This will be the last chapter of A Keeper's Story. As a result I've decided to basically give a broader reaction to Prehistoric Park opening to the public. The first part however is set a month after Jordan is hired at the park.
Special- Welcome to Prehistoric Park
Once again it was a glorious Californian day. Temperatures high into the fifties, not a cloud obscuring the blue sky and the sun sparkled off of the glass windows of the city. From the twentieth floor of BioSyn's headquarters he could faintly make out the construction site of the Apple Campus 2. Normally he loved the city of Cupertino but recently it had begun to sour for him. For years it was the forefront of western technology: BioSyn and Apple. Soon he would even be taking over half of that forefront when Steingarten retires in the upcoming months. Now it just seemed to be mocking him. What point was it to take over one of the most advanced companies just when your opponent was leaving you in the dust? It was like becoming President just when the Soviets had put a man in space. He did not even notice when the rest of the board came in and took their places.
"Lewis if you will," a voice behind him croaked. At seventy years of age the pace of being CEO was taking its toll on Bill Steingarten. A smile crept along his face at the fact that Bill had to ask him politely to sit down rather than tell him. They all knew who really called the shots at BioSyn. He sat down regardless, not to appease the old man but rather the rest of the board. Members, especially Jeff Rossiter, would love to see him ousted. Many saw him as a little upstart researcher on too high a pedestal. If he heard Chile mentioned one more time near him! In a few moments he would have them eating out of the palm of his hand.
"I am not going to beat around the bush here," he said pressing a button on a remote. The blinds drew themselves, a screen came down and the projector started shooting images onto the screen. It showed a clear map of Los Cincos Muertes y Nublar. "When John Hammond opened his glorified zoo and those islands BioSyn stock became worthless. InGen stock meanwhile rose exponentially. People became enamoured with Hammond, he went from an obscure CEO to a household name, and he made a fortune virtually overnight. People chose to buy InGen products, research from extinct animals has allowed InGen to release revolutionary products, countless machines were produced by InGen to produce food and not to mention revenue made from his zoo itself."
"Lewis we know all this," Bill said impatiently, just as all old CEOs are. He needed all that to get his point across. He noticed Francine Wexley shuffling in her seat. Bill laughed at this. "Francine we won't fire you for taking your son to Prehistoric Park. If Universal fired their employees for watching a Disney film they would have no one working there. Hell, every kid wants to see a real dinosaur. There's no animosity between me and Hammond so even I'm planning to go. Heh heh."
Lewis smiled. This could work to his advantage. "Bill what if I told you that BioSyn could have its own Prehistoric Park?" He saw Steingarten sit up at this, even Rossiter seemed somewhat eager. "I have a contact high up in Prehistoric Park who will not only help us catch up with years of research but also help us build our own zoo."
He clicked the remote again and the slide behind him changed. It showed a photo of that fat slob Dennis Nedry. He could never abide people like him. "This man is one of the chief computer technicians at Prehistoric Park. He has created the entire computer system at Hammond's zoo. As it happens he is underpaid and very angry at InGen. He is willing to shut down one or two systems to allow some of our employees to take the embryos of extinct animals."
"Lewis there is a massive flaw in your plan," Rossiter said laughing. He probably thought he could take him down, turn the board against him like another Chile. There was no way that the board will discard his plan with how fool proof it was. "Despite recent technological advances we still are years away from cloning extinct animals from amber and bones. The time portal is the only way we know how to get extinct animals. We can't afford to research our own portal and even then the UN monitors time portal usage. InGen will soon realise where we got our animals from and to be honest I do not like the look of the following lawsuit!"
Rossiter had a smug grin on his face. It is not checkmate yet Jeff. "Jeff I have been formulating this plan since I sent our agent originally to the islands. I have changed parts of the plan without Nedry's knowledge, likely he would blab to that Japanese-British girl that Hammond has working for him if he knew. The park's power and gates to the animal cages can be controlled from the control room. We shall have this done and our agents will also 'acquire' a time portal. With all the animals running around it can easily be assumed that the embryos and portal were misplaced. Meanwhile we shall clone our own animals, if the world asks we show them our own time portal and if the UN asks, well, we cloned the animals."
"Dodgson you do realise that people could die with this plan?" Jeff asked worriedly. As if he hadn't thought about that!
"Of course any deaths would be regrettable. But you forget to remember how Prehistoric Park has many measures put in place to make sure no one is killed if something escapes. Anyway the plan is to turn off the power at night so that way virtually everybody will be indoors." He didn't want anyone to be killed; he would have to be a sadist to want that to happen. "Tell me Francine was your son disappointed by anything in Prehistoric Park?"
