It's funny, Ellie thinks. These people, these expert scientists and engineers, worked for years on this park. They slaved away at genetic sequencers for God knows how long, trained the animals carefully, built an entire park to suit the animals' needs, and then worked hard for years to convince the public that their park was safe. Now one of the visitors they tried to attract came to the park today, and all that visitor wants to do is sit in the prehistoric flower garden and stare at all the plants. Ellie Degler could have gone out today and seen all kinds of dinosaurs, even ones she had never seen before. She could even have pet them. All she's done all day, though, is explore and sit in the botanical garden called the Bamboo Forest.
Right now, Ellie is done communing with the various plants and has decided to sit on a bench for a little while, watching the sky turn yellow and orange and looking at the flower petals flutter in the breeze. She's in the middle of a section of flowering plants, and she's spent most of her time in Jurassic World there, as those types of plants are her specialty. She's spent her time touching the plants' thin leaves, pushing dirt aside to inspect their roots and pulling apart their petals to see their vein arrangements. With all she's wanted to look at, it's been helpful that she's had the garden to herself for most of the day. A few people, though, have passed through over the course of the past few hours. They've strolled past her, and when they noticed the blonde lady on the ground, touching the flowers' centers and rubbing the pollen between her fingers, all they've done is benignly smile at her and continue walking. Not a single person has recognized her.
Ellie sighs as the gentle breeze runs over her skin and a single bee lazily buzzes past her ear. The scenery around her is beautiful, the sunset radiant, the flowers around her in full bloom and displaying a vibrant rainbow of color. She wasn't looking for much when she came to Jurassic World. At best, she thought she would get a little reassurance that no one was getting hurt here, nothing more. But today, no one's stopped her and asked about Jurassic Park. She's had hours and hours to inspect at her leisure plants that she never thought she'd see in her life—at least outside of fossils. It's been like a whole different world, a calm, peaceful one where she has no obligations but to look at the plants she loves. 'Perfect,' she thinks. 'Today's just been perfect.'
She thought she was alone, but another figure steps into view. A much younger woman with short red hair, wearing a white lab coat, steps into the garden and smiles when she sees Ellie. "Dr. Degler," she says. "How did I know I would find you here? I've been looking for you since this morning." She strides over to Ellie and shakes her hand. "It's wonderful to meet you. Call me Claire."
"Claire. Hi," Ellie says, smiling politely; 'so much for that', she thinks. Claire primly sits down on the bench next to her.
"I wish I had known ahead of time that you were coming," Claire says.
There's a reason that Ellie didn't tell anybody about her visit. She came here to enjoy herself, not to be followed around and photographed, and she certainly wasn't looking for random people to come up and ask her about Jurassic Park. She decides not to volunteer this information.
"Are you enjoying the flowers?" She points to a patch of green plants that look like small, thick cabbages. "Those over there, those were the hardest in this section to make. My geneticists spent weeks on those alone."
"Orontium mackii?" she asks. "Why were those so hard? Couldn't you just use Orontium aquaticum? They're almost identical."
Claire blinks, and then smiles. "You would know, wouldn't you?" she says. "And I don't know why it was so tough. I told my geneticists to create a few samples, and they did use aquaticum DNA, but they kept using the wrong amounts. It didn't look authentic enough." She glances at the patch again. "But they turned out fine, as you can see."
"So you're a geneticist?" Ellie asks, turning towards her. "You're the one who made all these plants?"
Claire gives a secretive little grin. "Yes, I'm a geneticist, but I don't make the plants here. I work on animals. And now that I'm here with you, Dr. Degler, I would like to tell you about something I'm working on in that field. I think you of all people will be particularly interested."
"Whoa!" Ian shouts, laughing. "Slow down there! Dad can't run that fast!"
"But it's a T. rex!" Anna screams gleefully, bouncing up and down. "There's a T. rex right over there!"
"Well, let's go see it, then, shall we?" His daughter practically runs at the speed of light to the glass panel of the observatory, and Ian quickly follows. The wooden structure, built a few feet off the ground for prime T. rex viewing, is filled with a crowd of people; he doesn't want to lose Anna, but no way in hell is he going to try to get between her and her favorite dinosaur, that's for sure. He maneuvers through the hordes of screeching kids and equally excited adults, and finds Anna pressed right against the glass, trying desperately to get a glimpse of the animal in the paddock. "See it?" Ian asks, craning his neck.
