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 The Island Prologue

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Dinosaur Fact File Curator
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PostSubject: The Island Prologue    Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:42 am

Here's the first couple chapters to my own fanfiction:

This is the first JP fanfiction I've ever done, and will be covering the first few days that Sarah Harding spent on Isla Sorna before the rest show up. It starts from when Hammond called her and will end with meeting up with the rest of the team.

Prologue: The Call

Looking through her binoculars, Dr Sarah Harding observed one of the most famous and dangerous large predators known to man. The behavioral paleontologist watched, transfixed, as the great animal tore into her meal, great jaws gnashing into raw flesh, jawline becoming stained red as the powerful female consumed her morning meal. Setting down her large, heavy, binoculars, Harding picked up a worn notepad and hastily scribbled, “Panthera leo, common name: African Lion. 5am feeding time @ San Diego Wild Animal Park” with her quickly dulling pencil before setting the notepad back down to watch the lioness share her meal with two cubs that had recently been introduced to the park. They had been found in the back of a truck, poachers had been caught trying to sneak them across the Tanzanian border, where they could reach a hefty sum for each cub from rich celebrities overseas. However, the San Diego Wild Animal Park learned of the two young cubs and gladly took them in. After feeding the two little fur-balls a supplementary diet of bovine milk, the park slowly began to introduce the cubs to the other lionesses in the park, one of which quickly became attached to them.

Watching the cubs playing with each other, Harding remembered that what looked like playful kittens now, would grow to become several hundred kilogram predators, where their playful nips and swipes would become deadly slashes and bites. Checking her watch, Sarah noted that it was almost 5:30, the sun would be rising over San Diego soon. Just as Harding was about to return to her observations, she heard a truck pull up. Looking back after a swish of her wavy red hair, Harding saw Richard Levine hop out of the blue S-10. Young, naive, and incredibly annoying, Levine seemed to love showing off his knowledge through the use of overly complicated technical language that drove his colleagues up the wall. Harding personally was hoping for a chance to slap the kid and tell him to speak English.

“Harding! Phone call!” yelled Levine, his hand cupped over his mouth so his voice would carry. Sarah cringed and rolled her eyes. “Not now, Levine, I’m busy”, Sarah hissed, looking anxiously back at the lioness and two cubs, who were looking at her direction. Unfortunately, Sarah looked back disappointingly as the adult quickly led the two cubs away from the “carcass”, which was really nothing more than a bull that the park bought from the surplus of local butcher shops. Irritated, Harding unceremoniously shoved her notepad, binoculars, and pencil into her lucky pack and closed it with the draw string. Swinging the battered and frayed bag over her muscled shoulders, and climbed down from her rock to meet Levine on the grassy ground. Late summer and lack of rain has left the grass shriveled and dusty, and a short cloud of dust bloomed around Harding’s boots as she landed. “Now, what do you want?” Sarah asked impatiently. “You have a phone call from a Dr. John Hammond. I told him you were out in the field, but he insisted on speaking with you. I told him you’d call him back within the hour.”

Sarah looked at Levine, his young, boyish face, the face of a kid fresh out of grad school, and sighed. “All right, let’s go…” Getting into the passenger seat, Harding wedged her ancient day pack between her legs and the floor. Levine got into the driver’s side and started the car, which gave a short stutter as its 6 cylinder started. Leaning back in the cloth seat, Sarah closed her eyes as the sun started to break to reveal the clear, nearly cloudless, deep blue sky of dawn. The headlights spooking a few of the smaller rodents that made their home in the man-made Savannah, Levine glanced over at Harding’s pack and raised his left brow. Harding, cracking an eyelid, caught Levine staring and bemusedly asked “See anything you like?” Coughing, Levine felt his face go red. He knew Harding was in a long distance relationship with some mathematician, and he didn't mean to be checking her out… though she did have nice legs. “H-heh, uh, no. No, I mean, Sarah, that bag of yours looks like it’s on its last breath. Couldn’t you afford anything better?” Harding laughed, she got that question all the time, everywhere she went, people eyed her bag as if she stole it from some hobo. “This bag? Yeah, they don’t quite make ‘em like this anymore. You’d be lucky to find a bag that could last half as long and still be as strong and trustworthy as the day you bought it. No, all appearances aside, this bag is in perfect health.” Levine didn't reply, and the two sat in silence for the next twenty minutes as they rode down the safari tour road and out of the park.

As the two entered the Visitor’s Lodge, Harding went to the phone. “Hey Levine, didja happen to catch his number?” Levine, who had just entered his office, called back, “Dammit! No, I didn't. …Check the caller ID, it might be in there.” Sarah looked at the phone. It was your average office phone, this particular one only bought last month, and had caller ID, which meant Harding could go back and see who called in case she missed the phone while she was out. Scrolling through the log, Sarah found the number. It was a New York City number, with the name ‘Hammond, J.’ labeling it. Dialing the number, it rang twice before somebody picked up. The voice was that of an elderly Englishman, his voice rough with age.

