Nima and Jorge re-entered the room where the others were. Nima was adjusting her hair while Jorge swiftly zipped up his fly. Jess gave them a suspicious look, which Nima did not catch. Jorge put his hands behind his back and whistled innocently.
"You two alright?" Gerry asked.
"Much better now," Jorge said with a slight laugh. Nima forcefully nudged his ribs. "How are you guys holding up?"
"We'll manage," Billy said, still tending to D-Caf's body.
"There's one thing I don't understand," Jess said. "There are eggs in his body, but I thought the dinosaurs couldn't breed."
"They can't," Sorkin stated, sitting on a crate. "They're all female."
"So we thought," Jorge added.
"Then how do they lay eggs?" Jessica asked.
"Although the dinosaurs are inherently inable to breed, they still produce eggs," Jorge explained. "Just unfertilized. It's predominantly therapod dinosaurs, like raptors."
"They don't technically lay them so more as shed them from their body," Sorkin said.
"It's basically like a primordial menstrual cycle," he said with a laugh. His laughter grew nervous and eventually faded into silence with the irritated glares from Sorkin, Nima, and Jessi.
"Anyway," Sorkin started. "The whole egg market is made of unfertilized eggs. Think about chickens."
"So they still have to lay them then," Jessi said. Sorkin nodded. Jorge exchanged nervous knowing glances with Gerry. The two knew something was up. Sorkin and Jessi caught their glances.
"Something wrong?" Laura asked.
"Well, you bring up a good point about our dinosaurs ovulating, but these eggs are gathered in a clutch," Gerry explained. "This is brooding behavior." Sorkin looked unsure of his point.
"So?" she asked. "Chickens will brood a large enough clutch."
"Not like this," Jorge said. "They eggs are arranged in a circle, indicating these were actively tended to."
"It could just be maternal instinct," Sorkin brought up.
"But I've found postovulatory eggs in the ranges," Gerry spoke. "They're malshaped, usually destroyed or kicked into the bush."
"Discarded," Jorge added. "Because the parents have no use for them. This nest shows these eggs were taken care of extensively. The Troodon wanted these eggs to survive, which means they had the capacity to hatch." Sorkin's eyes fluttered around, contemplating the scenario. "The dinosaurs are breeding."
"We can't jump to any conclusions," Sorkin stated. "How could this even be possible?"
"Could a girl dino turn into a boy dino?" Jessi asked.
"With Dr. Wu's slapdash approach to gene sequencing, anything could go wrong," Sorkin said with slight bitterness at the mention of Wu's work. Jessi remained lost.
"Jess, how much do you know about our dinosaurs' DNA?" Jorge asked.
"The holes were filled with bits of frog DNA to complete the sequence," Jess explained. "I remember it from the tour."
"Good," Jorge said. "Well, the primary specimen of frog we utilized were from West Africa. These West African frogs have been known to spontaneous change sex from male to female in a single sex environment to accomodate the lack of males to allow procreation."
"Jorge, that's rather farfetched," Sorkin said.
"But it's true," he replied. "It's been recorded that frogs have been known to do so. The dinosaurs could have been breeding for months, and we'd have never known."
"We have security systems in place to monitor populations," Sorkin said.
"I suppose," Jorge said, thinking it over carefully. "Do the systems take in account all animals or just the ones we cloned?"
"The systems filter out thinks like birds, rats, and other wildlife that is not sanctioned in the system," Sorkin explained. "But Nedry would know better than I would. We'd have to ask him or Dr. Arnold how it works." Jorge rolled his eyes at Nedry's name. After what he found from Nima, the fat bastard got what was coming to him. As far as he was concerned, this was still his fault despite their animals breeding. Jorge sighed to himself. The more fragile he found the park to be, the more his dreams began to unravel. He was concerned for the future of his dinosaurs and all their hard work. If Jurassic Park fell through, what would happen to Site B?
"Sorkin, what do you think's gonna happen to Jurassic Park after we leave?" he asked. Sorkin was not quite sure himself.
"The more likely outcome will be that Hammond will try to cut his losses and abandon the island in favor of starting over somewhere else," she said.
"Seems like a waste to me," Jorge said. "Why not just fix what we have here?"
"Too costly," she scoffed. "Lot of red tape too. Hammond may try to abandon the island and leave the dinosaurs here to rot. Over my dead body." Billy hid a smirk. Jess was looking at a large vent, big and wide enough for them to crawl through. A tunnel was on the other side of the vent grate.
