RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

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RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by Draconisaurus »

Started a few weeks ago, I have a short(ish?) story I am writing, attempting to emulate Crichton in some ways, which is a direct sequel to his second Jurassic Park novel The Lost World. I guess I'll withhold a description of the plot as thought out so far, and start with the first chapter. But in general this is not going to be as long as a real Crichton novel.

PS: TrespasserGuy's Crichton-inspired work got me to post this. I quite admire his inclusion of technical details as Crichton fills his works with. So far my story has been written in pen off the computer, but I may get around to including similar things in this story.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

APARTMENT

BEEP--BEEP--BEEP--
The alarm sounded. A startled bird flew off, making a short ruckus outside the window. A hand emerged from under the covers, fumbling absently for the source of the loud noise.
BEEP--BEEP--
Richard Levine found the button, turned off his digital alarm. He rolled over to look up at the idle ceiling fan, stretching his arms out. He'd thought about waking early this morning, considering his plans for the day. But no, he'd decided, the morning routine would do fine as always.

Getting out of bed, he straightened the sheets before going over to the dresser. Inside, various socks, arranged by color. He selected the grey ones, set them on the bed. Then a red shirt, khaki pants, black leather boots. He began to think as he put them on, his studies from the previous night reentering his mind. Predator-prey relations, crepuscular activities of modern animals.
Coming into the dining room, he saw Romelia had prepared breakfast as always. Poached eggs, herb-baked potatoes, steaming early grey tea. He sat down to eat, continuing his thoughts. A crow landed on a branch outside his window. He noticed the scaled legs, the sharp claws. A fitting visit for a day like this, he mused over a sip of tea.
Finishing and setting the plate aside, he picked up a book from the end table. The Fauna of East Africa. A helpful recommendation of Sarah Harding's. No sooner than he opened to the page he'd left off on, the phone rang. Sighing, he set the book down, picked up the receiver.
"Levine."
A familiar voice answered. "Good morning Richard. Ready for our flight this afternoon?"
It was Ian Malcolm. Wonderful sense of timing as always. Levine glanced at the antique grandfather clock in the corner.
"At seven o'clock in the morning, I suppose so. Our flight to Costa Rica doesn't leave for another seven and a half hours."
"Don't forget," Malcolm chided, "we have to go over the final details with Doctor Thorne at nine."
Levine hid his annoyance from his voice. "I'm not senile. Of course I remember. I'll be there." He paused. "It's a shame Sarah didn't want to accompany us this time. I'd love to hear her perspectives on the predator-prey relations we're to study."
Malcolm chuckled. "I think Sarah is satisfied that mammals are her area, after her last visit."
Levine sighed. "I'm sure you're right. A smaller team is probably for the best, this time. By the way is there any more word on Costa Rica's search for the source of the aberrant forms?"
"Not directly. But recently there seems to be a sudden hush-hush on the subject. I'm fearing the worst; they may be planning something."
"Hmm. A disturbing development. I suppose our expedition to Isla Sorna is well-timed, then."
"Seems that way. Well, I have some things to finish up. See you at the garage."
"See you there."
Levine hung up, reflected a moment. It was unfortunate to be in a rush on such a sensitive matter. The study of these animals deserved time and patience, not a race against a second possible extinction. But then, he should be happy to have the chance at all. The video feeds from InGen's outdoor cameras were really a poor vantage from which to study what was probably the world's only extant population of Dinosauria.

Levine opened his book again and began to read. Just as he reached an explanation for male lions domining over multiple prides, the phone rang again. With a sigh of frustration, he set the book down and picked up the phone again.
"Eh-hem. Levine here."
"It's Thorne. How's your morning?"
"Well. It would be fine, if my phone were not constantly interrupting my attempts to finish The Fauna of East Africa before leaving my apartment for two weeks. What is so pressing that it can't wait until my arrival this morning?"
"Nothing major. Just that there are a few more details to go over with you and Ian than I thought. I'd like the two of you to come over at eight-thirty, if it's not too much trouble."
Levine sighed. "I suppose that's fine. At this rate I might as well bring the book on the plane. I'll see you at eight-thirty, then."
"Thanks, Richard." Thorne hung up.

