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Echoes of Thunder

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My first original story! So excited to release this, the idea just grabbed me and would not let go. It will pick up directly from the conclusion of Primeval New World and continue the story. Now I love Primeval, but they only ever made just under a dozen future creatures and that’s a travesty to me. Plus, Primeval New World didn’t have any future creatures!

So to rectify this, I am making this a crossover with a franchise called the Future is Wild. It was a documentary series that set out to think what creatures may evolve 5, 100, and 200 million years into the future once humans are gone? They came up with almost four dozen unique organisms, so I figured why not spice it up a little? Anyways, enjoy.

 


 

| THE SPAGHETTI JUNCTION – UNKNOWN TIME AND PLACE |

Blood. It roared through his ears and poured out of the corpse. He had done it, he had finally avenged Brooke’s death. Even if he was also the cause of it. As the body of the Albertosaurus cooled, he allowed himself to breathe. He turned around to Dylan, still processing that it was finally over.

“Are you okay?” Evan asked shakily as he hauled Dylan to her feet.

“Yeah…yeah.” She stuttered, checking Evan over to see if he was hurt as she got up.

Dylan couldn’t stop looking at the dinosaur’s body. Evan had killed it, would that put him at ease? The unrest crept into the back of her mind, will the Evan that nearly blew up Cross Photonics return in this moment, or be dispelled for good? She thought.

Before she had any time to think of answers to the question, or Evan had time to process the events that just unfolded, they both heard a very familiar sound. They both spun to see which anomaly had closed, hoping it wasn’t theirs. It was in fact a different anomaly, but before they had time to be glad about that – another anomaly closed. Then another. Anomalies began collapsing all around them, and Evan’s mind raced to figure out why.

“We changed something.” He stated. They both looked at each other and knew. In unison they began racing as fast as they could toward the anomaly home, their legs pushing them to their limits to the last anomaly still open – another to their right closing as they ran. They lunged forward in a desperate bid to return, and…

 

| ABANDONED BUILDING IN VANCOUVER, CANADA – 2006, ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE JUNCTION |

Mac burst through the anomaly and tackled the young Evan, pulling him away from the murderous dinosaur’s bloody maw. The monster stumbled forward, unable to stop its own momentum to turn on a dime and catch its newly relocated prey.

Mac turned from his prone position to face the beast and fired a burst of bullets at the Albertosaurus as it turned to the two of them. The hot metal spikes peppered its body and the hulking brute hissed. This prey fought back, painfully at that.

“GET LOST YOU PREHISTORIC BUGGER!” Mac shouted as he rose to his feet and fired another burst. The dinosaur roared at this challenge after a moment’s hesitation from the prey’s painful attack. It moved forward to ram him, but this prey was fast. Mac saw the attack coming a mile away and sidestepped the creature’s head to deliver several well-timed shots to the side of its face. The Albertosaurus recoiled and decided to retreat and find less difficult prey, departing through the anomaly with a final roar.

Mac kept his gun pointed at the anomaly and backed up until he was next to the young version of his friend and helped him to his feet.

Putting both hands on Evan’s shoulders, Mac patted him over and asked, “Are you hurt?” The young man shook his head, and Mac breathed a sigh of relief.

Wait.

Mac breathed? He took another deep breath.

“I’m not dead?” Mac wondered aloud, and he began to feel himself over.

“Who are–” before young Evan could finish his question, both of them looked up as the anomaly began to pulsate.

“Oh shit!” Mac exclaimed as he ran to the portal.

“Wait! What is that–” Evan began, the anomaly closing before Mac could reach it– “thing?” he finished as Mac fell to his knees where the portal closed. He had started running after Mac when the anomaly was still open, but he slowed and kneeled at Mac’s side as he finished his question. And after a moment, Mac responded.

“That was an anomaly, shiny hole in the universe that spits out dinosaurs. And, my way home.” Mac had said the first sentence shakily, and the second one much quieter, and Evan kept glancing from him to where the anomaly used to be.

Suddenly Evan shot up and ran to the entrance to the room.

“Wait! Evan, where are you–” Mac started, but cut himself off as Evan dropped to the ground by a body.

Well, most of a body.

Mac walked over to the now sobbing Evan and put his hand on Evan’s shoulder. Evan looked up, tears covering his reddened face.

“It’s gonna be okay mate. But I’m gonna need you to call the police, and–”

“And tell them what?” Evan cut him off sharply. “That a dinosaur ate my wife and disappeared back in time?!”

Mac sighed and continued, “No, tell them that it was a bear or somethin else they’ll believe. And you can’t tell them about me.”

“Why? So you can disappear into another time portal? I deserve answers dammit!” Evan screamed as he clenched his fists.

“Don’t worry mate, I’m not gonna leave ya. But in order for us to do something about this, you gotta absolve yourself of any criminal suspicion that you murdered your wife. Yeah?”

Through choked sobs, with the fury draining from his person, Evan nodded and pulled out his phone.

 

| THE [CLOSED] SPAGHETTI JUNCTION – UNKNOWN TIME AND PLACE |

The anomaly closed.

Evan screamed and punched the ground as he fell to his knees. They were trapped. Adrift in time, with no way back. And worse, no way of knowing what had happened. A gloved hand clamped over his mouth to stop his shouting.

Dylan looked him in the eyes and started quietly, “I know you’re scared and pissed and a million other things right now. I am too. But we need to go into survival mode now, and there are God knows how many dangerous animals out there from a hundred different times in these woods and loud sounds are going to attract them.” She removed her hand from his mouth. “That, and the giant piece of meat you just made over there. Now grab that flamethrower you dropped and let’s get moving. I don’t want to be added to the menu of whatever’s going to come over here for a free meal.”

Evan nodded and did as he was told. The pair of displaced travelers began walking down the shoreline away from the body, while dozens of creatures called to each other throughout the forest.

 

 

|NORTH AMERICAN DESERT – 5 MILLION YEARS IN THE FUTURE|

The whisking of automatic doors was followed by the sound of teenagers’ amicable chatter. Their voices added to the hum of the numerous consoles and readouts of the sleek, purple room, with a large central console crisscrossed by ovoid screens surrounded by chairs occupying most of the room and a countertop lining its perimeter. The side of the room opposite the doors had three large teardrop shaped windows and another cluster of oval screens below the central one, their surfaces awash in numbers and crossing orange parabolas.

