Episode Three: Meetings and Partings
Xander ditched the remains of his meal as his ride traveled through the park in the dark, and wasn’t that a fun thought, traveling a theme park full of dinosaurs in the middle of the night. The fences had large lights surrounding them, but most of those lights had been deactivated when the fences shut down a second time.
There was no way to get any bearings without enough light to see by, signs passed occasionally indicating which road went where, but Xander wasn’t feeling particularly reckless to abandon the ride until he knew exactly where he was heading. He needed to get to that boat.
If only he could get the stupid computer to shut up about the damn attractions and stuff, it was beginning to get on his nerves. If he had to listen to anymore sentences about the thrills of Jurassic Park or the food available at the restaurant he was going to smash the damn console with his foot.
“Did you guess Dilophosaurus?”
“No I didn’t.” Xander muttered under his breath.
Xander blinked and stared out of the driver’s side door, which he still hadn’t shut, but he was sort of hoping another one of those chicken sized dinosaurs might be tempted to leap in so he could scrounge up another meal. Now he was hearing voices.
“For instance, we now know that many Theropod dinosaurs from the Jurassic period’s vocal organs are just like modern birds.”
Xander spotted movement outside as the vehicle began to slow to a stop, this was the first time it had actually done something like that and he was a little surprised that the programmers thought to include such a gimmicky tourist trap. Xander knew he’d heard a voice though.
Carefully he watched to see what had moved, prepared to finally shut the door of the vehicle if need be. Standing outside of the vehicle nearby were two people, a man dressed in a park uniform and a woman in a more casual ensemble. Nervously breaking out into a broad grin he slowly emerged from the now parked vehicle. “Hey there, uh… I can explain.”
The woman blinked while the man shot Xander a confused look.
“This isn’t the best time,” the woman said.
“How did you get here? You’re not an employee of Ingen.” The man stared at Xander suspiciously.
Xander chuckled and held up one of the canteens still holding some water. “That is a very long and definitely strange story. Personally though I’d much rather get off this island and fill you in when we actually have some time. So… Can I offer anyone a lift?” Breaking out into an inviting smile he indicated the vehicle.
The woman offered a curt nod in response. “As a matter of fact, you can.” Taking the canteen she took a quick sip and passed it to her companion.
Xander visibly relaxed, this was the second respite from the adrenaline pumping through him while trying to survive and figure out what was going on, on this island that had happened all day. With a monumental bit of luck it would be the last surprise in store for him before he returned to the boat.
The man approached the vehicle and climbed inside. “I’m Doctor Harding, the park’s veterinarian, this is Nima. Who are you?”
Xander opened the rear door and slid into the backseat while the woman, Nima, circled around to join Doctor Harding in the front. “Xander, I was…” Shaking his head he sighed. “Let’s skip all that, you wouldn’t happen to know how close to the North Docks we are would you?”
“As a matter of fact I do, it’s not too much further past the Marine Exhibit where we need to go, we were separated from some other survivors. Why?” Doctor Harding asked glancing at Xander in the rearview mirror while they waited for the vehicle to start up again.
Nima shot Xander a look, one that the young man had seen on a handful of people in the past few days, and throughout the rest of his lifetime. One that said she was keeping a really big secret and didn’t need any trouble right now.
“No big reason, it’s how I got here, in a way. I’ve been trudging through the jungles on this god forsaken speck of land trying to get back there ever since.”
“You came here by the north docks?” Harding repeated curiously. “How? On a ship?”
Xander only nodded.
Nima shot him a pleading look, obviously she’d figured out that he’d arrived on the ship that was meant to pick up two industrial thieves. And apparently she figured he was one of the contacts she was meant to meet up with.
Xander chuckled. “It’s really kind of stupid actually. Some pals of mine were on a little pleasure trip, got lost in the storm, you know how it is. Any port you can find. Next thing we know we’re being attacked by Pteranodons and… Well to make a pointlessly long story shorter than it has any right to be, after spending the night hiding in one of those empty transport crates of yours some army grunts disturbed the sleeping beastie and I got taken for a little joy ride.”
