Chapter 1: Prologue
Veronica plopped her bag onto one of the beds, gazing at her surroundings. The room was garbed in a somewhat tacky choice of decor. The actual quality of the various items was just about standard for a resort hotel, though they were teetering on being a bit cheesey. The bed comforters displayed various plant life, the pattern vaguely resembling Army camouflage. The mural behind the beds was just as vegetated, though whoever painted at least has the decency to include a few animals among them.
That said, the view more than made up for it. The balcony faced the less developed parts of the island, giving a nice display of actual jungle. In Veronica's opinion, this was more pleasant than if they had been facing the actual park. It offered more peace after a long, tiresome games.
"Veronica? Could you come help with the luggage?" She heard her mom call. Veronica walked back towards the front of the room, grabbing a few of the bags they'd brought.
They were only required to stay for the weekend, but Veronica's father decided to extend it to the week so they could have 'Quality Family Time'; Though Veronica had speculations that her father just wanted a longer time to view the attractions themselves. This didn't bother her too much, this place was very clearly a multi-day park.
"So, you gonna do anything while we're at the meeting tomorrow?" Her father questioned.
"I'll probably scope out some attractions we can do together," Veronica replied, "Maybe I'll see if any other investors brought their kids and hang out with them."
"Well, that sounds nice..." Her mother said, "Just don't go having too much fun, we're gonna be here for the whole week." Veronica rolled her eyes, a short chuckle leaving her lips. This week was bound to be interesting, no doubt...
"I can assure you, Mrs. Chandler, we're doing our best. We sent out someone, I'm sure they'll be there soon."
"Well tell them to haul their ass and hurry it up! It's been 15 fucking minutes! And If I have to wait any longer than my father will surely have to hear about it!"
"O-Of course, Mrs. Chandler. We'll contact them right away. We appreciate your patience with the situation."
The receptionist had hung up after this. Heather slammed the phone down on the nightstand. The air conditioner had been broken all morning, and by this point she was ready to take out someone's head. With all the money her parents spent into this park, one would think they'd put some of it towards a competent resort staff. But tragically, they were everything but.
She ran her hand through her unruly hair, groaning at the tangled mess it'd become. The humidity was ruining her looks, by this point brushing would probably only worsen it.. And she'd misplaced her scrunchie so tying it down wasn't an option at the moment.
There was a knock on the door. Heather stood up, marching over. She was ready to cuss out whoever was behind that door for taking nearly 20 whole minutes. She gripped the door handle and yanked it open...
But to her surprise, and annoyance, there wasn't a worker on the other side. Rather two of her friends stood there, both of whom shared her name. The two girls stared at her and were undoubtedly surprised by the state of her hair.
"Whoa." Mumbled Heather Duke.
"Take a picture, It'll last longer." Chandler grumbled, stepping aside to let her friends enter.
"Jee, I thought your AC might be working..." Heather McNamara sighed.
"Yours is out too?"
"Both of ours, yeah..."
Chandler noticed a small red object in Duke's hand.
"...Is that my scrunchie?" She questioned.
"Yeah, you left it in my room last night." Duke replied, tossing it over.
"Is that the only reason you two came over, AC and Scrunchies?"
"That and we needed to talk to you about something." McNamara answered.
"Which is?" Duke and McNamara exchanged looks.
"We saw those new investors, the Sawyers, check in earlier today."
"They have a daughter who looks about our age..."
Heather Chandler tied up her hair, pondering for a moment. There was a big investor's meeting this weekend, meaning a lot of families were coming in. The group was well acquainted with most of the families, but the Sawyers had only signed on recently. Not much was known about them, other than they were rich enough to invest into the park... and Mr. Dean gave investors perks and free amenities (Which included reserved hotel rooms and exclusive access passes to certain areas of the park).
"She's fresh meat... We should give her a visit," Chandler responded. At the same time, another knock sounded from the door. The three Heathers stared, then exchanged glances.
"But first, We're going to cuss out whoever the Fuck they sent from maintenance." Chandler proclaimed.
Jason gazed down at the crowds below from his private quarters. To him, they resembled ants more than people; blindly scurrying around the island, oblivious yet praising of the dangers around them.
Now, Jason himself knew very little about the security of the park aside from a few basics. He knew the fencing in place was "state-of-the-art", he knew the tracking systems were "state-of-the-art", and he knew the cameras around the place were also "state-of-the-art"...
But he also knew his Father... and He'd be willing to bet that things on this park weren't quite as sound as he assured. Bud Dean was not above cutting corners to keep costs down, and even though safety always was the #1 priority of the park... It also wasn't Bud Dean's biggest concern. And like it or not he always had the final say, even if the press didn't always hear the other end of it.
For fuck's sake, His dad was running a theme park with the star attractions being living Dinosaurs. Real, Breathing, and Dangerous; not unlike those fake CGI monsters you see in movies. Except here, there was no screen... No wires... Nothing to guarantee falseness whatsoever. And While Jason found the existence of this place to be a marvel, he also knew full well it was a marvelous disaster waiting to happen.
He knew personally what these animals were capable of, and his weariness of them wasn't going to be swayed... no matter what lies his father told the press.
Chapter 2: Knocking and Knockouts
We're getting along I suppose.
Veronica spent most of the afternoon wandering the premise of the resort hotel. It was rather large, and probably easy to get lost in for any first-timers... Luckily she had a good sense of direction, and she was certain she wouldn't have much issue finding her way back to the room. And if she did there were at least 4 elevator shafts that stopped at each floor, and she'd seen a flight of stairs a few corners back.
The hotel itself was, much like her room, fairly standard. There was a pool, a high-class restaurant on the upper floor, and a breakfast nook adjacent from the lobby. Not to mention the several hundred rooms housing guests on the various floors. She wondered how many of the rooms were actually filled. She had no doubt that some of them had to be empty, even if the park was fairly crowded.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of footsteps creeping up behind her. Veronica was hesitant to look. Was someone following her? or perhaps they just happened to be wandering on the same floor? Either way a feeling of discomfort started to carve through her chest as her mind started to run through 'worse case' scenarios.
Veronica took a deep breath, continuing forward. She still listened intently to the follower, or maybe followers... There appeared to be more than one source of the sounds emitting behind her. Oh, perfect... It was a group of people, not just one as she initially hoped. Veronica started walking faster, thinking maybe she could find another Elevator on the same floor to disappear into... That or they'd get tired of chasing after her and go back to their own room.
Then she felt a hand ghost over her.
Without much thought, Veronica grabbed the person's wrist. She turned around and prepared to deliver a very sickening punch. However, she managed to freeze her hand just before making contact. Three girls, each looking about her age, stood. The girl who she'd nearly punched looked nearly paralyzed with fear.
"Jesus, Calm down! We're not gonna hurt you." One of them spoke.
Veronica released the girl, who immediately got pulled back by her... Friend? She gazed at them, immediately taking note of how color coordinated they were. One of them was Clad in all green, the one she nearly socked was dressed in varying yellows, and the third wore Red... Right down to the scrunchy holding her hair in place.
"Sorry," Veronica sighed, "But, Y'know, you really shouldn't sneak up on people like that..."
"We didn't mean to scare you..." The girl in green murmured, "We saw you check in and wanted to introduce ourselves..."
"Heather shut up." The red one snapped. Heather flinched back, her mouth clammed up. Veronica felt a bit of pity for her, though she didn't get the chance to voice it. The red one walked up, extending her hand out.
"You're Veronica, right? George Sawyer's daughter?" Veronica glanced at her finely manicured hand for a moment, almost hesitant. But she eventually grabbed it, giving a few small shakes.
"Y-Yeah... How do you know my father?"
"Investor gossip... I'm Heather Chandler, Marvin Chandler's daughter." To Veronica's knowledge, Marvin Chandler was some rich asshole who'd been investing in the park since day-1. Heather Chandler seemed like most of the rich daughter's she'd grown accustomed to meeting over the years. She stepped back, and the Yellow one came forward.
"I'm Heather McNamara, My mom is the lead computer expert and technician for the park." She spoke in a semi-sickening sweetness that was definitely too good to be true. Not that it was a bad thing, per-say, but still sickening nonetheless.
"I'm Heather Duke." The last one piped. Veronica only wondered how she came to be acquainted with the two of them, they didn't seem to treat her as nicely as they did eachother.
"Soooo... You were just following me to say hi?" Veronica questioned, somewhat weirder out by the entire situation.
"Well, there's that..." McNamara admitted, "But it's you're first time in the park too, correct?"
"I mean, Yeah..."
"Well Then," Chandler began, "We would like to formally invite you to join us tomorrow... We figured you'd like a tour of the place seeing how you've never been here before."
Veronica pondered for a moment. On the one hand, something about these girls scared her a bit. She felt like if she so much as questioned something they'd hunt her down like a pack of wolves.
But on the other hand, they were more familiar with the park than she was. And it was generally better to stay in groups, especially in a place this large. Veronica took a breath, putting on her best happy face.
"Sure, I would like that a lot actually." She replied, her fake smile almost paining her being. The Heathers seemed pleased by this.
"How very!" Chandler exclaimed, "We'll come by you're room tomorrow at 9... What's you're room number?"
"Perfect. Well, Veronica, We will see you then... Heather, Heather; Let's go."
And with that the three girls waltzed away, almost as quickly as they'd appeared. Veronica stared on until they vanished behind the corner...
What even just happened? It was like a lucid dream, one minute it was there with a vibrant punch of excitement... Then the next she was awake and confused...
She had a biting feeling that she was going to regret this somehow.
Jason woke up that morning feeling more miserable than ever. Maybe it was the pool of sweat under his back, or just the fact that he had to spend another day at this rowdy park. Whatever the reason, he wasn't looking forward to whatever was in-store today.
He tried to think about the bright side of things, but nothing came to mind... The uncomfortable heat of the entire room made it too difficult. He glanced a the thermostat... 81 Fahrenheit. Fucking amazing... His AC must've broke down sometime last night.
He groaned, slowly peeling himself off the bed and trudging to the shower to wash the grossness from his body. Jason's hair was practically drenched in his own sweat and he loathed it. He could smell his own body odor wafting off of him like, well, a sack of meat left in the sun for too long. Which was essentially what he was. Though, admittedly, it had been a few days since he last showered. Not for any reason in particular, he just didn't feel like it. He didn't feel like much of anything lately. He had an air-conditioned room to lock himself into and avoid anyone passing by with, and he intended to do just that.
The only reason people even really talk to him is because they know his father owns the place. They want favors, or tips, or free shit; not friendly conversation. And oddly the worst of these lot were the offspring of the many, many people investing into the park. Jason couldn't wrap his head around it, but he presumed it had something to do with company merging or perhaps just an exchange of wealth.
'Yeah, like Bud Dean would ever share any of his earnings...'
Jason cleansed his mind and hair of these thoughts... choosing to instead think about finding a way to keep cool. Knowing the staff, his Air Conditioner likely wouldn't be fixed for a few hours, so he'd have time to kill...
Then it hit him: he could buy a few slushies. He had recalled a point in his childhood where he had specifically asked his father to get a few Slurpee machines for park guests, mostly because he just wanted an excuse to have free sugar... Though it had been awhile since he'd had one.
Of course though, this meant going into the actual park. Jason didn't like the idea of trudging through a large crowd of guests who smelled worse than he did, let alone leaving the room... But in the end his thirst won this argument... Hell if it wasn't for the slushy machines he probably would have died of dehydration.
Jason surprisingly managed to find a fresh set of clothes into, and left the room without as much difficulty as he thought he'd have. He felt a bit refreshed to be out of the room, and the freshness of the air felt nice. It almost had a coolness to it that made his stuffy room even less appealing somehow, though he had a feeling that this momentary peace wouldn't last long...
Heather Duke and Heather McNamara waited outside the room in an uncomfortable silence. They knew better than to disrupt Heather Chandler while she was getting ready... But they also knew she hated being late for anything, and given the current time it could be either of those thing.
"...I mean... One of us is going to have to knock eventually..." Duke mumbled.
"Yeah but it's Heather, one wrong move and she'll snap like a T-Rex." McNamara replied. Duke let out a sigh.
"Okay, how about this... on the count of three, we both knock. She wouldn't yell at both of us, right?"
"Okay, yeah. Sounds great." They each raised a hand, and Duke started counting.
"One... Two... Three."
Neither of them had moved an inch.
"Well, now I'm just disappointed in both of us." McNamara sighed. Duke groaned.
"We can't stand out here forever, we gotta meet Veronica soon."
"Well, I'm not going to knock first..."
"I'm not either! She yells at me enough already i don-"
The door swung open... And behind it was definitely not Heather Chandler. Rather, it was a guy.
Heather and Heather stared for a moment. This person didn't live here. They knew for a fact that this was the right room, they'd visited it too many times to count. And Heather didn't have any siblings so it couldn't be one of them...
"You must be her new boy-toy, huh?" McNamara said with a bit of a sneer. The teen blushed, his face almost as red as the fabric of his shirt.
"Heather your friends are here." He stammered. There was a sound of footsteps and the almighty Heather Chandler appeared just behind him.
"Hi girls... You remember Peter, right?" Duke and McNamara stared at the blond again, almost peering a moment.
"You're parents payed for the architecture didn't they?"
"Payed, Designed, and helped build." Peter confirmed, slyly placing an arm around Chandler... The other two were somewhat confused as to why she was letting this absolute dweeb touch her but they had a suspicious feeling there was some older relative involved.
"Peter I think you left your key in the back." He felt his pockets, then walked away to retrieve item.
"...Him?" McNamara said in disbelief. Chandler shrugged
"His brother is better looking, I'll probably move on to him later." Aaaand there it was.
"Whatever, as long as Kurt Kelly and Ram Sweeney aren't involved I'll be okay." Duke said. Chandler shot a glare at her.