"Maybe we should go this way," she said. The group's focus was brought to the large vent.
"Could work," Jorge said.
"Large enough to accomodate us," Sorkin added.
"Jess, stand back from the grate," Gerry said cautiously. "You don't know what's down there."
"I'm just trying to help," Jessi said.
"I know," Gerry stated. "I just can't keep my attention on everything plus you." He was peering down a small vent, his attention focused on the bloody metal interior. Claw marks were evident in the metal, and a foul smell hung through the shaft. It unnerved him. Due to this, he had missed Jessi's remark of her being an apparent burden to him. Gerry looked around the olive lockers for anything of particular use to them. Most of them were locked, but his attention was brought to a large red rectangular box on top of the lockers. He withdrew a flare from it. He stuffed a couple into his pocket. Despite his find, his attention was drawn back to the bloodied vent. The worried father positioned himself completely in front of it to hide it from his daughter's view. "Doctor Sorkin, what else can you tell me about these Troodons? I'm out of my element here.
"Well, they're nocturnal," she explained. "They're intelligent like the raptors, but they don't hunt like them. They envenomate with a single bite, then back off. Stalk their prey. Their teeth are serrated and retain saliva, which is saturated with a toxin."
"The toxins in their saliva work like the bite of a Komodo dragon," Jorge added. Sorkin nodded. Nima looked down at the bandage on her arm. Jorge placed his warm hand gently on it, looking up at her with a comforting smile that she returned. Billy, although still looking at the nest, listened intently to their words. These Troodon had taken his squad, and he wanted as much info as possible. His eyes caught something buried in the dirt. D-Caf had a grenade with him. Billy glanced quickly around him, everyone's focus elsewhere. With a plotting smile, he stuffed it into his inner vest pocket.
"Is everyone ready?" he asked. The group gathered around, ready to get moving.
"What about D-Caf?" Gerry asked.
"I took care of that the best I could," Billy replied. There was little he could do for his friend and pilot.
"What did you take from him?" Gerry asked. Billy had not been as swift as he had hoped.
"His dog tags," Billy said. He did indeed have D-Caf's dog tags with him, so he was not completely lying. The scheming merc figured he'd keep the grenade he found on a need to know basis. "Insurance doesn't go out to his family unless his dog tags are returned." He held out the dirtied silver tags to the vet.
"Right," Gerry said, buying the story. "Should we... bring him with us?"
"Why bother?" Billy said. "He's already buried." Jessi looked down at her feet, feeling sorry for the merc. Gerry simply nodded. "We're not equipped to transport it, but hopefully, we can retrieve his remains when... when this is all over." Jorge frowned slightly at his pause. Billy seemed to be keeping something, but that could just be the grief from his teammates' deaths. He put it out of his mind and awaited a plan of action. "Alright, listen up." Billy paced up and down in front of them. "Everything that just happened: bygones. Understand?" They all exchanged confused glances among themselves but nodded to sate the merc. "Doc, tell me again about the phones."
"Well, according to the terminal back in my lab, the marine exhibit phones are still connected to the transciever. The Visitor's Center are all that work."
"Too far away," Billy said, interrupting Sorkin's words. "Can we get to the exhibit through the tunnels?"
"They're all interconnected," she stated. "I think I can still find-"
"Good. Thanks," Billy said swiftly. "So we all have the same priorities here now. We get to this marine exhibit and find the phone. We get another chopper in the air to lift us out from there."
"How are we gonna get there?" Gerry asked. "The Troodons could still be out there."
"We aren't equipped to treat any more bites," Sorkin said. Nima hadn't brought the medical kit from the Visitor's Center, and Jorge had left his in the Jeep back by the Center.
"We also don't have much in the way of weapons, either," Jorge added.
"We may have to-"
"Shh," Billy said, glancing to the sides of the room. Sorkin had grown rather irritated with his constant interruptions.
"I will not be shushed!" she huffed.
"The door," the merc muttered, an unnerved expression on his face. Jessi placed her ear against the door she was leaning against. A clacking and scuffling could be heard on the other side. Muffled clicking and warbling could be made out. Small shadows peeked out from under the crack of the door. Jess leaned down to see two black clawed feet through the sliver. She gasped softly and shufffled quickly away from the door, hiding behind her father. The animals' calls were growing more audible and louder. Gerry's eyes wandered to the bloodied vent by the lockers. "They're coming through!" The merc slid over to the lockers and tugged on one of the locker doors hanging open. With all the force he could muster, he ripped the metal locker door off its hinges and slammed it in front of the vent opening. Billy reached for another vent door.
