paradigm's egg layer...

things had hit rock bottom, people of the innerweb!

i'd solved the case of the fossil poachings going on around drumheller. however i'd gotten a little to keen in my investigation, and ended up being caught by the fossil poachers themselves!

worse still they weren't who i thought they'd be. as their two new "players" in this whole dark side of palaeontology i was very concerned. i had no idea what they were going to do to me, apart from probably sell me!

here were the two suspects... okay criminals, i didn't suspect them anymore, i knew they'd done it!...

from listening to them for the last few hours and paying attention to how they do stuff here is what i have figured out...

on the left was megan. she'd taken a job at the tyrrell's education department this year in an effort to infiltrate the museum to help with the poaching scheme. when i first met her, megan had been looking at a geological map of the drumheller area. she said it was a "project" she was doing over the summer. she was also no doubt the one who broke into the geology department.

one the right was jo. the member of the pair i knew the least about, but i was learning a few things. her job had been to do most of the digging once they started working on a poaching site. that way megan could keep up her presence in the museum, and make sure they hadn't caught on to the current dig. jo was also the the more ambitious of the two, and not as cautious as megan.

from eavesdropping and watching them... what else am i supposed to do tied up, waiting for my doom?!?... i'd figured out they were both professionally trained fossil diggers who knew their stuff.

megan had definitely been a technician at some point in her life based on how her conduct and methods. i'd over heard her say she'd worked at the american museum of natural history and the carnegie, two of america's prominent museums to be sure! she also had a tendency to remind jo of all the different places she'd dug in before... which so far sounded like every continent except europe and australia! why would such a well experienced and qualified technician abandon it all to take up fossil theft though?

jo was coming across as more of a scientist, and based on some goading by megan about some unfinished skool, i'm guessing jo had tried to become a palaeontologist once. whether she'd completed her training or not was besides the point, she was knowledgeable. very knowledgeable. i found it hard to believe she wasn't a curator already (though that would be hard when you're leading a life of crime!!!). i was getting the impression she'd done a lot of work in ontario, but she didn't name drop museums like megan did...

watching them work was both impressive and terrifying! for a two person crew they could get a lot done in a short span of time.

they also could interchange roles seamlessly and efficiently. I watched them swap tasks twice, and it was effortless. one of those cases where less was more powerful. a bigger dig team often needs to slow down and meet to make sure everything is done proper. in their defence big specimens are easier to damage (as you typically need to make them smaller for safe transport).

what surprised me most, as i watched, was how meticulously they were recording the site and information about the fossils positioning. that's what a proper scientific dig would do. recording how a fossil sits in the ground and mapping the whole site is where 75% of information about a fossil comes from.

why two commercial poachers needed to record this i wasn't sure. how many fossil collectors would want the full scientific dossier on the specimen? a little bit of info maybe for a keener, but anyone that interested in the information these two were gathering would probably want the specimens in a proper museum anyways! which a proper museum shouldn't be dealing in!

the two had an argument about it for a moment, but sadly as they both knew what they were talking about it didn't last long enough or outline enough details for me to really understand.

jo while digging asked megan to read back some of the mapping details for this last specimen. megan read back the numbers, but the eggs angle wasn't right. jo snapped at megan. "you're kidding me right? you've been approximating map coordinates?!?"

"only on this last batch. like it matters! i wanna get out of here. its only a matter of time before someone notices the tyrannosaur missing," megan defended herself. " it's not like anyone's going to care if the spatial orientation is off by a few degrees."

jo had one of her typical scientist sounding moments. "it defeats the purpose of the dig if we don't bother to record it right!" she scowled. "besides if orwell is as keen to purchase these as he sounds, then we better damn well make sure the information is spot on! you know how much his bosses care about the details."

"orwell, as in annex co. orwell?" megan asked to clarify, but the name had meant something to her and she crazily scribbled in the necessary corrections.

"yeah the one and the same," jo answered annoyed. "i emailed him some photos this morning, while you were blending in at the tyrrell. he replied within a few minutes. word out there is the company is very keen on acquiring any and all vivus-specimens they can these days."

that was it, beyond that they just started to double check their facts and field notes... not much to go on, yet i was not totally in the dark.

this annex co. i'd heard of it before. lillian the albertosaur had signed on with it after being fired by the tyrrell. however i had no idea what it did beyond run travelling exhibits in museums... why would they want illegal specimen for those? won't the museums ask where they'd gotten the amazing specimens from?
sadly i didn't have long to think about it. my time had run out... they were busy removing the last jacket. once it was out, jo and megan were likely to gather up the egg field jackets and myself, and ditch everything else and get out of town in a hurry. meaning i wasn't going to be anywhere to be easily found in under an hour!

despite the dread and terror that was starting to overwhelm me, the incident that happened with the removal of this jacket is of particular note...

as jo popped the jacket off its pedestal (the last rock holding the fossil in or on the ground) the underside of the jacket (aka the rock that had seconds ago been attached to the ground) fell off of the main block...

"oh *BEEP*," jo cursed as the loose chunk tumbled down the hill.

"there is an egg in it!" screamed megan. "we don't have long before it dies, pick it up quick!!!"

that didn't make sense... sure the egg was vivusly preserved. that is to say, somehow, it had fossilized so that the egg was still alive after millions of years... yet there was no way after being dropped and tumbled like that the embryo inside would have survived!

yet jo rushed forward very concerned as though she still had a chance of saving it. as she picked up the egg she asked in panic. "that wasn't 10 seconds was it?"

megan shook her head. "no you got it in time. nicely done!"

