Hey guys. I did promise the next chapter to this story. However, a lot of things happened this summer. Sorry for the hiatus. Anyway, this chapter will be a little different than the rest because Aladar and company won't be in it. Don't worry, they'll be back next chapter. Anyway, hope you enjoy this one. Disclaimer: I do not own Disney's Dinosaur nor Prehistoric Park.
Back in the present…
Bob let out a sigh. He stood at the top of the viewing platform of the portal gate entry for the last 2 hours. He had already taken care of all the animals for the afternoon (at least until the evening where they'll need their dinner) and had nothing else to do. This was pretty much his break time. Most of the time, he would be relaxed and have a bit of fun with everybody else. But this time, he was bored.
It was a warm summer day. Save for a few wisps of clouds in the sky, it was a clear day. Life still goes on. The two Tyrannosaurus are almost fully grown, along with a change in attitudes. Matilda is getting more violent by the day the longer she stays with her brother, Terrence, so now they have been moved to separate enclosures, both located on opposite sides of the hill. Martha the mammoth is doing well with the elephant herd and is now serving as the nanny for the matriarch's calf. The sabertooths are doing very well too. The adults are relaxing under the shades in their enclosures and the two cubs are playing with a piece of meat just recently offered to them. The cubs, now discovered to be a boy and a girl, are just as spunky as ever. They even love to tackle and play with vet Suzanne, which she enjoys too. The Elasmotherium is already taken cared of thanks to Bob. He had loads of fun scooping his poop. Finally, Bob had finished preparing the open field close to the moved entrance for the herd that Nigel plans to rescue. Life goes on as normal. Everyone is happy. Except for Theo.
It had been three days since Nigel left the park on his own mission. Like the park keeper and Suzanne, he too was worried for Theo. He hadn't been his energetic self lately. He had been rather lethargic and uninterested, and some days depressed. Definitely not a normal description of a young adult Triceratops male.
For those last three days, Bob had been visiting the holding pens, waiting for his friend to return with a friend for Theo. The park had a few close calls with its residents and they did not want their first dinosaur to die of loneliness.
The middle-aged man scrunched his eyes and let out a tired yawn.
"Man, Nigel better get back here soon. I've been standing here for days. I think my feet are about to give way," he jokingly complained. This was a serious matter, but he did his best to keep the atmosphere optimistic.
Just when he said that, a familiar whirring sound echoed from nearby. The keeper looked behind him, away from the holding pens that he was staring at, and out into the clearing. There, spiraling in place and disappearing into a faded blur, was an open time portal. Bob smirked and rubbed his nose.
"Well it's about time!" he yelled with a laugh.
15 minutes earlier…
Nigel parted the branches in front of him. The fern leaves gave way to reveal the rocky banks of a river. Tiny, palm sized gray rocks lined the shores of this river, one that would be perfect in a scenic forest setting. Right across the river was another forest like the one he was in. Tall maple trees stood at that side, serving as an outer wall of that part of the forest. The river flowed to the left direction, or if you looked at a map, the water would flow south. The current was subtle, no white foams of rapids were visible. But Nigel did not come here to admire the scenery.
The man heard a low groan off to his right. It was soft, but loud enough for him to hear. There, just about 20 feet away from where he was hiding and leaving the safety of the woods, was a herd of Triceratops.
Nigel had come to prehistoric western Canada for a reason. Like Hazel, he traveled back to the Late Cretaceous period to find a dinosaur and rescue it. Except his location and time were different. Unlike the young adult, Nigel traveled back 70 million years ago to find a female Triceratops. A smaller feat compared to the job he entrusted to his young partner, but an important mission nonetheless. And like Hazel, he did not opt for a camera crew to follow him, and for two reasons. One, the head cameraman was sick with the flu and two, most of the camera equipment was damaged in their last adventure and are being repaired. This didn't bother him at all. Finally, like Hazel, he was alone.
"All right…" Nigel whispered as he watched the ceratopsian herd approach the river.
