what had started off as a care free and normal day at the tyrrell museum had turned into a nightmare. the pack of the primoridal feather had finally made good on its promise to get back at me for not joining its ranks! they'd sent a pack of dromaeosaurids (commonly known as raptors!) to come and get me...
so far with devastatingly effective results!
they'd cornered me and tony in the tyrrell's back parking lot... making things worse i was hiding in the pack on tony's back. so i couldn't do anything about it at all! worser even still, they held our friend yumi hostage at talon point. with the flick of a dromaeosaurus' toe, yumi was done for...
tony was left no option, but to surrender over the backpack (and by extension me!)...
i don’t blame tony though, you must understand. there was nothing really stopping them from killing him or yumi to get to me. by handing me over, tony at least gave himself and yumi a chance at living through this... maybe...
i was kinda wishing there was an alternative to handing me over though, mind you... not that any were obvious ones to my tiny brain.
they'd stopped by the museum in their relentless search for work... work being the modern replace to food. the over flow of vivus-dinosaurs in drumheller meant anywhere tourists went, vivus dinosaurs were sure to not be far off. as the museum is the biggest tourist attraction in the valley, there are always plenty of saurian wanders like these guys hanging around...
as tony handed me over to the raptors, the pack got very audibly excited and wound up. the duckbill's decided they'd witnessed enough, and before the raptor's attention left tony and the backpack, the hadrosaurs began to make their way towards a more public area...
probably a smart move. it's what i would have done, if i were a burger that walks and talks like them...
being able to speak a limited range of the duckbill language, due to my time growing up at the tyrrell among various types of dinosaurs, i could tell something weird was going on. clearly the other hadrosaurs were not just annoyed by being delayed by the single dissenter. they were scared by this one's actions too. it was risking the raptors noticing and attacking (even if i was their objective, which they'd yet to fully collect).
what duckbill could possibly be stupid enough to risk being eaten...
before i could wonder why lance needed to struggle his way through his peers for a better look, suddenly he let out the most unusual call i'd ever heard a hadrosaur make...
the raptors thought so too, they all started chatting uneasily in response to it... though feeding off each other, their unease quickly shifted into predatory anticipation. lance, and possibly now some of his friends, were now in much more immanent danger...
i was as confused as i can be (what with a tiny brain and all). lance's behaviour seemed almost suicidal... especially considering the clear evidence of scars covering him head to toe from close calls with theropods. why in fossilizations’ name would he be trying to provoke another encounter?!?
before i could think about this any further tony shifted the bag (and thus me too) in utter surprise. the most unexpected thing happened...
he ran head long towards yumi and her dromaeosaurus captor.
wisely the tiny raptor bolted from her captive... at a mere 15 kilograms the dromaeosaur really couldn't afford lance's impressive 20 tonnes slamming into her (unless it wanted to be a pancake!)...
despite her panic, yumi was in little danger (somehow?). lance gracefully and carefully narrowly avoided crushing her. all while making it look easy, despite considering how big he was it must have been hard to pace his steps like that. still lance never broke his stride or speed, though why he didn’t just stop there began to raise our suspicions (human, t-rex, and raptor).
lance didn't turn or even hesitate. he ran straight over yumi, and bore right in on the main grouping of raptors!!!
the dromaeosaurids were a mix of reactions. some panicked. others were dumbfounded like me. however the scarier ones (the deinonychus, velociraptor, and atrociraptors in particular) all grew excited... in a very scary way. like x-mas was running over to them early.
as lance closed on us, the pack swung into a big game formation. clearly with the intent of taking him down before seizing me... the raptors fell into two frontal attack waves, supplemented by a group of decoys who mocked flanking lance to try and distract him, while some real flankers snuck behind the man made cover of the recycling bins to try and double back on the brave hadrosaur.
lance wasn't a brave duckbill, come to think of it. he was a really stupid one! no wonder he had so many scars on him from theropod attacks! he just walked into situations with them (or was it running?)... even i'm not that stupid!!!
the raptors were happy as... uh, well, happy as hunting raptors i guess...
they clearly weren't used to dinner being so helpful in rushing in for slaughtering, but they sure weren't complaining about it either. all around me their excitement could be heard.
it was at this moment everything that was about to unfold became clear. i just didn't realize it...
desdemona deinonychus, leader of these "crimson talons", muttered under her breath "lance," in a very angry and spiteful manner. there was a hint of uneasiness in her voice, which i chalked up to her sizing up such large prey... if i only knew the half of it!
just as the front line raptors met up with the on coming lance, things started to go fast. the raptors began spacing themselves out, aligning for optimum pounce positions.
just as the first couple raptors were about to jump onto him, lance suddenly swung up his head. the motion was so powerful i heard the whosh of air it made in the backpack!
had things been normal lance would have been dealt the first deadly blow by the raptor front line. however things were suddenly not normal, not normal at all!
as the lead dromaeosaurus began to leap towards him, lance swung his whole body weight right into the tiny theropod...
the crunch of bones could be heard, as the tiny coelurosaur was flung helpless into the air away from lance.
abruptly the scenario of the helpless duckbill, me and the raptors had anticipated, disappeared! for all of us but desdemona it seemed, as she'd never had this idea, it became clear.
