Disclaimer: I own neither "Jurassic Park" nor "AI," more's the pity. I receive no monetary gain from my fan fiction, only a sense of accomplishment since no one will ever publish my original stuff. If you can sue me for an emotion, go ahead, but I'm not sure how I'd share it with you.
Title: Primal Scream
By: Time Lady Quazar
Anna had traded her red, white, and blue spangles for basic dull black. Even her bleached bouffant was covered by a black stocking cap. Bright makeup was replaced by dark smears under her eyes and green splotches that hid instead of accentuated her features. "Uncle J., are you sure this is a good idea?" she whispered.
Her uncle, overweight with middle-aged, sagging features and lank, thinning hair, had eyes that could pierce with a fiery lance of the passion at the core of his soul. "People need to be shown the way. They're blind to the harm and corruption these things bring in their wake!" the man hissed, his accent thickened by the anger brought on by the very subject.
"But if someone is actually hurt . . ."
"Lord" Johnson-Johnson, self-proclaimed savior, snorted under his wide-brimmed hat. "Not hurt, girl. We'll just scare em a bit." With an anticipatory smile, he lifted a palm-sized electronic device from the inside pocket of his dark brown duster and pressed it against the edge of the door, next to the lock's keypad.
There was a quiet, vibrating hum that lasted for only a few seconds before the lock flashed green and the door clicked. Easing it open, Johnson-Johnson maneuvered his thick body into the dark, paused, then motioned for Anna and two of his Mecha wranglers to follow.
The museum was shadowy and deserted just inside the maintenance entrance. From there they edged across two hallways and through the anthropology exhibit. The simple animatronic hominids were silent and unmoving but still eerie, especially standing next to their mounted skeletons. The puppets' glittering, naturalistic eyes and the skulls' empty sockets seemed to follow their progress to the dinosaur hall.
This room was smaller, containing a mural along the walls that gradually transfigured into a scale-model diorama at the back of the room. The displays consisted of a few of the museum's more exciting specimens, including a Giganotosaurus skull, a complete Utahraptor skeleton, and a collection of killing claws from several species of Dromeosaur. What drew the crowds, and "Lord" Johnson-Johnson, lay outside.
The same little lock pick let the group out the larger back doors, into the courtyard that separated them from a huge arched gate with a sign at the very top reading "New Jersey Museum of Natural History," written in red letters outlined in gold. A line of electric S.M.A.R.T. cars waited to convey groups through the gate at the outrageous price of fifty Newbucks per person. Anna thought that in itself justified their plans.
"We'll come back for the cars," Johnson-Johnson instructed. "We need to make sure they stop in the right place."
frown flitted across Anna's face. She didn't want the S.M.A.R.T.
cars discredited. An intelligent car was just too useful; besides,
she wanted one someday . . .
Anything for the cause. That was Uncle J.'s mantra, and he'd proven his commitment to it. The audience in Trenton never knew what went on that night, but Anna would have nightmares forever.
Still . . . anything for the cause. Uncle J. had seen it coming long ago, and quickly gained followers, fans, and disciples with his logic and rhetoric. Machine intelligence would push humanity over the edge. Population was falling worldwide, faster than restricted childbearing could account for. Humans could not survive competition.
In the beginning, it was good. Mechas did the hazardous and unsavory tasks, those beneath their Orga masters. But things had gone too far. Now they did . . . everything. Even the language was changing under their influence; Mecha and Orga were terms that had originated with them.
Johnson-Johnson was examining the oversized gates.
After several moments, he let out a soft crow and used a screwdriver
to worry open a small panel that was rather badly hidden in the door
frame. His little electronic device gave him access to the controls;
when the display screen switched from red to green, he pushed an
labeled "Emergency Manual Override."
"Thirty seconds to get through the fence," Johnson-Johnson whispered tersely. "Let's go!"
Anna was the last to wriggle her way through the heavy cables that made up the fence that stretched from either side of the gates. She scraped her arm pulling it through too quickly; she didn't want to get hit by the 15,000 watts. "Uncle J.," she whispered. "Why do they need such a high charge?"
"To keep people like us out," Johnson-Johnson answered with a hint of pride. "And to make sure one of their simulants doesn't get out in case of malfunction."
