i'd narrowly avoided the pack of the primordial feather's long promised revenge. they sent a pack of raptors (scientifically known as dromaeosaurids) called the crimson talons to try and do, uh i'm not actually sure what they were going to do to me to think of it. they never said, but i'm pretty sure it was going to be something really bad in any case!
they would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for the intervention of lance the lambeosaur. he bravely took on 10 raptors single handed, and somehow won!?!
that was the amazing part. i've known many duckbilled dinosaurs, but none of them were anywhere near brave enough to take on a raptor.... that alone a whole pack of them. more to the point none a single one of these hadrosaurs would have had the combat abilities to defeat them.
lance had not only somehow been able to predict the pack's tactics, but he'd known the exact combat moves (most which i'd never seen a duckbill do before!) to take them out...
at the same time the battle had taken its toll on lance. after today's altercation i now had a pretty good idea why lance was covered in scars. the wounds he'd had just received were no doubt going to leave some nice new ones on his flanks.
that was if lance survived them that was... some of the slashes he'd received from the raptors were really bad. especially the ones on his right flank and neck, where valor velociraptor had attacked him. from all of the wounds lance was losing a lot of blood.
lance's injuries effected him so much that he had doubled over, and was leaning against the garbage dumpsters of the tyrrell's loading bay, with his tail draped over top of a parked truck. he looked like he was in trouble.
as lance had just saved my hide, i stayed behind to try and help (possibly save his) as best i could. however looking at the huge wounded hadrosaur before me i was a little clueless on how i could help him. most of the cuts themselves were as long or longer then my whole body...
as i stood helplessly surveying the lacerations to his hide, lance looked up at me suddenly. "i've had worse," he stated matter of fact.
"what?" i replied in surprise. the shock of seeing all that blood caused my tiny brain to work even worse then usual. the part that worried me though, was the blood wasn't upsetting or grossing me out, like it would the average human... no it was tapping into something deep within my predatory instincts. it almost excited me...
"you look concerned," lance answered, unaware of my involuntary imagining him as dinner. "i've had far worse injuries inflicted on me by your kind, i assure you. dromaeosaurs while enthusiastic, only tend to tear up the skin, unlike carcharodontosaurs. they cut right through to the muscle. though you tyrannosaurids are the worse. i do like my bones in one piece after a tussle." he stated, almost absent mindedly (the blood loss?), and chuckled.
"are you going to be alright?" i feebly asked.
"most certainly," he said as he shift. "again these are just flesh wounds. they should stop bleeding in a few minutes. so long as i don't move too much."
the smell of his blood was intoxicating, and i found i was salivating against my will. i needed to get my mind on something, and not let my t-rex nature dictate my actions. "why did you help me?" i found myself directly blurting out. it was a little more blunt then i'd intended, but the simply act of speaking was a little hard in face of what the blood was doing to me.
lance turned his damaged head towards me. "normally i'd take offense to someone asking me that. having saved your life and all," he grumpily replied. "however in your case, i guess i can see why that needs to be asked."
he groaned due to the strain of turning his neck, but carried on. "i didn't believe your story of not joining the pack. not one bit, till today."
"it made much more sense that the primordials would want an agent who appeared to not be one of their own, and operate freely among the rest of us vivuses. a runt like you would be perfect candidate for not raising suspicions or worries from any of us," i took offense to lance calling me a runt, but let him carry on. "however the instant the crimson talons showed up to kill you," so they did mean to end my life! "it became clear you couldn't have been a primordial agent. the talons are their more elite assassins."
okay i knew that my cousin larry, and his coelurosaur only club the pack, were pretty ticked off at me for not joining. i didn't realize it was that much of an affront to them though...
why would i be a threat i wondered... i hadn't done anything to the pack lately, other then stumble into that albertosaur who worked in the musuem, and i hadn't done anything to him (rather vice a versa!).
well think of the devil, and it should appear. no sooner had i recalled that encounter with the albertosaur (which had started with me smelling it) did i start to think i was getting a whiff of it upwind. i hate it when i'm right.
apparently some of the raptors had found their comrade, and informed him of the wounded hadrosaur they weren't able to finish off, who was likely sitting in the parking lot waiting to be finished off. the dromaeosaurs may not have been fully up to the task (not that they didn't give it their best mind you!), but a fully grown tyrannosaurid surely should have been. especially considering how damaged lance was!
lance veered around just in time for the albertosaur to bellow his hunting cry. "stay behind me!" lance ordered, and he shifted his weight clearly with the intent of fighting off the attacking coelurosaur.
i have no doubt in my mind, lance would have taken on the albertosaur, but i was skeptical of his chances... granted based on his comments, it sounded like lance had duelled with a tyrannosaurid before. however with his wounds i didn't like his chances.
