The Runt* has not let me down!
I was hoping he'd stick his snout into our affairs not more than a few hours ago, and he just showed up!
Ever since the Runt managed to inflitrate our perimeter the other day, we moved our defence point into a more central location of this mammal environment*. That way Vicsurus [Daspletosaur], and her powerful sense of smell would be able to better detect intruders.
*[building, in this case the University of Calgary's Geology Department]
I was there when Vicsurus detected the Runt, along with several mammals, exiting the mechanical ascender**. The opportunity I'd been awaiting arrived, and it couldn't have been more perfectly timed! Layla [Oviraptor] and Razi [Saurornithoides] had both gone to attend to more "important" matters than the defense of their precious crate, leaving me and Vicsurus to deal with any situations that might arise. Though I technically outranked Vicsurus, Layla had undermined me and formally left Vicsurus in command.
Any other time I would not have tolerated such an insult, but this time I was willing to bear the disgrace. Layla had handed me everything I needed to ambush her in the Pack's political arena. How could the failure of the Crate be my fault when I was not the one in command? While I was at it, I was about to exact my revenge on the Runt for the defeat I suffered on account of him!
I "entrusted" Vicsurus, as the lead hunter*** to take point and deal with the intruders. She agreed to this course of action so I could mobilize the Crimson Talons, something I very much had in mind. I reminded her not to draw any undue notice to our presence which Vicsurus fully agreed with. The Crate was as good as lost!
***[solider or warrior]
Traumador is so dead. Assuming I don't beat him to it!
As per his "cunning" plan, we all piled into the elevator and headed directly into the basement, while all the rest of our little "assualt team" split up and snuck off through some restricted maintence corridors (thanks to Carmen the collections manager), I got the fantastic job of being the bait!
I didn't even want to take part in this suicidal scheme in the first place, and yet I get to be the decoy! Which if it sounds great on paper, is even better in real life!
Especially when I saw what I was going to get to distract. I'm off the elevator for two minutes and what should show up? A Tyrannosaurid.
Mind you I guess that makes sense. It'd have the olfactory suite best suited to notice us right away. Sadly for me it is also among the best equipped dinosaurs to finish me off without much fuss.
Oddly enough I was stressing about this role so much on the way down, now that I'm here I'm finding doing distracting things is coming quite naturally. At least with my arms! Who knew my adrenal responses would cause my arms to be as spry as a hummingbird on a Coke truck (don't ask, it's a long story!). Yet my legs seem to be made of cement, I'm so terrified.
I feebily put on a smile, and tried to play it cool. "Are you a new arrivial for the Vivus-fossil collection?" Was what I found myself saying.
Obviously Mrs. Tyrannosaurid didn't like that inquiry so much, as I got a full on death roar. You know, like the one the T-Rex in Jurassic Park delievers (only an octave higher). I nearly fainted.
Then it didn't do anything, but ferciously stare at me. For a good minute.
I'll be dared! Traumador's theory that these things weren't going to kill me, due to my being a human (or palaeontologist) seems to have been correct. At least for Tyrannosaurids.
I hope for Caleb's sake the same holds out for the other Coelurosaurs hiding down here.
(From the margins of Caleb's journal)
It is not everyday that an ambush plays out as you plan. Yet on this day Desdemona and I have been rewarded with our quarry offering itself to us. If I were to go with this metaphor, it is up to me to bring it down. Though in reality I must ensure quite the opposite, for if the Runt or any of his mammalian companions fall today, I hand victory to the scavenger* Layla. I will not stand for her trimphing over me on this day!
*[to be called a scavenger is among the greatest insults within the Pack]
Yet with my Crimson Talons in tow, I now have a difficult balancing act to accomplish. I must ensure our efforts seem as geniue as possible in warding off the Runt's assault, but at the same time to kill any of his lot would be failure.
My party stumbled across a male mammal as he exited a new passage way in this labrinth. Of all the environments Layla could choose for us to defend, she picks this strange alien one. A hunter's instincts are useless here. The mammals hold all the advantages, and it was once again demonstrated here!