* * *

As Levine prepared to leave, he gazed at the corkboard on his wall. Much of it was as he'd left it before his first visit to the island. Hints about a lost world and the whereabouts of Site B. There were of course some additions; aberrant forms had continued to wash ashore in Costa Rica and elsewhere, which he'd made sure to keep tabs on. The radio tag he'd sent to Malcolm rested in a plastic baggie, also pinned to the board. Most notable though was an article he'd found online, detailing Costa Rica's continued closure of offshore islands to tourists, with the strange note that their re-opening was expected in under a year. It troubled Levine more than he was willing to admit. He'd been relieved to be successful in procuring permission for a helicopter flight to the island, okayed on the basis of having research purposes, even though he and Ian had later decided to hire a private boat instead. After thinking a moment, he unpinned the article from the board to bring it with him and show it to Malcolm.
He grabbed his suitcase, his new safari jacket, his hat, and left to drive his Ferrari to Thorne's garage.
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by Rebel »

Sounds fluid, Drac. Give it hell, bud. ;) I'm familiar with Crichton's writing style, I just re-read 'Timeline'. An excellent book.
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by Draconisaurus »

Thanks Rebel. :pirate:

I actually just finished a book full of interviews with Michael Crichton from throughout his life. Got a pretty good view on what he is like. Didn't realize some of his work was so controvisial; he seemed both interested and tired of this part at different times. Also didn't realize he had directed so many films. One downside of the book was that there was only one interview (or in this case a question-answer session at a school) in the latest period of his life. It didn't go into his final while-alive book "Next", and didn't go at all into his fight with cancer. I'll have to watch some youtube to fill in the blanks.
Crichton is very interesting. Apparently many people, a lot, have said that he doesn't get into character's minds, that his books are just plot with characters in them. He's said he doesn't mind that. I myself didn't notice. People also say he doesn't have a style in his books, which I disagree on... Crichton's own opinion of it is that he likes to take an established style, and then make something inside it. I found that pretty interesting. Crichton was REALLY tall! 6'9"... And, despite writing such dark thriller material, he seems pretty friendly. I feel as if he keeps his own dark world inside his head, and is very amused by it, while practicing a life meanwhile that is very gentle and lacking much conflict.
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by TrespasserGuy »

I like the premise, although if I remember from the original novel that all the dinos on Sorna were doomed to go extinct. I wonder how you'll follow up with that premise. I also wonder if you'll include some of the characters from the first JP novel that never made it to the sequel...
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by TheIdiot »

I'm in agreement with TresGuy, I'm interested to hear what happens with island considering the fact that the source material seems to have the view that the dinosaurs will not survive. The ecosystem of Isla Sorna in the novel is completely unsustainable, so I would have to wonder what could be done to keep it alive, if anything at all.
Draconisaurus wrote: Fri Feb 23, 2024 5:21 pm Crichton is very interesting. Apparently many people, a lot, have said that he doesn't get into character's minds, that his books are just plot with characters in them. He's said he doesn't mind that. I myself didn't notice. People also say he doesn't have a style in his books, which I disagree on... Crichton's own opinion of it is that he likes to take an established style, and then make something inside it.
The last couple of Crichton books I re-read were Micro and Pirate Latitudes. Interestingly I see two completely different styles between the two: MIcro reminds me strongly of Jurassic Park and Timeline, very technical, lots of minute detail relating to real-life facts mixed in with fictional action. There is usually a passage of technical jargon that can be uninteresting or very interesting depending on what my personal interests are followed by a return to regular story format. In Pirate Latitudes there is far less technical stuff and a lot more action and exploration - the characters and events are a bit more colorful, much less time is spend explaining things that aren't really relevant to the overall story. So I guess it would be a matter of taste.
The charcters usually serve archetypes - I will admit that most of them in the majority of his stories tend to be filler characters who are either there to explain some technical detail, or to sit around telling the protagonists what to do until they are inevitably killed off. I think when they adapted Jurassic Park to make Grant dislike kids rather than like them right off the bat, it allowed him to have an arc and grow. He never grows or really changes at all throughout the entire novel, so perhaps this is an example of what they're talking about.
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by Draconisaurus »