"Like I would invite them after the shit they pulled... Besides, I don't even think they're here right now."
"No they are... I saw them last night when we passed the pool."
"Saw who?" Peter asked, having returned by this point.
"Just some nobodies, don't worry about it darling." Chandler assured, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"Uhh... Heather?" Duke began, trying to look away from her glare, "We're running late."
Heather Chandler paused a moment.
"Well WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY ANYTHING EARLIER?!? FOR FUCK'S SAKE, HEATHER I... I don't even have time to continue yelling, do I?"
"N...no..." Duke mumbled.
"Alright... We'll continue this later then," She said in a disgruntled manner, "Let's just go meet up with Veronica."
Chapter 3: Talking and Walking
Veronica glanced at the clock, making sure she still had enough time. Granted she wasn't expecting them to be perfectly on-the-dime, but she did feel somewhat worried... Maybe she should have asked for a phone number, or even have just met upwith them at a different location. The suspense was starting to eat at her.
Then, relief. A knock at the door. Veronica took a breath, then walked up and opened the door. There stood the same trifecta she met yesterday... plus a boy. Though she felt more concerned about the gaze she got from Heather Chandler.
"Uhhh... Hey." Veronica said, trying to break the silence but immediately feeling awkward afterwards. Heather looked at her, top to bottom and them back to the top.
"You're outfit is missing something..." She mumbled.
"It looks nice but there's just nothing bringing it together, y'know?" Chandler explained. Veronica blinked. To be honest, she was expecting worse (having worn an almost all-blue outfit) but she also felt just the slightest bit offended.
"Well, I was going to bring a handbag..." She said, knowing full well she had no intent to bring her handbag.
"Umm... White?" Heather exchanged looks with the other two Heathers.
"You should take it then, It'd complete the look." She said, the other two nodding. The blond kid next to them seemed to agree, though he looked confused... As if just rolling along with whatever was said. Veronica walked back in, grabbed her bag, and showed it to them. The reaction was much more pleased.
"There it is, That's exactly what the look needed." Chandler smiled.
"Quaint, simple, but still stunning." McNamara added.
"Not to mention perfect for the weather." Duke finished.
And with that settled the group wandered off, down the halls of the hotel. Veronica found herself hanging around Duke, who was wandering behind the other three.
"Who's the boy toy?" Veronica asked.
"Peter Dawson, His parents own Dawson Architecture and Interior Design. Heather's just using him to get with his brother though, so if you want to move in afterwards no one will stop you." Duke explained, just barely above a whisper. It was quite apparent though that even if she hadn't the other three wouldn't have heard above their own conversation. Veronica felt somewhat amused by this information, but decided to change the subject.
"So uh... What do your parents do?" She asked instead. Duke seemed somewhat surprised by this.
"Oh... uh... Well, my Mom leads the genetic reconstruction team and my Dad works in the nursery." Duke said.
"Ohhh... So they work directly with the Dinosaurs then?"
"Yeah, I've helped a couple of times but they're the experts..."
"That's pretty neat... So how did you end up with these two? Not everyday you find three people with the same name being all buddy-buddy."
"Right place right time I suppose. All of our parents happened to have been signed onto this place from the beginning, Before Bud even planned to make it a park. Heather, Heather, and myself known each other since we were... at least 8 I wanna say." She explained.
"Uhuhhh..." Veronica said, nodding along. Things were starting to click into place now.
"Yeah, We bicker a lot but we're still all really close... Most of the other kids of people who joined in later sort of formed their own groups, this just happens to be ours."
"Huh, even on an island people split into cliques..." Veronica muttered.
"Yep. The only person I've never seen hanging around anyone is Bud Dean's son."
"Bud Dean has a son?"
"Yeah, He hardly leaves his room... I've seen him a couple of times, but he's not much of a conversationalist. Hell, most of us don't even know his name."
"Do you know anyone who does?"
"Heather knows, she flaunts about it too. It's her most sacred piece of trivia." Duke sighed.
"... Which Heather?" Veronica questioned.
"Chandler. Don't worry, You'll get used to it." She assured, as though this was something she explained often.
"Heather, Veronica! Pick up the pace!" McNamara called out. Heather and Veronica looked over, realizing they had fallen behind somewhat. They quickened their pace, joining the other three in the elevator.
Admittedly, bringing a jacket with him was overkill. Jason really didn't need it, the humidity made it warm enough to go out without one; but he did feel somewhat empty without it. Plus it was fairly thin and didn't add too much discomfort. Though, he supposed his main reason for wearing it was simply that he really didn't care either way.
To his credit, it helped him blend in with the 'uninformed tourist' crowd that was swarming around him. Normally, he'd glare at them in disgust, but today he just wanted to get his slushy and head right back to his room. Unfortunately, the universe seemed to have other plans for him today.
He was minding his own business, not really paying any attention to where he was going, when someone bumped into him. Now, normally, he'd just continue on his way; because the streets were crowded and it was bound to happen once or twice. But, he was not expecting the person to grab and start threatening him.
"Hey! You need to watch where you're going, shitface!" Jason could tell a lot about this person by one look: Jock, Asshole, and Womanizer. The exact kind he hated interacting with.
"To be fair, you hit me too." JD sighed, already fed up. Another guy popped up from behind him, giving an equally threatening gaze.
"This bitch giving you trouble, Kurt?"
"Yeah, maybe we ought to let him know who he's messing with... eh, Ram?" Jason already wasn't sure who was who and he was the one watching them talk. He let out a low groan, and Quickly removed himself from Kurt's (He thinks it was Kurt anyways) grip. The person who he assumed to be Ram went to throw a punch at him, but he easily dodged it and tripped his tormentors, who collapsed to the ground. Jason took the opportunity to lose them, disappearing further into the crowds.
He walked quickly and kept his eyes forward, sans the few times he checked to see if those bozos were following him. They managed to trail him for a few feet but they soon got lost. Jason felt a bit of relief... If he really needed to he could always hang around the back-lots, but he didn't want to be too much of a bother to any employees today.
He glanced around, eyes stopping on a sign. "Self-Serve Slurpees". A smirk spread across his lips as he made his way towards the small store.
Veronica knew one thing for certain by this point: If she had to spend any more time with these loons she was going to punch a wall.
Heather Chandler seemed more concerned with flaunting her boyfriend(?), McNamara seemed to being trying to get other boys to join them, and Duke... Well, she seemed just as unimpressed as she was, but it wasn't like she was trying to protest.
They'd hardly passed through any of the attractions, Heather Chandler deemed a few of them either 'too boring' or 'not very interesting' as if it was helpful. Veronica sighed, perhaps she should have just gone on her own... Maybe she could sneak away from them if she had a chance.
"Yoo! Heather!!!" A voice called out suddenly. All three of their heads turned, then showed equal looks of disgust.
"Oh, great... The dick-holes are here." Chandler groaned.
"What the fuck..." McNamara mumbled.
"You've got to be kidding me." Duke sighed.
"Oh Shit." Whispered a suddenly very skiddish Peter.
"Who are you looking at?" Veronica asked. Suddenly McNamara and Duke dragged her away, Chandler taking lead with Peter ducking behind them.
"Wait Where are we going?" Veronica squeaked.
"Hopefully somewhere far away from those two." Duke said.
"Kurt and Ram. Assholes, no respect for personal boundaries-" Duke began.
"They're perfect Fuckboy specimens, nothing more nothing less." Chandler said, cutting her off. Veronica nodded her head. Fuckboy was a very specific genre of boy unto itself, and like the name implies: It's best you stay the fuck away from them any way you can.
Unfortunately, the two caught up to them just before they could slip away. One of them wrapped an arm around Heather Duke, and the other around Heather McNamara.
"Heyyyy How's-it goin' Heather?"
"Get off, Ram." Duke tried to shove him off, but to little effect. Ram glanced at Veronica. Suddenly, she felt like a tiny mouse staring up at an owl.
"Who's the new chick?" He asked annoyingly.
"None of yo-"
"That's Veronica Sawyer," Chandler replied, "Her father owns the Sawyer Vacationing Corporation. They've recently started investments into the park."
"Ooh... Fresh meat, huh?" Kurt mumbled, staring as well. Veronica went quiet a moment.
"I-I guess you could say that..." She replied quietly. The two changed their attention to Peter, who looked just about ready to pass out.
"Heather why is this wimp getting all cuddly and shit with you?" One of them asked. Suddenly the entire group seemed more interested in watching this interaction play out.
Veronica, however, only saw an opportunity to slip away unnoticed. She quietly snuck into a passing crowd, then started running. She went a considerable distance, only glancing behind her once...
Then she hit someone.
Someone crashed into him. Jason stumbled for a moment, just barely keeping his balance. He looked down to see a girl no older than himself. She met his eyes with an expression of guilt.
"Uh... Salutations." He said, uncertain exactly how to handle the situation.
"I'm so sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going." She stammered.
"It's fine, No damage done." Jason assured, helping the girl to her feet. She brushed off her skirt, then glanced around... Almost as if looking around for somebody.
"You lost or something?" He asked.
"More like trying to lose someone..." She replied.
"I can relate to that," He said, starting to fill his cup with slush, "Parents?"
"No they're... Acquaintances I suppose? I only met them just yesterday..."
"Not as pleasant as their first impressions made them seem?"
"Something like that, yes..." JD let out a small chuckle, placing a lid on his cup.
"You want one?" He asked, "They let me take as much free food as I want."
"Really? You're parents must be loaded... They investors?"
"Yeah, Something like that..." Jason mumbled.
"So, You got a name, kid?" The girl asked. He hesitated a moment, But settled on giving her his first name and Initials.
"Jason... You can call me JD." He stuck out his hand, and the girl clasped it.
"Veronica... Veronica Sawyer."
"Pleasure to meet you, Veronica... Uh, did you say you wanted a Cherry or a Coke slushy?"
"I didn't," She replied, "But, Cherry would be nice." JD complied, filling another cup.
"Sawyer, huh? Your folks must be the newbies?"
"That they are... They're stuck in that big meeting today and I'm supposed to be in charge of scoping things out we can do over the week."
"Let me guess, whoever you're avoiding offered a tour and ended up being side-tracked?"
"I'd be willing to bet even the kids who've been going here every year since they were 10 couldn't tell you a single fact about this place." JD sighed, handing the now well filled cup over. Veronica took a good long sip, but soon pulled away.
"Ah, fuck... Brain freeze..." She winced. JD glanced over at the crowd... Noticing a few familiar faces making their way through.
"Shit..." He murmured.
"Remember when I said I could relate to you avoiding people?"
"Oh," Veronica started gazing towards the crowd, "Who are yo- Oh fuck no." The Heathers were coming by, Kurt and Ram clearly being ignored but still following behind.
"I presume your tour guides are nearby as well?"
"Afraid so." JD glanced around, then grabbed Veronica's arm.
"I know a secret exit around the back, we can go through it and come out in a different section... If you'd like." Veronica gave him a presumptuous look.
"...'the back' you say?"
"Yeah, it's like those halls at Disneyland, for easy employee access... You can go anywhere in the park without crowds or unwanted attention."
"And what makes you think we won't get caught?"
"Let's just say my father is a very influential person here... if we go now they won't be able to follow." Veronica felt hesitant for a moment... She already was tricked once by a stranger, and this time she was more skeptical. But, at this point, she wasn't too keen on being stuck with the Heathers again.
"So where is this back hall?"
"This way, C'mon."
Chapter 4: On The Move
JD lead Veronica into a narrow passage outside the store, around the back, and to a doorway marked 'Employees and Staff only'. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a key card. Veronica saw the words 'exclusive access', as well as a picture of JD printed on the front. He pressed it to a small pad and sure enough, the door unlocked.
The back-lot. To her surprise, the halls were less crowded with staff than she initially thought they might be. Of Course, a majority of them were probably on-duty already. Anyone back here was likely just extra security or people waiting to swap shifts. A few of the passing workers gave odd looks, but to Veronica's surprise they didn't question or stop them once from walking by.
"So um... was there anywhere in particular you wanted to go?" JD asked.
"Anywhere they won't find us really." Veronica replied.
"Well we might be walking for a while then." He replied, "I'd recommend going through the Zoological Section, it's usually the most crowded area." It was also quite a ways from the food court they had just come from. The park veterinaries were very strict about the animals diets, and he recalled them being very demanding that the main food court be placed as far away from the enclosures as possible. Jason knew for a fact that Bud was not an easily swayed person, but he'd made an exception for them. He knew why, too... But didn't have much time to think about it any further.
"So, JD... What brought you out on this fine day?" Veronica asked. JD immediately snapped away from his thoughts. He handed her one of the plastic cups he had been holding onto.
"My AC was out, thought a Slushy would be a nice way to cool down."
"Really? Wow... That's the 5th time I've heard that one today."
"Yeah, they're pretty flimsy things... Luckily the food court is managed somewhat better."
"So that's it, huh... Just wanted a drink? Not looking for conversation from a nice girl?" She asked, still a tad suspicious.
"Not particularly, but I'll admit it was a nice occurrence." He replied with a smile. Veronica couldn't help but smile back. For all his oddities, he did have a bit of charm to him.
"So, What are you gonna do when you get out of here?" She asked.
"Eh, probably head back to my room... You?"
"Probably find the enclosures, it would be nice to see some actual dinosaurs in this dinosaur park." JD's eyes widened.
"You mean you haven't seen a single dinosaur yet? How long have you been here?"
"About a day? I think... Time-zones are weird." JD stuck out his arm and they both came to a halt.
"Do you want my advice?" He asked. Veronica shrugged.
"Sure, why not?"