The deinonychus angrily cursed. "not this time you don't!" desdemona had definitely met lance before, and what he was now doing didn't surprise her one bit.
with this nebulous threat desdemona snuck off from the carnage being dealt to her front-line troops, and fell back into the maze of recycling bins and cars around the emerging battle.
lance's sudden battle prowess may not have surprised desdemona, but it sure was throwing her crimson talons for a loop!
the first frontline futilely tried to do their job, but lance dispersed them quickly.
the second wave put in a token effort, but it was cleverly just to distract the duckbill. as they convinced him they were trying to attack, the real danger to lance closed in behind him.
the flankers that had snuck off behind the bins had emerged behind lance, and were about to get the drop on him...
lance's current offensive looked like it was about to be short lived. the flankers swung into action in perfect form!
yet somehow lance knew the pack's tactics better then they did...
out of no where, the decoys went from effective distractions, to becoming lance's weapon against their flanking cohorts!
combined with lance's unbelievable use and coordination of his body... i'd never seen a hadrosaur (that alone any of the proper "fighting" ornithischians like ceratopsians or ankylosaurs) use their head, tail, or limbs so effectively and naturally as weapons!
it was like watching a hadrosaur samurai! seriously... it was the closest i'd ever seen to a dinosaur martial artist!
keeping in mind i've seen ceratopsians, ankylosaurs, and stegosaurs fight (no stegosaurs outside of on TV mind you), and they are all amazing fighters.
just not in the gracefully and effortless manner lance was displaying. his moves were always perfectly times, and never more or less power then they needed to have. the traditional fighters tended to overpower their moves.
also true fighting plant eaters all tend to preferentially use their battle endowed anatomy. ceratopsians just use their heads due to the obvious attached horns or bosses. for the stegosaurs and ankylosaurs it is their tails, which end in either deadly thagomizers or clubs.
not lance though. probably, because he didn't have any of these natural enhancements to begin with, and because a preference would hinder his total combat style. no, lance used his entire body so well the whole thing became a weapon, on par with any horns, club, or even thagomizer!
the crimson talons didn't stand a chance against him one on one.
to prevent them from using their superior numbers against him, lance somehow kept them off balance and at bay with an uncanny knowledge of their own battle tactics. he was always one step ahead of them, and taking them out slowly one at a time as he did so...
i was beginning to wonder if he was some kind of superhero? his counter attack was going perfectly...
of course i jinxed the whole battle by thinking that!
the crimson talons had been sitting on a secret weapon... valor velociraptor.
i was dumb founded, a velociraptor, really?!?
of course when the average human hears the name velociraptor they associate it with being among the most deadly dinosaurs of them all. however this reputations, is well frankly, completely overblown!
despite what you saw on jurassic park, raptors aren't quite that dangerous... the writers in hollywood decided to soup up their raptors quite a bit, to make them better movie villains. so the raptors were given through the script and stunts things like human intelligence, opposable door opening thumbs, and speed of a cheetah etc. dromaeosaurids were pretty impressive predators in real life, but none of them could do all of that stuff! that'd be a super predator...
the other reason i was surprised by this velociraptor being so dangerous, is that for jurassic park spielberg cast deinonychus to play the raptors (desdemona was the lead raptor in fact! come to think of it). the reason being velociraptors are small things in reality, and only come up to the average humans hips. not something that could stare you imposingly in the eye...
i'd have expected the most deadly of the crimson talons to be desdemona or an atrociraptor...
man was i wrong. within seconds the velociraptor had effortlessly bypassed lance's defences and was really tearing into him.
watching this valor i realized something unnerving. i'd thought lance was impressive a second ago, but watching the velociraptor attack such a massively larger opponent, i realized lance was but an amateur martial artist compared to her.
suddenly my spirits sank... the wail of pain from lance indicated valor was inflicting some serious damage to him!
with ninja like grace, valor leapt away from her prey having inflicted as much damage to lance as she could safely.
as valour delicately landed beside him, lance sort of collapsed... probably from the pain...
