Ian Malcolm sat in the jeep, his legs crossed and his glasses on. He always had them on. His driver, a balding man in his early thirties, prattled on about his job as a lawyer and the company InGen. Malcolm listened on and off. The badlands of Montana were rocky and dry. Malcolm tapped the dashboard.
"Hey, that's really great, but we're at the site." He announced as various trailers and large tents came into view. His companion scowled at him. He slammed on the brakes, throwing the car into park and pulling the keys out of the ignition. He reached into the backseat and grabbed his briefcase.
"These rocks are killing my tires anyway." He snapped. Malcolm ignored him and climbed out of the jeep, leaning on his cane. He was in his early thirties, still young in the mathematical world. His curly black hair, casual black clothing, and lightly tinted sunglasses gave him the appearance of a rock star, rather than a Harvard graduate who'd written hundreds of pages on the chaos theory. The only thing that aged him was his polished wooden cane, which eased the ache in his mangled left leg, a souvenir from his first trip to John Hammond's island. Malcolm surveyed the dig site slowly. Most of the people were students, bedecked in sunhats and t-shirts. There were smears of sticky white suntan lotion, and sun glinted off black lenses. A man walked up, probably fresh out of college. He pushed his sunglasses back into his curly red hair, reaching out to shake Malcolm's hand. He turned to the other man, who was pressing random buttons on his cellular phone.
"Uh, hi. I'm Mitch." He turned back to Malcolm, having been disregarded by the other man. "You must be Ian Malcolm." He jerked his head at Malcolm's cohort. "And he is-?" The other man muttered something to the phone, shoving it into his pocket.
"Hi, hey there junior. Brock Peterson, lawyer." He shook Mitch's hand loosely, waving a hand in front of his face. "God it's hot here. I'm looking for Dr. Grant. You got any idea where he is? I wanna make this quick." Mitch's face fell. He jerked his head over his shoulder to one of the smaller trailers.
"He's in the office. Let me just take you over there." He turned, casting a pained look at Malcolm, who shrugged. They headed for the trailer. Peterson stumbled over some of the loose rocks, cursing. They emerged into the cool interior of the trailer. Mitch walked up to Alan, who was leaning over a microscope on the scuffed white Formica counter. He didn't notice them until Mitch leaned over and whispered something into his ear. Then he jerked his head up and surveyed Peterson. His gaze traveled to Malcolm, and he grinned, moving forward and setting his cowboy hat on his head.
"Ian." He said, shaking the younger man's hand. "It's been a long time." Mitch hovered in the background, under the pretext of cleaning up the bones on the counter. Malcolm released Alan's hand slowly, memories of Isla Nublar filtering back.
"Dr. Grant." Peterson said smoothly, moving forward. He didn't offer his hand, simply stepped forward. "Brock Peterson, attorney at International Genetics. I assume you got my messages?" Alan shoved his hands into the pockets of his khaki shorts. He smiled but said nothing. Peterson cleared his throat. "Yes, well, ah- anyway, I'm here because of some, ah, complications regarding the contract drawn up between you and my company five years ago. Certain terms were overlooked in the misfortune subsequent to the first trip." Alan raised an eyebrow.
"Complications?" He repeated. He shot a look at Malcolm, who shook his head, leaning on his cane. "Enlighten me, please." His gracious tone was strained.
"Well, as you know, International Genetics offered you a grant to your foundation preceding your decision to come and, ah, validate the production of the island." He set the briefcase on the rickety wooden table and pulled an important looking document. "This is why I brought you here, as well, Dr. Malcolm. Kill two birds with one stone." Neither scientist found his analogy amusing. "Um, what I mean to say is, the contract is considered null and void, unless the trip was made to the second island." Alan narrowed his eyes. "And the company would require any down payments made to both of you repaid in full."
"How- how much?" Malcolm demanded, his voice strangled. He didn't remember the exact amount John Hammond wrote on the check, but he knew it had been a number of zeroes. "How much is expected to be repaid?" He also knew that he would never be able to pay it back, with the money he received for his work.