"Alright, The petting area is usually a nice starting place. It's the closest you can really get to them without doing anything illegal. Then there are the regular viewing spots, which are basically the same as going around a Zoo. After that I'd check out either the Gyroscopes or the Gondola lift, they tend to be crowded but you're room key also should work as an Advanced Access pass, which will allow you to go around most of the lines." Veronica was somewhat impressed at his knowledge. He actually seemed to know his way around quite well, or at least better than the three she was stuck with before. Plus JD was nice company, in her opinion. He was still talking bit about the area when she spoke up.
"Why don't you just take me?" She asked. JD suddenly stopped talking.
"I uh, what?"
"You said you were just going to go back to your room, Why not stay out a bit longer and give me a proper tour? You seem to know a lot about the park." Jason pondered for a moment... He didn't really have any reason to not stay out, and Veronica seemed like a decent person.
"...Y'know what? Sure, I'll show you around." He said with a smile, offering his free hand out. Veronica didn't hesitate in taking it, and the two of them continued their way down the hall. Eventually they came to a door with a plaque on it.
JD placed his free hand on the doorknob.
"Well Veronica, Consider this your formal welcome to Jurassic World." He said with a smile. The door swung open, and the two walked through it together.
"- Heather seriously what do you see in this twig?"
"Yeah man, what makes him any better than us?" Kurt and Ram groaned, trying to complain their way into pity. Heather Chandler gave them the most annoyed scowl one could possible express.
"Well for starters, Peter has a brain." She replied. Peter, Heather Duke, and Heather McNamara held their laughter as best as they could. Though this didn't stop the two boys from glaring at them anyways. Though Ram's expressions changed to one of confusion...
"Weren't there four of you earlier?" He mumbled.
"Oh Yeah, Heather where did your hot friend go?" Kurt asked. Chandler glanced, seeing no signs of Veronica.
"Son of a... Where did she go?"
"She bolted towards the restrooms about 25 minutes ago." Duke stated. Chandler froze, turning ever so slowly to face her.
"And you didn't say anything because...?"
"She was in a hurry, I thought maybe she got her period or something."
"You could have followed her at least, made sure she didn't get swept off by a stranger." McNamara said with a bit of malcontent.
"Isn't that what we did?"
"Heather, shut up. That was different." Chandler insisted, "Look, why don't we all split off into pairs and try to find her? This part is only so big, I'm sure the 6 of us could manage." Duke and McNamara gave her a look.
"6? Pairs? No, no no no no no... I can take many things, but I draw the line at being paired with Kurt or Ram." McNamara stated.
"Okay then..." Chandler turned to face Duke, "We'll go in groups of three, Heather take good care of Sweeney and Kelly for us, we'll meet back near the gondola in an hour." Before Heather had any opportunity to object, the other three had scurried off, leaving her alone with Kurt Kelly and Ram Sweeney.
Heather Duke stood in place, feeling dejected but trying her best to not show it.
"Sooo," Ram snaked his arm around her again, "Where should we look first?" Heather only let out a deep sigh.
"Why do they always insist on sticking me with Ram? What good has it ever done?" she murmured.
"Hey, I'm here too," Kurt objected, "C'mon, your friend might have just gone back to the hotel." He gestured back towards the resort. Duke panicked, immediately doing some quick thinking
"Nope, I know her enough to know that she likely went towards the water exhibits!" She quickly blurted out, starting to walk. She unintentionally dragged Ram along with her, and was under the assumption Kurt followed closely behind... The thought alone gave her discomfort.
Today wasn't going to be good to her, to say the least
The petting zoo was essentially what Veronica had expected it to look like. It wasn't much different than the kind she'd seen at her local state fairs: A small enclosed area with a bit of hay and wood-chips blanketing the ground, And an inexplicable scent of corn. It was just as easy to enter, too. Just some hand sanitizer and a few rules given by one of the workers about being gentle with them.
"So How old are they when they're let into the petting Area?" Veronica asked, staring on at the varied sized dinosaurs.
"Depends on how large and quickly they grow, But usually in the Juvenile range." JD explained, kneeling down to the hay-covered ground. A few of the dinosaurs almost immediately approached him with excitement. Veronica let out a chuckle.
"They sure like you, huh?" She questioned.
"Yeah, I guess I just have a natural touch." He laughed, almost in a nervous manner. He picked up one of the smaller ones, and it nuzzled against his coat. Veronica held her hand out toward the creature, allowing it to sniff her hand. It pressed against her, nudging itself into her fingers.
"What species is it?" She asked, letting her hand run along it's back.
"Well, I'm no expert... But I believe it's a Gallimimus. They can get about as big as an ostrich." She caressed it's soft, partially feathered skin. The creature itself was fairly small, Veronica's best estimation placed it between a Chicken and and a Large Dog... which in a way also was a good description for it's skin texture.
"It's pretty cute." She smiled, "Do they get more feathers as they grow?"
"These ones yeah," JD began, "Some of the other dinosaurs turn out more scaley though. I think it has something to do with how the geneticist had to fill in their DNA, but again, I'm no expert."
"Well, for 'no expert' you seem to know a lot." Veronica said. JD laughed. He enjoyed being around Veronica, something about her was calming in comparison to the rest of the park. If he'd known he would meet a person as decent as she was, he would have assumed it was a dream. But here she was, a flesh and blood person.
They both glanced at some of the other Gallimimus in the pen, watching them play with each other. They're movements seemed almost fake, yet there they were. Alive and without much a care in the world.
JD felt the Gallimimus squirm in his arms. He gently set it down, letting it join back with it's siblings. The flock greeted it with excitement, and allowed it to join in their antics.
"Seems happy to be with it's friends, huh?" Veronica mumbled.
"Yeah..." JD sighed, "You wanna stay here longer or check out some of the other stuff?" Veronica thought for a moment.
"...I think I would like to see some of the larger animals." She said, "But, you think we could stick to Herbivores for a while?" JD took her hand in a faux sophisticated manner.
"As you wish, Ms. Sawyer." He said with a smirk. Veronica chuckled, letting him lead her further into the park. She hadn't the slightest idea of what may happen in this place, but she was certain she'd be in good hands.
Chapter 5: Intermission A: The Meeting
A quick break.
Bud took a long, deep sip of his coffee. He absolutely dreaded investor meetings, If it was up to him he'd just take their money and run but sadly that was "illegal". Not that He couldn't get away with it, but by this point there were too many variables he'd have to keep tabs on...
Behind him, The Dawsons were going over some schematics for a new extension of the park. From what they had prefaced him with they had two ideas: A Spa that preserved the aesthetic of the natural wildlife, OR a half-sized golf course plus lounging area... Both were meant to occupy a plot of area that had been leftover from the habitual construction. Somehow there had been an oversight during their original constructing plans and an extra 73 acre plot had been cleared out without anything planned to be placed there (Other than as temporary storage for lumber and construction equipment). While He'd been initially pissed off about it, Bud didn't mind this mistake too much now... After all, it had given him another excuse to ask for money to put into the park.
"Now technically speaking, Both are possible given the size of the clearing... But We'd have to place priority onto one project for the time being and revisit the other at a later date, given the paying and transportation costs for workers." Dawson finished off. A few interns were holding up various artistic sketches, both showing surprisingly detailed mock-ups of some buildings. The one thing Bud would admit was that for their cheap pricing, the Dawson did have a good hand at theming... And good theming brought excited guests, which in turn brought more money in his pockets.
"Thank you, Dawson..." Bud excused him, allowing the group to step up. Charles and Marlene Duke, who were going to pitch some new experimental breeding program that they had privately tampered with. To Bud's memory, it hadn't gotten very far, but he suspected they had found something in their spare time.
However just before they could start, Bud's phone started to ring. He glared down at the contact: Pauline Flemming, aka Head of Park Security and Guest Safety Supervisor. She knew full well he couldn't afford to be bothered today. He let out an annoyed grunt.
"You two can start without me, I have to take this." He said, already halfway out the door. He pressed the answer button.
"This better be important, Pauline." He said with a bit of threat.
"It's absolutely urgent, sir." She began, "We've noticed some calibrations relating to the Gondola was off, particularly pertaining to the latches, and we're concerned one of the cars may be coming loose. And there also appears to be a Fence error in Paddock 17, Which I've already sent maintenance to check on."
"Good, don't take any risks on that place... Is that all?"
"There is one more thing... You're son, Jason, has been wandering around the park. We detected him via his access key usage. He's used it more often than we've ever tracked him, and in more areas than the ones he usually visits... Though the fact that he is even out of the penthouse seemed strange to us." Flemming explained. Bud sighed.
"How many people are currently about, besides him?"
"About 890,000 sir, Almost all the attendees are out right now."
"Keep the gondola going until the crowds decrease, We'd have to check all the latches one-by-one and that'd take a day and a night... As for Jason, keep an eye on him... And you said Paddock 17 was under control, correct?"
"Yes sir, I had Lisanne look over it herself and she believes the error was only a minor one pertaining to communications betwe-"
"Just get it locked down, and don't fuck it up. Especially after the last time... We don't need anything going public." He snapped, cutting her off. He hung up his phone, switching it to silent mode as to not be further disrupted. He then reentered the meeting, Ms. Duke still babbling on about their pitch.
"- Our upmost concern in relation to guest safety, of course, is population control; This was our primary reasoning for not fixing the sterilization issue in the first place... But given how short our supply of DNA becomes with each passing day, we believe that trying to fix their natural breeding abilities might honestly be for the better. We've managed to track down, specifically in Triceratops specimens, a few DNA strands that with a bit of testing may allow for this." Marlene finally finished.
"And what exactly will this accomplish, other than the DNA problem of course?" Marvin Chandler, basically the head investor, asked with a bit of suspicion.
"Well, for starters it would fix a few behavioral problems," Charles began, "All the dinosaurs, being animals, have a natural urges to breed and care for their own young... However since they end up sterile, this is impossible. We believe it would lower depression in females and aggression in males. It also would simplify the process of trying to introduce newly created young into the already existing flocks, since they'd be direct offspring and not have to go through any kind of 'initiation rituals' and immediately will be accepted as none-threatening."
"We also could focus our efforts away from clone species we already know we can create, and instead try to resurrect different kinds of Dinosaurs." Marlene Duke added.
"How much would you estimate this would cost?" Bill Sweeney, another investor, had questioned.
"Well, that is somewhat up for debate... The financial department is still estimating somewhat, but what we do know is the cost of the initial testing would surpass three-million in US Dollars." Charles stated.
There was an immediate response of mutters. Quiet, but harsh. The room seemed somewhat unswayed.
"But," Ms. Duke Interrupted, "If successful, It would save many more millions, as we'd no longer be paying to recreate already existing species."
The chatter improved in tone, seeming more positive than before.
"But, That's still only an 'If'... As in there is a chance that it could fail?" George Sawyer had asked. This came as a quiet shock to most of the room, as the Sawyers had been completely silent up until that point.
"Well Yes, but that's just the risk you have to take with genetics... Resurrecting dinosaurs alone was a huge financial risk, but so far it's mostly payed itself off." Marlene said, "This is no different."
The room was silent now, but they seemed in a better mood than they could have been. Bud excused them, glancing at the wall clock.
"Alright, there's only five minutes until the lunch buffet arrives... So we'll just break early." He announced, leaving his chair, "Feel free to wander around the upper levels, But be back before 1:00 so we can resume." He exited the room again, more laxly than he had before.
The Dukes had taken a leave as well, though they lingered outside the room.
"Well, that went better than I was expecting." Charles sighed, wiping away some sweat that had gathered on his neck.
"You're telling me," Marlene yawned, "That new guy, Sawyer, nearly gave me a damn heart attack."
"You handled that quite well, dear. Didn't miss a single beat."
"Thank you, Charlie."
There was a sound of footsteps, Marlene glanced over. A woman wearing small, round glasses and with her hair tied back approached them. The Dukes smiled.
"Lisanne? What brings you here?" Marlene asked.
"Oh I'm covering for the guy who was supposed to pitch our new security updates." Lisanne McNamara groaned, leaning against the wall.
"I assume by your tone this wasn't something in routine?"
"No... There was an Issue with Paddock 17, I wanted to be sure our best experts checked it out."
"That must've been what Bud had been called about." Charles muttered, "Is it... bad?"
"Well, from what I saw it was just an error in the wireless communication... But With that one you can never be too safe."
"So why didn't you go?"
"Well, I needed someone competent enough to give a speech... Honestly even if this hadn't come up I probably would have taken over anyways. The guy we had didn't seem like he was in a good state to come here and try to sway investors."
"Ah... And you're positive Paddock 17 is under control?"
"Yeah. It didn't seem too serious but given what you've documented on their nature it'd be unwise to leave it unattended."
"I still regret ever letting Bud have us resurrect those... things." Marlene said, a bit of malice in her voice.
"He was so damn persistent about it. And they ended up more than we can handle... And the casualties-"
"Can we... not? please?" Lisanne mumbled, shifting uncomfortably. Charles backed off, switching the subject.
"Bud probably hates himself for this just as much... He couldn't stop himself from wondering what he could do rather than thinking about what he should have done." He sighed.
"They're too dangerous for any guest viewing. We can't even make back the money we spent on them. We can't get rid of them either... It'd be more bad publicity and then the stocks would plummet." Marlene ranted.
"This place is just a thousand pending lawsuits waiting to happen..." Lisanne said.
The squeaking of carts shifted their attention. An indescribable aroma filled the halls, making their mouths water.
"I know that food is only for Bud and the investors but hot damn that smells nice..." Marlene exclaimed.
"After that presentation I am absolutely famished." Charles added, "I think we should get a quick bite before heading back to the lab."
"Lisanne would you like to join us? You've got a good hour before you have to present anything." Lisanne pondered for a moment.
"I'd actually like that. It's been a while since we had any kind of outing."
The three made their way down the halls, their chatter somehow managing to distract them from their hunger.
