ONLY A THEORY

Dragonlots aka Dana Bell

"Are you out of your mind?" Alan Grant stood staring at Nigel Marvin. Unwillingly his eyes drifted to the paddock where the two T-Rex siblings stomped around. The female, the larger of the two, snapped at the barrier separating her from her brother.

"They can't hurt each other," Bob, the keeper, reassured Dr. Grant. He stood there proudly with a smile on his round face. "We took great pains to prevent that."

Grant closed his eyes. Images of a previous such attempt whirling through his mind. He'd been chased by a full - grown version of the two youngsters, and barely escaped with his life. "I repeat, are you out of your mind?"

"Not to worry," Nigel told him. "We've taken every precaution."

"I remember someone else telling me that."

"I heard about that. Bloody mess." Nigel led Alan back to the jeep. "Wait until you see the Titanosaurs."

"The what?" Dr. Grant paused before getting in.

"Titanosaurs."

"I think they're where I left them," Bob called.

"Thanks, Bob." Nigel waved and hit the gas. "We're hoping Terrance and Matilda,"

"You named those things?" Alan grabbed his had before it flew off. Nigel drove very fast across the large park.

"Of course. Oh, wait until you meet Martha."

"Who's that?"

"My Wooly Mammoth." The middle-aged man grinned. "Saved her life."

"This is a nightmare."

"Beg to differ. This is a dream come true."

"Prehistoric creatures belong in the past, not the present."

Nigel chuckled. "That's why I've only brought back a few, to see if they can adapt. Oh," he pulled next to a paddock. "We have Ornithomimus chicks."

Ostrich like creatures raised up their heads. Some stayed in the pond and seemed to searching for food in the water. A few walked over to the fence before walking away. One had a group of young following her.

"Proves they can survive. Remind me later, and I'll have Suzanne, she's our vet, take you to see the saber tooth cat cubs."

"You are crazy." Alan buried his face in his hands.

"Prefer to think of myself as a visionary." He stomped on the gas. "Titanosaurs next."

They sped across the grounds, under spreading trees and off to a far corner of the park.

"There they are." The adventurer jumped out. "Aren't they beautiful."

Alan stood up in the jeep and stared out. A herd of the gigantic dinosaurs munched happily, pulling entire branches off and chewing on them.

"Bob gets them to help with tasks by giving them rocks as treats."

"I've seen some of the fossils," Grant agreed. "Clever."

"Let me tell you about Martha," Nigel offered. He rubbed a hand over his short black hair.

"Why don't you show me."

"Love to." He got back in, sharply turning the wheel, and barreling along. It took a few minutes to reach their destination. He waved. "Hello, Martha."

Not far away a herd of elephants pulled tuffs of grass with their trunks and transferred the food to their mouths. With them was a brown furred mammoth and Alan noticed the very attractive dark hair woman who smiled and waved.

"That's Suzanne," Nigel explained.

"I was just checking on Martha," she told them as she ran to join them. "She certainly seems happy."

"How are the cubs?" Nigel leaned against the jeep and crossed his arms.

"Growing fast." She extended her hand. "You must be Dr. Grant."

"Nice to meet you." He shook her slender fingers.

"I'm Suzanne," she introduced herself. "Bet you'd like to see the cats."

"Yeah." He hated the fact he sounded jittery. The whole concept behind this place was something out of science fiction. Or so he would have claimed if not for his earlier experiences.

"Great." Nigel jumped back in. "Want to check on our creepy crawlies in the bug house. Hope you get to see them before you leave." He gunned the engine and the jeep sprang off like a stallion.

Suzanne laughed. "Nigel is always like that. Come on."

Grant followed her to her jeep. Several minutes later they were at the cat enclosures. Awed, in spite of his misgivings about the place, Alan approached and stood staring at the two saber tooth cats.

"Beautiful, aren't they?" Suzanne asked.

"Look at those lines." He moved to another spot to get a better look. "Sort of like mountain lions only more squat. And those long canines."

"Want to see the cubs?'

"Yes."

She took him to another enclosure not far away. "They're about six weeks old."

"Was the female pregnant or did they mate here?"

"Here."

He took off his hate and scratched his head. "What does Nigel intend to do with animals?"

"See if they can survive here."

"Not open the park to visitors?"

"Well, that would be rather silly."

"You know, once this gets out, people are going to want to see them."

"Did you happen to notice how remote we are?" A smile touched her lips.

"I did."

"I think that should answer your question."

"If someone was very determined, they could still get here."

She shrugged. "I'm not worried."

Alan sighed. "What else has he brought back?"

Suzanne laughed and gave him a tour of the rest of the park. He didn't care for the bughouse, but the triceratops was a thrill. The young animal grazed on low growing bushes.

"What coloring," Alan marveled, taking in the intricate browns on the head plate.

"That changed after he came here," Suzanne explained.

They toured other areas, seeing the wooly rhino, terror bird, who, the vet told him, had a bad habit of escaping on a regular basis.

"We lure him back with meat."

"Wouldn't want that in my back yard," Grant said. "Just the height of the thing is enough to scare anyone." The bird was over ten feet high.

The large crock only deigned to let him see its eyes.

"Saved Nigel's life when Matilda got out."

"The T-Rex got out?"

"Nigel handled it." She smiled ruefully. "Her brother trashed my clinic. I had him for an injury."

"Must have been a mess."

"It was."

She finally left him with the adventurer again in his office. The thatch hut overlooked the entire park. It was filled with books on animals both past and present. A green, yellow, and red parrot shared a perch with a Microraptor.

"I've heard about these." Alan bent down to stare at the creature with its feathered appendages.

"When we saw them, they floated down from the trees." Nigel smiled fondly at the creature as he fed it a treat.

"Like a parasail."

"Exactly."

The archeologist finally asked his question to the adventurer. "What are you going to do here?"

"See if these creatures can survive in our world."

"And if not?"

"I'll cross that bridge when we get to it."

"HOW, did you get them here?"

Nigel smiled. "Traveled back in time."

"You're kidding right?"

The other man shook his head. "Like a demo?"

Alan hesitated. He'd gotten into loads of trouble from taking people up on their various schemes. Yet - a chance to see a real live dinosaur and not one genetically engineered - "Sure, why not."

0000000000000000000

"Hey, Dr. Grant!" One of the students burst into his tent.

Alan glanced up from the map he'd been examining. The Montana dig had been going on for about a week. They'd found a very promising site with the possibility of a complete T-Rex skeleton.

"Look at this!" A long object got thrust under his nose.

He recognized it at once. "Not important. Wrap and tag it. We'll examine it when we get back."

"But," the student sputtered. "This looks to be futuristic."

"Now that's impossible. You and I both know it."

"Uh, okay." The youngster plodded off.

He tilted his hat back slightly and smiled. Grant owed this find to one Nigel Marvin. The adventurer had taken here on their little in the past expedition. Now he's just lose the device someplace in his office. After all, time travel was only a theory.