“Hello? Who is this?” the voice, which must’ve belonged to Hammond, answered.

“Um, Mr. Hammond? My name is Sarah Harding and I’m returni-“

“Ah, Dr. Harding! What a pleasure it is to finally hear your voice. My name is John Hammond, and I would like it very much if you would come up to my residence in New York for a chat. I have a very, very interesting proposition that I think you’ll gladly accept. Uh, can you be here by noon?”

Harding listening only partially; it wasn't uncommon for her to receive calls from eccentric grandfathers, hoping to impress their grandchildren with a “dinosaur hunter”, as she had been called on more than one occasion. “Um, Mr. Hammond-“

“Please, call me John! No need for such formalities, never much cared for them in the first place.” Hammond stated, cutting Sarah off.

“Okay …John, may I inquire as to what we will be discussing?”

There was a pause, and the sound of Hammond clearing his throat. “Well, you see my dear, until a few days ago, I was the owner of a bioengineering company by the name of ‘InGen’. We made spectacular work, and had an absolutely beautiful island, with no expense spared, that we were to open to the public if not for a rather unfortunate accident that made me realize how wrong I was. I believe you’re acquainted with Dr. Ian Malcolm?”

Harding was puzzled now. She thought this chapter had been long ago forgotten, Ian certainly never wanted to discuss it, especially after a man named Peter Ludlow publicly humiliated and slandered him after he tried to explain what had really happened. Harding believe him, of course, but only in a comforting, ‘I’m-his-girlfriend’ sort of way. Skepticism was a pillar of science. Harding was brought out of her train of thought when Hammond continued, “Well, you see, our production facility was on another island almost 100 miles from the resort, and a few weeks ago, a wee girl was injured while her family was picnicking upon it. She survived, thankfully, but the resulting lawsuit lost me control of my own company to the Board of Directors. Unfortunately, they believe that they can succeed where I failed, and plan to pillage this island within the next week or so. I need you to go down there with a team and document the animals I created over four years ago. Public opinion is the only thing I can legally use to stop this nonsense, but for it to be successful, you are an absolute necessity.”

Harding was nearly speechless, she heard the stories that Ian had told her, but she always thought they were just that, campfire stories to scare his kids. Remembering Hammond was still on the line, she quickly responded, “But, M- John, surely you can’t mean-”

“I assure you, I do.” Hammond calmly replied.

“But, even for genetic engineering, it couldn't be possible. The DNA half-life alone-“

“Wasn't a problem. I assure you, m’dear, these animals are alive and well, and even flourishing on, of all places, a Costa Rican tropical island.”

Harding could barely believe what she was hearing. She, a behavioral paleontologist, being offered the chance of a life time, any paleontologist in their right mind would jump as such as chance, but Harding knew better than to throw caution to the wind, and so all she had to say to Hammond was, “Show me…”

Ch. 1: Proof and Preparations

Sarah Harding had quickly packed her lucky pack with a few essential sundries and two extra changes of socks and underwear, filling the rest with a new notepad, a water bottle, a pack of pencils, and other field necessities such as her collapsible shovel and her Leatherman. She had then boarded the next flight to New York she could make.
When Sarah arrived at the address on Park Avenue, she was greeted by an elderly Butler who politely escorted her to Hammond’s bedroom office. When she arrived, Sarah was surprised to find somebody already there. Dressed in jeans, workman’s boots, and a green polo that read “Carr Mechanics” on it, was a balding man with dark hair, his stomach hanging slightly over his belt.  As the two talked, the elderly Englishman with groomed white hair and a goatee surrounding his mouth to match glanced over to her and quickly smiled with a twinkle in his grey eyes. Sarah Harding assumed this was John Hammond. He was obviously very comfortable with presenting things to an audience.

“Ah, Dr. Harding. Let me introduce you to Eddie Carr, he is our equipment expert. I've just been discussing over the details of how our rides are coming along, and I am happy to hear they will be ready to enter the field within the week.” Hammond stood with a custom made cane that looked like it had been made to resemble a thin vertebral structure, yet he spoke with the excitement of a child, his voice light and cheerful. “Now, to business. If you would and Mr. Carr would join me next to my computer console here.”

Walking over, the pair followed Hammond has he made his way to the computer on his desk that was buried behind mountainous stacks of paperwork all filed away in manila folders. Clicking away his screensaver of a waving cartoon DNA strand, Hammond brought up a map of a triangular shaped island, labeled in the upper left corner as ‘Isla Sorna’. “This,” Hammond announced, “Is Isla Sorna. Sorna was meant to be the factory that guests weren't supposed to realize existed. The lab seen on our Isla Nublar resort was just a scaled down version that did mild laboratory tasks as a show for the tourists. Think of the two as a factory/store pairing. Sorna was the factory, where large scale production occurred and made sure that there was always a healthy stock readily available for whatever reason. Nublar was more like a storefront: guests saw everything available, but not the exact process of how it's created. They get to see a numbed version the process, where you went from one room where DNA was being extracted, and the next room somehow had dinosaurs already in eggs with several key steps somehow happening between walls. The Nublar facility was a showroom that showed off a shadow of the true process.”

