PART ONE: The Mutation Gene
Isla Muerta - Site C, 2012
He was sprinting, the torrential rain was pounding his skin as he skidded through the squelching mud. He could hear the tumultuous roar of the beast coming closer and closer and knew it was impossible to outrun it. Already he could smell its putrid breath, it was almost upon him. His heart was thumping, his complexion pale and terrified as he careered through a hedge and led the beast on. He winced; his chest aching agonisingly. His mind was telling him he had to keep going but his body was resisting, he would not be able to run for too much longer. He wasn't an athlete nor was he a particularly good runner and now in this crucial moment of his life he knew that his body was about to fail him and the consequences would be staggering. The creature roared again, the deafening sound reverberating all around the miles of overgrown prehistoric jungle. He threw himself behind a tree-trunk over twenty feet in diameter and knelt, cowering in the mud. As he heard the creature stamping in his direction his whole body shook with fear. The beast would hear him, it would know he was there, but still he could not stop his body from shaking uncontrollably.
He closed his eyes, clenching his fists. He sniffed the air and was met with the stench of the creature's breath. It had found him at last. He opened his eyes and stared defiantly in to the unfeeling yellow eyes of the beast. For ages there seemed to be an impasse between them, neither making a move upon the other. Then he felt a soft pain in his side as the creature's claws enclosed around his body. As he was lifted into the air he felt at peace, knowing it would soon be over. The rain fell on his face as he rose higher and higher. He took a long deep breath as the claws relaxed their grip and he toppled in to the beast's gaping mouth. The jaws clamped shut, the razor sharp fangs tearing into his flesh like knife through butter. He was still alive, but he did not scream nor make any other sound. The jaws opened and seconds later they closed again, tearing more strips from him. He stared up at the fangs, dripping with blood, and knew that the next time they pierced his body it would be the end. He prepared himself. They came down towards him in slow-motion and as the tip of the largest one penetrated his skull, his life was extinguished. The creature chewed his remains some more and then swallowed. It bellowed its victory to the night-sky. A high-pitched shriek answered in return and the creature unfolded its wings tucked neatly upon its back. It took flight, soaring high above the trees and foliage. The monstrosity searched high and low for the source of the answering call but could never find it.
Dr. Alan Grant gave a heavy sigh as he emerged from his camper van into the cruel outside of the Montana desert. The sun was shining brightly but the high winds made it impossible for any digs to be carried out. All outstanding digs had been covered by tarpaulin to protect them from the changeable weather.
"Alan! Hey Alan!" Dr. Grant cocked his head in the direction of the voice. He smiled as he recognised the new arrival.
"Ellie!" He cried out, visibly pleased to see his old friend and colleague. "What you doing here?" Ellie had arrived now and threw her arms around him passionately.
"I heard you were back out here," Ellie replied letting go of him. "And I fancied a vacation." She laughed warmly. Grant looked up at the sky warily. The sun had disappeared behind an ominous black cloud and the whole area was becoming overcast and dark.
"Let's go inside?" Grant suggested, holding the door open to his camper van for Ellie. Ellie walked through the open doorway gracefully and with a final look at the sky, Dr. Grant followed suit.
MutaGen Industries, Boston, Massachusetts
"This is the pinnacle of scientific development in the 21st Century," said Professor Richard Henderson, the CEO of MutaGen Industries. He was in the midsts of giving a presentation of his latest developments to the watchful crowd around him. "With this powerful chemical agent devised and created by the scientists here at MutaGen," he continued, "we can take control of the natural world." Out of the corner of his eye, Henderson saw a hand rise swiftly into the air. He nodded curtly.
"And why exactly would you want to take control of the natural world?" Dr. Ian Malcolm inquired dryly. Henderson considered this for a few seconds before replying.
"To study it. To learn from it." Malcolm laughed coldly.
"But by changing it you would be do the exact opposite," Malcolm pressed.
"I'm afraid you have me at cross-purposes here Dr. Malcolm," Henderson said with stern determination in his voice. "I said take control, not change." Malcolm laughed again and already a few of the other members in the auditorium were beginning to pay ample attention to the eminent mathematician.
"But you must realise that to take control you must first change," Malcolm said simply. Henderson fell silent, thinking.
"Thank you Dr. Malcolm, no further questions please," Henderson said after long consideration. He returned to his presentation although he was visibly put off by Malcolm's interruption. With a deep sigh, Henderson clicked over to the next slide. "This agent is a simple combination of two chemical compounds as well as the DNA of the animals we wish to experiment on." Malcolm coughed derisively.
"Control not change. Ha!" Henderson ignored him.
"Once the compound has been fully tested and verified by our supercomputers we can then proceed to the third stage of the process," Henderson flicked over to the next slide. There were gasps from members of the crowd. He smiled grotesquely, shaking his dark frizzly hair out of his eyes. "We take a pregnant adult female and inject the compound into their bloodstream. This will then result in a genetic mutation in their offspring."
"Who are you to mess with the genes of nature?" Malcolm called out. His eyes were narrowed and his expression thunderous. "I've seen too many scientists like you before Professor. Too eager to patent and package the natural world as their own without stopping to think about the consequences." Henderson raised his hand to silence Malcolm.
"Thank you Dr. Malcolm that will be all," Henderson turned away from him once again. "You may be wondering what sort of advantages these mutated young will offer us? Well to put it simply, the cure for cancer." There were several more prolonged gasps from around the auditorium. "When these mutated young reach adulthood we will be able to take a sample of their blood and analyse it for the bacteria we need." Henderson beamed, obviously pleased with himself.