I wanted to take a short leave from the main plot. These Intermission Chapters serve as offering any information that the main group cannot know of or learn themselves while they're on their adventure. They'll also serves to offer some insight to the operation of Jurassic World in this verse, as well as tell a subplot involving the parents. Hope you enjoy them!
Veronica gazed down at the field, taking in the scenery of the enclosure. There was currently a... Herd? Flock? She wasn't really sure how to refer to it, but for lack of better words she'd just call it a group of Triceratops. They were grazing through a large patch of long, yellowing grass. They seemed to be enjoying it, too, from what she could tell. Though there was a fairly good distance between them, and the elevation didn't help too much.
"Is there anyway to get a closer look at them?" Veronica asked JD, who was currently trying to milk out the last bits of his slushy. He glanced around, then pointed to a set of pay-for-view binoculars.
"If you scan your key on that you should get about 3 minutes... Otherwise no, they had to dig a moat to keep them from charging the fences. Sorry." Veronica let out a small sigh, but she did scan her card on the device. She zeroed in on a pair of Triceratops that were standing together. They appeared to be sleeping, or at the very least laying down together. She let out a chuckle.
"JD come take a look at this." She motioned him over. JD Glanced through, a small grin formed on his face.
"That's actually pretty cute, I have to admit." He said. Veronica took one last glance through the binoculars, Savoring that small moment while she had it...
The time ran out. She looked at JD.
"So, You said you wanted to try that Gondola thing, right?"
"Yeah, like I said the passes should let us skip the line and right to the boarding section. We might end up having to bunk with some other guests though." JD explained.
"Eh. That's a small price for not abiding to the rules of line waiting." Veronica smirked. They started walking.
"You think those Guys you were avoiding are worried about you?" JD asked.
"I'm not too sure. If anyone is worried I'd guess it'd be Duke... I doubt Chandler and McNamara really cared enough to notice... I really hope Kurt and Ram didn't notice... Paul could've gone either way, I didn't get much of a read on how he's supposed to act."
"Kurt and Ram? Huh, I think I met them before..." JD recalled.
"Really?" Veronica asked.
"Yeah, they were fucking assholes. Tried to beat me up."
"I've known them for all of 2 seconds but that sounds like Kurt and Ram to me." JD stopped, glancing at a garbage can that was a few feet away.
"Well, Here's hoping to not seeing them again. Or any other annoying visitors." He said, Tossing his now empty slushy cup towards the bin...
Unfortunately, It missed.
"...Well, shit." He murmured, taking his walk of shame to retrieve the cup. Veronica let out a small chuckle.
"Don't worry, I don't think it was a magic all-knowing cup. I think we'll be fine." She assured.
"Yeah? Well then, let's move on." JD said.
Heather Chandler groaned, slouching into the bench. They'd just spent the last hour walking through the park and STILL hadn't seen Veronica once. They'd checked everywhere too: The Hotel, The Shopping Area, The 5-Star Restaurant.
"Maybe she's avoiding you guys on purpose?" Peter suggested, rubbing the back side of his leg.
"I can't see why she'd want to avoid us, we're great people!" McNamara snapped.
"She doesn't seem to think that." Peter mumbled.
"Look can we just wait for Heather to get back with Tweedle-Fuck and Tweedle-Dickhole?" Chandler snapped. McNamara and Peter immediately calmed themselves down. The three of them were quiet for a moment.
"...This is so boring, when the fuck is she gonna get here?"
Heather Duke was going to snap a neck if she had to spend two more seconds with Kurt and Ram. They're constant advances and flirting was driving her so far up the wall, she'd already climbed down the other side in rage. She swore, once she saw Heather Chandler, She'd finally do it: She'd give that prissy bitch a piece of her mind.
She turned her head, They were a decent distance from the queue for the gondola. Though that wasn't saying much. She saw Heather, Heather, and Peter sitting on a bench not far from where she was. Peter started to wave her over, Heather Chandler hastily forced his arm back down. Heather Duke rolled her eyes. She trudged right up to them, taking deep breaths. She was ready to chew them out. No turning back. She opened her mouth-
She never got the chance to say a word.
"Heather WHAT THE FUCK! We've been waiting here forever!!! And you haven't even found her? Were you too busy playing 'hide your hands' with these two?" Heather Chandler was unmatched in her confidence. Duke cowered back, mumbling a small response.
"I just wanted to check as many places as possible... She wasn't anywhere I went."
Chandler groaned loudly. "This is just perfect..." Peter stood up, peering into the distance.
"Huh... That's peculiar. Who just wears that heavy of a coat in a tropical island." He asked aloud. Heather looked over at him.
"Peter, sweetie, we're in the middle of something here." She mumbled.
"Well I know but, that guy is just straight up wearing a heavy jacket... It's Bizarre." Kurt and Ram looked in the same direction.
"Hey Ram, isn't that the guy who kicked our asses earlier?"
"Oh Yeah... Hey Heather isn't that the Chick you were looking for next to heavy-coat guy?" All three Heathers snapped their heads over. Sure enough, Veronica was hanging around a boy... But, not just any boy. No, they knew one particular thing about this boy...
"Well, Sawyer sure knows how to pick 'em. Go big or Go home." McNamara said.
"I can't believe that goblin actually left his room." Duke mumbled.
"Well Well Well, It appears Mr. No Name had decided to make an appearance." Chandler smirked, She noticed Jason flash out a card to one of the staff members. No doubt, he was using it for them to skip lines. Heather got a devious smirk on her face.
"Girls, Boys, Peter, We're going for a Gondola ride." She announced.
One of the staff workers scanned their cards, and double checked to be sure they were legitimate. JD figured it was probably because it was odd to have two kids with VIP passes on a busy day. Though he didn't have any kind of worry, If anything went wrong he was sure he could smooth-talk his way through it. That said, he doubted anything was going to go wrong. And he was right. The scanner made a sound which indicated the cards passed.
"Alright, you both check out. Before you head up: I should inform you that this ride is meant to house between 6 and 8 persons, and given how crowded we are right now they might ask you to board with another party." They spoke with a bit of a southern drawl, though the two thought nothing of it.
"That shouldn't be a problem." Veronica smiled. The worker gave a friendly smirk back.
"Well then, you two have fun now!" And with that the two teens made their way through the skip line... Well, not really a line per-say. Rather it was just a separate section that had been roped off. Hell it was completely empty, almost comically so considering the general boarding line was absolutely packed.
"So, is this more scenery based or will there be a few aerial views of the enclosures?" Veronica asked as they walked.
"A bit of both. It goes over a couple of the enclosures, but kinda towards the barrier line in the fence. Plus it's pretty high up to avoid any accidental collisions," JD explained,
"You're not afraid of heights, right?"
"Nah, If I was I probably wouldn't have agreed to join you." Veronica said. JD rubbed the back of his neck.
"Speaking of... I wanted to thank you for joining me today. I probably would have just spent it alone in my room if we hadn't bumped into each other. And, honestly, It's been most fun I've had in a long time." He said, flashing a kind of funny-looking but genuine smile. Veronica smiled back.
"Well, I'm glad we could share today then." She reached into her handbag, Pulling out a pen and pad of paper. JD stared in confusion as she scribbled down something. Then, she handed him a torn scrap from the pad. Written on it was an Email, Phone Number, and what appeared to be some kind of Social Media handle.
"Um, I figured if you wanted you could call me sometime? I dunno how long you're gonna be here for but my folks are here for the rest of the week so, just ring me up if you wanna hang." She said. JD stared at the handwriting, then at Veronica.
After a few more minutes of walking, they arrived at the loading bay. One of the workers stared at them.
"You guys a party of... 8 then?" JD and Veronica exchanged glances.
"No. No, Party of 2." JD corrected.
"Oh, I thought... Ah, Nevermind. We're gonna pair you with a group of 6... Probably that one coming up behind you." They informed, moving back to help other guests load. JD and Veronica spent a few moments just staring at each other. It wasn't awkward, not completely anyways. No, something about it was just comfortable. Their hands moved closer together -
"Hey! Sawyer!!" They jerked back. Looking behind them.
"Oh, No." Veronica groaned.
Three girls made their way up, JD Recognized them. Kurt and Ram were behind them, who he also recognized. Then there was a third boy, who he did not.
"Well," JD murmured, "I guess that cup was magical."
Sorry this took literally forever but School has been kicking my ass rn.
Chapter 7: A Not So Hot Box
The gondola ride doesn't offer as much excitement as everyone hoped it would.
Heather Chandler approached the duo with a somehow condescending sort of smile... Like she'd caught a child trying to sneak a cookie. Her eyes glanced over Veronica, then JD, then somewhere between the two.
"Well, isn't this a lovely surprise? I haven't seen you in Months, Jason." She greeted.
"Fuck Off." This seemed to be all JD wanted to say on the matter.
"Same as ever, I see..." Heather sighed, "Veronica, It's good to see you're still in one piece. We got pretty worried, right girls?"
"Yeah you just vanished, we were all concerned and stuff." Heather McNamara replied. Heather Duke gave Veronica an apologetic look, then didn't look at her again.
"Look, Heather, I'm glad you were concerned but I'm alright. JD found me and showed me all around the park, we were fine." Suddenly a worker approached.
"Car is ready for boarding... We're gonna put all 8 of you together." They said. Heather Chandler gave him a look.
"I am not getting in a car with that unstable freak... Can't you fill one car with 7, for an Investors daughter?" She said with a sickeningly fake sweetness. The worker gave her a look.
"Which investor?" He asked.
"Marvin Chandler." The worker perked up, their expression changing.
"Oh, of course... You must be Heather Chandler then? Give me one second." The worker then beckoned two others over towards them. Veronica tensed, She somewhat expected her to have JD tossed out...
Then suddenly two of the workers grabs hold of Heather's arms. And before she even had time to Question it, they tossed Her into a slow moving car.
"What the actual fuck was that about?" Heather snapped, "My father will have a lot to hear about this!"
"My girlfriend works the front desk, said you made her cry... We were both thinking about quitting anyways, so whine to your father all you want about this." The main worker said with a dark expression. Heather Chandler glared back, looking all sorts of pissed off.
Heather Duke then suddenly let out one of the most joyous laughs one could possibly hear. Chandler turned to face her, the car still slowly moving foreward.
"What's so fucking funny Heather?" She snapped. Duke froze, briefly ceasing... But soon she was hurled over again.
"S-sorry Heather but.... You really Deserved that." She said between her breaths. Veronica and JD were starting to chuckle along with her now. Heather Chandler normally would have ignored this, or give some sort of witty response. But, right now, she was too pissed to think. Too much had gotten fucked up today. In a fit of rage, she grabbed Duke and pulled her down into the car. They tussled for a bit, the crowd of regular tourists watching from the sidelines seemed both concerned and amused as they screamed and wrestled. JD and Veronica exchanged glances, then stepped in to try and pry them apart. Though, this proved easier said than done.
"Heather... Heather! Just Let go of her, it's not worth it!" Veronica shouted.
"Jeez," JD grumbled, "I've had hangnails that came apart quicker than these two."
"Keep your grimy hands off of me you fucking dirt piece of-" He drowned out Heather's words after this, still holding his grip.
Heather McNamara grabbed Peter bye the hand. "C'mon, Do your gross boyfriend stuff and try to calm her down." She said, dragging him towards the car.
"We're gonna get off of this thing right? Cause I actually have a bad fear of heights and-"
"Phil, just go." And, before Peter even had time to correct her on his name, they suddenly were trying to assist the effort. Though, it became apparent neither of them were too much help.
"Heather, Sweety... You should let go, people are staring." Peter said in a rather... Pathetic, voice.
"Let them stare!!! There's no fucking WiFi here anyways this won't get out for Weeks!"
"You're gonna ruin your outfit though!" McNamara remarked, trying to help JD pry her away.
"I have 3 others just like it, big fucking woop!"
JD glared at one of the workers, who was standing just at the edge of the platform.
"Can't you do something about this?" He asked.
"I get paid to do one thing, kid." The worker replied.
"And what's that?" JD shouted.
"Press the 'close door' button on the cars." The worker then did, just this, enclosing them into a small capsule of chaos. Heather Chandler suddenly stopped, then ran to the back window and pounded on it.
"HEY YOU FUCKS!!! TURN US AROUND!!!"
"They can't hear you," Peter mumbled, "The cars were made almost entirely of soundproof material so Human noises wouldn't disturb any listening Dinosaurs." Heather Duke took a few deep breaths.
"Well, at least we don't have to deal with Kurt and Ram." She sighed, leaning back onto a seat... Only to sit on someone's lap
"Well, If you missed us so much, we would have said something sooner." Ram smirked. Duke screamed, jumping back up and somehow ending up in Veronica's arms (much to the dismay of Kurt and Ram, not that anyone cared).
"Were you creeps sitting there the whole time?" Veronica said with annoyance.
"Yeah, pretty much." Ram confirmed.
"Not gonna lie, watching two girls fight eachother is kinda hot." Kurt added. Veronica felt a wave of disgust pulse through her veins, to the point where she had to surpress a gag. She, Heather Duke, JD and Heather McNamara ended up sitting on the opposite side of the car. Heather Chandler and Peter Dawson begrudgingly sat with Kurt and Ram.
"Well, at least the air-conditioner works." JD groaned. The car fell into an uncomfortable silence.
"This is going to be a long ride." Veronica sighed.
About 10 minutes had passed before anyone had said anything. The only sound that could be heard was the quiet humming and clicks from the machinery above their heads. Occasionally the scenery or a distant herd of Dinosaurs would distract them, but not enough to make the small space any less tense.
Eveyone was just keeping to themselves. Veronica and JD occasionally exchanged glances, almost as though communicating telepathically. Duke mostly kept her gaze out the window, with an occasional glance towards the opposite side of the car. Kurt and Ram for once seemed to have shut their mouths. Chandler just kept glaring ahead, a malcontent aura still strongly amitting from her. McNamara looked like she was trying to message someone, but by the looks of it they'd lost signal sometime ago. And Peter just kept his gaze at his feet, occasionally mumbling a number or two in some sequence.
