Disclaimer: Characters are not mine, no copyright intended
A/N: For those that don't know, Canadian channel "Space" have announced that they are making a spin-off series called "Primeval: New World", which will have "darker" storylines (and a younger, sexier cast pah! Have they not seen Andrew, Ciaran, Ben, Hannah...?) It sounds like it's going to be like Torchwood is to Dr Who, and there will be a little crossover with the original UK cast... so this is my take on how that first episode might go...
Cookies and comments feed the muse!
Danny Quinn's eyes blinked as he tried to adjust to the dim light. The sun was barely up, but something had disturbed the inhabitants of the forest he'd been calling home for the last three weeks. He knew the signs, and if he didn't get to his feet now, he could miss it. Anomalies were few and far between, and even though he knew the likelihood of this one leading back to London in 2011 was almost zero, he had to take a chance.
He was tired of running and just wanted to be home now. Six months had passed since he'd seen his old friends; it felt more like six years. So much had happened since he'd left them to chase after Patrick – he certainly had no regrets about that; he needed to do it. If anyone could save Patrick from himself, it would be him. But it ended with a showdown; brother against brother somewhere in the Rift Valley, and Danny's training as an armed police officer made him the victor. He didn't feel like a winner though, far from it. Having to shoot your own flesh and blood would mess up even the strongest of minds, and Danny wasn't sure his mind was strong any more.
He needed human contact; a hug, a warm dinner in his stomach, clean sheets on a nice soft mattress and then several pints of beer and maybe a night of pure animalistic lust with a curvy blonde – or a brunette; right now he wasn't that fussy.
The anomaly pulsed and glowed, some 50 or so metres away. The last anomaly he'd gone through had taken him from the Pliocene era and his dead brother into the Cretaceous. His knowledge of prehistoric times was sketchy to say the least; until he'd met Connor, he only knew what he'd seen on Jurassic Park. He could only assume it was the Cretaceous; he certainly knew a Raptor when he saw one anyway. He figured it couldn't be that bad here, Connor and Abby had managed a whole year – still, three weeks was more than enough for him, and now he had to keep moving on if he was to stand any chance of finding home again.
He walked purposefully forward, feeling that familiar tingle as he passed through the glowing ball and then held his breath. The sight that greeted him made his heart leap and a smile spread across his entire face. Buildings; shops, restaurants, office blocks... he was certainly somewhere reasonably within his own lifetime anyway; that he could cope with. He recognised the sign above one of the shops, "Starbucks"... ah, there'd been one of those places across from the police station and they'd take it turns on the night shift to go over and get coffee because the stuff they got from the machine in the station tasted like cat's pee.
A car beeped its horn, and for the first time Danny noticed the traffic. They were driving on the right. "America eh? Oh well... at least the natives speak English," he said to himself, dodging the traffic to try and cross over the road. There was a grocery store next to the Starbucks; he could buy a newspaper, work out exactly when and where he was and then decide if he could phone Lester for assistance in getting back home to London... but then he realised that he didn't actually have any money on him at all, let alone American money. He'd have to just browse the papers out on the shelf and then find a police station or some kind of official government building – at least he had his Home Office ID on him.
There were newspapers in a locked case outside the shop. Danny glanced inside, "Vancouver Sun"... That was slightly better as far as Danny was concerned; the Canadians weren't so uptight about security, and the date... 28th October 2011, now all he had to do was find someone official who could call the British Government for him. He turned and stared down the long street sighing. This was apparently a commercial area and he'd have to search for what he needed.
"Don't move!" Danny felt something dig into his back.
"Easy! I won't move!" he said, frozen to the spot. A mugger would get a bit of a shock considering he hadn't had a decent bath or change of clothes in 18 months. It wasn't a knife sticking in his back at least, it felt very much like the barrel of a small rifle. It certainly wasn't the first time he'd been in this situation, although back in his force days he had the protection of a bullet proof vest.
"You came through the anomaly, didn't you?"
"What of it?" Danny said back.
"Who are you?" The gun was jabbed in harder.
Danny snapped. "I don't talk when I have a gun pointed at me! Now, if you'll let me reach into my left pocket so I can get my ID card... is that OK?"
"Go ahead." The gun was still in his back, but only resting there, not jabbing him. Danny took out his battered wallet and flicked it open to show his ID.
"Danny Quinn! I don't believe it! Turn around!"
Danny turned and studied the face of the man that had held him at gunpoint. Clearly the man knew him, but Danny didn't have a clue who he was. He was a slightly older guy; late 40s perhaps, with greying blonde hair that hung loosely around his neck, not quite curls but not quite straight either. His deep set ice blue eyes stared hard at Danny. He held out his hand. "I guess we need to get to know each other better. Eric Tremblay, head of research into the anomalies here in Vancouver."