Harding showed genuine concern as well as a hint of skepticism, but also some measure of fear. “The Pteranodons have escaped the aerie, terrific.”
“Is that going to be a problem?” Nima wondered.
Harding shook his head. “Not for us. Pteranodons don’t typically leave their nests for too long, and usually they only eat fish. I wonder why they attacked you and your friends. Did anyone else survive?”
Xander grimaced. “Just lucky I guess, and no, nobody else survived the attack. My body’s still sore from my impromptu skydiving session when I managed to force the thing to let me go. But hey, no broken bones, so can’t complain too much.”
Harding, despite his fear for his daughter’s life, laughed feeling a sense of calm wash over him. They’d been lucky enough to hook up with this vehicle still running through the park.
Nima gave a tiny smile as well. “Skydiving without a parachute, I know what that’s like, had a bit of a problem with it myself earlier tonight.”
Xander was curious to know what kind of situations the pair of adults might have been experiencing while trapped on the island, but he didn’t really feel like getting into a long drawn out conversation. On the off chance he let something slip he shouldn’t, he wasn’t about to confront this Nima chick right now about making deals with demons. Plenty of time to do that once they got back to the boat.
As the explorer started up again and the damn tour guide started talking again Xander decided however to at least drown him out. “Son of a bitch, I’ve been listening to that guy go on and on for the past three hours, maybe more. Is there any way to shut it off?”
Harding chuckled. “Sorry, Xander, but we’d need to be in the control center to do that.”
Sighing Xander shot the man a look. “You mentioned other survivors, how many?”
“Only three, one of Ingen’s mercenaries, Harding’s daughter and one of the geneticists,” Nima replied.
“They’re going to the marine exhibit to use the phones there to contact the mainland and send us another chopper,” Harding elaborated.
Xander nodded and rummaged through his rucksack pulling out a piece of meat from the small dino, he’d kept a few strips just in case, no sense in going without for too long. Passing it up front he offered a piece to both parties.
“What is this?” Nima wondered.
“Not sure, stripped it off of a little chicken sized dinosaur when it got to close. Had to eat something to keep up my strength,” Xander explained with a shrug.
Harding’s face turned green. “Uh, no thanks.”
Nima shrugged and took the proffered piece of nourishment. A sign that she was willing to make do as well as a sign of trust since Xander hadn’t died from his eating of the creature, biting into it she started to chew.
Xander wasn’t sure what kind of conversation topics were safe at the moment, however he could at least learn first hand about some of what was going on from an employee of the company. Plus it might take the veterinarian’s mind off of worrying about his missing daughter. “So! According to the never-ending chatterbox Ingen cloned a bunch of dinosaurs and built this amazing theme park, with wonderful four star and five star attractions. Can’t wait to see that Jungle River Cruise they keep bringing up, not. How’d they find the dino DNA to even start the cloning process?”
Dr. Harding grimaced slightly. “Fossilized tree sap, or amber as its known, contained the remnants of numerous mosquitoes. They bit the dinosaurs then were trapped in the sap and when our science division discovered a method for extracting the preserved blood they started the cloning process.”
Xander was fairly impressed by this little tidbit of knowledge. “You know I never would have thought that was possible, sounds like something out of science fiction.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve seen enough proof to know it’s real.” Nima’s tone was dry, angry and exhausted.
Xander frowned slightly. “Sounds like you’ve had a longer day than I had.”
“Longer than that, we’ve been on the island for two full nights dealing with escaped dinosaurs. Can’t tell you how many times we were close to death,” Harding said with a sigh. “Nima was even bitten by a species of poisonous dinosaur, and everywhere we seem to go the Rex seems to always be there…”
“You cloned a T-Rex?” Xander interrupted suddenly feeling very nervous.
“Totally loco if you ask me.” Nima shuddered. “Had to run from it myself.”
“And it’s always showing up wherever you seem to be going or just leaving?” Xander pulled out the night vision goggles from his bag and started slipping them over his head.
“Hey, where’d you find those?” Nima asked.