"Well, Dr, Grant, you received $500,000, which with interest and certain maintenance fees, comes to approximately $820,000 and some change. Of course I would work out the exact amount before having you pay." He ran a finger down the list. "Dr. Malcolm, you now owe roughly $900,000 to International Genetics." Malcolm kept a white knuckled grip on his cane, and behind them, Mitch had dropped a glass he had been cleaning, which went unnoticed.
"A- a moment please." Alan jerked his head to the unoccupied end of the trailer. Malcolm walked with him, ignoring Peterson, who was watching them avidly. Alan had the look of a man faced with something dangerous and unpredictable. "Ian, I have absolutely no way of paying that back. The funding doesn't cover old debts, and I can't take that much from the bank."
"I'm faced with the same problem. My nest egg is short a couple hundred thousand there." Malcolm tapped his cane on the floor. "They want something." He murmured, casting a discreet glance at Peterson. "He didn't mention this before, and InGen hasn't said anything for the past five years." He spat the number out bitterly. "I'm sure I could have found a way of paying this off back then. There has to be a loophole." He tilted his head back and cracked his neck. "It was a bribe. I shouldn't have-" Malcolm paused suddenly. "He said the contract was null and void, and we have to pay the loan back." Malcolm realized. Alan cocked his head to one side, rubbing his neck.
"I remember him saying that." He reminded Malcolm, unsure where the mathematician was going.
"He said the contract was null and void, and we had to pay the loan back." He said again. "Unless, we visited the second island." Alan quietly observed Ian in a manner similar to the look one would give someone who had just said they were a cactus, and asked if one could move from the sun so they could continue their photosynthesis. "I know what you're thinking Alan, but I can't pay this back. I, for one, have no other option. I don't know what being a professor of Paleontology entitles one to."
"No need to get snippy, Ian." Alan reprimanded quietly. "What you're suggesting could work, in theory, unless that's no longer an option." Malcolm cleared his throat and gave Alan a pointed look. "Of course, that would mean the payment was no longer option." Alan grasped. "Ian, I don't want to go back there."
"Neither do I." Malcolm replied. He didn't wait for Alan's response, simply turned to Peterson. "Mr. Peterson. I find it quite interesting you didn't feel it necessary to mention this considerable debt to me during the five hour car ride to the badlands." Peterson tried to smile, but Malcolm continued without a pause. "However, in view of this- situation, one would call it, we accept your offer of a trip to the second island, wherever this is, to clear this little matter." Peterson's jaw dropped. Clearly he had orders to steer the solution in the direction of the repayment in place of a second trip. "This is possible, right?" Malcolm smiled good- naturedly.
"Of- of course." Peterson's voice was small, and he tugged nervously on his collar as he flipped through the pages. "But, considering the circumstances of your visit to the first island, I'd assume you'd find a payment of a few thousand much easier." He tapped a page hesitantly. "You'd- you would need to stay at least twenty four hours." He seemed slightly more confident. "I've never been there, but I would think-"
"Mr. Peterson, the debt InGen springs on us five years after the 'tragedy' that occurred on Isla Nublar is considerably more than a few thousand." Alan interrupted angrily, all trace of civility vanishing. Peterson paled. "We both survived the first trip, and I'd think we'd be more than capable of surviving a day there. We'd of course be able to bring a team of our own? On our own terms, paid for by us?" Peterson nodded helplessly. "What other survivors would have to go?"
"Eleanor Sattler was with you, and received joint custody of the payment." Peterson mumbled. "It's your decision to call her and ask her to go. Alexis and Timothy Hammond were not paid to go, and have no obligations of payment. There were- no other survivors." Alan nodded grimly.
"You can tell you superiors that we've made the decision to travel to the second island on our terms, with a few friends of mine that I will, of course, pay for." He told the shaking, sweaty lawyer. He turned to Mitch, but then looked back at Peterson. "I have nothing else to say to you. Unless there's something vitally important I need to know, have InGen call me with dates and directions." Peterson licked his lips. He stood frozen for a moment, and left the trailer without another word. Malcolm, Alan was satisfied to see, did not leave with him.