10 seconds, what did that have to do with anything? dinosaur eggs much like reptile and bird eggs can only handle SO much jostling before they die. especially for most non-avian dinosaur eggs, they would die even if you turn them over. just like most reptile eggs. only birds and a few closely related coelurosaurs ever evolved turnable eggs.

confusing me more, jo said in a dreading manner. "why did it have to hit the air? stupid vivus fossils," she hesitated as something started to happen to the egg in her hands "i hate this part!"
what could the difference between a vivus fossil and a regular fossil be when they hit the air, other then one was dead and the other was alive (okay a big difference i grant you, but 10 seconds and air shouldn't be a difference right?... well that's what i thought until)...

jo cringed in visible discomfort, not quite pain, but it certainly didn't look pleasant. before i could wonder why, i was hit with an all too familiar wave of dizziness and discomfort... oh no! not again...

i was having another of my magic episodes! professor paradigm had predicted that i'd become a "living detector" and so far he was sadly being proven right!
the egg in jo's hands lit up like a x-mas tree with "mystical gradient radiation" as the smart people around me had been calling it... i think the term magic gets the point across a lot better myself!!!
i don't think either megan or jo saw it the way i did based on their reaction...
jo definitely felt the magic release that's for sure. she nearly dropped the egg as though someone had given her a super powerful electric shock!

i felt it too, and i wasn't even close bu! thankfully it was a short burst. the shortest i'd ever encountered in fact. it was very intense though... on the level of whiro or the kete o te wananga.

jo, and megan too, were mystified by the phenomenon (which if you just got a huge shock from a fossil without the light show i saw, it would be very confusing), and both stated their ongoing puzzlement as to why vivus-fossils always did that when they were dug up. yet they didn't ponder on it for long. without the visual i had, it wouldn't have made sense...

i on the other hand, despite this being my first vivus-egg excavation, now had a pretty solid theory!
the magic had erupted off the surface of the egg, almost like a second shell... i think the magic was protecting it. protecting it from the wear and tear of millions of years! it made perfect sense, how else were things, otherwise long extinct, surviving the void of deep time into the present if not magic...
of course my theory had some holes big enough you could fly a dragon through them! first off i had no clue what magic actually was. from what i knew of it from the movies it could do anything, but as i'd learned from dinosaur movies what makes it too screen and what happens in real life can be drastically different!
more to the point how magic had gotten onto an egg millions of years ago made no sense to me... though based on the light show i'd just seen there clearly was an explanation...

jo wasn't as concerned with the incident as me. to her it was just a strange one off effect of finding vivus fossils.

however with its magical protection now gone the egg was as vulnerable as an ordinary egg. thus jo now handled it very carefully. "let's go put you somewhere nice, warm, and safe," she almost caringly assured the inanimate egg... i wasn't sure if she was eying it with extreme scientific curiosity or outright greed. perhaps a mix of the two i thought.

as jo went to store the egg i realized something. there were no more eggs for the two poachers to dig up... the excavation was over.

i gulped in slight dread as megan walked over to me. "well say goodbye to your old home," she instructed me. "i suspect it'll be the last time you ever see it."

"why are you doing this?" i genuinely asked... though i just meant what she was about to me.

megan seemed to think i meant my question about her chosen evil career path, which i can't help but feel was some sort of guilt complex on her part. after all why would a victim be even remotely interested in the bully's problems? "good question," she answered, which i thought meant she was reconsidering letting me go... however she was just thinking of how to word her life story all sympathetically.

"i did work for years in the name of science. i helped make many important discoveries," megan seemed to look off into the distance. perhaps in her mind down memory lane to times less illegal. i though it just looked silly... come on, a dinonapping technician yearning for the good old days... even i, who forgets TV isn't real sometimes, thinks that was cheesy!

to her credit megan snapped out of it too, and the moment ended with her rather sensibly admitting. "then i realized i wasn't being rewarded for my work on any level. the pay sucked, and worse the PHDs were getting all the credit and attention. i began wondering, would they be on the news or covers of people magazine if not for the finds i made for them? they wish! i went into business for myself when i realized how much more i could make on these 'freelance' gigs."

"that's fantastic," i sarcastically responded. so she was an accomplished fossil hunter who "snapped" under the hard pressure of not being rich or famous. i didn't have either of those thing, yet i hadn't broken down to the life of crime... so i'm not sure why she expected me to sympathize. "i meant why are you holding me against my will?"

megan just raised an eyebrow at me. "duh!" was her only reply. i guess i can appreciate that. after some of the things it sounds like she'd done along the path to selling out, pleading from me her latest victim wasn't going to turn her around to redemption.

"again i'd say goodbye to a lot of things. pretty soon you're not going to be able to enjoy them the same way again, unless you get lucky with a really nice new owner," megan warned me as she went to go collect the field notes.

i probably should have felt fear or dread or something hearing that. after all both megan and jo were making finally preparations to abandon the site with the goods and me. there wasn't anything i could do to stop them, and no one was coming to my rescue...

or so that was the situation until a minute ago. just as megan was finishing her lifestory, the wind had shifted ever so slightly. a human would never have noticed what i did off the downwind...

help had just arrived. professor paradigm was on the scene, and i was pretty sure (if his reputation as the head of palaeo-central were true) he wasn't too keen on the poaching from these badlands...

to be continued...


Albertonykus said...

I don't think Professor Paradigm is going to be pleased to see what you have "accomplished". But it's better than nothing, right?

What I'm more curious about is the title of this post. What is it supposed to mean?

Raptor Lewis said...

Alright, Traum!! Paradigm to the Rescue!!!! Now, we know how you survived after 65 million years too!! However, there's only one thing that I'm curious about, and that is where DID the Magic originate? It doesn't make much sense, so I probably shouldn't worry about it. Instead, I should be worrying about you!