A time of troubles - part 1Disclaimer: None of the characters (except for Becka) are mine, but belong to Impossible Pictures™.
The morning dawned gently: the sun was shining softly through the clouds, various birds were flying around, and after having spend quite a bit of time in the late Cretaceous, Connor and Abby were feeling very pleased with modern civilization indeed.
Unfortunately, while some aspects of the civilization consist of a proper roof above one's head, a hot meal on the table and a steady paying job, other aspects include a very annoying boss, such as James Lester, who was being just such a character at the moment.
"Ah, Daphne, Shaggy – glad to see that you have recovered after your Jurassic joust," he said in a grand manner that Connor and Abby rather hated, "as has Mr. Quinn, it appears-" he indicated to the people seated next to the couple, who did include Danny Quinn – and also Sarah Page.
Connor frowned deep in thought. He was never the most knowledgeable person when it came to fashions – especially women's fashion – but right now he reckoned that Sarah was dressing much more jauntily than the usual, and especially the bright pink beret that she was currently wearing on her head-
Apparently, so did Lester. "Ms. Page, what are you wearing today?" he said, coolly. "While we don't have a dressing code, I do expect my employees not to be so blaringly obvious, especially since Ms. Lewis has quit and-" he paused, deep in thought, and added, "and you know, your costume does remind me of her, especially in the early days, when she just began to work here. Are you planning to go for her job? Because let me tell you-"
"If I may interrupt," Sarah said in a purring voice, a voice that no one present had ever heard her use before, "then I am asking you to wait until everybody is here."
"Oh? Who's missing – Becker? What has happened to him? Don't tell me that it's his turn to get lost in a time anomaly hole or something!"
Before Lester could continue in such a vein, the door to the impromptu conference room was flung open and in stomped Becker, looking much more flustered than the usual, followed by – Sarah? Well, another Sarah, really, because the Sarah already present didn't disappear in a puff of smoke or tried to flee or anything like this – instead, she just looked cheerfully at the two newcomers.
Everyone else, however, was not as jovial as Sarah number two (or number one?) was. Lester in particular, remembering how Helen had pulled her clone trick on the ARC, was ready to go for the throat, when the other Sarah (who arrived with Becker) spoke up:
"Everybody? This is my twin sister Becka Page, who has come to visit me and to look for a job here."
"She- she looks exactly like you!" Connor spoke up without thinking properly about it.
"That's 'cause Sarah and I are identical twins," the other 'Sarah' spoke up, still cheerfully, "and everyone except for mother and grandmother tend to confuse us every once in a while."
"Identical twins – and you're looking for a job. Well, let me tell you now," Lester began, clearly not amused by the entire experience, when the time anomaly alarms began to wail, causing him to sit down abruptly and groan:
"Danny, take your team plus the other Ms. Page and go. Hopefully, she'll get eaten by a tiger or something and that will be the end of that."
Both Page sisters gave Lester the evil eye upon hearing such news; so did Danny, albeit to a lesser degree. But Lester just ignored them, and the time anomaly alarm did not indicate that it would stop any time soon, so the ARC field crew had to go and save the day once again.
And unfortunately, the day did appear to be in need of being saved, as a relatively smallish tyrannosaur was busy snapping at the fleeing people straight in the middle of the yard adjacent to the small shopping mall was clearly not going to go back into its time anomaly of its own volition – in fact it seemed to be avoiding it altogether...
Connor stared. He remembered their run-in with the giganotosaurus awhile ago, and compared to the other carnivore, the T-Rex appeared to be marginally brighter coloured – a dark green, as opposed to the more general greyish-brown colour of the bigger reptile, for indeed, the giganotosaurus had been bigger, especially in its forelimbs, which appeared to be rather puny in T-Rex's case.
Sadly, that did not apply to the dinosaur's head, and especially its jaws, which appeared to be almost studded with huge banana-shaped teeth, which appeared to be sharp enough to rip through metal as the dinosaur picked up cars in its jaws and tossed them around with nary an effort.
"This is not good," Connor gulped as one of the flung vehicles landed not too far from them. "Danny, do you have a plan yet?"
"We have to lure it back through the time anomaly," Danny thoughtfully replied. "Abby, can you go back and get some samples of our dinosaur's body tissues or fluids or something? I remember Connor telling me that it lived in the Cretaceous, and tyrannosaurs lived in the Cretaceous – even I know that – so-"
"Excuse me, but isn't the time anomaly actually leaking?" Becker suddenly spoke-up, after he had observed the time anomaly through the binoculars. "And by leaking, I mean with water, not with some other fluid."
