Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
Praise for Jurassic Park: The Mesozoic Mystery
"Obsessed" -My cousin
“The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence.” -Blake Lively
“A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst of architects from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality.” -Karl Marx
“We live in a society” -Ian Malcolm
INTRODUCTION: "THE WONDERS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY"
The late twentieth century has witnessed a dramatic turning point in the way in which we see the world. For example, one thing that is important is that they discovered genes. Now that genes are discovered, and as we continue to learn more and more about these little things that they discovered, the way that we see the world has become very different. In the late twentieth century, also known as the later part of the 1900s, we see things very differently.
These things that we now acknowledge in a new light, that we view through the lens of genetics, even include ourselves, each other, and humanity. For instance, if you were to see a person walking down the street, and it was the year 1845 before they discovered genes, you might have a different reaction to them than you do now. If it was the year 1845, and you saw someone walking down the street, there are a number of things that you might do to acknowledge them. You might say “Hello there, partner,” “How now, my good sir,” or something of that kind. You see, in the 1800s (also known as the 19th century) before we had all of these numerous and ever-expanding discoveries and technologies such as genes, when we looked out upon our brethren we saw them as humans; their humanity shone through their body and hit us in our eyeballs. But now, all that the human race and especially scientists and other people of that sort can see is the inherent value of nature. For example, if it was the year 1995, and you were a scientists working for a private biotechnology company and you were walking down the street and you saw someone else walking down the street, you might think to yourself: “gee, that’s a lot of genes they’ve got there,” or “I wonder if they have any genetic information that I might could profit off of.”
That, you see, is the problem with modern day science. We seek value; wealth and fame, recognition for our discoveries rather than the betterment of mankind. And this shift in thinking, this paradigm shift, you might say, is bad for three reasons that I will now list.
First, this thing, this change in the way in which we see the world, is bad because people make pointless, low-quality stuff with all this new genetic technology. For instance, one might think that it is a good idea to make, for instance, trout fish that are paler in color so that when you’re fishing you can see them and you can fish better and more efficiently for these trout fish. And this would be really bad but they would also get money probably.
The second bad reason (that was the first one) is that people might use all of this new technology to make dinosaurs which would not go very well, I think. A company might do this, like International Genetics, for instance. This actually did happen actually a couple years back, and quite some people died from the dinosaurs, and also many moral and ethical dilemmas arose. And even after these dinosaur islands (Isla Nublar and the other one) were destroyed, these issues did not go away and were not resolved. Fortunately, the survivors of this final incident were willing to tell their story.
Chapter 2: PROLOGUE
Sunday April 16, 1995
It was nearing dusk on Isla Sorna. From a small clearing nestled between the palm groves on the island’s coast, the scene would have been peaceful, serene even. Above the trees and gently waving fronds the sky stretched deep blue, streaked purple in the glow of the setting sun. Below, the steep cliffs gave way to crashing waves, their sound rhythmic. Standing there in the tall grass and the cold night air, one might have been lulled to sleep by the steady music of the ocean, the whispering leaves, and the low buzz of the jungle in the distance.
Of course, the island wasn’t peaceful for long. There came a sudden rush of wind, a flash of grey, and the whir of propellers. A helicopter landed jerkily on the ground. Its side was emblazoned with the word “Biosyn.”
Two men jumped down from the helicopter, and surveyed their surroundings. One was carrying a very large gun that dispensed highly lethal poison extracted from oysters, and the other had a bag filled with some sort of scientific or medical equipment. The man with the bag knelt in the grass for a moment, and procured a small rectangular device with a lot of buttons and little glowing lights on it. The device was beeping loudly every couple of seconds.
“We can’t be too far from him,” said the man, looking at the device’s screen.
The other man, the one with the gun, frowned. “Alright,” he said, looking over his shoulder, “But let’s be quick about it. We’ll be lucky not to end up like Dodgson, especially with all that noise your damn tracker is making.”
The first man gestured with the device. “I told you, we’re fine. I got a clear signal on him, and we’ve already gone over the— well. You know.” He stood, and shifted the bag to his other shoulder. He looked nervous. “It’s like— what’s his face, the T.V. man said— they’re just oversized frogs. Who ever heard of a frog that could hear you from a mile away? I’m telling you, it’s gonna be a piece of cake.”
There was a sound from the jungle, branches snapping.
“That your frog?” Said the man with the gun.
“Probably the wind,” said the other man. “You know what, we should just go ahead and get this over with while it’s still light out.”
“You think?” Mumbled the man with the gun. His companion shot him a look.
Cautiously, both men took the first steps into the dense jungle. It was a quick descend into darkness as the trees closed in around the pair. It was silent except for a low chirp or humming sound every so often, at which time both men would startle and look around anxiously.
A good ten minutes into their trek, both men had fallen into a sort of rhythm. The muddy ground squelched loudly beneath their boots, drowning out any other noise. The man with the gun stared straight ahead, barely blinking, while the man with the tracker walked a few paces behind him, eyes flickering back to the screen on his device.
Soon, the beeping began to accelerate. On the screen, a flashing red dot appeared on the otherwise blank grid representing the island.
“Gotcha,” whispered the man in the back.
There was a rustling noise from nearby, and the stretch of tall ferns to the mens’ left shook ever so slightly. The man with the tracker did not notice it. The man with the gun did. He stopped, listening.
The other man, still oblivious, came up beside him and halted, as well. He pointed to the screen on the tracker.
“Look at this,” he said, “we’re really close now. This little dot here is the jeep, shouldn’t be more than a quarter of a—” He stopped, finally glimpsing the fear on his companion’s face.
“Something the matter? Come on, let’s go! We’re wasting daylight!”
The other man let out a breath, and turned away.
“Thought I heard something. Probably it wasn’t anything.” He started walking again, and then paused. “Say, can you make that thing stop beeping? It’s giving me a headache.”
The other man gave him a dismissive look. “It is not. We have bigger things to worry about right now.”
They walked another couple of minutes. The man with the gun paused again, and turned back to look at his companion with some degree of desperation.
“Say, we’re pretty close now, aren’t we? I really don’t think all that noise is necessary. Can’t you just turn it off and use the screen instead?”
The man with the bag and the tracker continued on past his companion. The man with the gun ran to catch up to him.
“Nelson, all I’m saying is—”
The man with the tracker, Nelson, glowered at him. “If you’re scared now, you can go ahead back to the helicopter. But you’re leaving the gun with me.”
“No, no, nothing like that, it’s just…” he trailed off.
Both men stopped, realizing they’d come to a break in the forest. Nelson cautiously stepped out from the trees, while the other man hung behind.
Nelson looked around quickly, taking in as much as he could. He was now standing in another clearing, much larger than the one they had landed in. The ground here was still muddy, but several yards ahead it leveled out a little bit into a rocky hillside. The area was completely empty but for a couple of fallen palm trunks, and a strange, carefully constructed mound protruding from the soil on the opposite side of the clearing.
He turned, heart racing, and backed into the trees next to his companion.
“Tyrannosaur nest,” he hissed, “of course, right? Christ.”
He had put the tracker in his pocket, but he now took it out and looked at the little dots on the screen. “Looks like the signal is coming from a little ways past the clearing. We need to sneak through here, and quickly.”
He turned to his companion for confirmation. The other man was staring blankly at a patch of earth a few feet away, the gun slack in his hands.
“You heard me Rick, let’s get going!” Said Nelson, again.
Rick said nothing, just kept staring.
“Rick! What the hell is it?”
Rick was silent for another moment. Then he slowly lifted his arm to point at the spot he’d been staring at, and took in a long, shaky breath.
“I think we already found him,” Rick said.
Nelson squinted, trying to see what Rick was all worked up about. He moved closer until he could see it, something small and pale and half-covered in mud that he might have mistaken for a twig.
It wasn’t a twig, though. It was a finger, severed just below the second joint, the skin greyish. It was hard to tell with all the mud, but it looked to Nelson as if it had been bitten off. That wasn’t what bothered him, though. What really made Nelson feel sick was that he knew exactly who this finger belonged to. It would have been impossible not to— it was the very finger that had been pointed at him in contempt time and time again, usually accompanied by some sort of yelling or cursing. It was the finger of the man who he had once feared.
Nelson stood up, and turned to face Rick. “Dodgson,” he said gravely.
After half an hour, the two men were yet to encounter any sign of the dinosaurs to whom the nest belonged. Which was a relief, on one hand, but with each passing second they felt more and more tense, as if waiting for the inevitable rumble of feet and snap of jaws.
They had (more or less) found Lewis Dodgson’s remains within the structure of the nest itself, among scattered fragments of what Nelson could only assume were eggshells. “Looks like they fed him to the babies,” Rick had remarked, with equal parts awe and disgust.