As Hammond finished explaining, he leaned back on his cane, looking quite proud of himself. “However, circumstances have led the Board of Directors to remove me as CEO of InGen, and as I told you each already, my nephew plans on trying to resurrect the Jurassic Park Project at my original site in San Diego. The thing you must understand about these creatures is that they cannot be contained. They are living, breathing, animals that require our respect and admiration, not our dominance. Such magnificent animals don’t deserve to be locked away inside tiny enclosures at a zoo. That is why I have called a team together. Our third member, Nick Van Owen, is a video documentarian well-seasoned in working in dangerous situations. He’s currently at a trial right now and so couldn't be here for this meeting. Nothing serious; mere parking tickets. Once Mr. Carr’s equipment is finished at the end of the week, you can get on your way. I want a full documentation of these behaviors and interactions of these animals.” Picking up one of the thinner manila folders on his desk, Hammond handed it to Harding. “This contains a long list of questions I would like answered to the best of your abilities while in the field. I am confident you will achieve your task.”

Looking down, Sarah thumbed through the pages, spotting questions that dealt with nurturing, diet, and social behaviors, among many others. Noticing Hammond lean back over the keyboard, Sarah couldn't look away as the island flared alive with color. “This,” said Hammond, “is our satellite infra-red feed. It shows all the animals we have on the island, and markers the dozens of species that my company had managed to clone. This cluster here near the center is a Velociraptor pack that had found their home among the Worker Village that once housed the island employees, whereas another pack,” continued Hammond, “has nested near our old production facility. We have several other species of carnivorous dinosaur that seem to prefer the island interior, so I would find it most suggestible that you and the rest of your team try to stay on the outer rim here in this northern point. There are plenty of herbivores there for you to document, so don’t worry about never seeing anything.”

Sarah only nodded. This whole situation was overwhelming and all she could do was nod as her brain worked over time trying to process all the information she was being given. Looking up, Sarah noticed Eddie on a blackberry device, which he stuffed away quickly. “Mr. Hammond,” Eddie spoke, “I’m afraid I must go for now. I’ll keep you updated on my shop’s progress, but right now, the map you custom ordered has arrived and the poor dopes who are trying to install it don’t understand enough Spanish to glue it right-side up. Hell, I don’t even know Spanish, this is never going to work without Nick here.” Sighing, and pinching his brow, Eddie simply resigned to shaking Hammonds' hand with a polite farewell, and left.

Sarah Harding then looked to Hammond. They needed to talk. “Mr. Hammond, if I may have a word, I believe I should get a head start on the research expedition. I believe I can make more progress on my own than with large, bulky equipment. I would be able to observe the animals without any outside interference besides myself, which would minimize the risks.”

“But my dear, wouldn't you feel better if you waited for the observation equipment? Mr. Carr had acquired an elevated observation platform just for the occasion. Really a spectacular tool, spared no expense. In fact, that reminds me.” Digging through the piles of folders, Hammond pulled out a blocky, rectangular, wireless phone the size of a small brick. “This is a satellite phone that Eddie designed specifically for the trip. Compact and easy to use, this phone is waterproof and is sealed against dirt. I suggested he design such a device as so to give us a way to communicate during this week up to the expedition.”

“Not on my life, John. I need to get there first. You don’t understand how important it is to me.” Sarah said, adamant in her choice.

“Very well my dear. Just do be careful."

“Of course. Thank you again, for this wonderful opportunity John. I won’t make you regret it.” Stuffing the folder and the phone into her rucksack, Harding gave her farewells to Hammond before letting the butler escort her back out the door. Grabbing a taxi, Sarah rode to JFK International, bought her ticket to San Juan, and waited impatiently for her chance to begin an adventure 65 million years in the making.

Ch. 2: The Island

Sarah stood in the late afternoon sun, on the dock of a remote Costa Rican village. The small coastal fishing village of Puerto Cortez was made up of a row of wooden shanties, the frail looking structures being shops as much as homes to the poor villagers. Everything in the community depended on where they lived. From the fish they traded for supplies, to the very forest surrounding them that gave them the timber to ensure their homes remained leak proof for the upcoming dry season. Despite the calendar telling Harding that it was late may, it might as well already been summer here. Standing on the dock, waiting for the two fishermen who would take her to Isla Sorna, Sarah could over hear them bickering. From what she remembered of her Spanish classes during college, Harding could make out that the greasy clothed man on the right, Diego, arguing with his fisherman cousin, Gondoca, over their destination.

