okay on the one hand it was easy for larry to convince me. the germ-man had thrown me off a stair case just due to getting his shirt wet, but i should have thought things through.

cause what came across on TV made us look real bad... i never even thought for a second about how busy salmond hall is. there are students wandering in and out of that place all day and night! of course some of the other students would have seen our prank on the germ-man. luck would have it that one of them had a camera, and worse yet with a video function.

larry was right a full on tyrannosaur roar would scare humans. even after the fact on TV. cause everyone one around me in the cafe jumped when larry let his patented bellow out at the germ-man.

next thing i knew there on screen was the germ-man himself. "the survivor of the attack one andreas von schnitzie, a german exchange student told news one his story."
"so there i was, yeah right, minding the business and suddenly i noticed ripples in mine water cup glass," the germ-man started. "so i was like 'oh my goodness there are ripples in mine water cup glass. i should go look around for the cause... with my eyes'. "
"next things i know this giant lizard appeared at the transparent wall..."

so far i couldn't say the germ-man had done anything bad. that is exactly what had happened.

than it came. he totally manipulated events.
"i was amazed," he started. "i'd never seen a lizard like that ever before. so i decided to get closer to the transparent wall and have a better look. again, with my eyes."

wait a second i thought watching the TV. larry ducked below the window so the germ-man couldn't
him until he popped up and bellowed... than it dawned on me. the germ-man just claimed he'd never seen a "lizard" like larry before. which was a blatant lie. a lie that got worse!

"what a beautiful and magnificent creature i thought to mineself. all i wanted was to peacefully look at this lizard. that i point out had wandered up to mine home, not the other way around!" the germ-man buttered up his side of the story. "it waited there for me to come in closer. once i was in striking distance it tried to attack me!"

i could
hear people in the cafe whispering angrily to each other... they were actually buying the germ-man's bogus story!

the germ-man on screen, as though to mock me, started to fake cry. "all i wanted to do was look at such a magnificent animal. what does it do, but try to end mine life."

"despite he's close brush in with the primal killer, mr. von schnitzie doesn't hold a grudge," the reporter interjected for a moment.

back to the germ-man looking more composed after his faked upsetness "no i do not believe we should judge the beast too harshly. for after all it is far stupider than we human beings."

reporter asked of the germ-man. "so would you say that you still feel safe after this incident?"

the germ-man looked directly at the camera, and it seemed through the TV past the rest of the audience in the cafe at me...

"though i don't think the beast knew what it was doing, i can not say i feel that means it is safe. afterall this thing came up to mine home here in the middle of the city. i was just lucky it was too dumb to smash through the transparent wall," my stomach knotted as i knew that the reporter believed every word the germ-man was saying. "i would caution everyone elses in dunedin to be on the lookout for this beast, and others like it. whether they be big or untiny. they are naturally blood thirsty and seem to want to eat the flesh of peoples."
"it is from this brave university student we have a chilling picture of these prehistoric beasts," the reporter went on. "which had until last week been unheard of here in new zealand. though thus far everyone who has close encounters with them has lived to tell the tale how much longer will this be the case?"
"just last week a mere block from salmond college another incident with a tyrannosaur unfolded that paints a bleak picture for dunedin's human residents. In this news one exclusive video, we have more evidence of the destructive and quite probably deadly nature of these colossal animals."

suddenly on the screen was footage of larry's fall at bench hill. the report described the event "in the middle of the after noon a stumbling, possibly drunk, tyrannosaurus rex fell in a section of the dunedin botanic garden causing $5,000 damage. more to the point ladies and gentlemen it is not hard to imagine the effect this falling giant would have had if people had been in the area at the time."
the reporter started to editorialize about if parks were unsafe where were people safe? what about our children? etc...
i stopped paying attention. my brain fixated on where did they get that footage of the fall? no one else had been around... i know because i looked around to make sure no one had seen it!
than it all came together "this incident was witnessed by many," the reporter claimed. i glared up at the TV in rage. "including mr. von schnitzie." and inside my brain the answer started to click...
"yes the lizards are dangerous anywhere they go," entered an edited clip of the germ-man who had clearly been ranting about how dangerous t-rexs were. "just the other day a group of me and mine friends were walking through the gardens when we beheld the sight of one of the lizards falling down a hill. it was almost as though its feets were made of banana peels that slip and slide everywhere. because it just feel down out of nowhere. me and mine friends were lucky to have not been below it or we'd have been made into panned cakes."
of course! it all made sense now! larry couldn't have just tripped out of no where... he complained that it felt like for a moment he'd stepped on something gooey and soft leading into the fall, but all he had on his foot afterwards was a faint trace of paste (which after 6 tonnes of dinosaur on it would be all that is left of a banana peel!). more to the point i could explain how the banana got there in the first place, and that larry's fall was filmed so perfectly!
the germ-man!!!

it was than suddenly i realized just how much damage the germ-man had inflicted on me with this retaliatory action of his... by not only causing larry to fall, but than sick the news on us he'd completely smeared tyrannosaurus public image way beyond the stereotype!

"and what has dunedin done about this threat? just an hour after the unprovoked attack on a car the dunedin police force attempted to interdict the prehistoric threat, and stop its rampage before any of these recent events.

however despite their best efforts the police force found that it did not have the legal mandate or authority to intervene or stop the monster."

"who would possibly have put into place laws that protect such creatures from terrorizing new zealand citizens?" the reporter challenged the audience.