It wasn’t as if they had expected this, exactly. Two days before, just before boarding his plane set for San José, Dodgson had called a handful of department members into his office. “I don’t expect that anything should go wrong,” he had said, carefully loading a number of odd-looking plastic cases into a large duffel bag, “But if something does happen, it is absolutely critical for the sake of this company that you follow the instructions that I am about to give you.” He had then detailed, with unsettling nonchalance, the necessary procedures should he die tragically in the middle of this (evidently very important) business trip. He gave them the coordinates of the island that was his ultimate destination, and opened a locked cabinet behind his desk to point out the locations of a satellite tracking device connected to the vehicles that he would be taking with him, a thin stack of documents, (which Nelson regretted not having paid much attention to) and a sleek gun (the same gun that Rick was now holding) accompanied by two sealed boxes containing both tranquilizer darts, and some poison which Dodgson had emphasized the toxicity of. He told the small group that if they were not notified of his return to San José within twenty-four hours, they were to send someone to this mysterious island to collect what Dodgson described as “whatever was left of him.”
Nelson had taken this as a figure of speech.
Dodgson had dismissed the group, with some sort of warning about confidentiality or something. Nelson had turned to leave as well, but Dodgson had stopped him before he could reach the door.
“Doug Nelson,” Dodgson had said, smiling that disarmingly innocuous smile of his while slapping Nelson on the back. “Doug, Doug, Doug. I won’t keep you more than a minute— there’s something that I need to discuss with you.”
He struck Nelson as suspiciously harmless.
Dodgson waited until everyone had gone down the hall before crossing the room to close the door. Nelson felt sick with anxiety. He didn’t know why, he certainly didn’t know why now , but he had been positive in that moment that Dodgson would fire him. He wasn’t sure if Dodgson had the authority to do that, but right then it didn’t matter. He had started to sweat— after the years of constant criticism and reprehension, this was finally it, today of all days, he was going to—
“Doug Nelson,” said Dodgson, again, “I want you to know that I have faith in you. I trust you, Doug. You know that, right, Doug?”
This was not what Nelson had expected. He wasn’t sure what to say. If this was a compliment, it was surely the first one that Dodgson had given him. He didn’t quite let down his guard yet.
Dodgson had laughed. It had been a perfectly casual laugh, friendly even. It chilled Nelson to the bone.
“Doug,” said Dodgson, “I need you to do something very, very important for me. Those coordinates I just gave out are not the coordinates of the place where I’ll be going. I believe that there may be imposters here among us, and I need to make sure that my true location won’t fall into the wrong hands.”
This came as even more of a surprise to Nelson. Sure, Dodgson had a reputation for being paranoid (among other things) but this, specifically, perplexed Nelson. After all, he had thought to himself, it was just a business trip. Dodgson was always out traveling to Los Angeles or New York or even Tokyo, but as far as Nelson knew he never took these sorts of precautions. Nelson remembered the gun, now locked in the cabinet.
“If you don’t mind me asking, Mr. Dodgson, where exactly are you going?” He had said.
As if anticipating his question, Dodgson pulled a folder from his suitcase. He opened it, removed the top sheet of paper, and handed both to Nelson. Nelson looked down at the sheet of paper. It was a satellite image of an island, too fuzzy to make anything out besides the dark green of the jungle and the brown and grey of the coast. Written in bold numbers at the bottom of the sheet was a set of coordinates. Dodgson jabbed a finger at the paper.
“This is where I’m going. That’s all I’m going to tell you, Doug, because the less you know, the easier this is going to be for all of us. That being said, there is some basic information in this file. Don’t read it here— wait until you’re somewhere alone. You follow?”
Nelson had nodded. He wondered what on earth was in the file that had got Dodgson all worried, but figured that it had to be something important. He couldn’t help but feel a little bit of pride, that he was the one that Dodgson had chosen to carry out this task. Whatever the task was.
Dodgson handed Nelson a key, which Nelson recognized as the one he’d used to open the cabinet with the gun and the tracker. “Don’t lose this,” he said, looking Nelson in the eye, “Now, I really don’t want to ruin the mood, so just know that, whatever happens, you don’t let anyone else find this key, alright pal? There could be some pretty serious consequences on your end.”
Nelson took the key obediently, and nodded. He still wasn’t sure what to say, and Dodgson’s sudden threat had caught him off guard.
“Now, most importantly,” Dodgson had said, “I understand you were a pilot for some time before you joined Biosyn? Is that right?”
“Yes,” said Nelson. “But, that was a long time ago.”
“Think you could fly a helicopter?”
“Sure— I mean, yes.”
“Good, good.” Dodgson’s eyes never left Nelson. “I certainly don’t mean to pressure you or anything. But if something happens to me— I don’t mean to be grim or anything, but I do want to be as prepared as I can— it is vital that someone who I know and trust comes to find my body and bring me to Biosyn headquarters.”
Nelson had not been sure if he understood what was going on. “You mean if you… you don’t mean if you die? You need me to bring you— your body— back to Biosyn?”
Dodgson looked very serious. “Yes,” he said. “It is most crucial that you do just that.”
“Okay…” Nelson had said, slowly.
“Can you do that?” Dodgson asked.
“Yes, I can, yes.”
“You should know, it might not be easy. It’s hard to say what the weather will be like. If necessary, I need you to make it in as little time as possible. You fly to Costa Rica— your plane tickets are in that folder, so don’t lose them— I have a helicopter there waiting for you, you fly straight to the island. There will be no time to waste in getting there, and the amount of time that you’re on the island could depend. I’d give it about an hour, but it is most important that you do not leave the island without me.”
Nelson thought for a minute. “Mr. Dodgson, there’s one thing I’m not quite clear on,” he said.
“Call me Lew,” said Dodgson. “By all means, ask.”
“Alright,” said Nelson, “When you were talking earlier, I thought that I heard you say that there were others going on this trip with you. Dr. Baselton, the professor from T.V.? And…” There had been another man too, but Nelson couldn’t remember his name.
“There will be two others accompanying me,” said Dodgson, “but they do not concern you at all, Doug.”
Nelson wiggled uncomfortably. He hadn’t been sure whether Dodgson understood what he was trying to get at. “I mean to say,” he began again, “what if something happens to one of them, too?”
“I told you, my companions do not concern you. Neither those who will be traveling with me, nor what becomes of them, has anything to do with you.” For the first time, Nelson could detect an edge to Dodgson’s voice. He decided not to ask any more questions on the topic.
In half a second, Dodgson’s face had returned to that comforting, friendly smile. He put a hand on Nelson’s shoulder. “Now, I think that’s about it. Can I count on you, Doug?”
“Yes Mr. Dodgson. Lew.”
“Good, good. Excellent.” Dodgson paused for a moment to zip his last suitcase. “I hope I didn’t scare you there, Doug. It really is very unlikely that anything will happen. In fact, I can say with ninety-nine percent certainty that I’ll be back here by this time on Sunday. This—” he gestured towards the file that Nelson held in his hands, “is all a precaution. That’s all it is.”
Dodgson had grabbed his bags, and followed Nelson out of his office. He locked the door. The two started down the hallway, empty of its normal bustle. Nelson checked his watch; he didn’t realize it had gotten so late.
The two men reached the end of the hallway. Dodgson was headed left, and Nelson was headed right. Dodgson had held up a hand, signaling for Nelson to stop.
“I almost forgot,” Dodgson said, “I don’t think I really emphasized the importance of confidentiality in all of this.”
Nelson was pretty sure that Dodgson had very much emphasized this, but he was also pretty sure that Dodgson was well aware of this fact, so he nodded.
“In the event of an incident, I don’t see much harm in you bringing one or two of our colleagues to assist you in traveling to the island,” Dodgson said. “But no one else needs to know about any of this— where I’m going, what I’ve told you to do, and especially,” here he had given Nelson a very deliberate look, “what you have there in that file.”
“I understand,” Nelson said.
The two men shared a knowing nod, and then began their separate ways down the hallway.
“Doug!” Dodgson called, after a few seconds. Nelson turned around to see Dodgson facing him, halfway down the opposite end of the hallway.
“I find out anyone, anyone gets their hands on the information in that file, and you’re a dead man.”
And then Dodgson laughed. Nelson laughed, too. He walked the rest of the way to the parking lot in silence. That was the last time he had seen Lewis Dodgson.
And now, as Nelson stood looking over the rim of the dinosaur nest, he was hit by a wave of determination. Perhaps this was his most important purpose in life: to bring Dodgson back from the island. Nelson had read the file as soon as he’d got back to his house on Friday night, beginning with the pamphlet labeled “InGen” that had a little cartoon dinosaur on it. He understood why Dodgson had been so precise in his instructions. He’d been impressed, too, but that was the part that he couldn’t tell Rick about.
Nelson knew that most people were critical of Dodgson. He could understand why, but he could never really agree with them. Even though Dodgson had always been something of a bully to him prior to that meeting in his office the other day, Nelson couldn’t help but admire him. Dodgson’s genius was radiant. Sure he called Nelson’s research “pointless”, and said they had ought to sack him to “free up the lab space” on many occasions. But, Nelson saw his point, whether he wanted to or not. Nelson’s work with nematodes was pointless. It was nothing compared to what Dodgson would do.
Nelson knew that many people disliked Dodgson because he “tried to play God” what with his questionable methods and his far-fetched schemes. Nelson thought that this was ridiculous. Dodgson was certainly not “playing God.” Nelson really wished they wouldn’t say that.