Diego apparently thought that Gondoca was being superstitious over the mythos that surrounded the islands offshore, while Gondoca insisted to his cousin (who appeared to be somewhat of a moocher) wasn’t taking the stories of the disappearing fisherman seriously, and that his boat was his entire life. Diego reminded his cousin of the money that Harding had promised them, and that it would help them with the dwindling profits from the quickly disappearing fish stock. Defeated, Gondoca sighed and pinched his brow, then they both turned to Harding.

“We are sorry you had to see that, senorita.” Said Gondoca. “We will supply you with your boat trip, but we will not stay long. They say these islands are cursed; they are no good for staying on. There is talk of winged demons that devour entire ship crews, and a huge finned monster with the head of a crocodile. And then there is the sea monster…” Sarah shrugged off the fisherman’s warnings as local superstition. The Costa Ricans were known for their tales of vampiric beasts that devoured whole herds of livestock, and ghosts that came down from the mountains to steal children in the night.
“Thank you, Senor Gondoca.” Said Sarah with a smile. She knew better than to pick a fight over native superstition, and so boarded the cousin’s fishing trawler. The sun was fading fast, and Sarah didn’t want to be finding a camping spot in the dark. The seas weren’t very rough, thankfully, and they made good time.  Sarah soon saw Isla Sorna, the huge island rising out of the sea like a dark, rocky monster. Sights like this undoubtedly were the source of the superstitions. And it probably wasn’t helpful that the waves made the roaring sound of an otherworldly predator as they smashed upon the rocks.

Chugging up to a beachhead, Gondoca was careful not to come too close to the sharp, volcanic rocks. The sea had become torrential here, and a single wave could sink them all. Jumping over the side of the boat, Sarah waved good-bye as Gondoca quickly threw his boat in reverse, the propellers churning up the sandy sea bottom and  turning the already murky water a muddy brown.

As Sarah looked around the island, her lucky pack strung over her shoulders, the first thing she noticed was how lively it sounded. The noise of bugs permeated the foggy dusk air. The sun was quickly meeting the horizon, casting a primordial orange glow over the beach, and it’s weedy, pebble pitted sand. This was definitely not a vacation spot. Sarah knew she could not stay on the beach, as predators likely stalked near the open water source, hoping for fish that washed ashore. Indeed, there were some remnants of the tridactyl tracks of a theropod.

Walking inland, eastward, Sarah Harding headed into the wild.

]Ch. 3 Studies, Day 1

Waking up as the dawn light hit her face; Sarah Harding recoiled from the light as she lay in her small, Spartan-style sleeping bag. Squinting as she tried to open her eyes, Sarah yawned then unzipped the side of her sleeping bag, and grabbed one of her boots. Turning the boot upside down, Sarah shook it to ensure no spiders had crawled into it during the night, and it seemed none had. Satisfied, Sarah strapped on her boot and did the same process with the other one. Standing up, it took a while for Sarah to remember where exactly she was. She was used to the nightlife noises that chorused through nature; that didn’t bother her at all. But she was certain she had heard other, stranger, noises during the night. Perhaps something that sounded of high pitched squawking and chirping, that went away when Sarah had lifted her head up in the middle of the night to listen harder for the noises. Sarah picked up her sleeping bag, shook it to remove dirt and leaves that had clung to the bottom overnight, and rolled it up and stuffed it into the bottom of her bag.
Sitting down onto a nearby fallen tree, Sarah pulled out the packet of questions Hammond had tasked her with answering on her expedition. Looking down the list, Sarah spotted the usual ecological points: diet, predation, location, digestion, rearing; the list went on. Pulling out her field notebook from her pack, and a pencil to go with it, Harding stuck the pamphlet between the pages of her notebook, and set the bundle next to her on the log. Reaching back into her pack, Sarah pulled out a simple, brown scrunchy which she used to tie back her hair. Pulling her camera out of the pack, Sarah then pulled the drawstring on the bag, strapped it to her shoulders, and grabbed her field book before beginning her hike.

Sitting down on another fallen log, Sarah pulled off her boot and shook the dirt from inside it. She had been walking for hours, according to her watch, and had not come across a single dinosaur. The only sign of wildlife at all was the constant whistling of birds, and the occasional chirps and squawks she heard that sounded reminiscent of the vocalizations she heard last night. Just as she was putting her other boot back on, Dr. Harding heard it: a crashing noise as something big moved through the forest. Excitedly, Sarah threw on her pack and grabbed her notebook as she quietly chased after the source of the sound.

