Chapter 22: Regroup and Retreat
The Maximoff family waited by a tree specifically chosen by Erik for Scott to met back up with them as soon as he completed his search. For some strange reason, no dinosaur ever passed that specific tree while Erik worked for InGen and the same unnatural law still held true that day. The Maximoffs, especially Stephanie, were getting impatient. Scott was late by five minutes already and Erik new how defensive most herbivores on the island could get if someone intruded on their territory.
"He's not coming," Stephanie said sadly. "It's too bad. He's done so much for me—for all of us, really."
Dimitri sunk his desperation. He didn't want to believe it, but his mother made much sense and his father wasn't disputing it. Dimitri suddenly looked over his right shoulder to see Scott's silhouette coming down the down-trodden path.
"How could you ever doubt me?" Scott yelled as he approached the family. Dimitri was pleased to see his friend again, but was sorely disappointed to see that the body slumped over Scott's shoulder wasn't an injured Andrew Rayburn. Hannah Carnivalli was still bleeding as Scott arrived and sat her against the tree. She had already fallen into unconsciousness and was in dire need of medical attention.
"You were supposed to find Andrew!" Dimitri yelled. "Instead you went off to look for your ex-girlfriend?"
"Glad to see you're safe, too," Scott complained. "I didn't look for her, idiot. She was still hunting me down. I took pity on her and brought her back. I couldn't find Andrew. I'm sorry about your friend."
"Scott's right," Erik added. "Andrew's been out on his own for about an hour now. Most people wouldn't be able to survive that long on their own without an dinosaur knowledge."
"Andrew isn't just a normal kid!" Dimitri continued to protest. "He's dedicated his life to learning about dinosaurs for the DLA and he isn't alone He's with Morgan Bruer, who I can assume is handy with a gun."
"Then all we can do is hope Morgan Bruer protects him and they find their own way off the island." Erik continued to try and convince his son, but none of it was working. "Dimitri, we don't have a choice. If we continue to search for Andrew, we are leaving ourselves open to attacks from raptors with revenge on the brain. If we don't get back to the boat, we will die."
"Both Darren and Dalton know where our boat is," Stephanie added. "Whoever has the tablet will take our ship back before we can get to it."
"You're already too late," came Dalton's constrained voice. The only thing about the Dalton Furrelle that stood before them that even resembled life was that he was still able to talk. His face was pale, he was limping on his left leg, dried blood was all over his shirt, and he wasn't even notably breathing. "Your only chance is to take the helicopter from the trailer."
"You're kidding, right?" Dimitri asked. Dalton gave him a grave look as if that statement offended him. "Listen, Chad. We know the raptors are just waiting there for us. You're not going to do your last minute effort to try and kill us."
"Listen to yourself!" Dalton yelled. Despite being on death's door, Dalton's voice was still able to be commanding. "Does any of that even make sense? You know who I am. My name is Chad Bolton. You know what happened to my sister. You know I don't care about the dinosaurs. You know that I have no reason to live if Darren delivers the tablet to Piper becuase your mother will just sign off on the island and everything I have work for will be for naught. I have nothing to lose!"
"Then why are you sending us to our deaths?"
"One more person will die today," Dalton managed to cough out. "I will distract the raptors long enough for you to get to the helicopter."
A full sweep of the apartment that Piper and Kyle were just in led to nothing. Dana Tomlinson was fatigued. She hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast and was almost falling asleep on the couch. Benji was having flashbacks to his brief partnership with Piper one year ago. Piper didn't need sleep and Benji was going to have to learn to go without it as well if he was planning on catching up to her in time.
"Pack it up," Dana told the police crew. "There's nothing here. "At this point, our best bet is to set up road blocks around the city." Dana stood up and noticed that Benji was still fixated on finding some clue to Piper's whereabouts.
"I'm not leaving," he reminded them. "You guys can go on ahead, but I'm sure I can find something. Piper is barely human, but she is human at least a little bit. She must have made a mistake somewhere. And if not here, perhaps her son. He's new to murder. Maybe he forgot to wash his hands."
"If they slipped up," Dana began, "it wasn't here. Let's go."Benji ignores her and flopped onto the couch. Dana rolled her eyes as Benji pressed the power button on the remote control. Benji tried again. He opened the back compartment to see the problem: the batteries were facing the wrong direction, with the negative side touching the negative side and the positive side touching the positive side.
"That is a clue," Benji pointed out as he flipped the television on. There is no way a teenager could have waited her without the temptation of watching television. There is no way he couldn't have fixed this himself. Kyle did this himself either to throw us off the track or put us back on it."
"What are you talking about?" Benji pointed to the television screen. It was a soap opera and both Benji and Dana didn't think of Kyle as one who would be interested in soap operas. It was another of his clues. "It's set in a hospital," Dana pointed out. He may be saying that Piper is going to visit her father."
"She won't," Benji replied. "Eddie's there with an army of police waiting in the lobby to take her down. She's a good shot, but she's not that fast. There has to be something smaller in this that we're not seeing." The two continued to watch the show as most of the police officers shuffled out of the apartment.