Then, finally, JD spoke up.
"So, you three wanted to recruit Veronica into your little cult of color-coding and hissy-fits?" He questioned to Chandler. Chandler groaned.
"We were just trying to be nice and give her a tour." Chandler assured.
"You call that a tour? I didn't see ONE dinosaur until JD swept me away, and this park is literally FULL of them."
"Veronica, trust me, you see one dinosaur and you've seen them all."
"Yeah but it's Veronica's first time here," JD pointed out, "They only bore you because you've been coming here twice a year since it's been open... Hell, you were around a few times BEFORE then too."
"Yeah, but you live here year-round and you looked like a kid in a candystore today... Or was that just because you're desperate for any kind of human contact?" Chandler snapped back.
"Wait, how the hell does he live here year round?" Peter asked, suddenly engaged in the conversation. "I thought Bud Dean had that 6 month limit in place after that Embryo scandal?"
"He does but Bud Dean is also his father, and considering that HE barely leaves this place I'm not surprised JD hasn't either." Veronica stated.
"Yeah, I mean I've lived here since-" JD began, then he froze, "Wait, Veronica you knew?"
"Yeah I mean, no offense but it was kind of obvious... I didn't say anything though 'cause you seemed like you didn't want to talk about it." She explained. JD looked at her with an almost indecipherable expression, and truth be told he wasn't sure what he was feeling himself... He was somewhat impressed, but also wondered what else she might know. Though, his thoughts were interrupted.
"Wait so... Your dad like, owns the park?" Kurt mumbled. He and Ram suddenly seemed very... Skiddish. This pleased JD somewhat.
"Yes, yes he does." He replied with a shit-eating grin.
"S-so um, that thing earlier where we were gonna beat you up... You know we were just horsin', right?" Ram asked.
"Yeah, sure... Ask me how I feel about it after we get out of this can."
Suddenly the car jolted to a stop. Everyone glanced around in confusion. They were probably about half-way through the ride, and still very high up. If the car were to drop they'd probably sustain serious injuries.
"Why did we stop?" Duke asked, looking around outside.
"It's probably a system error... The godnola cars run on a very simplistic electric current so if there's a failure then the whole ride stops," McNamara explained, "It usually takes them about 15 minutes to fix."
"Well, so much for state-of-the-fucking-art, Huh Pops?" JD groaned.
"I think the AC stopped, too." Veronica mumbled, "I don't hear it running."
"Great," Chandler sighed, "Could this get any goddamn worse?"
"Don't... Don't ask that into existance please." Peter stammered.
The car began to grow hotter very quickly... It wasn't long before JD was shedding his coat and everyone else was trying to fan themselves off. At one point, Duke passed around a bottle of water she had in her bag. It wasn't very cold, but it was at least enough to keep their mouths from drying up. Still, time went by... 15 minutes came and went and they still hadn't moved in the slightest.
Peter stood up unexpectedly. He gazed out the window, almost as though contemplating something. Then, he paced around in a small circle a few times, before coming to stop again and glare out the window. He almost looked like he was starting to panic.
"Staring isn't gonna change much, y'know?" Chandler murmured. Peter seemed to ignore her. He reared back his arm and bashed it into the window. The car jittered a bit from the impact, but didn't start moving.
"You can't break that thing, yknow, it's reinforced glass." JD stated.
"I Have to try.... I can't stay in this fucking deathcan any longer with you people." Peter rammed his hand into the glass a few more times.
"Peter just sit down, you aren't going to get anywhere-" Chandler had started. Peter turned his body, slamming his entire self into the door as though it would open. It didn't, but the car started to sway slightly.
"Gotta break this fucking thing down before we fucking die in here if we stay put we're just gonna fall we're too high up we're way too fucking high up." He mumbled. JD stood up, slowly approching.
"Peter? This thing isn't gonna fall. Take some deep breaths.... Do you want more water? You seem dehydra-"
The car jerked on it's own this time. However, it hadn't moved forwards... Or backwards. No, the car had jerked downwards.
Everyone exchanged glances... Peter threw himself at the exit again.
"HELP ME OPEN THIS FUCKING THING BEFORE WE DIE FOR GOD'S SAKE!" He screamed, clawing at the seam of the doors.
Chapter 8: Something's Gone Wrong
In which there is car trouble.
For a moment, The car seemed as though it would descend into madness. Kurt and Ram started screaming. Duke, JD, and Veronica were trying to assist Peter with the door, though to little avail. Chandler and McNamara were once more checking the cell service, trying desperately to find a signal.
"Dammit! This thing won't budge!" JD grumbled, managing to just barely get his fingertips between the seams.
"I don't wanna die man I'm too young I-I can't die yet." Peter was still clearly in a state of panic.
"Don't say that we're gonna die, weren't you the one asking people to not speak things into existence?" Duke snapped. Peter went quiet.
"There's gotta be an easier way to do this, Shouldn't there be some kind of fail safe for these things?" Veronica said, looking around the car for something of that sort.
"Knowing my dad, probably not. I bet these cans were build before the standard code..." JD replied, "The only way to open them is probably from the outside."
"That is one big lawsuit waiting to happen." She huffed.
"Trust me, he's bought his way out of worse." Veronica shot JD a look.
"...If we make it out of this I'll ask for clarification." Veronica glanced up, noticing a hatch on the ceiling. She pulled JD away. "Hey, boost me up... I'm gonna see if there's any easier way to get us out."
JD carefully lifted Veronica towards the roof. She glanced at the latch for a moment, then carefully moved it to the open position. The squared section of roof popped out immediately with a bit of a spring. Veronica lost her grip on it, and it fell off the side and down below the canopy. She watched it fall briefly, though it only filled her with dread.
She pulled herself out of the car, scrambling onto the roof. The only thing she had to hoist herself up was JD below her and a very small safety bar in front of her. She kicked her legs onto the roof. She also swore she hear the sound of someone being slapped, but for the moment she decided to ignore it as best as she could. She gazed around.
All of them being directly on the roof would probably strain the latch more, assuming they could all even fit onto it. So that wasn't an option... The cable looked untrustworthy. And while it was out for the moment, the energy radiating off of it told her it was likely directly fed into some electrical outlet... Veronica reluctantly looked downward. There was a fairly tall and sturdy looking tree below them... The branches looked like they'd be able to hold their weight... Though the roof would be a bad place to try to jump from.
She could also see two buttons, yellow and blue, on the side of the car near the door. She wouldn't be able to reach them normally... But.
"Okay, I got an idea... But it's a bit crazy. So I would appreciate it if you guys stayed quiet for a bit." Veronica called down.
"How crazy?" Duke asked.
"Let's just say somewhere between 'Fucking-' and 'Batshit-'."
"Well, be careful then." JD suggested.
"I was planning on it." Veronica took a deep breath, then let her legs hang off the side of the car for a moment... Yup, she was actually doing this... She turned herself over and carefully lowered herself down, keeping a death grip on the beam. While she got close, she wasn't quite long enough to reach it.
"Shit shit shit." She mumbled, trying to think of something else.
The car jerked down a second time. Somehow, she managed to keep her grip. She could hear the others fall over a bit inside. She looked into the window. JD had himself positioned in front, and seemed to be watching intently. His expression somehow managed to look worried and relieved at the same time. He gave her a short nod, and appeared to mouth the words "It's okay" to her. Veronica recollected herself. That car probably wasn't going to jerk a 3rd time before it fell. She looked back down at the buttons, still just out of reach... and Just below it a thick, well grown branch.
Yup. This idea was definitely more on the 'batshit-' end of the spectrum.
She took another breath, taking one hand off of the car... She had to time this right. She let her fingers slip, gravity quickly taking effect, and bashed her palm into the car... She hit one of the buttons, she hoped it was the right one. Then she reached out for the branch. The landing wasn't even close to comfortable, but she had lived so she really couldn't care much less about it. She glanced up, noticing the door slowly opening.
"VERONICA THAT WAS FUCKING INSANE YOU IDIOT!" Heather Chandler screamed out.
"It worked didn't it?" Veronica replied, not really attempting to deny her statement. Everyone stared down for a moment.
"Is this one of those things where it's further than it looks?" McNamara asked.
"Yup. It's just your brain." Veronica said... In reality it was a little ways down. But Honesty wasn't going to be helpful right now.
McNamara shut her eyes briefly, then leaped out, landing herself on a branch just a little above Veronica. Next came Duke, who Landed just below her. Chandler managed to get herself on the same branch as McNamara... Kurt and Ram found their own branch to sulk on. Peter and JD were looking down from the car.
"I-I can't do this. I can't fucking do this." Peter stammered out. JD gave him a look.
"Look it's either this or tuck yourself under the seat and hope for the best." JD said, "I can't sugarcoat this... Do you want me to shove you out? Then you don't have to jump?"
"Wh- NO! That's worse!"
"Then you'll have to jump. Everyone else made it out fine, that's the best I can give ya right now." Peter was starting to back away from the door.
There was a sudden creaking sound above them... weak metal... JD looked at Peter, seeming a bit panicked himself.
"I'll jump at the same time but we gotta do it now!" He yelled. Peter was shaking in every bone, looking almost like he was gonna vomit.
This kid is gonna get us both killed, JD thought.
He didn't give the shorter boy another second to answer. JD grabbed him by the shirt, hoisted him up and tossed him out of the door. Then he dove under the seats, curling himself up and holding himself in place as best as he could.
He remembered feeling floaty for a few moments, and his body drifted slightly. He pushed himself back as best as he could... Then feeling nothing but pain. His ears rung, his head throbbed, he was pretty sure he'd blacked out for a moment. He wasn't even sure if he was alive... But he hoped he was.
He lifted his head up, and tried to open his eyes, only to be met with blurred reality. He crawled towards the wall... The Floor? The car must've rotated. There was a small light beside him... which told him roof. He moved towards it instead, poking his head out. He wasn't sure what was happening anymore. He shut his eyes a moment...
"JD??" He opened them again. Veronica was looking down at him. He slowly sat himself up, rubbing the side of his head.
"Remind me to cuss out my old man for this." He murmured, Leaning against Veronica.
"You okay?" She asked.
"I think I bruised a rib but... I'm alive. I don't feel I'm concussed or anything." This last part didn't seem entirely feasible, but Veronica didn't get a chance to inquire about it.
"How's everyone else?" JD asked.
"Peter vomited, but I think he'll live. Heather's complaining about the humidity so you might have to deal with that. They're making their way down." Veronica replied.
"Kurt and Ram didn't fall?"
"... Could we not joke around right now?"
"Oh, yeah... Sorry..."
"... Though, I would have preferred it if they were in that car." Veronica admitted. JD let out a quick chuckle. Dark humor worked it's strange way into conversations, even when it isn't wanted.
Everyone eventually had gotten safely on the jungle floor, though they were uneasy and still overcoming shock from what just happened. The gondola car sat beside them, battered up and cracked slightly. They couldn't help but stare at it a moment. JD survived by a pure fluke, it seemed. If all of them had been in there when it fell...
There was an awkward air among them. Unfortunately it was the bad kind.
"We almost died." Duke murmured.
"Yeah, no shit Heather!" Chandler snapped, "When we get back, someone better get fired for this."
"Can we even get back?" Veronica asked, "We passed a bunch of fences, and I'm pretty sure those things are electrified."
"They are." McNamara confirmed, "And considering the gondola still doesn't sound like it's running... It might be a while until anything about a fallen car gets back to anyone."
"So, we're stuck here?" Kurt piped, unfortunately reminding everyone that he was there.
"Well, not necessarily... We could try to find a generator room... They have those around the outside of the enclosures." JD said.
"Great. So where is this thing?" Ram asked, giving another unfortunate reminder.
"Beat's me..." JD sighed.
"Well, maybe if we follow the fence one will turn up? If they're powering them then they'd have to keep them nearby, right?" Peter suggested.
"I have my doubts but that's all we have to go off of," Veronica sighed, "Let's try to find one of the fences... JD you good?" He'd been sitting down the whole time, though he quickly stood up after this. His body swayed just slightly.
"Yeah, Let's hurry. It's gonna get dark soon." He said, already starting to walk. The other soon crowded by near him, some leading ahead and some trailing behind. Though, one person stayed beside him.
"You sure you're okay?" Veronica questioned.
"Yeah... I'll be better when I'm back in my own bed again." He assured, "But for now I don't mind walking around a bit more."
"I hope we get out of here... Hey um, JD?"
"We're not like... In part of an enclosure, right?"
"We shouldn't be. They do go back this far, cause even animals need breaks from people, But It'd be too dangerous to place the cars directly above an enclosure. Besides, even if he did, it'd get placed into a herbivore exhibit."
JD went quiet for a moment.
"...It'd be too expensive of a risk. Even for him..."
The group of tired teens had walked around for a long time, Mud and foliage covering their lower legs. The legs they couldn't even feel anymore because of how tired they were... It was close to sunset, though the only way they were able to tell was the fact that the temperature had actually dropped somewhat. It was still fairly bright, They probably had plenty of time to find the generator. Though, the eerie reminder of sunset hung above them like gallows. If this place was even a few minutes too far ahead, they very well stood the risk of being lost in the jungle for an entire night. The only thing that was even slightly comforting was when the Gondola had started back up... But even then it wasn't much relief.
"I hope we find this thing soon," Veronica complained, "My legs feel like mush." She looked along the fence. Even if it weren't electric, it was still a good ways up. It was kinda funny, it looked taller than some of the other fences they'd passed by. Whatever was in there must've be huge. She looked down an the concrete base, noticing a series of small tunnels running through them to the other side. They definitely weren't big enough for humans...
"What are those holes for?" She asked, genuinely perplexed by them.