There was a general pause, as everyone began to re-observe the time anomaly one more time. Sure enough, water was beginning to drip from it, which meant that there was water on the other side of this time anomaly... so how did the definitely land-dwelling tyrannosaur figure out in it?
And speaking of the dinosaur, it too had noticed the appearance of water, and didn't like it very much – but it still approached the time anomaly and began to sniff at it, emitting odd huffing sounds every once in a while. Clearly, it was either observing or smelling the time anomaly with some ambiguous attitude, and-
"I wonder what would happen if we would rush at it and pull Dragon's head-butting manoeuvre via one of the vehicles," Becker continued to muse.
"We'd break its' legs and kill it," Connor glared. "Our goal is not to kill it-"
"No, our job is not to kill it here," Becker wasn't backing down. "If, on the other hand, it would die back there, then it would be perfectly natural – isn't the comet or whatever would kill them all off anyways?"
Connor half-turned back to Becker to respond more fully to Connor's suggestion, when the tyrannosaurus lunged – through the time anomaly. Its teeth then snapped shut upon something, its body jerked – and then it flung out something.
The new animal possessed a long neck, like some dinosaurs had, but its body was squat and rather short, like a sea turtle's, complete with four flippers – and its own teeth were sharp and long, through much thinner than the dinosaur's that had snapped shut upon that long neck and snapped it cleanly apart, killing the other reptile instantly.
Connor, however, was only partially observing this, with most of his attention diverted to his time anomaly manifestation machine with which he hurriedly sealed off the time anomaly, to everyone's mutual surprise.
"Connor?" Abby turned to her boyfriend, "what gives?"
"Okay, people, listen to me!" Connor said quickly, "here's what must've happened back then and there, on the other side. This tyrannosaur was scavenging on the sea shore, when the tide began to flow and it fled back inland – only the time anomaly got in its way so it ended up here. Back there, the tide is still rising, and with the rising water come the water animals, like this plesiosaur – since this is the late Cretaceous, I assume that it's an elasmosaurus or some similar specie – and moreover, if we re-open the time anomaly-"
"Water would just pour here, and the tyrannosaur would not be able to get back home anyways," Danny finished. "So what do we do? Tranquilize it and hope that it'll hold?"
"If this dinosaur is anything like the modern predators," Abby spoke up, "It will eat its fill and then it will go to sleep – it had probably exerted quite a bit of energy catching the elasmosaurus or whatever, and now it probably just wants to rest or something like that. Then we'll tranquilize it, I guess."
As Abby spoke, the dinosaur ate, ripped the chunks off its prey and swallowing them whole. But then something went wrong: the sound of the police sirens came from some distance away and the tyrannosaur stiffened, clearly thinking that this strange noise came from a challenger for its meal.
"Becker, fire, now!" Danny snapped, and the Special Forces men opened fire, trying to tranquilize the dinosaur before it could charge. Sadly, instead of falling over, tranquilized, the T-Rex took this new development as another challenge (which it was, in a manner of speaking) and charged, its jaws wide open and reeking of meat and blood.
Instinctively, Connor jerked backwards, his hand slamming into the control of the time anomaly manifestation device, re-activating it and re-opening the sealed time anomaly. Immediately... a pterosaur, with a wingspan probably bigger than a car is long, flew out and began to circle around the reptilian corpse.
The T-Rex stopped its charge, whirled around, and began to chase the pterosaur instead, who promptly flew away...straight into the time anomaly. Instinctively, the T-Rex followed it... and Connor slammed down on the appropriate button, re-sealing the time anomaly once again.
"...Good," Danny Quinn spoke up, unbelieving that a major dinosaur had been resolved so easily. "Now all we have to do is to get rid of the dead sea reptile, and we'll be all set."
"Let's just bring to the Center – I've always wanted to autopsy a dinosaur...but a plesiosaur will do as well," Connor said eagerly.
"That sounds interesting – can I make pictures while you're at it?" Sarah's sister spoke-up for the first time since they arrived at the scene.
"...why don't we wait and see?" was all that Connor could say, after a pause. "Mr. Lester might have some views about it..."
...And when the ARC field crew returned from the field, smelling like something from a whaling ship, James Lester had certainly views about it – but that is another story.To be continued...