Chapter 1: Eavesdropping
Maisie Lockwood was a very clever girl, or at least that was what her Grandfather always told her when he was lecturing her for one thing or another. She wasn’t entirely sure she believed him, but since Maisie’s world consisted of exactly three people it was unlikely that she’d find someone else to compare herself to any time soon, and that meant that she was forced to take his word for it…even if she did suspect that he was probably rather biased. He was her grandfather after all, and that meant that he was SUPPOSED to say nice things to her, even if they weren’t actually true.
Regardless, the fact remained that while Maisie might well have been clever she was also achingly, miserably, and seemingly eternally bored. She was always bored lately….her mind utterly refusing to settle on one thing for too long before she lost interest in whatever she was doing and went to find something else to occupy herself.
There were only so many times she could scare Iris and not actually make her angry and Maisie knew she’d already used up all her scares up for the day. Possibly even for the next week, because Iris had been none too amused with her last prank.
Maisie didn’t think that it was very fair for Iris to be so terribly cross with her about what had happened, after all...how was Maisie supposed to have known that she had been heading to the bathroom? Now Iris wasn’t talking to her at all and that left Maisie with nothing to do. Again. She’d cleaned her room and completed her lessons already, and she’d also read six chapters ahead in her lesson plan out of sheer desperation for something, ANYTHING to occupy her mind. That was how she found herself laying once more on her back on the bone room catwalk floor, counting the rivets in the skylight and wondering if boredom could actually be fatal.
She almost hoped that it was, because anything would be better than THIS.
Maisie was so busy feeling sorry for herself that at first she didn’t even realize that Eli had come into the bone room at all …. and by the time she did, she could already hear his raised voice right beneath her on the catwalk. He hadn’t seen her yet, Maisie realized abruptly.
After a moment, a slow, wicked smile began to curve it’s way across Maisie’s face as the ramifications of that knowledge settled in her mind. She might have used up all her scares with Iris, but she hadn’t scared Eli at all yet, and while he wasn’t as fun to scare as Iris….something was better than nothing and Maisie was sick to death of counting rivets.
As quietly as she could, Maisie rolled from her back to her belly and she lost herself for a time in her favorite fantasy. In her mind’s eye, instead of being a little girl she was a Velociraptor. She was a hunter, a predator….she was silent and strong and she could wait with infinite patience for the perfect moment to pounce upon her unwary prey.
Every muscle in Maisie’s lean, strong body was tensed and ready for her moment to strike. She was a huntress, and her victim would never realize that she was there until it was far too late.
Velociraptor or not, Maisie WOULD wait patiently for Eli to hang up with whoever it was he was talking to before she actually scared him. Scares were fine and all in good fun but if she caused problems on a business call Maisie knew that would be another matter altogether and her Grandfather would be very cross with her, which was the last thing in the world that she wanted.. especially with him being so very ill recently and with Iris already being so annoyed with her.
So Maisie would wait, and to pass the time while she did so she decided that she would listen in on Eli’s call. It would probably be boring but it was something to do, and she consoled herself with the thought that at least she wasn’t still counting rivets, but to her surprise it didn’t take her listening in for very long at all before Maisie realized that something was wrong. Very wrong indeed.
Eli was angry, at whom Maisie couldn’t really tell just yet …but she had never heard him be so harsh and unkind before. If she hadn’t known better she wouldn’t have believed it was Eli at all because it sounded so unlike him. Pushed onward by her own morbid curiosity Maisie carefully wiggled her way closer to the edge of the catwalk so that she could look down at Eli as well as hear him.
She moved slowly, conscious of every little sound she made no matter how small. Even the faint rasp of her clothing over the catwalk floor seemed loud to her, but eventually she made it to the edge and at last she could peer over the catwalk and see her prey clearly. Eli was pacing, short distances with sharp, frustrated turns and Maisie could see that he had a white knuckled grip on his cell phone as he snarled at whoever was on the other end.
“ What do you fucking mean he said ‘no’?” Eli spat. His usually smiling lips were curled into an angry snarl and it was that ugly, alien expression on Eli’s familiar face that caused the first tendrils of true unease to begin to unfurl inside of Maisie.
She almost didn’t dare to breathe for fear that Eli might notice her. Moments before she had been a hunter, a predator….but now she felt like prey and every instinct and alarm inside Maisie’s small body shrieked that Eli could NOT know that she was there. If Eli found her it would be bad. Very bad, and while Maisie didn’t really know why she was so absolutely convinced of the danger she was in …now that she could see Eli as well as hear him she knew for certain that something wasn’t right. She’d never seen that expression on Eli’s face before and it frightened her in ways she couldn’t quite explain.
Maisie’s whole body seemed to shriek ‘don’t move’….and so she didn’t. She listened to that insistent little voice inside her and she was as still and as silent as she could be. It helped, and slowly she felt some of her fear begin to drain away. It was almost as if the more intently focused she was, the calmer she became. She watched Eli’s angry face as closely as she possibly could and strained to hear every word he said, until her whole world was Eli and nothing else existed.
As her focus sharpened and grew progressively more narrow Maisie could actually see Eli’s pulse pounding at his throat and nearly taste the fine sheen of sweat that coated his rage-twisted face, tiny drops clinging to the skin of his temples. Maisie wasn’t afraid anymore, she wasn’t ANYTHING anymore….because for the very first time in her life her ever restless mind was razor sharp and clear. She existed within a bubble of perfect clarity unlike anything she’d ever experienced before. It was incredible.
“ Look, do you have any fucking idea how long this has been in the works, you pea brained, pencil pushing little prick? “
Maisie let her eyes follow the slow creeping tide of red that had begun to spread up Eli’s neck and into his face, leaving him blotchy and flushed. His rage made him almost unrecognizable as the man who had helped to raise her and as Maisie watched him drag one sweaty hand through his usually immaculately styled hair she wondered idly if he even realized he was doing it.
“ No, no I don’t want to hear any more of your excuses Dobbs. I hired you to do a goddamn job and I expect you to do what I fucking paid you for. You will get that ship and you’ll get those documents by whatever means necessary or I swear to Christ and all the saints they won’t find enough of you to fit in a matchbox after I’m done with you. “
Eli was silent for a few long moments as he seemed to listen to whatever it was ‘Dobbs’ had to say and then Maisie saw him pinch the bridge of his nose, and some of the anger began to leave his voice. What replaced it wasn’t much better though, in her opinion because instead of being full of hot rage, his tone had gone cold. Almost distant. It almost made her feel bad for whoever ‘Dobbs’ was.
“We need this, Dobbs. Those dinosaurs are the check that’s going to pave the way to the future for all of us, a future filled with more money than you’ve ever seen in your entire life, and you can either get with that program and share in the rewards of that future or you and your team can be liquidated. Permanently.”
To Maisie’s ears it didn’t sound like Eli cared one way or another what choice ‘Dobbs’ made, and that knowledge made an uneasy chill spread it’s way through her small body. She’d been right to stay quiet. The voice had never steered her wrong before, and it hadn’t now either.
“The project NEEDS that money, Dobbs….without it the Indoraptor is just another freak-show novelty like the Indominus Rex. We need that raptor and we need that data and we need that fucking money and if this all goes down the shitter I promise you that you and everybody else involved are going to be getting flushed right along with me. Get. It. Done.”
Eli ended the call with a rough stab of his finger and Maisie saw him take a slow, deep breath to compose himself. Little by little the red in his face began to recede and Maisie watched in horrified fascination as the Eli she’d always known was slowly reassembled, like a shattered mask that the true Eli was carefully rebuilding one jagged piece at a time. Maisie realized with mounting horror that the Eli she’d known all her life was nothing more than a pleasant facade for the real Eli to hide behind and the real Eli was the man on the phone, not the one who’d read her bedtime stories and hugged her tight when she first found out that her Grandfather was ill.
Despite the internal conflict her realization caused her, Maisie’s eyes stayed glued to Eli, and once he’d straightened his tie and collar and smoothed his hair back into perfect place she watched him calmly make his way over to the elevator and type in a series of numbers. She did her best to memorize what buttons he pushed, because Maisie already knew that if she wanted to know what was going on the only way that was going to happen was going to be if she went to go find out for herself.
It might be dangerous, but she knew that if she intended to tell her grandfather that Eli was up to something she was going to need proof, and that was something she wouldn’t have unless she went down there by herself to go and get it. She could go right now and just TELL him, but she knew that her Grandfather cared for Eli, he trusted him and he wasn’t going to just ….take Maisie’s word that a man he trusted was up to something questionable. It was even possible that her Grandfather already knew what was happening and if she just told him what she knew so far he could just ..hide it all away again, like he did everything else he didn’t want her to know, just like he’d done with her mother.
Maisie knew her grandfather loved her, but she also knew that he didn’t tell her everything, he had secrets, lots of them….. and whatever was going on with Eli could very well just be another one of them. Sometimes it felt to Maisie as if her entire life was nothing but a giant puzzle that she didn’t have all the pieces to but was stuck trying to piece together regardless, but Grandfather had always told her she was clever, and now Maisie hoped desperately that he was right..because to pull this off she was going to need to be VERY clever indeed.
She was going to find out what was going on, one way or another and the first step towards that goal was going to be getting on that elevator, or maybe getting around it….and as the first wisps of an idea began to form itself in Maisie’s mind a slow smile curved it’s way across her face, sickle bright and just as sharp. She certainly wasn’t bored anymore.
Chapter 2: Indoraptor
They really should have known better after what happened last time.
The very first thing that the newly hatched Indoraptor ever smelled was fear, and that was only the first in a disastrously long list of mistakes on the part of Dr. Wu and his development team. If Owen Grady had been a part of that team he could have told them that they were making dangerous, perhaps even fatal errors in their handling of the infant Indoraptor and he might have warned them that the first hours and days after hatching were the most critical to the formation of solid social bonds and stable mental health in such a group oriented predator. The Indoraptor was a new creature, but it was composed out of several very very old ones, and nobody alive knew more than Owen Grady about Velociraptors.
Owen could have easily told them that anyone who was uneasy around aggressive carnivores or who had issues with raptors in general should be prevented from attending the hatching at all, because in those first few moments of life if the newborn smelled their fear or read their body language as vulnerable it would never see them as anything but prey, or at best as a threat which really wasn’t much better in the long run.
However, Owen was NOT there, and so he didn’t have the opportunity to tell the team any of those very important things. Instead, Owen Grady was a thousand miles away in the middle of nowhere doing his level best to drink himself to death while building himself a house he never wanted to live in, and every night when he crawled into his lonely bed he dreamt of tiny raptors with curious, trusting, golden eyes.
It was all probably for the best though, truth be told…because if Owen HAD known what was happening in the sub-basement lab of the Lockwood estate he would have burnt the whole building to the ground with Dr. Wu and every last one of his team still inside it and then he would have cheerfully pissed on the still smoking ashes for good measure. Ignorance was in this case truly bliss, so while Owen Grady dreamed his dreams of baby raptors a thousand miles away and tried to drown himself in a whiskey filled sea of his own regret ….the Indoraptor project quietly went forward, oblivious to the mistakes being made.
The first Indoraptor was born at 6:23 AM on an otherwise ordinary spring day and rather than being welcomed into the world by the people who would be it’s pack, it’s family and the bedrock of it’s social structure… it instead took it’s first breaths surrounded by a team of nervous young lab techs and a few wary geneticists, all of them talking over top of one another in excitement and snapping illicit pictures on cell phones they weren’t supposed to have with them to start with, their bodies practically buzzing with adrenaline.
They couldn’t have created a worse set of circumstances for the birth of their new monster if they’d actually been trying.
The geneticists were the people most fully aware of what the newborn Indoraptor would one day become, and one of them in particular still remembered it’s predecessor…(the ill fated Indominus Rex) all too clearly.
As she watched the infant Indoraptor struggle free of it’s fluid damp shell she couldn’t help but run her fingers over the ragged scar tissue on her left hand where her smallest finger had once been and shudder. The Irex had been all of twenty minutes old when it had bitten off her finger, and as she watched the Indoraptor’s golden eyes open for the first time, instead of triumph at her accomplishment all Elizabeth Caldwell felt inside was dread.
Dr. Caldwell wasn’t the only one there that had been part of the IRex’s development, there were a few others and their fear was like a noxious haze around them. The IRex had been both terrible and magnificent but it had only ever been a showpiece: an impressive but ultimately purposeless display of scientific skill brought into being purely to impress the public and generate fresh revenue for Jurassic World and Masrani Global. The truth was that the ‘Indominus’ project had only ever been a practice run. Dr. Wu’s lesser prelude to his magnum opus, to the Indoraptor, which was the glorious pinnacle of all his years of research, the hard won refinement of countless hours of study and decades of meticulous crafting.
The Indoraptor was nothing like the IRex, for all that the IRex was an important part of it’s genetic makeup. The IRex had been intelligent, one of the most intelligent animals in existence at one point ….but that intelligence had had no focus, no real direction or framework to drive it. It had possessed an ample amount of raw intellect but no impulse control whatsoever. The IRex had from the beginning been emotionally unstable, prone to fruitless outbursts of temper that came with no warning whatsoever and it had displayed a tendency towards obsessive behavior that hadn’t boded well for it’s long term health. It was either enraged or nearly catatonic. It had also been utterly incapable of bonding with a handler.
It’s aggression had been unprecedented and it had swiftly proven to be completely uncontrollable, even by experienced large carnivore specialists. There was nothing in the IRex but hate and murderous intent from the first moment it was hatched and they’d all known it. Even Dr. Wu. They’d brought it to life anyway, because what they had learned from the mistakes they’d made with the Indominus Rex had paved the way for the success that would hopefully be the Indoraptor.
Their new project was much different, and not just in appearance from its unfortunate predecessor…. but also in purpose. The Indoraptor was more intelligent than the Indominus Rex had ever dreamed of being, but that massive intellect had at last been given a solid framework and personality matrix from which to develop. The necessary parts of the Indoraptor’s brain, which were so vitally needed for higher thought and a full emotional range were at last in place, along with the vital hormonal cues that would keep it balanced and stable. In the ultimately fatally flawed Irex, those necessary structures had been either incomplete or not present at all.
The Indoraptor wasn’t simply smart for a dinosaur, or for an animal in general…..the awful truth was that their new monster was every bit as intelligent as a human being, there was an independent and thinking mind behind those sun-bright little eyes. A mind that was so unlike their own that Dr. Caldwell feared that they had no real way to truly comprehend or predict it’s depth and scope. They could only guess and hope that guess proved correct. That knowledge made Dr. Caldwell’s guts go watery with fear when those little eyes at last fixed themselves on her face.
The Indoraptor was a consummate apex predator that they had created for the sole purpose of hunting and killing humans. It was a weapon, designed from the inside out to be used in open warfare. It’s skin was as tough and thick as a Tyrannosaurus, resistant to both bullets and shrapnel but it was lighter and faster than either the T-rex or the Indominus, prioritizing mobility and speed over brute force. It could also color shift to blend in with it’s environment and it had fully functional front limbs with sharp sickle claws and exquisitely tuned fine motor control, it could open a door or rip off a head with equal dexterity and unlike the T-rex and the Indominus the Indoraptor was capable of being obedient and docile when not being utilized.
Once cued, however the Indoraptor would seek out and destroy any target it was given with extreme prejudice; utterly relentless in it’s pursuit of said target. It would hunt without fail until it’s mission was either completed, the animal itself was dead or it was given the appropriate stand down command by it’s handler. Before 6:23 that morning, the supreme predator on their planet had been mankind. By 6:24 AM, Dr. Caldwell knew that that was no longer true. She clenched her hands, rubbed at her scar and as she went to inform Dr. Wu that the neonate had survived it’s hatching she couldn’t shed the terrible feeling that they had all made a terrible mistake.