Harding chuckled. “Hammond had them installed in all the tour vehicles, for night owls to enjoy the park’s attractions. What’s wrong, Xander?”
Xander shook his head. “Oh nothing, just making sure we aren’t jumped by the mysteriously lucky Rex. Chances are if it has been following you around all this time maybe its tracking you or something.”
Harding frowned and shook his head. “We do know that the olfactory senses of the Rex are fairly large, she’s tracked prey from a fair distance while we’ve been getting to know her patterns. But I find it hard to believe that she’d be deliberately tracking us across the island just to get a meal, not when the Brachios and other herbivores are easier pickings for her.”
Xander sighed. “She, great it’s a girl too. Uh. I mean. Well ok, you know more about these animals than I do, Doc, but I’m not a very firm believer in coincidences. Somehow I have a really bad feeling she’s been tracking you for some reason, and I’d kind of just like to make sure we aren’t going to get into any big trouble while…”
Nima and Gerry glanced at one another in alarm when Xander trailed off. Both of them turned to ask him what was wrong at the same time, his expression told them that something was wrong. Really wrong.
“Dios Mio, what did you see?”
Xander reached carefully into his rucksack and removed some of the flares. “I don’t want to alarm you, but I just spotted something approaching from the direction we’re heading.”
“What? Not the Rex?” Harding cupped his hand over his eyes to try and see.
“Too small.” Xander shook his head and pulled out the flashlight just in case. “I’ve been listening to that idiot drone on and on during my tour, like I said before, when I got fed up with listening I started tapping at the screen and stumbled onto the fact it was interactive. Anyway, I think I just spotted what the tour called a Velociraptor. Couldn’t be sure with the night vision effect.”
“Not again.” Nima’s fingers twitched, she wished she hadn’t been foolish enough to lose her knife earlier that evening.
“We left the Raptors in the tunnels, unless they came back out at the lab entrance and started trying to cut us off overland I doubt it could be the same group.” Harding took one of the flares and eyed it briefly. “What are we supposed to do with these things?”
Xander chuckled and broke the seal on one of them. “My uh… Uncle, taught me a thing or two about these emergency flares. And if we can find enough…hmmm… this actually might work.”
“What might work? What are you doing?”
“Well, Doc, I’m making us some homemade gunpowder. Might not do much to a Velociraptor, but if we make a loud enough explosion it could scare them away… Or attract something more dangerous, either way I’m going to ‘be prepared’ as the Boy Scouts say.” Xander chuckled and quickly started dumping the contents of the flare into a makeshift mixing bowl.
“You can make gunpowder, out of flares?” Doctor Harding asked skeptically.
Xander nodded. “I’d prefer to do it while we’re standing still, I mean the car is bumping around and all so it could blow up in our faces, but with a bit of know-how and human ingenuity. Yes, I can make gunpowder out of flares.”
“Fine, let us know when it’s ready. And give me those goggles; I’ll keep an eye out for the Raptors.”
Xander silently passed the night vision goggles to Gerry and resumed his work. Passing Nima the flashlight he flicked it on. “Keep that thing steady, I need to see what I’m doing.”
Nima silently nodded.
“And remember, while you’re visiting Jurassic Park, you have nothing to worry about. Our attractions are all, perfectly safe.”
Jess was worried about her father. They’d had a really bad argument recently and she really hoped he’d be ok, but she knew he knew where they were headed. If anything he’d make it to the marine facility and catch up with them while they all waited safely for the helicopter. If it was even safe to stick around one place to wait. The rate they’d been running for their lives from every carnivore Ingen had created for the park she was beginning to feel pretty worn out.
Yoder hadn’t had much of a good time here either. Maybe this was just a cursed place or something. Either way Jess Harding was determined to make it off the island. Now they were in some fish hatchery place designed to feed a bigger fish. She was beginning to get a little nervous. That didn’t stop her inquisitive nature though.