"It's a Compy Cranny." Duke replied.
"A what now?"
"One of species my parent's recreated is Compsognathus... They're supposed to be about the size of a turkey, But the versions they made ended up much smaller than most of the recorded specimens found by paleontologists. Since they're small, they just kinda let 'em roam around any enclosure they like as pest control. You'd be surprised how many rats and mice accumulate around here."
"Why not let them walk around outside the enclosures?"
"Guest safety...If the wrong person got bit it would basically the same as pumping a minor venom into them."
"Well, that's lovely..." Veronica said with sarcasm.
"Well, it's cost effective... like most things arou-" Duke suddenly tripped over something, just barely managing to catch herself.
"You alright Heather?"
She didn't reply for a moment, instead staring at the ground.
"...This. This is a footprint." She mumbled. Everyone else had stopped by this point.
"What do you mean 'This is a footprint'?" Chandler asked.
"I mean there's something in here with us... We landed in an enclosure." Duke stated, "Probably one of the bigger ones, too, judging the depth."
"You've got to be shitting me." JD groaned.
"I thought the cables didn't run inside of the enclosures?" Peter mumbled.
"They shouldn't," JD snapped, "But, apparently, they do... State of the fucking art theme park right here folks."
"Please tell me your animal obsessed parents at least taught you how to like, identify them?" McNamara asked.
"Yeah, I'm... Thinking.... three-toed imprint...." She looked beside her; another footprint was pressed into the ground a fair distance away. She walked over to it, then circled it for a moment. Then walked back, making motions with her hand
"This thing's about a foot long? and there's about 14-ish feet between them so...."
"So, we're looking at a 3-toed bipedal animal with a 14 foot stride and a 1 foot long print... And toe-claws..."
"So, what dinosaurs fit that description?" Veronica asked.
"One... And you guys aren't going to like the answer."
JD rubbed his head again. For a moment, he thought it was throbbing... but then he realized there was something else...
"Do... Do you guys feel that too?" He asked. The chatter died down, and replacing it was another sound.
Thud... Thud... Thud...
It was almost a rhythmic pattern. The teens started backing away from the print, their backs turned away from the open area and not daring to look back behind them
"Heather... Which enclosure are we in?" Chandler mumbled.
"Well... I'm not 100% certain but... It's probably... The.... Tyrannosaurus... Enclosure."
Everyone was dead quiet.
Thud... Thud... Thud...
"So, not only did we fall into an enclosure... We fell in to the fucking T-Rex enclosure?" Peter stammered.
"Everyone listen very closely," Duke began, "This thing is an apex predator, it can run 30 miles per hour give or take... And it knows it can hunt us down if it wants to... But, It's also been around humans for most of it's life, and is used to seeing them around it. So, as long as we stay still, and don't encourage any of it's hunting behaviors. Then we'll be-"
Thud... Thud... THUD... THUD...
There wasn't another word spoken. The footsteps had stopped, but a new sound took it's place: breathing... Both that of scared kids and of something much, much larger than any of them. They'd all pressed so close together they couldn't tell who was shaking, their self or the person next to them. They were growing skiddish and anxious in a completely different way then they had been before.
It was even closer now. A few of them were starting to whimper and squirm. Though, they kept as still as possible...
sniff... hufff.... sniff... hufff.... snIIIIIIiifff.... HUFFFfff....
A breeze caressed them. Kurt and Ram exchanged a look...
"Yeah um... You guys have fun dying." Ram stuttered.
They bolted away, practically tripping over each other. The other six almost stupidly followed, but a foot smashing down next to them stopped them from even trying. Instead, they ran the opposite way... Not speaking a word but all thinking the same thing: Escape.
The group stopped and looked back briefly after hearing screams. The Tyrannosaurus bellowed, drowning it out almost immediately. There was a crushing sound. They could see one of them trying to crawl away through the break in the trees. They weren't sure who it was, but they didn't get far. A large muzzle bit down on his leg, then threw it's head back to let him slide down further before clamping on his torso. The Tyrannosaur shook it's head violently... the body fell limp.
It stared right down at them. And again, they found themselves immobile.
"Just, stay still please.." Duke managed to whisper amidst her fear.
The Tyrannosaurus's tongue licked a bit of blood off of it's upper jaw. It took a few more sniffs... Then, it let out something that almost seemed to be a yawn. It thud'd only one step closer, then turned itself and laid down...
The dark red sky was just barely visible... Less so than the stars starting to show. The remaining 6 teens looked at each other.
They had to find a way out of here.
-This Chapter is Dedicated to any person or group of people who ever felt personally victimized by a Kram Shipper-
I know this took a little while but i tried to make up for it by writing a bit of a longer chapter than I usually do!! Comments are very much appreciated :)\
Also, I wrote some of this while Watching the first film and you'll be happy to know that both of the T-Rex scenes synced up as I was writing.
The investor meeting, as always, dragged on far too long for anyone to be happy with it. However, they all kept their happy facades. If there was one thing business people hated, it was looking lesser to their peers. They all kept their judgmental stares, not really looking to be friendly but remaining so by convention. Even the Sawyers -the ones who were attending the meeting for the first time ever- had kept their curtain strung up tightly.
Bud's phone had vibrated against his shirt pocket a few times, but he saw no reason to pick it up. Whatever was going on would probably sort itself out within a short amount of time, and if it didn't he'd just throw some money at the problem. Because if Bud had learned anything it was that money solves all.
He and his colleagues just kind of lazed back as they listened to the final pitch, which happened to be for security updates.
"The new fencing system, if successful, will finally respond to the biggest complaint we've been getting since the park open: That the current protective methods used around he park are an eyesore." Lisanne McNamara told the group. "It's also, as of this moment, one of our most ambitious ideas ever put to paper... It will require a lot of time to make fully realized, but I do have a working prototype with me right now."
She walked over to a cart she'd brought over and down a few small pillars on the table. Then she turned a few knobs on them individually. Finally, she pulled out a clean looking rat with a little collar placed around it's neck and set it into the center of the pillars. The rat scurried, aiming to run between two of the pillars.
It jolted back the moment the collar reached over.
It tried running into different spots, only to be met with the same result. Stumped, the little rat stopped in the center of the contained area and sat itself in boredom. The investors looked on with interest.
"Incredible!" Mr. Sawyer gawked, "How does it work?"
"The collar and the pillars are set onto a corresponding radio wavelength," Lisanne explained, "The pillars can wirelessly detect when the collar tries to cross between them, and transmits a message telling the collar to release a short electrical current through the animal."
"So," Marvin Chandler hummed, "You're plan is to do this on a larger scale then?"
"Precisely, Mr. Chandler. My team and I are hoping to completely tear out the old fences, save for a few locations where some of the enclosures meet and certain perimeters, then replace them with these easier to manage and less dangerous sensory ones... Once we finalize and bug test them, of course."
"I suppose that fixes the fence being an eyesore, But what about the collar itself? Seems a bit too pet-like for something like a T-Rex." Bill Sweeney replied.
"Well, again, it's only a prototype... My team is also experimenting with a small implant that will do the same thing with more practicality... We just haven't gotten it quite right yet." Lisanne answered. They'd been working hard at it for weeks before hand, hoping to complete it in time for today. Though, luck hadn't been on their side and that plan fell through.
Bud gave her a look. "Well, thank you for coming in today Lisanne. I'm sure you'll be wanting to get yourself back to your work now."
Lisanne nodded. "Of course, Mr. Dean. Thank you all for your time." She quickly gathered up her supplies and the rat. Then, she left the room. with her cart.
The rat watched intently from it's clear container as it was rolled down the hall. Lisanne looked at him with amusement. "Don't fret so much, Cheddar... You're done for today. You'll get a whole helping a food at the lab." She wasn't sure why she was talking to it... Maybe it was just a parental thing. It wasn't like Heather talked to her much anymore, though to be fair neither of them had made much of an effort.
She sighed, pressing a button and waiting for the elevator... Even if her daughter didn't talk to her, she supposed she at least had friends. The Dukes and The Chandlers were decent enough people, their daughters aught to be the same. Maybe they talked about things whatever she wouldn't tell her... OR maybe they didn't.
Lisanne wouldn't know.
The elevator finally arrived. But before she could walk in three other people walked out. The first was Pauline Flemming, being closely followed by both Marlene and Charles Duke. Lisanne gave them confused looks as a certain aura fell over her... Something wasn't right.
"What's going on?" She asked.
"Something bad." Pauline replied, pushing past her. Marlene grabbed her by the arm.
"We don't know what's up either, but I think we should listen to it." She explained. Lisanne let herself be led back to the conference room, leaving behind her cart and whatever contents were resting on it.
Bud was just about to start closing up the meeting when the door suddenly swung open. He looked over in annoyance when he saw Pauline... Then became confused as the Dukes and Lisanne walked inside as well. Though, no one really had time to answer questions before Pauline walked right up to him and started talking.
"DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LONG I'VE BEEN TRYING TO CALL YOU FOR? 2 HOURS!!! HOW ON EARTH DID YOU NOT SEE THAT YOU WERE GETTING CONSTANT CALLS FOR 2 HOURS?" She yelled. Bud blinked, genuinely surprised by something for once. The entire room filled with an uncomfortable air.
"My phone died." Bud lied. Pauline gave him a scowl that said 'I highly doubt that but I'm to heated right now to argue about pointless things'.
"Just... Would you step outside for a moment, Bud?" She asked. Bud let out an annoyed sigh, but complied with the request. He walked out of the room, closing the door soundly behind him.
"You better have a good fucking reason for this, Pauline." He said with a bit of a grumble. "I doubt any of our investors are going to appreciate what just happened."
"The gondola malfunctioned. One of the cars fell loose somewhere in the park." Pauline snapped at him, not even acknowledging what he'd just said. The air immediately changed.
"What?" Lisanne murmured this as though she were insane.
"The entire system for the Gondola shut down for an hour... We managed to evacuate most of the cars but one broke off of it's latch sometime during the outage."
"Son of a fucking bitch." Bud grumbled, "We're gonna get fucking sued for this."
"You're not gonna like the bad news then."
"What could possibly be worse than this?" Charles questioned.
"Well, during the evacuations we took key numbers just to make sure everyone had gotten off safe. The staff reported 8 missing persons who were on-board the car that had broken off... I've already sent out a search party to try and find them, but it could take some time."
Bud paced back and forth for a moment.
"Did you identify who the missing passengers were?" He asked.
Everyone eyed her as she pulled out a small strip of paper that looked like it'd been printed out of one of the machines. On it was a list of card numbers and names. Pauline froze up, almost as though she didn't want to read it aloud... And instead just turned the paper over to face them
000000003- Jason Fredrick Dean
000000007- Heather Beatrice Duke
000000010- Heather Penelope McNamara
000000015- Heather Clarice Chandler
000000017- Peter Gabriel Dawson
000058849- Rupert Sweeney
000058864- Kurt Kelly
234541234- Veronica Abigail Sawyer
"That... No, that can't be right..." Lisanne murmured, her body starting to shake.
"Our Heather, too? And the Sawyer's daughter?" Charles said in disbelief.
"The investors are going to loose it when they see this." Marlene added.
"Which is why we aren't going to tell them." Bud stated.
The other four looked at him like he was crazy.
"Bud that's just not right, these are their kids and they deserve to know!" Charles argued.
"Look, we need to keep this place funded by any means possible... If we tell them now, some of them might pull out."
"Then imagine how they're going to react when they realize you didn't say anything!"
Bud stayed quiet for a moment, as though he were considering this...
"As much as I hate to say it... That's a pretty damn good point." He grumbled.
"Sir, I could explain it to them, if you'd like..." Pauline offered. Bud leaned back a little. Pauline was head of guest safety, so realistically the fault of this fell on her division of the staff.
"I presume you know which parts to tell and which parts to leave out?" He questioned. Pauline gave him a quick nod, then quietly slipped inside of the room. Charles gave him a questionable look.
"What exactly is she leaving out?" He asked in a somewhat accusatory tone. Bud sighed.
"If you must know, the computer detected a latch error earlier today... We were still at full capacity and it'd have been too much of a hassle to shut down and check em all. So I opted to keep it open until some of the crowds died down." He explained. Charles, Marlene, and Lisanne all glared at him.
"You knew something was wrong... And you didn't allow them to shut down and fix it?"
"There's 500 cars... Not to mention the unhappy guests-"
"So you deliberately did something that would endanger them on the off chance it'd at least keep them satisfied?" Lisanne snapped.
"Our children were on that car, including you're own son! Aren't you in the least bit concerned?" Marlene added.
"Jason's a scrappy kid," Bud said with a shrug, "Given what he'd been through before, I don't doubt his survival skills... He's probably leading them towards a maintenance shed right now. Besides, The cars don't run through anything dangerous. At the worse, they landed in the shallow part of the River OR got stuck in a tree."
Before this argument could continue any further, an eruption of shouts and yells sounded from the other room. Pauline came out, looking fairly distraught.
"I think you should say something to them, sir." She said. Bud walked into the room, and was immediately bombarded with questions. His head started spinning, and he bashed on of his hands against the center table. Suddenly, the room went dead silent.
"Now that it's quiet," He began to lie, "I'm terribly sorry that this has happened. I'm just as worried about my son as the rest of you are for your own children, but I assure you we have our best men on the job-"
"What if they're already dead!" Mrs. Sawyer shouted.
"No one is dead!" Bud stated, "No body has died... At worse they'll have a broken bone or mild concussions, and even then I doubt that's possible. The cars were designed specifically to be safe should something like this happen... Right, Dawson?"
Mr. Dawson stood up, shaking a little. He knew the truth, of course... But he was too cowardly and shaken up to say anything about it.
"Exactly. They're designed to absorb shock should they fall... And even then they're sturdy enough to fall much greater distances then the gondola's maximum height." He assured to the investors.