To the explorer, there were about 40 or so Triceratops in this herd. There were the bulls, which had the large horns and colorful frills, the females which had the smaller, daintier horns and lacked the colored frills, and the juveniles. He had been trailing these dinosaurs for the last three days through a forest and multiple clearings. It was late summer and judging from what he had learned from his research, these horned herbivores are preparing for their journey south for the upcoming winter.
The front row of the herd was the first to make it to the bank. Some members waited behind the ones in the front for a turn while others decided to fan out to have their own drink space. As they did that, Nigel noticed one lone female making her way to the east away from the herd. Cautiously, the explorer tiptoed passed the busy Triceratops without bothering them and made his way to the lone female. He was being careful as to not make any noises with the rocks, as doing so would attract their attention. Like modern day rhinos, Triceratops have poor eyesight, but excellent hearing and smell. Once he got close enough, he backed to the edge of the woods and hid behind a tree trunk. Even though this female was alone, she was capable of putting up a fight. He watched as the ceratopsian dipped its mouth into the water, gulping in the cool liquid.
This Triceratops looked smaller than some of the females. Most likely because she was the runt of a litter or she was still growing. Either way, she looked to be about the same size as Theo.
It didn't take very long for Nigel to develop a plan. And it was a simple one. All he had to do was set up the gate close by then lure her to the portal. A risky endeavor, but it just might work.
"Simple enough," he thought to himself, the risks of the plan going awry bothering him in the back of his mind.
The man grabbed a handful of ferns close by and proceeded on towards the edge of the herd. He was careful as to not attract any of their attention, otherwise no good would come out of it. He quietly crept behind the herd until he was at the edge, where the oblivious female stood. Nigel then placed the ferns on the ground and then his backpack. After carefully taking out the silver metallic posts inside the large back pocket, he quickly set them up on opposite sides of each other. Because the bank was rocky, it took a bit of force to implant them. Once he readied the posts, Nigel grabbed the ferns and his bag and slowly approached the herbivore until he was about ten feet away.
"This is too easy," he thought in wonder. "The herd and I narrowly escaped some Albertosaurus yesterday. And I haven't seen any today. I find it hard to believe that nothing bad would be happening now."
Then, just as things seemed easy, Nigel's luck goes downhill. Some movement in the water caught his attention off to his left. The explorer turned his head slightly and looked in that direction. To his surprise, a long, flat head with a narrow snout was slowly approaching the female. This creature didn't pay any mind to the rest of the herd, only the lone female. There can be no doubt that this was a prehistoric crocodile. Nigel noticed that its head was significantly smaller than that of the Deinosuchus back at the park and this was a later time period than when he had found the predator. The creature had sharp pointed teeth sticking out of its jaws, like that of a crocodile's, and tannish clay colored skin.
"Deinosuchus," was all the man could utter.
Nigel's objective was clear. He had to get the Triceratops through the portal before the predator could get to her. Even with the predator approaching, Nigel was glad that there was only one and not multiple. If things at the park were ideal, he would try to bring both predator and prey back with him. But if he did, then he'd have to find a different location for the crocodilian. Putting it in the same place as the Deinosuchus back in the park would only result in them fighting. That and rescuing the Triceratops was more important.
"Okay, time to do this."
The man began waving the ferns in front of the herbivore. The Triceratops caught sight of the plant off the corner of her eye and quickly brought her head up. She turned to face him and let out a series of low bellows. The female took one step towards him and sniffed the ferns. To her, this creature didn't seem like much of a threat, and the plants he was holding looked like a tasty treat.
One by one, the Triceratops approached the human, stepping away from the water's edge and from the Deinosuchus. When she did, Nigel would take a step back, slowly approaching the awaiting time portal, which was about twenty feet away from them. Every time the female got close to the ancient flora, she would try to snap her beaked mouth on them. However, Nigel would just wave them out of her reach and take another step back.
Just when things were going smoothly, the Deinosuchus nearby lumbered out of the water and onto shore. Apparently, it wasn't leaving until its meal is in those massive jaws. The predator let out a hiss and quickly crawled its way towards the escaping duo. The herd nearby let out a series of bellows and shrieks as the crocodile approached the female. The group quickly formed into a protective circle formation, where the juveniles were safely kept inside while the adults defended them.