however just as the albertosaur was about to charge, a new battle call was issued from behind him. hearing it lance relaxed back into his nursing position.
the albertosaur turned in startled surprise, and as well he should have. both me and him, as tyrannosaurids were born with knowledge of that battle cry deep within our animal being. it was the call of our age long foes... the ceratopsians!
the albertosaur suddenly evaded away from me and lance, and charging into view at full speed came sternberg the styracosaur. i was totally dumbfounded!
i probably shouldn't have been surprised, mind you. i'd met sternberg when i came across lance being here in drumheller a little while ago. i just hadn't connected that the two of them as being one unit... though considering how they'd both gone all confrontational together i probably should have...
though he didn't have lance's elegance, sternberg certainly was showing he was more then a match for this poor lone albertosaur. despite the fact the albertosaur no doubt would have killed me given the chance, i suddenly felt kind of sorry for him.
based on his panicked retreat, i got the distinct impression he'd never known anything but being a tourist attraction in a museum his whole life. never once had he faced a real threat like our ancestors would have. females seemed to dominate the primordial feathers (almost all the raptors who attacked us today were girls), and this poor bull was assigned this task not due to confidence, but rather desperation.
well as quickly as he'd shown up, our intruding albertosaur had fled not wanting to get anywhere near the business end of sternberg...
despite the threat of the tyrannosaurid being gone, sternberg took up a very central location in the parking lot, standing alert and ready for action. he was acting as a sentry against anymore pack surprises. the raptors (or any other primordial "agents" for that matter) almost certainly would have to pass sternberg if they wanted to get to me or lance.
adding to his guard like stance a few minutes later he suddenly trumpeted "perimeter secure!"
i thought it was all a little silly, until a minute later professor paradigm walked into view. he marched straight up to sternberg, and the two of them appeared to be reviewing what had just taken place. i was to far to overhear them exactly.
lance suddenly lifted himself up, and started to limp over to paradigm and sternberg.
the professor... i should have known (well to be honest with sternberg's appearance, i was starting to suspect). the rumoured head of the top secret palaeo-central showing up on the heels of two kung fu theropod killing plant eaters wasn't much of a surprise at this point really. yet it wasn't exactly normal either.
lance's connection to the professor i already knew. the lambeosaur was paradigm's assistant and some even claimed bodyguard. i could certainly see how he'd make a good bodyguard, if indeed this were true! what sternberg had to do with them i had no idea. paradigm certainly couldn't have needed two saurian assistant/bodyguards...i followed lance partially as i couldn't think of what else to do, and also to be honest i didn't feel particularly safe standing by myself at the moment...
"lance, lance," the professor scolded out loud upon seeing the fresh new wounds on the duckbill. "we'll have to stitch some of those."
"if you must, sir," lance grimaced through the clear pain that was walking. "i can endure them though if it is too much trouble."
the professor dismissed this tough guy modesty. "i've spent too much time and effort training you, to risk scar tissue ruining your battle performance. we'll get to that right away. first situation report."
lance proceeded to, in a very formal almost military fashion tell paradigm the majority of the raptor ordeal (minus the chase inside the tyrrell itself, which lance obviously didn't participate in). the whole time the professor ignored my presence completely.
sternberg seemed to weigh the news outloud, by repeating. "the crimson talons, i wish i'd been here. i've been wanting to meet them in battle."
"i'm wishing you had been too," lance groaned, the walk over had clearly inflamed his wounds. "what kept you?"
"i was on the other side of midland when i heard your call," sternberg defended himself. so that was why lance had started the battle with that unearthly battle cry, he was trying to summon backup... "you try getting here faster!"
paradigm seemed uninterested in the two herbivores discussing not helping each other out. "what were the crimson talons after? their appearance here is a completely unexpected development," he seemed really unhappy about learning of the raptor's presence in drumheller.
well if i'd gone unnoticed before, suddenly all eyes were on me when lance turned to me. "i don't know, but it seems to have been to do with the tyrannosaur."
"is this true?" paradigm almost sounded like he was accusing me of something.
a million and one thoughts went through my head, more then half of them involved running from the scary trio as fast as my juvenile tyrannosaur legs would take me. "i didn't do..." i started to try and deny that i'd done anything... till it hit me!
yes i hadn't actively done anything to the pack, but i had inadvertently stumbled on SOMEONE doing something wrong in drumheller! while doing my fieldwork around drumheller, i'd found a number of illegal dig sites where someone had poached fossils. i'd also discovered a break in into the geology collections of the musuem's.
the professor knew much of this of course, he'd told me off for sticking my snout into it (even though i'd accidentally found all of these things... i hadn't actively gone looking for them!). however i now had a very strong suspicion who was behind it...
the pack of the primordial feather!
