Battle of the Horseshoe Nest

(From the active case files of the Palaeo Central Initiative. Personal log of Palaeo-Prime: Professor Alvar Paradigm.)

I have been accused (and possibly rightfully so) of lacking emotional connections with the world around me. My agents and colleagues seem to think this observation is some sort of helpful critical feedback on my personality, and to be a more efficient leader I need empathy. They then wonder why I hold their assessment abilities in such contempt?

If they had even a slight concept of the burdens I endure as the chief guardian of palaeotology. They think it is my arrogance or ego that prevent me from lowering my defences to the world, but it is a necessity of surviving my position as Palaeo-Prime.

There was a time when this wasn't the case, but that was a whole different life, one I left behind decades ago. The constant threats of my modern existence make emotions a weakness I can no longer afford. Which is why Drumheller is such an odd place for me.

Despite all I left behind when I formed Palaeo-Central, my past, friends, and loved ones, I have never completely shed this place. It is one of the few things that can still invoke sentimentality in me. Which is why it is such a great pain to me, that nearly every time I have returned here in the last decade it has been due to a case! This summer is no exception.

Case #132-2009. It began in late 2008 when I received intelligence of unknown parties probing the geologic records pertaining to
my Alberta fieldwork in the early 1980's. I had the foresight to have these records red listed, and thus have their access closely monitored. My chief concern was of course the vivus-bearing layers I discovered in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation in 1984.

I have always feared these egg bearing layers being discovered by outside parties. This summer I have seen those fears realized, with a team of poachers systematically digging and removing a number potential vivus specimens. Right from under my nose, at least after a fashion. I had need for them to think they were accomplishing their task undetected.

In the course of the inevitable case review by the International Palaeontologic Committee of this operation, attempts will be made to pin the blame for this poaching on me. I can already see Dr. [Catherine] Everett trying to remove me as Palaeo-Prime, with trumped up charges of scientific conspiracy. She will fail in this effort as always, but I do have to admit this a case of my conjuring a true conspiracy. One of sadly too many. Though the list of these is not as long as Dr. Everett would claim it to be thankfully.

I have always been torn by my decision to suppress knowledge of this layer's existence. Despite its scientific importance, this layer is just too dangerous to itself to be made known. For every well meaning researcher who would explore it, a dozen unscrupulous entities would seek to exploit it.

All the proof I needed of this fact I have found today. The first party to independently discover these layers (with assistance from my own previous efforts, granted) have illegally collected from it. If not for my intervention today, who knows what the culprits may have gotten away with.

This is turning into a unique poaching case however. I have combated countless poaching rings, but this one is among the most impressive such operations I have ever encountered. It scares me to note that it was matched only by Spectre's digs in its beauty.

Unlike the typical smash and grab poachers, these ones are conducting themselves like capable scientists. Based on the quarries they have been digging over the past few months, and now their field notes I have just acquired today, it is true shame this team is not part of the legitimate palaeontologic community.

What has me more worried however is their potential buyer. If this were a simple commercial outfit, the eggs would have been dug up without so much as a single sentence recorded about them. The average collector has no interest in details quarry maps and specimen records like have been recorded here. No, a desire for such information requires legitimate scientific knowledge and interest. Of which there are only a limited number of possibilities, and all are very dangerous if they learn of this layer's existence.

It did not take me long to discover who one of my culprits was, when she discovered me investigating the site. I was forced to take notice as she cocked a gun (a Grande Puissance 35 if I'm not mistaken) and proceeded to point it in my direction. Based on her body language I had no doubts she would use it. I complied as she ordered me to "Freeze!"

To keep her calm and build her sense of security I naively put my hands in the air, and flubbed out a number of pleas for her not to shot me.

I can now confirm my suspensions that one of my poachers was
Megan Sauer. She had been at the top of my list of key suspects. How many renegade first class technicians in the world can there be? (Six for the record, as of this point in 2009). Central has been trying to track down Sauer since her ingenious heist of German fossils while pretending to oversee the transfer on behalf of her former employer the Carnegie in 2006. Ever since Saurer has been closely linked to half a dozen high caliber poachings around the world, but up until now we'd never successfully pinned any of them directly to her.

Megan began ordering me to do various things at gunpoint, especially to carefully put down her meticulously gathered field notes. I can understand and sympathize with her on this mark. There is nothing worse then having ones field notes damaged or stolen in the middle of a dig, something I've had happen many times in my career! It provides me a perfect opportunity to turn the situation to my advantage.

I'd hoped to lure the poachers out one at a time, as it makes it easier to subdue, but this strategy always carries the risk of them getting the drop on me. Which requires me to regain the initiative. Which this non-cleaned up dig site provides me ample resources to do so with.

Clumsily dropping the field notes I took a subtle step towards Saurer. As her eyes instinctively followed the notes I seized my moment. Kicking the grater lying by the quarry, I flung it up in the air similar to a lawn rake.

The shaft of the grater struck Saurer square on the hand as I'd aimed, sending her firearm flying through the air, and leaving her completely vulnerable.

Not wanting to risk anymore surprises from her (something I've had to learn the hard way over the years capturing suspects) I finish her off. Many would attack me as being ungentlemanly in such conduct. Anyone who buys into this PC nonsense clearly has never had a woman try to kill them before! They are no worse at it then men, let me assure you!