No one could “play God,” Nelson thought. That was impossible. You didn’t “play” at anything. You were either God, or you weren’t. Ironically, prior to reading those last few pages in the file that Dodgson had given him, the few papers that didn’t have anything to do with dinosaurs, Nelson hadn’t thought it possible for any man to ascend to that kind of power.
Now, he wasn’t so sure.
Rick stood to the side, still carrying the gun. “I think we should pick up the pace,” he said, “I really don’t want to be here when the tyrannosaurus gets back.”
Nelson, who had been preparing one of the containers from his bag, stood up. It was dark now, the sun just fading over the horizon. He had to agree with Rick. “Yeah, okay,” he said.
Rick frowned. “You never explained to me how this works. How the hell do we get Dodgson back to the helicopter?”
Nelson had already thought of that. “I think—”
There was a sudden, thunderous sound. Nelson sat there for a minute, perplexed, before he could identify what it was.
Rick’s face paled. He cursed quietly. Nelson glanced at him, warningly. “Back, now.” he mouthed. He didn’t know why he felt the need to be so quiet. It was just an oversized frog, after all. Then, he remembered Dodgson’s body in the nest. No, not a frog. This animal, this monster , could not be equivalized to any living creature from this world.
They were too late. Across the clearing, the trees shook violently. Not one, but two heads emerged from above the canopy. They stared at the two men, and roared.
“Run,” Nelson hissed, “ Run! ”
They raced back towards the cover of the jungle, stumbling over rocks, and half-swimming through the mud. They were just feet away from the edge of the trees when Nelson realized they’d forgotten about Dodgson. He cursed to himself— now that the dinosaurs were back, it was unlikely that they’d get another chance. The first tyrannosaur had already burst through the trees and into the clearing, and it was coming at them quickly.
Nelson wasn’t sure what to do. He thought of his duty to Dodgson. Then, he remembered the severed finger that Rick had found earlier. Maybe, just maybe— before he could second guess himself, he turned and dashed towards the finger. He could see it, laying there in the mud—
“Nelson! Come on!” Shrieked Rick. He had already made it into the jungle, and, from the looks of it, wasn’t planning to stop and wait for him. Nelson sprinted towards the finger, ignoring Rick. He could hear the tyrannosaur behind him, closer and closer with each second. He wasn’t going to make it. He kept going though, splashing through the mud as fast as he possibly could.
Then, inexplicably, the tyrannosaur stopped. Nelson could hear a shrill chirping noise that could only be the baby dinosaurs. With a final burst of speed, he clambered towards the finger, grabbed it in his fist, and risked a quick look at the clearing behind him. Indeed, three tiny, crusty baby dinosaurs hopped around several yards away from him. The adult dinosaurs had stopped, and seemed to be herding the babies towards the nest, nudging them with their snouts.
By the time the tyrannosaurus had moved the babies to safety, the two men were long gone.
On the way back to San José, Nelson finally relaxed. The dinosaurs were miles away now, probably soon to be destroyed along with the rest of the island in a fiery display of power by the U.S. military. Dodgson’s severed finger was safely sealed in the airtight container that Rick now held.
“That was close,” Rick said.
“I’ll say,” said Nelson.
They sat in silence for a few minutes. Above the empty stretch of ocean, Nelson was able to take his eyes off of the controls. He looked up; above them, a multitude of stars twinkled more brightly than he’d ever seen.
He turned his attention back to the helicopter.
Rick was also looking out at the sky. “It’s beautiful, huh?” he said. “You’d never get that in California. Maybe it’s ‘cause the air is so clean here.”
“Hmm,” said Nelson.
Rick looked down at his watch, and laughed suddenly.
“What is it?” Nelson asked.
Rick shook his head. “All this flying around and changing time zones— I completely forgot! Do you know what today is?”
Nelson did not. He often had trouble keeping up with that sort of thing.
“It’s Easter Sunday,” said Rick. He looked at his watch again. “For a couple more hours, at least.”
Nelson couldn’t help but smile a little. He couldn’t tell if the timing was ironic, or fitting. Regardless, he sighed and looked ahead.
“The Lord is risen indeed,” he said, in a low voice that was hardly more than a murmur. “Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.”
Chapter 3: AUSTIN
Ian Malcolm was very frustrated. “Look,” he said to the hostess, “are you sure there isn’t anything—”
“I’m very sorry sir,” she said, interrupting. “You have to understand, this is an exceedingly exclusive restaurant. You have to make a reservation, same as everyone else.”
“Okay, okay.” Malcolm said, defeated. “When’s the next time available?”
“Well, currently our waitlist is… eight months. Seven, if you’re lucky. If you want, I can get your name now and go ahead and put you down.”
“Seven months? That’s absurd!” Malcolm yelled. A few other customers (having booked their reservations eight months in advance, of course) were giving him nervous looks. This was a respected place of dining, and if they wanted to listen to drama they would have visited the Denny’s across the street.
“I’m very sorry sir,” said the hostess unapologetically. “As I said, you can make a reservation now. If not, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
Malcolm frowned. This was supposed to be his and Sarah’s first date as boyfriend-girlfriend. He had chosen this restaurant specifically because he wanted to look cool and hip (not old or anything) while still remaining casual enough that it wasn’t, like, weird or desperate. The Vittles Lab , a fancy new country/folk-gastronomy restaurant that had opened not too long ago, had seemed like a good choice at the time. Plus, they served plain cheese sandwiches (which he fondly compared to raw grilled cheeses), one of the few foods that Malcolm was willing to eat. He hadn’t realized that it was one of those fancy restaurants with a waitlist , for god’s sake. He just wanted his damn sandwich.
Well, there was only one thing left to do. He had to pull the old “ow, my leg” trick.
The hostess was still glaring at Malcolm, waiting for an answer. “Sir,” she repeated, “if you’re not going to make a reservation—”
“I understand,” said Malcolm. “I’ll be out of your hair here in a moment. I’m sorry to have caused a scene.”
The hostess gave a strained smile. “Have a nice day sir,” she said.
“Yep you too,” said Malcolm. He turned, and started back towards the restaurant’s entrance. Then, halfway to the door, he stopped suddenly and yelled. “Ow, my leg!” he said, making a face that suggested that he was in a lot of pain. “Holy cow, my leg really hurts!”
Everyone in the restaurant’s lobby was staring at Malcolm. The hostess stepped out from behind the register, clearly concerned.
“Sir, are you alright?” she asked.
“No,” said Malcolm, “I am not okay because my leg hurts.” He fell down on the floor and rolled around a few times for added emphasis.
The commotion must have spread past the lobby, because a tall, smartly dressed woman who could only be the restaurant’s manager walked in, looking very irritated. “What exactly is going on here?” She asked the hostess, angrily.
The hostess looked afraid. She gestured vaguely at Malcolm, who had ceased rolling, but was still lying on the floor. “I’m really sorry ma’am,” she said, “this man came in without a reservation, and now he won’t leave.”
The manager was clearly doing her best to hold back her fury. She glowered at the hostess, and pulled her aside.
“Claire,” she said, “I don’t know what happened, but you are making a scene and I won’t have any of that here at The Vittles Lab . We are a respected business and I don’t want you putting that on the line. Am I understood?”
“Yes ma’am,” the hostess mumbled.
“That man lying on the floor is clearly suffering from his leg got hurt, and—” she lowered her voice, “For all you know, he could be a United States Army veteran.”
“Excuse me, sir,” she said to Malcolm, “Are you a current or former member of our nation’s armed forces?”
“Ow,” said Malcolm, “You know, I’m actually in so much pain right now that I am unable to answer that question.” He rolled around once more.
The manager turned back to the hostess and glowered. “You see what you’ve done? This is bad publicity Claire, bad publicity indeed. Imagine the headlines: ‘Exclusive Restaurant Accused of Denying Service to Injured War Hero.’”
“I’m sorry ma’am,” said the hostess, “this won’t happen again.”
“You’re damned right it won’t. Get this man a table. And make sure you thank him for his service.”
“Yes ma’am. Right this way, sir.”
Malcolm was actually stuck on the floor now, so someone had to help him up. Afterwards, quite pleased with himself, he followed the hostess down the short hallway to the dining area.
“Table for one?” she asked, snidely.
“As a matter of fact,” Malcolm said brightly, “My girlfriend will be joining me this evening.”
“Congratulations,” the hostess drawled, gesturing halfheartedly to a small table in the corner. Malcolm sat down, propping his cane against the wall beside him.
He cleared his throat. “Now,” he said to the hostess, “while I’m waiting for my date, I have a quick question regarding your plain cheese sandwich.”
At seven thirty, a harried looking Sarah Harding entered the restaurant and came to join Malcolm at their concrete slab of a table. She groaned, and flopped down into the seat opposite him.
“I hope I didn’t keep you waiting too long,” she said. “There was an incident at work, and I had to stay late.”
