Prologue: The Adventure Begins
In a large mansion outside San Francisco, a man was running quickly through a hallway, running past various different kinds of fossils, from giant dinosaur skeletons, to sharks' teeth to ammonites. His name was Drew Luczynski, and he was in his mid-twenties with dark hair, and hazel eyes. He wore an explorer shirt and glasses. Drew paused for breath and took stock of where he was. The mansion he was in was privately owned by a company called Novum and was home to the man he was on his way to have a meeting with – Theodore Richardson, the eighth richest man in the world and Novum's fantastically wealthy and cherishably eccentric founder and CEO. And he was five minutes late.
Finally, Drew reached the end and opened two giant doors and entered a large meeting room. Sitting at a table was a spry, bright-eyed elderly man with a bald head and a goatee, wearing a normal business outfit. On his desk were five small figurines of prehistoric animals; Drew identified them as a tyrannosaurus, a quetzalcoatlus, a smilodon, an apatosaurus and a stegosaurus. Theodore looked up from a paper he was reading and smiled, one eyebrow raised, "Ah, Drew, I presume." Drew nodded and breathlessly said, "Sorry, I'm late, Mr Richardson…".
The man gave him a wide grin, "Please, call me Theodore. And, besides, I'm not one for punctuality. However, your friends are already here; please take a seat". He gestured to two other men around Drew's age sitting in the corner. One of them, whose name was Leon, had brown hair and eyes with Filipino skin (his maternal grandfather had been Filipino), and wore glasses. The other, named Adrian, had raven black hair and brown eyes, was lightly tanned and quite well muscled. After catching his breath, Drew sat down in between his two friends and Theodore began to speak.
"Now gentlemen, I believe you are all curious as to why you are here". In response to this, they all nodded their heads; the message Theodore had given them, several days prior, aside from the time and date of the meeting, had merely consisted of a promise of "life-changing events". The only hint had been the subject heading, which had stated, quite simply, "Re: the Lazarus Project". They zoned back in as he continued talking, "As you know, 99.9% of species that have ever existed are extinct. The amazing animals time chose to leave behind. But a notion came to me many years ago; what if we could bring them back? What if we could give them a second chance? What if extinction never had to be forever? I wanted to make this a reality, so I spent many years in secret building a machine that could make it possible. It took a long time, but, against impossible odds, I succeeded. Gentlemen, behold the time portal". He lifted a remote and clicked a red button, Suddenly, much to their surprise, a blue vortex appeared into the room. The closest thing it could resemble was a satellite chart's image of a tornado, floating gently in mid-air.
Theodore, as if noticing his guests' expression of incredulity, wryly smiled and said "Take a look. You may not believe me – however, you can believe your eyes". Drew rolled his eyes and chuckled. Surely this was some sort of prank, but he'd appease the old man anyways. He got up and put his head through the portal. When his head was on the other side, he gasped in shock. On the other side of the portal was Colorado, 150 million years ago. The Late Jurassic. He could see fern prairies and large conifer forests on the horizon, all in the shadows of towering mountains. And all throughout this panoramic view roamed herds of live dinosaurs; so far away that Drew couldn't identify them. Leon and Adrian soon joined him and had similar reactions. They looked at the never-ending vista for what seemed to be an eternity. Eventually, they pulled their heads out and the portal closed, just as suddenly as it had opened. They all gaped at Theodore, not knowing what to say. Theodore chuckled, "Speechless? My company's board were surprised as well… Some of those squawking toadies were quieter than I've seen them in years!"
"S-so let me get this straight". Drew replied. "You want us to use this portal to revive extinct species". His mind was swimming from the possibilities that arose from something like this; what could they bring back?
Theodore, still wearing his smirk, nodded, "Precisely. Think about it; you can save history's greatest beasts. Use the portal, travel back to prehistoric Earth, and save as many animals as possible. " As he was talking images of animals played through Drew's head. "Large and small, predator and prey, swimmers and flyers, birds, insects, mammals, reptiles…. animals of all different kinds, shapes and sizes. You have the land, the portal, the staff and, most crucially, the funding to make my dream a reality".
"Where do we start?"
Theodore was giving him a wide smile and chortled, "At the time of the titans; where else?"