On the show, the main character was preparing for surgery. Benji began to take notes. His name was Doug and was dating another doctor named Marissa, but was having an affair with Marissa's twin sister Gloria, a nurse at the same hospital. Benji noted the decor as well. The walls were bleach white and the doctors wore green and purple scrubs. Finally, anything they said was jotted down.
Benji was racking his brain with his notes, trying to figure out what Kyle could be trying to tell him. It could be everything, but it could be nothing. Dana ignored Benji and his notes and began to remember her conversation with Kyle—how she spoke to him and more importantly, how he spoke to her. She finally figured it out.
"You're thinking too hard," Dana started. "Kyle Norvell thinks we're idiots, so if he's going to leave a message, it's not going to be hard. This show is called St. Thomas. There is a St. Thomas Hospital in Bethesda, where Darren Sutter lives. Kyle is telling is that it's where she's meeting Darren Sutter to pick up the tablet."
Benji had a sour look on his face as he shut the television off and ripped up his notes. "Well then why didn't he just leave a note?! Come on, we have a long drive ahead of us."
St. Thomas Hospital
The Norvells have been sitting in the waiting room for over half an hour. Piper had stopped telling her son about the plan with the hopes that Kyle would stop asking questions and just blindly obey her every whim from then on. With the death of Blake Masters, that choice was not an option for Kyle. She wasn't going to get any answers from Piper, at least not from her mouth. Kyle was going to have to read body language to figure out why they had been waiting here for over thirty minutes with no result.
His mother's cell phone was off. Kyle figured this out becuase Piper always keeps her phone on vibrate in public, but would them put it in her pocket so she could tell if it were ringing or not. It was still in the pouch looped around her waist. There was a phone on the counter where the receptionist was sitting. Two people also sitting in the waiting room had already used it, meaning it was a public phone. Piper was waiting for a call, most likely from Darren Sutter or Dalton Furrelle.
Piper glanced at the clock at the wall, meaning that Darren should have called by now. Throwing caution to the wind, Piper remained silent in hopes that Darren was only delayed and not killed by the dinosaurs or worse yet, captured by the Maximoffs. The last thing Piper needed was the governor of Maryland hot on her tail, especially with the persistent Eddie Harold.
Kyle stood up. He now knew what Piper was waiting for and he needed to formulate a plan of his own to keep up with Piper's ever-calculating mind. Kyle approached the receptionist. "Can you point me to the bathroom, please?" The receptionist pointed back through the doors and left. Kyle thanked her and entered the doors. He could tell his mother was giving his a cold stare.
Kyle ran his fingers across the wall. The phone, he saw, was connected to an outlet on the wall that his fingers were now on. Kyle remembered the pattern that receptionist was typing before she pointed him to the bathroom. She was on a chat room, which means the computers are connected to the internet. Kyle continued to follow the walls in hopes of finding the main server that connected all the computers.
The bathroom was now far behind him, so Kyle was in danger of being caught by some doctor and getting thrown back out to the waiting room. None of the rooms were the server he was looking for and he was beginning to worry that the hospital was using a transverse server, which can power the entire hospital. Running the entire computing system on one server is not ideal for a hospital, but it seemed likely. Desperate, Kyle began opening random doors that had no labels on them. Finally, when all seemed lost, Kyle came upon the the main server.
Back in the waiting room, the call that Piper had been waiting for finally came in. The receptionist answered the phone. "St. Thomas Hospital. How can I help you?"
"My name is Darren. I'm looking for a woman named Maria Carsivo. Is she in the waiting room?"
"The receptionist put her hand on the receiver and looked out at the waiting room. "Excuse me, is there a Maria Carsivo here? There's a call for you."
Piper stood up and took the phone. "It's good to speak with you again, Darren. I want to hear everything."
Kyle was still frantically trying to connect himself to the server before he missed any more of the conversation. Finally, Kyle disconnected a wire and rewired it into his cell phone. After pressing a couple more button on both the server and his cell phone, Kyle was tapped into the phone called. Piper's voice was clear. "I want to know the status of everyone on the island before you left."
"If you insist," Darren's voice replied. "Last I saw of them, the Maximoff family was safe. They were regrouping, but I took their boat, so they should be still stuck on the island. I'd like to see family bonding get them out of that one. Some kid named Scott Green left with the Maximoffs and these two other kids named Morgan Bruer and Andrew Rayburn left out the back of the trailer. That was about two hours ago. Some other kid named Lance Savarin was taken down by the raptors."
"Furrelle!" Piper interrupted. "I want to know about Furrelle! What's his status?"
"Dalton Furrelle is dead," Darren replied confidently. "I shot him and he tumbled off the ship and into the water."