"What if something breaks into the car? They could be eaten!" Bill Sweeney questioned.
"The gondola line doesn't run into any of the exhibits, not even remotely close... There's a clearly marked electrical fence between them and any sort of animal or monster we have contained."
"Well what about trauma?" Marvin Chandler exclaimed, "Surely they'd be scared by something liker this!"
"If they are traumatized," Bud mumbled, "Then I'll pay for the damages myself... I always set funding aside for things like this, And given the current revenue I'm sure we have more than enough to pay for any kind of medical or psychiatric treatments they might require... Or yourselves, for that matter."
The group of investors seemed to calm down a little bit at the sound of this... Though they all were very clearly in shock. A very unsettles Mr. Sawyer walked up to Bud.
"Are you sure that the ride was up to code?" He asked, "A broken latch sounds pretty serious, I'm surprised no one would have noticed it was weak in the first place."
"The ride was due for a maintenance check tomorrow, actually... If I had to guess I'd say that there was some form of unseen rust damage from the saltwater mist. We do normally keep very close tabs on these sort of things... Hell, we check the latches twice a week during off-hours for this exact reason. I'll have a very stern talking to my workers about this, this definitely shouldn't have been something they let slide-by. And, I consider it my own fault that it even happened."
"Oh, nonsense, Bud." Mrs. Chandler interjected, "It's not your fault if an ungrateful employee decides to slack off. You're just taking it hard because of your son, aren't you?"
Bud played along with this. "I... You're right, actually... He's the only family I've got left, I feel like I've failed him..."
"Well, Like you said, the cars are build for these sorts of things... You shouldn't worry yourself so much, none of us really should."
The other investors slowly nodded along, making mumbles of agreement. The Chandlers were the only people even more persuasive than Bud himself. As long as they agreed with him, no one would see reason to panic or speak out about the situation. Bud stood himself up a little straighter.
"I'm going to our headquarters building to oversee everything," He announced, "Why don't the rest of you wait in your rooms for the time being. I'll call as soon as we get any sort of news, and I'll even have the staff send dinners over."
The investors piled out, still very concerned but at the very least able to find some calm for the time being. Bud waited back, leaning against the wall as they all left... Until the only ones remaining were Dawson, McNamara, Flemming, and the Dukes.
Yes, Bud Dean once more managed to successfully swindle himself out of any lawsuits.
"You better know what the fuck you're doing, Bud." Dawson threatened.
"Everyone will be fine... Sure, the car isn't close to code, but the gondola is too low for that to matter anyhow." Bud reminded.
"I know..." Dawson left the room, clearly unhappy but not in the mood to deal with it.c
Bud eyed Lisanne and Pauline. "You two better get going, you're gonna have a lot to check up on."
The two of them exited, maybe just a little quicker than any of the others had. Charles and Marlene stayed behind.
"If our daughter is even slightly hurt, we leave." Marlene threatened.
"You leave, and I keep all your patents... Do whatever you want."
They eyed him with malice, before trudging out of the room. Bud pulled a cigarette out of his pocket, lighting it indoors despite the signs. He had plans already if this went awry somehow: Dump the park onto Dawson, escape to a secret helicopter, change his name in some other country... He didn't give a shit about anything else, not the investors, or the animals, or his son...
Why would he? No matter how this went, he didn't have anything to worry about.
I'm back with more chapters!!! I took a quick hiatus to work on other things and because of school, but now I'm back and ready to make more updates!
Chapter 10: Sitting Cats
In which we spend a long time in a tree.
The teens trudged on under the moonlight, not really sure what to do anymore. It'd been long apparent that they weren't going to find a way outside of the enclosure anytime soon. The sky was so dark it may as well have been black, the cell service was too flimsy to be reliable (they'd even shut their phones off for the time being), and above all else they were just too jittery and unsettled to even think too much about it. They're dirty clothes were uncomfortable, yet it was the only thing really helping any of them stay warm.
JD felt like his legs were going to give out on him. He had no doubt everyone else did, too. But they didn't really have many options for rest. If they slept on the ground, they risked being bitten at by Compy's or stepped on by Rexy. None of the nearby trees had any low branches, and they almost wished they'd just stayed back where they'd started. It was too late for that, however, and none of them were really willing to turn back around... Not yet anyways.
Veronica was leaning into him as they walked, half tucked into his jacket. He couldn't really see her face under her hair, but he had a hunch she looked just as exhausted as the rest of them were. JD frowned, though he couldn't place a singular reason for doing so. He supposed he was just in discontent at the thought of another good day going to shit. He looked ahead, squinting his eyes a bit... Maybe...
"I think that one up ahead is climbable." He announced, his voice somewhat horse.
"Took long enough." Heather Chandler complained.
No one else really said anything, instead opting to trudge along like they had been for the majority of the day. Eventually they reached the base of the tree. It was weirdly crooked, but definitely not impossible to climb. They each made their way up, their tired bodies working against them. Still, they all managed (save for Peter, who needed help getting up the last branch). They settled themselves on a surprisingly level section of the tree, leaning back against the branches.
The air remained quite, none of them really willing to speak any words... But, inevitably, someone did.
"What if it wakes up before we do?" Veronica asked. Once more, everyone was still... No one really wanted to think to hard about it.
"...She just ate... She won't be hungry for another 24 hours, maybe more... We'll be fine." Duke mumbled quietly.
"What if it comes up anyways?" Peter followed up.
"Just stay still... She'll take a few whiffs and decide we're not worth it if we're not moving." She yawned. "Let's just sleep and figure this out in the morning, please?"
Despite the million questions going through everyone's heads, they all seemed fine with this. That, or they were all just too tired to keep going back and forth about this. Veronica once more leaned into JD.
"You mind?" She asked.
"Nah... It's cold..." He replied, wrapping an arm over her.
"You think we'll be alright?"
"Yeah... My father is a fucking hack, but he wouldn't risk his investors. At the very least You, the Heathers, and Peter should be fine..."
"Why are you excluding yourself?" Veronica asked. JD almost wanted to keep his mouth shut, but he knew he owed her an explanation.
"I'm an extra expense."
Veronica gave him a frown. She looked like she wanted to say something to him, but nothing came from her. She laid her head down on his chest. There wasn't a lot of warmth between the two of them, but they didn't seem to care. It was at least something.
JD looked above him, his head still feeling sore. He didn't want to be too concerned about it... It'd pass if he slept, he told himself. It was just a headache from being exhausted...
He shut his eyes, letting himself rest.
Thud... Thud... Thud...
JD stirred, trying to ignore the footsteps pounding around him... He wasn't in the mood to deal with his dad right now, He just wanted to keep sleeping.
Thud... THUD... THUD...
He tried to curl under his blankets, only to not find them... Instead, there was another person, who grunted in discomfort. Though, it became apparent Veronica wasn't going to wake up... Veronica? Had she come back to his room last night? What even happened last night?
Oh, right... He wasn't in his room, He was in the T-Rex pen.
He was in the T-Rex Pen!
JD's eyes shot open, looking around for the source of the sound. He looked to his right. No animals, just teenagers. He noticed that everyone had at some point in the night huddled up together, as Veronica wasn't the only person laying beside him. Though, he did notice a single absence.
The minute his head turned left, he saw it staring right down at him. JD was completely frozen save for the shaking of his bones. He did his best to keep his breathing steady, but it was easier said then done. He tried to read the animal's expression, hoping it wasn't hungry.
Rexy seemed more-or-less perplexed by their presence, and more interested in observing them than taking any action. She lowered her head slightly, taking a few sniffs. JD noticed there was still a bit of tried blood on her lower jaw, reminding him that as much as he could fight she would inevitably be the victor.
He saw a hand stick out and rub Rexy's noes. It wasn't his own, but rather it belonged to another girl laying on the other side of him. Heather Duke kept a calm demeanor. She didn't even seem slightly fazed by Rexy, who made a happy sort of purring noise.
"You remember me, don't you?" Duke mumbled, talking to the animal. Rexy's eyes shut in apparent pleasure, continuing to let her run her knuckles against her scales.
"You didn't answer my question, Jason."
Oh, it was directed at him...
"...Kind of." He said, his tone blank as his stare.
"You used to come into the veterinary offices a lot with your mom." -
"What of it?"
Heather shrugged. "I dunno... I just remembered talking to you a few times before. What happened? You just stopped coming one day..."
"...That was a different Jason Dean." JD sighed.
"Yeah... Sure it was."
Heather pulled her arm back. Rexy's bright yellow eyes reopened. She seemed almost grateful, in a strange way. The Rex gave them one last look before trotting away, leaving them be. JD felt himself relaxing.
"...You know what happened, don't you?" Heather questioned. JD, of course, knew exactly what she was talking about... But he wasn't eager to reply.
"I'm not talking about it." He said, his voice shakey but his tone firm. Heather gave him a look, but didn't press further.
"We should probably get going," Heather said, "They won't send someone into one of the enclosures unless they know we're in here."
They woke up the rest of the group, Everyone was somewhere between barely rested and absolutely exhausted. At the moment, they were all just perched cats... All trapped in the same tree (Quite literally in that manner). The most they could do at the moment was let their brains wake up and start asking questions... Though, Veronica probably asked the most important one:
"So, what are we gonna do now?"
No one really wanted to answer, simply because they themselves weren't certain.
"Well," JD tried, "We really only have two options: Stay put and hope whoever they sent to find us is competent; OR walk around and try to find a way out like we were trying to yesterday."
"I'm not going back out where that Rex is." Peter declared.
"Yeah, Peter's got a point," Heather McNamara said with agreement, "It's better if we just stay put and wait for someone else to find us."
"And you are 100% confident that we're going to be found after everything else that happened yesterday?" Duke questioned.
"What else can we do?" Chandler snapped back.
Veronica looked over everyone, scanning them. "Well, What can we do?" She asked, "I mean, there's 6 of us; Statistically someone has to know something useful to this. I'll go first: I can usually come up with solutions on a whim, even if they're a little crazy..." She was only met with silence for the most part... Until JD spoke up.
"I know my dad better than anyone else. And while i'm not always good at it, I can occasionally tell when there's something that he probably didn't care enough about to put much money towards it." He announced, Looking back at everyone else. Duke sighed, rubbing her arm.
"I know a lot about Dinosaur Biology and behavioral patterns... Though, I'm not really an expert on it and only know what my Dad's told me."
"I know about some of the fencing mechanisms, but only from overheard conversations." McNamara said as though admitting some dark secret.
"I know some stuff about the landscaping... Not that I think it will be helpful." Peter mumbled under his breath.
Everyone turned to face Heather Chandler. She huffed out a breath of disinterest.
"My parents will sue Bud Dean's ass if anything happens to me."
Veronica took a breath. "Okay, so... There's 6 of us, we all have a pretty wide set of skills. If we work together, we could probably figure a way out of here."
Heather McNamara sighed. "I still think it'd be better just to sit and wait."
"Well, then I hope you don't mind dying for real this time." JD grumbled, "Cause i'm telling you right now: That's the only outcome to sitting on our asses."
Everyone felt quiet, as though the reality of the situation started to fully set in now. They all knew JD's words, if a bit harsh, were true. They weren't going to survive by just staying around and hoping for rescue... They'd have to do their own part and try to find help. Though, there was still an unshakable feeling that they were in over their heads in trying to brave it on their own. Like they'd die regardless just trying to figure something out...
Though, at least then they could say they tried.
"Let's just get out of this damn tree before Godzilla get's back." Heather Chandler groaned. No one seemed willing to argue with that. In fact, for the first real time, it seemed every one of them was able to agree on something.
I know this chapter is shorter and I'll admit, it's not my favorite I've written but... i just couldn't find any way around it. It had to be written this way and cut at that point.
I'll make the next chapter a little longer to compensate if I can help it. But, for now, this story makes it's slow starting return after Hiatus.
Chapter 11: To Dream of Compsognathus
They all carefully scaled back down the tree. Despite the difficult footing (And a few slip ups), Everyone managed to make it without gaining new scratches or bruises along their skins. Except for Peter, who needed help getting off the last branch. Though, just as one challange was overcome, another started to present itself.
"Was that the rex?" Peter asked, his voice low.
"No, she's long gone from this spot," Duke assured, "But, whatever it is it doesn't sound good."
JD sniffed the air, trying to get past the small clog in his nostrils. "Hm... Rain." He mumbled, "It's probably a storm."
"It's just a mild one, right?" Peter mumbled, "Not like, some major hurricane or something?"
"C'mon, if a hurricane were heading here then it'd be reported about in advanced." Veronica said.
"Well then, lets just get moving and try to get out before it does." Heather Chandler said with a sarcastic bit of pep in her voice.
"You seem uncharacteristically eager." McNamara pointed out.
"The sooner we get out of this dump, the sooner I get to shower."
"Well, luck is on your side." Veronica chimed, "It'll be dumping in an hour."
"How'd you figure that out?" Chandler asked.
"Every 5 seconds between thunderclaps is 1 mile. I counted 150 seconds, meaning 30 miles... And storms travel at about 30 mph."
Some gave her impressed glances, other's confused ones... But Heather Chandler just gave Veronica a roll of her eyes. "If I'd known you were this much of a nerd, I would have just left you in the hotel."
Veronica shrugged. "Hey, at least then I wouldn't be stuck here."
JD snickered. He didn't think he'd get a chance to meet someone who had just as little patcients for Heather Chandler as he did. But, here she was, and her name was Veronica Sawyer. Heather turned her head, keeping her composure and acting as though the comment didn't mean anything.
"Hey, Look over there!" Heather Duke said suddenly. She pointed towards the fence, which had a slight break in the foundation. The group approached it, hoping it might be big enough to squeeze into. Unfortunately, as they came closer to it, it became apparent that the break might not actually be big enough for any of them to fit. They all stared at it, each of them thinking over it.