Hmmm. My understanding of Isla Sorna by the end of the novel, is not that it is seen to be soon doomed, but that the adults of the various species are dying early due to widespread DX infection. This creates a larger-than-expected food source, which is how the carnivores are surviving. Sort of an unusually ecological scenario, rather than a doomed one. They even talk about having... Hmm here:

[quote="Michael Crichton[/quote]
Levine looked back at the island. "I have to admit, I never thought we'd make it. But with our cameras in place, and the uplink working, I expect we can continue to gather the data, until we finally get our answer about extinction."'[/quote]
So basically my story is that they're going back, after having watched it for a while.

Hmmm, what a question... Do Crichton's characters go through arcs of change. I hadn't been looking. Grant might change his mind in the story about the island being safe, but he doesn't really talk about it. I suppose his actions throughout the story are about all things he would already have done? Even injecting the eggs, when he thought to himself he'd test how much he really knew about velociraptors... Malcolm seems to have his mind made up the whole time. Hmm, Hammond decides late in the book that he made bad hiring choices, but does seem about the same person as he was. I dunno, maybe the characters are a bit static, and maybe that works fine. Maybe in Crichton's stories the characters are already competant in what they do, and are on an adventure which demonstrates their various abilities. Sounds cool.

Oh, as for including JP1 novel characters. I was just writing something about Grant, though he's not going to appear. I have gotten to a point of using flashbacks, not sure what all I will include with that method.
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by Draconisaurus »

