Linda Eberhart watched as the young male Apatosaurus trundled around his veterinary pen. He was recovering well – there had been concerns about whether the antibiotics used, meant for polikothermic crocodiles, would adversely affect his homeothermic metabolism, but all seemed to be going well.
She suddenly chuckled at the thought – if you'd told her when she was eight years old and had told her parents that she wanted to be a vet, after regular visits to the Bronx Zoo, that one day, she would be the first person to operate on a sauropod, she'd have laughed.
Before coming to the park, Linda had been a zoo vet, and a quite successful one at that. After starting out in the Bronx Zoo, she'd been recommended to San Diego – from San Diego, she went to London, Whipsnade, Zurich and Singapore, amongst others, operating on everything from giant elephants and rhinos to tiny endangered cockroaches.
She'd known about Novum for a while – Theodore was a fellow of multiple zoological societies –however, she'd been confused when Theodore came up to her, offering her a position in a zoo he was starting in southern Florida; however, she was intrigued by the prospect of "new horizons". But when she learned what Theodore was planning... It was impossible to pass up. Whilst she didn't have an academic bent, the prospect of writing the first Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine: Diseases of Dinosauria was compelling.
In the 21st century, veterinary medicine was scientifically advanced- the best zoos ran clinics little different from hospitals. New textbooks were merely refinements of old. For a world-class practitioner, there were no worlds left to conquer. But to be the first to treat whole new classes of animals: that was something!
She wondered what other animals she'd be operating on in the future – given all the oddities they'd brought back already and would bring back in the future, she got the feeling she'd be having a lot of unusual patients in the future.
Kyle Taymor watched the herbivores milling about their paddock – each roughly keeping to their species groups in the swarming population. That was unsurprising – that was true of most mixed exhibits. Whilst cross-species interactions happened on occasion, for the most part animals kept to their own kind.
Before coming to the park, Kyle had been a zookeeper, and a quite successful one at that. After starting out in London Zoo, he'd been recommended to various zoos across, at first Britain, and then the world. He'd worked at the best of the best – San Diego, Bronx, Basel, Chester – and cared for all sorts of animals, from tiny insects to giant elephants and rhinos, as well as some of the most endangered species on the planet.
Now Kyle had known about Novum for a while – Theodore was a fellow of multiple zoological societies. However, he'd been confused when Theodore came up to him, offering him a position in a zoo he was starting in southern Florida; however, he found the prospect of "new horizons" intriguing. But when he learned what Theodore was planning... It was impossible to pass up.
In the 21st century, zookeeping was an advanced doctrine – the ins and outs of pretty much any animal had been worked out. For those that hadn't, they didn't differ too much from another species that had. For the experienced zookeeper, there were no truly new worlds left to conquer - the 19th and 20th centuries had made sure of that. But to be the first to care for whole new classes of animals: that was something!
Kyle silently wondered what other animals he'd be caring for in the future – given all the oddities they'd brought back already, he got the feeling he'd be having a lot of pleasure and a lot of headaches.
Khatin observed the little, lizard-like crocodilians as they moved around their exhibit, in search of insects that the keepers had left, and noted their foraging behaviours as he did so. He'd later be moving on and doing observations on the mesadactylus – some of the females among the little pterosaurs had been gravid when they had been brought back through the portal and would be making their nests soon. It would be interesting to observe nesting behaviours in these animals.
At this thought, he chuckled – this was the Holy Grail to a palaeontologist and he was treating it as if it was routine. How Marsh and Cope would have envied the chance to study the animals they had discovered in the flesh, even if it meant, as he had recently done, nosing through sauropod droppings in order to look at dietary preferences according to the different species.
Before Prehistoric Park, Khatin had been a palaeontologist and a quite prolific one at that – he had published many papers on various groups of extinct animals. A lot of his research was funded by Novum grants, so he was well-acquainted with the company – perhaps that was why Theodore Richardson had approached him, with an offer to serve as head of research at a private facility he was making. Initially thinking this was some kind of strange museum, he'd accepted - he was astounded to learn what Theodore was really planning.
What had attracted Khatin was the opportunity to study extinct creatures as flesh and blood animals; the idea that, for the first time, he could conduct his observations on living specimens would be revolutionary, allowing him (and, eventually, others) to answer questions of behaviour, biomechanics and taxonomy that had never been assessed before, with only the bones to go by.
Of the smaller animals brought back from the Morrison Formation, Khatin had identified no fewer than fifteen new species and seven new genera from the small, lizard-like crocodilians alone. Most of the pterosaurs were new to science, as well - whilst indeterminate remains had been found in the Morrison before, they'd always been too fragmentary to identify. He'd identified two new scaphognathines, several wukongopterids and two ctenochasmatids.
As well as this, he'd also been able to do genetic and morphological studies on the sauropods and, as it turned out, they hadn't brought back six species and six genera, as Leon had recorded – rather, they'd brought back nine in eight genera. Some of the Apatosaurus had turned out to be Brontosaurus, some of the Diplodocus were actually Diplodocus hallorum (previously known as Seismosaurus) and some of the Camarosaurus were really Cathetosaurus.
Khatin chuckled - there was a lifetime's work to do here. He couldn't start soon enough.
Nikolai Koshkin observed the allosaurus move through their paddock – given their intelligence and social complexity, they were considered high-priority by the security team, so they had to be kept under constant observation. Observing them caused him to begin thinking about the chain of events that had led him here.
Initially, he'd trained for the Spetsnaz as a sniper. He'd been an incredibly talented one, too –he recalled 89/101 with some distaste. However, over time, he became dissatisfied and disgusted with his purpose, especially as his friends died one-by-one in various Central Asian hellholes – eventually, this had proven too much for him, and he had left. He'd coped with his past the way most directionless ex-soldiers seemed to – holing himself up in some back-alley watering hole in some far-off place (for Nikolai, it had been Mexico), drinking himself into oblivion.
The day Theodore had found him, he had been arguing with the barman and his cronies over both Nikolai's unpaid tab and the barman's harassment of a waitress. The argument had become rather intense and proceedings had escalated, culminating in the scrawny crony missing three of his teeth, the fat crony with a broken nose and the barman cowering under the table.
After the fight, Theodore, who had been observing this happen, breezed in, paid off Nikolai's entire tab (as well as the cronies' medical bills), gave the waitress enough money to tide herself over with whilst she found a better job, and offered Nikolai a job with Novum.
Saying yes was the best decision Nikolai had ever made. In the years since he had joined, he'd sobered up, been provided with some proper therapy and had served as head of security on various Novum projects, both humanitarian and conventional, around the world.
Until one day, Theodore had come to him and offered him a position as head of security at a facility Theodore was making – curious at what the offer entailed, he'd said yes. He'd been amazed to find out that Theodore was really planning to create a refuge for prehistoric animals.
Part of the reason why saying yes to the prospect had so emboldened him was because it was a chance to start over – to help save things, rather than kill them. To help in a place of life, rather than be a bringer of death.
Anyway. Focus. The allosaurs might take this opportunity…
Welcome to PP: Extras! The whole aim of this is to focus on what goes on in-between missions at the park, with the ultimate aim of making the characters, both human and animal more developed.
Nothing really much to say here, but this serves as an introductory piece to the older staff members – their personalities, their pasts and their reasoning for being part of PP.