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Better than guns

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“This is amazing! I have been all over the world and seen so many things, but I have never seen creatures like this outside of a history book… They must be some kind of previously undiscovered species. I cannot believe that we’ve got the fantastic luck to stumble across them!” Steve Backshall whispered into the microphone attached to his jacket. He turned back to the camera, indicating for the camera man to follow before whispering into the microphone once more. “I’m going to see if I can get a little bit closer- what the…?!”


The camera crew kept on filming as two men with guns came into the clearing, creeping around the creatures and beginning to herd them back into the woods. Several other people joined them there, all working together to move the creatures along.


Steve and his camera crew followed them at a safe distance.


“What is that?” He glanced back at the camera man. “Jay, are you getting this?” he asked before continuing to talk to his audience again. “There is some kind of light up ahead. It’s just… hanging there. I’ve never seen anything like this- I’ve seen ball lightening before but this isn’t it… Oh my God! The creatures just went into it! They’ve gone!”


He paused when a black-clad man in combat gear and body armour and carrying a rifle walked into shot, the gun trained at them as he ordered them to stop filming immediately.




Connor glanced up from the anomaly closing device, the anomaly shrinking into a shimmering ball in the air in front of him, when he heard voices. Luke, one of Becker’s men, was marching four people toward them, two with handheld cameras and backpacks, one carrying boom mic and one other man. Connor had to take a second look to make sure that he was seeing what he thought he was.


“Oh wow!” he scrambled to his feet, almost knocking his laptop over as he hurried over to them. “You’re Steve Backshall! You are, aren’t you?”


Steve nodded, looking a bit bemused. “I am.”


“Awesome! What are you doing here?”


“Getting arrested, I think. What is that thing?” he asked, pointing to the locked anomaly. “And those creatures- they did go through it, didn’t they?”


Connor nodded. “They were velociraptors, actually. Only juveniles; we’re lucky that the adults didn’t come through too. The anomaly- that’s what the light thingy is called- is where they came from. It’s like a gateway between our time and theirs. It’s locked at the moment so they can’t come back-”


“Connor! Do the words ‘Official Secrets Act’ ring any bells with you?” Becker demanded, overhearing and coming storming out of the woods where he and Danny had been checking the area for stray raptors. “You can’t just start telling every stranger you run across what we…” As he saw just who Connor was talking to, his eyes widened, his sentence trailing off. “Oh.”




Ten minutes later, Connor and Steve compared notes on the creatures they’d seen. Connor was fascinated with stories of big cats and jungle animals and Steve and his crew were lapping up his stories of dinosaurs prehistoric creatures. The stories had started to turn into a good-natured competition some time ago, each trying to do one better than the other.


“One of my favourites was the lions, I think. When we were filming in Africa a few years ago, I got to touch a wild lion. They were tagging them with tracking devices and we went out with them one night. At one point, the rest of the pride began stalking our vehicles.”


“Oh wow! I’d love to see a real lion. I mean, I’ve seen them in a zoo, but it’s not the same. We did get to see a sabre toothed cat one time, a Smilodon, in a theme park,” Connor countered with. “This crazy woman had found it as a kitten and kept it in her house. It was bloody huge!”


“If we’re talking about big creatures, then how about the Great White Shark? They were fantastic; I got to swim with them, to see them up close.”


“Well I got this close,” Connor said, holding his arms out, palms apart to show the distance, “to a G-Rex. Honest! Think ‘T-Rex that’s about five times bigger with a really bad temper’. It chased me and I tripped. I was laid on the ground, and I thought it was going to eat me!”




“Yeah, it was cool… once I’d stopped being terrified.”


Steve smiled. “I think you win. I can’t compete with dinosaurs.”


“No, but you get to see all the cool stuff that I never have, like tigers and lions and  monkeys and snakes- okay, maybe not snakes. I’m not too fond of them.”