Nigel wanted to smack his head at this. So much for stealth because the commotion occurring nearby had caused the lone dinosaur to look behind her. The Triceratops let out a shriek and turned to face the attacker. The Deinosuchus was about a car's length away from the duo, which set the scene for a standoff.
"Oh no. No no no no no…don't face the predator!" Nigel urged with frustration. At that moment, he had wished Hazel was with him. If she was with him, this situation would have gone more smoothly.
The man tried waving the ferns in front of him again, hoping to catch her attention. But to no avail. The two creatures were squaring off. They pushed the gap between them back and forth as they attempted to land a hit on each other. The female was doing a good job of holding her own against it, but the Deinosuchus was lunging itself at her. Which as a result, pushed her closer to the portal. Nigel smirked, seeing this as an advantage. It seemed that the female was not much of an experienced fighter.
Nigel dug into his right pocket and found the remote that activated the time portal. He pressed the large button in the middle of the square controller and the portal behind him roared to life. The man also dropped the ferns he held, knowing that they wouldn't be of much use at this point.
The crocodilian let out another hiss and lunged forward. This time, its weight was off the ground and the tail waving wildly behind it. The female turned tail and ran away from the predator, which was coming towards them at top speed.
Nigel broke into a sprint and ran for the portal directly behind him. The man breathed quickly and could feel his own heart beating as he sprinted towards his escape route. Behind him, he could hear the rumble of the Triceratops quickly charging towards him and the portal. Nigel did not stop and made it into the rippling vortex, the dinosaur hot on his tail. The Triceratops made it through and escaped, leaving a dumbfounded and exhausted Deinosuchus to slump back onto the rocky shore. The giant watched as the vortex disappeared before its very eyes.
"Well it's about time!" Nigel heard as he ran out of the portal.
He did not pay look up at the viewing platform to greet Bob. He had more pressing matters at hand. Like getting a frightened and rampaging Triceratops into a holding pen before he'd get trampled over.
"Sorry Bob!" he yelled hurriedly. "Can't talk now!"
"What!?" the keeper yelled at him.
He furrowed his eyebrows at him and wondered on what on earth he had gotten himself into. But he didn't have to think about it for very long. Bob looked back at the portal and was amazed to see a charging Triceratops coming after Nigel.
"Oh…" Bob widened his eyes. "Everyone get the holding pen ready!"
The man alerted everyone in the area. Within seconds, the holding pen in front of the now closed portal was all in a flurry. Thankfully, the holding pen was open in the first place. Once Nigel made it into the pen along with the bellowing Triceratops, he hurried over to the other end of the pen. The dinosaur stopped in the middle of the area, looking wildly from left to right at the new surroundings. She let out grunts, groans, and snorts as she looked around. As she did that, Nigel climbed the ladder at the other end and joined Bob at the left balcony.
"Whew…" Nigel breathed and let out a laugh. "That was fun."
"Nigel, what on earth happened back there?" Bob looked at him with curiosity.
"Well you know, the usual. Big dinosaurs, never seen a human before, all that sort of thing."
"Yeah right," the man laughed. "Chased by something?"
"Deinosuchus," Nigel replied.
"Ah…" Bob nodded. "Big crocodile thing. Well at least you brought this one in. A real beauty too."
Both men watched as a crane gently dropped some ferns in front of the Triceratops. The creature let out a soft groan and gave it a few sniffs before eating away at the vegetation. Nigel smirked, remembering that Hazel loved it whenever a new dinosaur was rescued. She always had a desire for adventure.
"You know," the bald man started. "I bet Hazel would have loved to see this."
"Yeah," was all the park creator could say.
He kept his cool whenever anybody mentioned the young girl. She has been gone for a while and everyone started to ask questions. Nigel merely told them answers such as 'she's out of town', 'she's working on an assignment', and 'she's on a research trip'. All of which were vague responses, but partial truths. Even Bob and Suzanne had been wondering where went off to.
"Speaking of which, where exactly did she go to?" Bob asked, facing Nigel.
The explorer shook his head. "Bob I told you, she's working on an assignment that I've given to her."