FIELD SYSTEMS

Levine walked up to the door of Mobile Field Systems, rang the buzzer. He waited to hear the ex-engineering-teacher's voice on the intercom, but within moments the door opened. Thorne stood in the doorway briefly looking Levine up and down.
"Just like old times."
"What? Oh, my attire. Yes I suppose it is. However this time I---"
"Come inside, it's hot out."
Levine grunted as he entered the building. Looking around, he saw Malcolm by the new Ford Explorer. Just as with their previous visit's vehicle, it had been painted dark green, however some new modifications were agreed on in light of their past experiences on the island.
Richard set his suitcase by the door and went to join Ian.
"Think we're ready this time?"
Malcolm looked up. "We better be. So far it looks good. What took you?"
"Traffic."
"I see."
Doctor Thorne joined them, clapping his hands together. "Well, it's a little late, no point in delaying. Let's get started." He walked over and touched the Explorer's roof. "Photo-voltaic panels, just like before." He pointed toward the rear. "Unlike before, small gasoline generator for emergencies. Just like Eddie had in the old trailer. Figured he had the right idea, rest his soul."
Levine and Malcolm nodded.
Thorne motioned to the rear roof of the car. "Protective railings on top, with sitting room for two, just like you asked. Not much of a replacement for the High Hide, but hopefully it'll do. Includes clamps for things like cameras and notepads."
Levine looked to Thorne. "What about the rain protection we talked about?"
Thorne walked over and pulled a lever near the back. Immediately, wireframe covered in a cloth tarp popped up from the roof of the car, open on all four sides.
"Impressive," Malcolm said.
"Should work," Levine agreed.
Thorne opened the front driver's-side door, pointing inside. "Just like before, dash-mounted monitor. Satellite phone- and data-link, just like before. Arby's username and password for the InGen radio network are already logged on the car's computer. Also, very important: we're tracking your GPS signal from my office. Give me a call once a day so we know you're alright. Just in case, there's a spare satellite phone in the glove compartment."
Thorne turned to look at Levine.
"Doc, I---"
"It's not 'T' for transmit this time, Richard, it's 'S' for send. Don't forget."
Levine sighed. "Alright. Sounds simple."
Malcolm raised a curious eyebrow. He shook his head, then said, "You're sure the wireless adaptor will link with my laptop up on the roof?"
"Of course. My team also rigged up a portable charger, for long nights up top. Oh, speaking of. There wasn't space for sleeping arrangements in the back. Hope the two of you are okay with sleeping on seats."
"We should be just fine." Levine cleared his throat. "What about defense?"
"Well. You remember the trailer? With that system you called the IUD."
"Ah, yes. Internal Ursine Deterrent. Ten thousand volts, right?"
"Yes. All over the exterior. Sarah said she used it on the rexes on our last visit, to no avail. With that in mind, it's now optional to turn the voltage up, up to twenty thousand, but going that high risks blowing the system. I'd be very careful."
"Duly noted."
Malcolm spoke up. "Speaking of Sarah, are those circuit breakers still under the car?"
"Yes, this time not backwards. Which reminds me: after making use of our friend Dodgson's Jeep to hold the trailer in place, I decided to add a winch to the front. It won't be as strong on an electric vehicle, but it should still be serviceable to, say, haul a small fallen tree off the road."
"Sounds useful," Levine said.
"Going back to the inside, the rear is stacked with things you requested. A minifridge plus some dehydrated meals and a mini-microwave should hold you for two weeks. Next to these is a refillable water dispenser and a field-ready water purifier."
Malcolm and Levine were both peering inside.
"On the other side is a bookshelf with Velcro straps and the books the two of you dropped off last week. Beside it are some secure supply crates, which contain items like the cholinesterase bombs and the first aid. Oh, and two Lindstradt rifles are attached to the ceiling, again loaded with South Sea cone shell venom. There's also MORO-709 tranquilizer stashed away." Thorne cleared his throat. "Any questions so far?"
Levine and Malcolm looked at each other, slowly shook their heads.
Malcolm replied, "It's looking great." He laughed briefly. "I feel just about as safe as last time."
Thorne burst out laughing, then straightened his face. "Trust me. We ran even more crash simulations than last time. I haven't even gotten to the structural reinforcements we applied. Put it this way: if this car went over the same cliff as our old trailer, it'd probably be just fine."
"Splended," Levine said. "Excellent."
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by TrespasserGuy »

Nice chapter Drac. I feel like you've gotten the characters and their personalities pretty accurate. I like the setup with all the equipment, plus some callbacks.
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by Draconisaurus »

Thanks. I feel pretty in love with the TLW novel characters. I've read the book so many times!
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by Draconisaurus »

AIRPLANE

Several hours later, Malcolm sat at the wheel of the Explorer, Levine sitting beside him. The garage door opened slowly.
Malcolm turned to Levine. "How does it feel to be bringing one of your field vehicles to the field for a change?"
"What? Oh. It's quite convenient. A treat, perhaps. But really not that much different than having equipment soon after my arrival. About my highest concern this time is getting a good sleep at night. After nine months of reviewing our experience on the island and the InGen camera feeds, I feel utterly prepared for a return to our lost world. Which reminds me---"
Levine broke off as Thorne wrapped on the window. Malcolm rolled it down.
"Be safe, you two," Thorne said. "I still don't know how you convinced Malcolm to go back. The prion disease, the video uplink..."
Levine leaned forward. "As nice as late eighties security cameras can be, they hardly substitute for a visit to the site itself. Most of the island is---"
"I know, I know, it's not the same as going. This vehicle is some of the most advanced work we've put out. I have complete faith in the two of you." Thorne glanced at the garage door as it finished opening. "See you in two weeks."

