I awoke in my own bed but with one noticeable difference, "How long have I been lying here, the damn springs have parted." Was my first remark "And can I smell Bacon?" Roland the Headless Thompson gunner was playing on the Island radio station and as I looked around me I found I was surrounded by concerned faces, Owen and Connah were joined by Rach the vet attached to Watchtower squad who also conveniently happens to be Connah's other half and Island administrator Chris, a very old friend of mine. "It's been three days, that crate you chaps found came from one of the other islands, how and why it ended up full of a prohibited species in a yard near one of our disused docks is something we're going to have to look into, but for now I want you looked at by a doctor." Chris Explained "And a physiotherapist." I cut in "Have you any idea what it's like waking up after three days in a bed where the springs have parted, it feels like a seaman's knotting lesson between my shoulderblades." Rather than the medic I paid a visit to Dan, one of our scientists, a man I had the privilege of attending university with (what? you thought they'd let just anyone work with extinct creatures? we've all got qualifications.) Dan was a deceptively cheerful looking sort and conspicuously cleanshaven on an island harbouring so much facial hair, an interesting combination of zeal for playing god and sadness at the state of the planet. After a quick blood test and a redressing of the bite we discussed the strange behaviour of the troodons, it really wasn't like them to attack before dark. After that I went to see Chris, who despite being Island Administrator has a passable knowledge of chiropractic procedure. Chris, a blonde man with long fairly curly hair with a short beard making his chin look somewhat oversized and glasses. As he cracked the joints in my back with a fair amount of pressure I asked him "so *urf* did we get them all *hmrph*" "That's just it old chap, we secured the crate and we have the nasty little things VERY securely penned till we find out what happened. But a few of them ran away into the forest, we'll have to send out a team within the next few days to corral or kill them. I'd be more comfortable with the latter, the little devils give me the willies but I'm not sure my superiors will see it that way." I want to be on that team." I replied, "but one bit you, you should be resting." "Yes and I'll feel a little better about it if I get some degree of payback on them, this time we go in in force rather than sneaking up on them right?" "Well yes but I really don't think..." "Well let's keep it that way Chris, you know my guys can get the job done." In the evening I wrestled my mattress over to sleep on the less caved in side.
Preparations were made to clear up the remainder of the troodon flock, landcruisers were filled with blank rounds and flares and thick garments of the type used when training police dogs were issued. I sought out one of my squad, Matt on the firing range. "Matt old bean." I addressed the prone form lying behind a Laupa .338 chambered L115A3 sniper rifle "I need your Enfield and your imposing mustache." Matt Did indeed have a quite excessive handlebar mustache which he nurtured in the shade of a narrow brim pith helmet, the Enfield in question was a No 5 "Junglie" Jungle carbine the man was rather attached to, and aside from some .38 short blanks .303 was the largest calibre we were being issued blanks for. I myself had little intention of firing blanks and would be using a Franchi SPAS 12 Shotgun, A rugged looking Ingen Favorite. "What for chief?" asked Matt, "does this relate to that arm of yours?" "It Rather does me old fruit." I replied (cockney rhyming slang and other English Speech mannerisms being something of a fallback so far from home, it's been suggested that away from our native lands many of us cling tighter to national traditions) "Bally creatures got away from our cleanup team and we're to herd them to capture or end the nasty little beasts, bring some live rounds or that crossbow of yours too." Owen I found drinking coffee and staring off over the watering hole that bounded the compound on the South South East. Here the builders of the compound had added a lovely touch, the land inside the boundary was built up in a slope against a wall with a decking balcony hanging a little way over, giving wonderful views of the watering hole. In the early afternoon sunshine a group of hadrosaurs drank on the far bank, their young frolicking in the shallows. "Thanks for the save the other night mate" I opened with, "If I'd known there were more of the little beggars I might have joined you in the trees a little sooner." "Don't mention it." He responded "But next time you should be a bit more careful, I hear you're going back out there after them tomorrow? You should give yourself a break mate." "I'll rest when those hooktooth little fiends aren't running loose on our island, catch them or destroy them, we can't stop till they're gone." "Aye" he said grimly "well if you're in I better make sure you don't let any more of them use you as a chewtoy"