Sarah was, for the time being, at least, staying in Texas. She was working at the Dallas zoo (perhaps following in her father’s footsteps) as the African Predator Consultant. She’d rented an apartment outside of Austin, which meant that her commute was two hours there and back, three days a week. Because of this Sarah was, understandably, perpetually exhausted. She often missed working in the field—the thrill of watching earth’s deadliest creatures in their natural habitats, those long, moonlit nights spent out in the savannah—and she still hadn’t quite gotten used to the change. Sarah’s position at the zoo was—well, it was fine . Her job as a consultant was pretty straightforward, especially for an expert like her. Basically, the zookeepers would bring her one of the new animals and ask things like: “Can you confirm that this is a hyena?” or “This is a lion, is it not?” or “Why aren’t the cheetahs mating?” and she would respond with things like: “Yes” and “No” and “Because one of the cheetahs is lesbian.” There was just no excitement, no adventure .
After the events at Isla Sorna two years ago, it was going to be hard for her to adjust to any sort of “normal” life.
And now, in the lively-yet-atmospheric dining area of The Vittles Lab , Sarah picked up her menu and leafed through its charmingly rustic pages. She made a face. “‘Trowel-Seared Catfish with Asparagus Jelly.’ That’s—let’s see—twenty-five dollars for just an entree.” She set the menu back down on the concrete table, and gave Malcolm a doubtful look. “And you want me to believe that you picked this place?”
Malcolm looked sheepish. “I know, I know. A friend from work recommended it and I didn’t think to do any research.” He paused. “You know, if you don’t like it here—”
Sarah laughed. “No, this is fine. It’s great. I’m just worried I’m a little overdressed, is all.” This was meant as a humorous comment because Sarah was wearing safari shorts and a “Dallas Zoo” t-shirt featuring a stain that looked suspiciously like dried blood.
“Anyways,” she said, “I think it’s nice that you made the effort.”
“The waitress said that I have to order my plain cheese sandwich off of the kids menu,” Malcolm said.
The two of them sat there awkwardly for a moment. “So,” Malcolm prompted, “Tell me about this incident at work?”
Sarah shrugged a little, turning her attention back to the menu. “Nothing too exciting. Just your run-of-the-mill cannibalism, uh, situation in the meerkat exhibit. You know, some adults will eat the infants like cheese puffs if we don’t intervene. Real nasty, but we got it all under control. I didn’t get a chance to change, though.” She gestured to the stain on her shirt.
“Hm,” said Malcolm, “I thought about fractals today.” That wasn’t surprising. The university paid him six figures a year to sit in his office and think about fractals all day.
Presently, the hostess returned to their table and took their orders. Sarah’s sous vide alligator and Malcolm’s sandwich, she said sulkily, would be ready in half an hour.
The pair of them quickly fell back into conversation. To an onlooker, they would have appeared an endearingly mismatched couple. Sarah was almost embarrassingly short. She had dark, close-cut hair, and was racially unspecified. Malcolm’s personal philosophy forbade him from wearing any clothes that were not black or grey. He also had the distinct pallor that could belong only to either a terminally ill Victorian child or an eccentric STEM professional. The two had spent a lot more time together following the whole Isla Sorna fiasco.
After a while their food arrived, violently garnished and plated on unfinished two-by-fours. Malcolm frowned down at his sandwich. “Excuse me,” he called to the waitress, “I think there’s a problem here?”
The waitress appeared to be trying very hard not to yell at him. “What’s the matter?” She said with a strained smile.
“Well, I very clearly ordered the plain cheese sandwich. This is not a sandwich. This is a singular slice of bread with a piece of cheese next to it.”
The waitress’s smile intensified, and her eyes bugged out of her head. “It’s deconstructed,” she said through gritted teeth.
Malcolm regarded the sandwich once more. “Alright. That’s—yeah, okay.” He paused for a moment to mentally reconstruct his sandwich. Now, it was just a singular slice of bread with a piece of cheese on top of it.
“No, I take that back. This is unacceptable!” He said. “Ma’am, I am exceedingly hungry. And, if you don’t mind me pointing out, this is a lame-ass excuse for a sandwich.”
“I’m very sorry sir, but there’s nothing we can do about that. You ordered off of the children's’ menu, so this is a child-sized portion.”
“Yes, I ordered off of the children's menu, but I wanted a whole sandwich. The entire top half is missing here.”
The waitress explained slowly that she could get him another slice of bread to go on top of his sandwich, but he would be charged extra. Malcolm said that he didn’t care and that he just wanted his damn sandwich. The waitress went back into the kitchen, and came back with a second slice of bread. He took the bread, and assembled his sandwich. “Thank you very much,” he said.
The two of them ate their meals in silence. Sarah consumed alligator fillet within thirty seconds. This was because she had spent so much time watching hyenas and lions and other things eating carcasses, sometimes she would forget how people were supposed to eat and just swallowed her food whole. After she’d finished, she stared awkwardly out the window. It was too dark out to see much of anything, but she pretended anyway.
“Are you gonna want to get dessert or anything?” She asked after a while.
“Oh, um—” said Malcolm. He was still eating his sandwich. “Uh, whatever you want to do.”
Sarah was still pretty hungry, but she didn’t particularly want to order anything else from The Vittles Lab . Everything on the dessert menu had had “emulsion” or “infused” in it, and she wasn’t particularly keen on that.
“Well,” she said, “Everything on the dessert menu has ‘emulsion’ or ‘infused’ in it, and I’m not particularly keen on that.”
“Thank god,” said Malcolm, looking mournfully at his sandwich, “this place is kind of terrible. This plain cheese sandwich is not worth fifteen dollars.”
They both laughed. “Haha haha”
“Really though,” said Malcolm, “I guess sorry for making us go here. Next time, we can just stick with Father Jeremiah* Pizza.” (*This is the Jurassic Park universe’s equivalent of Papa John’s )
“It’s okay,” said Sarah, “in a couple of days this will probably be funny.”
“Probably,” said Malcolm. “I’m ready to leave whenever you are. I think I’m going to be passive aggressive and not tip.”
“Don’t do that,” said Sarah, “That waitress looks like she’s probably going to need money to buy some therapy now. Besides, you have all of the InGen money, remember?”
Malcolm remembered because ever since he got attacked by the T-Rex, InGen had been paying him lots and lots of money so that he wouldn’t sue them. Even after the company went bankrupt a couple years back, a small group of employees would scrape together a couple thousand bucks to send him annually, just because they felt that he was very prone to sue somebody and they didn’t want that specific burden to fall on them.
Eventually, they compromised and Malcolm was only partially passive aggressive. He and Sarah left the restaurant, the neon purple The Vittles Lab sign blinking murderously behind them.
“I actually took the bus here,” said Malcolm.
“I can give you a ride, if you want,” offered Sarah. “Actually,” she added, “that way we could stop by Burrito Gong * on the way back and get some fried berry empanadas.” (* Burrito Gong is the Jurassic Park universe’s equivalent of Taco Bell . Burrito Gong has fried berry empanadas.)
“That sounds pretty great,” said Malcolm, “I do love those Burrito Gong pies.”
They walked to Sarah’s car, which was emblazoned with a couple dozen bumper stickers featuring niche hyena slogans. (i.e. “Honk If You Like Hyenas” and “Hyena Enthusiasts Sound Your Car Horn”)
“By the way,” said Sarah, turning on the ignition, “I got you something a few days ago. It’s in the back seat, if you want to open it now.”
Malcolm looked in the back seat. There was a white plastic shopping bag on the floor. He told Sarah that he couldn’t get it because his leg hurt, and then she said he needed to stop being a baby and he said that no, it actually hurt this time, and finally Sarah reached back, took the bag, and half-threw it to him. He looked inside.
“Sarah, what on earth is this madness?” he said.
“It’s a pair of socks,” said Sarah, “Now put on your seatbelt.”
“I know it’s a pair of socks. I’m not stupid, Sarah. I mean—”
“Is there a problem?”
“You know what the problem is, Sarah. This isn’t funny.” He looked at the socks again.
They were brown socks.
“I’m completely serious, Ian.” said Sarah. She backed the car out. “Because you know what? I think that deep down inside, you don’t like wearing black all the time.”
“I also wear grey,” Malcolm said.
“That’s my point,” said Sarah, “I just think you should branch out a little. Step out of your comfort zone, you know? It’ll probably be good for you.”
“But they’re brown socks, Sarah. I don’t think that you entirely comprehend this situation. It’s like I always say: ‘brown is just dark orange.’ Moreover: do you know what orange is? It’s a combination of red and yellow. And yellow is, circumstantially, the worst color. Now, I can’t go around wearing socks that have yellow in them.”
“If you wore rain boots, no one would see them,” Sarah interrupted.
“But that’s not the point Sarah,” Malcolm said, “this is a matter of personal philosophy. Of self discipline, even. If I wear brown socks today, I’ll wear, I don’t know, yellow shoes the next day. Figuratively speaking, of course. Next thing you know, I’ll be metaphorically walking through the city wearing a mauve jacket and a malachite-green hat. It’s like—it’s like a crystal. A mineral, one might say. And you know how I’m always going on about crystals?”
“Theoretically yes,” said Sarah. They were now on the highway going towards Burrito Gong . “It’s a pair of socks, Ian. It’s not gonna hurt you, and these obsessions of yours are starting to border on unhealthy.”