Dr. Sorkin eyed the room with a hint of knowing. She managed to convince Jess that there was nothing strange about the room, but Yoder was another story. Still they had to reach those phones soon enough, she was determined to make Hammond see reason this time, and no amount of interference from Ingen’s Board of Directors was going to prevent her.
“It is the Raptors and they’re heading right for us.” Harding’s nervous tone broke through the drone of the tour guide as the vehicle finally reached the marine exhibit and came to another stop.
Xander dumped some his gunpowder back into the flare casing, it was the only available place to stick it. Plus it already had a built in fuse; although it was a bit shorter than Xander would have preferred. Being possessed by Soldier Boy had been a real blessing on this trip so far, hopefully it wouldn’t end in disaster. Xander knew better than to voice that thought though.
“Are these makeshift bombs ready to use?” Nima wondered glancing between Xander and the nearby trees.
Nodding Xander wiped his brow. “As ready as they’re going to be. Not sure if they’ll work the way I’m hoping, I mean we are talking about making gunpowder out of flare materials so you never can know for sure, but if we’re going to die to those things I’d rather do it fighting than not.”
“Kid, you really know how to sound confident.” Harding chuckled nervously.
“Look, you’ve got to meet up with the others down below or wherever, right?”
“Great, if you can get a helicopter to come anywhere near this place fine, if not just keep heading to the North Docks after you finish hooking up with the others and trying to phone.”
“You’re not sticking with us?” Harding demanded.
“I’ve already got a surefire ride, or at least it should be, it was secured pretty well at the dock before my impromptu flight. I’ll do what I can to get it up and running just in case Ingen is stingy with the helicopters this time after losing so many already.” Xander shot a lopsided smile and kicked the door open. Snatching his rucksack now loaded down with homemade explosives he took off into the night.
“He’s got guts,” Gerry said.
Nima agreed. “So how do we get inside?” she asked.LOADING...
Xander ran as fast as his legs would carry him along the roadway leading back to the Docks, the Raptors that had been heading towards their vehicle earlier had disappeared into the trees rather than flat out attacking the car. There was no telling where they might be.
Xander knew better than to think they’d given up and gone home. These were carnivores after all, and from everything Doctor Harding had said while he was making the bombs they were intelligent. Surprisingly intelligent. Xander’s one hope was that his explosives worked as intended and scared them off, or better yet killed one of them.
Show a predator enough of a dominating force, or that their prey was just too troublesome to go after and they’d give up. That was the plan anyway, unfortunately as a Scooby Xander knew how well plans survived first contact with the enemy.
A sudden roar off to his left from the trees startled him and he almost stumbled over the track in the roadway as he ran.
Two raptors came charging out of the trees, fangs glistening, forearms posed to strike. They raced towards Xander intent on their prey.
Xander grunted briefly and reached into his rucksack. “Ok boys… Er, girls. Let’s see if you like loud noises.” Twisting the top on the first flare-bomb he quickly let fly.
It exploded in mid-air far away from either target. Although the sudden noise was enough to get them to adopt a more cautious approach to their prey.
“Fucking fuses!” Xander cursed as he prepared to toss another bomb. “I’m going to have to let them get really close for comfort if I want to injure any of them.”
At this point a third beast rose up directly in front of Xander, it let out a hissing call of some kind and snapped, the jaws were inches from Xander’s chest.
“Holy!” Xander ducked faster than he’d ever moved before and rolled clear of the beast somehow managing to regain his footing and momentum as he ran right passed the thing. One eye had a long scar running down the face, rendering it blind from that side.
It twisted its body around lightning quick and tried to bite him.
Xander couldn’t be sure if it was the three years of running from vampires, the numerous effects of possession and mystical exposure he’d undergone, or blind dumb luck. But somehow he managed to make it clear of the snapping jaws and kept sprinting away from the creature.
By now however the other two had caught up and Xander was clear in the open, there wasn’t much he could do. These things were fast, like cheetah speeds fast, Xander knew a cheetah could outrun a vampire. So how he was managing his little sprint with them was still a mystery. And one he didn’t have time to question right now.
Setting up another bomb he dropped it behind him as he moved, adopting a serpentine pattern in an attempt to avoid being jumped by the closest predator.