"A few things," she replied sheepishly. "He thought it was funny that all the dinosaurs had some sort of feathers or something, the Dimetro-sail thing being fish eaters and having a hump instead of a sail, the Dilophosaurus not being venomous or having a frill, the raptors not being super intelligent and the Australopithecus being as smart as a chimp and not smarter because it was our ancestor."
He smiled. This would be the deal breaker. "With the InGen breakout their name would be dragged through the mud. We can easily accuse them of having cloned animals, well with Dr Wu's reputation it would be an easy and justifiable accusation, while we say that we have the real deal. However we shall have animals genetically engineered to be what the public expects. Scaly dinosaurs, intelligent raptors maybe even pet dinosaurs with those Compsognathus and Yi. People believe what they want to believe. They will happily ignore a palaeontologist who argues that we have inaccurate animals. There is surprisingly little evidence to support the theory that there were two gunmen who shot JFK; people heard the theory and ignored the overwhelming evidence against it. Our time portal will be our two person theory."
He pressed the remote again to show the slide saying which animals will be cloned from InGen's embryos. If they acquired every embryo it would be too obvious so a careful list was drafted to determine the best animals to clone for BioSyn's park: mammoths, T Rex, Triceratops, Australopithecus, Pteranodon, Dimetrodon, Brachiosaurus and the like. There were smiles all around the board members. Even Rossiter was congratulating him. InGen's days were numbered.
She leant her head back to get more of the sun's rays onto her pale skin. One thing about living in Scotland was the lack of sunlight; to be honest you could say that about all the Great Britain bar Cornwall. The plastic chair underneath her squeaked. When Chiyo told her that her boss had 'spared no expense' making his wildlife sanctuary buying chairs that didn't copy the sound of mice every time you moved must have been conveniently ignored. On her right a man with a large walrus moustache coughed into a handkerchief. She pulled a face. Really must people do that in public? She had to count herself lucky though, even if 'lucky' meant sitting next to a phlegm production facility, because she was the only guest to be at the wildlife sanctuary's unveiling. Only journalists were meant to be here today. Not even world leaders were here today!
"Que hora es?" the person on her left asked a brunette woman. What little she had remembered from Spanish Standard Grade had been forced out of her memory after three years of university life. What time was this announcement supposed to start? Impatiently she rubbed her arms, covered in goose bumps, for warmth. Apparently environmental generators covered all the islands so the animals could better acclimatise themselves. This was still though a bit extreme for a few polar bears. There was something strange about the islands. Maybe it was the rolling fog coming from the mountains or the giant volcanic wall surrounding all six of the islands. It had something alien about it, almost prehistoric. She had arrived by boat yesterday and had half expected a T Rex to burst from the trees when she went to hug Chiyo. A rumble like an elephant came from behind the large curtains in front of them. Who knew that polar bears made elephant sounds? Suddenly the crowd went silent. She smiled as she saw Chiyo nervously stand next to Nigel Marven in pure terror, like a deer caught in headlights. Never one for meeting the public. Her boss slowly started to ascend the podium, (John Hammer, no Hammond), and stood erect to give a speech. One gust of wind probably would have swept him off his feet.
"Can everyone hear me?" He said through the microphone. "Good, good. I've spared no expense on today. We even managed to get translations for those in the non-English speaking areas. I digress though. In the late 1940s I had a dream which my good friends Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer made possible with their time portal. All of what you see here today without them and of course my dear friend Nigel here. There is something missing from our world. The amazing animals that time has left behind. But what if we could bring them back? What if extinction didn't have to be forever?" What the fuck is he talking about? "We went back in time on a safari with a difference, when wild life adventurer Nigel Marven plunged into prehistory to rescue creatures on the brink of extinction. His plan was to bring them back to the safety of the present and give them a second chance. Welcome to the ultimate wildlife sanctuary. Welcome to Prehistoric Park!"
He curtains parted. There was a large grassland like what you would see in rural Ukraine. Except the animals in front of her more closely resembled fauna found in the Serengeti than Ukraine. An elephant roared with his trunk outstretched. An elephant covered in brown, shaggy fur. It was a woolly mammoth!
"Fuck me!" she gasped.
"I see our male Torn is greeting you." Hammond laughed "Here we have our resident Woolly Mammoth herd and if you look you can see some smaller woolly elephants. They are American Mastodon. Ooh I'm glad he's here he normally stays at the opposite end of this exhibit. The deer with the giant antlers is one of our male Megaloceros called Prancer."