Danny smiled, shaking his hand. At least he didn't have to explain himself. "So, you know James Lester?"
Eric shook his head. "The Brits are doing everything they can to cover this up. Look, Danny, why don't you come back to my office at the University. You're about the same size as me, I can get you sorted with some clean clothes, a shower and a decent meal and then we can talk. I'll even help you out with a flight home in exchange for some information."
"Lead the way!" Danny grinned.
Half and hour or so later, Eric pulled into the campus of the University of British Columbia, and parked in the staff parking lot at the side of a large white building. Danny looked wide-eyed. Before Patrick had disappeared, he'd been heading towards a University education himself – academically he was top of his class and his parents had high hopes for him. When he chose to join the police force instead, they'd been torn – disappointed that he wasn't fulfilling his academic promise but proud that something positive was being done after everything that had happened with Patrick.
"You're a lecturer then?" Danny finally asked.
"Part time, yes. It pays the bills so I can do my research. That's how I got involved with the anomalies." Eric lowered his voice, "although I don't say that too loudly; anomalies don't exist according to our government."
Eric led the way into the building, which had "Faculty of Science" above the large double doors. "I'm based at the far end of the building in a new wing," Eric said. Danny followed, peering in some of small windows in the doors that they passed. It felt weird being inside after such a long time living outdoors, and he actually found himself feeling uncomfortable. After some minutes, they turned left and came to some locked security doors. Eric punched in a security code into the keypad at the side of the door and it clicked open.
"Welcome to the Geophysical Disaster Computational Fluid Dynamics Centre!"
"What?" Danny scratched his head.
"We study worldwide weather patterns to try and predict weather related disasters, like cyclones, extreme heat that could cause forest fires, avalanches, air quality, you get the idea... Now, here's the key to my locker. You'll find some trousers and a t-shirt in there that should fit you, and then you can use the shower in the private staff quarters. Whilst you sort yourself out, I'll have my assistant get some food in for us, and then I can give you the guided tour and explain everything I know."
Danny took Eric's key, and made his way silently into the staff area. He took his time showering, savouring the feel of warm, clean water and soap on his skin. He had no idea how long it would be before he could experience this again, so he was determined to make the most of it. He had a lot to cleanse himself of, not just the physical dirt that could be seen, but he felt like he was finally shedding the guilt he'd felt about killing Patrick. It felt good; like he was human again.
When he finally emerged, there was the distinct smell of strong coffee and pizza filtering through the room. Eric was there, pouring himself coffee from a glass pot that had been keeping warm on a hotplate, and he looked up when Danny came in. "Feel better?"
Danny nodded. "The clothes are a good fit too, thanks." He looked down at himself, loose fitting black combat style trousers and a plain grey t-shirt; it wasn't his preferred style of clothing, but at least they were clean. His own clothes could practically stand up on their own.
The door opened and a young woman walked in. She had waist length brunette hair, straight and incredibly shiny, and she smiled at Danny. "You must be Danny Quinn? I'm Lauren, Eric's assistant. I hope pizza is OK? Not easy to get something at short notice."
"I'll try to give a bit more warning next time I pay a visit," Danny laughed. He decided he liked Lauren, she certainly wasn't what he'd expected when Eric had mentioned an assistant. Things were definitely looking up. It had been far too long since he'd even set eyes on a woman, let alone one as pretty as Lauren. "Pizza's fine. I'm starving! Never really got the hang of hunting, and eating roots and berries doesn't quite satisfy a man's hunger."
"You were really stranded in the ancient past for 18 months?" Eric asked.
"Pretty much. Had a brief spell back in my own time about 6 months back, but I had to deal with some … family business and went back again. How do you know about me if the British Government are covering everything up?"
Lauren let out a laugh and pulled her laptop from its case. She waited whilst it booted up and connected it to a port on the desk. "I acquired some of the information, the rest was deduced." Danny watched her fingers fly over the keyboard as she typed – So, she was a computer geek too. Definitely easier on the eye than Connor.
"Acquired? You mean you hacked into the ARC files?"
"To a certain extent, yes. I could get in as far as where Prospero took over; their systems are far more complicated than the one Connor Temple installed, but I'm cracking it."
"So, what do you know?" Danny leaned back in the chair, slightly nervous about what they might have on him, but also slightly amused. Connor had been so proud of his computer system; he'd be so annoyed that someone had managed to hack it.
Eric cleared his throat. "Our interest began about three months ago. We were alerted to some unusual activity in several locations, so we ran some diagnostics. The computers went crazy; what we initially believed to be magnetic storms were breaking out all over the world. Then we started to get word that these storms were manifesting themselves as glowing balls of light, and that prehistoric creatures were rampaging through every major city in the world."
"The anomalies went global? Woah!" Danny blinked.