Choppers thumped overhead as the convoy made its way to the area where the troodon were last seen, five open topped jeeps had a tail of another five landcruisers. Two aged InGen harvest vehicles in faded olive paint that hadn't been ready in time for that fateful hunting trip to Sorna lagged along behind towing wheeled cages. Arriving at the north end of the island the cars were parked at wide intervals and nets stretched between them, cutting off a finger of land around the nest site bordered on two sides by rivers and on the third by the sea. Troodon as was discovered in the first Nublar event cleanup, are not strong swimmers. The aim was to walk along the banks of both rivers in file, hit the coast and angle inwards and meet in the middle to form a line of beaters like one would find at a gamebird shoot. Helicopter flybys had confirmed the presence of more torn open looking rusted crates across the overgrown store yard from where the first crate was found and a smoke grenade thrown from a low chopper was rewarded with an irate troodon streaking from the smaller of the two crates snarling. With the news radio'd in from the choppers we set off, each file composed of a mix of watchtower and other squads. After a good few hours march, I, leading the Eastern column met Owen leading the Western column. I turned to Matt behind me and asked him to give the orders to halt and turn to the South, he did so with such gusto his moustache shook. Inland we marched, guns drawn advancing on the position of the crates, making as much noise and commotion as we could to drive them out. The tactic seemed to work, not to drive them out however but to draw them out into the sunlight. Before us stood a knot of maybe seven troodon, not cowering in the shadows as one would expect but snarling defiance in the light, "I don't like this." I remarked to Owen, "this isn't typical behaviour." Then to everyone: "Well? what are you waiting for? blank rounds only, FIRE!" The rattle of shots rang out but instead of turning tail and running the troodons lowered their heads and charged at us. One fell to my Shotgun and another to Owen's pistols, Matt had inexplicably managed to fit a bayonet while we were distracted and had skewered one of the vile beasts. Two grappled with members of the less than successful herding party only to be clubbed to death with rifle butts while a further two broke through our line. "let's have you chaps check the crates for cowards and nests." Bellowed Owen, "post lookouts for any that have broken through the line, torch any nests you find, we have far too many of these things already!" To me he said "shall we finish them off chum?" "Yes, most Certainly." I replied following him back to the North, "Matt you've got a Dino poker, you're with us." What happened next might well be left to the imagination, suffice to say Owen and Matt carried a limp pair of troodon across their shoulders back to where the line had been broken. After a short hunt, the crates were cleansed with 'defoliant projectors' and we reformed the line to finish the sweep. Arriving back at the convoy and rejoining those who had stood behind the nets with prods and dart guns we disassembled the barricade and drove the convoy to retrieve the remains. The abandoned supply yard was reached by means of an overgrown track which Owen informed me ran on to a small dock his column had passed earlier in the day. We returned to the compound with troodon tied to the bonnets of some of the vehicles as the sun set to our right, the bodies and egg remnants (in buckets handily found in the back of one of the jeeps) were unceremoniously dumped on the lab loading docks. As the teams disbanded Owen and I made for Jani's diner, The Golden Amber, to eat doughnuts. Jani as I've mentioned before is a man hailing from Finland, but he has a real taste for 1950's American culture, from his dress sense and taste in cars to his classic diner. "So how did it go?" he asked as we approached the counter, "round them up ok?" "Sadly no my friend." I answered "it was weird, you know how troodon hide in the dark and rely on numbers?" "Yep!" "It's like they weren't afraid of us, I'll tell you more but I could murder some of your 'Dunkleosteus' Doughnuts." Jani bought out two wooden platters of soft golden doughnuts, still warm and we talked details till his eyes flew to the far end of the counter where an Eodromaeus was attempting to drag James the mechanic's 'Big Brac' burger off the counter while he was distracted on his satphone. "Get down from there." Jani shouted at the tiny green-brown reptile, "That is not yours." The minuscule dinosaur squeaked, ruffled its hindquarter feathers, tore a chunk of meat from the burger, leapt from the counter and made a dash for one of the shadier corners of the diner. For the most part the Eodromaeus were helpful and lovable little residents of The Golden Amber, hoovering up scraps and crumbs and leaving the diner spotless. Several clients burst out laughing, it's hard to stay angry at little dinosaurs with feathery behinds, no matter how mischievous.
- Spoiler: show
- A note on the pictures.
So, I'm sorry for the lack of backdrop in any of these yet, they're ALL shot on location in my garden or in my house, again there are legal restraints on where I can take pictures with guns. And yes, the Enfield is missing an ejector.