Before any of my hunters pounce the mammal, I quickly assert my authority. "Not yet!" I bark, earning me looks of surprise and scorn. "We shall let him lead us to his accomplices."
This logic sounds wise, and indeed if I were really hunting this mammal it is what I would do. My hunters comply. We chase the mammal just on the edge of attacking distance. This way, in a real hunt we could subdue him at a moments notice.
As we reached the center of the labrinth another mammal, this one female, appears from another of these hidden mammal tunnels. My hunters behind me express their surprise at this repeated phenomenon. The air of confusion aids me in my next deed.
"Halt at the juncture ahead, and establish an ambush point," I order. This is met with near insubordination from Dexter [Dromaeosaurus]. I come to a full stop much to my hunters surprise, who just manage to halt themselves and avoid each other and/or myself, allowing both mammals to disappear around the corner. With our prey now potentially escaping my troop looks to me for an explanation. "Layla's orders were for me to deal with any mammalian intruders personally, as to leave doubt on our connection to the deaths."
This satisfies my hunters more then enough. Each of them knows well enough I am capable of far more subtle and surgical strikes than any other theropod alive today, the benefit of my dedicated training in China.
However they still prepared to escort me on this task. Something I can not allow. Witnesses would destroy what I am about to do. Plus I can now sow the idea of Layla's responsibility. "Layla was quite specific," I state convincingly. "Once we have them cornered only I am to pursue. You are to ensure aid does not reach them in time."
This combat order sounds amateur enough to have come from Layla. Despite being a total scavenger, Layla prides herself on being a great tactitian despite never having once been in battle. The orders she has been giving us for the past few weeks all sounded as foolish if not more so than the one I have made up. My hunters will have no problem being convinced in the debriefing they heard this order from Layla herself to avoid blame being assigned to us.
With my hunters holding a defensive position outside I cautiously venture into the void space* both mammals have entered. I find them not far from the entrance, clearly attempting to entice me to enter.
I cannot believe the Runt's troop is foolish enough to believe I'd somehow lost their trail let alone that they were losing me. Had this been a real hunt both of them wouldn't have made it but a few steps from their secret passageways.
For the time being it suits my purposes that they enter this enclosed space away from my hunters.
I have them trapped in their own wire nets*. I believe the extent of their plan was to lure us into this space and trap us, thus keeping us from guarding the crate.
Oh how in some ways I wish I weren't using them for my own purposes. It would have been fun to teach them the error in their ways. Not a single Primoridal hunter would have fallen for this trick of theirs for a second. Let alone me.
With both mammals safely out of my reach, I can clearly see their plan. However it requires the rest of my troop to be in here with me. So I oblige, and signal my hunters to assist me. With them out of view this whole time, it won't be hard to convince them the humans had already escaped, and I'd walked into their trap.
It will be very easy to have Layla reported as the cause of this disgracful outcome.
From the mammals' point of view their plan works perfectly, as I let them escape and the rest of the Talons rush in behind me.
Only to be trapped, as a second human female pounces on the gate behind us from yet another secret passage in this labrinyth.
The other Talons look about in confusion, as from their perspective the trap is incredibly efficient. Not a single one would suspect I would have allowed this to happen. Clearly the mammals legitimately ambushed us.
To add to this illusion, I take several futile pounces at the first mammal female, who remains to taunt us. I take a moment to remember her face. No one who has ever taunted me has lived long to tell the tale.
As they run off thinking how terribly clever they are, I can not help but feel statisfied. Soon they shall help themselves to the crate and its contents. With that they will suffer wounds far deeper than those my ego has endured today!
(From the notes of Kirsten Brink, Palaeontology Graduate Student at the University of Calgary)
It worked! I can't believe it worked!
I give Caleb a high five as we double check the Raptors are indeed sealed in.
Who would have thought Traumador's half thrown together plan would work so well!
As he and Carmen head off in another of these magic corridors of hers, I hope he finds this thing of the Pack's and gets rid of it effortlessly.
I'd hate to have gone through all this for nothing!