“Well! As interesting a journey into one of the different environments of 5 million years in the future that was, I think we can safely scratch the Great North American Desert off the list as a suitable habitat for humanity’s relocation.” An auburn-haired young woman in a blue jumpsuit noted while easing into the captain’s chair.

“Yeah! Who thought a desert could be so cold?” Exclaimed a blonde young man whilst he rubbed his muscular upper arms and crammed into his seat at the cockpit’s central console. He was dressed simpler than the girl, only in khaki pants and a yellow t-shirt.

“You know, Antarctica is technically a desert Ethan. A desert is just wherever there’s extremely low rainfall.” Proclaimed a second young man while sliding into the copilot’s seat. This boy was the polar opposite from the other, rather than being muscular and boisterous this raven-haired teen was lanky and had a reserved quiet about himself. He was also in simpler clothes, but instead he wore a long-sleeve black shirt with a cartoon skull on it and jeans.

“Luis is correct, glad to see you’ve taken more of an interest in ecology.” The girl in the captain’s seat complimented. “Now, I’m almost prepared for Time Jump. Luis can you make the final calculations while I go check on Emily and Squibbon?”

“Sure thing C.G.” Luis said, spinning around to face the console.

C.G. walked through the automatic doors back to the living quarters, and upon entering was greeted with a repetitive squeaking sound. An odd-looking creature was holding a tube of rubber, using one of its small frontal tentacles to squeeze it. Its body looked like a green, fleshy beret. From the bottom, multiple orange-tan appendages extended. Two eyestalks came out from the front, observing the world with curiousity and staring intently at C.G. Two short tentacles that ended in two-fingered graspers bobbed between the bottom of the stalks, one of which squeezed the rubber toy – producing a squeak. Four small and wide tentacles came off its sides, curling inward in joy as the creature gurgled with glee. Going straight down were four individual long muscular tentacles upon which the creature was balanced. It looked almost like a squid that had learned to walk.

“Is everything alright now that Squibbon has his toy again?” C.G. asked with a smile, gesturing to the odd creature in front of Emily.

“Once we got it out of the Spinx burrow, yeah! Little buddy missed his squeaker didn’t he?” Emily coddled as the Squibbon jumped off the ground with its four powerful ‘leg’ tentacles onto Emily’s back, tugging at her green t-shirt. As it held onto her like a backpack, it tousled Emily’s bright red hair and simultaneously pushed its rubber toy into Emily’s khaki pocket as the group walked back to the bridge.

Sitting back in the pilot’s seat, C.G. declared with a smile “All hands prepare for Time Jump to the Bengal Swamps of 100 million AD!”

With that, the teal spacecraft-looking machine caused a cloud of dust to be blown away from its position on the dry, cracked earth. Its shape was odd, like a stretched magatama, and you would not expect it to be capable of flight; but green rings of light within the two disks coming off the main body began to spin – and the craft rose.

Once high in the air, it backed up and surrounded itself in a red aura. In a burst of great acceleration, it vanished into a bright light. Leaving behind nothing but the sound of echoing thunder.

 


 

Well that was an exciting first entry, no? Now what I may have neglected to mention is that the Future is Wild also had a kid’s cartoon spinoff where a group of teens explored all of the creatures and environments made in the documentary to find a suitable relocation for humanity, which is under threat from a mega ice age 10,000 years in the future. So those characters, who you just met, will also be in this story. Trust me, they won’t detract from the story and they don’t mean this fic is going to become a kid’s show in tone. I have plans.

For you Primeval fans, don’t worry the original series characters are coming. And for you Future is Wild fans, sorry for the moment of making it look like I wasn’t going to include the Time Flyer crew. Also, extra apologies to you guys as I kinda threw you into the deep end of Primeval with no prep. SentinelStorm signing off.

Stand Against the Storm!

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Well here we are Chapter Two! Love where the story is heading and can’t wait for you all to see as well. Enough with me, on with the story!

 

***

 

| A FOREST – UNKNOWN TIME AND PLACE |

Dylan and Evan trekked silently along the rocky shoreline as a large pterosaur flew in the distance over the water.

“So, now that we’re a couple hours away from the body and it is late afternoon, are we going to start looking for some place to spend the night?” Evan inquired, breaking the silence.

“I was hoping we’d come across the mouth of a river or creek since this is a bay we’ve been hiking. But, not much luck. I’ve found a lot of small channels carved into the dirt draining toward the ocean, so we’re somewhere with high rainfall at least.” Dylan noted as they came to a stop and gazed across the bay. “Got any theories as to when we are?”

“Funny, I was going to ask you the same thing.” Evan quipped as they both sat down on the rocks. “I would’ve thought you could guess from the flora and fauna.”

“I was with Predator Control, not Plant Control. But, I don’t recognize these plants at all so we’ve gotta be pretty far back.” She paused and caught her breath, “In regards to fauna, I’ve seen pterosaurs, birds, and a giant dragonfly fly past us. I think all those anomalies have been open long enough to let dozens of creatures through at least.”

“Which means that guessing when we are based on that is a crapshoot.” Evan finished.

“At least until we get far enough away that we’re dealing with mostly native species.” Dylan pointed out as she picked up her things.

As Evan reluctantly got up he surmised, “If you saw that giant dragonfly flying around without any difficulty, then that means we must be far enough in the past that the oxygen levels can support giant arthropods. So, Carboniferous? At least the oxygen will make starting fires easier.” He smiled, and they began to walk again.

They soon came upon a decently sized stream, and with a shared glance began following it into the woods. After about a half an hour, Dylan stopped.

“We need to start thinking about shelter.” She declared while looking around the small clearing they were in. “We don’t have any idea what could be out there, but statistically most of them will be ground-bound.”

“So, we’re climbing?” Evan ventured with a nervous glance upward.

“Yep.” Dylan huffed as she assessed the largest tree near them. Evan groaned as she grabbed some thick vine-looking plant and began to climb toward the lowest branch – twelve feet above the ground. 

