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Boundaries

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Blue doesn’t know where they are.

 

Title: Boundaries
Warning: Spoilers for Jurassic World, obviously. Discussion of (graphic?) injuries, and the viewpoint of a carnivore.
Rating: PG-13
Continuity: Jurassic World
Characters: Blue, Delta, Echo, Owen Grady, Barry
Disclaimer: The theatre doesn’t own the script or actors, nor does it make a profit from the play.
Motivation (Prompt): Tumblr and feedback.

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Pt. 1
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Raptors have loyalty. Limited, laser-focused connection to what is theirs and what is not defines their social bonds. Pack is self. Attack one of the pack, and you attack them all, and all will rally to defense.

Vague borders don’t exist. Raptors have no sense of being on the same side despite any differences between you. Alliances are a human concept. The nebulous concept of future benefit goes beyond the scope of a raptor’s brain, however intelligent. They have no imagination. They have memory and, straining, the formless stretch of intelligent thought required to learn behaviors and connect them to new concepts. Open a door in front of a raptor, and the raptor will remember what a door is and how you opened it. Show her a different door, and she will figure out how this one opens as well, because she knows that doors can be opened.

Then she will open the door for her pack.

Blue calls, forlorn. Her pack doesn’t answer. The buildings sprawl around her in the night, smothered in not-Alpha’s scent and the thick scent of prey fear. The doors are open, but her siblings don’t follow her. Prey-sounds come from where Alpha is, but fresh in her mind is the head-shake, the small reply to her head-tilt and purrl. Alpha shook his head, and memory said in the back of her mind, ’No, Blue.’ She won’t hunt the prey.

He is Alpha, and repetition has worn his peculiar sounds into her brain as deep as the chitter and honk of her siblings. He is not-the-same, pack leader in a straining edge-of-comprehension way formed by four squirming hatchlings learning pack while Alpha inserted himself into the natural process. Not-Alpha didn’t have Alpha’s blurry sense of prey hanging around her. Not-Alpha sounded right. Not-Alpha seemed like Alpha.

But Not-Alpha wasn’t Alpha. Alpha was warm hands and weird ways, prey-scent outside the walls and behind the bars, but he’s been there since Blue poked through the shell. He doesn’t feel as natural as not-Alpha, but raptors are smart. They can learn. And raptors aren’t allies. You’re either pack, or not-pack. There is no in-between.

Alpha put his bared fang down to help Blue, chittering his calm-cry, ’Easy, easy.’ Alpha didn’t hurt the pack. Fences are a control method, but the pack is a relationship. The pack is trust. Alpha put his fang down. He didn’t try to control them. He stretched out his hand like one of the pack uncertain of welcome, a sibling clicking at Blue, sidling close enough to touch-nuzzle with his hands, and he didn’t hurt her. He took the strange thing off Blue’s head, warm hands exactly the same as they were when the pack was in the ready-cages, and simple as that, Blue and Echo and Delta remembered learned behavior. He smelled of prey, but he always does. Nothing changed. In or out of the walls, hunt or not, they are still pack. He is her, she is him, they are them.

When Blue screamed pack in not-Alpha’s face, not-Alpha had hurt the pack. Not-Alpha was not pack, not-Alpha was threat-to-pack.

She heard her pack snarl at threat-to-pack, heard the whistle. ’Hunt. Attack.’ She couldn’t respond, but she heard. She heard the Alpha’s fangs snap over the not-Alpha’s roar, and her siblings howl. They defended her. Pack defended pack.

By the time she could move again, the pack was down. No one answered her call as she leapt to attack.

And then it is over, and she is hurt, a bruise throbbing on her side. Alpha shakes his head, and his hand closes and opens in a little gesture she knows as ’Go.’ It’s an order like they’re inside the walls. Pack-time with Alpha is over, back to what she was doing. She turns and lopes away, calling for the pack.

There is no answer.

Loyalty pulls her two ways. Alpha is behind her (’Go,’ his hand says, his head shakes, and in the back of her mind, ’No, Blue.’) but the rest of the pack isn’t answering. She pauses in the street, confused, and calls again. Her head cocks, listening for Alpha, for her siblings. For pack.

She does not know how to be alone.

 

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