The reporters all around her started to stand up clamouring for Hammond to answer their questions. Somebody asked about dinosaurs. Of course. These islands were the perfect place to raise dinosaurs in secret. She swore again when Hammond said the immortal words: 'We have a T Rex.' Nigel Marven then started talking about a rewilding program involving dodos, passenger pigeons and some extinct species of cougar. A screen then came down from the rigging behind the curtains. It was a trailer for 'Prehistoric Park' which ended with one scaly three toed foot and a roar of the King of the Dinosaurs. She doubted that the words Prehistoric Park, Extinction doesn't have to be forever would ever leave her mind. It was amazing and Chiyo had helped create it. The course that she was doing at university was coming to life before her eyes.
"Hey," a voice softly spoke in her ear. She hadn't realised that the gaggle of reporters had started to dissipate. Chiyo was standing there with her hands placed awkwardly in her pockets. "What did you think?"
"It's bloody amazing! Did you catch a T Rex?" She was amazed by the answer, Chiyo had helped catch five. "I'm assuming your lip scar has something to do with a dinosaur?"
"Yeah." Chiyo grinned showing her perfect teeth and highlighting the thin white line on her bottom lip. "A type of raptor called Dromaeosaurus. My mum was ready to castrate Nigel when I told her originally that a vulture did it. I think she'll definitely kill Nigel tomorrow when she arrives and sees the real culprit."
By then the reporters had left the area. They were all alone with the huge Ice Age animals. Clutching the metal bar overlooking the exhibit she couldn't have felt happier. She was with the person who she loved more than life itself looking at a sight straight from fantasy. The mammoths were amazing. The matriarch was nuzzling her head against the furry mane of a younger female. Each gave blissful little toots from their trunks. One of the giant antlered deer was rubbing one of his humongous antlers against the grass sending chunks flying as he did. If she was this awestruck by recently extinct animals how would she react to a dinosaur?
"I would pay an arm and a leg to come here," she said in amazement.
"Unless is you change your name to Edward Elric you don't have to," Chiyo laughed. "As long as we're together you get free entry."
She kissed Chiyo on the cheek. Chiyo suddenly took her by the hand and led her to a monorail station. She was going to get a personal tour of Prehistoric Park! Her heart was beating ten to the dozen. All the names of different types of dinosaurs from her childhood swarmed into her head: T Rex, Velociraptor, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus. The names of others learnt through her university course came in as well: Utahraptor, Guanlong, Allosaurus. Soon a pure white monorail arrived whose doors slid open with a slight hiss. They sat down and the doors slid shut behind them. The land started to slide effortlessly by. Half the time she was preoccupied with quizzing Chiyo the other half she was preoccupied in staring out of the window. They passed a savannah that had orange llama things running away underneath them, a large biodome looking like a giant sized golf ball and even a riverside with a giant crocodile in it!
"Do you have pterosaurs?" she asked.
"Yeah our first was Pteranodon." Chiyo laughed happily. It was a wonderful sight to see, as good as seeing the mammoths. "We have an aviary full of them. About nine different species."
"Loads. Our largest, the Argentinosaurus, was the largest thing in regards to weight which ever walked on the land. We have Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus and Diplodocus as well."
This was amazing! The monorail then darted over the sea. A tail fluke smashed out of the water and smashed back in again. That apparently was an extinct species of whale from Egypt. It was like living in a dream. Somewhere she had read that 99.9% of all life that has ever lived had gone extinct. Quite possibly this place could bring back 99.9% of all life from extinction. In the war against extinction this place was actually winning. After a few minutes the monorail stopped at a place called Solnhofen Forest. Apparently John Hammond had put something up for his favourite dinosaur. A large black banner with the logo of a skeletal dinosaur with the words Welcome to Prehistoric Park was strewn across some glass panels overlooking a small forest. Several chicken sized bipedal dinosaurs with thin wiry necks and were covered in blue-green feathers. Their large black eyes stared avidly at them.
"We're lucky they aren't normally awake at this time of day." Chiyo said. "Compsognathus."
"They were right. Theropods were feathered… Actually these guys are pretty cute." With their massive black eyes and little hops on their tiny feet they looked like something straight out of a cartoon. Even the bird like chirrups that they made added to this effect. "Come on Chiyo we're going to have a photo. No buts."
Despite Chiyo's struggles she managed to get her into a hug and with the other hand take a photo. For all the effort it turned out to be a good one. She had managed to get the banner and a few Compsognathus in the photo. Chiyo even smiled on it.
"Do you want me to show you our Phase II animals?" Chiyo asked excitedly. "We rescued them last but we're keeping them off public viewing for now. In a few months the public will get to look at them."