"none other than our own department of conservation. under the newly established extracontinental organism act of earlier this year all tyrannosaurs have become protected species of new zealand. meaning that no matter what the animals do it is illegal for anyone to interfere with its existence, unless they have a special permit from the department of conservation .

who currently has such a permit? certainly not local law enforcement officers, who were forced to back down despite their desire to protect the people of otago.

thus far the only person that news one has been able to find with such a permit is one conservation officer aeryn hamilton. who had this to say when asked about the current tyrannosaur rampages through dunedin:"

"the department refuses to comment on these events. all i am at liberty to discuss at moment is that the department in conjunction with the ministry is re-examining our stance and policies on such extracontinental organisms in new zealand. until a decision is reached all such animals whether settled in new zealand or visiting under legal permits are still protected species and as of such unsanctionable at this time."

"in an attempt to assure the public the government is aware of the issue, prime minister helen clarke granted me a special interview on the governments dinosaur stance earlier today."

the show cut to the interview.

"mrs. prime minister thank you for taking the time to speak to us."

"my pleasure."

"now the government had officially agreed to let these animals into new zealand earlier this year had it not?"

"well in fairness this was the decision of the department of conservation upon the discovery of a single smuggled in individual animal. the government itself was not part of the decision process of granting it official protected status, but rather provisions have been in place giving the department the freedom to make these sorts of calls when the need arises."

"so what you're saying in essence is that a law had been pass previous that allowed the department the authority to decide without consulting the government."


"well obviously the department's descion has proven a bit questionable. what steps is the government going to take to prevent further endangerments to the public, and to stop this sort of thing from happening in the future?"

"i'm personally working closely with the minister and the department to rectify the situtation. options thus far include the addition of new conservation directives to the extracontinential organism act allowing easier intervention. in the long term i'm told by the department and the ministry a comphrensive review of the act is under way that is reviewing whether it serves any productive role in perserving new zealand's overall ecological heritage."

"are you than saying that the government is against dinosaurs in new zealand?"

"well that is something of a silly statement as there was clearly dinosaurs here at some point in the past. the government is currently in the process of confering with the department as to what impact both the tyrannosaurs and any other dinosaurs on the south island are having on our environment, and in some cases society."

other dinosaurs? what did she mean?

"the new zealand public can rest assured though, that by the end of the week a solution will be in place to help both the department of conservation and local law enforcement deal with any more incidents that threaten either property or lives from these animals."

just like that due to the actions of my visiting cousin (who is a legal organism of canada... NOT new zealand unlike me) and my enemy the germ-man, somehow i had just become public enemy number one!

as if to seal my new fate a picture of me appeared on screen.

"65 million years ago the group of animals known as the dinosaurs went extinct never to be seen again. yet in recent years some of them have made a mysterious return throughout the world. up until now only a few scattered bones of these animals were to be found the the two islands of new zealand. in the last few years an invasion has occurred of foreign dinosaurs coming to our shores seeking to establish a presence."

"leaving us with the question if none of them survived here should we be allowing them to enter our otherwise prehistoric free past?"

"some have pointed out that a reintroduced dinosaur presence would be quite fitting for new zealand's eco-system."

agent hamilton appeared on screen again. "new zealand is the home of some of the few survivoring land species from the mezesoic period. the tuatra and weta are species only minorly changed by the process of evolution in the last 65 million years. in some ways this would make our allowing dinosaurs to immigrate here a very logical step of keeping these few remaining remenants of that time together."

"regardless of whether it is ecologically or scienctifically logical to allow animals such as tyrannosaurus rex into new zealand, there has at the present been a human cost to this experinment by the department of conservation's."


the news expose wrapped up, going back to the news desk back at the station.

There the had a quick addition to add to the dinosaur special exposé. It was a way off tangent bit me puzzle...

"finally tonight a part of this developing crisis that has many concerned that the dinosaur menace is spreading far faster than any of us imagined."

"exclusive to news one this amatuer footage was taken off port chalmers two days ago. though no offical scientific confirmation has yet been made about the creature captured in the video, it clearly is not a species of animal native to the otago peninsula. leaving many to wonder are the dinosaurs in dunedin capable of moving not just by land, but now by the sea too?

this has been new one's coverage of the unfolding tyrannosaur crisis. thank you for watching ladies and gentlemen. good night."

okay i'd had just about enough for one day! i'm not sure what this last clip was, but it clearly wasn't a dinosaur! dinosaurs live on the land. period. we sometimes would go swimming for movements sake or to cool off, but not a single one of us made our livlihood off the water as it were. that was the realm of marine reptiles, fish, and invertabrates! the news needed to do it's homework!

me and larry hadn't gone anywhere near the harbour that alone port chalmers (which is a little ways up the peninsula, and more than an hours walk from town!). what were was their mystery creature?

causing me to come out of my at this point overworked mind was the realization that EVERYONE in the cafe had by now noticed my precense, and were glaring at me...

"hey," i ventured.

"get out of here you monster!" some lady shouted.

as i opened my mouth to respond a man yelled. "look out it's going to attack!" and throw a bottle of ketchup at me.

i barely managed to duck in time. i realized i should make an escape now before the crowd linched me!on my very fast legs (still having the body build of a baby t-rex i'm very lightly built for speed) i bolted from the cafe as fast as i could go!

what had just happened? was the only thing my brain the size of a peanut could think. how had my life in dunedin gone so wrong? why were the humans instantly out to kill us?

the news hadn't bothered to ask for our sides of the story? the reporter had clearly just wanted to cover the real life monster story he seemed to be presented?

despite my having gone out of my way to try and live life low impact in human society is this what i was going to get for it?

had larry been right the whole time? were humans going to hate me just because of what i was?

i was going to ask larry later today what he thought i should do about this situation? what the true tyrannosaur way to deal with humans?

to be continued...

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