“No, no, I appreciate it. I really, truly do. It’s just, the thing is, you can’t make me wear them.”
“I wasn’t going to.”
“Good, because I’m not going to. Wear them, I mean.”
“Alright, fine,” said Sarah. “Now can you please stop arguing about this? I’m really tired, and we still need to go to Burrito Gong before I drop you off.” She was starting to get a little bit upset with him.
“Oh god, yeah, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize. I guess it’s just my overtly critical nature.”
Sarah sighed, trying to focus on the road up ahead. Sometimes she forgot how irritating Malcolm could get. A small part of her questioned whether this whole relationship thing was going to work out.
According to the clock on the dashboard, it was almost ten o’clock. It felt a lot later. Sarah was ridiculously tired. Her head felt like it was full of juice or something instead of a brain.
“Hey,” she said suddenly, “Does that sign say there’s a Burrito Gong at the next exit? I can’t really see.”
Malcolm looked. “I don’t know. If there is one, it’s got to be new or—no, wait! It does say Burrito Gong .”
“Cool,” said Sarah. “That should save us some time, right?” She put on her turn signal.
“Hey, hold on a second! That’s not a real sign, it’s a piece of printer paper taped to a yardstick.”
Sarah was unfazed. “If they just opened, they might be behind on advertising or something. I don’t know. There’s probably some explanation.”
“I think we should just go to the other Burrito Gong instead, Sarah. There’s something weird going on here.”
“It’s fine, Ian. Look, do you want Burrito Gong , or not?”
“I guess so. I mean, you’re probably right,” said Malcolm. Sarah turned at the appropriate exit, and Malcolm looked worriedly out of the window. They emerged on a dark, empty road. The twinkling lights of the city were growing fainter and fainter behind them.
“Huh,” said Sarah, “I’m not sure where we are. You’ve lived here a lot longer than I have—do you have any idea if we’re going the right way?”
“Looks like the middle of nowhere,” Malcolm said.
Sarah kept on driving, but more cautiously now. The road seemed to continue for miles and miles, the flat landscape indistinguishable. After a while, she squinted in the rearview mirror.
“There’s a car behind me,” she said, “I don’t think it was there a second ago.”
Malcolm looked at least a little bit paranoid. “You don’t think it’s following us, do you? I told you that taking the exit back there was a bad idea—there’s something undoubtedly wrong going on here.”
Sarah spotted a turnoff up ahead, hardly more than a dirt driveway. “I know,” she said, “I’ll turn up here and see if they do, too.”
She turned. The ground crunched under the car’s tires. The entire place was completely devoid of light.
Malcolm did his best to look discreetly behind them. The car was still there, following even more closely than before. It was a sleek, dark van with tinted windows. He turned back around.
“Yep, they’re definitely following us. This is just great—what do we do now?”
“You have a cell phone, don’t you?”
At that moment there was a sudden bump, and the car jolted forwards. Sarah yelled, and slammed on the brakes.
“What the hell? They hit us!” said Malcolm.
Sarah unhooked her seatbelt and turned around to look. The van had stopped, and a shadowed figure appeared to have exited it, now jogging towards them.
“Quick, what do we do?”
Malcolm shrugged unhelpfully.
The still-unidentifiable van driver reached their car, and knocked on the window. Sarah and Malcolm exchanged worried glances. The indistinct face of a middle-aged man was staring at them from behind Sarah’s window, his features washed pale in the car’s headlights. He gestured at them, but it was nearly impossible to make out whatever it was he was trying to say.
Malcolm leaned across the car. “You hit us,” he shouted, hoping that the strange man could hear.
The man outside gestured some more, vaguely indicating that he could not understand what Malcolm had just said. Malcolm reached over to Sarah’s side of the car, and started to roll down the window. He stuck his head out.
“Ian, what are you doing? Get back in the car!” Sarah said, squished.
“WHO THE HELL ARE YOU, AND WHY ARE YOU FOLLOWING US?” Malcolm yelled out to the man, his entire neck protruding from the car window.
“I’m really sorry man,” said the driver, “It was really dark and I couldn’t see the car.”
“You didn’t answer the question,” said Sarah, “why were you following us back there? Ian-get-back-inside-right-now.”
“Yeah. Um, you see—” the man said, wincing. Then, he took a large wooden stick that he’d been holding behind his back, and hit Malcolm on the head. Malcolm fell down in the passenger seat.
“Ian! Are you okay?” Sarah said, trying to shake him. He looked like he was probably unconscious.
“Sorry Miss Harding,” said the man, stick still raised, “It looks like your friend suffered a concussion from the car accident. I’m calling emergency services right now—” he reached into his pocket, presumably for a cell phone. Sarah didn’t have time to wonder why he knew her name.
In the passenger seat, Malcolm jerked upright. “Hey,” he said, “You just hit me in the head with that stick!”
“Oh dear,” said the man, looking at Malcolm, “That was supposed to knock you out for a good few hours. My bad.”
He pulled an object from his pocket. It was not a cell phone. It was another wooden stick of a rather excessive size.
The man waved the stick at Sarah. She realized, too late, that the still-open window offered them no protection.
“Dr. Malcolm, Dr. Harding,” said the man, nodding to each indicatively, “Lewis Dodgson sends his regards.”
There was a "bonk" sort of noise. Everything went dark.
Chapter 4: HOSPITAL
Malcolm was vaguely aware that he was seated in the far corner of an empty hospital waiting room, and that he had been there for quite some time. He had tried to remember how, exactly, he had gotten there, but his memory was very foggy. He and Sarah, Sarah had been driving, a parked car, a man with a comically large stick—BAM! As soon as the image began to clear itself in his mind, it was already gone.
On the wall opposite him there was a clock. He was staring glassily at the clock face, and the hands that looked to be moving far too fast. It was three o’clock. Three in the morning? Or in the afternoon? There were no windows in the waiting room, just a door on one side and a glassed-in receptionist’s desk on the other. Maybe there was someone behind the glass who he could talk to.
He looked around for his cane, thinking that he must have forgotten to bring it inside. No, there it was, right next to his chair. Funny.
Malcolm stood up. He tried to take a step forward towards the desk, but his legs weren’t cooperating. You know, now that he thought about it, neither were his arms. Or his eyes, really. He promptly fell down on the floor. He must have hit his head or something, because when he opened his eyes a moment later, there were three identical faces looking down at him from under surgical caps.
“Hello there,” said one of the faces, “We’re very sorry about the delay. Sarah Harding is still in very serious condition, and we will be performing an emergency surgery very shortly.”
“Okay,” said Malcolm. “Man, you guys are really tall.” Then he realized that they weren’t tall, he was just on the floor. That made him laugh.
“Oh dear,” he said after a minute, “is Sarah okay?”
Three pairs of eyes were still staring down at him, unblinking. “You suffered a mild concussion in the accident,” someone said, “so take it easy.”
“Yeah, yeah, got it.” Said Malcolm. It was sort of comfortable there on the ground. He thought he might go to sleep for a little while, see if his head cleared up.
“You know, you sound really familiar,” Malcolm said groggily. “I swear I know you from somewhere—have we met?”
They had already left.
Ah, well, he thought, and shut his eyes.
Meanwhile, in an operating room—it could have been across the building, or across the world for all that it mattered—Sarah Harding was awake. While she could feel the cold metal of the table beneath her, the blinding lights positioned around the room made it close to impossible to examine her surroundings.
“Hello,” she shouted, “Is there anybody here? Where the hell am I? ” Her voice was beginning to sound hoarse—she’d been at this for the last half-hour.
“Where am I? What’s going on?”
Sarah had already given up on trying to leave the room. Her arms and legs were leaden and sore, and she could move her head just enough to see the IV line that protruded from her hand.
Unlike Malcolm, Sarah could remember everything from that evening, right up until the strange man had hit them. She also remembered the last thing he’d said: Lewis Dodgson sends his regards .
That was what made her really nervous. That was what she hadn’t been able to stop thinking about since she’d woken up. She’d only met Dodgson once, at Isla Sorna two years before. He’d tried to kill her. He’d thrown her off the side of a fishing boat—in the middle of a storm, no less—to drown. But Dodgson had died, not a day later. He’d been eaten alive , for god’s sake. There was no way that he’d made it off the island, none at all.
Just then, a door opened somewhere behind her head, and she heard several pairs of footsteps entering the room.
“Who’s there?” She said frantically, “Can someone please tell me—”
“All righty-o,” a muffled voice cut in. “Let’s get started, shall we? Now remember folks, this is it . For real this time—so no messing around. No Improvisation . I’m looking at you, C.D.! I’m sure we all remember what happened that time with the monkey. Not pleasant, right?”
A number of other voices made exclamations of distaste in agreement from various points around the room.
“Hey,” said Sarah, “I don’t know who you people are, but I know that you can hear me. I want you to explain what’s happening, right now.”
There was a pause.
“You know, Dr. Harding,” said the lead voice, apparently irritated, “I really don’t appreciate your interrupting me. I am giving my colleagues here a firm talking-to before we start the procedure. You realize that we’re going over all of this for your safety, right?”