Chapter 3: Prey
The Indoraptor is only a few minutes old and he already knows that everything is terrible.
Though still egg-wet and bleary eyed, the newborn Indoraptor’s nose was already more than keen enough to catch the bitter tang of half smothered terror that clung to the large white shapes that moved so confusingly around him. He was already afraid, and he didn’t understand why they were frightened as well.
The white ones were all so much larger than he was, and something inside him whispered to him that they shouldn’t have been afraid at all…he was small and weak, he was prey and he knew it deep inside himself but for some reason the white shapes feared him anyway. He was barely even born and he was already incredibly confused.
It didn’t bode well for the future.
The hatchling didn’t understand the white ones, their behavior made no logical sense and so he decided to test his theory. Perhaps he was wrong, perhaps he simply didn’t understand what was happening around him. Maybe they were afraid of something else and not him, something that he should be afraid of as well.
With that idea in mind he waited patiently until one of them stretched one of their long white and oddly clawless limbs towards him and as quick as a thought he snapped at it, careful to make certain that his teeth closed just short of it’s flesh. Sure enough, the white thing flinched back and withdrew it’s vulnerable limb abruptly; and the bitter fear smell it radiated intensified.
It was a scent that the hatchling both enjoyed and hated in equal measure. He had been right. It was him they were afraid of.
After resting for a time from the effort of breaking out of his shell, he struggled to sit up, to move and to focus his eyes on the world around him, looking at last beyond the cold emptiness of his nest. There was a clear barrier between himself and the white things now, and they were everywhere. Huge, and terrifying they towered over the hatchling and while they made many sounds they were nothing the newborn Indoraptor’s mind could truly understand. They weren’t calling to him, they were only calling to one another and and in that moment the hatchling realized quite suddenly that he was alone.
The very thought of being alone was terrifying, so much so that as panic filled his tiny body he began to click and keen uncontrollably. He called out as loudly as he could in hopes that perhaps his mother was nearby and that she would hear his distress and come back to the nest to help him. He wanted her desperately, if she were there he would be safe…. but no matter how loudly he called for her she did not answer him and though he cried out for her until his throat hurt and he felt weak from exhaustion she did not come to save him from the white ones and their fear smell.
The hatchling knew that if his mother could have come to him, she would have. Perhaps the white ones had done something to her and that was why she was not with him where she should have been. That thought made some of his fear begin to turn into something else entirely, a brand new emotion. Anger. He was angry at the white ones. They weren’t his family. The newborn Indoraptor was only minutes old and he already knew that much. Anything that smelled of fear was food, not friend and the very thought of food made his tiny belly ache with want.
He was alone and he was hungry and he was still so very afraid. He had been alive for less than an hour and he already hated the white ones with every part of himself, and while he wasn’t entirely certain how the hatchling knew in his bones that one day he would be large enough that he would never need to be afraid again. All he had to do was survive and wait. If his mother could not come to save him, then he would have to save himself.
Chapter 4: Mother
Two very lonely creatures discover that they don't need to be alone anymore after all.
It was dark, and Maisie breathed a sigh of relief as she threw back her blankets and quietly eased her way out of bed, hurriedly putting her clothes back on. It had been the longest day of her life and she couldn’t help but be glad that it was finally over. She’d felt like she might go mad with impatience for hours as she went through the motions of her normal routine after her encounter with Eli earlier that afternoon.
She’d even smiled at Eli and talked to him about nothing in particular at dinner and he hadn’t noticed a thing. Maisie was beginning to suspect that Eli didn’t really pay much attention to her at all. He didn’t see HER, he just saw a situation that needed to be managed. It had been an uncomfortable realization to have, but in a way Maisie was glad she’d had it now instead of later. What if she’d never seen him for what he was until it was already too late and he was her guardian?
She loved her Grandfather, and though it hurt just to think about it she knew too that he was old and sick and that he wasn’t going to be with her for very much longer, no matter how much she wished it would be otherwise. Some time very soon, she was going to be the only Lockwood left, and with her grandfather gone Eli’s control of the business he left behind was going to depend entirely on his control of HER until she reached the age of 25, which was the age her grandfather had set for her to come into full control of her inheritance.
So she’d kissed her grandfather and Iris goodnight and she’d pretended that she had gone to bed as usual, as if nothing at all was amiss and they’d fallen for it hook, line and metaphorical sinker. She had waited patiently in her bed until the house was finally still and she was near certain that everybody else was asleep before she at last set her plan into motion.
Once she was ready, she crept quietly out onto her balcony; and nearly soundlessly hefted herself over the railing and out onto the waiting ledge, all the while doing her very best to ignore the chilly springtime air. The moon was full, so she could at least see what she was doing relatively clearly, thank heaven for small favors. Slowly and carefully she inched her way along the dangerously narrow ledge that led to her Grandfather’s bedroom, every sense and nerve in her body on high alert for any sign that she could be seen.
Maisie didn’t even consider the fact that if she lost her grip, the fall would almost certainly be fatal. It never even crossed her mind. Maisie knew she wasn’t going to fall, she knew it with every part of herself. Anything else might happen, she could die in a dozen different ways but none of them would be from falling from that ledge.
It seemed to take forever for Maisie to reach her grandfather’s balcony, and once she had she breathed a slow and very quiet sigh of relief. So far, so good. She lingered in the cold for a little while, watching and listening for any sign of movement in her grandfather’s bedroom. She knew that the balcony door would be unlocked, it always was….and once her grandfather was actually asleep in the evening he generally stayed that way, the pain medication he took to allow him to truly rest rendering him almost impossible to disturb.
For once, the fact that he was sick actually worked in Maisie’s favor, because her grandfather never so much as twitched in his sleep as she eased open the balcony doors and slipped soundlessly into the darkness of his bedroom.
He didn’t wake at the none-too-soft thump of her opening the dumbwaiter either. Maisie knew that the kitchen staff used the old dumbwaiter to send up her grandfather’s medication and meals when he was feeling too poorly to come downstairs for dinner, and she also knew that it went all the way down to Hammond’s old labs in the sub-basement.
They were supposed to be abandoned, but Maisie suspected that that was no longer the case, whatever Eli was hiding was going to be in that lab and Maisie intended to find out exactly what it was, one way or another. She waited for a time in the dark, crouched in front of the dumbwaiter and counting her grandfather’s steady breaths until she reached 100 before she quietly lifted herself into the dumbwaiter and slid the sliding hatch quietly closed behind her.
Now came the hard part, and as slowly and as quietly as Maisie could manage she began to lower herself down the shaft, hand over white knuckled hand using the pulley system until her arms ached with the strain of it and she wondered if she was ever going to make it to the bottom.
If she lost her grip, it was possible that the dumbwaiter might not support her weight and if that happened Maisie would go careening down to the bottom of the shaft with nothing at all to break her fall or slow her decent…and while Maisie didn’t know for certain if that fall would kill her or not she fully intended to never need to find out.
Thankfully it seemed that it wasn’t going to be an issue, because to Maisie’s immense relief she finally felt that telltale thud, the sound informing her that she had at long last reached the bottom of the dumbwaiter shaft. She’d made it. The first part of her plan had been a success and not only had she avoided needing to use the elevator…(which she was nearly certain had an alarm on it), but she had also avoided any security cameras inside that might have given her plan away.
All in all, Maisie was feeling incredibly pleased with herself, and buoyed by her success so far she carefully slid the dumbwaiter door open and peered out into still darkness of what had once been John Hammond’s old office.
She had been right about the lab, because as Maisie looked around the empty office she realized that the equipment inside it was all new. Every single piece of technology she could see was cutting edge and there was absolutely no reason for that equipment to have been updated if the labs weren’t currently in use.
Maisie narrowed her eyes and waited for another few minutes in the dark before she carefully slid out of the dumbwaiter and looked in the direction of the labs. Sure enough; instead of empty darkness she could see the harsh glow of halogen lights. Eli was using the lab and Maisie had the grim suspicion that her grandfather didn’t have a clue that he was doing so.
Suddenly, snippets of conversation that Maisie had overheard over the last several months began to make a terrible sort of sense.
Maisie knew that their company had begun losing money right after her grandfather had gotten ill and announced his retirement ….she had even heard her grandfather and Eli arguing about it once.
Eli had explained it all away as a result of her grandfather’s diagnosis…a normal dip in stock value that would be quickly corrected once investors and shareholders were confident that the company would continue on in the same vein of success that it had when Maisie’s grandfather had been in control.
Maisie knew exactly where that missing money had been going, now. It hadn’t been a problem with the shareholders at all. Eli had been quietly funneling it down here, investing it into whatever this project was. The large expenditures that he had so glibly explained away as charitable donations and long term trusts and endowments had all been nothing but a smoke screen to hide what he was actually up to with her grandfather’s money. With his legacy.
Maisie Lockwood had never been so breathtakingly furious about anything in her entire life as she was at that moment. The emotion was so intense that it made her throat ache and her eyes burn with frustrated tears, she wanted to scream at Eli for what he’d done, for how he had betrayed her grandfather’s trust in him. HER trust in him.
Instead she scrubbed her hands angrily over her face and gritted her teeth. Now wasn’t the time for this. She could be mad at Eli as much as she wanted later, but for right now she had bigger fish to fry. Namely, figuring out exactly what Eli’s secret project was. The word Indoraptor floated through her mind, and Maisie hoped that her other, more frighten ing suspicion was wrong.
She really REALLY didn’t want Eli to have been making monsters in her basement.
After another few minutes of collecting herself and trying to decide where she would go first once she was out of the room, Maisie unlocked the office door from the inside and slowly slipped out into the hallway. As she carefully closed it behind herself she made a mental note to lock it back when she left again. If she left it unlocked, then whoever was using that office would immediately know that someone had been inside, and Maisie had no intention of letting anybody find out that she was aware of what was going on in the basement until she was ready to do something about it.
Crouching, Maisie inched her way into seemingly the empty main lab, and after looking around for cameras and thankfully finding none Maisie gradually began to relax and after a few more minutes of cautious observation she at last stood up.
Her eyes scanned the empty workstations, settling briefly on the still spinning centrifuge before moving on to the dim computer screens all around her. There were machines whose uses she couldn’t even begin to guess at all around her and Maisie now deeply regretted that she hadn’t paid more attention to Iris’s science lessons.
As Maisie wandered around the room, stopping now and again to look at this and that more closely she tried desperately to make some sort of sense of what she was seeing. Her frustration mounted as Maisie realized that while she was standing right there in the middle of Eli’s stupid secret lab she didn’t have any more idea what was going on in it now than she did before she’d snuck down there to start with.
After a while she drifted into the secondary lab almost without noticing, following a long whiteboard filled with weird notations and chemical and mathematical equations so far advanced from anything she had ever seen that she couldn’t even begin to comprehend them. She didn’t even know where to start. It might as well have been written in sanskrit for all the good it did her.
Maisie stood there studying the whiteboard for a fair amount of time before she suddenly felt an uneasy prickle run it’s way down her spine and the hair on the back of her neck began to rise.
She wasn’t entirely sure how or why, but Maisie suddenly knew with mounting unease that she wasn’t alone in that room. There was something, or even someone behind her. The last thing she wanted to do was to turn around and face whatever it was that she was sensing behind her, but Maisie knew that she didn’t really have a choice.
She couldn’t just stand there for the rest of her life and pretend that whatever it was wasn’t there. It wasn’t going to go away if she just pretended she didn’t see it. She wanted to know what it was, no…she HAD to know what it was, and so she slowly forced herself to turn around and face it.
It was probably the most anticlimactic moment of her life up until that point. The creature behind her wasn’t some sort of ravenous monster or an angry scientist that had caught her where she shouldn’t have been.
It was just a baby dinosaur.
The pair of them stared silently at one another in matching confusion for several long moments before cocking their heads to the side in perfect unison.
This was Eli’s important project? A tiny baby dinosaur that looked like it was composed of nothing but skinny little arms and legs and wide, blinking yellow eyes? Maisie wasn’t sure which one of them was more confused at the moment, her or the baby dinosaur.
After watching one another for a few more moments, Maisie found herself walking quietly over to the incubator as if she was drawn there by a magnet. It was about two feet across, with a shallow depression at it’s center and it was covered by what looked like a thick, plexiglass dome. It looked remarkably sturdy for something she could see though and as fascinated as Maisie was by the creature inside it, she was also well aware that she wasn’t the only one that was curious.
The baby had come close to the dome, and one tiny clawed hand (paw? Talon?) was pressed up against the plexiglass. Maisie found herself fitting her own unclawed and ordinary hand over it to match as she looked down into those gleaming little golden eyes in wonder.
“Hi.” Maisie said softly as she studied every inch of the little creature. She’d never seen anything like it before.
The baby made a noise in return, and Maisie had never heard anything like it before, it something between a click and a whine and it made her heart twist painfully in her chest. It was afraid. The baby was alone, it was alone and it was afraid and suddenly that thought was absolutely unbearable to Maisie.
She knew exactly how the baby felt, because she’d been alone for as long as she could remember too. It made another noise then, a little keening sound that made her want to cry, and that was all it took.
Entirely without her conscious consent, Maisie’s hands began to slide franticly over the incubator, searching for some way to open it. She scrambled at the smooth surface with clumsy, hurried fingers…. filled with a growing and overpowering need to get him out of there. To comfort him. She didn’t know how she knew that he was male, or why she was so certain that he was afraid, and she didn’t bother to waste her time thinking about it either. Maisie had one goal at the moment, and that was to get him out of that awful incubator.
She was already close to crying by the time she finally managed to disengage the locking mechanism.It came free with a soft thunk and it took her a considerable amount of effort to shove the heavy incubator dome up and back, but she did it as quickly as she could possibly manage.
Once she had it took the newborn Indoraptor inside no more than half a second before it was launching itself directly at Maisie’s wide eyed face.
Everything could have gone wrong in that moment had Maisie’s reaction not been what it was. The slightest hint of hesitation and Maisie would have rapidly discovered that while the hatchling was small…. he was still dangerous. Especially to a human child that was half the size of the adult humans he had already seen and which he had absolutely no love for whatsoever.
As the hatchling abruptly leapt out at her from underneath the newly raised dome, instead of flinching in fear and shoving him away as anybody who knew what the creature actually WAS would do….Maisie caught him instead.
She pulled his little body as close to herself as she could manage, tucking him up under her chin….right next to the vulnerable curve of her own throat while making soothing noises as she stroked his knobby little spine, his long tail wrapping itself loosely around one of her wrists.
The Indoraptor could have torn out Maisie’s throat in that moment, it would have been all too easy for him to sink his sharp sharp teeth into her fragile flesh, spilling her life like a red tide across the white tiled lab floor for the research staff to find in the morning.
The Indoraptor did none of those things. Instead, for the first time since he’d hatched in the wee hours of the morning he finally felt safe, and the fear and anger that had consumed him until that moment at last began to drain away. He’d waited and called for her for hours, he had nearly been ready to give up altogether but at last, at long last he knew that his Mother had finally come to save him.
He wasn’t alone anymore. He was safe, and he was absolutely certain that nothing bad could happen to him now that his Mother was with him.
Maisie, for her part was no less relieved than the tiny creature she cradled in her arms. It had felt like something had clicked into place inside of her when she’d caught the leaping baby dinosaur, rather like a key slipping into a lock and just as suddenly as it had come the restlessness that had been plaguing Maisie for weeks was gone, as if it had never been there to start with.