it looked bad. she'd scored a pretty good slash on his neck. fortunately not anything lethal, but it wasn't a mere flesh wound either!
just like that, the invincible hadrosaur warrior image faded... he was mortal just like the rest of us, and in fact quite vulnerable it seemed.
suddenly the pack regained its predatory spirit as desdemona and help gathered above lance on the bins he was leaning against.
lance's momentary pause gave the raptor's the opportunity they'd been waiting for...
suddenly lance was covered in biting, kicking, clawing, and slashing dromaeosaurids!
his bellow of agony and pain was awful to hear. especially at such close range. the battle was literally over top of me and tony now!
though all i could do was spectate through a small opening in the zipper, tony suddenly realized the situation had shifted.
It may not have been in lance's favour, but it definitely was in ours! all the raptors were either lying injured around us or actively attacking lance... we were no longer being guarded!!!
without a second thought tony sprinted as fast as he could from the massive tussle going on behind him.
within moments we were clear, and out of danger. tony gently peeled yumi off the ground and starting assisting her towards the museum's front to get her medical attention.
behind us the battle took yet a new shift...
lance's yells of pain suddenly ceased... and it wasn't cause the raptors weren't still ripping him apart. far from it. he now had some pretty serious wounds on his face, neck, and flanks... yet he wasn't crying out anymore?
then it hit all of us, human, tyrannosaur, and raptor. lance had been faking it the whole time. sure he was hurt (you could see him starting to limp a bit), but he still had plenty of fight left in him.
he'd been hamming it up to distract the raptors and give us the chance to escape. now that we’d gotten away, lance was back in the game.
in really bad accented dromaeosaurid lance warned. "break off now, or else!"
despite his lack of obvious pain, the raptors knew they doing him some critical damage, and thus they still held the upper hand...
all of them except valor that is... hearing lance's ultimatum she suddenly leapt off in almost a panic.
the others should have followed her cue. lance immediately veered the bulk of his colossal body sharply. desdemona and the atrociraptor had no choice but to desperately hold on.
with the same amount of power lance swung back towards the dumpsters. the force of his giant strength and weight flung the atrociraptor from his head, and it helpless flew towards the recycling bins back first.
desdemona found herself dislodged too, but being by the more stationary legs she managed to land rather cat like on top of the bin.
not the atrociraptor. with a horrendous snapping of bones it slammed into the bin.
lance wasn't done though. he could see desdemona and valor preparing to renew their assaults.
"it is over," he steerly warned. despite the clumsiness of his theropod language (lance's head is basically a giant organic tuba! imagine trying to speak through one of those...) his dead seriousness came through.
desdemona won't yield. her and valor weren't phased by his word at all.
i'm certain in theory, valor especially, but probably desdemona too (who i could now see was almost as good as the velociraptor) would at some point be able to out manoeuvre the larger slower lance again.
however it was now just the two of them against the lambeosaur. lance had disabled or wounded every other raptor the crimson talons had thrown at him. sure the two remaining raptors probably could have gotten in a few more attacks, but the odds of them inflicting mortal wounds, versus the odds lance would get a piece of them along the way weren't good.
to demonstrate his dominance in the new tactical situation, lance reared up onto his rear legs and trumpeted "IT'S OVER!"
the display was awesome, which i mean it was just amazingly powerful. not the surfer boy version of the word.
valor, clearly the calmer headed zen like warrior, immediately realized the odds against her seeing the 13 metre 20 ton behemoth towering above her, and retreated.
desdemona took almost a whole minute before following. however her and lance engaged in the most hate filled stare i've ever seen (and me and larry have glared at each other before remember!) before she turned and screamed a retreat call.
slowly all the raptors picked themselves up (most in clearly severe pain) and dispersed in any direction they could. so long as it took them the furthest from lance.
just like that, it was over...
somehow tony, yumi, and i (me in particular) had all made it out alive, and in one piece (mostly).
we owed it all to lance. which i never would have expected in 65 million years!
though the being one piece couldn't be said for lance. as the last raptor disappeared, he slumped on the pavement in sheer pain and exhaust. blood freely poured from the large wounds he'd incurred. despite the posturing he'd just display, lance was clearly much worse for wear then he'd let on.
i ripped open the backpack (finally!) and sprinted towards lance.
tony paid our saviour no further mind. his concern was on yumi, who herself sported a rather serious raptor wound. he took her off to see a doctor.
i rushed over to lance to try and see if i could offer similar assistance. plus i wanted to know why he'd helped us?
lance had made it clear he hated us theropods, including (and especially?) me! yet he'd just put his life on the line for me.
to be concluded...