i was going to try and retrace the pack's break into the tyrrell museum's collections today(hopefully without having to resort to breaking in myself!). they'd been after the geologic samples in the horseshoe canyon cabinets. obviously there was some sort of clue in these rock samples that was leading them to whatever type of fossil they were stealing... if i could figure out what the clue was then i could figure out what they were poaching.
as i walked through the museum towards collections, i found that i was being overwhelmed by nervousness.
you ever get that people of the innerweb? limbs going all numb. at the same time your chest tightens up and it feels a giant python has crept into your ribcage and is tightening up in there keeping you from breathing? well that's what it felt like to me anyways!
to try and calm myself down... as i was possibly going to have to play it "cool" if i ran into collections staff... i tried to pop into familiar and calming places throughout the museum.
my first stop was the auditorium...
man this spot in the tyrrell had a lot of memories. the most prevalent of which was my job interview that got me my job here at the museum all those years ago... here is a link to movie video that includes that interview!
many other cool things had happened here though. way too many for me to talk about today. maybe another time if people are interested.
a side effect of my small brain is that when i'm confronted with a powerful memory it tends to overlay reality. meaning i can have events from the past play out in front of me while the present is going on... which is weird.
today i thought i was having another one of those merging events. i could hear distant voices (for some reason the past always plays back in echophonic sound... you ever get that?), and i assumed i was having a flashback moment. only this time there was no picture.
then i realized the conversation was not one i'd ever heard before... which didn't make sense! till it dawned on me, it was happening right then in front of me behind the stage!
sadly my t-rex hearing isn't anything special. not that its bad mind you, i can hear a bit better then a human, but its nothing compared to my sense of smell (i have one of the best noses to have EVER evolved!). however i'm sure i heard one of the two voices mention "they're starting to talk an awful lot about poached quarries".
as i approached the stage the voices suddenly hushed in a startled manner, my presence had been noticed.
emerging from the stage was education staffer megan, who you might recall i'd met when i first got to the museum for this trip home. with her was another woman . i couldn't help but notice this still unknown (to me) museum staff member had a labcoat on that was covered in dried plaster of paris... the sort sort used in field jacketing.
there were education programs at the museum that used plaster, mind you. i'd just never seen a education staff get so covered in it before. typically you only get that covered when you're out at a real dig...
"why hello traumador," megan greeted me. she introduced her friend as being jo... which struck me as odd, i thought that was a human boy's name? oh well, you learn something everyday!
i greeted them back. i couldn't help but ask. "i'm sorry, i couldn't help but overhear you mention poached quarries. what were you talking about?" i asked trying to pretend i didn't know what was going on.
i had two reasons not to let on i knew anything. the biggest was i was under the impression the whole poaching "situation" was being kept secret, and people around the museum weren't supposed to know about it. that alone being talking about it... in the auditorium while it was deserted. something about megan and jo discussing it here bugged me reason... but i couldn't put my claw on why.
second of all, if it got around i was talking to people about the poachings, word could get to professor paradigm. he had threatened to do some meanish things to me if i didn't keep my snout out of the whole affair... which to be fair, i now had my snout in it to the point my neck was engulfed now! so it was best not to alert paradigm to this fact!
both megan and jo looked very uncomfortable for a moment upon hearing my question. however that was replaced quickly by devious smiles. "don't lie to us traumador," jo said. "we've heard the stories going around. you were the one who found the poachings in the first place, aren't you?"
oh oh, was it common knowledge i was involved? not that i was worried about paradigm being upset, as he already knew i was the one who found them. however it just gave the pack of the primordial feather that much more reason to be angry with me!
they both wrapped their arms around each other in a jovial manner when i hesitated in responding. "come on traumador, we're all friends here, museum staff and former staff alike," megan assured me. well i liked to feel that way. all of my best human friends (outside of new zealand) were all tyrrell staff members of one time or another. against my instincts i confirmed i had been the one to find the poachings.
for some reason they shifted their stance, which was outwardly friendly, but somehow gave me a funny vib. "do you know who they are and what they are after?" megan pointedly asked.
the incredibly cheerfulness about (our all being "friends" rather than) the poaching, was starting to creep me out. i told them it was the pack, and both megan and jo reacted in a bizarre manner.
i can't tell you what that manner was exactly, not in words. just something deep within my predatory tyrannosaur instincts didn't like the minor shifts they both made in the body posture at hearing of the pack's involvement.
they both laughed, and wanted to know more about my theory. almost as though it were a joke or something... i had to get away from the overly chummy twins, so i excused myself saying. "sorry i have something important i need to do."
okay that was bizarre, and definitely wasn't helping me collect myself. that was the first weird thing that had happened to me in the auditorium. bad things had happened there, mostly creationists (man those people and their make belief history scare me! but that's another story for another time), but never anything bizarre like that.