No one could miss the pleased irony in the man's voice. The smarter of his two "hounds" chuckled. Anna smiled nervously. Certainly a much smaller jolt of electricity would short out any Mecha, regardless of size. But she remained silent as they melted into the jungle on the other side of the fence.
They were entering another world. The greenery was thick with ferns. An eclectic mix of trees swayed overhead; pines, deciduous species, gingkos, and palms. It even seemed hotter and more humid under the canopy, echos of another time and place. The compound boasted over a dozen species that should have been extinct but had been saved by the museum, their leafy lives closely monitored by several scientific institutions in hopes of reintroduction into their original environments.
The quartet stayed in the trees
but followed the main route, keeping in sight of the road but well
back from the fence. The cables ran thicker here, in a criss-cross
pattern that made it impossible for even the smallest curious child
to squeeze through; unnecessary
precautions in Anna's mind, since a clear plexiglass tunnel covered the road.
"Where are we going?" Anna murmured.
"It's a ways yet," said Reg, the wrangler who had gone through the tour three times in preparation. "The ride is almost an hour long, and the cars go a bit faster than people walking. Not much, though," he ended in clear tones of resentment.
"Your boredom was a small price to pay," Johnson-Johnson retorted sharply.
A high-pitched peeping made Anna turn her head. A smile was startled out of her when she saw the tiny, bright green creatures peering at them with big, curious eyes. One jumped up and down excitedly, repeating the call that was something between a bird's chirp and a mouse's squeak. "They're cute," she commented. They resembled Supertoys she'd seen children clutching at the Flesh Fair, but much more realistic, and with quicker movements. She would have giggled when the flock turned as one and darted into the jungle but for the dark look she received from her uncle.
A quarter hour later, the vegetation rustled off to their left. They all tensed, turning towards the sound, but it was just one of the exhibits. This Mecha was gigantic, and as realistic as the smaller models. Its monstrous three-horned head cocked one eye in their direction, the beady orange-brown orb narrowing suspiciously. Opening its beak, the Triceratops let out a low, honking cry, shaking its horns from side to side.
"Come on, we're looking for more interesting prey," Johnson-Johnson ordered, and the four of them sidled past the beastly Mecha. Anna watched it out of the corner of her eye; as they got further away, it shifted its weight and aimed a bull-like snort in their direction, its sides heaving. A second version of the creature, less than half the size of the original, peeked out from behind the first and gave a higher-pitched honk, until the larger nudged it into silence.
Anna's eyes widened at the artistry of the designer, and she even saw Reg eyeing it with grudging admiration. Her uncle only gave a snort startlingly like that of the beast. "Move faster."
They were all getting tired, drooping and complaining in quiet murmurs until Reg raised his hand and pointed. "We're getting to the end. Keep your eyes open. There'll be another fence across our path, but we can crawl under this one."
"Another fence? Why?" Anna asked.
"Cause they have special shows where big ones attack simpler models of the other ones. They don't want the predators getting in with their real Mechas and damaging them," Reg explained. "It's kind of cool," he added thoughtfully. "They eat em, and it looks pretty real."
"Gross," Anna sneered in disgust. "You would like something like that."
"Quiet!" Johnson-Johnson snapped. "Here's the fence. Get moving!"
It was possible to crawl under this fence, but it was a tight fit. Anna and the two wranglers had to-very carefully-dig out a hollow to make enough clearance for her uncle, then fill it in and scatter leaf litter over the raw dirt in case a grounds keeper happened to stroll down the road.
Anna's gut twisted as she looked around at the new section of jungle. It was almost the same, just a bit thinner, but suddenly a black feeling made her heart thump painfully. "Uncle J., why aren't there any security cameras or anything?" she whispered.
Her uncle wasn't listening. Waving his hand impatiently, he motioned for his followers to quicken their pace. Anna obeyed, eager to be done and leave.
Suddenly a stray breeze wafted across their faces, the scent it carried making Anna gag and Chuck, the second wrangler, hold a hand over his nose. "What is that?" he choked.
His question was answered when they
broke through the trees into an unexpected clearing. The back end of
something large lay in the grass, bone glistening through leathery
green-brown skin. The creature looming over it had stopped in the
middle of tearing off another twenty-pound hunk of meat and stared at
them with mad eyes,
bits of flesh dangling from between its spear-teeth. It tilted its head back and swallowed, still watching the intruders.
"Uncle . . ." Anna coughed out.
"This history's getting a little too natural," Reg gagged.