Chapter 5: Thieves
I'm taking suggestions for names from readers! If you have an idea for a name for the little guy, feel free to send me a message or comment.
The little hatchling in her arms was so light that Maisie almost couldn’t believe that he was actually real. He was so very small; at her best guess she thought he might weigh six pounds at the very most and he was a skinny little thing too; more leg and tail than anything else and those big gold eyes of his seemed to swallow up his whole face. Well, eyes and teeth that was.
Maisie hadn’t really noticed before she’d gotten the poor little thing out of that awful incubator but he really did have an extraordinary amount of teeth now that she looked at him more closely…. and even though he was small every last one of them looked very sharp indeed. Maisie swallowed a bit in belated nervousness, then decided that it was probably for the best that she hadn’t really thought about all those teeth beforehand.
As incredible as it was to think of, Maisie knew that the hatchling absolutely had to be real because there was no way she could ever have imagined something so …impossible and wonderful and absolutely mad on her own. At least she hoped so. This would certainly put all her previous imaginings of velociraptors and Tyrannosaur’s to shame if it was indeed a figment of her imagination.
Maisie reassured herself that it couldn’t be a dream either because she could feel the way the hatchling’s sharp little hind-claws dug into her skin as he attempted to stabilize himself in the clutching cradle of her arms: small though he was there was still almost more of him than she could comfortably contain.
It hurt, and Maisie faintly recalled hearing that dreams couldn’t hurt, in his defense Maisie knew in her heart that the little creature didn’t actually intend to hurt her; He just didn’t want to fall and regardless of the pain Maisie had no intention whatsoever of putting him down because of it, after all it wasn’t his fault her skin wasn’t properly thick like his own.
The truth was that there was a very good chance that Maisie was never putting him down again and if anybody decided to try and make her, then they were going to have to pry him from her cold dead hands first, and that included Eli, Iris AND her grandfather. He was hers, and that was going to be that.
Maisie wrapped herself around that fragile little body as much as she could, pressing her cheek against the warm, quill rough skin at the top of the hatchling’s head and rocking him like she’d seen people do on television with frightened babies.
Maisie herself had never actually seen a real baby before, and she wasn’t entirely certain if this one even counted as a proper baby but it felt right… so she did it and to her profound relief the hatchling didn’t seem to mind, and slowly the distressed noises he’d been making faded into a quiet, almost contented sounding grinding noise.
Maisie could still feel his heart pounding in his narrow little chest where it was pressed so closely against her own but the longer that she held him the slower it became until it abruptly synched up to her own, the pulsing rhythm resonating through them both in perfect unison, almost as if they were now one creature and not two.
It was jarring, and Maisie was afraid for a brief moment, unable to understand what was happening…. but that fear was gone before it could truly take hold and in it’s place was something she had never felt before, that Maisie knew she didn’t have the words to describe even if she wanted to try. It was too big and too complex. It simply WAS.
From the moment that the hatchling had leapt into her arms Maisie had forgotten almost entirely about what she was supposed to be doing: about Eli and his betrayal, even about her grandfather and how afraid she was to lose him. For the first time in months Maisie was actually happy. REALLY happy, and not just pretending so that her grandfather and Iris wouldn’t worry. She hated that look they got sometimes around her, as if they were remembering something terrible and wonderful at the same time…and looking ahead at something they were afraid of too.
Everything Maisie had never known she needed was in her arms now, and as long as they were together she was certain that everything would be alright. She couldn’t have said HOW she knew it, or why she was so sure that it was true..but it was.
It didn’t make any sense, and she knew that in her rational mind. Maisie was well aware of the fact that she was only a little girl and that the hatchling was just a baby too. They were both small creatures in a world built for giants, pawns in games being played by those much larger than themselves and there was nothing they could really do to change that before now. They’d been alone, but now that was no longer true. Now they had each other.
Together they could do anything. They would be a family. They WERE family and Maisie would do anything she had to do to keep them together. Anything at all. Including going right through Eli Mills and her grandfather both if she had to.
The hatchling shifted again in Maisie’s arms, nosing at her cheek and then craning his neck back in an off S curve so that he could peer up at her curiously. Maisie suddenly had the strange feeling that he was memorizing her face, he was staring it her so very intently. He needed a name, she realized belatedly. Maisie had never named anything before, and she wasn’t entirely certain how to go about it….but names were important and he deserved a good one.
What did one name a dinosaur?
She didn’t even know what sort of dinosaur the poor little thing actually was. She knew he was a carnivore, that much was absolutely certain….those sharp little teeth of his certainly weren’t for chewing leaves: they were made for ripping flesh and cracking bone and Maisie knew it.
So. He needed a name, he also needed food, and she needed to get him somewhere safe. Food she knew she could find in the kitchens. Pleural. There were actually two, and while Maisie knew she probably couldn’t sneak into the primary kitchen she was positive she could get into the smaller overnight kitchen without being noticed, and she could conveniently access it via the dumbwaiter. It really was proving to be a useful tool, and she was for once glad that they lived in such a large old house.
As concerned as she had been earlier about Eli and his staff finding out about her visit to their secret lab….now Maisie found that she didn’t care one tiny bit if he knew: she was absolutely certain that Eli was going to have a very very unpleasant day ahead of him when his staff told him that their hatchling was gone. In fact, Maisie would give her allowance for the next forever just to be there to see the expression on that lying little toad’s face when he found out. It was going to be absolutely glorious. Let’s see how Eli liked being the one in the dark for a while.
Cuddling her new companion close, she walked out of the lab and headed back to Hammond’s office. She didn’t know how long she’d been down there but she did know that it had been longer than she intended when she’d first planned her investigation and that was NOT good news. Maisie needed to get back upstairs quickly. Maisie did remember to lock the office door again once she’d slipped back inside. No sense in making things EASY for Eli after all, the fewer clues he had the better off Maisie would be.
She wasn’t dreaming, and she wasn’t going to wake up in her bedroom alone this time, wishing she could have just …..stayed asleep. The hatchling in her arms was warm and solid and really, truly there and as Maisie carefully slid into the dumbwaiter she tucked him under her shirt and close to her skin. He made a questioning little chirp and she patted his back gently.
“We’re going to have to be quiet now. Both of us. “ she whispered softly. Maisie knew that he probably couldn’t understand her but it was worth a try. She didn’t know what Eli had been up to in that lab and her hatchling certainly wasn’t like any other dinosaur she’d ever seen. Anything was possible.
“I’m going to get us some food and then we’re going to my room and I’m going to figure out somewhere I can hide you until I figure out what to do next. It’s going to be alright, I promise. I won’t let Eli hurt you. “
The hatchling didn’t say anything back of course, but almost as if he sensed Maisie’s urgency he stilled even his smallest movements beneath her shirt and lay still against Maisie’s chest and belly. So far, so good.
Now it was time for her to get the two of them back upstairs safely and Maisie fervently hoped that her already sore arms were going to be up to the task.
It was a long, long way to the top but Maisie now had the best reason in the world to get them there.
Eli Mills was a man who liked order. He wouldn’t have called himself compulsive about it but no matter his outward protests to the contrary it was abundantly clear to anybody with so much as half a functioning brain that Eli DID prefer a certain amount of, well, predictability in his life. Surprises, (in Eli’s opinion) were never good news. His closet was color coded and even his kitchen cabinets were alphabetized, so it was clearly safe to say that Eli was not the most adaptable of men and that was putting it mildly.
Instead of simply taking things as they came, Eli much preferred to meticulously plan out his days from the moment he woke up in the morning until he went to bed at night and he almost always kept to that carefully crafted schedule. Even his meals were pre-planned for maximum efficiency and nutritional value. Eli Mills was a man for whom control was paramount.
With all this in mind it was no surprise that when he was pulled from his peaceful slumber by the shrill screech of his cell phone at 6:30 AM, (a full two hours before his usual wakeup time) that Eli was filled with a terrible sense of foreboding about the day ahead. Somehow he just knew that it was going to be a complete and utter shit-show.
Sure enough, when he did finally arrive Lockwood estate, bleary eyed and irritable in the wee hours of the morning he discovered that his instinctive feeling of foreboding had been spot on as usual
Oh boy, had it ever.
Which was how Eli found himself in what had once been John Hammond’s old office, watching Dr. Wu’s mouth move soundlessly, like a television on mute with no subtitles. It was so incredibly surreal, and Eli couldn’t help but wonder if he was having some sort of out of body experience. Wishful thinking on his part, he knew…but a man could dream, couldn’t he?
Eli knew that the comforting numbness of his shock wouldn’t last much longer because he could already feel the crushing weight of his rising panic just outside the comfortable, numb bubble that currently enfolded him.
Distantly, he heard Dr. Wu’s voice… although it sounded as if the other man was speaking under water and Eli couldn’t follow what he was saying in the slightest. His shock fogged brain was still stuck like a mouse in a glue trap on the first thing the geneticist had told him when he walked into the room.
Henry Wu was a professional, a man that Eli respected a great deal. He was a dedicated, skilled employee and an eminently practical man. He was also an amoral, ruthless bastard which probably explained why the two of them got along so swimmingly; however right at the moment the only thing that Eli's frozen mind was capable of grasping was the fact that Wu was telling him that their 76 million dollar prototype was missing.
Missing. Their day-old, genetically engineered, killer dinosaur was MISSING.
Eli held up a hand, trying doggedly to get hold of his temper which was fraying at a truly unprecedented rate, even for him and he breathed a soft sigh for relief when Wu’s mouth stopped moving at last.
Though Eli could see a hint of concern in the good doctor’s dark eyes, he couldn’t find it in himself to actually give much of a shit, flattering though that concern might have been under other circumstances because it was taking every ounce of restraint in Eli’s entire body not to just start screaming. No one but Wu would have been afforded that curtesy.
“What the fuck do you mean, ‘the neonate is missing.’ ?“ Eli at last gritted out through tightly clenched teeth.
He could see Wu sweating, pulse jumping in the pale hollow of his throat and temples and Eli idly wondered if he looked as terrified as the geneticist did. He certainly hoped not.
Wu himself swallowed heavily and took a deep breath in an effort to compose himself enough to answer Eli’s question in something that WASN’T an incomprehensible stream of muted word salad.
“ Exactly what I said, Mr. Mills. It’s missing. Gone. Vanished. I don’t know how many ways you want me to say it. “ the geneticist replied tartly, a faint note of irritation bleeding into his normally steady and carefully measured voice.
“Dr. Caldwell came in early to run a blood gas panel and an MRI on the specimen to measure post-natal vitamin absorption and skeletal-muscular conformation and when she went to the incubator to sedate the animal for the tests it was gone. “ Wu continued, gesturing in the general direction of the main lab.
“We’ve checked the security feed from the elevator as well as the outer loading dock… and nobody has come in or out all night but the infant is nowhere to be found down here. We turned this place over from top to bottom to check; it’s GONE.”
Wu glared at Eli, jaw going tight with frustration as his own temper began to rise. “ I told you before that we needed security cameras down here, Mills. I told you over and over again that video of the exit points wasn’t enough, that we needed feeds in the labs themselves…but no, you didn’t want a potential evidence leak should our firewalls be compromised. Now we’re missing a one of a kind genetically engineered killing machine with an accelerated growth rate and human equivalent cognitive function worth millions for dollars with ZERO clue where it could have gone because you were paranoid about hackers!”
Wu was shouting by the time he was finished speaking, red faced and almost incandescent with rage. Frustrated as he was himself, Eli didn’t really blame him. He had a point. The truth was that while Eli might have been the financial backer for the project; nobody was more committed to the success of their joint endeavor than Dr. Henry Wu himself. The Indoraptor was the culmination of Wu’s life’s work and this was his last chance to bring to fruition his 30 year old dream.
After the last disaster, Wu had been stripped of his medical license and credentials. There was no other lab in the world save this one that would be willing to give him access to the resources necessary to complete his research, now the results of that research were gone and none of them had a clue where to even begin to look.
“What about it’s tracking device?” Eli asked, a faint memory of a discussion about a subcutaneous implant surfacing suddenly, bringing with it a faint glimmer of hope. A hope that moments later was snuffed out as if it had never been.
Wu only shook his head and sighed in frustration. “ We were going to implant it today, we didn’t want to traumatize the animal so soon after hatching in case the stress caused some sort of developmental damage. We wanted to be sure it was stable. “
Eli heaved a long, miserable sigh. Of course. He should have known it would have been too much to hope for, for the solution to their problem to be so simple.
Fantastic, abso-fucking-lutely fantastic.
“So what you’re telling me that we have no way to find this thing.” Eli replied, sitting down on the edge of the gleaming antique desk behind him. He scrubbed his face with both his hands, wishing that this was all just a terrible dream that he could wake up from.
It was a small comfort that at least Wu seemed as freaked out by the entire situation as Eli himself. A VERY small comfort but it was something and at the moment it was all Eli had to hang on to.
“ What’s the current projection on the growth rate of the animal?”, Eli asked resignedly.
He knew it was going to be bad news already, and the awful irony of the whole situation was that Eli himself had been the one who pushed for that rapid growth rate, entirely against Dr.Wu’s advice purely to maximize profits. After all, who would want to buy a weapon that took 3-5 years to reach adult size and that couldn’t be replaced quickly if killed in combat.
“ The Indoraptor reaches full adult size and function at 8 months. It’s large enough to be lethal at 6.” Dr Wu replied bluntly, and then he folded his arms across his chest and glared at Eli as if to say ‘see? I told you that was a bad idea.’
“If we don’t find it quickly Mr. Mills, we are all completely and utterly fucked.” the geneticist added grimly, as if Eli wasn’t already aware.
“No shit.” Eli snapped, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration
“ Is there a chance that even if it does manage to get out that it could be killed by some sort of natural predator? It’s small, right? So at this size its can’t possibly defend itself from an attack.”
Eli hoped desperately that maybe something or someone besides himself could solve their little problem for them.
Sadly, that hope was put entirely to to rest by the next words that came out of Dr. Wu’s scowling mouth.
“I don’t know Mr. Mills, …do you think a bear or a wolf is going to be able to outwit and out track an animal that can color shift and camouflage itself almost perfectly in any environment and smell them, and this is not hyperbole, from a mile away?”
“Not to mention the fact that the Indoraptor’s cognitive function is so advanced that it’s easily comparable to our own.” Wu continued, and the sarcasm in his voice was absolutely scathing.
Eli had never wanted to wake up from a bad dream so much in his entire life.
“Is it possible that it hasn’t left the building yet?”
Wu shrugged one shoulder, some of the rage leaving his tone as he responded.
“It’s possible, but unlikely. We’d have seen it by now if it was simply wandering around the house or grounds. “ Wu said, shaking his head slowly from side to side.
“ The Indoraptor is highly aggressive and worse, it hasn’t been fed yet. Instinct will push it to attempt to hunt regardless of it’s comparative size to prey items.”, Wu said grimly.
“ That accelerated growth rate comes at a very high cost, the Indoraptor needs a massive caloric intake to fuel building all that muscle and bone at that sort of speed. It will eat twice it’s own weight or more in meat every day, until it reaches full maturity. “
< “ After which it’s need to feed will drop to a far more manageable, around 20 lbs or so every other day give or take energy expenditure. The Indoraptor’s digestion was designed to be incredibly efficient as an adult, but while it’s growing if doesn’t eat enough it’s body will rapidly begin to consume itself and it will starve to death.”
Dr. Wu walked quietly over to the liquor cabinet in the corner of the office and removed a half full bottle of whiskey and two glasses, he set them down wordlessly on the desk and filled both almost to the brim, handing one to Eli before draining his own in a single long swallow. Eli was smart enough not to get his hopes up this time and he was proven correct again when Dr. Wu continued his explanation.