The keeper lifted and eyebrow and eyed him suspiciously. "Uh huh, and that would be?"
"No no," Bob waved his hand in front of him. "Don't give me that. I know you Nigel. You're hiding something. Now tell me, what is it?"
"Bob…" he sighed and gripped the railings. "This is just something between me and her. I can't tell you details, but what I can tell you is that it's got something to do with that expanded field we're preparing."
"All right," Bob let out a cough. "So it's got something to do with your plans of rescuing a herd. But that doesn't explain Hazel's whereabouts."
Nigel kept smiling and looked up at the sky then back at him. "If you're wondering how she is, she's fine."
"Nigel," the man got a bit closer to him. "Me and Suzanne, we're just looking out for her. She's just…so young."
He nodded at that and was about to say something but was then interrupted by Bob.
"You knew her father. He was a good man."
"Yes," Nigel looked down and watched the herbivore feast on the salad it was given. "He helped me create this place. Then died a year after construction was completed."
"Then Hazel came shortly afterwards," Bob added to that. "It was her father's wish to send her here."
"Mostly because she kept begging him," the man with the gray vest said.
Both laughed at that and was then followed by a minute of silence.
"Come on Nigel. At least tell me and Suzanne. We can keep it a secret."
Nigel thought for a moment then let out a sigh. They had been continuously asking him. Like him, they both care for Hazel. They are, after all, pretty much family to her. That and they have a right to know too.
"All right," he faced him. "…I sent her back 65 million years ago to rescue a herd of dinosaurs."
Bob's eyes widened. He couldn't believe what he had just heard. The keeper stared at him in utter shock. For the next minute, he stammered at what he tried to say next. After a few attempts to get a word out, he uttered one sentence.
"Is she with anybody?"
The park creator closed his eyes and shook his head. It was at that moment that Bob wanted to smack him in the face.
"You idiot!" he gritted his teeth and yelled, but not enough to attract anyone's attention. "You sent a little girl back to the time of the meteor strike without any backup!?"
Nigel merely stared at him with indifference. He was expecting this kind of response and he had prepared himself for it.
"What on earth are you thinking!? Are you crazy!?" Bob had his hands up close to his face, wanting to crush the man's skull.
"Now now Bob. Let me explain," he placed his hands on the broad shoulders of his friend. "I've been checking up with Hazel regularly. Don't worry, she is fine."
"Just trust me. She's okay. I've trained her for something like this. Hazel can take care of herself. And if she doesn't come back within the next two days, I'll go back and get her."
Bob relaxed at that statement and let out a gruff sigh. "How long until the meteor strike then? Where she's at."
The man gave him a vague answer, keeping his mental promise not to tell anyone else his guarded secret. "A long way off. A year, maybe two, before impact."
The keeper placed a hand on his forehead and rubbed the sweat from his brow. The words from his friend eased his worries.
"Okay…well at least she's all right. What of any predators?"
"Nah don't worry about that. You know Hazel. She's got ways to defend herself."
Bob nodded at that then faced Nigel.
"Just keep to that promise. And you're lucky that I went easy on you. Suzanne…well you'd better prepare yourself for that," he warned.
Nigel smirked and patted Bob on the shoulder. This man had faced dozens of dangers before: Tyrannosaurs, Velociraptors, volcanic eruptions, saber-toothed cats, a terror bird, giant insects, heck even a meteor strike. How hard can convincing a park veterinarian that a young girl like Hazel is in the past alone be?
At the same time…
65 million years ago
The sun beat down on the herd as they traversed the scorching hot rocky pass. It had been a day since Aladar and his group had been left behind. The dinosaurs had been going at a slower pace than usual. Although they were already a considerable distance from the Carnotaurs, well Carnotaur in this case, the herd pushed onward, with no rest. Dehydration and exhaustion were taking their tolls on them. So far, three members had already dropped from one or both factors. Kron, the stubborn and uncaring leader that he is, pushed them onward without thinking of the fallen others.