"We should probably tell someone about that when we get back." Duke said, though no one else acknowleged this.
"So... Does anyone want to actually give it a try?" Veronica asked.
"I'm not crawling thorugh that thing." McNamara said, "I already had to pull moss out of my hair from sleeping in that tree last night."
"If you keep being this picky," JD began, "I predict you will be the next to hit the bucket."
This seemed to scare her, but she still refused to crawl through. "What if I get stuck?"
JD rolled his eyes. "I'll do it..." He said with a bit of a groan. The last thing this group needed was to get into another arguement, both because of time and because it just made his headache worse. He got down to the dirt, slowly moving under the concreat. He managed to get his head to poke out the other end before his hips got stuck between the cracks. He turned and twisted in an attempt to wedge himself further, but this did little in the end.
He muttered a quiet, defeated "Fuck" before pushing himself back the way he came. Unfortunately, he was stuck. Not Unfortunately, Veronica and Heather Duke grabbed his legs and helped pull him out.
JD brushed some dirt off of his shirt. "Peter, you're scrawnier you give it a go."
Peter leaned against the fence. "I'm scrawnier? Dude, you're a twig and you couldn't fit."
JD glanced at him, blinking a few times to make sure it his eyes hadn't decieved him. "Peter... You um... You leaning against the fence there?"
"And you're not Dead?"
Peter's expression filled with dread. He jolted away from the fence. JD stood up, slowly extending his own arm. He gripped one of the wires-
He Screamed, Jittering as electricity seemed to flow through his body. The others screamed as well... Then, JD halted and turned around, an amused smirk on his face.
"It's a joke! Just a joke! Please stop yelling now, my head really hurts." He said with a somewhat sick laugh.
The group took a moment to collect themselves. Heather Chandler smacked his shoulder.
"I hope you're fucking proud of yourself."
His smirk grew devilish. "Very much so."
Veronica touched the fence, tilting her head slightly. "Why is it turned off though? Isn't that like, a safety hazard?"
"It is." Duke agreed, "A very extreme one at that... Rexy or Bull could easily knock that over."
"Bull?" Peter questioned. Everyone ignored him, deciding to not feed into his fear.
"Maybe they turned it off for us?" McNamara suggested, "My mom works with the fences, maybe they figured we'd try to climb them and shut them down?"
JD looked up, noticing a set of warning lights... They were off as well, even the one that would have blinked to signify that the fence was off and needed to be fixed. Granted, his father was a cheap fuck, it might have just been wired that way to save time.
"I hope you're right... Cause I don't like the alternative." He muttered, "Let's just climb over this thing before they fix whatever is wrong and we get stuck again." He jumped up, scaling the fence. It hurt his hands a little, but he worked through it. What was a little more pain if it meant getting over?
Eventually, everyone managed to get over without too much trouble. Except for Peter... Again. JD was getting annoyed by his incompitance by this point.
"He's going to be the death of himself." He proclaimed.
Veronica shrugged. "At least we'll know when He dies."
"...Why is that significant?"
"I dunno... I'm tired, I don't have time to think about sounding witty."
Heather Duke suddenly popped into the conversation. "No offense but, you guys weren't all that witty before either."
JD clutched at imaginary pearls. "I'm hurt Heather... That cut me deeply."
She rolled her eyes. "Good to know you have feelings."
"Heather you're going to kill him with those roasts." Veronica warned.
"Better the roasts than the dinosaurs."
JD chuckled, then stopped... Swearing he saw something move from the corner of his eye. He looked at the shrubs. They swayed back and forth in the wind, perhaps that had been it. He continued to keep up with the group.
"Something wrong?" Veronica asked.
"No, I just thought I saw something... It was probably just a Compy." He concluded.
"I wouldn't be surprised... They can probably smell whatever remains of Kurt and Ram's corpses from the other enclosure." Heather said, shuddering.
Peter fell from the halfway point on the fence with a surprised yelp. He plummeted like a rock before uncerimoniously landing on his Khaki covered ass.
"Took you long enough." JD complained.
"I was just making sure it was safe!"
"Everyone else went before you, how isn't that safe enough?" Heather Chandler snapped. Peter went quiet, not having an answer.
"Well, now that we're all over... Which direction are we heading?" JD asked.
"Well." Heather Duke mumbled, "If I'm correct... We're close to the backlot of the park... And I know there's a structure in the center of the lot, though I'm not sure what it exactly is."
"Yeah I remember seeing it on my Dad's plans," Peter recalled, "It's a pretty big one, But I'm not sure what exactly they're using it for either."
Still it was all they had. The alledged structure was in the opposite direction of the fence, a few miles in the northern parts of the isle. JD knew somewhat about it, yet he could not for the life of him remember why... He felt like he should have, like it was extremely important. But between his headache and his apathy it just wasn't coming back to him. And it just frustrated him further.
Veronica had been keeping a very close eye on JD as they walked along... Mostly because, well, she didn't exactly believe he'd gotten out of that gondola as unscathed as he seemed to. If she had to guess, she'd say he were concussed... It made sense, he probably his his head on the way down without even noticing (shock was one hell of a drug). His constant complaints of headaches and less balanced strives were also possible hints, she thought.
But, he was either too proud or too stupid to admit it... And she was leaning more towards the latter. Veronica sighed, glancing around the area. It didn't seem like it was populated, yet she couldn't shake the feeling that something was lurking nearby.
"...You guys think there's Raptors out there?" Peter asked suddenly, "Like, I always heard Rumors that Bud had some ordered."
Heather Chandler scoffed. "As if, Those were Just rumors. They never actually made Raptors."
"Well, not for the public anyways." Heather Duke corrected. "I remember my Dad tried working on a brood, but I don't think any of them made it very long."
"Raptors?" Veronica questioned, "Like, Velociraptors?"
"Utahraptors..." JD murmured, "Bigger, Scarier, better fit what people think of as Velociraptors... Dad even was going to just call them that, wasn't the real thing but only nerds would know the difference... Besides, Heather is right, none of them lived very long. Some bug in their incubators or something... Gave them all terminal diseases."
"All of them?" Veronica squirmed, "Geez... I know they're carnivors but, I feel bad for them."
"So what if they're carnivores?" Heather Duke questioned, "They aren't bad just because they need to hunt to live!"
Heather Chandler rolled her eyes. "Heather calm down, it was a mindless comment... Right, Veronica?"
Veronica just fell into quiet, and the conversation quietly died out... Though, Heather Duke leaned into her ear for a moment.
"They aren't evil just cause the movies want you to think that... My parents say they're just as smart and empathetic as humans."
Veronica nodded. "I'm sure they are, but... We don't have to worry about them right now, do we?"
Heather shook her head. "Nope."
Veronica noticed JD had been listening in... He looked upset about something, but before she could ask he sighed and turned away with a bored expression. But, then again, Veronica usually was known to pester.
A rustling bush made all of them freeze. They looked over, expecting to see something large... Something with lots of claws and teeth and spooky looking anatomy.
But, instead, there was a rather small creature no bigger than a chicken... And another one... and another one. Veronica looked at them with intrest... Those must've been the Compy's Heather had been talking about earlier. It was a relatively small group, she thought, but then again there wasn't any reason to assume more weren't lurking about nearby.
"Just ignore them." Duke said, "They won't bother us if we don't bother them."
So, the group carried onwards. However, unlike Heather's prediction, one lone compy trailed behind them, keeping with their pace like a lost puppy... A lost puppy with venomous saliva, and feathers. Veronica eyed it for a moment. If it weren't for the fact that it kind of creeped her out, she'd probably find it cute. But, first and foremost, it was a wild animal... No different than a crow or raccoon in the trashcans outside her house. She wasn't about to mess with it.
However, the compy seemed to know it could mess with them all it wanted. It sped up past them... Hopping along as though it were begging for food. Veronica thought it was odd behavior.
"I thought you said they were scavengers? Why's this one begging?"
Heather shrugged. "Matinance probably gave them some of their lunch scraps during one or two trips... It thinks we'll feed it if it keeps trying."
The compy seemed very determined. It ran up in front of Veronica, staring her down and giving her a longing look... It was actively trying to make itself cuter.
"Clever Girl." Veronica laughed, "But We're just as hungry as you I'm afraid." She walked around the small dinosaur, keeping her gaze forwards. Still, the compy continued to pester the group. She prodded and begged, hoping that someone would eventually throw her something. At one point she even started to nip at them, but eventually pulled back when it realized this was going no where. Veronica could see a few others following from a further distance, as though trying to gage the other's success... If she didn't get anything, they wouldn't either. But if she did, then the entire group would have a few more little feet scampering alongside them.
Heather Chandler waved her hands at it. "Buzz off, we don't have time to deal with you."
Veronica picked up a small pebble, and chucked it into a bush. The compy turned it's head, scampering over... It's pack mates following behind it in a frenzy. "They're not very smart, huh?" She mused. No one really gave an answer, instead opting to sneak along as they had been before. The Compy's didn't follow this time, finally seeming to understand that they weren't going to give them food.Though, now that just reminded Veronica that none of them had eaten in a good few hours.
"Hey Peter, you know if they put any berry bushes in the landscaping?"
Peter shrugged. "Not really my father's expertice... If he did they're just for appearance, I doubt there would be anything edible here."
Veronica huffed. "I'm starving... I could eat a whole fucking cow if I wanted to."
"Ask my mom about that," Duke joked, "She can probably sneak out a live one from our next food shipment."
Veronica gave her a look. "You guys keep live cows?"
"They're feeder animals, don't get too attached."
"What do you feed them to?"
Duke thought for a moment, then shrugged. "I'm not sure actually... They're reptiles so they don't have to feed daily. I assume they're an occasional treat for the Rexes, cause usually we feed them live goats. But-"
There was another rustling sound beside them, indicating another group of dinosaurs had followed. Veronica looked over, not really seeing any compys scampering about. A groan sounded from Heather Chandler, who picked up a stone and chucked it at the bush.
"Buzz off you feathery rats!" She snapped.
Something grunted. Something that definately sounded bigger than a Compy. Veronica looked over, seeing another pair of feathery creatures. They looked just a tad larger than the Gallimimus she'd seen at the petting zoo yesterday, but definately were not that... They had large boney crests above their eyes, and sharp teeth that hung from their lips.
The larger of them walked out from the bush, snarling at them with annoyance. The group made the collective decision to back away as it drew nearer. The second one joined with it's mate. Their snarls turned into hissy roars, and brightly colored frowls shook out of their necks.
"Cover you're eyes!" Heather Duke warned.
Veronica buried her face in her arms, becoming disgusted as a sticky liquid hit her skin. She only lifted her gaze when the snarls died down. The dinosaurs now just lightly hissed, kicking up dirt with their feet. The group continued to back away, picking up their pace as they went along. The Dinosaurs watched as they left, not following but content in having scared them off.
Veronica brushed some of the slime off of her exposed arm. "What is this stuff?"
Heather Duke mumbled a quick "Oh shit." Then sprang to the point. "No one touch their eyes or mouths. This is pure Dilophosaurus venom, it will paralyze you and you will be in pain the entire time."
Peter shook his arms skiddishly. "Thanks for the warning... How the hell are we supposed to wash this out?"
As though to answer this question, there was a crackle of thunder and a sudden downpour. It just about instantly drenched their clothes and hair, and left them in a damper mood than before. Veronica glared at the scrawny boy.
"You just had to ask, huh?" Heather Chandler sighed.
The group continued to trudge on... Hoping whatever structure they were going towards at least would have a roof over them.
The Pack relished in the fresh feeling of rain, preening their feathers and washing themselves in it. They had a wading pond, a nice fancy naturalistic one with a long-term filter, but nothing was quite better than the feeling of fresh rain. And, much to their delight, their tropical enviorment meant decent humidity and rainfall.
The leader ruffled herself, enjoying the feeling wash over her. They wouldn't be fed for another few hours, maybe longer if the rain got worse, but their big meal always came in eventually... The best days were when they got a live one, watching it run and squirm away while they cornered it. It was an enjoyable exercise practice for them, good for group building... Plus they got to feast for a good few days when they were large.
She called out to her pack mates, asserting her dominance as she moved towards their nests. Being the leader, she got the prime spot near their heater. It only turned on on cold or rainy days, but despite the downpour it was currently switched off. No matter, it would turn on sooner or later. She ruffled herself out as she settled into her spot and watched over the other members... They knew how to behave themselves usually, and they knew she'd be in a bad mood if one of the others got to cocky. Though no one really attempted to challange her.
The youngest of the pack, was quick to take her place in the prime spot... But soon was bullied around by the others. They fought for a bit, before she called and made them settle down. Disgruntled, they let the youngest have her turn for the time being.
Then, just as when the leader was about to lay her head down, something new entered the air. She sniffed around... Humans, but not the one's who usually came. Not the worker ones who smelled of gross body spray and boredom... This scent was dirtied, tired, sweaty and cold. And there were much more than there would be if they were the handlers. Their voices were also a lot squeakier, more exhausted sounding. They were weakened, yet still they trespassed into her domain.
She took another wiff, picking up a few familiar scents. One of them screamed "Danger." She clicked to her packmates. They cooed back in confusion... Then the territorial call came. They all called along with her and began making rounds in their enclosure to ensure nothing had broken in. She looked up at the fence... The one they'd attacked many times before yet never succeeded in destroying. Yet, now she wondered... Her heater should be on, and wasn't; maybe the fence was out too?
She lept up, scratching along the very ledge of their electrified roof. Ah, but right now, it wasn't electrified. She wasn't about to let this chance go to waste. They were gonna run out, wild and free in the jungle... They were gonna run and hunt somewhere other than their pathetic little cage. She called out to the pack, communicating her find and encouraging them to assist her in the destruction of their cage.
Maybe whoever was out there wouldn't break in, but they were gonna break out.