How could she refuse? The long monorail trip was worth it. To be honest she would have gladly stayed on the monorail. Down below the entirety of prehistory was up for display. Colossus monitor lizards from Australia, longer than a human is tall, crocodile like nothosaurs, a herd of the thunderous Argentinosaurus and even the bizarre Tanystropheus. The Phase II animals were amazing as well. Dilophosaurus was her favourite dinosaur and they were there sweeping their claws through the river for fish. As the sun started to set Chiyo dragged her back onto the monorail.
"There's one last thing that I want to show you today."
The last stop was on Isla Nublar (according to Chiyo the conquistador who named the islands had slurred his words drinking the rich wine of the local people. Instead of saying Isla Nublada he said Nublar). They had passed through an archway with Hell's Creek written above it in large letters.
"Do you want to have a guess about what we have in here?"
Animals that were found in Hell's Creek. Her professor probably could have reeled off the entire population by now. "Erm. Triceratops, that oviraptor, Anzu that's it, Pachycephalosaurus, Tyr…"
They had just stopped under another arch. It said Tyrannosaurus Territory.
"Jordan when can we get tickets?" Shaun asked him in a state of shock. Shaun must have realised the magnitude of what he had just saw by the fact that he had referred to him as 'Jordan' and not 'tosser'. Anyone would have to have lived under a rock for their entire life in order for them not to understand the magnitude of the situation. Extinction itself had gone extinct.
"Mummy is Uncle Jordan going to work with dinosaurs?" Dani asked eagerly.
"He is sweetie. And dodos and woolly mammoths and sabre toothed tigers." Amy's eyes were full of tears of excitement. He remembered years ago what his dad had told him: Dinosaurs are extinct. Well they definitely aren't anymore. In another hour Dani had finally calmed down and he went to his own bed. Sleep came surprisingly easily that night. Just as he was about to drift off he started wondering how long the news would spread. Some people may have watched it in Costa Rica and other countries nearby because it was the middle of the day, others in different continents may have done so because of how many news agencies had been there. He doubted that many in Britain would have seen it. Both the BBC and ITV had not given Hammond's announcement full news attention so anyone watching the news late at night probably would not have seen it. Maybe a few people stumbling in from a night of drinking may have saw it and put it down to the booze. How else could they explain a wildlife sanctuary full of extinct animals?
He woke up early the next morning. A false of habit since his few years of working at London Zoo. Animals had no concept of sleeping in until ten in the morning so you had to get up with the sun. His mobile read 06:54. Sometime in the night the notification from BBC News had sprang up. Next to the news broadcaster's logo were the words: CEO of InGen John Hammond at 23:00 announced the existence of a wildlife sanctuary named Prehistoric Park which exhibits extinct animals. He would like to see the wave of shocked faces as the world woke up to realise that dinosaurs stalked the earth once more. Outside he could hear Amy preparing Dani's lunch for school. With a surprising lack of tiredness he got up and headed towards the kitchen. In his sister's apartment his bedroom had the luxury of being right next door to the kitchen if you wanted a late night snack.
"Morning dino ranger!" she said happily while applying copious amounts of jam to some bread. He guessed that Shaun must have left for work a short while ago judging by the buttered knife sticking out of the sink. While Amy was making Dani's lunch she always had the news on. Today it was the BBC.
"The time is seven o'clock and here are today's headlines," Naga Munchetty said from the television. "The Queen is continuing her visit to Runnymede to celebrate the signing of the Magna Carta 800 years ago. A copy of the document has been moved to a pavilion for Her Majesty's viewing. David Cameron will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin to discuss reform of the European Union. It is expected that aid to Syria and talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin will also take place. Finally dinosaurs and mammoths walk the earth again. CEO of the genetics company InGen John Hammond announced the existence of Prehistoric Park on an island chain off the coast of Costa Rica."
At each announcement there was an accompanying clip. The Queen was first seen looking at an old document which he assumed to be the Magna Carta. The second showed the pudgy red face of the Prime Minister talking to his stern looking German counterpart. The final one needed no introduction. It showed the heavily bearded John Hammond beaming in front of a herd of woolly mammoths.
"Today we are joined by one of the lead palaeontologists who work at Prehistoric Park, Dr Alan Grant," the other presented, Charlie Stayt said. "Dr Grant so dinosaurs are back!"
Alan Grant looked more like an adventurer than a scientist in his dirt swept checked shirt, a brown fedora and dirty loafers. More like Indiana Jones than Q. "Yes Prehistoric Park exhibits many different species of dinosaurs as well as many other animals that lived alongside, after and before the dinosaurs evolved."