i decided that of the new staff i'd met, megan and this jo were my least favourite so far!
fortunately leaving the auditorium i found myself in the museum's learning centre. another place i had many fond memories. some of the best were my teaching at badland's science camp.
helping me chill, as planned, were some cool new decorations they'd added to the learning centre since i'd left the museum.
a flock of cool wooden pterosaurs.
man, they were neat. just like the skeleton play sets made of balsa wood i used to play with as a hatchling.
i enjoyed the simulated pterosaur swarm for several minutes. all the while walking slowly towards collections. i should taken momentary breaks from staring up at the ceiling though. had i bothered to watch where i was going i might not have had my second run in of the day!
thankfully i have my previously mentioned super smell. suddenly i was aware of a very not human smell in the hallway (i can smell things for a REALLY long time after they've been a place... especially in enclosed none open places like buildings! so usually anywhere inside a building just "stinks" of human). it was a dinosaurian smell, but not a dinosaur type i was very used to...
i was startled to find myself face to face with an oviraptor!
somehow its smell didn't travel as far or as strong and any other dinosaur i'd ever encountered. just must be something about them... point is it was there, and i'd had no early warning.
my fight or flight instincts flared up to red alert. oviraptors were coelurosaurs just like me... meaning there was no way this one won't be part of the pack... which considering the pack's heightened presence around here lately was no surprise.
"you!" she hissed, i could tell she was a female the instant i heard her 'voice'. more to the point she knew who i was, and clearly didn't like me...
i wanted to match the resentment and anger she displayed towards me, but curiosity overcame me. "who are you?" i kind of dumbly asked, which in hindsight probably was way more insulting then a cliche reply like 'you!' back or 'we meet again'.
the oviraptor was caught off guard by my removed from the situation question. instinctively she answered "layla," followed by nothing more. somehow based on who she answered i could tell she was someone important within the pack. had i just met one of the big wigs in larry's little club?
i jumped on the lull my question had caused, and decided to have a show of force. "you should just give up on your little scheme here in town layla. i know all about it, and once i get into collections it'll be all over. go back to the rest of the pack and tell them to never show themselves in this museum again!"
as if my exaggerated threat wasn't enough to try and upset the oviraptor, my mention of the museum's collections clearly hit a weak spot. she visibly winced in the form a of a neck twitch. oviraptors communicate a lot through their necks.
"i dare you to try to enter collections," she threatened back, though the curve in her neck betrayed she was slightly nervous. i was onto something with the collections angle! though layla had no doubts about her next threat. "not show ourselves in this museum," she laughed, a horrible sound from a oviraptor i assure you. "we are this museum, runt! nothing happens here without our knowing or say so. if i were you, i'd consider the rest of your time here with great care, or we might remind you of just how much we do control it!"
okay so that last bit was of the normal pack melodramatic variety.
i decided i'd spent enough time in close range to a primordial, and sprinted past layla towards collections... though the oviraptorids may look similar to our common relative the ornithomimids they certainly didn't have their leg build and thus the same speed. there was no way layla was going to catch me at my top speed. which i used all the way to collections... i'd given up on a relaxing walk through the museum.
i was going to bust the poaching case wide opening!
that is till i nearly burst straight into unprepared collections (read this link to learn what unprepared collections is), which was crawling with raptors!
i could now see why layla had so eagerly dared me to try and enter collections in her first threat. the pack had positioned the crimson talons in the tyrrell's collections to clearly guard the clues it held about their activities...
i was going to have to sneak into collections (as opposed to break in).
the good news was that unprepared collections wasn't the only way into prepared collections. there was no way i was going to be able to sneak through unprepared though, there were even raptors patrolling the shelving!
i had expected prepared collections to be worse... but to my surprise it was empty!
that was bizarre... the raptors must have been expecting most people to use the obvious path of unprepared to get into prepared collections. which just seemed dumb. even to a peanut brained peace loving t-rex like me! the backdoor to prepared was easy enough to access. better yet from their point of view it was a tighter space, ideal for an ambush...
why would the pack put all their guards on the wrong collections space?
it didn't matter i guess. prepared collections appeared to be completely safe.
so what is the difference between unprepared collections and prepared collections you might ask?
the first and foremost, prepared collections is a lot more impressive to visit than unprepared... this is where all the cleaned off and studied specimens of the museum are stored (unless they are out on display for the public in the museum's galleries). so it is a giant warehouse-like room full of all things palaeontologic and geologic!
sadly i was going to have to skip the fossil shelves, the coolest section in my opinion, and make my way to the more boring looking (but equally informative and important) cabinets...
i made it to the geology collection aisle. the answer to the poaching mystery was contained in here, and i intended to find out what it was!!!
to be continued: with the target of the poaching!!!