Evan groaned, but followed suit. As he hauled himself up the tree, he finally started to reflect on their situation. They were trapped in the distant past, because they changed something in his recent past. So what changed? He thought about every detail he could, the blood he wiped off the wall, the timing of the Albertosaurus going through, Mac charging in to save him… wait. Mac. He was wearing army fatigues. More importantly, he didn’t have an anomaly detector on him! He would have smacked himself if he wasn’t holding on to a branch forty feet above the ground.

“Hey Dylan! I figured out what changed!” Evan strained as he pulled himself onto the same branch as Dylan. They were now fifty feet above the forest floor, about halfway up the one of the massive trees.

“What would that be?” Dylan panted. She walked out onto the thick branch and came to a smaller branch coming vertically out of the one they were standing on. With a heave, she strained to break it and ultimately failed.

“So, when Mac went through…” Frustrated, she interrupted him with a glare and beckoned him over. The pair of them broke it off with a satisfying snap.

“Get as many of these as you can,” hoisting the ten-foot-long branch up slightly, “we are going to build ourselves a platform.”

And so the pair of them toiled up, down, and across the tree to find the pieces of their structure; utilizing the branches and fibrous, moss-like leaves to weave together a platform and a sloped roof above it. They finished just as darkness fell.

“So what were you saying earlier? About Mac?” Dylan sighed as they both sat down and leaned against the trunk, and each other.

“Right! So when I got rescued the first time, Mac was wearing a uniform like Connor’s. It had A.R.C. on the arm, he also had one of those fancy rifles and an anomaly detector.” Evan panted as he eased onto Dylan’s shoulder. “And our Mac, the one I changed, he went in with army fatigues on and a normal gun. But, more importantly, he didn’t have a detector on him.” Evan shook his head.

“Why should that matter, exactly? I mean I get that the smallest changes can have huge impacts, but what…?”

“Because the only reason Cross Photonics existed was because of that device.”

Silence hung in the air as fog began to filter into the forest.

“The detector had photonic circuitry years ahead of 2006, and I used it to corner the market before it existed.”

“That was why you pissed off Howard so much.”

“Yeah, and now we’re in the same boat as him. Lost in time.”

Unwilling to let sleep claim them on such a low note, Dylan tried to focus on their situation.

“We need to have a fire tomorrow. Think you can craft something that we can use up here, genius? Because while you did have the answer to photonics handed to you, you still are the most intelligent man I know Evan.”

As they began to drift into unconsciousness, Evan’s mind began to churn out haphazard blueprints and ideas.

“Yeah, I think I can manage that.”

And with a smile, they both fell asleep.

 

|THE BENGAL SWAMPS – 100 MILLION YEARS IN THE FUTURE|

“WHOA-OA!” Ethan screamed as he slid down the trunk of the half-submerged tree towards the water’s surface. Suddenly, Ethan was surrounded by a light blue aura and gently floated over the water.

“Really Ethan, climbing trees to gain a more advantageous perspective isn’t necessary.” C.G. stated. She was holding a metal rod that was emitting a blue beam that connected to the field surrounding Ethan.

“Yeah, but it’s fun Ceeg. You gotta learn how to live a little! Sometimes you just have to get–” suddenly a monstrous brown fish covered in weed-like whiskers burst from the water toward Ethan– “HIGHER UP!” Ethan shouted. C.G. quickly yanked Ethan skyward as the fish crashed back to the water. Ethan put his hand over his heart and was breathing heavily as C.G. set him down on the shore next to her.

“Heh heh. I forgot how opportunistic the Lurkfish are.” She said timidly. Ethan glared at her.

“Next time, let Luis use the tractor beam.” He put his wrist, which had a translucent gray bracelet on it, up to his mouth. “How is your guys’ chinampa going?”

A voice came from the both C.G. and Ethan’s bracelets, “Great! The frame we used is plenty buoyant, and our plants are already starting to sprout. The little buds are so cute!” Emily said, practically squealing the last sentence.

“Yeah, and when we put it in the water, I made sure to put it in an inlet that wasn’t big enough for Lurkfish.” Luis chimed in over the communicators.

“Good thinking Luis! I’m glad you accounted for the Lurkfish in your planning.” Ethan exaggerated his words with sarcasm while staring at C.G.

“Ahem, yes, well, our floating garden is also doing well even though it is in deeper water. I think that we can tell my father that the Bengal Swamps are indeed fertile enough to sustain humanity and that the ancient human farming technique of the chinampa or floating garden is incredibly efficient and successful.” C.G. started as her and Ethan began walking back to the Time Flyer.

A few minutes later, everyone was back on board.

“Hey C.G., is it okay if you make the call to your Dad while we have some fun? I know we’re not leaving for at least another day, so…” Ethan asked in the cockpit.

“Well…” C.G. began, but then Emily cut in.

“Yeah! I could definitely use the break. I mean come on C.G., we’ve been here for a week working on this project. I think we’ve earned it.”

“Hmm, alright. But Luis is in charge!” She shouted as they were already on their way out after she gave them the go ahead.

“Dibs on the Chameleographic helmet!” She heard Emily shout on their way to the hold. C.G. sighed as she looked out on the swamp as a Toraton, a gigantic sauropod-like tortoise, walked past the Time Flyer. C.G. smiled as her friends went outside, with Emily jogging and Ethan riding the Dune Skimmer with Luis as a passenger. Ethan and Luis hovered over the ground on their jet-ski-esque vehicle and then shot off into swamp. Yeah, C.G. thought, it does look fun. Maybe if I finish this call quickly I can go join my friends. She then pulled up the time telecommunicator and called her father.

 

| VANCOUVER, CANADA – NOVEMBER 2006 |

Mac awoke on an unfamiliar couch. He wondered briefly where he was before everything flooded back to him. He was in the near-past with a young and traumatized Evan, with no way home. Oh, that and he should be dead.

Maybe all that time with Special Projects prepared me to fight that Albertosaurus better than other-Me. Mac pondered to himself as he ran his hands over his face to wake himself up some more.

“I need some coffee.” Mac grumbled as he hauled himself off the couch. He walked into the kitchen and put a pot on, while wondering what to do next. They didn’t have many options and apparently Cross Photonics didn’t even exist, so their resources were limited too. As he poured the freshly brewed coffee into a mug, a bedraggled Evan came down the stairs.