The rest of the interview seemed to be a blur. He was soon going to be looking after extinct animals. No matter how much he said or thought it he could not get his head around it. Maybe they had Dimetrodon? The pièce de résistance of his fossil collection. It would be amazing to see a live one. On the TV Dr Grant mentioned something about Archaeopteryx. Christ they had what was thought to be the first bird! The phone rang for a few beeps until Amy picked it up.
"It's mum and dad," she said laughing. "Dad thinks he's put something in his tea and mum's scared to death that you'll be eaten by a T Rex."
John Hammond's words echoed in his head: We have a T Rex. He took the phone from Amy. He was going to work at the ultimate wildlife sanctuary. He was going to work at Prehistoric Park.
You step off the yacht and onto a lavish dock. It occurs to you that John Hammond really did spare no expense. Flag poles had fluttering flags on the end with the now famous Prehistoric Park logo printed on it. A set of escalators in front of you lead up to a gleaming white monorail. You can hear many exciting sounds: the call of seabirds, ecstatic chattering of people in a multitude of languages all around you, a voice speaking in different languages over a speaker system and a faint sound of trumpets. You recognise the tune from the trailer when Prehistoric Park was announced. Finally the speaker system speaks in a language that you recognise.
"Welcome to Isla Nublar, home to Prehistoric Park. Please go to the monorail carriage on your ticket and begin your ride through prehistory."
You look at your ticket. Next to the formidable skull of a T Rex there are the letters 06 printed in red ink. Looking the carriage six you go up the escalator. A courteous staff member takes your luggage as you go to take a seat on one of the chairs in the carriage. The trumpets continue over a speaker system inside the monorail. The doors slide closed and the monorail sets off silently. Around you the cliff face and sea are devoured by tropical trees and thick fog. It looks like you have entered prehistory. A voice comes over the speaker system as the trumpets become louder and more triumphant.
"There is something missing from our world. The amazing animals that time has left behind. But what if extinction didn't have to be forever?" The tropical trees become replaced by monkey puzzles and conifers. You can feel the monorail going up higher. "You will now set off on a safari with a difference which will take you from the dawn of animal life to the Ice Age. Your first stop will be Wyoming 155 million years ago in the Late Jurassic."
The monorail stops. Your heart skips a beat. Below you is a plain full of ferns and horsetails. However they are not the thing that you notice. Rather the long necked behemoths making low grumbling noises catch your attention. They are easily the tallest thing that you have ever seen. On the windows of the monorail light blue fact sheets suddenly appear. You just notice where the projector is coming from. Using the fact sheet you find out that the behemoths are Brachiosaurus. Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Stegosaurus and Dryosaurus also live in this plain but you cannot see them. You are speechless. After a few minutes the monorail starts again. Eventually the sides of the monorail become swallowed by tropical trees again. The monorail stops in front of a building with what seems to be a straw roof and grey walls. The walls have imprints of different fossil animals ranging from pterosaurs to ammonites for decoration. The doors to the monorail slide open and heat from outside greedily takes over the atmosphere inside. A voice instructs you to head to the building where you will watch an introductory video. As you take your seat the lights dim and on a screen billionaire John Hammond starts talking.
"Welcome to Prehistoric Park where extinction doesn't have to be forever! Before we start you might be wondering how Prehistoric Park came to life. It started when I had an idea for a preserve called Jurassic Park but I'll need my friend to help explain." Hammond pricks his finger with a comical ouch which causes some children to laugh. From his finger a DNA strand with a Texas drawl and googly eyes flies from Hammond's finger and starts to fly around Hammond. "Mister DNA! Where did you come from?"
"In your blood silly! DNA strands like me make up all forms of life…" What follows is a video of Mr DNA explaining cloning and genetics. After explaining why Jurassic Park failed he starts to talk about how Prehistoric Park acquired its animals and how it avoids changing time. Finally it ends with Hammond and Mr DNA explaining park safety with Mr DNA running away from raptors in a comical fashion, all the time earning laughs from kids.
You are soon handed a bracelet described in the video. You are escorted to your hotel and soon you are outside standing in the Costa Rican sunlight. Your ultimate wildlife sanctuary begins now.
Thanks for reading and for being such a good audience. On Friday I will release some trivia on Extinction World and A Keeper's Story in the reviews which I hope you'll enjoy. This is also my goodbye from fanfiction. When Prehistoric Kingdom and Mesozoica are released I might do a crossover between the two of them but I'm still undecided. Well thank you for sticking with me for so long and I hope to see you for the trivia on Friday!