Dino Isle Chapter 9: Dangerous Game

Woo-ee, what a fight. Our Giga sure hung in there long this time, didn’t it?

A second new voice answered: “Sure did! Wow, what a fight indeed. Git outta here Rexy!”

The T-Rex, already quite some ways off, growled back but turned and kept stomping away.

Nick and Charlie were still frozen, but Nick looked at Charlie and carefully whispered: “Keep absolutely still… humans’ vision is partly based on movement.”

The two newcomers walked into view from opposite ends of the clearing. The first speaker was taller and wearing a wide-brimmed fedora, while the shorter one was more muscular. Both had clearly seen some rough years in their past judging from several visible scars.

“Yeah, quite a fight all right,” said the shorter one, “but don’t you think it’s a bit cruel? Forcing this beast to fight, get all torn up, just to take it back in, patch it back up, and send it out again?”

“Cruel?” said the tall one. “They made this thing. It wasn’t captured or found on the streets, they made it. Somehow. Far as I’m concerned that means they get to do what they want with it. And they’re paying us well enough I don’t mind doing it for them either.”

“I suppose that’s so.”

A loud snort came from the clearing – the Giganotosaurus was down, but clearly not out, not all the way at least. The taller man pulled out a tablet and tapped at it a few times, then put it back away. “There, she won’t give us any more trouble. Help me with these bandages.”

Nick and Charlie watched for nearly an hour as the two men bandaged the injured carnivore. It didn’t seem to fight them, but its eyes were darting all over the place, clearly disturbed. Eventually they packed it up onto a rugged trailer and hauled it off with some off-road equipment that had been disguised in the trees by some brush.

Then, after the sound of the motor faded away, Charlie and Nick finally moved again.

“WHAT WAS THAT???” Charlie said, whispering but clearly shocked. “I thought nobody else was here!”

“Me too, or at least I wasn’t sure, but clearly we were wrong,” replied Nick. “Let’s head back to camp though, at least that’s in a different direction than they went.”

They quickly and quietly packed away their gear and then headed back towards their temporary camp as stealthily as they could. As they got closer NIck sent out two of their drones to do some surveillance. “It’s lucky they didn’t spot this one back there,” said Nick, “it was more or less out in the open watching the fight.”

“Yeah. That fight. I think they were making the Giganotosaurus fight,” said Charlie. “Didn’t it look like it wasn’t happy?”

“Yeah, you’re right. I think they almost said as much too,” replied Nick. “Maybe that would explain the T-Rex’s aggravation, too. Another Tyrannosaur shows up acting all weird? Acting like a zombie or something… they call that ‘uncanny valley’ for humans, or at least it’s something like it. It’d freak me out to see something near human acting like that Giga was acting.”

“I feel so bad for it. Why did they do that?” asked Charlie.

“I don’t know. But I’ll tell you one thing,” said Nick, “I want to find out.”

While the Others had been heading generally away from the explorers’ temporary camp, the direction they went led to the ocean before too long, so Nick guessed that their base couldn’t be too far away. That evening they packed up what they could do without, and the next morning they finished packing and started back towards their main base on the other side of the island.

Making contact back home was now their top priority, but they didn’t feel comfortable doing so. “After all, we know John and Lily probably picked them up on the radio on their way over; there’s a chance they will be able to tell we’re here from our signals,” explained Nick.

“They probably already know we’re here,” worried Charlie. “Maybe they’re looking for us… Coming to get us…”

Nick stopped in his tracks. “Charlie. Buddy. Come here.” Charlie walked up to Nick, looking down at the ground. “Ok, this is serious, and we’ve got reason to be careful. But chances are they’ve known someone else was here for a while. They definitely heard that helicopter, and between the trip here, the scouting trip we took in it, and the trip they took home, they knew it wasn’t just flying over. They didn’t come and find us then, and even though I was a little paranoid it’s not like we were hiding all that well.”

Charlie sniffled. “They’re… probably not looking for us now. Hey, maybe they thought we left on the chopper!”

Nick smiled. “Yeah, maybe. Now let’s keep going. Be careful and be prepared, after all we got into this adventure by taking a chance-”

“And we’ll get home by being prepared,” Charlie finished. “Yeah. We’re prepared. And we’re going to get more prepared after we get back to base!”

Despite this reassurance, they did take much more care to stay quiet and out of sight on the trip back than they had on the trip out, so it took over two days to make it back. Along the way they continued to record and catalog the dinosaurs they came across.

Back at base they made their first call to the professor who had sent them.

“Hmm,” the Professor said, “I did not expect there to be anyone there. You say it was only the two?”

“We only saw two, but they talked about other people,” replied Charlie, “and they had all that equipment, and there was the boat we saw from the chopper, and-”

“Yes, yes, I get the picture,” the professor said. “No, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cut you off. I’m taking this very seriously, I’m not doubting you, I just – I’m a little shocked is all, and more than a little worried.”

“Us too,” said Nick. “I want to go back and check it out, but before I went creeping and spying I thought I’d see if you knew anything.”

“I don’t, and I can say definitively nobody in the academic community does either,” the professor stated. “I’ll make some discrete inquiries though. Maybe someone I know knows someone who knows someone who heard a rumor.”

“Don’t forget that boat!” said Charlie. “If you can find it on satellite pictures maybe you could track it, somehow.”

“Great idea! I’ll try to get someone to look into that, too. Not exactly my area of expertise but maybe someone over in geology, or weather sciences…,” the scientist trailed off. “Ok, sorry, it’s just it’s the first thing in the morning here and I haven’t had my coffee yet.”

“It’s okay,” Nick replied. “We’re actually pretty tired, so maybe we’ll do a bit of work camoflaging the camp better and go to bed. I think we’re going to stick around here for a couple days either way, so if you call us back in your evening tonight it’ll be tomorrow morning for us, or if it takes a bit longer we won’t go off till we’ve heard more.”

“Ok, sounds good,” said the professor. “Be careful you two. I’m grateful you were able to go there. John delivered your first batch of samples already and they’ve been invaluable, but I never wanted to put anyone in harm’s way. And remember. Humans can be much more dangerous than the biggest dinosaur out there.”

Charlie then caught up with his family while Nick spent some time alternating between camouflaging the camp and typing up notes. Eventually the two had a quiet dinner and went to their beds.

The rest of their stay on Dino Isle was bound to be interesting.