“Coffee mate?” Mac gestured with the second mug of coffee he just poured to Evan. As the young man nodded, they both sat down at the table.

As they drank, Mac felt sorry for his friend. After having to lie to the cops, which took hours to get through all their questions, they drove to his small home. Evan collapsed onto his now empty bed, and Mac could hear the poor lad cry himself to sleep.

“Okay,” Evan started shakily, “you owe me a lot of explanations.”

Mac nodded and followed up with, “Where do you want to start?”

“Where do I want to start? How about with the dinosaur?!”

“Right. I’m not a scientist, so you’ll hafta forgive me if I don’t really understand how it all works. See, these… holes in space and time, we call them anomalies. And they open, connecting two different periods in Earth’s history.” Evan gave a slight nod as Mac momentarily paused. “Now because the universe likes to screw with us, dinosaurs and all other manner of prehistoric creatures come through, quite often hungry. They don’t open much these days I think, but in 2012 – when I’m from, by the way– they start popping up like daises.”

“So you’re, what? A time-traveling hero who stops them?”

“Not exactly mate. See in the future, your other future, you had set up a special team to detect the anomalies and send back any creatures that came through.”

“So how did, uh, we meet?” Evan asked, and Mac gave a long and drawn-out sigh.

“See that’s where this whole bit gets complicated. I’m kinda sortin’ through it myself still, actually. In 2006, a different 2006 now, a version of me that worked with some people called the A.R.C. saved you from the Albertosaurus. But he died doing it.” Evan gave him a perplexed look as he continued, “Then you hid my body and went to go give your condolences to my family in London, but when you got there I was still kickin. Answered the door actually.” Mac smiled and reflected on the happy memory. “You hired me to work for you as security and changed my future from working at the A.R.C.”

“So, now we’re in an entirely new third timeline.” Evan stated as he ran his fingers through his hair and leaned back in his chair, processing this new wave of information.

“Far as I can figure. And I’m not really sure what to do next, you were always the idea guy. I just tried to keep you lot from getting eaten.” Mac chuckled as he went for another cup of coffee. “More?” He raised the pot up.

Evan shook his head and appeared to become engrossed in thought.

“Ah, I know that look. You’re brainstormin, aren’t cha?” Mac happily noted.

“You said there was an organization, the A.R.C.? If we find them, maybe they can help us.” Evan pondered as he stared into his empty cup of coffee. “They appear to also deal with anomalies, maybe before your team ever did. Do you know how to contact them?”                                                

“I never worked for them, other-Me did. I’ve only ever met one guy who was from the A.R.C. and I only got his first name, nothin else.” Mac said as he shook his head.

“Do you have any idea where they’re from?” Evan asked, going into the kitchen to grab something for breakfast.

“Well, they’ve got to be in Britain. That’s for sure, but exact location is going to be a bit harder. I know I was going to go into the army before the other you whisked me away, so they’ve gotta be tied to military then.” Mac pieced together slowly, having to reach into his memory to find the clues.

“Then our only question left is – do they exist yet?” Evan inquired as he began to scramble his eggs. “An organization that deals with time travel means we don’t know when they exist. They could be established twenty years from now, or five years. Your other self and this…?” Evan paused, waiting for the answer.

“Connor.” Mac answered.

“This Connor, both have interacted with the present or near present. We only know for sure that you would have joined in your lifetime, but that doesn’t mean we can’t rule out you anomaly-hopping three hundred years into the future and joining them then.” Evan put two plates with scrambled eggs and sausage on the table. “This means that we’re out of luck, unless…” Evan quickly left his warm plate to run to his computer. “How did you track anomalies previously? Do you know?”

“I know that they are super magnetic, and I think Toby said you guys used cell towers to track them?” Mac said with a questioning tilt.

“Of course! The interference!” Evan began furiously typing away at his computer, “It all makes perfect sense! My phone was getting magnetic interference… yesterday…” the excitement that was igniting Evan’s actions instantly went out. He slouched over his keyboard, and he was tearing up.

“You know what mate, why don’t we wait on this adventure? Like you said, we don’t know if they even exist yet. We can always find an anomaly later and hop forward six years right? Why don’t you take some time to heal first…” Mac put his hand on Evan’s shoulder, he knew he couldn’t push his friend right now.

 Mac was about to continue when suddenly, the doorbell rang.

 

***

 

Things continue to ramp up, and the real intrigue really starts to kick up next chapter! This is more or less the set up, and now we can kick it into high gear… once the next chapter is released that is. And, as always,

Stand Against the Storm!

Chapter Text

MERRY Christmas and other assorted winter festivities! Now one final chapter to finish out 2018. This next year will be one of adventure! Action! Multiple chapters! A minor announcement:

I am probably not going to update my tumblr anymore, what with the purge and also I was so sporadic and not at all keeping with them that I don't really have a use for it. But hey, if you want to talk to me - there's always PMs. Enjoy!

 


 

 

| VANCOUVER, CANADA – NOVEMBER 2006 |

Mac opened the door, “Ange? What are you doing here?” A young brunette woman stood at the door, wearing a long coat with her arms bracing each other.

“What? I’m here for Evan, who are you?” She questioned as she tried to push past him.

“Ange? Is that you?” Evan proclaimed from the couch. He began to get up from his seat, but upon hearing his voice Ange fully pushed past Mac and ran to embrace him.

As they collided, she spoke. “Evan I’m so sorry for what happened.” She sympathized. They stood there in the middle of the living room, sobbing whilst hugging each other, for minutes while Mac sat silently off to the side trying not to break the moment. When they both cried themselves out, Ange looked from Evan to Mac and then back to Evan.

“Going to introduce me to your friend here?” She asked as she let go of Evan.

“Uh, right. Angelika meet Mac, Mac, Angelika.” As he gestured to Mac, Ange walked over and extended her hand to Mac.

As he shook it, she began “Nice to meet you, Evan must have told you about me.”

“Uh, yeah, something like that.” Mac muttered as her tried to avoid eye contact.

Breaking off the handshake, Angelika locked eyes with him. “So, how did you guys meet?”

