Disclaimer: I do not own any of the wonderful characters from Jurassic Park. Those rights go to their wonderful creators.
Robert Muldoon stood leaning his back against the opposite side of the walkway of Jurassic Park's velociraptor area. His head was twisted to observe what was taking place behind him in the dense ferns of the raptors' home. The first visitors to the park left him a few moments ago. All was quiet in the concrete jungle as the raptors ate their fill of the ill-fated cow. In an almost peaceful silence, Muldoon wondered how long the park had before another unfortunate event, like the death of Jophrey, would happen again. The raptors were getting smarter, if that were even possible. He knew it was only a matter of time before disaster struck.
It was not their intelligence he feared. Many of the dinosaurs could be thought of as smart. It was the raptors' cunning, their cleverness. Muldoon could never explain the difference. It was something a person could understand only after witnessing these animals. Raptors, in his opinion, were the smartest animals to ever live and far more intelligent than most humans he encountered through the years, but cunning-that was where the danger lay.
He knew, from all his observations of the animals, that raptors practiced their hunting skills with each other in play. There was nothing unusual in these activities at first glance. Muldoon had seen numerous examples of infants in the wild learning key hunting skills from playing with their siblings, but the raptors frightened him. Playing was nothing more than a brutal show of strength on their part, topped off with coordinated techniques that would put any army to shame. The cleverly thought out plans, deceitfulness, and skill was awe inspiring, unless you were on the receiving end of the vile assault.
From the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail, these raptors were fearsome predators. Muldoon remembered his reaction the first time he saw the beasts. The Nile crocodile, up to that point in Muldoon's life, was the most horrible predator he had the displeasure of coming in contact with. The large creatures were responsible for the death of many in his native home of Africa.
After seeing a velociraptor for the first time, he saw in them a mutated form of the croc; their scaly skin repulsed him. He knew instantly that troubled would follow wherever the raptors went, and the raptor took its rightful place as first in line for hatred in Muldoon's mind.
Even more so than the skin, the wicked claws on both feet were a source of fear as their victims were brought down within seconds of an attack by one slash from the sharp appendage.
And those eyes.
Muldoon felt a chill go through his spine as a mental picture flashed into his mind of the cold, almost soulless eyes of the raptors. Eyes were not a killing device by any means, but those two objects bring terror to anyone who looks into them. They express a wild and untamed emotion; a mix of hunger, the thrill of a kill, and an intense hatred for all other living things.
'And they seem to have a special feeling towards myself,' Muldoon thought. He laughed uneasily to himself, knowing that the raptors, like elephants, possessed an excellent memory. Muldoon himself remembered a day that he knew would live on in the memory of one of the animals in particular.
The door opened revealing a white room filled with incubators and toys, and on walking in, a smell hit Robert Muldoon's nose; it smelled like a pet shop.
"Good morning, Kathy" Muldoon said to the young lady across the room. She wore a white lab coat and was holding a clipboard.
Kathy looked up and smiled. "Good morning, Robert. Why this certainly is a treat. What brings you here this morning?"
"I have a few minutes before this bloody meeting with Hammond." Muldoon said. "I wanted to come up and see what little menaces you've got running around here today."
"Well," Kathy began, "there's two infant raptors and a baby dilo. Doesn't sound like much, but they're quite the handful."
Kathy smiled again in the direction of Muldoon. She was glad to see him today, just as she was every time he graced her with his presence. There weren't many men on the island who Kathy believed to be eligible. Most of the men here were workers; dirty, smelly, foul-mouthed, unsophisticated ogres who were not worth a minute of her time.
Kathy was a picky woman, but Robert Muldoon was one of, if not the only, man on the island she could see having a relationship with. She never talked to him except on the rare occasions he showed himself in the nursery. He was not much of a talker, only saying short sentences, answering yes or no, or nodding, but he was handsome, noble, strong, dependable, and did not look half bad in a pair of khakis shorts.
Those shorts were keeping the attention of the young woman until she became aware of the fact that Muldoon was standing there beside her and could catch her ogling if she did not find another source to focus her attention on.