As she closed in, Sarah ducked behind a large patch of ferns. The forest over here was more coniferous than the classical jungle that marked the coastline. Great redwoods reached upward 300 feet into the sky, their deep red bark was patched green with moss, and their immense branches ensured little sunlight reached the fern covered, rich red dirt of the forest floor. Peeking from behind the fern, Sarah spotted what she was hoping to see! Dinosaurs! A herd of them, five members that could be counted, grazing in a small clearing like humongous, dopey looking deer. Grabbing her field notebook, Sarah began to record everything about them she saw.  
‘5 Ankylosaurus; 2 adults, 3 juveniles. Armored, near-black dorsal sides and pale undersides. Older members seem to gain reddish markings on side of cranium. Grazing at 11:19am. Adults seem to reach roughly 3m tall and 8m long’ With the description, Sarah drew a sketch of one of the adults, and included footnotes with the image that labeled changes between the juveniles. Just as she had finished, the herd moved on, into the forest. Quickly, Sarah rushed forward to inspect their meal. ‘Diet: soy plant, nearby vegetation relatively untouched. Ergo seem to prefer the soy.’ Poking around, Sarah found what she was looking for. ‘Evidence of feeding site suggests bovid-style digestion process. Methane signatures over island are possible.’ Setting down her notebook, Sarah reached into her pack for a plastic baggy. Pulling one out, she picked up a small pinch of the putrid, green cud that had lain at the chewed stem of the soy plant, and placed it into the baggy, then sealed the bag, removing trace of the smell. Sticking the baggy into her pack, Sarah wiped the remnants on her jacket before picking her field book back up and decided to follow the herd.

Their trampled pathway was easy to navigate, and Sarah ensured to keep low and downwind of the herd. Though this wasn’t the best plan for her nose, Sarah decided to tie her bandana around her nose and mouth to keep the scent that followed the huge, fermenting herbivores from entering her lungs. The Ankylosaurus herd seemed to eat on the move now, and they headed outwards, towards the coast. Sarah would stop every so often to inspect the dietary sources the Ankylosaurus had been ingesting. Sarah noticed that the herbivores were strangely very picky eaters, and preferred the soy, Lima, and avocado vegetation that grew on the island over the other foliage choices. Following the herd outwards, Sarah noticed she had followed them onto a long, extensive stretch, the contents of which took her breath away.

As the Ankylosaurus herd moved down the rocky slope and into the valley, Sarah spotted a rocky outcropping and immediately climbed into it and pulled her notebook out and scribbled as much as she could take in. Within the valley was a huge bounty of herbivores. Sarah spotted a herd of Parasaurolophus, sticking close to a group of Mamenchisaurs. The herd of Ankylosaurus that she had been following had found themselves next to a thin, shallow stream that cut through the near side of the valley. Far off, Sarah spotted the distinctive skulls of several Brachiosaurs, some of them speckled green, the others a muddy brown, clearly representing sexual dimorphism! Just as Sarah began coming down from the euphoria she was feeling from the sight, a noticeable stir began in the Parasaurolophus. They began closing in on each other and letting out loud trumpeting sounds. The other animals took notice and began to clear away from the valley. The Parasaurolophus began edging away, too, their attention drawn to something at the far end of the valley. Walking away, the herd soon picked up distance when Sarah spotted the source of the alarm.

Bursting from the trees, a huge, dark green theropod body moved on the Parasaurolophus herd. A Tyrannosaurus rex, the greatest predator North America had ever known, found comfort in hunting his age old prey of choice: the hadrosaurid. As the herd began stampeding in an effort to get away from the massive predator, some of the younger ones fell behind. Taking notice, the T. rex immediately picked out its favorite and struck, biting down on the back of the sub-adult, crushing its spine instantly. Flopping down to the ground, the Parasaurolophus was finished, as the Tyrannosaurus made out a large bellow to scare away any potential rivals. Sarah took notes every step of the way. She estimated the Tyrannosaurus to be roughly twelve meters long, and about four and a half meters at the hip. The upper contours of the Tyrannosaurus were lined in dark striations, and the dorsal was intersected with what appeared to be yellow.

Sarah had finished her documentation, and was now content at simply watching until there was little more than a bloody carcass left, meat dangling from the bones. Picking up the carcass, the Tyrannosaurus carried it back in the direction it had come from. Sarah watched as the herbivores began to return to the valley. Sarah saw no better place than this to set up camp, and so pulled her sleeping bag out of her pack and laid it on the flat, rocky surface. Checking she was downwind of the valley, Sarah placed her pack into her sleeping bag. Just as she set down her notepad into the sleeping bag, Sarah’s stomach gave a gurgle; she was hungry.

Ch. 4 Lunchtime

Sitting upon the rock overlooking the game trail, Sarah Harding dug into her aged khaki backpack and pulled out two things: a dark grey mobile phone the size of a brick yet half the width, and a turkey sandwich tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Sarah unwrapped the sandwich, the bread being soggy from its encasing. Taking a bite, Sarah was happy to find the wrapping hadn’t affected the taste; of what taste there was.  