“Well, we, uh–” Mac stuttered, but Evan cut him off.

“We met when Brooke and I were in Victoria a couple days ago, and we also were on the same ferry back.” He stated confidently. Ange seemed convinced, but she still looked at Mac with a touch of suspicion.

“How nice, what brought you all the way to Vancouver from across the pond?”

After but a moment’s contemplation, Mac replied, “Just trying to pay back a friend.” He said with a sly smile while he glanced at Evan.

“Well it’s always good to clear debts.” She turned to Evan, “I came as soon as I heard the news Evan, I wanted to be here for you.”

“Thanks Ange. It’s just… a lot to process right now.” He confided with a slight shake of his head as he eased back onto the couch. She walked over and sat next to him, rubbing her hand over his shoulder.

“It’ll be okay Evan. You’ve got plenty of friends who are here for you, and you can talk to us anytime. I’ve already gotten calls from Tony and Gerrard since you haven’t been looking at your phone.”

“Oh crap, I didn’t even think to check it!” Evan exclaimed as he scrambled to bring it forth from his jacket on the chair next to him. Before he could find it, Angelika put her hand on his arm to quiet him.

“It’s okay Evan, you’re going through a rough time right now. We can’t expect you to be on call 24/7, you have too much on your mind.” She paused, reflecting on some thought that flitted across her mind. “You know what, how about you just rest? I’ll take care of all the arrangements for Brooke, and plan the funeral. She wouldn’t have wanted you to stress out over this.” Ange gave Evan a hug, then got up and moved for the door. “Don’t worry about it, I’ve got it covered. You just call anytime you want to talk okay?” Evan nodded silently, and she closed the door.

After sitting quietly for a moment, Evan moved to retrieve his phone.

“You okay mate?” Mac asked as he walked towards Evan.

“Yeah, just a little… shell-shocked still is all. I think getting my mind off of this for a while would be good. And I know just what to do.” He decided as he dialed up one of the missed callers.

“Hey Tony, it’s Evan. Sorry I missed your call. Can we meet up?”

Sure, and I hate to do this Evan, but could we do it at my office? I managed to take over your case from one of the other guys at the office and I unfortunately have to ask you some questions…” Tony Drake trailed off over the connection.

“That’s perfect, oh and I’m going to be bringing a friend. I was going to request we go to the office actually, because I have some questions too. And some things I need to tell you about.”

 

|THE BENGAL SWAMPS – 100 MILLION YEARS IN THE FUTURE|

As C.G. dialed up her father, she looked out on the swamp as Ethan and Luis rode the Dune Skimmer over the water – taking full advantage of its hovering capabilities.

“Greetings Daughter. How did the floating garden experiment preform?” The upper body of her father was now being projected across time on a holographic screen coming from her console, approximately the size of an average laptop.

“It did well Father, all seeds germinated regardless of the depth of water beneath them. Additionally, disturbances to them from wildlife were extremely minimal. The Lurkfish swim right past them and the Swampus do not find them interesting.” C.G. reported, but as she talked she couldn’t help but glance through the screen and out the window to see Emily approach the Toraton that was near the ship. Maybe she should take a break outside to ‘have some fun’ as Ethan put it. She had been working quite heavily as of late.

“– and the roboticists seem to have converged on a complete workup on the damage to your previous crew. Once their central nervous systems are recalibrated, the robots should be fully operational again.” Her Father stated as her attention came back to him.

I must really be in need of a break if my attention is wandering. She mused to herself.

“Wonderful news father, they will make fine additions to our crew.” C.G. replied, her mind still lingering on her friends.

“Actually Cassiopeia, the robots will be… replacing your human crew.” Her Father corrected uneasily.

Her attention instantly locked on to her current conversation, “Sir?” she ventured questioningly.

“It is time you returned the 21st century humans to their home.”

“But Ethan, Emily, and Luis are vital to the mission’s success.”

“I will grant you that occasionally they’ve made contributions, but I must insist you follow my orders.” He said with a wave of his hand for emphasis.

“But they are not just my crewmates, they are my best friends. The best friends I have ever had!”

“Which is exactly why you must let them return to their time. Before it is too late.”

“Too late for what?”

“To…” Her father paused, grasping at the air as he tried to put words to his, “reacclimatize to their former lifestyles.”

C.G. did not want to acknowledge the truth to her father’s words, so she avoided his gaze and instead gazed out the window to see her friends. The Toraton had continued too lumber past he Time Flyer, and since it was so slow – Ethan and Luis were circling it widely at top speed. As they cheered and flew over the swamp, Emily clambered onto a small island in front of the Toraton.

“Imagine how difficult it will be for these ancient humans to assimilate with their peer groups, after all the wonders they have experienced so far.” C.G. couldn’t help but agree, as her Father spoke, Emily had utilized the Chameleographic helmet to create a copy of the Toraton she stood before – which confused the animal to see another (albeit holographic) Toraton appear before itself instantly.

C.G. stood away from the screen, and bitterly noted “No doubt they will feel the same as I have all my life.” At a volume her father could barely make out.

“Daughter?” The worry and concern crept into his voice, he had not anticipated this.

“In truth, I have never fit in with others my age. I would not want Ethan, Emily, and Luis to feel the alienation that comes with…feeling different.” Her father was stunned silent, all he managed to do was reach outward to touch her, even though he could not. “I soon as I complete the robots’ repair, I will take my human crew back where they belong.”

He had never realized how important this was to her, how she had felt so isolated, he wanted to help his daughter. “I apologize Daughter, I–” But before he could voice his second thoughts, his daughter cut him off.

“Do not worry Father. I will call you once my Crew are returned to their home time.” And with a wave of her hand, she cut the call. Before she lost her resolve.

She slid down the pilot’s chair and knowing there was no one to observe her – she allowed herself to cry.

She only permitted herself a moment to sob, she must stay strong and do what’s best for her crew. She walked to the lavatory and cleaned herself up, and once presentable she walked out to join her friends. She had them for a little bit longer, she wouldn’t squander that.

She jogged down the ramp and waved down Ethan to stop him.

As he skid to a halt, or he would have skid if the vehicle relied on contact with the ground, he jovially prodded C.G. “Well Ceeg, finally decided to join the party. Willing to take my adviiiice?” Ethan had dragged that last syllable out as he had grabbed an extra helmet and began waving it at her enticingly.