“If it’s loose outside, prey is abundant enough that it should be able to fend for itself even at it’s current size. Instinct will guide it at first, but it will learn rapidly what works and what doesn’t and then begin to plan accordingly to compensate. It’s projected success rate is somewhere around 90%.”
He looked back to Eli, an expression of such profound despair written so clearly across his face that Eli’s heart sank.
“It hasn’t shown itself in the building, so if it WAS still here there’s no way it wouldn’t have already attempted an attack on either the staff or Mr. Lockwood and his granddaughter; Possibly even you yourself when you first came in.”
“ The Indoraptor is loose on the grounds somewhere, it has to be; and if that’s the case then we are supremely, magnificently and entirely fucked.”
The pair of them sat quietly together for a long collection of moments, the silence between them growing steadily more oppressive, almost choking ..until Eli spoke again, this time with only only a single word to say in response to everything the good doctor had just told him.
Next up, Maisie and the Indoraptor!
Chapter 7: Wonder
Wow, I'm so incredibly flattered by everyone's support and comments. Seriously, you guys are amazing.
The Indoraptor was the most adorable thing Maisie had ever seen, and while she’d thought so from the first moment she’d first laid eyes on him, that impression had only grown stronger the longer she spent with him.
She’d been watching the little black hatchling for almost an hour now and she still wasn’t anything close to bored (which Maisie counted as a minor miracle in itself) .
He’d been stalking and pouncing an old yellow ball of hers for the last twenty minutes or so of that hour while Maisie lay belly down on the floor nearby watching him, she knew she was grinning like an idiot but honestly, she just couldn’t help it.
He wasn’t the most graceful of creatures just yet, Maisie had to admit….at least when it came to stalking and pouncing, but in her opinion his determination more than made up for any lack of agility, and more importantly every time the little fellow tried he got just a little bit better at it.
He became faster and more accurate with each attempt, more sure of himself too…but he was always looking back to Maisie for her approval of what he was doing, as if he was making sure that he was doing it correctly.
Whenever he looked to her, Maisie always made sure to encourage him to try again, and praised him when he did. The results were incredible, she could almost see his confidence and determination growing by the moment. It was an amazing thing to be able to witness, it really was, and she was grateful to have the chance. Who needed old videos of dinosaurs or dry bones when they had an actual baby dinosaur to teach?
Maisie rolled the ball across her bedroom floor again and grinned as the hatchling, instead of running after it immediately as he had when they started the game, waited patiently until it was within perfect striking distance before flinging himself onto it like a little black and gold torpedo, snapping and hissing and holding it in place with his teeth while clawing at it with both his fore-claws and those sharp little hind claws of his.
The way he did it almost reminded Maisie of the videos she’d seen on Youtube of cats rather than a reptile, but whatever Indy was, there was definitely some Velociraptor in there somewhere. Maisie was absolutely positive of it. His hind-claws and the way he ‘hunted’ were more than enough proof of that, even if she hadn’t already heard Eli call him an “Indoraptor.” She wasn’t able to understand the whiteboards in the lab but Maisie’s ears worked just fine. Indoraptor he was, but he’d always be Indy to Maisie. Not short for “Indoraptor” though, no matter how it sounded.
He was smart and brave and made of the past and the future cobbled together with blood and bone and ingenuity, so what better name for him than Indiana Bones? Indy for short. Maisie thought it was terribly clever, and when she called him Indy he seemed to like it, so that was good enough for her. Indiana Bones he was.
Once he was certain that the ball was sufficiently ‘dead’ her hatchling proudly brought it back to her to roll again, chirping delightedly the entire time, making Maisie grin at him widely. He was ever so proud of himself for his ‘victory’ and she was proud of him too and she made sure to let him know it. .
When he gave it to her this time, Maisie took a look at the ball and realized that it wasn’t going to stand up to much more of his rough and tumble treatment. The hard rubber was so deeply pitted and scored by his teeth and claws that Maisie was a little surprised it hadn’t given up the ghost already.
Unlike every time before however, Indy showed no interest in chasing the ball again and once he’d given it to her he curled up as close to her as he could manage, folding him himself into a little ball against Maisie’s side and promptly falling asleep with the sort of abruptness that only the very young and the very old ever seemed to be able to manage.
She was going to need to find him something a little more durable to play with in VERY short order, otherwise Maisie strongly suspected that he’d just find something for himself….and she preferred to make certain that it WASN’T something important to her, or something that could do him any sort of harm, not that he struck her as being particularly fragile, but it was wise to be careful.
She looked down at his dark little body, curled so trustingly close to her own and stroked her fingertips gently over the rough curve of his brow-bone near his eye, following where his gold and orange markings started, something warm blooming inside her chest when she noticed that Indy actually smiled in his sleep. She’s never known that dinosaurs could be so expressive, but that was absolutely a smile and nobody would ever convince her differently.
As she watched him her mind drifted to what she’d already learned over the course of their brief time together.
Indy was clever, almost frighteningly so at times and he watched her every move with those wide goldenrod colored eyes of his as if his life depended on it. She’d even caught him mimicking her posture and movements twice already.
Every single time she spoke his tiny eyes were riveted on her lips, focused so intently that it almost seemed like he was trying to puzzle out her words. Like he was…learning, or trying to at the very least. It was uncanny and sometimes it made the hair stand up on the back of her neck, regardless of how adorable he was.
Maisie was beginning to wonder exactly what Eli had been trying to make down there in that lab, and once more she wished desperately that she’d paid more attention to Iris’s science lessons.
She knew the answer to her questions was probably still downstairs on those whiteboards that she couldn’t make heads or tails of….. but a fat lot of good that did her since she couldn’t read the bloody things anyway. It was frustrating, but there wasn’t anything she could do about it for now.
Maisie had never had a pet before, even though she’d begged her grandfather and Iris both. Not that she really considered Indy a pet. He was just …hers, and she was his. She didn’t even really consider what she’d done by taking him stealing.
He was made with her grandfather’s money, with his research and with his equipment in HER house. Indy didn’t belong to Eli or anybody else. He belonged to HER. She had every right to him, certainly more than Eli did, because you can’t steal something that’s already yours.
Maisie tightened her grip on Indy without realizing it, and felt suitably chagrined when one of his little eyes flickered open to look up at her sleepily for a moment before he yawned and drifted off again, Maisie yawned as well, entirely against her own will and gentled her grip. It seems that Indy had the right idea.
When Maisie had finally managed to get him upstairs the night before she’d been exhausted, both from hauling the pair of them up from the lab in the dumbwaiter and from getting enough food for her little bottomless pit with legs from the kitchen. Honestly it really had seemed almost impossible at several points, but she’d persevered.
Maisie had worried that they were never going to make it upstairs, especially after their stop at the second kitchen. To her shock Indy had torn apart two full size turkeys and he’d eaten every scrap of both of them, including the bones, consuming them both in less than ten minutes from start to finish.
Maisie hadn’t even known an animal could DO that, and she still had no idea where he’d put all that food he’d eaten. It hadn’t seemed physically possible.
Maisie found herself growing more concerned by the hour about the fact that there was no way that the disappearance of that much food was going to go unnoticed. Not for long anyway. They were going to have to find another source of meat and they were going to have to do it quickly.
Once he’d gotten his tiny belly stuffed full of meat in the kitchen, to Maisie’s surprise Indy had almost immediately gone to sleep, right there on the spot and she’d had to carry his limp little body back with her to the dumbwaiter to raise them up to her grandfather’s room.
That had been….unexpected but in the end she’d been grateful for that food coma, because it made the rest of their journey quite a bit safer.
She’d tied Indy’s sleeping body to herself in a makeshift sling made up of garbage bags and desperation and thankfully he’d been out like a light the entire ride up as well as through the rather more harrowing trip back across the roof from her grandfather’s room. Maisie had never been so glad to see her room in her entire life as she was when she finally made her way back to her own balcony.
She’d taken Indy out of the sling as carefully as she could, hiding the bags and undressing herself hurriedly. She’d carried him with her to her own bed, carefully covering the both of them with her quilt and tucking his little head under her chin, paying not a single thought to that mouth full of sharp teeth of his. He wouldn’t hurt her any more than she would hurt him, Maisie had been certain of it. She still was.
He’d stayed curled up in Maisie’s bed under the blankets with her for hours, twitching and chirping in his sleep now and again until she woke and sleepily soothed him, rubbing his bumpy little back until he settled and was quiet again before drifting off once more herself.
To Maisie’s surprise, even when he’d woken before her, Indy hadn’t left her to go explore. He’d stayed right there under the blanket with her and when she at last woke up as well, it had been to the little hatchling trying to burrow his way closer to her instead of trying to get away.
Indy had stayed as close to her as he could manage since the moment she’d taken him out of the incubator in the lab and for her own part, Maisie couldn’t say that she was unhappy with the situation.
She’d never had anybody love her so quickly and unconditionally…even though she knew her grandfather and Iris both loved her dearly the truth was that sometimes it felt as if when they looked at her they weren’t really seeing her.
It felt to her as if they were looking past her to someone else and while Maisie never said anything about it to either of them..it hurt, it rubbed at something deep inside her until it felt as if she was raw and bleeding just under her skin every time it happened. When Indy looked at her he wasn’t seeing anybody else. He saw HER, and that was enough. Maisie had never been enough for anybody before.
Indy trusted her, he loved her and she was going to do anything and everything she could to be worthy of that trust.
Maisie rubbed her thumb over the edge of one of his small teeth, watching as a bead of her own blood welled to the surface where the edge cut her and stained the white enamel.
Anything at all.
Chapter 8: Trouble
Sorry for the lateness and the length, guys. My father passed away unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago, less than a month after my best friend of almost 25 years also passed away. I didn't take it well and writing was NOT a thing that was happening. Hopefully I'll be more regular now.
Eli had been staring at the numbers jotted down on the scrap of paper laying innocently on the desk in front of him for the last twenty minutes, desperately trying to summon up the will to call the number written there. He didn’t want to do it, he REALLY didn’t want to, in fact, calling that number was literally the last thing on earth he wanted to do… but the situation he now found himself in didn’t exactly leave him spoiled for choices. This was the only card he had left…and it was time to play it and his feelings about it were inconsequential.
If he didn’t pick up the phone and it least try, then everything that Eli had said and done and dreamed of would all be for nothing.
All that money, all of Eli’s time and effort, the years of careful planning would be entirely wasted. Eli had one last chance to salvage this complete cock-up, and he didn’t intend to go down without a fight, so he took a steadying breath and shoved his reluctance aside and finally picked up the phone and dialed the number.
As he listened to it ring Eli almost hoped nobody would answer it, that the number would be disconnected, but his shitty luck held true and once again Eli didn’t get what he wanted, because on the third ring the call connected with a sharp click and a familiar voice answered, crisp and professional.
“ Claire Dearing speaking, how can I help you?”
Eli pinched the bridge of his nose and did his best to force a friendly tone into his voice, he didn’t want sound like he wanted to throw himself off the nearest cliff. Claire Dearing was a barracuda in heels, and if she sensed weakness this game would be over before it ever really got started.
“Ms. Dearing,” Eli said brightly, and despite his effort, even to his own ears he could hear that his voice sounded somewhat strained, he could only hope Dearing didn’t notice it as keenly as he did.
“I’m so pleased you could take my call…I’m Eli Mills, I work on behalf of the Lockwood estate and trusts. I’m sorry to bother you but do you think you could spare a moment or two of your time to speak with me?”
Eli listened carefully, and smiled when he heard her pause on the other end of the line for a moment before she answered him, though when she did Eli could hear the suspicious caution in her tone.
“Certainly, Mr. Mills, what would you like to discuss?”
Eli could all too clearly imagine the narrow eyed, thoughtful look on her face and he nearly couldn’t repress his sigh of relief, he’d cleared the first hurdle, he had her attention… but now it was time to turn on the charm and sell his pitch.
“ Excellent! As I’ve said, I work on behalf of the Lockwood estate and and also on the behalf of Benjamin Lockwood personally: you see, we’ve lately become aware of your great effort to avert the Isla Nublar crisis and I wanted to invite you to the estate to speak with me about a potential solution that could ultimately greatly benefit the both of us, “ Eli listened carefully, even while he spoke, trying to decipher Claire’s reactions to better choose what tactic to take to convince her to do what he wanted, what he NEEDED her to do.
Eli’s stomach twisted uneasily, the silence dragging on awkwardly as Clair considered what he said, it was longer than before and even worse, when she did answer Eli at last, he could hear her skepticism loud and clear. Not good news certainly, but at least she hadn’t hung up on him just yet and Eli knew that as long as he had her on the line there was still a chance he could turn things around in his own favor.
Eli’s heart pounded in his ears as adrenaline surged through his body, he was painfully aware that this had to be the sales pitch of his life, and there was absolutely no room whatsoever for error. He kept his tone friendly and calm, light enough to be personable but not casual enough to be unprofessional, and while he had never met her personally he knew others that had and their near universal opinion was that Claire Dearing was not a woman that tolerated untoward intimacy of any kind.
“My apologies, Ms. Dearing but I really would prefer to speak in person about certain sensitive matters. I’m sure a businesswoman such as yourself can understand my reluctance. Phone lines aren’t always entirely secure and I would prefer to be cautious. What I can tell you now, is that there may potentially be a way that my benefactor and his estate can assist you with your current goal.” When Eli heard her inhale in surprise a savage grin bloomed on his face. He had her. He HAD her, she’d taken the bait and now all he had to do was reel her in. When Eli continued, he made sure to put a note of sincere chagrin into his tone, a sheepish sort of awkwardness at a situation that wasn’t entirely under his own control.
“ I want to be as up front with you as possible about certain things, Ms. Dearing. For us to offer you what you need, we will need something from you in return, as well as something from Mr. Grady; if you can convince him to come with you to the estate to speak with me. I can assure you both that if you are willing meet with me in good faith that regardless of the outcome you won’t leave empty handed. I’m prepared to offer you and your organization a donation of 50,000 dollars simply for showing up…so either way this will be a win for you, and not a waste of your time even if you decide not to take us up on our offer. “
This was Eli’s best shot at getting what he needed, and regardless of what he told Claire Dearing, security had little to do with why he needed to see her in person, the truth was that he just didn’t want her to say no outright. He needed her on his territory, where he could control the situation, if things went poorly with her…..accidents happened every day. Eli Mills didn’t like loose ends, and Claire Dearing would be a VERY loose end if she turned him down. It would be a pity to have to get rid of her, but needs must.
Eli waited with baited breath, and at last his patience was rewarded, and he heard Claire’s crisp, professional voice once more, and her answer made him want to weep with pure, unmitigated relief.
“Alright, Mr. Mills. I’ll bite…and I’ll do my best to get Mr. Grady on board with at least a meeting, but I can’t make you any promises about his co-operation with whatever plan it is you have in mind.” she paused and Eli could hear a faint hint of exasperation enter her voice.
“….. Owen can be difficult at the best of times and we haven’t really been on good terms lately. I can’t answer for him, only myself. For my part, however, I’m willing to hear you out. When would you like to meet? “
It wasn’t an outright promise of assistance, but it was enough to give Eli some small shred of hope that, maybe, just maybe, his situation was potentially salvageable. It was certainly a better position than the one’d been in before he made the call, that was for certain and right now even a small hope was better than none at all, which was exactly what he’d had only 20 minutes prior.
It took nearly everything in Eli’s body to keep the eagerness and triumph out of his voice when he answered her question.