“No!” said Sarah incredulously. “No one has told me what this ‘procedure’ of yours is about! I’m completely fine! You’re not operating on me!”
“I’m afraid you’re too late,” said the voice, “we have everything all prepped and ready. It would really be a waste to quit now.” There were several murmurs of agreement.
“Well,” said Sarah, “I do hate wasteful people.” She paused for a moment. “No—this is ridiculous! There is no way that any of this is legal.”
The voice spoke again, more sinister now. “Oh wow—blah, blah blah. It’s ridiculous how much I literally do not care. P.D., go ahead and adjust the dosage, will you?”
‘P.D.’ must have gone ahead and adjusted the dosage, because Sarah began to feel very sleepy. She fought to keep her eyes open.
“Alright, now this is for the record.” There was a pause, and somebody cleared their throat.
“The date is Friday, May 9th. We…” The voice began to fade. “…performing a routine dinoplasty… patient is ‘Sarah Harding’…”
She squinted. There were several figures bent over the table, their forms dancing and blurring together as the drugs began to kick in. It was the same face, she realized. Seven of them. A few were wearing surgical masks, but there was no mistaking it—they were all identical.
Sarah knew that face. Although she could barely string together two thoughts, everything flooded back to her. The boat, the cave—a baby tyrannosaur with its leg wrapped in a cast. A red jeep, and a mangled body.
She looked at them, rather laboriously. No , she thought. It couldn’t be.
She saw Lewis Dodgson staring back at her through seven indistinguishable pairs of eyes.
This was the last thing that Sarah Harding would ever see.
Chapter 5: LEVINE
The past two years had witnessed the epic rise and fall of Richard Levine.
There had been everything—fame, scandal, dinosaurs, and perhaps even romance. But, as the great physicist Neils Bohr had been known to say on certain occasions, “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Consequently, Levine had lost everything.
It was a tremendous tale. A long tale, certainly, but a tremendous one nonetheless. In the spring of 1995 he had returned from Isla Sorna, and liked to think that the moment he left the boat and stepped out onto the mainland he became a new man.
Within three weeks, Levine had made a monumental discovery in the field of paleontology that resulted in a dinosaur getting named after him. Well, no, he got to name the dinosaur. He hadn’t named it after himself, although that had been tempting. He had finally decided on “Screwyoumalcolmasaurus,” which was now emblazoned upon a nice, shiny bronze plaque in the museum.
But, his career hadn’t peaked there. Oh, no. Early the next year, Levine had invented a new system for classifying dinosaurs. It was exactly the same as the old one, except now all of the dumb or ugly-looking dinosaurs were sorted out so that no one had to bother learning more about them. This momentous innovation ended up winning Levine a Nobel Peace Prize. They wanted to give him one of the science prizes, but those were all used up for the year and no one had done anything particularly peaceful so the committee just said “oh well” and gave him the award.
Everything had been going pretty great for Levine. Everyone in his field hated him because he had disproven the entirety of literally everyone’s work, and everyone else loved him. There were rumors of a biopic that was in the making, and that they had hired a really hot actor to play him in the movie. He got to travel all over the world and give talks about how he did the cool stuff with the dinosaurs.
Of course, it was then that his life had begun its downward spiral toward insanity.
Or to be honest, it really wasn’t much like a spiral. It was quick and explosive and painful. Four months ago, Levine had completely lost it. He’d been in the museum, his favorite one where they had the Screwyoumalcolmasaurus and sometimes let him have free snacks from the snack bar, when he’d suddenly gotten very angry. In retrospect, Levine really couldn’t remember what had triggered everything. He’d simply gotten very, very angry.
The whole incident had taken place in the dinosaur exhibit on the ground floor, and lasted about half an hour (until he was removed by security). He’d climbed atop the Screwyoumalcolmasaurus skeleton, pried one of its ribs loose from the wire foundation, and swung it around menacingly in the direction of little children while proceeding to cuss out a variety of other paleontologists that he hated, most notably Alan Grant. The museum guards had yelled at him to get down from there immediately, and he had said that he wasn’t going to because it was his dinosaur ‘cause he discovered it and they said that this one was the museum’s now, wasn’t it, and eventually Levine had squeezed himself into the dinosaur’s ribcage and, still having ahold of the dinosaur rib, attempted to stab anyone who came near him through the slots in the bone.
Well, they’d somehow managed to pry him out of there. Miraculously the museum decided not to press charges, but it hardly mattered because by the next morning, the mortified Levine had left town to go live somewhere in the woods where he’d never have to talk to anyone else ever again.
He was now several months into his new life of solitude, and things had started to settle down a bit. He paused, mid-reflection, and surveyed the shabby cabin with some degree of pride. Lately he’d been working on a garden out back. The idea there was that should he grow and store all of his own food, he could further reduce his contact with the outside world.
The cabin had three rooms and one piece of modern technology, specifically a telephone. Presently, the telephone had begun to ring. Wondering who on earth it could be trying to reach him, Levine crossed over to the kitchen table and picked up the telephone.
“Hello?” he said nervously. “You have reached the Smith residence. This is—ah, Jacob. Jacob Smith. I’m actually really busy at the moment so if it’s important I’ll need the password and we can talk.” The whole “password” thing was kind of clever, actually, and Levine had thought it up himself.
“Richard?” came a voice from the other end, “Richard, is that you? Now I don’t know about all of this ‘Jacob Smith’ nonsense but your father and I have something very important that we need to talk to you about.”
Levine let out a breath. On one hand, he was relieved that it was just his parents and not someone from the government or FBI or something. On the other hand, he wasn’t in the mood to have a family discussion.
“Yes mother, it’s me.”
“Well, it’s good to hear your voice, Richard. Even though it’s been—what has it been, Hughbert?” There were muffled sounds from the other end of the phone, and then Levine could hear his father.
“Seven months since we’ve seen or heard from you, Richard. What on earth has gotten into you, son? First you embarrass the family—and Levine Toys Inc. —and then you disappear off into the woods for what—just on a whim? This sort of behavior is unacceptable, my boy.”
“For pete’s sake dad, I’m a grown man,” whined Levine, “I mean, heck, I’m almost forty! I think it’s high time you stop worrying yourselves about my life!”
“Ricky,” began his mother sternly, “This sort of attitude is exactly what your father and I are talking about.”
“Which,” his father cut in, “is why we’ve decided to give you one last chance. You’re a smart boy, Richard, a smart boy indeed. I think that you should put all of this nonsense behind you and come work for the company. We could really use you here at Levine Toys Inc. ”
“Absolutely not,” said Levine.
His mother made a noise that was most likely a sigh of exasperation. “Hughbert, I told you he’d be like this. I think we should just tell him.”
“Tell me what?” said Levine.
“Richard,” his father repeated, “this is the last time that I’m going to ask you to come work for us at the company. I really think it’d be in your best interest.”
“Is that a threat?” Levine asked suspiciously, “Because that’s kind of what it’s starting to sound like.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake—” said his mother, “Richard, your father and I are going to have a baby.”
Before Levine could voice his disbelief, his father cut in.
“And , unless you get your act together very soon, your little brother or sister is going to take your place as heir to the company.”
“What the hell, pops!” said Levine, “This is ridiculous! You guys are way too old to have another kid—how did this even happen?”
“Well,” said his mother, “God works in mysterious ways sometimes. In this case, probably in our favor because we already love our future child much more than you.”
“So what are you saying—that unless I come work for you at the damn toy factory, you guys are cutting me off?”
“Exactly,” said Levine’s father. “See, you’re a very smart young man.”
“I really do think we could use you,” added his mother, “in marketing or somewhere. You know, we’re developing a new addition to the Americana Doll collection right now. Her name is Florence and she comes with her own little butter churn.”
Levine had had it. He held the telephone receiver right up to his face. “You know what, mom, dad—” he screeched, “I don’t give a pteradon’s femur about Levine Toys Inc. or some crusty infant or some goddamn butter churn doll! In fact, go ahead and cut me off! I don’t need any of your money, and I’m certainly not going to apologize for any inconvenience that my recent behavior has caused you! I hate you guys so much and I hope that you and your unborn child die and that the conditions of your death do not necessitate fossilization!”
And then he hung up.
Still full of angry thoughts, Levine got up and walked (or stomped, rather) around the cabin a few times in enraged circles. When he was finished, he sat back down at the kitchen table. What he really needed right now was someone to talk to. Frowning, he looked at the telephone. Then, he picked it up once more and dialed a number. No answer. He’d expected that, so he left a message.
“Hey, Marty,” Levine said, “It’s sure been awhile, hasn’t it? Anyway, I need someone to talk to right now so, whenever you’re free, call me back, okay?”
Chapter 6: HEADQUARTERS
No one would ever have guessed that deep in the basement of Biosyn ’s Cupertino research complex one of the most ambitious biotech projects of the century had been afoot for two whole years.
Of those nonexistent people, even fewer would have guessed that this project had succeeded.
Doug Nelson had single handedly made sure that no one knew about the project, and for that he was extremely proud.