“Indeed.” She said with a bounce in her step. “Luis, I believe that I have that seat now. What do you say Ethan… shot-gun?”

“Not quite the right the right way to use that phrase C.G., but you’ll get the hang of it.” Luis reassured her as he vacated his spot on the Dune Skimmer.

C.G. climbed aboard, and without allowing barely a moment to get situated, Ethan shot off like a rocket. C.G. allowed herself to let loose a great cheer as they hovered over the swamp’s waters. But all the cheering and smiling did not stop the creeping dread of what she knew she had to do.

 

| VANCOUVER, CANADA – NOVEMBER 2006 |

Evan pulled into the public parking lot of Predator Control. The building was only one story tall and while squat, the facility was sprawling – it included a veterinary clinic, a temporary holding and rehab area to hold animals for relocation, an ‘armory’ that was almost entirely non-lethals, and the main building which had small visitor center and of course offices, which was where Evan and Mac were heading now.

They walked into the front doors which lead almost directly into the visitor center, where they could see a couple and a young family meandering through the exhibits. Before they walked fully in there though, they were intercepted by Drake who came through one of the employee doors to the lobby. The silver-haired man walked briskly up to them in the heavy leather jacket and gloves customary to Predator Control officers.

“Hey Evan.” He said solemnly as he embraced the young man. As he receded from the hug, he extended a hand toward Mac. “Tony Drake. Predator Control. But I’m sure that Evan already told you that on your way here.” He laughed and spread a warm smile as he shook Mac’s hand strongly.

“Mac Rendell, I uh met Evan when he was on holiday.” Mac said apprehensively. Once the handshake was over, Mac shook his hand out when Drake turned back to Evan. For an older man he sure shook hard.

“Evan I’m so sorry for what happened. As soon as I heard I took over to help, how are you holding up son?” He asked, his voice overflowing with concern.

“Better after Ange stopped by this morning.” Evan said as he stared at the ground momentarily.

“Glad to hear she stopped by. So, shall we?” Drake questioned as he gestured to the door he came through. Evan and Mac responded with nods and soon they were weaving through the halls, stopping for a brief second every time they came to a door so that Drake could use his keycard to unlock it.

“It’s a newer security measure. Helps make sure that the campus stays secure in case one of the animals gets loose.” Drake had told them at the first door.

They passed through an outdoor path that wove through a small yard with a couple of picnic tables as they walked into the next building. Soon, they were in the office space. A number of desks were set up in the warehouse-like room, with no real dividers to speak of. Each desk had a simple computer and thick stacks of paperwork. If not for the copious amounts of animal pictures, sea shells, and the occasional tranquilizer dart; one would mistake this for a police precinct.

“So, let’s go into one of the adjoining rooms and I’ll start the questions.” Drake lamented as he grabbed a small stack of papers off a desk as they made their way to one of the rooms on the edges of the floor space.

They entered a small, barebones room which contained nothing but a wooden table and a few padded chairs. They all sat down, although Drake eased into his while dropping the stack of papers on the table. He scooted in and took a deep breath as he opened the manila folder.

“Is this being recorded?” Evan asked before Drake could start.

Tony raised an eyebrow at that. “No? Should it be?”

“There’s just some things we need to tell you that I’d rather weren’t on the record.” When Drake began to look increasingly shocked, Evan amended “Because we’d sound crazy telling what really happened.” Tony seemed to relax at that, but he wasn’t completely swayed.

“Well I’m glad that you at least recognize that there was no way I was buying that a bear did that in the span of a few minutes.” Drake nervously joked. Mac gave Evan a sideways glance and wondered if this was how it happened in his timeline. Drake was already helping Evan when he was brought on to Special Projects.

“No, a bear didn’t do it. But the truth is far stranger, and Drake… I need you to know that I’m not crazy. That’s part of why I brought Mac, he can help explain.” Once finished, Drake slowly nodded.

“So what really did it?”

“An Albertosaurus.” Mac cut in.

“Saurus? As in, a dinosaur.”

“Yeah, like a T-rex but a little bit smaller and a helluva lot meaner.” Mac answered. The silence hung in the air as Drake digested the information.

“Now Evan, you’ve never given me any reason to doubt you – but I can’t help but say I’m skeptical.” Evan made a noise as if he were about to retort, but Drake held up a hand to quiet him. “I didn’t say I didn’t believe you. I’ve been working with every known North American predator since before you were born, and I know that there is nothing that could do that – hell even any other predator alive.” He took a breath to steady himself as he stared at the images of the crime scene. “I’ll spare you the gory details, but the way it was severed, the speed, the quantity taken, all point to a gigantic predator. My question then for you is, where did it go?”

Mac shared a glance with Evan, and then Evan unleashed the bombshell.

“It left the same way it arrived: an anomaly.” When Drake still looked bewildered, Mac cut in.

“A time portal mate, same way I got here.”

“You’re not from this time?” Tony asked in a stilted manner, clearly grappling with this new information.

“Yeah, well sort of. We can iron out the details after I actually understand them. What I do know is that I am here to help you lot get ready for the future.” Mac paused, he was realizing his new mission as he spoke. “You see in six years, anomalies are going to open up a lot more and creatures – dangerous ones – are going to come through. Assuming that those aren’t affected by the changes, we’ll know when and where each one will open, and we can stop any body from getting hurt.” Before Drake could ask what he meant by changed, Evan began.

“But we don’t know if there are any that will open before then aside from the one you came through. There could be dozens of attacks that happened before I figured out how to track them. Or even ones that have… already happened…” Mac smiled as Evan trailed off, his thinking face was back.

“Tony, do know where we could find any cases like mine? Ones that don’t fit the bill? Strange instances where bodies were never found, predators never caught, unknown venoms, stuff like that?”

“Evan the number of cases where there’s a fatal animal encounter is under a dozen a year.” Drake countered. “Almost all those paper out there are minor encounters. Hell, a third of those are just sightings! How would we even begin to go through all that paper and find not only the out-of-place, strange reports – but find the real ones amongst some drunk who saw a turkey in the dark?” All three of them were now staring out at the expanse of desks each topped with hills of paper.