The sound of scuffling on the tiled floor, followed by the soft squeak she had become familiar with recently was just the distraction Kathy needed, and her gaze left Muldoon and lowered to the small creature on the floor by his feet.
"What do we have here?" Muldoon asked, as he directed his eyes to the animal near him.
"That would be Winema. She and her 'sister' are our two newest velociraptor additions" Kathy explained.
"Yes. I named them. No one else did. Some of them are only known by numbers, but even that has been forgotten after the first group of animals we had." Kathy said. "I named this little one Winema. It's Native American for female chief."
"Has she given you any reason to name her that?" Muldoon asked curiously.
"Oh yes. She's quite the little leader, putting both Artemis and Hemlock in their places already."
"Artemis and Hemlock?" Muldoon laughed.
"Yes. Artemis, behind that chair," Kathy pointed to her right where a small snout was protruding from behind a lone chair near the wall, "is named after the goddess of the moon and hunting from Greek mythology. As we both know, raptors are able hunters, and she's no different. You should see the way she captures the mice we feed them. Hemlock is our resident Dilo. She's, of course, named for the poisonous plant used in Greece to kill criminals. If you recall, Socrates died in just that way. It's a perfect name for the little lady. But, unfortunately for us, she's asleep at the moment, so you won't be meeting her just yet."
"I'm still amazed by this lil' girl" Muldoon said, staring down at the tiny raptor that looked intently back at him. "What a brave one you are."
The raptor squeaked fiercely at Muldoon as he spoke to her and hopped excitedly, not being comfortable with the deeper tones of the man's voice.
"I'm afraid she's not willing to accept you into her circle just yet. You're invading her territory. She's not used to being around men, except for Wu, and Mr. Hammond visits infrequently, but their tones are much softer than yours."
"She'll have to get used to it once she's grown and moved into the adult enclosure" Muldoon declared. "She'll be dealing with me on a regular basis, or rather; I'll be dealing with her. I can tell already that this girl's going to be a troublemaker." He playfully nudged her with his foot and, although he meant nothing by it, he succeeded in upsetting the animal even more.
Lunging forward, the raptor attached its' small mouth onto Muldoon's ankle, causing the big man to scream out in pain. Tiny but razor sharp teeth dug into his flesh, and his socks became stained with a small amount of blood.
The baby captured its prey and was not going to part with the ankle so easily. Winema's grip tightened as she struggled to hold on.
With some effort, Muldoon finally shook off his attacker. The raptor landed on the floor with a soft thud, but quickly stood again and tried once more to latch onto Muldoon's already injured leg.
In a rage, and not thinking too clearly with the throbbing pain in his lower leg still fresh, Muldoon kicked the raptor, sending her sliding across the room.
Kathy, ignoring the injured man, ran to the aide of Winema.
Picking the raptor up in her arms, she lovingly stroked the head. Winema shivered in her protectors arms. Kathy believed the shaking was a direct result of the assault on the raptor, but Winema was not frightened or injured; not in the least. Her pride was hurt, fueling the anger she held towards this man.
"The bloody devil bit me" Muldoon said in his defense after he found Kathy glaring at him from across the room.
"That gives you no right to harm her" the woman snapped in reply.
Muldoon, with a noticeable limp, walked up to Kathy. "Look," he said, "it was a reflex. If something bites me, I'm going to fight back; be it kicking, punching, or shooting. I didn't mean to hurt the little beast." Muldoon stressed his point by jabbing a finger precariously close to the mouth of the so-called beast.
With a feral peep, all the animal could muster at such a young age, Winema snapped. Her sharp teeth closed less than an inch from the finger of her assailant.
Surprised by the aggressive gesture, Muldoon swiftly removed his hand from her reach.
The park warden looked at her, confused. "What?"
"You should have seen yourself!"
"I'm glad to see you getting pleasure from my pain."
