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Jurassic Park: The Mesozoic Mystery

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RESURFACE

 

    Three days later, Sarah and Malcolm were once again having a nice cup of afternoon coffee together.  They had decided to make it a thing.  

    Sarah was unusually quiet.  Malcolm had sensed that something was wrong and was attempting to cheer her up by listing his top ten hospital drugs.

    “Ah, cyclobenzaprine,” said Malcolm, reminiscing.  “Oh, and morphine.  I think that one’s my favorite, statistically, because I like the way it makes my brain feel.”

    “Okay then,” said Sarah.  She was slightly worried at this specific mention of drugs because a couple months back she’d caught Malcolm sneaky stealing morphine from the hospital and he’d promised he’d stop so long as the event was never mentioned again.

    Sarah turned her attention to read the time on Malcolm’s fractal clock.  It was quite an interesting clock because the clock face was fractal-shaped, and so were the clock hands.  She was pretty sure that it was a clock, anyways.  Regardless, it resembled a writhing mass of lines and made her head hurt.

    “Well,” said Sarah, putting her mug down on the coffee table, “I’d better get going.  I have, uh, physical therapy.”

    “Oh, sure,” said Malcolm.  “Do you need a ride?”

    “No.  Thanks anyway.”

    “You know,” said Malcolm, “I used to go to physical therapy for my wonky tyrannosaur leg.  I actually quit because my therapist didn’t like it when I talked about Complication Theory*.” (*Formerly Complexity Theory, and before that Chaos Theory)

    “Okay,” said Sarah.  She wasn’t really sure what that had to do with anything.  “Well, I’m off.”

    She left.

    Malcolm was still a little suspicious of Sarah’s alleged physical therapy appointment (she’d seemed to be having them quite frequently lately, and always at the most inconvenient of times), but he didn’t really care enough to do anything about it so he went and put their coffee cups in the dishwasher.  Then he turned on the television to the Math Channel and sat down to read a book.

    After a little while, the telephone began to ring.  Malcolm would not normally have answered it because he was too busy reading his book or whatever, but he decided that it was a good idea to do so this time just in case it was Sarah and something happened.

    He picked up the phone and said “Hello, you have reached the residence of Doctor/Professor Ian Malcolm the Mathematician.”

    “Hi, Professor Malcolm,” came a voice from the other end that definitely did not sound like Sarah, “This is Winston Wright from the paleontology department at Ohio State.”

    Malcolm began to feel a little bit sick at the mention of paleontology because that is the study of such things that include dinosaurs.  “Hey there Winston,” he said, trying to keep things casual, “what can I do for you?”

    “Well,” Winston said after a pause, “I’m actually calling on behalf of a colleague of mine.  Are you familiar with an, uh, Adam Parker?”

Malcolm thought.  “That name does ring a bell.”

    “He’s a climate scientist.  Worked at Berkeley for a couple years?  Pretty well known for his research on global warming*.”

    “Oh, yeah, yeah!” said Malcolm.  “Adam, I know him!  We met a couple of times when I was off lecturing.  Real neat guy.”

    “Well, anyway,” said Winston, “he said he’s made an interesting discovery and wants to get in touch with you to discuss it.”

    “Alright,” Malcolm said, “but I’ve got to admit, I’m still not sure why he couldn’t just call me himself.”

    “Ah, uh,” said Wilson, “you see, Parker is, er, well he’s… you’ll see.  Just consider me a plot device for now.”

    “Okay,” said Malcolm, “can you at least tell me what it is that’s got him so worked up?”

    “To be honest, I don’t remember most of the details,” Winston said.  “I think there was something about abnormal temperature patterns on some island west of Costa Rica.”

    “No…” said Malcolm, gaping in horror.  It was unlikely.  It was most improbable that there could be another… InGen Incident .  But then, why was it him that Parker wanted to talk to?  And why now , when things were finally starting to go back to normal?

    “Doctor Malcolm, are you there?  I was saying how there’s an island—”

    “I heard you, I heard you,” said Malcolm.  “Jesus.  Okay, so you’re gonna put me in touch with Adam.  Is it urgent?  No, never mind— I’ll just call him later tonight.”

    “Okay,” said Winston, “is everything alright?”