“The problem is that things can too easily slip through the cracks here. We need to streamline your guys’ system.” Evan pointed out. “It’s the twenty-first century. Here’s an idea–” he said with a snap – “let’s digitize Predator Control’s operation. Then we can sift through it at breakneck pace, I might even be able to write a program…” Evan began to stroke his chin in thought.

“Evan, as nice as that is, how are you going to manage that? It would take any one person a decade to type up all these documents, how are you going to do that when we only have at best a few years to get set up before the anomalies pop up?” Drake inquired, his voice filled with concern for his friend as he rested a hand on the young man’s shoulder.

“Maybe for anybody else, but a genius like him with a determined friend like me? We’ll have this knocked out in a month.” Mac asserted confidently.

Drake still looked apprehensive, saying, “I can’t just let you in anytime Evan, there are rules that I have to follow.” While Tony was pointing out roadblocks, it was clear that he wasn’t happy about them.

“I think I have a solution then, I’m about due for another company now anyway.” He pulled out his phone and speed dialed someone. “Hey Ange, I’ve got this idea…”

 

| A FOREST – UNKNOWN TIME AND PLACE, DAY TWO OF STRANDING |

Dylan’s eyes cracked open to see daylight. Well, rainfall – but it was light out, and the sounds of countless creatures filled the forest. As she started to wake up, she noticed she was leaning against something warm. She strained to see what she was laying on without moving, and confirmed it was indeed Evan. Who was still asleep. She took stock of her surroundings from her comfortable spot on Evan’s side, recollecting the previous day’s events.

Right, she thought with a huff, adrift in time. Just as she remembered she was in a tree, she noticed something colorful hanging from the lip of the roof they had woven for their platform. Ever the curious biologist, Dylan eased off of Evan as gently as she could manage to make her way over to the hanging things. She stood slowly with only a mere grumble from Evan and began to tip toe her way over to what she was sure were animals, as she was sure there was no way fruits could have grown that fast.

The three creatures were bright green with blue stripes, each of them a bulbous yet aerodynamic body with two large paddle-like appendages hanging off them. As she inched closer, more details came into focus. Each of them sported a bright red beak, and two oddly shaped backwards-facing legs that revealed they were in fact hanging upside down.

What kind of bird hangs upside down? She assumed they were birds at least, given the beaks. But then she noticed that the creatures were covered in scaly skin, including their odd paddle-wings. Now Dylan was only ten feet away, she wondered what these dove-sized animals were.

Before she could reach any conclusions, a fierce roar rang through the forest – startling both Evan and the not-birds awake. As Evan flopped over in surprise, the odd animals each let loose a rasping screech and relinquished their grip on the roof. As they began to fall, they spread their ‘wings’ and flew off into the forest.

“What were those? And what roared?” Evan fired off his questions as he scrambled to his feet.

Dylan sighed in disappointment from the lost opportunity to examine the creatures further. “I don’t know what either were. The roar was probably a theropod of some kind, but it sounded like it was some ways away.”

“And the green birds?” Evan ventured as he walked to the edge of the platform beside Dylan.

“Whatever they were, they weren’t birds.” Dylan corrected as she gazed into the trees. “Their ‘wings’ were covered in skin and scales.”

“So, small pterosaurs then?”

“Evan, while I’m not a paleontologist, I have been studying as much as I can since I joined Special Projects. And whatever those were, are not in the fossil record.” Dylan had moved away from the edge and began to rifle through their meager belongings.

“So, a new and undiscovered species? Thrilling, at those ones weren’t trying to eat us. I wonder what era they’re from though…” Evan scanned the forest to see if he could relocate the animals but was cut off by Dylan who grabbed his attention with a grunt and then abruptly tossed something to him.

“Alright Mr. Super-Genius, you said you had some ideas to spruce this place up? Hop to it.” Evan looked down at his hands to see a sheathed knife.

“But it’s raining.” Evan appeared to reevaluate the statement the moment it left his lips as Dylan turned to him.

“Really?” She gave him an incredulous glare. “You, a Vancouver resident, are claiming you can’t handle a little rain?”

Evan shifted from foot to foot and looked embarrassed. “I, well… uh, you see –” She raised a hand to stow him.

“Quit while you’re ahead Einstein. Plus, we’re in a rainforest – one of the wettest I’ve ever seen. So rain just became our new normal.” She said glancing from the canopy to the ground. “Come on, we’ve got a lot to do today to get set up for the long haul.”

“I assume water is our first order of business then?” Evan said with a smile. “I’ll work on setting up a rain-collector, think you can make an easier way to get down than the Everest warm up routine we have going now?” Dylan did not dignify him with a response as she began to move to descend. Evan huffed, but ultimately got over it and began to instead ascend the tree. As he climbed up to the upper branches, Evan wondered on those odd flyers.

Paleontologists do hypothesize that we’ve only seen ten percent of all species that existed. So what are these little guys? As Evan began to assemble his rain collector, he ran through his knowledge of time periods.

Devonian? No, that’s a little early. Miocene? Too recent. Evan finished the accumulation portion of his assembly and he glanced at the next tree over to see Dylan grabbing more wood, assumedly to build a ladder of some kind. He allowed his eyes to wander the surrounding trees as he put together a drainage line.

A flash of movement caught his eye. Something tan and green slithered behind the bulk of the trunk in the upper branches of Dylan’s tree. Evan narrowed his eyes and tried to see what it was, eyes gliding up and down the tree to catch another glimpse of the animal. And… there! It’s molted tan and green skin made it stick out like a sore-thumb on the dark, plank like bark of the tree.

It was a human-sized dinosaur of some kind, creeping down the tree towards Dylan. It looked like some kind of dinosaur, but not one Evan had ever seen – or heard of. The animal had a broad chest that powered long, muscular forelimbs that each terminated in long clawed fingers – clearly the beast was an adept tree climber. It had a predatory head, downright raptor-esque – complete with sharp teeth and forward-facing eyes. Looking at the animal’s feet the raptor guess proved accurate, as each back foot had two toes and one large sickle claw. As Evan’s eyes trailed up the creature, as it was pointing itself toward the ground, he could see a winding prehensile tail grasping a higher branch to stabilize the animal so it could reach down.

