not only was this a shock to me, as i'd thought i'd said goodbye to him for the final time, but now it was turning out that he was not who i thought he was. dan it was out was a member of palaeo-central...
don't get me wrong. i was pleased about all of this initially. dan after all had been the one who'd saved me. more to the point was the one to untie me as well.
"there we go," dan said as he undid the last knot.
"thanks!" i enthusiastically thanked him, as i stretched my arms... do you know how much it hurts to have those tied up for a few hours?!?
"no worries," dan replied. "could we consider it your hatching day present?"
"my what?" i asked in disbelief. it couldn't be my hatching day again already could it? though as i thought about i was shocked to realize he was right! today was my 6th hatching day! man it feels like i hardly got anything done this year (:P)...
"i guess wishing you a happy hatching day, after all this, would be kind of pointless wouldn't it?" dan sympathized with me.
it certainly had been a weird hatching day... i didn't even want to know what present might be coming my way this year... considering everything that had happened as a result of my last one!!!
there was a silence at that thought, as both of us had nothing to say. dan trying to segue the conversation asked. "so how's the rest of your trip been since i last saw you?"
how has my trip been?... how has my trip been!?! after everything i've been through today, and more to the point all the things dan has been keeping from me... that was the best dan could come up with!!!
"you lied to me! " i accused dan madly... which i guess was a little ungrateful as he'd just saved me, but i was really angry at him now. "i thought you moved away!"
"i did," dan stated matter of fact, unable to believe i'd accused him of that. "you saw all my stuff in the truck, and me drive off... oh and not to mention crushing richardo!" oh yeah, i did do that didn't i...
okay i wasn't really mad at him for that... though his being here did raise the question if he'd moved away why was he back... however i was pretty sure it was part of my next question. "why didn't you ever tell me you were in palaeo-central?"
my question didn't phase dan one bit. "it wouldn't have been a secret then," he replied matter of factly. "not much point to being an undercover operative, if everyone knows your an operative. especially those closest to you."
i got it... no i seriously got it, it made total sense. still it really hurt to hear. if i was capable of crying i'd have been pouring like a river right at that moment. sure me and dan had never exactly gotten along, but that can be said for me and most other humans/dinosaurs (when you have a brain as small as mine it can be hard to not mess up with everyone). yet he and my legal guardian craig were the closest thing i had to a family... isn't family supposed to be honest with you?
then a more to the point occurred to me, which might explain. "how long have you been an 'operative'? i inquired thinking i'd figured out why he hadn't told me. dan must have started with paradigm just recently, and thus it was a new thing. there was no big secret, just a short one...
his answer shattered my hope. "5 years," dan answered finally with a bit of guilt. despite how we often were confrontational, dan still had always looked out for me (or so i thought anyways). he could see i was really upset learning all this. "i joined a couple months after craig..." dan suddenly trailed off realizing what he'd just told me.
WHAT?!? i nearly fell over from the shock of this revelation... my legal guardian was part of palaeo-central, and he'd never even so much as hinted at it once in the time he'd taken care of me. hmmm, okay apart from the last time i saw him 2 years ago! he had threatened larry in reference to central, but i hadn't realized what it was at the time...
the two people i trusted the most in the whole wide world, and they'd been lying to me nearly my whole life!
dan knew just how hurt i was. "traum, i'm sorry we never told you," he began. "it was just..."
"it was just what. that you actually did hate me?!?" i screamed, which with my tyrannosaurian voice box came out more like a scary roar. i'd always knew i annoyed dan, but up till now i'd always thought we were still close.
dan came in close and put his hand on my back. "no, traum," he calmly assured me. "quite the opposite. craig insisted we never tell you, to try and shelter you from all the evils centrals fights against everyday. it is a scary world for you fossils. we didn't want your life to be dominated or limited by them."
it may not have been much of an explanation, but it certainly was helping me to feel better. he could have been lying, but i knew dan, and despite my small brain i trusted my memories of my childhood. him and craig had always tried to do what was best for me. whether i knew it at the time or not (i could make it very difficult on them if i didn't see it their way).
"in fact," dan concluded. "it was because of you that craig joined. he wanted so much to keep you safe from all the dangers out there."
"really?" i asked very moved.
"yes really, you pea brain!" dan retorted. "even i have to admit you were quite cute as a hatchling, won't want anything to happen to you then," he fondly recalled, but quickly added. "not that you stayed that way for long, mind you."
i was suddenly feeling a sort of sad happiness. sad because it was about times long gone, my childhood was gone and it was never coming back, but yet happy because suddenly my two human roommate's sacrifice on my behalf had been revealed to me. i DID have a family who cared about me!!!
i started to thank dan. "thank you so much for trying to protect me. i can't believe you guys signed on for all that, just for me."
"woah! woah!" dan cut me off, and then corrected me. "i said craig joined because of you. i signed on just because craig asked me too."
i slumped a bit again, so dan didn't really like me, but in response to this he cracked a big smile. "alright," he admitted. "i did do it a bit because of you. only a bit, though."
"you've always annoyed me traum," dan said scornfully, but then suddenly he grabbed me up into a big hug. "but it's only because you're family... really, really, really annoying family, but family none the same."
i had never been so happy to be hugged before (which are actually kind of painful for us theropods with our not straight up and down backbones...).
suddenly from behind us came the booming voice of professor paradigm, who'd clearly recovered from being knocked out. he was looking away from our embrace as he stated. "i hate to interrupt this touching moment, but this is hardly the time or the place gentlemen."
"yes professor," dan said over my shoulder.
"you mean palaeo-prime don't you?" paradigm sharply corrected.
"sorry sir," dan apologized.
"i would prefer not to leave both suspects alone with agent montgomery, so if you could please assist her, dan," paradigm insisted.
"i guess that's my cue," dan said with some conclusion. "i guess i'll see you around sometime, traum," as he let go and started to walk off in the direction of amanda and the two poachers.
"you're not coming back?" i asked in disbelief."i moved remember?" dan replied in irritation.
"i just meant after dropping them off in jail," i responded feeling dumb.
"ah right," dan said in his usual way, remembering my brain deficit. "we aren't going to be processing them 'locally'. i'm going to have to escort the two of them a little ways away," i was about to ask where that was, when dan reminded me. "top secret, remember. i can't tell, so don't ask."
i dumbly replied with the only thing that came to mind "bye!"
"now that you're in the 'know', i'm sure we'll be seeing you again traum. don't you worry," dan assured me as he walked off. he suddenly stopped. "oh and when you see him, tell craig i said hi," dan resumed walking, but stopped suddenly as a thought occurred to him. he turned with a intense seriousness. "and if you tell anyone i hugged you, we're not cool anymore. you understand me?"
i nodded, and with that dan gave me a salute off his head as farewell and walked off through the badlands back to the car.
holy smokes what a H-day! everything i thought i knew about those who raised me turns out to be wrong!
wait, did dan just say when i saw craig? i haven't seen him in a couple years... when was that suddenly going to change?
then it occurred to me where i was standing. in the middle of the badlands, poaching remnants all around me. what was i supposed to do now, i thought. i hadn't been at all that many foiled fossil poachings before. what was i supposed to do now?
as though to answer my question a big strong hand settled on my neck. "i hope you're not planning on running off," professor paradigm boomed. "we need to talk!"
right. the professor. oops. i found myself gulping in panic. he'd warned me he'd give me quite the thrashing if he found me still investigating the poachings... and here i was, not only at the crime scene, but captured by the very criminals he'd been worried about getting me.
yeah this was turning out to be one "great" 6th hatching day!
next an old "friend" of paradigm's!