    “Me?” Asked Malcolm.  “No, I’m fine.  Great, actually.  Just give me Parker’s number, if you don’t mind.”

    “Sure thing,” said Winston, and read out the phone number for Malcolm.  The two said goodbye, and then Wilson hung up.

    Malcolm was about to put down the phone, but he hesitated and instead dialed the number that Winston had given him.  

    At first, no one answered the phone.  Malcolm tapped his foot impatiently.  Stupid Parker, triggering his Post-Tyrannasaur Stress and then not even bothering to answer the phone.  All these young scientists these days, they could never get their freaking priorities straight.  The only thing that they were in possession of was something that Malcolm liked to call “dumbtelligence.”

    Then, a man’s voice answered the phone.

    “[REDACTED]” the voice said.

    “Hello,” said Malcolm, “is this Adam Parker?”

    “[REDACTED],” confirmed Parker.

    “Okay great, great,” said Malcolm, “listen, this is Ian Malcolm from UT Austin.  We’ve met, back when I was visiting at Berkeley?”

    “[REDACTED],” Parker said.

    “I thought so,” said Malcolm.  “So, um, I just got off a call with a guy named Winston Wright.  He said that you have something to discuss with me, is that right?  Something urgent?”

    “[REDACTED],” Parker began, “[REDACTED]”

    Malcolm began to sweat.  “Wait, slow down a minute.  This is a lot of information for me to take in right now.  So you… you know about Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna and InGen and all that?”

    “[REDACTED]”

    “Ah.  That makes sense.  I guess there would’ve had to have been dozens of consultants employed by InGen at the time, right?”

    “[REDACTED]”

    Malcolm laughed a little because he was actually afraid in his heart.  “So I suppose, in another universe, it could’ve been you here with the busted-up leg instead of me.  That’s pretty wacky to think about.” He thought for a moment, distracted.  “Wow, if that was the case I guess you would have ended up with Sarah instead of me.”

    “[REDACTED]?”

    “Oh,” said Malcolm, “Sarah’s my girlfriend.  We met when I was in the ICU.”

    “[REDACTED]”

    “So,” said Malcolm again, “let me get this straight.  You and your team have picked up on some highly unusual geothermal readings from an island west of Costa Rica.  They seem to be coming from a single, centralized location, so you suspect some sort of human activity rather than a natural source.  Is that right?”

    “[REDACTED]”

    “And, while you haven’t been able to find any connection between this specific island and InGen—”

    “[REDACTED]”

    “Right.  InGen or another biotech company, but it is within extremely close proximity to the other islands, Nublar and Sorna.  And… you want to assemble a team to investigate?”

    “[REDACTED]” said Parker enthusiastically.

    “No!  Absolutely not,” scoffed Malcolm, “I would never go to this place as part of your team.  If I had a nickel for every time I visited an island off the coast of Costa Rica and ended up high on drugs after suffering a near-fatal leg injury—”

    “[REDACTED]” Parker asked.

    “Sarah?” said Malcolm, “No, Doctor Harding will not go either!  I don’t care what you think, this is all exceedingly dangerous and neither of us will be a part of it.  Even if there are no dinosaurs, which I am almost certain is the case, it’s not safe to go screwing around in what might be a big biotech company’s business!  Take Biosyn for example— back when Lewis Dodgson worked there, people died .  I don’t think that you understand, Adam.  You would have had to have been there.”

    “[REDACTED]”

    “I am not being hysterical!  Mark my words Adam, If you take this group of yours to the island, not everyone will be coming back alive.”

    Parker was quiet for a moment.  

    “[REDACTED]” he said, finally.

    “Good.” said Malcolm.  “And, there’s nothing you can say to change my mind.”

 

* In my view, our approach to global warming exemplifies everything that is wrong with our approach to the environment. We are basing our decisions on speculation, not evidence. Proponents are pressing their views with more PR than scientific data. Indeed, we have allowed the whole issue to be politicized-red vs blue, Republican vs Democrat. This is in my view absurd. Data aren't political. Data are data. Politics leads you in the direction of a belief. Data, if you follow them, lead you to truth.” - Michael Crichton  (For, you know, context.  What does this even mean?  Alas—it seems we may never know.  Remember folks, Mr. Crichton was a medical doctor.)