"No," the little ten-year-old girl says. "I dunno where she is. Do you see her?"
"Ah, not at the moment," he tells her. "I'm sure she's here somewhere. Or—or she slipped out. You know, through a crack in the fence or something."
"Through a crack in the fence?" She grins up at him, her dark, curly ponytail bobbing. "That's silly, Daddy, she's too big for that!"
"It wouldn't be that hard," he jokes. "She's only ten feet tall." Anna giggles and starts to look for the rex again, attempting to hoist herself higher by climbing up the glass wall. She's standing on her tiptoes and wildly looking around for the dinosaur in the enclosure when a pair of giant, brown, scaly legs comes into view.
"That's her! That's her!" Anna cries, and a chorus of other kids around her shout similar things. The animal lumbers closer, and finally a big, boxy, brown head ducks into view, not even six inches from the glass. The kids all scream in excitement and delight, and Anna jumps up and down and presses her hands and nose against the glass again. The tyrannosaur looks at the crowd for a second, slowly blinking, and snorts. It lowers its head and observes the group further, cocking its head and wiggling its little arms, as if it wants to be played with. The kids eat it all up, of course, waving to and making silly faces at the rex. Ian starts to get nervous all of a sudden, and he puts his arm in front of Anna, pulling her back a little; out of instinct, he doesn't want her to get too close. She, of course, drags him right back to the front of the observatory. He shakes his head and settles for keeping one eye on her and a hand on her shoulder. This whole thing is making him very, very nervous, not to mention his absolute certainty that the rex will break out of its habitat at absolutely any minute. He remembers his promise to Anna, though-- he won't "freak out" about the dinosaurs as long as she obeys his rule to be very, very careful around the animals-- and tries his best to detach from the situation.
Seeing as Anna probably won't let them leave her favorite dinosaur for quite a while, Ian decides he might as well watch the dinosaur; Sarah will want to hear all about the rex when they get home. He watches the rex's movements, noting the curious look on its face and its almost playful attitude. It's almost like this massive dinosaur sees them as friendly, amusing little animals, not prey at all. When he really looks at the dinosaur, he notices something funny about its head that he can't quite put his finger on. After a second, he figures out what it is—the T. rex's neck has scars on it. There are several straight, white scars running down the right side of its neck and partly over its cheek.
Ian considers this for a while, the wheels turning in his head. He's trying to figure out where the scars could have come from, as they seem important somehow, like they indicate something that he should've gotten by now. But when Anna delightedly yells, "Daddy, look! Come over here, she just looked at me!" he forgets all about it. He tries his best to just be in the moment and not worry for once, and concentrates on this time he gets to spend with his wonderful kid.
Lewis Dodgson knows for sure that he isn't supposed to be here. He's not supposed to be anywhere near this area; as far as anyone knows, he's back in Jurassic World, eating a churro or something. But he isn't; instead of staying in the luxury of the park, he chose to surreptitiously hop a fence—no easy feat—and go into the wilds of Isla Nublar. He was never here for a vacation, anyway; he came for a much different reason.
Lewis has been through some very thick jungle in the past few hours. He's had to tear away sinewy vines, carefully avoid tripping on two-foot-tall tree roots and step on innumerable ferns. But none of it was nearly as filthy or overgrown as the area he's in now. This place is so full of moss, plants and lichens that he can barely see past the layer of green and brown that covers everything. He definitely knows this is the place, though. He's at the top of a small embankment, and after doing a little digging, he found a rusty, torn-up car seat. Quite a while ago, a car was obviously abandoned in this area, and that's all he needs to know. This is the place he's been looking for.
He sits on the ground, adjusting his sunglasses. He carefully avoids looking at the ground; he doesn't want to see bones or an abandoned pair of glasses, which would just be too much. He sighs; the sounds of the outdoors surround him, distant birds chirping and the wind making tree leaves rustle, as if the jungle is patiently waiting for him to speak. "Dennis?" he finally says after a few minutes. There's no reply. He knew there wouldn't be. "Dennis, I think this is where you died." He pauses again; he hears a loud cawing somewhere in the distance. "Well, if it isn't, I know it's somewhere here. Well, I…" He tries to find the words, but they're not forthcoming. For just an instant, he feels so foolish—why did he even bother to come all this way and talk to an unsympathetic patch of ground? What did he expect to happen?
