i needed to find some help if i was going to track down slate's long ago activities. the best place in drumheller to find such help would of course be the royal tyrrell museum.
i hadn't planned on returning to "base camp" till i'd made a find (of either a slate quarry or a cool fossil one), but desperate times call for desperate... uh, well whatever desperate times call for (their mommys?)
as i was popping in on "official" business, and not as a visitor, so i zipped around to the back door of the museum (known to most as the staff entrance). however, today there was a lot of of bodies in the way. a whole bunch of vivus-dinosaurs... which isn't actually that uncommon a sight around the museum.however the fact they were all ornithischians was a little odd, at least these days. ever since the pack of the primordial feather had muscled their way into being the museum's star attractions, they'd gone to great lengths to kick out all but the coelurosaurian dinosaurs. yet right outside the building were these guys...
two hadrosaurs, a lambeosaurus and parasaurolophus, and a ceratopsian, styracosaur, to be precise. i thought i recognized the lambeosaur.
it was lance, a very grumpy and paranoid duckbill who worked for professor paradigm. though i'd met lance in australia (a very long way from here) it made sense that he was here in canada now, as i'd run into his boss just the other day!
not that lance was hard to remember. even from this far away, you couldn't help but notice the scars that covered his whole body. marks of at least a dozen theropod attacks on him. due to these attacks (i wonder why he'd had so many?) he bore a pretty big grudge against us meat eaters...
i called over hello to the lot of them without thinking, however i should have thought about it before doing it... stupid tiny brain!
they clearly weren't expecting anyone to interupt whatever it was they were doing, and they all reacted fairly startled.
next thing i knew lance spun around trumpeting out a hadrosaur style alarm call (that big crest on his head isn't just to make him another pretty face. it is a giant hollow instrument made of bone... very much like the horn instruments humans make out of metal!).
the styracosaur leaped into a very aggressive defensive posture, and the parasaurolophus which had been relaxing up till then leapt up, and looked ready to flee (though here in the back carpark it didn't really have anywhere to run to!)...
lance almost missed seeing me, i was so much smaller than him (as a full grown lambeosaurus he was closer in length and weight to a small sauropod than what we think of as a duckbill... as lambeosaurs were among the biggest of hadrosaurs). spotting me, lance clearly remembered that he didn't like me, or perhaps it was just hating tyrannosaurids like he does, either way suddenly he charged at me in an aggressive manner.
which was terrifying! i might as well have been in the way of traffic! at a mere 15 kilos i'd be a pancake if his multi ton frame ran over me!
fortunately for me he stopped just in front of me. the styracosaur eased in behind him, never taking his eye (or horn ends) off me, in what seemed to me like a backing up posture to lance...
i felt like i was their enemy, and they wanted to destroy me, even though i'd done nothing to them at all (though i guess in a food chain sense i am their enemy... but that was 65 million years ago, and things have changed a lot since then... right?)
that was it. i was done being bullied by these plant eaters. "you listen here!" i angrily pointed at lance.
lance responded completely opposite to how i'd have liked, but not unexpectedly, lunging his head towards me. enough to cause me to yelp and jump backwards... which makes sense as his WHOLE head was as long as me (i'm not even going into the rest of him connected behind that!).
"NO. you listen to me!" he growled (well not actually growled, as hadrosaurs don't really growl). "i warned you once, i saw through this charade of yours. the fact your here just proves what i already know. i'll have my eye on you, and if you so much as blink the wrong way, i have no problem sending a message back to the rest of the pack through you."
sternberg styracosaur made a sound of approval... his horn never once even remotely pointing away from me...
i won't lie, i was scared. lance along with his huge body size was scary, that along having a fully grown bull ceratopsian honing his deadly nose at me like a gun.
at the same time i was getting angry. i'm not proud of it. i like to try to behave like a civilized individual (in other words like a human), but some of my tyrannosaurian instincts were being tiggered by this encounter. i was getting uncontrollably anger at their claiming i was as bad as my cousin larry, and basically calling me a lier.
this anger prompted me to something rather brave for me. "if i was in the pack, what possible trouble could i do here at the tyrrell?" i challenged him. "they already took over this place, and kicked the rest of you out. if i'm this infiltrator you keep going on about, why would i be here where it is only pack members i could see. that would clearly break my cover!"
"don't feign ignorance," lance glared at me with full hatred. "why do you think i am here? the professor knows about this new scheme of the pack's ... you're being here makes perfect sense. what with your close personal past to the subject and all..." lance paused.
what was he going on about? obviously the pack was up to something, but as far as i could tell they were always up to something. had someone seen my bump in with that albertosaur the other day and mistaken that for a "pack meeting" or something? what this "close personal past to the subject" he mentioned? sadly his dismissing me, didn't give me any further clues...
"be warned primordial, and pass it on to your kin. surrender that which is not yours, or else central may not overlook the dominance we've allowed you at this museum... trust me when i say you'll regret coming into conflict with us!" lance stated in a stone cold tone.
i could see no use in trying to convincing these guys i had nothing to do with the pack, they had their minds set on the subject... thankfully having said that, lance and sternberg both stormed off. the parasaurolophus had slipped away unnoticed in the middle of the confrontation.
man oh man. i'm not sure who disliked who more: lance or me. i guess he won as his hatred of me has been sparked by nothing other what i am. i like to think i have the moral high ground, as my not liking him is based on who he is, not what he is!
i'm now getting worried that this, whole me being associated with the pack thing might stick. if that were the case than i'd have to avoid all other vivus dinosaurs! they'd either hate me for not being in the pack, or worse yet hate me for thinking i was in the pack!
i also had slight anxiety over what the pack might be up to? after all, lance had just said he and professor paradigm were here due to them. if the stories i'd been hearing were true, paradigm and lance were key members of palaeo central, and central only deals with BIG problems to the science of palaeontology. meaning that larry and the other coelurosaurs must have been up to something really bad for lance to be here trying to stop them...
as i walked into the museum i tried to sweep all this aside. it wasn't my problem, nor could i let it be. if i poked around, i could end up on the wrong side of either the pack (that albertosaur had wanted to forcibly take me into his custody) or lance (who'd just threatened to harm me).
no i was just going to stick to my current project, of finding a lost quarry of francis slate. it would be productive, keep me away from trouble, and mean i would still have fun!
or at least i hoped it would. as much as i'm trying to forget this whole lance/pack incident, it creeping its way into my thoughts, and causing me to stop enjoying myself, and worry...