Smaller creatures emerged from the deep shadows at the edge of the clearing where they had been waiting for their turn to feed. Their eyes narrowed and one lifted its muzzle into the air and sniffed. Another scratched at itself with its long, dextrous front paw.
Realization struck Reg and Chuck at the same time. Squealing, they turned and ran. The five man-sized creatures paused just long enough to give a short, staccato cry before they sprang after the men, their legs pumping in an easy lope. As they passed, Anna saw the flash of the twelve-inch claws on their back feet, held at the ready like daggers in a fight.
She screamed loud and long. Johnson-Johnson gave a hoarse, inarticulate shout and grabbed her arm, dragging her back towards the fence. She felt more than heard the thud-thud-thud of pursuing footfalls, saw her uncle trip on what looked horribly like an arm, was pulled down by the claw-like grip of terror on her arm . . .
As her head was enveloped by a foetid cavern, her last thought was, "Maybe Mechas aren't so bad."
He entered the museum as he did every morning, through the maintenance door. It was unlocked; not usual but not unheard of. Several of the scientists were still working on dissertations and liked to work in the quiet time before the museum opened. They sometimes asked him advice on the finer points of grammar, and he was happy to be of service.
Making his way out to the compound for his daily inspection, he glanced at the wall across from the entrance to the Dinosaur hall, where a small plaque hung, unnoticed by most visitors. It was a bas-relief done in antiqued copper, the picture of an older man with a neat beard and spectacles. "Our Founder, John Hammond," was pounded into the copper above his likeness, and beneath, "INGEN."
He looked at the plaque every day. He had read the history; the man was both lauded as a genius and persecuted in his day. Now, few remembered the persecution, and fewer still the science.
Continuing on, he passed through the hall into the courtyard. This door too was unlocked, but he felt no concern. There were some odd scratches on the gate's control panel, and it stuck a bit when he used the pressure points to pop it open. One of the electricians had gotten careless; he filed away the information carefully, ready to report when he was done. Noticing one of the janitors watching him through the window as she cleaned the director's office, he punched his personal code into the gate, hop-skipped to the fence, and slid through the wires with dancer's grace, landing on the other side with a flourish and a cheeky wink. His showy vinyl clothes had been traded for a simple grey uniform but his dark hair was still slicked back and his eyes were still bright and inviting. The young woman laughed and blushed a little, then went back to her task.
Something seemed amiss on the first part of his circuit around this half of the compound. He made the walk every morning, yet the animals seemed edgy and nervous. He slid under the separating fence, feeling the electricity hum along his back, and found a patch of disturbed earth near the road. He frowned; another oddity to report.
Coming to the clearing, he heard an alarming moan and quickened his step. He found the Tyrannosaur hunched oddly, shifting from side to side in obvious discomfort. Though this was the female, outweighing her mate by a ton, he approached without fear; InGen had rescued him and several others of his kind because the animals tolerated their presence and they could get safely near without having to drug the beasts, unlike the scientists themselves. The predators, the more intelligent of the dinosaurs, even looked forward to his visits; it was he who brought the dead and dying animals from other parts of the park, and the loads of beef, pork, and poultry when their natural prey wasn't available.
Cloning such as this was, of course, illegal, but the technology was archived, and much cheaper than building animals of this scope. Besides, with the precautions InGen had taken, who was to know the animals weren't Mecha? Rescued Mechas could be trusted to keep quiet.
Patting the Tyrannosaur's thigh reassuringly, he circled the beast to examine it. As he did, the animal hunched tighter, chuffed twice, and coughed up a pile of brown material. Shaking her head, she stretched herself out, grunted, and left to make a circuit of her territory.
Crouching next to the pile she had expelled, he used a handy hadrosaur tibia to prod at it. It was . . . fabric, brown fabric. Lifting it fastidiously with the bone, he found a hat lying underneath, soaked with digestive juices but still recognizable.
He picked it up, his aquamarine eyes narrowed. Oh, yes, he remembered this hat, and the coat vomited with it. Picking it up carefully, he carried it with him as he finished his inspection of the compound's perimeter, then tossed the articles in the incinerator. Encountering the same janitor as he was closely scrutinizing the taxidermy displays to make sure they were in perfect condition when the museum opened for the day, he executed a small dance step for her amusement, ending with a spin, his blue-green eyes sparkling even brighter than usual.