"Well, anyway," he finally says. "I just wanted to say goodbye, Dennis … and, well, I'm sorry I sent you here." There's even more silence, like the jungle has paused and is listening to his monologue. "I feel pretty terrible about what happened to you, so, uh, I guess I'm here. I didn't know this would happen when I sent you to get the embryos." He goes quiet again, and after a few seconds, a tiny lizard jumps onto a fragment of an old, rusty car door a few feet away. The animal looks at Dodgson, tilts its little head, flicks its tongue and goes still. Lewis shifts his weight, and the lizard blinks and scampers off. "Well, goodbye, Dennis," he says, getting up and turning away. He wants to say a little more, but he can't find the words, so he just turns and heads off. The trip back to the park won't be easy, but he can do it; he definitely feels a lot better now.
"Can… can I touch her?" Alan asks, his hand tentatively hovering over the animal's head. He doesn't want to risk a bite.
Owen, the muscular, sandy-haired man in the vest, nods. "Go ahead. I'm trying to get 'em used to strangers."
Alan lets the green-streaked raptor know he's about to touch her, and carefully strokes the animal's head; the raptor looks up at him and lets out a high chirping sound. Alan yanks his hand away and steps back. "No, no, no," Owen reassures him. "That's friendly. She likes you."
"Are you sure?" Alan asks cautiously. "That type of vocalization, at that pitch, that's usually hostile—"
"She's fine," Owen tells him. "Look. C'mere, girl." The raptor, probably a juvenile judging by her size, trots over to her trainer. Owen reaches down and pets her head, and immediately she rubs against his leg and chirps. "She's trying to be friendly. Wanna pet her some more? If she knows I'm okay with you, she'll let you."
"All right," Alan says, kneeling on the ground and tentatively reaching out to pet the raptor. The animal freezes and then contentedly chirps again. She inches closer to the aged paleontologist, and he smiles. "All these years studying raptors, all this time research about them, and here I am petting one. Never thought I'd get the chance." Out of instinct, he inspects his hand before petting the animal again, making sure his hand hasn't been bitten off.
"I thought you'd appreciate it," Owen says, leaning against a refrigerator marked RAW MEAT—FOR ANIMAL FEEDINGS ONLY. They're behind the scenes of Jurassic World, inside one of the animal-training buildings. Alan was walking through the park, on his way to see a triceratops or two at the Gentle Giants Petting Zoo, when Owen recognized him and stopped what he was doing to pull him aside and talk to him. Apparently, Owen is quite a fan of his work, and he also has more to do with raptors than Alan expected. There aren't any raptors in the main area of the park; they're all kept here, and Alan is the first visitor to even know of their existence.
"So you've read my studies on raptor behavior, I assume?" Alan asks, not looking away from the raptor that's now rubbing her face against his hand, trying to get him to scratch above her auditory meatus. She somehow manages, even with her slit-pupiled, reptilian eyes, to give him the same look that a sleepy dog would. He's still on edge, past experience convincing him that the raptor will turn on him at any second, but that doesn't mean he can't find the doglike dinosaur at least a little amusing.
"Oh, yeah," Owen says, nodding; he hasn't smiled at all in the time Alan's seen him. "All of 'em. I even used your work as a reference when I was training these girls."
"Was I right about their language?" Grant asks.
"Sort of. You were right enough. They definitely do have a complex language structure. You were a little off on what a couple of noises meant, but that's it." Grant looks up at him, and the raptor makes a low warbling noise. Owen snorts. "Isn't she spoiled? She wants you to keep petting her."
Alan complies with the dinosaur's request. "I just wanted to ask you something," he says. "Why would you breed these animals? If you can't exhibit them, why make them? And for that matter, why train them? Especially for attack?"
"What could you possibly need to protect against?"
Owen's face shifts into an even grimmer expression. "Let me tell you something, Dr. Grant," he says darkly. "There's something Claire made. It's called an I. rex."