Picking up the phone, Sarah studied it. It wasn’t a cellular phone; this phone didn’t require cellular towers to work. It was a satellite phone of Eddie Carr’s own design with a GPS built into it. It could easily fit in a small case the length of a monitor screen. Pulling out the case and opening it, Sarah plugged the phone into the case and turned on the phone. With an electric whir, the small satellite dish extended from the case and began transmitting. The case has a rugged honeycomb steel exterior with a padded vinyl interior that also held a small keyboard for making faxes. The face of the phone glowed florescent green and black digital letters appeared on its screen as Sarah dialed the number to Eddie’s shop. Placing the phone down on the rock surface and taking another bite into her sandwich, Sarah selected the option to fax and began sending her notes to Eddie Carr. These would help Eddie make modifications to his vehicles so that he would be prepared for the expedition ahead. While she was on the plane ride to Costa Rica, she had thumbed through Eddie’s file, which included conceptual drawings of vehicles. One of the vehicles being built was a modified Fleetwood RV. Its back end had been cut open to allow for the attachment of second, smaller, trailer that connected to the first by an elastic accordion tunnel.

Finished with her fax, Sarah turned off the phone and unplugged it from the case, which she closed and put back into her bag. While digging into her back, Sarah pulled out a Camelback brand water bottle and took a small swig from to wash down her sandwich. The sitting back to finish her sandwich watch the with her notebook open, Sarah was surprised when she heard squeaking and rustling from a patch of ferns behind her. Sarah had turned her head to the noise just in time to catch two small green animals pop out of the brush. The two animals were grassy green with a very lithe build. They stood on two slender legs that held a long slender body. Their necks were pencil thin and supported large triangular heads. As they approached, their heads bobbed like a chicken and their tails swayed as they were held straight out to support their bodies. From her studies, Sarah recalled them to be Compsognathus, a small Jurassic carnivore, believed by many of her colleagues to be scavengers due to their delicate stature.

Sarah was fascinated by the creature’s courage. Even most wild animals were timid around strange animals, and dinosaurs should have been no exception. Sarah was a little unnerved by the creature’s complete lack of fear as they stopped less than a foot in front of her and became transfixed by her turkey sandwich. Sarah almost had an urge to feed the wide eyed little theropods, but her common sense told her otherwise. She did not want the animals to associate her with food. Standing up, the Compsognathus hopped backwards a few steps and chirped. Stomping her boots and flailing her arms, Sarah tried to make herself as fearsome as possible to the small dinosaurs, and it worked. The two Compsognathus gave frightened chirps and scattered back into the foliage. Satisfied, Sarah resumed her notes but one thought couldn't escape her mind: maybe Compsognathus wasn't such a scavenger after all....

Ch. 5: Studies, Day 1

The encounter from the Compsognathus still fresh in her mind, the behavioral paleontologist looked back at her notes. The pages of her Sokkia Field Book she brought with her had begun to crumple slightly, but the dry white pages remained firm in place. Picking up her pencil, Sarah wrote down everything that came to mind.

Species: Compsognathus longiceps

No. of individuals: 2

Small, no feathers to be seen. Possible mutation? Seemed unfazed by my presence. Possibly not scavengers?  *Need to find what and where they eat.

With that, she closed her flat pencil in the book to mark her last page, and stuff it back in her rucksack. Sighing, she looked up at the trees around her. They towered upwards, hundreds of feet in the sky. The branches of their youth broken off, leaving jagged pikes sticking out of their gigantic girth. It wasn't unheard of to find patches of pine forests among the tropical islands of the Pacific. She knew Hawaii had them from her high school senior trip, but an entire Redwood ecosystem? She was amazed! The dark red wood of the trees around her, thick enough to drive a truck through, was lined with moss, and lichen. This truly felt like an alien place to her.

Getting up and shouldering her bag, Sarah began walking aimlessly. She was too enthralled by the beauty of the land around her. The size of the trees ensured little sunlight could reach the forest floor, which was littered with ferns. She found that the fronds were bigger than her head, and grew up around the forest floor like weeds. Off in the distance, she could hear a large animal roar. It didn't sound like the Tyrannosaurus she saw earlier, it sounded higher pitched, louder, and more bestial. Up ahead, she heard a loud moaning groan. It didn't sound unlike the casual groans elephants made. Sarah could feel it reverberating in the air around her. She stopped, hoping she could pinpoint the noise's direction. It seemed to be moving, but at an excruciatingly low pace, almost as if it wasn't moving at all. Sarah moved towards the direction it was coming from, almost tripping on the knobby roots of a nearby tree as she did. That's when she saw them. Up ahead was a heard of huge animals, nearly the size of small Asian elephants. They were all the same color, except for some of the younger smaller ones. The adults were a speckled gray, with rings of faint blue around their big doe eyes. A few of the infants were a pebbling green. Adults had huge horns upon their heads. Sarah was looking at a heard of Triceratops!

Quickly and quietly, she pulled her rucksack off her shoulders, flipped the flap over and undid the drawstring. She slipped her field book out, and began scribbling furiously. She wrote down everything she saw. Size, color, which plants they favored, which they disliked. Then, she replaced her field book, and grabbed her camera. She would never have a better chance than now to snap a few photographs. Checking to make sure it was on and had film, she removed the lens cover. Focusing the camera, she tapped the button and there was a flash of light. Sarah instantly looked up from her camera, mouth contorted into a horrified frown, and looked at the herd before her. Every single head was turned in her direct. She heard one of the adults give a piercing, shrieking roar. Sarah had just made a horrible mistake. Their thick, frilled heads turned outwards, their infants in the center of a huge phalanx of ceratopsians, Sarah looked with a mixture of fascination and dread. She hurriedly put her camera back in her pack, closed the drawstring and began to stand up slowly. She didn't want to make any sudden movements and anger the adults further.