"indeed?" paradigm retorted. "while i shall investigate that possibility," he said in a very unconvining lie. i couldn't tell if he didn't believe my theory or didn't want me to know i was right. "however in the meantime, can you not think of any other possible reason the pack would not want you here at the museum?"
"no," i answered honestly.
the professor pondered for a good solid minute. "it doesn't make sense," paradigm said in disbelief. he clearly was used to having things figured out. "we didn't capture any of the raptors for interrogation?"
"negative," lance answered.
"i could try to track one down," sternberg offered. "their scent is still pretty fresh."
"no!" paradigm cut off that train of thought. "we've already announced our presence enough. i don't want to provoke a full on confrontation, or worse have them take whatever operation they are up to and go completely underground with it."
upon hearing paradigm mention "our presence" i couldn't help but think out loud. "palaeo-central?"
despite the fact his face was covered by his large breathing apperatious and his sunglasses (visor i'd almost say) i could tell the professor was glaring at me. he calmed himself down, and in a surprisingly civil tone of voice. "my dear traumador, must you always bring up this imaginary palaeo-central of yours," i wasn't buying his line. not after what i'd just been through, seen, and now heard!
"if its imaginary, then why do you hang out with two kung fu battling dinosaurs?" i questioned... which is a little cheeky on my part i realized immediately after asking it.
"well as you just noted it would be lance and sternberg who are up to unusual activities, not me," paradigm countered. "i myself am simply a scientist who specialized in you living vivus dinosaurs. i am right now responding to a medical emergancy, that frankly no one else here is qualified to assist with." yeah right i thought! paradigm had just a moment ago complained to lance about all the training he'd had to give the lambeosaur... so far the only skills i'd seen lance use that he would have needed to be taught were his fighting ones!
sternberg stepped it. "lance and my own actions are our own, tyrannosaur. we're tired of the constant intimidation and threats from theropods like you. rather then watch anymore of our kind be bullied we've decided to take action, and are forming a special, shall we say, task force."
"what?" i asked somewhat shocked. the thought of herbivore dinosaurs defending themselves in an organized manner was strange to image. yet it made sense. especially given what i'd just seen lance do, and what sternberg could potentially do. as well as the flip side of the pack's crimson talons.
then i had another thought. if there was just an anti-theropod plant eater task force, could it be lance and sternberg that people were mistaking to be a bigger organization like palaeo-central? i guess i could see that. so far i'd seen lance, and sternberg to a lesser extent do some pretty amazing things. paradigm just seemed to here in town, and apart from showing up at the geology collection he hadn't done much.
yet i still believed palaeo-central was real, and that paradigm had a connection to it. he himself had connected himself to lance's training. a 'task force' of trained combat ready dinosaurs would be a very useful asset for an organization dedicated to protecting fossils and the science of palaeontology.
paradigm then suddenly warned me. "based on what this happened i suggest you actually listen to me this time, and lay low while you are still in town. i don't believe either lance or sternberg can afford the time to protect you again," he stated matter of fact. "as for you're poacher quarries i assure you, someone will get to the bottom of them," he then leaned in with a bit of menace. "which means i don't expect any further involvement by yourself with either the pack or these poachings. voluntary or involuntary. do i make myself clear?!?"
adding to paradigm's ambigious threat both lance and sternberg shifted in imposing manners towards me (which despite lance's injuries was scary... i'd now seen what he could do when he meant business!). reluctantly i agreed.
"good boy," paradigm said. "now you enjoy the rest of your visit, but i expect to not have to speak with you again... for your sake!"
i took that as my cue to leave, as paradigm turned his attention to check over lance and his battle damage. as i was still a little jumpy from both the raptor attack and now my second drumheller confrontation with paradigm, i ran to the front entrance of the museum.
wandering the crowded galleries i felt safe. there were plenty of eyes who'd see anything dodgey targeting me. with this sense of security i could think about what had just happened.
the pack of the primordial feather had just tried to kill me, and now clearly not just for not joining their little club. no i'd stumbled onto something they were doing, and it scared them. the only thing it could be was the poached quarries.
however i didn't know why they were digging, or for what... i wasn't going to be able to find out without ticking off paradigm. who frankly seemed all the more scary, now that i knew he potentially had a "task force" of killer ornithischians he could sick on me.
yet paradigm didn't seem to believe me that the pack was involved. worse yet he didn't seem all that concerned about the poaching. just whether i was involved with it or not...
more to the point, the pack wasn't coming after paradigm about their poaching. they were coming after me!
as i came to the end of the galleries i decided, despite promising paradigm i won't, i was going to find out what the pack were digging up, and more to the point show the professor i didn't need him watching out for me!
the hunt for the poachers begins!