Now, Doug Nelson was standing at a computer monitor. The computer was connected, through a series of wires and electrodes, to a man who sat in a chair nearby. Nelson, the seated man, and the computer were all located somewhere in the back of the dark, ominous maze that was the basement of the Biosyn complex. The ceiling was low, and sometimes drippy (in a bad way). Facing one wall was a row of cylindrical tanks, each containing a blue-green liquid and large enough to hold an average-sized person. At the time, none of the tanks were occupied. This was because they had long since served their purposes, and were unlikely to be used again, at least for some time.
The man sitting in the chair in the room’s center was not unlike Lewis Dodgson.
As a matter of fact, he was almost exactly like Lewis Dodgson.
“Get on with it Doug,” said the Almost-Dodgson, “I don’t have all day. What’re we uploading this time?”
Nelson stared at the computer and punched some buttons on the keyboard. “Let’s see,” he said, “it looks like you have a good few gigabytes of embarrassing childhood memories. The estimated upload time is about half an hour.”
Almost-Dodgson groaned. “Is that information really necessary? Come on Doug, let’s just skip to the good stuff.”
“I’m afraid that’s not an option, my lord,” Nelson said, “you see, all of these humiliating memories played an important role in making you the man you are today.”
“Okay I guess that’s fine then,” said Almost-Dodgson, and Nelson pressed the button to begin the upload. There was a low humming sound as all of the information from the computer wiggled itself into the Almost-Dodgson’s brain.
“Alrighty then, my lord,” said Nelson, nervously, “now all we have to do is wait.” Nelson stuck his hands into the pockets of his long black robe, which gave him a rather mysterious appearance.
The Almost-Dodgson sighed. “Ah,” he said, “humiliated children.” He closed his eyes and was silent.
After a good few minutes, Nelson had begun to worry about his master’s wellbeing. “Is there anything I can get you, my lord?” He asked, groveling pathetically on the floor.
“No, thank you.”
“Very well, sir.”
A few more minutes of silence passed. Nelson was growing more and more uncomfortable. Over the past year, his sole purpose in life had been caring for the Almost-Dodgson. Now, he felt especially unhelpful.
“Are you sure there isn’t anything that I can do for you, my lord?” Nelson asked. “Some unpasteurized snake milk, perhaps?”
“What the hell?” said the Almost-Dodgson.
“Oh my bad” said Nelson, “I’m still a couple years early.”
“Ok.” Another pause. “You know Doug,” said the Almost-Dodgson, “snakes do not lactate. While there are some species that have live births, these are viviparous and hatch their young internally.”
“Wow my lord,” said Nelson, “thank you ever so much for that fascinating tidbit.”
“You know,” said the Almost-Dodgson, “that does make me wonder. Do you think that there were any species of dinosaur that didn’t lay eggs?”
“I’m not sure, my lord, I’m not a dinosaur specialist or anything. Maybe you should ask—” he lowered his voice, which was pretty stupid because there was no one else there to hear— “maybe you should ask you-know-who when we bring her back to you-know-where.”
“No matter,” said the Almost-Dodgson with a dismissive hand wave. “I don’t think that would be any sort of issue for business.”
“Ok, my lord,” said Nelson.
“Now, shut up Doug. I’m trying to pay attention. Apparently, when I was in second grade my parents had me tested for psychopathic tendencies and the psychologist made me cry.”
Chapter 7: BACK TO NORMAL
BACK TO NORMAL
Nearly two weeks had passed since the car wreck. Sarah and Malcolm were sitting in Malcolm’s living room, enjoying a nice cup of afternoon coffee.
“Wow Sarah,” Malcolm said, “I suppose we were really lucky the other week with the car wreck. That could have ended up really very bad.”
“I guess so,” said Sarah. In truth, she didn’t consider herself lucky at all. Except she wasn’t supposed to tell Malcolm about what really happened after the accident.
“You still haven’t told me what that emergency surgery was for, though,” Malcolm said, “the people at the hospital made it out to seem really serious. But you’re fine now, right?”
“Absolutely,” said Sarah, “I could fight a 600 pound lion with my bare hands. Never been better.”
“So, are you going to tell me?”
“Tell you what,” Sarah asked, pretending not to know what he was talking about.
“About the surgery and everything. I mean, that’s what boyfriends and girlfriends are supposed to do, right? Disclose all of their medical information?”
Sarah sighed. It was time to try a new tactic. “I already told you, remember? You probably just forgot because of your concussion,” she said gaslightingly.
“Ah, okay.” said Malcolm. His concussion must have been very bad, because there had been lots of things lately that he seemed to have forgotten between him and Sarah. Like lending her his personal documentation, or giving her permission to look through all of his research pertaining to Jurassic Park.
Sarah felt kind of bad. “Hey,” she said, “why don’t I drive you over to the zoo one day this week? During my lunch break we can go look at the monkeys.”
“That sounds fantastic,” said Malcolm. “You know that the monkeys are my favorite animals to look at because of how they exemplify divergent evolution, my second favorite type of evolution.”
“Great,” Sarah said, relieved.
“It’s just funny, right?” Malcolm began again. “You were only in the hospital for a day or so, and you’re already good and back to normal. I was in the hospital for what, nine months? When my leg got hurt real bad.”
“Yeah, I remember,” said Sarah.
“Nine months…” Malcolm said, “you know, that bit is kind of funny if you think about it. It’s like I was pregnant but then instead of giving birth at the end, I met you and then I got to go back home.”
Sarah gave him a look . “Don’t say stuff like that Ian,” she said, “it makes it sound like you’re my dad or you birthed me or something.”
“Alright, alright,” said Malcolm after a moment, “I’m not that old. As old as your dad, I mean.”
“I didn’t say you were. And my dad isn’t ancient anyway, like you’re making him out to be.”
“I know he’s not,” Malcolm said, “but you have to admit, the glasses don’t help at all.”
Sarah was about to give a clever retort, but she stopped.
“Ian,” she said, confused, “I didn’t think you’d met my father before.”
“Oh,” said Malcolm, “Well, uh…”
Truthfully, Malcolm had met Sarah’s dad. In fact, Sarah’s dad was the reason why Malcolm didn’t die (permanently, at least) during the InGen incident. He hadn’t said anything about it to Sarah—the whole ordeal had been messy, there were NDAs signed, and he really couldn’t remember much anyway from all the drugs he’d gotten—but, more importantly, Sarah had never brought it up, so he just assumed she had a good reason not to.
“Err…” he said.
“Ian,” said Sarah, “I know you’re trying to come up with a lie. Please just tell me the truth. How do you know my dad?”
“Well,” said Malcolm, “If you want to know the answer, you have to go way back to the days of the park. John Hammond called me up on the phone one day and—”
“Will you answer the question?”
“I’m getting there! It’s just—yeah, okay, your dad was the vet who gave me drugs after I hurt my leg the first time at Jurassic Park.”
Sarah didn’t say anything. She gaped at him.
“Yeah,” Malcolm said, uncertainly, “he was the dinosaur vet and they didn’t have any people medicine for whatever reason so—”
“Oh my god.” Sarah interrupted. “You’re kidding, right?”
“Nope!” Malcolm said, brightly. “That’s a fun little coincidence, I think. It really is a small world. Isn’t it just crazy how—”
“Why didn’t you say something?” said Sarah, incredulously. She looked like she was still in shock.
“Well, I dunno. I guess I thought you knew.”
Sarah was staring out the window, face expressionless. “This is bad, Ian,” she said slowly.
“Why?” Malcolm paused. “Say, Sarah, uh, where is your dad now?”
She didn’t say anything for a few moments. Malcolm didn’t, either. Finally, Sarah looked down at her watch, and exclaimed, “boy, it’s getting late. I need to go.” She stood up, and stretched exaggeratedly.
“Er, alright then. Goodnight, I suppose.”
Sarah headed for the door, hesitated, and then turned back.
“I’ll tell you about him later, I promise. But I do have to go, now.” There was an undeniable sense of urgency to her voice.
“Oh, ah, okay!” said Malcolm. He waved awkwardly, but she had already left.
Chapter 8: THE SEVEN
There were seven of them: Clown Dodgson, Polo Dodgson, Bald Dodgson (formerly Tattoos Dodgson), Old-West Dodgson, Fitness Dodgson, and Ultimate Dodgson. And of course, most importantly, Lewis Dodgson II.
The idea had originally been thought up by Lewis Dodgson (the original, obviously) and included in that stack of papers which he had given Nelson a couple years back. Nelson was to create seven clones of Dodgson, one of which would be endowed with his essence (said essence having been previously recorded, replicated, and stored using one of BioSyn ’s cutting-edge computer units) and memories. The other Dodgsons would act as back-ups, but had ended up being pretty useful for running errands and stuff, too.