"Sorry, but when she bit you, then came back for more, that was priceless. Didn't I tell you she was a leader? That she wasn't used to the sound of your voice and wasn't going to take you coming into her territory? But you had to push her." Kathy thought the whole thing was a riot. Seeing the usually composed hunter yell in pain while trying desperately to shake Winema off his leg was quite comical to the lady who rarely had any excitement in her routine days on the island, and she intended to enjoy the moment.
Chirping another battle cry, Winema tried to release herself from Kathy's grasp. "Alright, alright," Muldoon sighed. The baby was not going to give up. "I know when I'm not wanted." He looked at Kathy. "You once told me these babies were fragile. Do you believe this now?"
"Yes, I do. But, this young one is different. She's a fighter. Nothing much frightens her. No, I wouldn't say she was fragile."
Muldoon pulled his leg up high enough for him to rub his aching ankle. He winced at touching the wound. "Neither would I" he mumbled. "I better go before she comes up with another attack plan."
"You really don't have to leave" Kathy said. She placed Winema on her shoulders, a place the raptor felt comfortable. The infant nudged Kathy's head with its own in a show of affection.
"I'd like to keep full use of my other ankle. Besides, the meeting should be started already. I'm not risking getting another lecture from Hammond because of this bloody female."
"Well, it was nice seeing you again, and don't worry; next time you come, we'll have a whole new batch of babies. She'll be long gone from the nursery." Kathy said, walking Muldoon to the door.
Before exiting, Muldoon stood in the open doorway and found the raptor perched in a dignified way on the shoulder of her keeper. "I'll be seeing you in a few months" he told the creature.
Winema hissed severely.
Kathy laughed again. "She holds a grudge"
Indeed she did hold a grudge. Muldoon heard movement from the brush below and lowered his gaze. A single form appeared from the ferns. Recognizing it as the Alpha Female, Muldoon smirked.
Just as he predicted that day in the nursery, Winema had become a troublemaker. Killing all her companions, save for two, she established her role as leader, or female chief as her name crowned her. Winema's cleverness was unmatched on the island. She knew all that happened.
Her involvement in most of the difficulties Jurassic Park faced, starting with her hostile attitude towards the feeders and handlers, to the deaths of three workers, one of which was especially close to Muldoon, raised her to a new level of respect among the staff at Jurassic Park.
Muldoon respected her. He respected her cunning, her speed, and her leadership. The animal was of rare spirit and mind.
But, for all her power, both mental and physical, she had a ruthless streak in her like no other animal Muldoon ever heard. For this, he hated her. He hated the way she took pleasure in killing anything. When eating, he always found her to have a sickeningly humorous look on her face.
And the way Winema stared at him never ceased to make him uneasy. He feared one day, if given the chance, the Alpha would attack him with the same relentlessness she showed on the day of their first encounter.
He now looked into her eyes.
Winema instantly recognized the man in khakis as her enemy. She too respected this human. For all the times she got the better of him, Muldoon found a way to even the score. This human, out of them all, held her respect. This human, if ever she found the opportunity, would be her greatest trophy yet for they were both evenly matched.
The rifle Muldoon carried with him sent a tearing object through the skin of an animal, much in the same way her own claw did. And through her dealings with him, Winema discovered the cleverness of Muldoon. He knew her like she knew him.
They continued to study each other.
The small gesture of one staring at the other had become their way of speaking; letting each other know where they stood. This was a routine they performed often. Muldoon would stand over Winema, staring downward to meet her gaze, while she watched him intensely from her place in the enclosure.
The female snorted suddenly. For now, Winema had her fill of looking at Muldoon, but before she sank back into the small forest, she emitted a low, savage growl, much different from the soft chirps from her younger years.
Muldoon heard her.
He watched closely as she faded into the dark shadows of the foliage. The game warden then adjusted his hat and prepared himself to return to his duties. He shook his head and smiled as he took one last look below. "Clever girl" he said as he walked away.
Dedication: Sassy Lil Scorpio- Thanks for all the great JP chats, JP rants, and JP love! Minor characters rule!
Thanks to all those who read and review. Happy Writings! *Tinks*