Flia flew about a hundred feet above the herd. The confrontation yesterday did not hinder her ability to fly. Although her worries for her friends have not diminished. In the back of her mind, she wanted to turn around and look for them, but the Pteranodon knew that Hazel wouldn't want that. As much as Flia hated the idea, the human had a point. The herd needed a scout in the air. It was good that Kron spared her, but she wished that she didn't have to scout now. The sun's rays were roasting her back and the gentle breeze did not do much to help her.
Slowly, the herd trudged through the pass. Each of their tracks were left in the sand and caused dust to float above their feet. The view above the herd gave Flia a good perspective over the area. So far, now predators were nearby, but neither was any food or water. However, she knew this area well. The Nesting Grounds was only about another day away. She hoped that the tracks the herd left behind would help her friends get to the Nesting Grounds.
Just then, Flia's concentration was broken when she heard a series of squeals below. The pterosaur flew lower and found the situation; at the back of the herd were the twin Iguanodons that always stayed at Neera's side. One of them, the younger one, had collapsed out of exhaustion. The elder twin squealed frantically at the herd, hoping to get anyone's help. Sadly, none came. Flia stopped descending just a few feet away to their left and landed nimbly. She then walked on her wings and legs towards them, wanting to help. Flia watched the elder one attempt to support his twin up, but to no avail.
The Pteranodon saw movement out of the corner of her left eye and saw a shape approach them, one that had purple colored scales. At first, she expected it to be Kron, coming over to end their misery. She prepared to attack the figure, to defend these children. But Flia's guess was far from that. She stopped as the figure passed by her. Now, standing just close by to them, was Neera. The female Iguanodon stood before them and lowered her head until she was at their level. The youngsters looked up at her
"It's okay little ones," she reassured.
Both twins, and the female Pteranodon, looked at her. A few seconds of silence fell on them before she started speaking again.
"We're going to make it."
Neera then circled around until she was behind them, lowered her head again and nudged the fallen twin up. The little one let out a small squeal as he got up and then another when she gently pushed him. The two dinosaurs looked back at her before getting back with the herd. Neera, on the other hand, did not join them. She craned her head back and looked to the path behind her, hoping that the others, especially Aladar, was there. Neera frowned, let out a sad sigh, and looked down.
She heard movement and looked to her left. Approaching her was the slightly bigger form of Flia. The Pteranodon walked until she was standing beside her. They made eye contact before the Iguanodon looked back down.
"Are you alright?" Flia asked her.
The flyer looked at the path behind them and sighed. "I know how you feel. I too am worried about them."
Neera did not reply to that. She was thinking about them, hoping that they were okay.
Flia then touched the sad one's snout and gently stroked her. "But you mustn't lose faith. Everything will be all right."
The dinosaur then looked up at her and gave her a small smile. Although worry was still etched on her face.
"You're right," she replied and raised her head back up. "Come on, we should get back to the herd."
Flia watched as Neera walked on without her. She was about to follow when she felt a soreness on her arms. The female pterosaur winced at the pain and slightly extended her wings. When she did, the sensation permeated throughout the wingspan. She quickly put her arms down and realized something. She had been flying for half the day and did not have any sort of rest. She didn't pay any mind to that sensation until now. That was how tired she was.
"Wait!" she called Neera.
The leader's sister stopped walking and looked back at her. Flia tried moving again but only invoked the soreness in her arms. The pterosaur stayed where she was and spoke from there.
"Um, I've been flying for a while now. And my wings ache. Would...you mind if I rested on your back until they recover?"
Neera shook her head and smiled. "Not at all."
With that said, she returned to where Flia was. Once there, she faced her and then turned slightly, having her right side in front of the pterosaur. Neera lowered herself until she was on her belly, on the warm dirt. Using the strength Flia had now and ignoring the pain, she flapped her wings and hovered until she was on her friend's back. Her landing wasn't as nimble as before, but at least she was already off the ground. Once she was on, Neera slowly got up and started walking north. The Pteranodon, now glad that she could finally rest for a while, folded her wings across her chest and closed her eyes.
And voila! Chapter 9. Sorry about the wait. A lot of things happened this summer and I haven't really been writing as much. So now we know what's happening to everybody else. But what of Hazel and the others? What ordeals await them in the near future? Find out next time on Dinosaur: A Prehistoric Park Adventure.