Malcolm drove the Explorer down the freeway toward the San Francisco International Airport. As Levine sat next to him silently, laid back and eyes closed, Malcolm thought again about what they might find on the island. Their previous visit had been started under less than ideal circumstances; Levine running off by himself with nothing but a backpack, answering the satellite phone in a dire predicament, leading to a rush to rescue him. Then, a mere day in the field, a few pages of notes not even covering twenty-four hours.
On their escape the next morning by boat, Malcolm had felt very disillusioned, deciding that the island presented a poor example of the lost world he and Levine had set out to find and document. But after returning to San Francisco and having time to think while his leg healed, and after some period of viewing the camera feeds from the island, he decided the deextinct population of Isla Sorna still represented a biological scenario worth studying.
For one, InGen's animals were still mostly-accurate recreations of sixty-five million year old species: inevitably some observable behaviors, if not most, would be seen there now as they had been then. For another, the high ratio of predators relative to herbivores could reveal herbivore adaptations to dire survival threat conditions---key data for predicting behavior during extinction events.
It was true that he and Levine had been studying the InGen camera feeds for months. A substantial amount of data had begun to accumulate, which Malcolm had eventually decided to look at. Key consumption habits and day-night preferences had been recorded: fluid intake frequency, sleep durations... But the resolution of the film was low enough that it was difficult to distinguish individuals, which plants were being eaten; and any given animal was, in the course of days and weeks, usually off-camera.
Yes, Malcolm mused, it was still worth the time to return to the island. He looked over at the dozing passenger beside him; probably, despite Levine's predisposition to caution, the man beside him was still the more enthusiastic about a return trip, between the two of them. Malcolm shifted his only recently healed leg beneath him; both of his previous visits to dinosaur-filled islands had led him to leg injuries and prolonged regimens of morphine. There was surely no chance it would be three in a row. Not that there weren't plenty of other possible injuries to avoid...

At the airport, Malcolm drove the Explorer through several security checkpoints to meet up with the Antonov An-26 cargo plane on the black tarmac. He had to wake Levine after driving into the hold; then the two of them entered the passenger compartment.
Levine took a window seat, Malcolm sitting beside him. Malcolm turned to speak to the paleontologist, but before he could speak, Levine had already pulled out a book titled The Fauna of East Africa and begun to read. It reminded him of Sarah.
Malcolm and Sarah had gotten somewhat close again, over the shared experience of Isla Sorna. She'd stayed in San Francisco during the first days of his recovery in the hospital. She reminded him that he'd told her his sleep-talking references to dinosaurs, in his previous hospitalization, had been mere mental age regressions. He'd offered an apology and asked if she could blame him. She said she could, but would rather hear about what had really led to his previous injury.
And so, he described John Hammond's other island, explained how Hammond had asked him to model the park using his mathematical formulas. How procompsognathids had gotten loose and had begun biting children and elderly individuals, how Hammond had been forced to demonstrate the safety of his park by inviting Malcolm and other guests.
"I see. And? Was the park safe?"
The half-dozing Malcolm, lying in the hospital bed, had opened his eyes and turned to face Sarah.
"Safe? Are you being serious?"
Sarah said nothing.
"No." He closed his eyes again. "Far from it. And, at the end of the day, not from any particular error in the day-to-day activities of Hammond's staff. It was the basic idea---that a long-vanished ecosystem could be recreated, predicted, maintained---that spelled the doom for Hammond's park. They all expected a setting which would abide by the same logistics as a zoo and a theme park, taking no consideration for the differences inherent to working with mostly unstudied animals from a distant past. Of course it wasn't safe. I was just telling them things they already should have known."
Sarah smiled, then held a look of sad understanding. It was just the sort of problem Ian was good at finding. Too good, she thought, sometimes. But probably he had helped avert later disaster.