All six of these additional Dodgsons had developed a unique personality during the past (and only) year of their lives, as hinted to by their nicknames. Clown Dodgson always dressed like a circus clown, Old-West Dodgson was vaguely delusional and thought he was a cowboy, and so on. But there were other differences—for example, Clown Dodgson was way meaner than his counterparts, with a tendency towards psychopathy that rivaled that of even Dodgson I. And Ultimate Dodgson wore a black cloak all the time and would often sit in the shadows, contemplating the ethical implications surrounding his existence. The six of them were generally confined to Biosyn’s headquarter’s basement, which probably didn’t help anyone temperament-wise. It was all a very interesting study of the whole nature vs. nurture debate. Would these Dodgsons have really turned out that bad if set free in the world? Or would they be predestined to follow in the footsteps of their predecessor? Neither Nelson nor anyone else could answer.
While the original plans given to Nelson had only instructed him that much on the subject of human cloning Nelson and Dodgson II had, in recent months, begun to explore other applications of the technology. After all, they were only using it to further Dodgson I’s legendary vision. They’d tried to clone Ronald Reagan a couple of times, just for fun, but could never quite get him right. Only one trial had proved successful—the creation of a David Miscabige* clone. The real David Miscabige* was an influential cult leader and Dodgson II had theorized that, if realized, this would be exceedingly helpful in certain PR aspects of the plan. For now, the Miscabige clone was kept in a locked broom closet.
So that was it, basically.
*FROM THE AUTHOR: Please note that the character of David Miscabige is entirely fictional. Any similarities to a certain David Miscavige (not that there would be any) are absolutely coincidental. That being said, this author has nothing whatsoever against either Mr. Miscavige or the religious teachings which he represents. I hope you find your wife, sir.
Chapter 9: RESURFACE
Three days later, Sarah and Malcolm were once again having a nice cup of afternoon coffee together. They had decided to make it a thing.
Sarah was unusually quiet. Malcolm had sensed that something was wrong and was attempting to cheer her up by listing his top ten hospital drugs.
“Ah, cyclobenzaprine,” said Malcolm, reminiscing. “Oh, and morphine. I think that one’s my favorite, statistically, because I like the way it makes my brain feel.”
“Okay then,” said Sarah. She was slightly worried at this specific mention of drugs because a couple months back she’d caught Malcolm sneaky stealing morphine from the hospital and he’d promised he’d stop so long as the event was never mentioned again.
Sarah turned her attention to read the time on Malcolm’s fractal clock. It was quite an interesting clock because the clock face was fractal-shaped, and so were the clock hands. She was pretty sure that it was a clock, anyways. Regardless, it resembled a writhing mass of lines and made her head hurt.
“Well,” said Sarah, putting her mug down on the coffee table, “I’d better get going. I have, uh, physical therapy.”
“Oh, sure,” said Malcolm. “Do you need a ride?”
“No. Thanks anyway.”
“You know,” said Malcolm, “I used to go to physical therapy for my wonky tyrannosaur leg. I actually quit because my therapist didn’t like it when I talked about Complication Theory*.” (*Formerly Complexity Theory, and before that Chaos Theory)
“Okay,” said Sarah. She wasn’t really sure what that had to do with anything. “Well, I’m off.”
Malcolm was still a little suspicious of Sarah’s alleged physical therapy appointment (she’d seemed to be having them quite frequently lately, and always at the most inconvenient of times), but he didn’t really care enough to do anything about it so he went and put their coffee cups in the dishwasher. Then he turned on the television to the Math Channel and sat down to read a book.
After a little while, the telephone began to ring. Malcolm would not normally have answered it because he was too busy reading his book or whatever, but he decided that it was a good idea to do so this time just in case it was Sarah and something happened.
He picked up the phone and said “Hello, you have reached the residence of Doctor/Professor Ian Malcolm the Mathematician.”
“Hi, Professor Malcolm,” came a voice from the other end that definitely did not sound like Sarah, “This is Winston Wright from the paleontology department at Ohio State.”
Malcolm began to feel a little bit sick at the mention of paleontology because that is the study of such things that include dinosaurs. “Hey there Winston,” he said, trying to keep things casual, “what can I do for you?”
“Well,” Winston said after a pause, “I’m actually calling on behalf of a colleague of mine. Are you familiar with an, uh, Adam Parker?”
Malcolm thought. “That name does ring a bell.”
“He’s a climate scientist. Worked at Berkeley for a couple years? Pretty well known for his research on global warming*.”
“Oh, yeah, yeah!” said Malcolm. “Andy, I know him! We met a couple of times when I was off lecturing. Real neat guy.”
“Well, anyway,” said Winston, “he said he’s made an interesting discovery and wants to get in touch with you to discuss it.”
“Alright,” Malcolm said, “but I’ve got to admit, I’m still not sure why he couldn’t just call me himself.”
“Ah, uh,” said Wilson, “you see, Parker is, er, well he’s… you’ll see. Just consider me a plot device for now.”
“Okay,” said Malcolm, “can you at least tell me what it is that’s got him so worked up?”
“To be honest, I don’t remember most of the details,” Winston said. “I think there was something about abnormal temperature patterns on some island west of Costa Rica.”
“No…” said Malcolm, gaping in horror. It was unlikely. It was most improbable that there could be another… InGen Incident . But then, why was it him that Parker wanted to talk to? And why now , when things were finally starting to go back to normal?
“Doctor Malcolm, are you there? I was saying how there’s an island—”
“I heard you, I heard you,” said Malcolm. “Jesus. Okay, so you’re gonna put me in touch with Adam. Is it urgent? No, never mind— I’ll just call him later tonight.”
“Okay,” said Winston, “is everything alright?”
“Me?” Asked Malcolm. “No, I’m fine. Great, actually. Just give me Parker’s number, if you don’t mind.”
“Sure thing,” said Winston, and read out the phone number for Malcolm. The two said goodbye, and then Wilson hung up.
Malcolm was about to put down the phone, but he hesitated and instead dialed the number that Winston had given him.
At first, no one answered the phone. Malcolm tapped his foot impatiently. Stupid Parker, triggering his Post-Tyrannasaur Stress and then not even bothering to answer the phone. All these young scientists these days, they could never get their freaking priorities straight. The only thing that they were in possession of was something that Malcolm liked to call “dumbtelligence.”
Then, a man’s voice answered the phone.
“[REDACTED]” the voice said.
“Hello,” said Malcolm, “is this Adam Parker?”
“[REDACTED],” confirmed Parker.
“Okay great, great,” said Malcolm, “listen, this is Ian Malcolm from UT Austin. We’ve met, back when I was visiting at Berkeley?”
“[REDACTED],” Parker said.
“I thought so,” said Malcolm. “So, um, I just got off a call with a guy named Winston Wright. He said that you have something to discuss with me, is that right? Something urgent?”
“[REDACTED],” Parker began, “[REDACTED]”
Malcolm began to sweat. “Wait, slow down a minute. This is a lot of information for me to take in right now. So you… you know about Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna and InGen and all that?”
“Ah. That makes sense. I guess there would’ve had to have been dozens of consultants employed by InGen at the time, right?”
Malcolm laughed a little because he was actually afraid in his heart. “So I suppose, in another universe, it could’ve been you here with the busted-up leg instead of me. That’s pretty wacky to think about.” He thought for a moment, distracted. “Wow, if that was the case I guess you would have ended up with Sarah instead of me.”
“Oh,” said Malcolm, “Sarah’s my girlfriend. We met when I was in the ICU.”
“So,” said Malcolm again, “let me get this straight. You and your team have picked up on some highly unusual geothermal readings from an island west of Costa Rica. They seem to be coming from a single, centralized location, so you suspect some sort of human activity rather than a natural source. Is that right?”
“And, while you haven’t been able to find any connection between this specific island and InGen—”
“Right. InGen or another biotech company, but it is within extremely close proximity to the other islands, Nublar and Sorna. And… you want to assemble a team to investigate?”
“[REDACTED]” said Parker enthusiastically.
“No! Absolutely not,” scoffed Malcolm, “I would never go to this place as part of your team. If I had a nickel for every time I visited an island off the coast of Costa Rica and ended up high on drugs after suffering a near-fatal leg injury—”
“[REDACTED]” Parker asked.
“Sarah?” said Malcolm, “No, Doctor Harding will not go either! I don’t care what you think, this is all exceedingly dangerous and neither of us will be a part of it. Even if there are no dinosaurs, which I am almost certain is the case, it’s not safe to go screwing around in what might be a big biotech company’s business! Take Biosyn for example— back when Lewis Dodgson worked there, people died . I don’t think that you understand, Adam. You would have had to have been there.”
“I am not being hysterical! Mark my words Adam, If you take this group of yours to the island, not everyone will be coming back alive.”
Parker was quiet for a moment.
“[REDACTED]” he said, finally.
“Good.” said Malcolm. “And, there’s nothing you can say to change my mind.”
* “ In my view, our approach to global warming exemplifies everything that is wrong with our approach to the environment. We are basing our decisions on speculation, not evidence. Proponents are pressing their views with more PR than scientific data. Indeed, we have allowed the whole issue to be politicized-red vs blue, Republican vs Democrat. This is in my view absurd. Data aren't political. Data are data. Politics leads you in the direction of a belief. Data, if you follow them, lead you to truth.” - Michael Crichton (For, you know, context. What does this even mean? Alas—it seems we may never know. Remember folks, Mr. Crichton was a medical doctor.)