"That's it?" Piper asked. "Chad Bolton is resilient. One bullet and a little cold water will not stop him. If he cant deliver me the tablet, he is going to make sure one way or another that you do not. Get to the meeting place as soon as possible. I will head there myself as soon as my son gets back here from pretending to be in the bathroom. Right, Kyle?" Kyle didn't respond, but it didn't matter., There was no denying that Piper knew that he was listening in on the entire conversation. Kyle hung up and returned to the waiting room. "I will make sure you don't get away with this."
"My dear Kyle," she began as she lead the way outside. "Like a general, I have planned out my next hundred moves in advance, including back-up plans for each of them. I have already won."
At this point, Morgan Bruer was fighting herself rather than any kind of physical enemy. The raptors had a bigger enemy to contend with and Morgan was much more formidable than any other dinosaur that inhabited the island. She had a plan on how to get the helicopter and avoid the raptors, but she already forgot it, realizing that she was lost and was not going to make it to the helicopter, anyways.
She was fighting her own consciousness, trying to stay sane. With very little chance of survival at this point, any argument with her subconscious would wind up in an easy defeat. As time progressed, Morgan's consciousness began to manifest itself into more solid forms.
"It's actually kind of funny," her subconscious began, taking on the form of Lance Savarin. "When you thought Andrew Rayburn was a DLA member, you had no trouble following his every whim. You took to his leadership much more than you took to Dalton. Don't get me wrong. I won't be the first one to say I enjoyed all of Dalton's decisions, but I'd be lying if I said I'd rather listen to Andrew."
"Andrew is intelligent," Morgan defended. "You is a smart kid and you and Hannah would have been smart to follow his lead when he challenged Dalton's authority. I could tell that from the minute I met him, he knew what he was talking about."
"He didn't know anything," her subconscious replied, now in the form of Hannah Carnivalli. "He was a liar from the start. The only thing he was truthful about was being unable to protect himself from the dinosaur without your protection. He was jut cowering in the corner until he got into contact with Dimitri Maximoff and Scott Green. At that point, he just repeated everything Dimitri told him to say until you guys escaped."
"Andrew had guts. I'll admit that he didn't have the intelligence to think the plan up on his own, but he had the courage to execute it and the nerve o stick through such a complex lie without cracking. You have to at least give him credit for that, right?"
She was now looking at the representation of Scott Green. "I think not. Andrew Rayburn was just some kid infatuated with the DLA. He had no choice but to go along with the lie. He was afraid of what would happen if he deviated. He blindly listened to Dimitri becuase he didn't know what to do."
"You're not giving him anything? He didn't do anything? Are you telling me that I made the biggest mistake in my life to listen to this kid? That he didn't know anything? That I was an idiot for even acknowledging his existence?"
"That's exactly what I'm saying," her conscious as Dalton replied. "You were just as scared and confused as he was, so you clinged to him to make yourself feel better. You convinced yourself of his intelligence where there wasn't any. You weren't cut out for the DLA and since you pushed Andrew away when he was being honest, you will die here."
Morgan stopped walking and sat down against a tree. The realization finally hit her. Sooner or later, she was going to die. "This didn't have to happen." her conscious reminded her. She looked up to see it in the figure of Andrew Rayburn. "Why didn't you just trust me? You trusted me this whole time, so why did you push me away now?"
"Because you were being you. I was never interested by Andrew Rayburn, high school student and occasional vandal. It was Andrew Rayburn, confidant lieutenant to Adam Baylin and overseer of Dalton Furrelle on Piper Norvell's wishes. That's why I listened to."
"That Andrew never existed. You were always listening to some high school kid. You just didn't want to accept that. Face with the truth, you ran. You are going to die."
"And it';s your fault!" Morgan jumped up and launched a punch at Andrew. Being a figment of Morgan's imagination, Morgan's punch went through Andrew and she stumbled to the other side of him. "It's your fault that I'm lost and it's your fault that I'm going to die here! I followed you out of that trailer and I listened to your lies until it lead me nowhere but at death's door. It's your fault!
"You can't blame me for what you should have figured out yourself! I was a lying kid. You fell for it and because of that, you deserve to die." Morgan launched another punch with the same result as before. "Deep down, you know that I'm right." Another punch and another stumble.
Andrew walked over to the left side of Morgan. "Your family will be ashamed of you. Not becuase you were a criminal, but becuase you failed at being a criminal. You're family will be ashamed to know such a failure!? Morgan's anger was now at it maximum capacity. She began to wildly swing at Andrew as he continued to take baby steps backwards. Morgan threw herself at Andrew, falling straight threw him and down a steep hill.
Morgan fell face fist into the side of the cliff and began a painful roll down the hill until she finally came to rest at the cliff's bottom. She had broken so many bones in the fall, she had lost the ability to stand up. Her muscles ached to the point that she fear excruciating pain if she so much as tries to move a finger. Just then, an ominous sound came from the North. There was no mistaking it. A helicopter was coming for the rescue. Morgan was in too much pain to even raise here arm, so trying to get the helicopter's attention was out of the question. She had lost her chance of survival as the helicopter flew passed the trees. All Morgan could do now is laugh maniacally she she though about Andrew while the compies began to surround and pick apart her body.