On the plane, Malcolm's thoughts were interrupted by a flight attendant.
Pardon me," she said. "Would you be interested in a drink?"
Malcolm looked up. "Wine, if you have any."
The attendant opened a fresh bottle, continuing to speak. "Pretzels? Potato---"
"No, thanks."
The attendant made to ask a similar question to Levine, but Malcolm motioned not to. She nodded, passed him the drink, and moved further down the plane.
Last edited by Draconisaurus on Tue Mar 05, 2024 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by TrespasserGuy »

Another great chapter. I love the character interactions, although I think how Malcolm acts with the flight attendant seems more in line with his characterization from the first movie. I never took Malcolm for a soda drinker lol. Don't know if there's a scene from any of the novels where he's seen drinking but I do remember him taking swigs of a flask in JP1. Maybe he'd like a sip of wine on the plane, and then complain of how sour it is to Levine.
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by Draconisaurus »

Wine might make more sense. He does seem less outgoing in TLW novel.

...Edited.
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by Hilwo »

I told Draco I just finished the audio book for The Lost World. Can't remember the last time I read it, but I still remembered lots of events/quotes shortly before they happened. Way back, I enjoyed it more than the original novel, and I think I still do. For movies, the first one will always be my favorite. But Sorna is my favorite island in any medium. What I love about the book the most, is how they first have to learn there even IS a second island. Then after they do, having to find where it is. And finally once there, research what has happened there and why. All the research, loved it then and I still do.

Anyway, I'm very impressed with your writing! Sincerely, it was a very pleasant read so far :) I could never write anything close to this. Also thinking about both the novel and your story - even if they animals are genetically engineered, to me they would still be interesting to study. Keep up the good work, I'll be keeping an eye out for more.

There's only one line I would change. I would change this one:
Ian Malcolm wrote:"Wine, if you have any."
To this:
Ian Malcolm wrote:"Morph-... I mean wine. Wine, if you have any."
:razz:
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by Draconisaurus »

I do really like that too, how they have to do a lot of work to figure out where the island is. I still want to put up my own white board in my room, with similar things about some other subject on it. And, glad to have another Sorna fan around. 8)
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Thanks! I have read the book more times than I can count, I am hoping the behaviors and talking of each character turns out accurately. I guess I feel that if Malcolm were interested enough to see dinos a second time, he could be up for a third time.
Ian Malcolm line
Hmmmmm the fun part of my brain enjoys this idea. However I've learned in the past to inhibit some degree of fun-seeking while creating stuff, as sometimes the fun gets in the way of some accuracy or another. Thanks for the suggestion though. :)
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Re: RETURN TO THE LOST WORLD

Post by Hilwo »

Draconisaurus wrote:I do really like that too, how they have to do a lot of work to figure out where the island is. I still want to put up my own white board in my room, with similar things about some other subject on it. And, glad to have another Sorna fan around. 8)
Funny you mention the white board. Back in 2008-2009 or so, I lived on my own for the first time and actually started on one for Lost World. I typed out a bunch of the notes that are in the Lost World novel. Like some of e-mails and I think there was a Galli pattern in there somewhere? Funny, I got through the audio book and don't remember the Galli pattern this time around. Maybe I'm mixing up the books, but I thought it was something they found in the lab or on one of the computers. This is what the first pressing of the book looked like in the Netherlands, not sure if that cover was used everywhere. Might try and find a good condition copy of it.
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Draconisaurus wrote:Thanks! I have read the book more times than I can count, I am hoping the behaviors and talking of each character turns out accurately. I guess I feel that if Malcolm were interested enough to see dinos a second time, he could be up for a third time.
Yeah, I'm curious how it'll go between Malcolm and Levine, though. Have you thought about adding a third character to sort of take Sarah's place?
Draconisaurus wrote:Hmmmmm the fun part of my brain enjoys this idea. However I've learned in the past to inhibit some degree of fun-seeking while creating stuff, as sometimes the fun gets in the way of some accuracy or another. Thanks for the suggestion though. :)
Don't worry about it, it was more meant like a joke :D

By the way, did you ever read about the dropped subplot about Elliot Wu living on Isla Sorna? I'm kinda glad they dropped it, as it would take away from the mystery in my opinion. I prefer the characters having to do their own research, rather than having someone around they could ask questions.
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