Unfortunately, that didn't go as planned. With a high pitched groan, the largest adult in the herd charged forward and Sarah jumped sideways, barely missing the huge, padded feet of the animal. Coming back around, the alpha Triceratops turned her head repeatedly, fixing her gaze on her target: Sarah. Then, she charged again, kicking of red dust with her feet and snorting through her nose. Sarah quickly ducked behind a large tree, wider than the frill of the Triceratops facing her. The Triceratops never had a chance in changing direction, and slammed her huge horns into the tree. With a great crack, the beast staggered backward, and shook her head. One of her long, thin horns over he right eye had broken right in half, leaving a bloody, broken two foot stump in its place. Sarah got on her hands and knees, and spotted a large grove of ferns, tall enough to hide her from the enraged, protective herd leader. Crawling forward, she could hear the other Triceratops stamping around and snorting. The redheaded woman simply scurried further, trying as best she could not to draw attention to herself. How could she have been so stupid? She had forgotten to turn the flash off on her camera. She may very well have caused irreparable damage to that herd. No longer hearing the Triceratops, Sarah felt it safe enough to stand back up. Doing so, she could hear the sound of rushing water and found a shallow creek bed. Looking at both sides, ensuring there were no animals around, Sarah took her lucky pack back off and removed her canteen from one of the pockets. She filled it up, and then decided to have a taste.

Putting the clear, blue Camelback to her lips, she found it tasted wonderful! Just like the filtered tap water back home. Without human presence on the island, the water was crystal clean, without impurities or hazardous materials leaking into it. Sarah jumped into the creek, the water not going up far past her ankles. The water didn't enter the leather of her boots, and she decided to walk down the shallow creek to see where it lead. That's when she saw them: Huge, bigger than any species known to science! Their hollow moaning echoed across the primordial forest. Sarah Harding had found a herd of Stegosaurus! Their gigantic, olive green bodies shone in the late afternoon sunlight that filtered down to the muddy creek bed. There where three of them. Two large adults, and a third not quite an adult. This was very different from the Triceratops, which seemed to be only a single gender and infants. Looking further, she could see a small infant in the center of them. Fascinating! Stegosaurus held family groups like great apes! These wee larger than any other herd she had seen before. Watching them, Sarah quietly brought out her notebook and started scribbling away.

Species: Stegosaurus (sp. ?) They're huge, I don't know if they're a known species. If a new species I will name them S. gigas.
No. of Individuals: 4; two adults (possibly a mated pair), a sub-adult, and an infant

Size: Adults at least 40ft long. About 15ft tall at the top of their plates. Sub-adult is about the size of the average full grown S. armatus specimen. Infant is smaller, about the size of a truck tire.

Noticing them moving, Sarah packed her things, and got up to follow them... quietly. She removed her pack from her shoulder, and took out her camera. Putting the flash in the off position this time, Sarah made sure to get a perfect shot of the herd broad side. With a quiet click, she watched as the Stegosaurus turned back and looked right at her. Sarah froze. She didn't want a repeat of what just happened. The Stegosaurus howled, but turned back towards the direction they were heading and seemed to give no care about Sarah's presence. The animals trudged up out of the creek and towards a clearing of matted and pressed ferns, surrounded by thick deciduous trees. To Sarah Harding, it was apparent that there was a lush diversity of foliage on this island, both classic jungle and coniferous jungle. Sarah watched as the herd settled down, their massive plates rolling with their weight, their backs crisscrossed with white streaks of bird dung. Sarah Harding could almost giggle. The dinosaurs of modern day coexisting with the dinosaurs of the past. It was just too perfect! Sarah Harding yawned, it had been a hard day. She walked off, still hearing the howls of the Stegosaurus in the distance. Finding a bare patch of earth, Sarah rummaged her light sleeping bag from her thick rucksack and spread it out on the ground. She figured she had enough excitement for one day, and planned to get some sleep. Rummaging in her bag for her last sandwich, she couldn't find any scrap of food within. Looking in her bag, Sarah was disappointed. She must have lost her last sandwich fleeing the Triceratops. Disappointed, and with growing hunger, Sarah Harding propped her bag up to her head for a pillow and laid down to rest.
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PostSubject: Re: The Island Prologue    Tue Jun 07, 2016 7:35 pm

You don't know how glad I am to see this return!
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PostSubject: Re: The Island Prologue    Mon Jun 20, 2016 4:06 pm

