don't look at me people of the web wide world! i'm not sure why two incredibly smart scientists like caleb and kirsten are going to ask rodents, but that's what they said they were going to do. so off they went to try and track down these rats.
next thing i know caleb came wandering back with a vivus-dinosaur in tow!?! not what i was expecting at all ...
"i thought you said you were going to find a rat?" i found myself asking out loud... not necessarily how or what i wanted to say. one of the draw backs of the small brain.
"this is one of the rats," caleb retorted. i just looked at him disbelievingly. seriously, even i know the difference between a rat and a dinosaur!
suddenly the dinosaur piped up. "he means lab-rat, i can see your confusion," it mockingly told me. it then sarcastically greeted me "i'm theodore by the way. nice to meet you."
i was taken back for a moment, but then again thinking about it i had been somewhat rude. despite the little ornithischians immediate dislike of me, i recomposed myself and tried to redo my introduction... after all i hadn't specifically addressed it yet.
"nice to meet you theodore?" i paused unsure of his genus (and thus last name... most of us vivus-dinosaurs weren't given very imaginative last names). "i'm sorry it was rude not to introduce myself a moment ago. i'm traumador the tyrannosaur, and it is good to meet you."
suddenly the mid sized dinosaur picked up (i say mid sized as for a hypsilophodontid [like anyway] dinosaur he was actually quite large). "traumador, like as in the traumador?"
"uh maybe?" i shifted a bit unsure what theodore meant.
"you were the one who turned down the pack of the primordial feather?!?" he asked very excitedly.
"yeah," i said in a drawn out manner, not sure what response that was going to get me.
"then it is indeed very much a pleasure to meet you! wait till the other rats hear who i just met!" the large small dinosaur said excitedly. "i am theodore thescelosaurus. theo to everyone famous and important who knows me, and you do now know me. in fact you need to say theo as often as possible around my friends."
thescelosaurus that explained theodores large size. They were the largest of their very long running family the hypsilophodontids, although there are some long running questions as to just how they fit into this family... which come to think of it is what caleb studies!
"what am i suddenly?" caleb quipped in. "chopped liver! who feeds you, cleans up your messes, and takes you to the movies from time to time. why aren't i calling you theo? how can i now be the most important person you know?"
theodore didn't take his eyes off me, and spoke over his shoulder at caleb. "not now! you'll embrass me in front of the hero."
"fine," caleb dismissed his large saurian sidekick and walked towards me. "theodore still needs newspaper in the corner of his pen as he still hasn't figured out to piddle outside consistently."
"CALEB!" theodore shouted in annoyance. not that i laughed. we dinosaurs are a little more feral then humans. it isn't easy for us to break into the civilizaed mold of human society on such things.
to calm theodore down caleb continued. "i once caught traumador talking to a poster of a tyrannosaurus rex in the tyrrell's gift shop not realizing it wasn't real. for over two hours!" i thought it could be my friend...
it was as though caleb had handed theodore a toy, for the agile hypsilophodon sprinted off spouting off how he couldn't wait to tell the others. caleb turned to me. "sorry about that. i needed to give him something to gossip or he'd have never gone quiet. you can just mention you were 6 months old when i caught you doing that, when he retells the story to any of the other dinosaurs around here." caleb then winked at me. "now let's go find kirsten and see if she has tracked down our other in the know lab rat."
other dinosaurs. i had no idea the university had any vivus dinosaurs on hand, that alone more than one... and caleb and kirsten were calling them lab rats. i didn't like the sound of that!
"what do you do to these lab rats?" i asked with a bit of pointedness.
caleb caught my drift right away. "not what you're thinking traumador. we have had to," he paused for a moment thinking of the right word. which is something i've always liked about caleb. he never says anything without thinking about it first, and making sure it is the proper thing to say. i've always admired (and envied) him for that ability. " 'adopt' a number of vivus-dinosaurs from other institutions and museums recently, as they could no longer properly manage their supervision."
as if to emphasis what caleb was saying about this lack of supervision, theodore jumped into a nice patch of potted flowers and started chopping on them. "theodore stop that right now! you know how much trouble i get in with the grounds keepers!"
"why do you say recently?" i asked noting his use of the word earlier. again caleb doesn't say something without it being important, and a key part of his meaning.
"there has been a massive increase in the number of vivus-fossils people have been finding in the last few years. it started with just those few random and exceptional specimens turning up vivusly preserved, like yourself. now we are striking entire geologic units that are nothing but vivus specimens! there is no logically explanation as to why they are suddenly all turning up now. logic dictates we should have been finding them at a dispersed and steady rate throughout the history of fossil collecting. yet right now they are on a exponential increase," informed me while yet being puzzled by what he said.
wow, i didn't even know where to begin understand what that meant on so many levels. not only why they were finding so many of us vivus dinosaurs, but what all these new vivus dinosaurs were going to mean for me and our kind living in the present...