“ As soon as is possible, Ms. Dearing. Whenever you wish I can have a car pick you up from your location and take you to the airport, there will be a private jet waiting for you there which will take you to wherever it is that you need to go to attempt to retrieve Mr. Grady. Then it will bring you both to the Lockwood estate.”
Even as he spoke, Eli picked up his tablet , opening and app to make the arrangements in anticipation of Claire’s response. All he needed was a time.
“ Send the car now, I can leave immediately” Clair replied briskly, her tone all business, single minded and impatient, and Eli could hear paper rattling faintly in the background and the muted thump of a drawer shutting.
“Thank you, Ms. Dearing. I’m so pleased we could come to an arrangement. I look forward to meeting you in person. I’ll see you soon and then I’ll be delighted to discuss things with you in more detail.” he didn’t bother to hide the pleasure in his tone this time…which might have unwise, considering her reply.
“Don’t make me regret this, Mr. Mills.” Claire said coldly, her tone intimidating and sharp enough to pull him up short and dampen his good mood again,“My time is valuable, and I don’t like to waste it any more than you would, yourself. ”
Eli’s smug smirk never wavered. He leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers in front of his face, feeling in control of the situation again for the first time since Wu had told him that the Indoraptor was missing.
“No geese here, Ms. Dearing, that much I can promise you.” Eli replied, eyes narrow and gleaming coldly in savage triumph.
“I’ll see you as soon as I can then, Mr. Mills. “
“ Have a safe flight, Ms. Dearing. I look forward to meeting you, goodbye. “ he didn’t wait for her answer before he hung up, disconnecting the call and tossing his phone onto his desk with uncharacteristic carelessness. It seemed that Claire Dearing lived up to her reputation, how novel! Now all he needed to do was wait for her and hopefully Mr. Grady’s arrival, and that was something that Eli was very very good at doing.
Chapter 9: Overture
"This is a bad idea." Wu said, while staring Eli down intently... as if somehow he imagined that he might be able to change Eli’s mind by sheer force of will alone; unfortunately for the good doctor, however Eli’s only response to his statement was to roll his eyes and then offer the other man a glare of his own in return.
"You've been saying the same thing for the last two days, and I’m giving you the same answer now that I did the last forty times you said it, and the same answer I’ll give you the next forty.” Eli retorted, a note of irritation creeping into his usually smooth voice. “I know.”
However, despite his annoyance, when Eli noticed the genuine concern on the geneticist's pinched, worried face he reluctantly allowed some of the impatience and irritation to fade from his own voice. He didn’t like what Wu was saying but he did feel the need to at the very least acknowledge the fact that he liked Dr. Wu as a person as well as a colleague, the geneticist was actually the only friend Eli could ever remember having.
" I can handle Dearing and Grady, Hank. I've got this, I really do. " Eli said softly, doing his awkward best to sooth the smaller man’s trepidation about their plan. Unfortunately, it didn’t help, because the worry on his companion’s face didn't waver for an instant, though a hint of fondness did eventually soften his expression somewhat. Eli watched Wu shake his head and pinch the bridge of his nose in exhausted frustration.
" No," He said, looking up and meeting Eli's eyes concerned gaze once more “ You don’t. You absolutely don’t." Wu spat in reply, his voice crackling with frustration.
“Claire Dearing isn't someone you want to play with, Eli.” the geneticist stated grimly.
“ I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that that woman will chew you up and spit you out like a soggy shoe if you screw up even a little, Eli. I KNOW her, I worked with her for years and I'm telling you right now that this clever little plan of yours is an astoundingly bad idea and that it is going to blow up in BOTH of our faces sooner or later." the genuine urgency that had crept into Wu’s normally carefully controlled tone kindled the first stirrings of unease in Eli’s gut. This was a side of him that Eli had never seen before and while Eli wasn’t quite sure how he felt about it just yet he chose to hear him out rather than interrupt and that was a courtesy he wouldn’t have offered to anyone else .
" She's smart, Eli. “ Wu continued urgently, “..smarter than I think she's generally given credit for being and she already HAS a reputation for being ruthless and that should tell you something about her actual capability, even if you don’t want to take my word for it.” The smaller man walked over to where Eli still sat perched on the edge of Hammond's desk and carefully took a seat beside him, almost close enough to for their shoulder’s to touch.
"This will either go incredibly well or it’s going to go so spectacularly wrong that sattelites will be able to see it from orbit." Wu said miserably, and as Eli watched out of the corner of his eye, Wu’s expression went a little distant as his allowed himself to remember the time he'd spent with Claire as her colleague at Jurassic World.
"She has that reputation of hers for a good reason. She really does, and I can promise you that none of it is hyperbole. If anything the rumors damn her with faint praise. “ Wu sighed and met Eli’s eyes and the misery in his own expression was almost palpable. <\p> “ I just don't want you to underestimate her, a great many other people have made that particular mistake and it has NEVER worked out in their favor " the geneticist muttered unhappily, low enough that Eli almost couldn’t hear him.
“ She didn’t land her job at the park by accident. Dearing ran Jurassic World because she was the most cut-throat, driven and focused person that Simon Masrani could find that still had a sliver of humanity left. She's going to put things together fast, Eli.” the geneticist held up one had to cut off Eli before he could offer a response. “ Before you even bring it up, yes, I managed to mislead her once, but I really don't think I can do it again." the genuine worry and urgency in Wu's voice made Eli's skin prickle with unease, and that feeling of foreboding that had plagued him for the last few days returned full force.
Wu went on speaking grimly, lost in his own memories and for the moment, still oblivious to Eli’s growing disquiet "I was lucky to pull it off THEN and I only managed it because she trusted her staff. She was juggling a hundred things at once the whole time, which meant that she didn't have the time to micromanage my department and still keep the park running smoothly. She’s not distracted anymore, Eli. You're going to have her full and undivided attention and if you make a single mistake she WILL catch you up in it. It's what she does. " the more Eli heard about Clare Dearing, the more he started to regret the necessity of bringing her in on the project.
"You're going to have to give her full discolsure,... and I don't honestly know how that's going to end." Wu said unhappily as he looked down at his own hands, which lay limply in his lap. They were long fingered and slender, slightly callused on the palms and fingers from playing the violin in what little free time the doctor had outside of his work. Eli had always found them one of Wu's better features. Elegant and steady, much like the man himself. They were far from steady now.
Eli frowned as he watched the other man clench then tightly before shaking his head as if to clear it and continuing on. He had Eli's attention now, and true to form Dr. Wu knew it.
" Even worse, as bad as dealing with Claire Dearing is, it still doesn't even begin to measure up to the disaster waiting to happen that is Owen Grady." .
The fact of the matter was that Wu was well aware that while Claire Dearing was bad news all by herself, Claire Dearing and Owen goddamn Grady together were a catastrophe of epic proportions and he seemed to be the only one to see it.
Eli scoffed, and almost immediately regretted it because the incredulous derision on his face made his companion flush with fury. Eli didn’t realize it, but he was a fortunate man because while the geneticist was filled with the urge to punch him right in his smug, haughty face his self control never faltered…but it was a near thing. It generally was, with Eli. Wu composed himself forcefully before he continued, doing his best to ignore Eli's skepticism and impress upon him the seriousness of the situation they were about to find themselves in.
"Owen Gra--" he started, but Eli cut him off before Wu could even finish the man's name.
" Come on, Hank. You can't possibly be suggesting that Grady is some kind of threat," the disdain in Eli's voice was scathing.
" He's a meathead, for Christ's sake... a glorified dog trainer. What possible threat could he be to either of us?"
Wu suddenly found himself filled with the terrible certainty that the other man's smug arogance was going to be what ultimately brought him down and he desperately hoped he'd be able to avoid the fallout when it happened. It was in that sense of self interest that the scientist chose to continue on, however his patience with Eli had worn thin and it showed in his tone when he gave his reply.
"This isn't a fucking GAME, Eli." Wu said sharply, standing up again and glaring furiously at the taller man. Eli blinked in surprise, more shocked by the fact that Henry was swearing than anything else. The geneticist didn't do it often, which it made it all the more jarring when he actually did.
" You think I do--" Eli interrupted, only to be shocked into sudden silence by the ferocity of Wu's reply.
"Shut up, Eli! For once in your fucking life just SHUT UP and listen to someone besides yourself! " there was something pleading in Henry's tone and that was what made Eli listen, when his normal response to anyone that was NOT Henry Wu would been incandescent fury. Eli reluctantly found himself doing exactly what he had been asked to do. Shutting up.
Dr Wu continued, the intensity of his voice growing steadily as he spoke. "You think you're going to be able to do with Dearing and Grady what you do with Lockwood and me, and everybody else around you and I am telling you right now that it isn't going to work this time, Eli. Not here. Not now, and most certainly not with THEM."
Wu dragged his hand through his own hair in frustration as he paced, disturbing it from it's normal, orderly style as he at last lost what little remained of his composure entirely. Eli stared in fascinated surprise, wide eyed and stunned at what he was seeing. He'd known Dr. Henry Wu for over a decade, and in all that time Eli had never once seen him like this .....and he wasn't entirely sure if it freaked him out or turned him on and THAT thought was disturbing enough to rattle him...so he chose to lock it in an iron box in the back of his mind and throw away the key. He was NOT going there, not now at any rate and if he were honest with himself..probably not ever.
Eli almost flinched however, when Wu stopped his pacing abruptly and turned to glare at him, and while the fury in those usually calm, dark eyes unsettled Eli more than he would like to admit, it was nothing compared to his reaction to what came out of Wu's mouth only a moment later.
"I LET you pull my strings, Eli. I always have, but don't ever for a moment think that I'm not aware that you're doing it. Claire Dearing isn't me, and she's certainly not a sick old man in the twilight of his life or a little girl who doesn’t know any better. She won't let you pull her strings and if you try you'll find yourself with no fingers. " the grim certainty in the geneticists tone made the hair on the back of Eli's neck prickle and a chill spread through his body, but Wu wasn’t finished..
"....and that's nothing compared to what Grady will do if you try it with him." Eli could hardly believe that they were talking about the same person. He'd read Grady's file a hundred times and there was nothing in it that he had seen that should have gotten this reaction from anybody, much less someone like Wu, but Eli was beginning to suspect that maybe everything he needed to know hadn't been in that file and that the only question left to answer now was just how much was missing and from the look on his companion’s pinched, exhausted face Eli was going to make an educated guess that the answer to that question was ' a lot'.
He watched uneasily as Wu started pacing again and uncharacteristically chose to remain silent and let the smaller man say his piece.
"Didn't you ever wonder how Grady knew enough about Raptor behavior to attempt to train his pack?" the dark, ominous note in Wu's voice made Eli thankful that he had chosen to stay silent, and he listened raptly as the other man kept talking.
"He knew because he spent six months alone on the island with them before the restructuring and containment crew arrived, observing the Beta pack before they were euthanized. He watched them, followed them, learned their behaviors and it was on HIS recommendation that the pack was put down.”
“Our initial goal was simply to attempt to recapture them, it was Grady that nixed that plan and gave the kill order instead. " Eli couldn’t conceal his shock. He hadn’t known that, not only had it not been in Grady's file it also seemed incredibly out of character for the man who Eli knew had been so attached to some of the most lethal creatures ever to walk the earth, given what he DID know about the man. It made no sense.
"What?" for once, Eli didn't even bother attempting to hide the confusion in his voice.
" You heard me. " Wu replied grimly. "It was Grady. He was the one who gave the order to purge the Beta pack personally, and it was also Owen Grady who selected the genetic stock used to design the new Raptors. You didn't think we started from scratch, did you?" the geneticist snorted and shook his head, his snide tone utterly scathing as he kept talking.
" No, that would have been impractical and extremely expensive as well. Instead, we took genetic samples from individuals that he chose and then refined their genetic blueprint, changing what we could given our improved understanding of the species thanks to recent advances in paleontology. We used less lizard and amphibian DNA and much more bird, we even added some mammalian influences to give them higher intellect and more social capacity. We tweaked the ratios and the reward...was Blue. " Eli could hear the pride in Wu's tone as he said her name.
"She wouldn't be what she was without Grady, he had almost as much influence on her design as I did. I watched him raise her, Eli. The video logs don't actually do it justice. It was uncanny, how well they could read one another. The moment that I watched him stand next to her, unshackled and unmuzzled at her full, adult size and stroke her head was the proudest moment of my life. It was the first time that I was certain that the Indoraptor project had a real chance of success within my own lifetime. "
It was easy to forget that despite whatever else he might have been ...Henry Wu was a scientist first, and while the Indoraptor project was Eli's passion, it was and always had been Wu's entire life. There was no forgetting it now, Eli thought to himself as he watched the other man's dark eyes gleam with pride.
"Owen Grady may not have a PHD after his name, and he may not have attended an ivy league school...but I can promise you that he will be every bit as problematic to handle as Dearing, though admittedly in a different way. "
"How so?" Eli finally asked, not a single trace of derision left now in his tone.
"Grady won't be focusing on what you say or what you offer him, he won't be looking for inconsistencies or loopholes, like Dearing will. He'll listen to how you speak, not what you say and he'll watch how you move and breathe and every flick of your eyes and clench of your jaw will be as if you're shouting your intentions to him at the top of your lungs. “ Wu said bluntly.
“He’ll read you like a billboard, Eli....and if you're bullshitting him he'll know it and I can promise you that he won't take it well. The best tactic you can take right now would be candor with them both. Tell them the truth, or at least as much of it as you can. " at that, Eli watched the other man's shoulders slump. Wu stood in silence that way for a long moment before he made his way back to the desk and sat down quietly beside Eli again.
"We're out of choices, Hank." Eli eventually said softly, and he heard the geneticist beside him sigh quietly, Wu eventually offered Eli a wan, sidelong smile. He looked almost as tired as Eli felt, and it was a poignant reminder that as stressed as Eli was personally, Wu was no better off.
"I know." the geneticist replied, and for a long moment the pair of them sat in silence, each of them absorbed with their own thoughts. It was Wu who spoke first, in the end.
"Tell them the truth, and they'll either help us or not. If they agree, we can tie them up in so much red tape and legal documentation that their grandchildren will still be under a gag order, and If they decline......" Wu paused, and despite the direness of the situation Eli couldn't help but smile at the ominously calculated malice that crept into his companion's voice.
"If they decline, neither of them will live long enough to tell anybody what they know, regardless. " Eli finished for him, the look of savage approval on Wu's face a moment later reminded Eli anew of all the reasons he was so terribly fond of Henry Wu.
"Indeed," the smaller man said quietly, before taking a deep breath and standing up again, adjusting his tie and smoothing the pristine whiteness of his lab coat.
"Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have preparations to make for our guests before their arrival . "
Eli snorted and arched one carefully manicured brow at his statement . "Oh, really?" Eli said dryly, folding his arms across his chest.
Wu looked almost offended, and he gave Eli a haughty glance in return, and only someone who knew him well would have been able to see the gleam of humor in his eyes beneath the mask of cold professionalism he wore once more.
"Yes, really," Wu said archly, as he reached for the office door. "Never underestimate the utility of a good powerpoint presentation." the scientist added over his shoulder as he stood briefly in the doorframe . He didn’t stay long enough to hear Eli’s reaction before he walked out of the door and shut it behind himself with a soft click but Eli’s muted laughter followed him all the way down the hall anyway.
Ten minutes later, Eli was still snickering.
Chapter 10: Dawn
Maisie makes a decision.
I want to thank everybody for their kind words and condolences on my recent losses. You guys are amazing and so patient. Next chapter we at last get some Claire and Owen! Also, I'm putting out a call for a beta reader so I can even out my pacing and flow and be less of a punctuation derp. If anybody is interested feel free to drop me a comment. :) Now, on with the show!