Nearby, Becker and Danny stood listening. Lester was going to kill them for letting Connor tell not only an outsider about the anomalies and the creatures that had come through them, but a TV presenter with a camera crew following him. He couldn’t really do much about it, however, as Connor had already started to spill the beans before Becker had even got to them. Besides, once he’d realised who Connor was talking to… He couldn’t stop him; he didn’t want to be seen by Steve as the spoilsport who stopped them.


He sighed.


Danny grinned. “Should I be jealous? You’ve been staring at him like a love-struck teenager ever since you saw him.”


“I have not.” Becker leaned back against the tree and smiled. “You have to admit that he’s got a lovely smile. And those big arms…”


“So that’s a yes to the jealousy, then, is it?” Danny joked, before agreeing, “He does have a nice smile. You know, you could just go and talk to him!”


Becker shook his head. “No. I’d look like an idiot. I wouldn’t know what to say.”


Moving decisively, Danny hooked a finger into the front of Becker’s tac vest and set off toward where Connor was impressing Steve and the Deadly 60 crew with tales of his Diictadons’ escapades.


“Danny, no! Don’t-”


But Danny ignored him, walking right up to the others and dragging Becker right along with him.


“Excuse me, Mr Backshall?”


“Oh, call me Steve, please.”


Danny smiled. “Becker here is a huge fan of yours and he’d love an autograph but he’s too chicken to come and ask for himself.”


Becker groaned, his face heating up. He couldn’t believe that Danny had said that! And now Steve Backshall was laughing at him. Of all the people…


“I hate you sometimes,” he whispered to Danny.


Danny laughed. “No you don’t; you love me really. And you’ll thank me for this later.” He gave Becker a push forwards.


Becker found that his mind, just as predicted, went completely blank when he came face to face with the man he had admired on the TV for so long.


“Um… I think you’re brilliant!” he blurted out, face heating up even more. Could he sound more like a moron? He could see Danny’s shoulders shaking with silent laughter and shot him a glare; he was never going to live this down.


Handing over the notepad and a pen that he had in his pocket, Becker watched as Steve signed it, the smile creeping back onto his face.


“Thank you so much!”


“From what I’ve seen, and from what Connor had been telling us, I reckon that it’s you guys who deserve that praise. All I do is film for a tv show; you have to deal with prehistoric creatures on a daily basis,” Steve told them. “Listen, I know that you can’t do it now, but if this project ever does go public, give me a call,” he told them, handing over another piece of paper to Becker with two telephone numbers written on it. “The top one is our producer, the bottom one is my mobile. I would love to do a show, or even a whole series, following you all.”




When they had called Lester and explained what had happened, while talking down Connor’s role in letting the proverbial cat out the bag, he insisted that the Deadly 60 crew be brought into the ARC in order to confiscate any harmful camera footage and have the entire crew sign security wavers and contacts of silence regarding the creatures, the team and the anomaly.


Leaving Connor and Luke to ride with the Deadly 60 team in their vehicle, Danny got into the car with Becker and set off back to the ARC.


“Are you ever going to put that down?” Danny asked as Becker climbed in next to him with a notepad and his phone clutched in one hand, his gun in the other. He looked torn for a moment before putting the gun down in order to fasten his seatbelt. “Bloody hell, don’t tell me that an autograph and a picture rate higher than your gun?”


Becker just stared happily at the picture on the phone of him and Steve that Danny had taken. That picture was going on his wall as soon as he got a copy printed.


“If we ever meet Richard Armitage, remind me to take the piss out of you too,” Becker grumbled at him, knowing full well that if they did, Danny would make a bigger tit out of himself than he’d managed today. He’d seen Danny’s reaction while they were watching Spooks- goodness knows what he’d do if he ever met the man in real life.


It didn’t mater, though. Today had been a good day; nothing Danny could tease him with could diminish his mood right now.


Of course, they still had to face Lester… Becker was just hoping that he was a fan, too.