When the bomb exploded managing to make a big noise and nothing much else the raptors still kept chasing him. They weren’t going all out, being cautious, but they were still chasing him.
“Please, I don’t care if you really, really hate me because I hang with the Slayer. Just don’t let me be dino chow.” Xander dropped a third bomb after muttering the prayer to any higher powers who gave a damn. The fuse on this one must have been a lot shorter than he’d thought because it exploded a few seconds after dropping it.
One of the raptors had leapt at Xander as he did. The explosion sent Xander flying forward to come crashing down on his side in a great deal of pain. It also caught the raptor in mid-leap and burned a large hunk of its flesh sending it screaming into a fall. It hit the pavement and tried to get back up, feeling disoriented and confused by the ringing in its ears.
Xander knew he couldn’t keep this pace up. There was only one option, well ok there were two, but one of them lead to a ghastly gruesome death and the other one was so insane even the A-Team wouldn’t have trusted in it. Shrugging off his rucksack as he rolled back to his feet he quickly dropped one of the bombs, now activated, back into it and let fly with all his might. Then he ran, as fast as he could, as far as he could before diving back to the ground.
Confused by this action one of the raptors growled a question to the leader.
The leader let out a sharp bark and moved to deal with this annoying prey.
A rucksack full of homemade explosives then lit up the night with an incendiary blast that would have made Burt Gummer proud.
Panting for breath Xander felt something slimy impact against his back and he instinctively scrambled to get away from it. Glancing behind him in the dark it was hard to make out what had happened, the injured raptor from the smaller explosion was still hissing on the ground nearby. And standing off to one side was the other raptor who was studying everything with a highly calculating look.
Of the leader that had been scared previously by the mercenary with a knife there was very little left in one piece.
Climbing shakily to his feet Xander let out a whooping cry of success and then glared at the lone remaining raptor. It was a stupid move, but he figured he had nothing else to lose at the moment.
The raptor hissed at him in a tone that sounded almost like respect, then it moved to help the injured raptor to its feet and limp slowly off back into the jungle. It paused only once to return Xander’s glare, as if to say, you won this round but we shall return.
Bending down and placing his hands on his knees Xander felt a glowing sense of pride at his accomplishment. He also had to wait to keep moving until the ringing in his ears stopped from being so close to the blast. Now if only the tremor in the ground caused by the blast would settle down and not start some kind of rockslide or earthquake.
Wait a minute? Tremor in the ground. Xander was rooted to the spot, unable to move an inch one way or the other as the biggest foot he’d ever seen attached to an equally large leg appeared on the road in his peripheral vision. Well big being relative, since the Brachiosaur had been huge too, but this was different.
Xander should have known all of that noise would attract something. But the only thought running through his head was one simple word. “SHIT!
The Rex standing in the road leading to the North Docks trying to find the source of the strange sounds which had drawn it here let out a mighty bellow and began to inhale.To Be Concluded…
Bit of a sticky wicket ‘eh? Poor Xander can’t catch a break. Ok, now I have a serious question. For those familiar with the game there are multiple possible endings, and being a kind of morbid guy I’ve got this idea for making multiple endings with Xander present.
Here’s the thing though, I’m not sure which of the endings should be used as the actual ending, while the rest remain relegated to bonus chapters. So I have to ask, which ending you, the readers, would prefer to see as the actual ending of the story.
The best ending where all parties survive, the medium ending where one or another character who failed to survive doesn’t make it, or the worst possible ending in which Xander and only one other survivor makes it off the island in the boat. I don’t want to spoil what that character will be, but then again if you’ve seen the game on youtube or experienced it yourself you’ve probably got some idea of what that ending means.
Leave a review or a private comment if you prefer letting me know which ending I should use as the defacto ending of Episode Four and I’ll make it happen. But I need to get enough reviews to make a difference in the voting process, I mean it would be kind of pointless to choose the ending only one or two reviewers who bother reviewing ask for while so many hits keep happening on the chapter. That’s all from me. Vote and let me know.