Maisie had never much liked mornings, and although Iris had always done her best to try and encourage her to have a more positive attitude about them, all the pancakes and strawberry jam in the world couldn't make mornings any less dreadful in Maisie's eyes, and that was that as far as she was concerned.
Mornings were terrible, and Maisie reserved the right to grumble and complain about them no matter how many times Iris sighed and huffed about it. It was morning now, and Maisie was awake but for once she found that she didn’t actually mind.
Instead of dreading the oncoming day she lay quietly in the steadily brightening dawn light, watching Indy, laying sleeping peacefully beside her. Maisie smiled softly to herself as she looked down at him and after a moment of hesitation she gave in to the urge to tenderly smooth her fingertips down the dark length of his snout; her smile widening when even as he slept he tilted his head trustingly towards her touch, the corners of his sharp toothed mouth curving up in pleasure
The sight of it made Maisie's heart twist inside her chest almost painfully and she only barely smothered the urge to grab him and drag him closer to her so that she could hold him more tightly. She knew he probably wouldn't mind, he never did…no matter how tightly she held him, he never tried to get away from her, but she didn't want to startle him while he slept. She settled for simply watching him and stroking him gently just to see him smile.
Maisie had never loved anything the way she loved Indy, ...she loved him so much that sometimes it felt like she couldn't breathe properly. As if what she felt for him filled up every inch of space inside her and there was no room for anything else. It was wonderful, and absolutely terrifying at the same time.
The little dinosaur was curled up as close as he could get to her belly and Maisie could feel the steady rise and fall of his chest with every breath he took. It was comforting, almost soothing . Well, not almost....it WAS soothing. It was one of the many improvements that Indy's arrival had brought in it's wake and Maisie was grateful for every last one of them.
Maisie had been troubled by strange dreams for as long as she could remember, she’d wake shaking and screaming in the dark, clawing at her own skin to escape flames that weren’t there, panic clogging her throat and crying hard enough that she couldn’t breathe. When she was younger she would run to her grandfather or to Iris for comfort on those nights, but Maisie noticed eventually that every time she did they’d both be strange for days after and refuse to meet her eyes, and if they did it was as if they weren’t looking at Maisie at all. They looked through her at something that she couldn’t see and it made her feel like a ghost in her own skin. As if somehow she wasn’t really there at all. So Maisie had stopped going to them, and had chosen instead to suffer her nightmares alone.
Since Indy had come crashing into her life the nightmares had vanished as if they'd never been there at all, and Maisie couldn't help but be painfully grateful. She had a lot to be grateful for lately, it seemed. Most of it centered on the little creature sleeping so peacefully beside her.
To Maisie's surprise it hadn't taken very long at all for her to adjust to Indy's presence in her bed and, more importantly, in her life. He'd been with her for almost a full week now and it was growing ever more difficult for her to even begin to imagine her life without him in it. Maisie couldn't fathom giving him up now, not for any reason, not now that she finally knew what it felt like not to be alone. With Indy beside her she didn’t feel like ghost haunting her own life anymore.
There was no way Maisie could ever go back to the way things had been before she'd found him, the very idea of it actually made her skin crawl. To distract herself from that uncomfortable train of thought Maisie picked up one of Indy's delicate little hands from where it lay curled limply on the bed as he slept.
Maisie simply held it at first, admiring the velvety blackness of Indy's hide and the soft but slightly bumpy texture of his skin before on impulse she pressed gently at his palm with her thumb, watching the way it flexed inward in fascination, and enjoying the feeling of the needle like prickle of his talons against her skin. Maisie loved Indy's hands, particularly his long fingers with their glossy, dark talons at the ends; to her they seemed almost human at times. Occasionally unsettlingly so and she’d never seen another dinosaur with such delicately articulated hands as Indy's.
A troubling thought pushed itself to the forefront of Maisie’s mind and it banished a bit of the joy from her face. As much as she admired those little hands, the claws on them seemed to get longer and sharper every day, and as she lay there playing with them while their owner slept on; peacefully oblivious, Maisie couldn't help but wonder just how big they'd actually get. She suspected that the answer to that question was probably 'Very,' but there was no way for her to tell.
Well, not really at any rate. Not unless she could somehow get back into the sub-basement lab where she'd found him and then manage to decipher those stupid whiteboards. She barely repressed a snort at the very idea of it. Maisie knew that she had a better chance of being struck by lightening than she did sorting out those whiteboards any time soon.
The entire point was moot regardless, because for the moment even attempting such a thing was entirely out of the question. Maisie was all too aware that she couldn't risk being caught trying to get back downstairs; not now at any rate, not unless she absolutely HAD to and since knowing that particular bit of information wouldn't change anything, it simply wasn't worth the risk to her for the reward. Not now. Perhaps one day in the future that might change, but for the moment it would have to wait.
Indy would be what he was going to be and Maisie would love him regardless, it didn't matter one bit to her how big or small he ended up being because she would be equally content either way. No matter if he never grew another inch, or ended up as big as a T-rex. He would be Indy, and that was all that mattered to Maisie.
Though truth be told, Maisie did have to admit that she was rather hoping that he wouldn't get quite that large. Not that she had anything against Tyrannosaurs personally. She didn't, not at all. Maisie had always thought that they were beautiful, but while Rexy's live-stream was totally amazing to watch on Youtube she couldn't imagine keeping something her size in a house, not even one as big as hers and perhaps it was selfish of her, but Maisie truly didn't want to be separated from Indy.
Not even to sleep. It was a bit embarrassing to admit but Maisie was so terribly afraid of losing him that every time she closed her eyes she worried that he would be gone when she opened them again. That everything that had happened was just a figment of her own over active imagination and that at any moment she’d wake up and be alone again. If that happened, she wasn’t sure that she could bear it.
Maisie sighed quietly and pushed that train of thought firmly away and made herself let go of Indy's hand, laying it down gently to rest on the bed again before she went back to tenderly stroking the boney ridge above his eye, following the deep set socket to where his markings began, they got a little brighter every day and she couldn't help but wonder what they'd look like when he was all grown up. They were lovely things, bright yellow with hints of red and orange here and there and in the dark they actually seemed to glow a little, making it easier for her to track his position in the dark.
A twitch of movement at the corner of her eye caught Maisie's attention, and she smiled when she realized what it was. One high arched little foot had begun twitching restlessly, the curved claw at the top flexing and catching at Maisie's blanket and bedsheets now and again as Indy hunted something in his sleep, she winced a little when she heard the warning sound of fabric ripping. She was going to need to think up and explanation for that later. Or learn to sew.
As she watched him Maisie wondered idly what it was that he was hunting so determinedly in whatever passed for a dinosaur’s dreams. She wouldn't put anything past him, Indy was only a week or so old but he was already a truly impressive little hunter, and that had surprised Maisie more than she necessarily wanted to admit, although she was also painfully grateful for it.
Indy was growing so quickly that Maisie almost couldn't believe that it was physically possible, every single day that passed he got noticeably larger, and he was already nearly four times the size he'd been when Maisie had first found him; if not more and every single day he got, stronger, faster and more coordinated. Feeding him was becoming an absolute nightmare and Maisie knew that she was running out of time to find a solution to the problem.
They'd gotten this far because after that first night Maisie’d begun sneaking Indy out of the house and into the forest surrounding the estate once she was certain that everybody else was asleep..... but each night it seemed as if they had to go further and further out to find the sort of prey Indy could bring down. Maisie feared that sooner rather than later they would need to go far enough out that they couldn't make it back before someone noticed she was missing and started asking questions.
Indy wasn't quite large enough yet for deer or boar, and while he was terrifyingly fast he also tired easily. He could only use that speed in short bursts, which meant that at the end of a hunt Maisie often found herself struggling to get him back to the house at all because all he wanted to do after he'd filled his belly was curl up and sleep and once he was in his food coma waking him up was nearly impossible.
Maisie wasn't even going to be able to lift him soon, much less carry him and when that happened how was she going to hide him? How would she get hime home? Indy weighed almost 60 lbs now, Maisie had weighed him herself on her bathroom scales and the top of his head was nearly two inches above her knee.
Soon, getting him downstairs unnoticed was going to be almost impossible and there was no way that Maisie would even consider leaving him outside by himself unsupervised. Never. She’d sleep outside with him herself first.
The very idea of leaving him unattended made her stomach twist with anxiety, but it wasn't because she was afraid that something or someone would hurt Indy. No, far from it, in fact it was entirely the opposite-- Maisie was afraid that Indy would hurt someone else and she was absolutely convinced that leaving him to his own devices would be a sure way to invite exactly that sort of situation. It would be a disaster if that happened.
Maisie was beyond certain that should anybody have the bad luck to stumble across Indy by accident, or if something truly frightened him that his first response to the situation would be aggression and that wasn't simple paranoia on her part, Maisie knew it for an absolute certainty. She’d unfortunately had to find out the hard way.
Just thinking about it made her want to shudder even now. It wasn't a pleasant memory… but it was an educational one and so Maisie refused to simply push it away. Ignoring difficult things solved nothing, because you had to face your mistakes to learn from them..... or at least that was what her grandfather had always said; and Maisie DID try and listen to him as much as she could on most topics.
Maisie closed her eyes and allowed herself to remember, and it was almost as if she was there in that moment all over again.
She'd been in her bathroom, brushing her teeth and braiding her hair for the night. Indy had been on the bed attempting to make a suitably comfortable nest out of her blankets when Iris had simply walked into the room. Maisie had been utterly frozen in terrified shock, absolutely certain that Iris was going to see Indy at any moment and her worst fears were going to abruptly become a reality.
Her first frantic and admittedly incredibly inane thought at the time had been that the entire situation shouldn't have been happening in the first place, as if somehow that would change the fact that it WAS absolutely happening.
Iris NEVER came into Maisie's room without knocking...but her arms had been full of neatly folded clothes and Maisie had abruptly realized that it was likely the reason she hadn't knocked. She didn't have a free hand, and while Maisie was still frozen in terror and shock, Iris had obliviously walked right by the bed on the way to Maisie's wardrobe. She never even noticed Indy.
Maisie's eyes hadn’t followed Iris, how could they? All Maisie could see at that moment had been Indy, because Just like Maisie had done he had frozen in place on the bed, crouching low and holding himself still as a little statue. The only thing animated about him had been his eyes, and those eyes were fixed on Iris, following her as she moved and there had been a look in them that Maisie had never seen before. She hoped that she never would again.
Even the memory of it unsettled Maisie all over again but she refused to allow her discomfort to make her look away from the memory. It wouldn't have been so awful if Indy had just looked at Iris like he did the prey they chased together in the forest, in Maisie's mind that would have been perfectly natural. Indy wasn't a house pet or a fancy toy, he was a living, breathing predator....killing was in his nature and she couldn't fault him for simply being what he was, some things were simply instinct. It would be like being cross at water for being wet. Indy couldn’t change what he was any more than she could.
She'd have understood if Indy had been frightened of Iris as well. Iris was a stranger, someone Indy had never met and it would be perfectly logical if he was unsure about her presence....but Indy hadn't been afraid. It would have been easier if he had been, It was much much worse than simple hunger or fear. Maisie had watched him as he crouched there on her bed and the look in his small, vividly colored eyes had made her blood run cold as ice.
It was hate burning there in Indy's reddish orange eyes, not fear or hunger. Hate and a rage so overpowering that Maisie could almost feel it herself, as if it were a fire crackling just out of sight...the heat of it had made Maisie’s skin tighten and her breath come short.
Iris had been talking to her, but even now Maisie hadn't the foggiest idea what she'd been saying because the only thing that Maisie could see or hear or focus on at the time had been Indy, hunkered down on her bed and glaring at Iris with murderous intent as his body wound itself tighter and tighter in preparation for him to spring.
There had been no way Maisie could have put herself between the two of them in time to help Iris if Indy attacked. None at all. She had been utterly helpless to prevent whatever was going to happen and the worst of it was that she'd known it, if Indy chose to make that leap there was nothing she could do to stop him.
If he did leap, Maisie had no doubt in her mind whatsoever that Indy would kill Iris. He WANTED to kill her, Maisie could see it clear as day. He wanted to sink his teeth and claws into her fragile flesh and shred her to pieces for being where she didn't belong, he wanted to punish her for invading their nest and putting herself between he and Maisie. He wanted it with a ferocity that took Maisie’s breath away.
Maisie didn't have the foggiest clue how she was so terribly certain what was happening and or why, she just….knew. She knew it in the dark, shadowy part of herself that had stilled her on the balcony above Eli and when she stalked Iris through the house purely to see her jump. She knew. She just KNEW, as clearly as if Indy had said it out loud to her in words.
Her eyes had met Indy's from across the room and Maisie had shaken her head no, willing Indy with every part of her being NOT to attack. Not to hurt Iris. It was like a chant in her head, following the drum beat of her own heart. No. No. No. No. Each beat coming in time with her thoughts. Maisie would NOT let him hurt Iris. Her will was absolute and her focus was sharp as a razor blade and pure as diamond. Indy would NOT disobey her.
Somehow, impossibly… it had worked. Indy had stayed still as a stone with his eyes fixed on hers, and Maisie had not dared to look away because she could see him trembling with the effort of restraining himself. If she looked away from his eyes, he would leap. So she hadn’t, she’d schooled her face into something approaching calm and mumbled something at Iris about being sleepy and after a rather still goodnight hug Iris had left the room, still blessedly oblivious to how close she had come to her own death.
The moment Maisie's bedroom door had clicked shut Indy had leapt from her bed and flung himself toward Maisie, the impact of his body knocking her to the ground and driving the breath from her lungs for a heart stopping few moments. He’d clicked and hooted and rubbed his face against her own, pressing the side of his jaw against the curve of her own and down the line of her throat, she’d realized abruptly that he doing his level best to wipe Iris’s scent off of her body where the older woman had touched her.
Indy was assuring himself that Maisie was still there and safe, that Iris hadn’t done anything to her. When Maisie had at last managed to haul in a ragged, wheezing breath she'd wrapped her arms around him and held him so tightly that he wheezed a little himself, though he never struggled in her grip.
He was still Maisie’s good boy, her brave, perfect boy and she had spent the next hour petting and praising him and telling him how wonderful he was. How terribly proud she was of him for listening to her. He’d puffed himself up with so much pride and smug pleasure that it would have been absolutely adorable, at least if Maisie hadn’t been so terrified by what had just almost happened.
It had all come so close to going wrong that night, if she’d made even one mistake Maisie knew with grim certainty that everything would have come crashing down around them and the pair of them would have ended up separated forever.
If that had happened, Maisie would never have been able to forgive herself. Especially since the entire situation had been entirely HER fault and not Indy’s…. but that didn’t change the fact that it wouldn’t have been HER that paid the ultimate price for that mistake. It would have been Indy, and Maisie would NOT allow that to happen.
It wasn't fair at all, but as Maisie had long since learned that NOTHING about her life was fair. Fair was for storybooks and movies, not real life and certainly not for Maisie Lockwood.
With a sigh, Maisie at last pushed the grim memory away and back into the shadowed edges of her mind, it was over and done with, and brooding on it wouldn’t help anything…but Maisie had been FAR more careful afterwards. She wouldn’t let it happened twice. She’d been lucky this time, they both had, but Maisie wasn’t going to press that luck any further than she had to. Indy’s life and her own depended on it.
Maisie sighed softly and finally lay down again, wriggling down into her blankets and putting her face in front of Indy's so that she could see him better, their eyes level with one another now that she lay on her side in front of him. He looked so innocent when he slept, so harmless.