I now had one culprit removed from the situation. Time to neutralize her associates. The evidence I was seeing led me to believe there would only be one or two more. I was very curious to see who Saurer had gone into business with. Up until now she had been a minor nuisance, as opposed to major threat.

As I had now done a proper survey of the site, I could afford more stealth and try and take out the rest of Saurer's crew without them being aware of my presence.

Interrupting my plans, I was shocked to spot on the ground a set of Tyrannosaurid footprints. Not fossilized ones, but freshly laid vivus ones! Based on their small proportions there was no doubt who had left them. TMP 2003. 12. 7 [Traumador's official catalogue number]!

That idiot! After I'd warned him multiple times to ignore this situation. This was a whole new development, and one not easily assimilated into the current tactical situation. TMP 2003. 12. 7's presence in the crime scene added numerous complications since he was now in potential danger. As of my contact with Saurer I could no longer withdraw to reassess the situation, and I certainly could not charge head long anymore. Why can things not ever go as planned?

I contacted the contingent team to alert them of the new development, and to adapt it into the operation's conduct.

That damn coelurosaur! The distraction his presence caused, allowed Saurer's accomplice to sneak right up on me.

Great minds think alike it would seem, as she also saw the grater as a ready made weapon. It is such a shame I should come up against such a great mind at a moment like this!

I am no rank amateur though. As she approached, little did she realize she betrayed herself through the effort. A force of habit I have picked up as Palaeo-Prime is to always stand with my back to the sun. I caught sight of the poacher's shadow the instant she posed to attack.

I attempted a preemptive attack, but my assailant was a very capable martial artist and handily countered my strike. A fossil digger with advanced hand to hand combat training, it could only be Jocelyn Harvager.

How fitting that I would run into her here. I had been counting the days till she officially graduated to one of my adversaries. Not that she hadn't already done damage to the palaeontologic community.

I had once thought of recruiting Joceyln into Palaeo-Central back when she was merely just a graduate students. She was perfectly tailored for Central. Scientifically accomplished, a team player, and a championship level martial artist. Yet she turned down an incredibly promising academic career for simple monetary gain.

This despite all the trouble we on the executive of the International Palaeontologic Committee had gone to to fast track her PHD and assign her the description North America's first feathered Dinosaur. How did she repay these honours? By stealing the Dinosaur and selling it to the highest bidder.

Harvager made a small fortune off this sale, and the Committee had hoped she would simply fade away with it. I knew better. Despite how Jocelyn had corrupted, I knew she was addicted to to it all. Palaeontology ran through her veins. More to the point a small fortune can not replace a larger one, and it was only a matter of time before she reemerged to try and do so. I had been off by a mere month in my predictions as to when that would happen.

Unfortunately for me, Jocelyn had not only met me, but knew my capabilities. She took full advantage of her gained initiative, and I was unable to counter her. Jocelyn in just 10 seconds of her official career as a poacher risen to among Palaeo-Centrals most dangerous adversaries. Just below Spectre in my estimation!

Jocelyn has me incapacitated within thirty seconds. A modern record. Others would have made the quip "I must be getting old" had they been in my position. I do not have such pride. Harvager was better than me, and given my lack of preparation I deserved the beating I received.

Though Jocelyn was skilled, what she possessed in combat prowess she lacked in honour. After reducing me to half consciousness, Jocelyn literally kicked me when I was down to ensure I was no longer a threat.

Despite how painful this was, I took a momentary comfort in one thing. She was proving I had been correct in thinking her to be a perfect potential agent, as I would have done the same t her given the chance.

This of course concludes the personal observations I can make about Case #132-2009. I was unconscious for the rest of the incident, and thus can offer no first hand observations on how further events played out.

To be Concluded...


Albertonykus said...

Uh-oh. On the good side, one poacher down. On the bad side, Paradigm unconscious, and it looks like Jo is more dangerous then we ever expected.

Looks like you'll have try to get out of this one yourself, Traum. With luck, however, you might have the help of whoever Professor Paradigm contacted.

Raptor Lewis said...

Great..so much for Paradigm. :( Hmmm....It seems that we can no longer underestimate Jo. She is truly dangerous.

Traum, I can only hope you've tried to take advantage of this temporary distraction by Paradigm and attempted to free yourself and, hopefully pounce her, and use your Predatory abilities to subdue her and save your sorry Coelurosaurian tail!

Albertonykus said...

I think Raptor Lewis's suggestion is worth trying, Traum, especially in a desperate time like this. You may be a small T. rex, but you're still a T. rex. You still pack a chomp, and you're swift with your juvenile tyrannosaurid legs. Who knows? You might just stand a chance. As Professor Paradigm said, I don't think his ornithischian bodyguards can waste any more time on you. I'm afraid you might have to save yourself this time.

Raptor Lewis said...

Thanks for, though a little blatently, that recognition Albertonykus, lol. Remember, we're trying to ENCOURAGE him to do it, NOT DIScourage him, right, lol? Though, I DO agree that sometimes our little Coelurosaur friend here DOES need an occasional slap in the face or step on the tail with reality, if you know what I mean. ;)