“DYLAN!” Evan screamed in alarm. He caught her attention just in time for her to see her would be attacker and raise a branch for the predator to bite on rather than her. Evan tore his gaze away from Dylan and he frantically climbed down to their treehouse for something, anything, to help. As he dropped onto the platform, he heard branches breaking and Dylan and creature scream as they were locked in combat.

He took frenzied stock of their meager belongings before his eyes came to rest on the MP7. He didn’t know how many bullets were left in it, but now was a good a time as any to use them.

He leaned over the side to see Dylan standing between the tree and the arboreal raptor, denying it home turf advantage. She only had a sturdy branch to fend it off with though, so Evan carefully took aim.

He pulled the trigger, and a cluster of bullets sprayed the dirt behind the dinosaur – with one nailing the last third of its long tail. The creature hissed and turned to see what hit it, but in doing so it forgot that its prey fought back.

Dylan slammed her club-like branch into the beast’s skull, and the raptor’s arm buckled in surprise as the predator was brought low.

Now that it was staying still, if for but a moment, Evan put the creature in his sights and fired.

The dinosaur let out a pained screech as it fully collapsed and died.

Dylan brought her gaze up to meet Evan’s, her weapon now hanging at her side; bringing a hand up to cup her mouth, “Nice shot!” she shouted.

Evan smiled and shouted back, “What now?”

Dylan looked pensive, and then she poked the body with her stick. She turned back to Evan and grinned.

“Dinner!”

 

| VANCOUVER, CANADA – FEBRUARY 2007 |

It was a dreary day on the Burrard Inlet, the rain pattering across the assembled crowd’s jackets. It rained often in Vancouver, but today it was most appropriate. A tear-streaked Evan came to stand behind a podium.

“Thank you all for coming.” Evan said soberly. “Brooke would’ve scolded all of you for drinking all the refreshments before we even got this ceremony started, I’m sure.” At this comment, the audience chuckled. Evan steadied himself with a deep breath while they laughed, and then he continued.

“Brooke never was a woman who appreciated long-winded and over dramatic speeches, so I’ll try to honor that and keep this brief.” Evan glanced across the people gathered, seeing many of his friends and associates. “She was a beautiful woman, who loved to stay organized. She did this so that everything got done as efficiently as possible, as fast as possible. Often, I’d wake up in the morning and she would have her coffee in the microwave, an egg on the stove, and be cleaning our leftover dishes all at once in the span of two minutes.” He smiled at the pleasant memories.

“Sometimes I wonder what she would say to me today, aside from yelling at me about how messy the house has gotten.” As another round of laughs rolled through the crowd, Evan locked eyes with Mac for a short moment.

They both knew what the other was thinking. That there was a way Evan could see her again, even if the chances were slim. But him and Mac had already had a long argument about the sanctity of the timestream, but they agreed to let it lie.

But Evan wanted to discuss it once they found the experts in Britain. If they ever found the experts, that is. Evan broke their stare, to everyone else it was mere seconds as they let their chuckles subside – but to Evan and Mac, they had rehashed their entire hour-long argument.

“I miss her, we all do. But what’s most important is that we keep her in our hearts as we move forward. She would not want us to mourn her forever, she would want us to go forth and achieve. When we first met in college, she had to tutor me because I was late to psychology class often. She told me in our first session, Utere temporibus sapienter alioquin nihil. It means ‘Use you time wisely, lest you accomplish nothing’. So, go and make use of what precious time we all have here on this Earth.”

Evan stepped down from the podium, and the people responded with a respectful applause. The crowd dispersed, with many heading straight for the refreshment-less and snacks table. Some formed small groups and conversed, while Ange and Mac walked toward Evan.

“Well said Evan.” Ange said as they embraced. Once they broke, she spoke. “So, will you stop by the office at all later today?” Months ago, after meeting with Drake, Evan hatched an idea for a new company. And as with all his previous companies, he brought in Angelika to help him.

This newest company, Cross Reference, was their most successful yet. The company focused on the problem Evan encountered at the Predator Control office, mountains of paperwork in a sea of disorganization – making them unable to find any anomalous incidents.

So, the company Cross Reference was born. A company that not only developed ever-improving mass-digitization technology, but also a highly versatile and customizable search engine to pair with it. Thus far they were working with Predator Control as their first client, and if they were successful there it would be a door into working with the numerous (and lucrative) government contracts.

“I’ll swing by an hour before closing, it shouldn’t take long to enter that additional search field for non- stings.” Evan replied. They were about 75% of the way through all of Predator Control’s non-archived files, and Evan dreaded the task of starting the archive.

Hopefully the guys in the robotics division can work out the layout issue on the scanner before I get to it. He thought to himself.

“Well don’t worry too much about, okay? It’s not that pressing, and if you feel the need to take the rest of the day…” She trailed off and gave a repressed smile.

“Thanks Ange, but I’d like to get it today. I’ll see you then.” The two hugged once more, and Angelika turned to leave.

As she departed, Evan and Mac began to walk to the edge of the ceremony area, towards a railing overlooking the Inlet.

“So, excited to visit home?” Evan asked as he and Mac fell in step with each other.

Mac chuckled and replied, “Well, technically its currently my home.” The pair came to the railing and they halted.

“Right, and do we have to worry if you two touch the universe will implode?” Evan turned to Mac and slightly leaned away, as if worried he might do so at that very moment.

“Nah… at least, I don’t think so. I was inches away from my own corpse before, so I think we’re in the clear. Best to steer clear of ‘im though, just in case.” They both put a hand on the railing, more out of habit than any necessity.

“That’s reassuring. So, are you ready?” Evan questioned with a touch of concern. For a moment, Mac was silent. Leaning forward on the railing, Mac clasped his hands together – perhaps more tightly than necessary. As he gazed across the Inlet, he let out a sigh.

“If I’m not, I will be when we leave next month.”

 


 

 

And with that, I wish you all a Happy Holidays and especially good fortune for your 2019! Please keep those comments a-coming, and if you enjoyed please leave kudos and favorite! Remember that whatever challenges this new year may bring, you must –

Stand Against the Storm!