Ch. 6: Stegosaurus
Sarah Harding felt the ground tremor beneath her, and heard hollow moans of a gigantic beast nearby her. Looking up, she saw the Stegosaurus preparing to move out for the day. Quickly packing her sleeping bag into her lucky pack, Sarah mounted the pack onto her back, and quietly followed, notebook and pencil in hand. Waiting for the four Stegosaurus to move away, Sarah took the time to pencil in a quick sketch of their bodies. They were gigantic, Sarah couldn't believe it. With another wild howl, the Stegosaurus began to move on, the largest in front, and the smallest in the middle. Sarah's stomach growled. She had none of her food left, and he was hungry. It was just past dawn, and the birds were chirping. It was going to be a beautiful day. Sarah watched as one of the Stegosaurus paused, only to look down and nuzzle the infant before prodding it to move. Waiting a few minutes, to allow the Stegosaurus to not catch her scent, Sarah moved in. She looked at the bedding site of the Stegosaurus. It was a fern grove, but every fern inside of it had been positively trampled on. However, it wasn't a usual trampling, like the animals had simply stayed there the night. There were rounded clumps of mud strewn about, and the ferns that had been pressed into the dirt had be long dead, their leaves brittle and brown.
Sarah suddenly gasped. She was standing in the nest. Not just a nightly nest, but the next of where the infant she saw earlier was born. Unshouldering her pack, Sarah grabbed her camera, and started photographing everything. There was bits from the original mud nest thrown everywhere, and everywhere she looked, she could see tiny fragments of shells laying here and there. The infant had definitely been here a while, much longer than last night. Out of the corner of her eye, Sarah saw something move. Looking over, she tiptoed towards it, and saw it again. The patch of ferns in front of her twitched. Looking curiously at it, she squinted, only for a long, thin triangular head to pop out, hissing loudly. Sarah jumped back, and tripped on a root sticking up from the ground. Falling on her rear with and "Umpf!" Sarah scowled at the little Compsognathus, which was now hopping towards her, chirping cheerfully.
"Go! Shoo! Scat!" yelled Sarah.
She was seriously annoyed at the small animal now. They seemed to have no fear of larger animals, and that seriously spooked Sarah. Animals naturally had a fear of other animals larger than them, but these Compsognathus were exceptions. Getting back up, Sarah looked side to side, before walking away. She put her camera back in her bag and put her bag back on her shoulders. However, even as she walked towards the direction the trampled foliage led, she could here the small theropod scampering behind her. Mild discomfort and annoyance were now leading into worry. This was not normal behavior from a small scavenger. Turning back, Sarah saw the Compsognathus perched contently on the knobby root of a nearby redwood. Sarah stamped her feet, and waved her hands at the small animal, but it never budged. Instead, it stared back at her with big twinkling black eyes, and chirped. Sarah sighed, and looked like she had no other choice. She couldn't have a predator following her while she herself followed herbivores. Sarah looked controversially at the Compy, and moved forward. With a wide swing of her boot, Sarah punted the Compsognathus into air. It landed a few yards away. At first, Sarah thought she may have killed the poor creature, until she saw it's long, triangular head poke up above the ferns. It looked at her, before hissing, then turned around and scampered off into the brush. Sarah sighed again. She didn't want to do it, but she really didn't have a choice.
Hearing the howl of the Stegosaurus off in the distance, Sarah began to tip toe off to where the sound was coming from. She followed their noise, and found them back at the creek bed. They were eating now. Browsing a little here and there, they moved every few minutes, further down stream. Sarah paused to look at what they were feasting on. Soy and other beans again. These animals were also feeding on lysine rich plants. Looking up, towards the sky, it was almost mid-day now. How had the time passed so quickly, Sarah wondered. The morning had been eaten up, and now she was following the animals to down the river. She had lost the Stegosaurus among the trees, and continued to walk down the creek bed. Stopping and wiping her brown, Sarah took a swig from her water bottle, before climbing out of the creek, and back into the forest.
That was when she saw them, the family group she had been following. They were coming her way, and looking to go back into the creek bed. Heading back down to the creek, Sarah  removed her lucky pack. Her pack was beginning to feel heavy again, so she removed it, and placed it on the rocks of the creek bed, then went to hide behind a gigantic fallen redwood. The Stegosaurus had been heading this way, and she wanted the perfect shot of them coming out of the tree line. Hearing the rumbling and groaning, that was when she heard them.
"Sarah Harding!!!"
"Sa- !"
It was at that moment when Sarah saw them come out of the trees. They were huge, magnificent and beautiful! The two largest Stegosaurus came out first, followed quickly by the sub-adult and at last, Sarah watched as the small infant scurried after its larger brethren. Looking up at the tree beside her, Sarah saw him. Nick Van Owen, video documentarian for the trip. He was snapping away with his camera, so preoccupied he never even saw her. It was then that Sarah got a devilish idea. Standing up, Sarah yelled out.
"Hey Nick!"
And laughed wickedly when he tumbled into the patch of grasses behind him.
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