"Look out!" Gerry called. Billy looked down to see a grey animal with a blood red neck and inky black splotches running the course of its back. Quills ran the length of his back. The most prominent feature was the pair of big yellow eyes on its head. The dinosaur took a snap at the merc's leg. Billy pulled his leg up high and slammed the side of the locker door into the Troodon's head. The animal staggered back into the shaft, shaking its head and hissing in anger. Billy pulled down an entire locker in front of the vent. He was doing whatever he could to keep the animals back. A Troodon's head poked out of a small opening between the two locker doors Billy had ripped off. Gerry handed the merc a shovel, and Billy stabbed at the dinosaur with it. The animal backed off into the vent again, staring at him from the shadows.
A scratching sound could be heard from the door. It creaked open slowly. Gerry slammed his body into the side of the door and grasped the handle. Jorge pinned himself against the door as well.
"You hold the handle! I'll get the door!"
"How the hell do these things know how to open doors?" Gerry asked.
"Muldoon said the raptors were capable of problem solving," Jorge said. "Troodon must have that same ingenuity." Jorge looked through the window on the door and saw two Troodon dart across the corridor. The animals ran incredibly fast and were very persistent. Jorge confirmed his fears. They were being hunted. "They're going around the doors." Gerry let go of the handle. It remained motionless. A grainy hissing could be heard from a vent panel at the top of a wall. Nima climbed up a stack of crates and pushed her body into the grate. As she did, a Troodon pushed its head through only to be forcefully pushed back in. She pinned herself against the grate, using all of her might to keep them back. Her heart pounded as she stared into the large yellow eyes. The Troodon opened its long mouth to reveal jaws lined with many serrated and sharp teeth. A bite from those jaws was something to be reckoned with. Nima knew this personally. It hissed at her and tore at the grate.
"Gerry, get that grate open!" Billy shouted, pointing towards the largest one. There were no Troodon on the other side.
"I got the door, Ger!" Jorge told him, feeling the animals pushing on the door behind him. Gerry's eyes went to the lock on the ventilation grate.
"I need something to break the lock!" he said.
"Use the air tank!" Nima answered, using her boot to point at the tank rolling across the floor. The vet lifted the tank and slammed it into the lock as hard as he could. He reared the tank back and slammed the lock with it again. "I can't hold them back for much longer! Billy, help!"
"A little busy here!" the merc replied, stabbing at the dinosaurs with the shovel.
"Throw me a flare then!" she said. Billy felt a flare pinned under his boot. He grabbed one and tossed it to her. She clutched the red skinny cylinder in her hands and ripped the white cap off with her teeth. Nima forcefully dragged the flare against the side of the concrete wall, causing it to spark to life. The red light it cast made the Troodon she was keeping back shriek, its eyes not acustomed to such brightness. Nima lifted open the grate slightly and tossed it inside the shaft. The Troodon cried out and shook its head, slipping around inside the shaft.
With a loud clank, the lock snapped off and clattered to the floor. Gerry swung the grate wide open.
"Got it!" he called. "Let's go!" Jessi and Sorkin were the first two to go through. Nima and Gerry followed. Jorge and Billy looked at each other.
"Flip a coin?" the scientist joked. Billy had no time to respond as the Troodon's jaws snapped onto the head of the shovel, trying to pull it from the merc's hands. Billy kicked the reptile right in its eye and freed his shovel. The dinosaur snarled in pain. The merc's eyes darted to the valve on the heater lining the wall. He slammed his shovel on the valve, and a rush of hot scalding steam whistled out. Another slam caused an all out blast of hot steam from the tank. The Troodon cried in agony and begrudgingly retreated back into the vent shaft. Billy looked at his shovel head to see a couple teeth embedded in the metal as well as jagged cuts on it. The animal had done a huge number on it. Billy snatched up a flare real fast and skidded through the vent with Jorge in tow. Jorge stuck his fingers through the holes in the grating and shut it behind them. "Let's see you open this." Three Troodons scuttled into the room and stared at them through the grating as they booked it.