caleb and kirsten had done an amazing job distracting the crimson talons, which gave me and carmen a chance to sneak to the crate without incident. as an aside who knew that universities had some many tunnels running through the bottom of them? it made bypassing the pack a snap.
emerging in the store room... funnily enough it was the ONLY room i hadn't already seen in the whole geology collections!... i finally set eyes upon the wooden box that had been causing so much trouble.
it looked harmless enough, and for a brief moment i thought maybe ruffled feather had been wrong about the threat it represented. then it hit me. the smell from the box... i knew that scent well! almost as well as my own.
carmen didn't notice my hesitation and marched towards the crate, and finding a easy to release latch opened the lid. "oh my," she murmered softly, in shock at what she saw.
i already knew what was inside, yet i had to make sure i wasn't somehow mistaken. oh how i wanted to be wrong! i let out a howl of dispair when i had my confirmation.
we sat there a good two or three minutes both just staring at the crate, though to me it felt like years or centuries. my brain was numb with anger and depression. how could the pack have done this? how?!? they truly were monsters...
even carmen, who didn't know the full extent of what she'd just seen picked up on the scope of the crate's cargo. "this is a mistake right?" she looked to me desperately. "i mean that could just be a decoy or extra security? the real artifact is another of these boxes."
i just shock my head. carmen may not have recognized the contents, but i certainly did. there was no way it was a mistake. it was exactly what the pack had wanted in the box, and i knew why.
i explained to her as best i could through howls of sadness (a theropod's version of crying) what this cargo was, and what it represented. she looked helplessly at the crate. when i'd finished my tale of woe carmen offered. "we could take it out of the crate, and then destroy the box. hopefully the pack would think we'd destroyed..."
i cut her off. "we don't have time carmen," i stated coldly. my rage at the pack was tapping into my surpressed tyrannosaurus instincts. "besides, it's in no condition to be taken out of the box."
"what do you do then?" carmen asked.
"nothing," i could only defeatedly admit. the pack had won. we couldn't wheel the crate out of here. i could smell theropods still out in the hallway (the daspletosaurus in particular). we certainly couldn't destroy the crate's contents, for we'd be as bad if not worse then the pack... which meant we could only leave the crate in the pack's claws. which was the worst outcome of all!
suddenly carmen lunged for a clipboard. "not on my watch!!!" carmen declared. she started madly writing away on a form. i was starting to feel ill from my crate discovery to clue into what she was doing, till near the end of the form she asked me. "what's the address of that museum you work for?"
i told her, now snapped out of my defeated daze. what on earth did she want to know that for?
"there, done!" she stated with a final scribbling of her signature.
"done what?" i asked dumbfoundedly.
"a two zero one transfer form," carmen proudly informed me. i just blinked stupidly. "the pack was able to sneak this into here by logging it as an offical addition to our collections. well if it is in my collections, than it is up to me to have the final say on where any item goes. as of such i just override their request to ship it back to their home office, and am now sending it to you in new zealand."
i said nothing, but instead lept onto carmen with a furious hug. "calm down. calm down," carmen insisted. "just don't ever underestimate the power of collections!" she winked.
for a moment i was overwhelmed with absolute joy. we'd won the day, and more to the point dealt a serious blow to the pack. however facing the crate again, my momentary celebration fell on its face. the contents of that crate were by far one of the evilest things i'd ever seen anyone (human or dinosaur) do in my personal life...
i had a realization in that moment too. carmen was sending this to me in new zealand... that meant when i got home, suddenly i would be the one responsible to safeguarding the contents of the crate. was i up to that task? could i really survive having to face it all everyday for the rest of my life?
A mournful Royal* howl echoes down the hall. Indicating my plan has come full circle, and been a success.
*[Tyrannosaurid... in this case Traumador]
The Runt** has clearly discovered Razi [Saurornithoides]'s little project. Oh how I wish I could watch his spirits utterly collapse upon discovering that which we have stolen from him. Alas sometimes the greatest predator is that which is unseen.
Victory is truly mine!
Had Layla [Oviraptor] not been such an arrogant fool, it would not have been possible. Yet she could not resist in trying to act superior to us true hunters, and give us conflicting and completely inexperienced orders. My Crimson Talons were confused before the battle even began, let alone after Valour [Velociraptor] skillfully muddied the waters.
In the wake of us losing the crate, it will quickly become apparent it was Layla's incompetent leadership that cost us this victory. At the same time my protests throughout this operation will have to be acknowledged, and reveal me to be a far more competent commander than Layla. It shall be my pride and me who ascends within the Pack from the crate now, and not that scheming scavenger!
To think I have the Runt to thank for it all. Not that I haven't left him with a memento of my appreciation!
to be concluded with a phone call