"What sort of animals are you looking at?" said a young male voice from the crowd. Henderson peered at him.
"Dinosaurs," he said with a broad grin etched across his face. Malcolm groaned.
"You people," he said with a harrowing sigh. "God must look down on you and cry."
"I didn't ask your opinion Dr. Malcolm," Henderson said cooly. His patience with the mathematician was wearing thin and he'd just about had enough of his snide comments and rude demeanour. Malcolm was unperturbed.
"And where exactly were you planning to find these dinosaurs? Dinos died out 65 million years ago or didn't you get the memo?" Malcolm laughed. Several other voices chuckled. Henderson's eyes flashed scarlet.
"I should think that you of all people know exactly where I'll find them," he said, regaining his composure gradually. Malcolm knew. He just didn't want to broadcast the fact that he knew.
"Site A was destroyed and Site B has been labelled an area of significant ecological value," Malcolm said simply. Henderson looked directly into Malcolm's eyes.
"But no one knew about Site C," he said with a greedy glint in his eyes. "Not even John Hammond knew."
"Don't. Just don't." Henderson laughed.
"Hammond was an idiot! A blinkered fool!"
"He made mistakes but at least he learnt from them in the end. John Hammond had a dream." Malcolm had become particularly defensive of John Hammond since the former CEO of the now defunct InGen Corporation had died some four years previously.
"I have my dream," Henderson replied.
"What is Site C?" Malcolm asked abruptly.
"Top secret. A backup plan in case both Site A and B were compromised," Henderson said darkly.
"How did you find out about it?" Malcolm pressed. Henderson laughed.
"I can't divulge that information Dr. Malcolm." He cleared his throat. "Would you mind meeting with me later?" Malcolm looked briefly taken aback by this. "There's something I would like to discuss with you privately." Henderson checked over his shoulder as though paranoid he was being watched. Malcolm nodded. "Shall we say, the Saloon Bar, 3pm?" Malcolm nodded again. He turned and walked away.
Grant reached into the fridge and drew out a bottle of champagne. He popped the cork out with ease and poured the liquid into two small glasses, handing one to Ellie.
"How's Mark?" Grant asked, taking a sip from his own glass.
"Very well thank you," Ellie replied although her demeanour was suddenly formal. "He's at home with Charlie," she added as an afterthought. Grant couldn't help thinking that something was not quite right but he knew better than to press the matter. "How about you Alan?" Ellie asked. Grant exhaled heavily.
"Things aren't great," he said grimly. "The dig's almost run out of funding and if this weather doesn't improve soon we're gonna have to pack up for the season. And who knows what we'll miss out on if we leave it for another year." Grant was becoming more and more disillusioned these days. He distrusted large corporations but couldn't afford to fund a season long dig off his own back. He needed something, a miracle. The telephone started to ring. Ellie was closest and answered.
"Dr. Grant's phone, how may I help?" She said in her most deliberate phone voice. "Uhuh. I'll pass you over," Ellie held out the receiver to Grant.
"Right. I see. No, I'm afraid that won't be possible. Not at all. No, I'm sorry," Grant placed the phone back on the hook. Ellie stared at him. His face was white and gaunt as though he had been reminded of a painful memory.
"Who was that?"
"Just some jumped up scientist," Grant replied. "Wanted to know if I'd be interested in joining an expedition set up by MutaGen Industries."
"An expedition?" Ellie asked delicately. "Where to?" Grant's brow furrowed.
"Isla Muerta," he informed her with deep foreboding in his voice. Ellie didn't need to ask where that island was. She and Grant knew of it, although they had never been, due to its infamy among the locals of Costa Rica. Isla Muerta was one of the Las Cinco Muertes, or The Five Deaths and for generations it had instilled a sense of fear in the people of Costa Rica as well as many visiting tourists. Ellie had never been to any of the islands in the forbidden chain but Grant had. Eleven years ago, Grant had been tricked into accompanying a couple to Isla Sorna as they searched for their missing son. He had vowed never to return or set foot on any of the adjacent islands as long as he lived.
"What sort of expedition?" Ellie said suddenly. Grant realised that the man hadn't explicitly said. This made him feel all the more uneasy about the whole thing.
"He didn't say." Something wasn't right about that, Grant thought. He shrugged it off. "I don't suppose it matters. He asked, I declined. They'll look for someone else." As he said this the camper van began to shake as huge gusts of wind and sand enveloped it. A low rumbling noise was emerging from somewhere over in the distance. Ellie pulled back the curtains and looked out over the vast desert in search of the sound.
"Are you sure about that?" She said and in spite of her own misgivings she laughed.
"What, what?" Grant asked. Ellie beckoned him over to the window.
"Come and see!" She called. Grant stared out of the window and at last he too saw it. The approaching helicopter. Ellie and Grant looked at each other and burst into fits of giggles. The copter settled down on a small patch of clear land not too far from where Grant's camper van was situated.
"Dr. Grant! Dr. Alan Grant!" A man was calling through a megaphone to them. "Dr. Sattler! Dr. Ellie Sattler!" Grant and Ellie pushed open the door and strode towards the man calling for them. "Dr. Grant, Dr. Sattler, I have a proposition for you," said Professor Henderson.
TO BE CONTINUED...