"many museums and institutions aren't able, or willing, to put in the resources needed to raise and tend to all these, at times certainly, attention requiring specimens once they've found them," caleb continued. "having watched what happened in drumheller with its dinosaur infestation problem, the international palaeontological committee has tried to set up a program to relocate vivus-dinosaurs to institutions that won't exploit these animals, and take as good of care of them as possible."
"has it worked?" i asked with concern.
"so far," caleb said uncertainly. "we're only really hitting the beginning of the 'crisis'. for example the U of C is currently home to four adult vivuses, nine juveniles, and sixteen hatchlings," that didn't sound too bad till he added. "but we're sitting on forty unhatched eggs, and have a waiting list of over twenty seven more waiting to be accepted. with only a staff of 6 full time palaeontologists, and a dozen research students to look after them all."
"that is shaping up into a crisis," i stated somewhat obviously. caleb just nodded.
a brief silence hung as we both reflected on the idea of nearly 100 vivus dinosaurs soon to grace the university. caleb finally got back to my question. "we call these guys lab rats, as we have been using their physiology to supplement fossil research. the experiments are pretty low impact though. just things like getting them to run or walk, all usually for a treat. it's not like the data we gather is readily accepted or publishable."
i looked at caleb puzzled. he just shrugged. "apart from dr. paradigm, the palaeontologic community is not at moment willing to use vivus-fossil 'material' as scientific evidence. there are just too many questions on how you guys are all surviving millions of years unharmed."
kirsten wandered up to us. "i found helma, but she's being a scarredy cat like usually. so we'll have to goto her."
as we wandered down the hall, it occurred to me i hadn't asked theodore my key question yet. though my hopes were dashed. the large hypsilophodontid had not heard anything about the pack in calgary. however bringing up the pack, next thing i knew theodore started listing off everything he knew about them...
or at least what he thought he knew. for a secretish society the pack has done well at keeping the outside world from find out much about them. a lot of what theodore said about pack membership and recruitment was wrong, so i kind of ignored everything he said after that. i couldn't really trust that any of it as accurate.thankfully i didn't have to listen to theodore's pack rumours for too long. we approached a juvenile hadrosaur, probably in its midteens (in dino-years). kirsten warned me as we walked up to it. "let me do the talking. she doesn't care too much for theropods, and she can be very jumpy even at the best of times."
speaking of jumpy, the duckbill whirled around as it heard us coming. she immediately picked me out of the lot of us, and talking about me (not to me mind you) "who is that?!? why are you with a theropod? has he be security cleared for this building?!?" it half asked half accused.
"he's fine helma," kirsten assured her large lab rat. i could already tell helma was a hypacrosaur due to her crest and colouration (i'd met some before in drumheller... hypacrosaur eggs are pretty common in alberta. especially at devil's coulee). "he just needs to know if you've heard anything about the primordials."
the teenage duckbill grew tense upon the mention of the pack. "why? they're trying to eliminate anyone who knows too much about them? in that case i don't know anything!" helma definitely stated.
kirsten went to go pat the hadrosaur and calm her down, but when she put her hand on helma's back...
helma had a momentary startle. which with duckbills is quite loud.
kirsten smiled slightly embarrassed. "as i'm sure you're noticing our vivus dinosaur are not prone to quirky behaviour and demeanours," she sarcastically defended. "poor helma here was exposed to 'traditional' theropod/duckbill relations at far too early an age from some pictures in a book or TV. which has given her a perpetual predator prey view of the whole world ever since, and naturally she is always the prey. so don't take it too personally. she does this with everybody. it just happens you are a theropod this time."
theodore laughed at helma's freak out. frankly i don't blame him. it was pretty funny, though a little weird.
helma yelled at him to stop, and a whole squabble scene played out before me. the two dinosaurs fought like little hatchlings with theodore provoking helma, and helma reacting just how he wanted. then caleb and kirsten intervened like parents to try and break it up. i kind of wanted to walk away really, at least till they sorted it all out.
by the time they finally had it settled all four of them were upset. kirsten and caleb both explained to helma if she had heard anything, that telling me would keep the pack away (which was a bit of a lie... i had no way of keeping the pack away from the university or the lab rats, really).
the duckbill said she certainly hadn't heard anything about the pack being around the uni. she stated otherwise she would have certainly raised the alarm... which based on her little fright a few minutes earlier, i'm certain everyone would have noticed!
this was no good. i still had no leads... and i was out of dinosaur associating people.
what was i going to do now?!?
to be continued with a chance run in (with a special guest star!!!)