"They disappeared as quickly as they'd appeared, and we were asked to issue an official statement that they were freak storms, and that it had caused hallucinations. That was when we got suspicious that something else was happening."
Lauren continued. "Everyone was ordered to turn in any footage they had to their local Government office so that it could be studied. It was then all destroyed... well most of it was." She turned her laptop around so that Danny could see the screen. He recognised Becker immediately and he watched with a smile on his face as the soldiers took down a creature with those stun guns that Matt had shot him with, and then he saw them use Connor's device to lock down the anomaly. "Clearly, these guys had experience of these things and we had to find out who they were."
"Well, if you're up to speed as far as Prospero taking over, then you know as much as I do," Danny said. He turned to Eric. "You knew me when we met, so I'm guessing you knew that I was lost through an anomaly with Connor Temple and Abby Maitland?"
Eric nodded. "Can you explain what these things are? Other than the obvious 'portals into the past' thing?"
"Sorry. I was the brawn of the team; logistics and operational decisions. If you need someone to explain what they are, and how that technology works, then it's Connor you need." Danny pointed at the locking device on Lauren's screen.
Eric sighed, rubbed the stubble on his chin then frowned at Danny. "OK, Quinn. Here's the deal. We call this James Lester of yours and get him to send over a new passport and documents for you so that you can fly home – and he sends it over with Connor Temple."
"What if Lester won't let Connor come over? He's a vital part of the team."
"Oh he will," Eric smiled. "He won't have a choice. It'll be a case of; either he lets us have Connor for a few weeks to share what he knows about these things or we release this video footage worldwide and expose his little secret."
"Blackmail? I like your style!" Danny grinned back.
Twenty seven hours later, Danny was stood in the arrivals lounge at Vancouver International airport. The phonecall to Lester had been amusing to say the least, and it took half an hour to get him to agree to the terms. Danny was actually looking forward to seeing Connor again, and Abby. He liked them and had been so happy when he realised they'd finally got together during their time trapped in the past. At least some good had come out of their terrible experience. They had a lot to catch up on; he'd left in a bit of a hurry and hadn't even properly said goodbye to them.
Eric had sorted a hotel room for Danny just across from the University. He had hoped that Eric or Lauren would offer to show him the sights of Vancouver, have a few beers with him... but both seemed very work focussed, and after Eric had left Danny he'd said he was going back to the University to go through some data despite it being almost 9pm.
The arrivals board showed that the flight from Heathrow was preparing to land, so he decided he'd probably have about half an hour or so to wait for them to get through customs and baggage reclaim and settled himself on a bench facing the exit from the baggage carousel so that he'd see them.
Life in the airport lounge was almost as strange as life in the Pliocene or Cretaceous. Danny watched the comings and goings – families and couples reuniting, people who had clearly been waiting too long for a delayed flight to come in, frayed tempers, crying children... it made his head hurt.
Finally, people started to filter out into the lounge dragging suitcases. He heard some English accents and realised this was the Heathrow flight. He stood up, eyes searching for Connor and Abby in the crowd. After a few moments, he spotted the unmistakeable crop of dark hair that was Connor and he waved. Connor's smile told him that he'd been seen and he began to make his way over to help with luggage.
"Danny!" Connor yelled, half running, half dragging his suitcase. He gave Danny a hug and then stood back. "Well, you smell a bit better than the last time I saw you!"
"Cheers... where's Abby?"
Connor's smile dropped. "In London."
"What? Lester was too mean to pay for both of you to come over?"
"Somethin' like that," Connor muttered. He turned away. "Can we go? It's been a really long flight and I just want to get some food and sleep."
"Sure, yeah. This way. Eric's booked you into the same hotel as me, although I think you've got a double room. We assumed Abby would be with you." He motioned for Connor to follow him, and he took the handle of his suitcase to drag it across to where he'd parked. "Perhaps I can talk to Eric and see if he can arrange for Abby to come in on the next flight? Think that's due Friday, because I'm due to fly to Heathrow on Saturday. If you're going to be here for a few weeks, then it'll be nice to have her..."
"It really doesn't matter, Danny. Can we drop it?"
"OK." Danny looked at his old friend and they silently made their way over to the car. The short journey to the hotel was awkward. Danny tried to make conversation, explaining how he'd ended up in Vancouver. Connor had simply nodded and said that Lester had filled him in already.
At the hotel, Danny checked Connor in and went with him to his room. "I'm in room 405, if you want to meet for a drink in the bar a little later, we can have a catch up before I take you to meet Eric tomorrow."
"I just want to get my head down," Connor said. "I'll meet you for breakfast though."
Something was wrong; this wasn't like Connor. Maybe it was just the effects of the long flight, and once he'd eaten and had a few hours sleep he'd be his usual self again, or maybe he was missing Abby already. Danny closed the door and made his way up to his own room, feeling a little deflated. His second night home and he was alone, again.