A Time of Troubles VI
Disclaimer: see previous chapters.
Note: spoiler alert for the original series.
Of all the places that Jenny expected to end up, a bizarre version of the Anomaly Research Center was not one of them.
More precisely, it was a building vaguely built like the Center, especially on the outside, but inside, there were much fewer rooms than in the original version, and they were run mainly by clones, similar to the ones used by Helen to invade the ARC some time ago and to rain havoc and destruction there, but those ones were much more loud and less destructive than the earlier models, it seemed – they actually seemed to be manning (or was it “clon-ing”?) several devices, looking like monitors or some sort of sophisticated watches.
Others, however, were on the construction or repairman duty, which they did with little fuss and professionally enough – much better than Connor would have been, for example.
“Just what are they doing, overall?” Jenny could not help but wonder.
“Helping me run my home base,” Helen explained without breaking stride (then again, neither did Jenny).
“And what are you doing in your home base?”
“Living, when I’m away from home, and also figuring out how the time works.”
Jenny blinked. “How time works? You just look at a hand watch or a clock on the wall-“
“Okay, and the time anomalies fit into this how?”
There was a pause. “I’m not following,” Jenny confessed.
“My point exactly. The animals that come through the time anomalies are just the symptoms of a greater problem-“
“I know this. Lester – well, not Lester himself, but we were working on this problem when you came in...but you remember that? Why did you do it, anyways? Was it worth it?”
“No,” Helen shook her head, “no. But would you believe it that I really hated Nick-“
“Yes, I do. I believe that I really hated you just as much back in the Jurassic,” Jenny sighed. “But killing you wouldn’t have fixed anything, and would’ve just made me the same as you.” She paused. “And thanks for saving me from that sea monster too, by the way. What was it, incidentally?”
“A pliosaur of some species. In the Jurassic they were the top predators in the seas,” Helen shrugged. “On land...” she paused. “On the other hand, forget top predators on land. Here are your friends from the ARC, and they seem to be having problems with one of them.”
“What do you mean?” Curiously, Jenny joined Helen at one of the monitors and stared. “Oh my! James used to joke that the ARC would fall apart if I left – I thought that he was joking, not being serious!”
Helen just nodded, when a phone began to ring.
“You have got to be kidding me!” Connor yelled, rather shrilly, at the sight, causing everyone to wince, except for the dinosaur, which continued to rampage through the parking lot, swinging its spiked tail like a medieval club, striking cars and not exactly flipping them over, but piercing them, ripping them apart – that sort of damage. “A real live dacentrurus and it hates our guts!”
“I’m sorry, it’s a what?” Sarah could not help but ask, as Becker tried to aim another shot at the dinosaur, just unsuccessfully as before. “It looks like a regular stegosaurus to me.”
“See those shoulder spikes? It is an older cousin of the stegosaurus,” Connor shook his head. “Anyways-“
“Anyways,” Abby glared at her supposed boyfriend, “it is still your fault! The virus from the laptop must have contaminated the rest of the computers and Becker’s team got assigned the wrong dose of tranquilizers, or the wrong sort of tranquilizers or something-“
“That’s ridiculous – now to get into my computer you need e-mail verification,” Connor began to yell back, when he stopped. “And what is that?”
That was another dinosaur, or rather a robot built like a dinosaur, a carnivorous bipedal dinosaur (the robot version actually ran on caterpillar tracks) that breathed fire and smoke that smelled rather like a rural highway in late spring and summer, smelling of tar and oil.
The armored dinosaur squalled and flailed around with its tail, but the robot reached down, picked the animal up and drove with it across the parkway to the time anomaly before dropping the animal back in its own time period – just as the time anomaly snapped shut.
And then there was silence, broken only by Becka Page’s cheerful voice: “I knew that it would work!”TBC