Even the jagged line of his teeth seemed less intimidating when he was like this, but as Iris had always told Maisie, looks could be deceiving and the grim truth was that there was nothing harmless about the creature in her bed. Nothing at all.
Maisie loved Indy, she truly did. She loved him with all her heart and a ferocity that honestly frightened her a little, but Maisie also knew that he was dangerous. Even now, as small as he was he could hurt her...and it wouldn't take him much effort at all to do so.
Maisie repressed a shudder as she let her eyes drift over her toothy bedmate's body, lingering on the restive flex of of that killing claw and the soft, unsettlingly organic sound of it tearing into the fabric of her sheets.
Indy was already strong enough to bite through the leg bone of a deer as if it was made of butter and not flesh and bone. Maisie had watched him do exactly that not six hours before.
They had stumbled across the rotting carcass of a deer on their way back to the estate from their hunt, and at the time it had seemed like a gift from Lady Luck. Their hunt had only been moderately successful so that less than fresh meat had been an unexpected delight for the both of them. Indy could fill his belly at last and Maisie could feel satisfied in knowing that he hadn’t gone hungry because she hadn’t been able to find him enough prey.
Maisie had gladly let Indy glut himself to his little heart's content on the unexpected bounty of the deer, but watching him eat had been ....enlightening to say the very very least. He'd pulled the flesh from the deer's bones as if it were wet tissue paper, with a wet sound very much like the sound of her ripping sheets and his jaws had sheared through one of the dead stag’s legs so easily that it didn't even look like he'd strained to do it.
Maisie had stood wide eyed in the moonlight, watching him tear apart the deer and it was in that moment that she'd at last truly understood what Indy really was, perhaps for the first time. Not even what had happened with Iris had brought that knowledge home so clearly.
Indy was Maisie’s friend, her darling, her precious precious baby....but no matter how much Maisie adored him she couldn't ignore the fact anymore that he was also a dangerous predator and if Maisie was going to love him as he was then she was going to have to accept all of him, even the parts that frightened her.
It wouldn't help her or him one tiny bit for her to stick her head in the sand and pretend that he was tame ; because he absolutely wasn’t. No matter how much they loved one another the fact remained that he never would be and treating him as if he was would only end in tears for everyone involved. Especially Indy himself.
Maisie had promised him that very first night that she was going to keep him safe, that nothing would hurt him; and that included her… and she would do anything and everything she had to to make sure she kept that promise.
Anything at all.
Indy slept peacefully on, blissfully unaware of the decision Maisie was in the process of making.
It was time to confront Eli, and as Maisie pressed a kiss to the tip of Indy’s narrow black snout she sent out a prayer to any god that would listen that she wasn’t making a terrible mistake.
Chapter 11: Games
Necessary conversations in a limo.
So, surprise! Extra chapter. Go me, back on the writing pony.
Owen was still slouching against the limo door, glaring out the window and doing his level best to avoid Claire as much as he possibly could in such a small space, and she had just about had enough of it. The tension between the pair of them was so thick that she was sure she could cut it with a knife and while that didn’t really surprise her, it still HURT a bit, even though she knew that it was just how Owen dealt with things that made him uncomfortable.
He’d just shut down and flatly refuse to engage. Unfortunately they NEEDED to talk before they arrived at the Lockwood estate and by Claire’s calculation they were perhaps 20 minutes away at the very most and that meant that she was fresh out of time to wait for him to get over himself.
“ You have to talk to me eventually, Owen. “ Claire said, crossing her legs and leaning back on the plush leather seat of the limo. It had been a long time since she’d had accommodations of this particular type and Claire hated to admit it but….she’d missed it more than she liked to think about.
Owen remained steadfastly silent and Claire could already feel the corner of her left eye trying to twitch. It was a tell that she’d worked incredibly hard to get rid of, and for good reason…making a business deal was a great deal like playing an incredibly high stakes game of poker. Visible tells were a liability …but somehow Owen Grady seemed to instinctively know how to get on her very last nerve, which never failed to bring that damned twitch right back out.
Claire sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. If she couldn’t get Owen on the same page with her then they were going to be screwed when they met with Mills, and that wasn’t something Clair could allow to happen. She didn’t know the man personally, but the business world was small, and that meant that she did know his reputation and calling the man a snake in the grass was a vast understatement of his actual character according to her sources. It was also an insult to actuals snakes in the grass, if the stories were true.
If they went in there with anything less than a solidly united front Claire was terribly afraid that Mills was going to tear them apart like a goat in a tyrannosaurus enclosure. They were running out of time, and it was time for Owen to put on his big boy pants and grow the hell up for once. Claire was officially done indulging him, it was time to play hardball.
“Owen, please?” Clair carefully added a note of desperation out of her voice, and thankfully the gambit paid off because Owen at last decided that he was going to meet her eyes.
The expression on his face was less than optimal, but it was a start and at this point Claire would take whatever she could get. Owen could glare at her all he wanted as long as he listened to her at the same time.
“I’m here.” Owen said, and Claire repressed a wince at how utterly scathing his done was. “ What more do you want from me, Claire? “ Claire shook her head and did her level best to repress a sigh, she wasn’t entirely successful but it was better than letting Owen know exactly how irritated at him she was at the moment.
“I know you’re angry, Owen, and I know you don’t want to be here but you know that I wouldn’t have involved you at all if it wasn’t direly important. We don’t have time for this shit. “ the ferocity in Claire’s tone actually seemed to taken Owen aback a bit, one light brown brow climbing up skeptically.
Claire ignored it and plowed forward. “You can hate me all you want later, but right now we need to work as a team and we can’t do that unless you LISTEN to me for once,” Clair could see the exact moment the some of Owen’s animosity faded, a bit of the intensity fading from his eyes as he posture loosened, though he still looked like he wanted to feed her to Rexy. Whatever. Claire was beyond not caring, because Owen’s hurt feelings were the least of their current problems.
“ None of this is about us, Owen… it’s about the animals on that island and what will happen to them if we leave them there when that volcano erupts. We have to save them, Owen and if Eli Mills can help us make that happen then quite frankly I don’t give a single shit about your feelings OR mine. “ Claire snarled, her voice growing louder as her temper began to rise. “ We’re going to do whatever we have to, Owen and you can bet your sweet ass that if I have to drag you kicking and screaming along with me every step of the way, so help me God I will. “
Claire was breathing hard by the time she finished and both of Owen’s eyebrows were somewhere near his hairline. Owen Grady was the only person in the world that could shake Claire’s composure so damned easily, and she both loved and hated it.
“You think I have a sweet ass?” Claire wanted to slap the smirk right off of Owen’s stupidly handsome face. Even when she wanted to kill him she wanted him and that was half of their problem. That and the fact that it seemed that the man was allergic to being serious.
“Grow the hell up, Owen.” Claire snarled back at him, but her anger didn’t last long and soon she found herself shaking her head and looking out of her own window. Claire knew that she couldn’t meet his eyes while she used her next bit of ammunition, she’d give herself away no matter how hard she tried not to.
“We have to try, Owen. We owe them that much at least, you owe BLUE that much,” Claire knew that bringing up Blue was a dirty tactic to use, but it was one of the few points of leverage she had left with Owen and Claire was going to use whatever methods she had to had to get what she wanted from him, morality and their feelings bedamned.
“ She’ll die right along with every other dinosaur on that Island unless we can get her, and them out of there”
Claire almost sighed in pure relief as she could feel the last of Owen’s stubbornness melting away into resigned misery.
“ Low blow, Claire. Low blow.” Owen said unhappily. Claire refused to wince, he hadn’t left her any choice.
“ I know. “ Clair replied bluntly, shrugging her shoulder and looking down at her own hands for a long moment before raising her eyes to meet Owen’s again.
“I need you on the same page with me, Owen.” Clair said urgently. “ If Mills senses anything less than a united front from us then he’ll steamroll right over top of us and we won’t be able to do a damned thing about it and that is NOT going to get us what we need from him. “
Owen stayed ominously silent for so long that Claire almost began to panic, but he finally answered her after what felt like eternity.
“I’m listening,” he said, and while he still sounded resentful as hell, Claire felt the first stirrings of hope that they just might be able to get it together enough to face Mills as a cohesive unit.
“ Let me do the talking, and whatever you do …don’t let him get you worked up. He wants something from us just as much as we want something from him and I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s going to involve something unpleasant. Keep your opinions to yourself about whatever it is, at least for now. “ Clair watched Owen’s brow furrow in thought as he considered what she’d said.
“ What do you think it is?” Owen clearly had his own suspicious, but he seemed to have no intention of sharing them with Claire just yet, and for the moment that was fine by her because she had bigger fish to fry.
“ Why do you think? “ Claire replied grimly. “It’s got to be something involving dinosaurs. Mills would never waste the money and time of getting us both out here for anything less than a complete disaster.”
“ You think they made something and lost control of it, don’t you.” the reality off the problem seemed to finally be hitting home for Owen, if the look of dawning horror on his face was any indication.
“ He wouldn’t have asked for you specifically if it hadn’t. “ Clair shook her head in disgust. “They never learn.”
“What do you think it could be?” Owen asked, worry in his eyes and not a bit of reluctance left on his now pale, grim face. Claire knew without even bothering to ask that he was hoping desperately that it wasn’t another I-Rex.
Claire wished she could tell him that his fear was unfounded, she truly did; but several genetic samples had been missing from the lab when she’d done the final accounting before the final evacuation of the island so it was, much to her regret, a distinct possibility.
“Maybe another Indominus, maybe raptors, maybe some new monstrosity they’ve cooked up in the lab,” Claire admitted, then sighed miserably.
“It could be anything or a combination of things, and we won’t know until he tells us. Mills has Wu working for him, though; according to the grapevine…. and wherever that miserable little bastard goes disaster seems to follow right along behind him.” Claire met Owen’s eyes, and he could see the steely determination there.
“ Whatever it is, I can promise you that if Wu is involved it’s guaranteed to be a complete and total dumpster fire with teeth and claws.” the dawning horror on Owen’s face was the most beautiful thing Claire had ever seen, it meant that he was finally getting the picture and it made Claire almost want to kiss him in pure relief. Almost.
“…shit.” He said, and the resigned misery in his voice was loud and painfully clear, and Claire couldn’t help but agree with Owen’s sentiment wholeheartedly.
“ Pretty much.” she replied.
Owen looked like he wanted to throw himself out of the limo, and while Claire didn’t blame him, she held his gaze and pointedly pressed the lock button by her own, just in case. It engaged with a loud click that won her an immediate glare from Owen.
“I’m not going to jump out of a moving car, Claire.” he snapped at her.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Claire retorted, her voice dripping with false sweetness.
Owen just rolled his eyes at her and folded his arms mutinously across the broad plane of his chest. “So, now that we’ve established that this experience is going to suck an absolutely legendary amount of ass…what the hell do you want me to do about it?”
Owen’s confusion was almost palpable. “ If you just want me to stand there and look pretty then I don’t understand why you even bothered trying to get me here.”
Claire snorted derisively in reply. “ If I wanted someone to just stand around and look pretty I would have gone alone and not brought you.”
There was a small part of her that was delighted by the red flush creeping up Owen’s neck, Claire couldn’t decide if it was fury or embarrassment but either way it was magnificent. She reigned in the impulse to dig at him though. After all, Claire could hardly tell HIM to grow up if she was still being juvenile herself.
“Mills wanted you here, asked for you personally by name; and while I don’t entirely know why he did it if I were to venture an educated guess I’d assume that its for your skill as a behaviorist.”
Claire felt the road beneath them suddenly go rough and looked out of the tinted window of the limousine, they were turning in to the long road that lead to the Lockwood estate. They were officially out of time.
“ If anybody can tell him how to deal with whatever fresh disaster he’s had Wu cook up for him it would be you.” When it came to his personal life, Owen might well be an immature, self centered pain in the ass but as a professional he was one of the foremost experts in his particular field and Claire had no problem admitting it.
Owen seemed to have noticed the change in the road around the same time she had, because he was all business when he spoke again.
“I’ll do what I can,” he said solemnly. “For Blue.”
It hurt a little to hear him say it but Claire didn’t let it show, because it was really all she could ask of him at this point, and if she were being honest she had to admit that it was more than she’d expected to get out of him at the beginning of their conversation.
“Let me do the talking for now, but watch Mills as closely as you can, and whatever you do, if Wu shows up you HAVE to keep your temper in check. I know you hate him, Owen….hell, *I* hate him too but whatever it is that’s happening here it will be Wu that has the information we need most. Do NOT burn that bridge. “ the limo at last rolled to a gentle stop and Claire took a moment to compose herself.
“Put your game face on. “ she said, unlocking the car door so that the driver could open it for them. When he did, the woman who stepped out of the car bore precious little resemblance to the one who had been inside it.
Her face was calm as still water and she projected an intimidating aura of competence. No matter how many times Owen saw her do it, it never failed to impress him. As Owen watched her smooth the lapel of her crisp, elegantly tailored cream colored business suit he couldn’t help but think that if you were going to go swimming with sharks it helped to bring a Great White with you.
Chapter 12: Fury
The long awaited meeting between Eli and Claire and Owen, also known as Eli Mills' no good, very bad day 2.0.
They’d only been talking to Eli Mills for ten minutes and Owen had already decided that he was going to be joining Hoskins and Wu on the short list of people Owen truly fucking hated. Everything about the man rubbed Owen the wrong way, from his obviously expensive pinstriped Italian suit to the flashy-but-not-too-flashy rolex on his wrist , but the icing on the shit flavored cake that was Eli Mills was the smug self satisfaction that he radiated like a fart in a stalled elevator.
The man was unbearable and if it hadn’t been for Owen’s talk with Claire before they’d actually started the meeting he wouldn’t have had any problem whatsoever with letting the sleazy little maggot know exactly how he felt about him. Unfortunately, Claire had asked Owen to play nice, and he had every intention of doing so …..but that didn’t mean he had to like it.
He’d positioned himself by the book-case in Mills’ office the moment they’d come in, leaving the single chair in front of the large mahogany monstrosity that Mills called a desk to Claire. He hadn’t moved an inch since.
He’d crossed his arms casually across the broad plane of his own chest, purposefully forcing his body into a false posture of relaxation by slouching against the book case itself. Owen was doing his best to give an impression of disinterest and so far it seemed to be working. Blue wouldn’t have believed him for a minute, but thankfully Eli Mills wasn’t a Velociraptor.
Owen wasn’t about to go patting himself on the back for his people skills just yet, though. The fact that Mills was focused on talking to Claire probably had a good bit to do with his overlooking Owen too. He didn’t blame the man a bit, though.
Owen had always known that Claire was tough, of course he had… she’d managed to single handedly turn the tide of their encounter with the I-Rex by outrunning a fully grown T-Rex in stiletto heels without so much as an ankle wobble. Watching Claire and a highly pissed off Rexy come to their collective rescue had been the exact moment Owen had realized that he was painfully, miserably and utterly irrevocably in love with Claire Dearing, not that it had done him any good at all since.
His feelings aside, the fact that Owen knew that Claire was, to borrow a phrase from one of her Nephews, a complete badass…. it absolutely hadn’t prepared Owen even a little bit for seeing her now when she was truly in her own element.
She’d been picking Eli Mills apart since the moment he’d first opened his mouth and Owen knew that that ego of his was now probably half the size it had been before they’d walked into the office. Owen couldn’t help but feel a certain satisfaction in seeing someone else get a taste of what it felt like to be on the receiving end of Claire Dearing’s complete refusal to entertain any level of bullshit.
