~I just wanted to say a quick thanks to all my readers, old and new~
Today was my first day on the job and I was scared witless. Earlier this year I had finished my second year of college, working towards my major in Animal Behavior as part of my Pre-Veterinary program. One of my mother's friends, and now one of my close friends, Ray Arnold, heard about my search for a summer internship and talked to his boss about offering me a spot in his brand new park. I was dumbfounded when Mr. Hammond, my new boss, brought me to his park and there were living, breathing dinosaurs! My job is to study and take notes on the animals' behavior as well as helping with any other tasks that need to be done for the animals.
I was laying down in my standard-issue twin bed, asleep, when I was startled awake by a loud ringing noise coming from my dresser. Today was supposed to be my first day on the job and I had repeatedly told Arnold to make sure that I woke up on time, using any means necessary. I cracked my eyes open and was assaulted by a blinding stream of light shining through a crack between my drapes. Closing my drapes and crawling out of my cocoon of blankets, I searched for the source of the incessant ringing. Spotting my walkie-talkie blinking on my wooden dresser, I reached over and grabbed it, silencing the noise and letting Arnold know that I'm getting ready for the long, but hopefully exciting, day ahead of me.
I hopped out of bed and immediately headed to the en suite, knowing that I should make myself presentable for my first day on the job and my first formal meeting with my boss. After shampooing my long, chestnut brown tresses with my favorite strawberry-scented shampoo and washing off my porcelain skin, I dried myself off and got dressed in my work clothing. For me, this meant khaki cargo pants that were more to the length of capris, a dark, olive green tank top, a camouflage jacket and my favorite pair of boots: black, waterproof, extremely durable combat boots, worn in from years of use. I have to say, the outfit really did flatter my shape, even if it didn't show off my legs, toned from years of running on my high school track team.
After dressing and brushing my teeth, I jogged down the hallway with the workers' quarters to the operations room, where Mr. Hammond was waiting. He was a short old man, grey hair belying his youthful, jubilant nature. He pulled me into a tight hug before pulling away and looking at me.
"That outfit will do just fine, my dear" he stated cheerfully. He was friendly with everyone who worked for him, even that idiot Nedry.
"Thanks! Anyways, what's my assignment? Go fix the meals for the animals? Assist the groundskeeper? Anything at all?" I asked.
"Yes, yes. Right this way please. One of our game wardens reported to me that a raptor was looking off today. If you look at the map, you'll need to head down this path to get to the raptors cage. We'll send someone to escort you you, but they can't go into the cage with you. Here, just in case." He said as he handed me a gun. It was a small black handgun, the like of which one would see a cop using, or maybe use for practice at a gun range. Of course, the fact that I needed a gun was disheartening to me, but I knew it was for my own safety, so I reluctantly accepted the gun and put it in the waistband of my pants. I hope I won't have to use it.
"Alright, I'll go check on him." The injured raptor was apparently the alpha of the pack. She looked just like a normal velociraptor, having gray-green skin, but she also had red stripes going down her body and around her ankles and the feathers on her head were also red, or so I was told.
One thing I suppose I should mention is that I'm like a living Rosetta stone. I can understand any language I can hear, although it doesn't work exactly that way for reading or writing. When we first saw the raptors and I heard them barking and screeching at each other I felt as if I understood what they were talking about. I'm not sure why or how I can understand it, but it's like some part of my brain automatically replaces the word with English, my first language. I can also speak it, but I have an "American" accent, so it sometimes sounds different than normal.
I finally arrived at the raptor pen after traversing the 1.8 miles to it. Honestly, couldn't someone have just driven me! The security escort who had been following me muttered a quiet "good bye" and then left me by myself. Thanks a lot, you were so much help on that walk, with the moral support and all. I snagged my ID card off of where it was clipped to my jacket collar and opened the door to the raptor cage. The door slammed shut behind me, trapping me in the hot jungle-like cage.
I felt like prey. The inside of the cage was a dense tropical jungle. There were tall trees scattered throughout the cage creating a dense forest canopy from above and tall grass peeked out from between them, effectively hiding anything wishing to sneak up on me. There were small paths of crushed grass and bent branches that were probably frequented by the raptors, so I decided to stay clear of those, knowing that with my luck I would run into a raptor. I heard the alpha call for help in raptor-talk and some other raptors responded by saying the "she-human" was here. Hey, at least they knew what I was!
I entered into a small clearly and immediately saw the injured alpha. She was lying in the center of the clearing with three other raptors surrounding her in protective stances. I attempted to step forward, but was stopped by threatening growls from the bystanders. I held my hands up as a sign of surrender, but they didn't seem too keen on me being here. Did they think I was going to hurt her? "Hey, it's okay. I'm here to help her. I don't have claws or teeth; I promise I won't hurt any of you. I just need to help him." I begged in English. I really hated seeing anything in pain (hence why I decided to become a veterinarian), and the poor raptor on the floor was no exception. It seemed as if she had tried to escape one too many times and ended up getting seriously burned on her hand-like claws. The raptors all snorted at me, but seemed to generally understand what I said, or at least the meaning behind it, since all but one backed away from her. I pulled my gun out of one of my pockets, barrel down, and set it onto the ground, then kicked it away. The last raptor finally moved away so I could get to work.