She was absolutely fucking terrifying, and if Owen had actually given half a shit about Eli Mills he’d almost have felt sorry for him. Too bad for him though, because Owen was fresh out of fucks to give when it came to greedy, stupid assholes fucking shit up for no reason.
From the moment he and Claire had walked into Mill’s gaudy, overly modern office Owen’s day had taken a sharp turn for the worse and it showed no sign of getting any better any time soon so watching Claire tear the arrogant, overly manicured little turd a whole new ass was the sole comfort Owen could find in the situation and he wasn’t going to fell bad about it.
It was funny though, because while Claire had told Owen to watch his temper …it was probably advice she should have taken to heart herself because Owen could already see the vein in her temple throbbing ominously from half way across the room; and that did NOT bode well for Mills.
Owen was almost positive that if Claire thought for a single instant that she could get away with killing Eli Mills she would have already leapt across the desk between the two of them and strangled him to death with her bare hands. It actually reminded him a little bit of Blue when she was 100% done with putting up with her sisters various forms of shit.
The longer Mills talked however, the more Owen regretted signing that gag order, and from the look of it, he could tell that Claire was probably feeling the same way. Owen didn’t blame her one tiny bit, because next words out of the man’s mouth brought any and all speculation to a screeching halt.
“ You did WHAT?!” Claire snarled, and Owen barely managed to restrain a wince of his own at the venom in her tone.
“Ms. Dearing I realize that this is an emotional topic for you but if you give me a chance to explain I’m sure you’ll see tha—“ Owen was viciously pleased by the fact that Claire didn’t even bother letting the man finish his sentence before tearing into him.
“What exactly do you think you’re going to get me to ‘see’, Mills?” Claire hissed, and Owen couldn’t help but be reminded of Blue again, it seemed that Owen had a type when it came to the females in his life and that type happened to be ‘ intimidating and scary as fuck and entirely capable of ripping a man’s head off and shitting down his neck.’
“ How in the hell do you think that you’re going to be able put a positive spin on the fact that you created a half ton carnivorous super predator and then you LOST it in a single day?” Claire’s voice was utterly scornful.
“ I knew you were an amoral, greedy little toad of a man but I had no idea that you were actually a complete moron to boot. “ Owen watched Mills struggle to reign in his own temper, even though Claire wasn’t even attempting to do so herself at this point.
When Claire stood up and began to pace not even her perfectly applied makeup could conceal the fact that a blotchy red flush was spreading up and over her throat a face and blotching her usually flawless complexion.
“How do you LOSE a newly hatched dinosaur, Mills? By all means, dazzle me with the mental gymnastics you’re using to try make this situation anything other than a complete and total disaster of heretofore entirely unprecedented proportions”
“If I knew how it happened you wouldn’t actually be here Ms. Dearing, the fact of the matter is that we don’t have a clue how it could have gotten out of it’s incubator much less out of the house itself without being seen by the estate staff or at the very least being caught on camera. All we know is that it did and there’s nothing we can do about it now except try to get the situation under some small measure control again.” Eli snapped.
Owen could see the dark circles under the other man’s tired eyes and in a small spiteful part of himself he was glad that Mills was clearly losing sleep and peace of mind over the problem. Served him right, the arrogant prick.
“ That is the sole reason the pair of you are here.” Mills at last seemed to acknowledge Owen’s presence by jerking his head in Owen’s general direction before continuing.
“We have to find that animal and we have to do it quickly, before the situation escalates any further than it has already. So far, no one has been hurt and nothing has been irrevocably damaged and I need to keep it that way. The pair of you are the only people on the planet that MIGHT be able to accomplish that goal. “
As Owen watched Mills lean back in his chair, so clearly trying to mask his own desperation that it was almost comical. As the other man went on talking Owen entertained himself by imagining whatever monster Mills had decided to create eating the dumb son of a bitch one piece at a time.
“ I don’t expect you to do anything without appropriate compensation Ms. Dearing. This is a situation in which we can BOTH come out on top if we work together.” Mills sounded like he was giving them a sales pitch and it set Owen’s teeth on edge.
“ Here’s my offer, Ms. Dearing…. If you and Mr. Grady here agree to lend us your assistance in recovering our missing property then the Lockwood Foundation is prepared to finance the evacuation of the animals on the Island that you care so much about.”
Those words brought Owen up short enough that it could have given him whiplash and it did the same for Claire, who faltered in mid stride to turn and stare at Mills in stunned confusion.
While the smug look on Eli Mill’s ever-so-punchable face still made Owen want to deck him, Owen also couldn’t deny the fact that the man now had Owen’s complete attention as well as Claire’s as he laid out his offer.
“If you want to save those animals, I can promise you that this is the only way you’re going to make that happen, and all you have to do is help us with this one tiny problem. What will it be, Ms Dearing?” Mills said cooly.
“ Do your little dinosaur friends live or die? because the decision of their ultimate fate is entirely yours. Sign the contract and I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the project so that you can accomplish your goal and once you’ve done so and held up your end of the bargain there will be a ship chartered and waiting to start the evacuation at your disposal as well as the manpower necessary to do the actual transportation of the animals” Mills pulled a small stack of paperwork from his desk drawer and slid it across the desk for Claire to look at.
A small thread of unease trickled down Owen’s spine and settled in his stomach as he watched Eli’s face. Finally he was able to pinpoint what it was about the man that set his teeth on edge His eyes were empty…totally devoid of so much as a flicker of anything but cold ambition and low cunning. Eli Mills had the same coldness in his gaze that own had seen in the I-rex.
“If you refuse, you’ll get the paltry sum I promised you to get you here today and you can watch them fade back into extinction as they burn alive on live TV with the rest of the world when that volcano erupts. You’ll receive no further help from me or anybody else. I’ll personally make sure of it. “ Owen was filled with the grim realization that while he had never imagined that he would meet anybody that he liked less than Hoskins, it seemed that not only was it possible he’d just done so.
What was worse was that it was clear that Mills knew that he now had the both of them over a barrel, and unfortunately so did Claire. There was no way they were leaving that room without agreeing to help Mill.
Claire was going to sign that contract and so was Owen because they both knew that Mills was probably right. This was going to be the only way to save the animals on the island and neither she nor Owen could let their personal feelings get in the way of that.
“Fine.” Claire said at last, echoing Owen’s own sentiments as she plucked a fountain pen from the pen holder sitting on Mill’s desk. Her tone was so bitter that it could have made a lemon wince. Once she’d signed the contract, she held the pen wordlessly out to Owen for him to do the same and without a word or a moment of hesitation Owen complied.
“ Excellent!” Eli crowed, the smug triumph in his voice making Owen grind his teeth in frustrated irritation. “ Now, if you’ll follo-“ This time instead of Claire interrupting Mills, it was Owen himself. He was done being quiet, he wanted answers and he wanted them NOW not later.
“I signed your stupid contract. Now tell me what it is I’m going to be dealing with. “ Owen was officially out of patience when it came to dancing around the subject, and the yawning pit of anticipatory dread in his stomach was unbearable.
Mill’s answer confirmed every single fear Owen had already had about the situation from the moment Claire had showed up on his figurative doorstep.
“We call it the Indoraptor. It’s a more streamlined version of the I-rex, we used a bit more raptor, much less Rex and tweaked the genome to select for certain traits like problem solving and sophisticated social interaction as well as emotional bonding. Intelligence too of course. Everything that was flawed about the I-rex was corrected and refined in the Indoraptor…….”
Owen had actually stopped listening some time around the moment he’d heard the name of the thing they’d created and even though he could see Mill’s lips moving all Owen could hear was the static cradle of white noise as he struggled to process the information he’d been given. An Indoraptor. They’d made a motherfucking Indoraptor.
A quick glance at Claire from the corner of his eye showed Owen that she was no better off than he was and Owen couldn’t help but wonder if he looked as bloodless and gray with shock as she did.
Owen was only barely keeping his shit together himself, he’d never in his life been more absolutely horrified than he was at the moment. This wasn’t just a disaster, this wasn’t a mistake or a problem. It was a fucking apocalyptic event.
Owen’s voice was rasping and hoarse when he finally managed to force out some form of coherent speech in response to what Mills had told him. What he could hear of it anyway, at least.
“You took a Raptor, and you made it bigger and stronger and faster….and then you made it SMARTER?” as Owen’s voice climbed higher and higher with emotion all Owen could die was sit in the back of his own mind and let it happen. It was almost like an out of body experience.
Claire hadn’t managed to get over her shock either just yet because Owen could see that she was still standing wide eyed and mute while trying desperately to process . Owen himself felt almost like he was having an out of body experience, and he wondered if this was what shock felt like. Either way, no matter what his good intentions about playing nice with Mills might have been before coming in, his restraint was officially 100% gone now because he was shouting now. Oops.
“Are you entirely out of your fucking MIND?” Owen heard himself snarl, he couldn’t believe that this was actually happening. It was literally every nightmare he’d ever had come true.
“You stupid son of a bitch.” Owen stalked forward toward the desk and he took a vicious sort of pleasure in the fact that Mills actually scooted back a bit in his chair to put more distance between the two of them.
“Look, Mr. Grady ….I know it sounds bad but I can assu-.”
Owen shook his head and sliced his hand through the air to shut the other man up and miraculously it seemed to work for once.
“No. No, I don’t want to fucking hear it Mills. You can’t assure me of shit because you aren’t in control of a single fucking thing right now and I really hate to break it to you, you dumb son of a bitch but you never were. You people just don’t get it, do you? How many fucking times does this shit have to blow up in your faces before you stop doing it?”
A quick glance at Claire let Owen see that Claire was still perfectly content to let him deal with Mills …at least for a few more minutes while she collected her own composure. It was a good thing, because he had no intention of stopping just yet regardless of how she felt about it. he wasn’t sure he could ac tally stop even if he wanted to. Owen had played the game just like she’d asked for as long as he could but this was just too damn far. Playtime was over.
Owen Grady knew Raptors better than anybody else on the planet, and that wasn’t hyperbole in the slightest and that knowledge meant that the pure horror of what Mills had done had him ready to vomit or start screaming. Maybe both. Definitely both.
“Raptors were already one of the most intelligent creatures on the planet, Mills. Smarter than dogs, smarter than dolphins and apes….they’ve always had the ability to plan ahead and execute complex strategies as a cohesive group and you thought it would be a good idea to make them even more lethal?” Owen dragged a hand through his hair and repressed the urge start pacing like Claire had been doing a few minutes prior. I
It didn’t last long because that was exactly what Owen started to do as he ranted in Eli’s general direction, the man growing smaller and smaller in his chair the longer Owen shouted at him. “ Not just that, Oh no…you couldn’t stop there, you just HAD to make it worse. You decided that what you needed to do was make them even smarter.
Owen stopped in front of Mill’s desk, leaning down and bracing both hands on the smooth, gleaming hardwood and putting his face perhaps half a foot away from Eli’s own and taking a savage joy in the fear in the smaller man’s eyes.
“ Exactly how intelligent is your pet monster, Mills?” he growled. “ How fucked are we, you greedy little shit stain.” Mills began to attempt to stammer something out in response but Owen didn’t give a shit what he had to say at the moment and instead of waiting he shoved himself back upright and started pacing again before turning to look at Claire abruptly when he heard her speak at last.
Her emotionless voice sent an ominous chill down his spine and from the look of it when Owen looked back at Eli he could see that same unease creeping across the other man’s face as well.
“Answer him, Mills.” Claire asked softly as she held the businessman’s darting, uneasy gaze like a hungry snake would a mouse. When the man finally answered her his voice was quiet enough that they nearly had to strain to hear it.
“According to Wu, it will probably either equal or exceed human level cognitive function as an adult. We needed it to be able to differentiate between members of other species and understand commands, it also had to be able to form close, cross species inter-personal bonds as well,’ Eli explained, ‘“…specifically with a handler and unfortunately we couldn’t make that happen without enhancing the animal’s intelligence in the process. This particular specimen was our prototype, it was never intended to be used in the field because the project isn’t entirely finished. There is a great deal of fine tuning that has to be done still and that means it will be difficult to pinpoint what worked and what didn’t just yet. It’s the first of it’s kind and w11e only had it in the lab for a few hours. Less than a day. “
“You made a super-raptor and intended to use it for military asplication, Didn’t you, Eli.” from the guilty look on Eli’s face Owen knew that Claire had hit the nail on the head.
“ You took a nearly perfect predator, made it a more perfect version of itself and then you gave it human cognitive function.” Claire put her head in her hands, decorum forgotten in the face of what they now knew they were dealing with.
A sharp bark of nearly hysterical laughter slipped out of Claire who sat up again and shook her head incredulously. “It’s a Raptor, Eli…and you made it self aware. How in the fuck did you ever think that was going to be a good idea?”
It was Owen that spoke next, and the desperation and rage ringing in his tone was clear as a bell. “ You just don’t get it, do you? “ Owen spat. “ It doesn’t matter how smart it is…it will always be exactly what it is. A predator. It will never think or respond like a human because it ISN’T a human. You aren’t going to be able to anticipate the patterns of it’s mind because it bears no resemblance to our own.
“All you did was make it a hundred times more dangerous and uncontrollable. Owen shook head head and walked back over to the book case, sliding down it to sit on the floor and put his head in his hands. It was Claire’s turn to handle things while Owen collected himself and he couldn’t help but be painfully grateful.
“ The only advantage we ever had over them was the fact that we were smarter than they were, Mills. Now thanks your little science project that is no longer true.” Claire’s voice was still arctic cold, but her eyes were practically burning with fury.
Owen shook his head incredulously and then looked up to meet Eli’s worried gaze again at last.
“At least tell me that someone bonded with it when it was born, Raptors imprint on their parental figures within the first 24 hours of life. So do T-rexes. If you can feed them and NOT smell like you want to shit your pants every time they look at you it’s possible you could form a rudimentary parental bond, but the window of opportunity for that closes fast and after that 24 hour period it becomes impossible. It will be completely feral. Permanently. Who was it’s handler? “ Owen asked desperately.
The guilt on Eli Mills ferrety little face told Owen all he needed to know, the man didn’t even have to answer him out loud. God. Fucking. Damnit. Every time he thought it couldn’t get any worse Owen was immediately proven wrong.
“ You didn’t give it one, did you.“ Owen stated bitterly as he met Eli’s eyes. “ Of course you didn't, why the fuck did I think you could do anything sensible?”
To Owen’s relief Clair decided to take the reins again as she stood up and gave Eli a look so glacial that Owen hoped the little bastard got frostbite.“Take us down to the lab so we can get started on dealing with your newest catastrophe.” she said, “ We need to move quickly, before it has a chance to get too far away.”
Owen watched Claire take control of the situation, but when he got to his own feet and began to follow the pair down to the lab he couldn’t help but hope that this was all a nightmare. A shitty, whisky filled dream that he could wake up from and laugh at later.
Unfortunately for Owen, however,…..that wasn’t the case, and things were going to get MUCH worse before they ever even started to get better.
Chapter 13: Together
From his comfortable position on the end of the bed, tail tip idly flicking back and forth against the blankets; Indy watched his mother stare at herself in the bathroom mirror. The rest of their den was only dimly lit by the overcast daylight pouring in through the balcony, making it easy for him to see the tense, fearful expression on her pale face.
Indy couldn’t always read his mother as clearly as he would have liked, but he was having no trouble at all at the moment and as he watched her, he wondered what it was she saw there in her own reflection.
Was it the same thing he saw when he looked at her as he was doing now? With an irritable grumble and an impatient lash of his tail he allowed that question to join the hundred others that already buzzed in the back of his brain, waiting for the day when he could finally ask his mother for their answers, and for his part; Indy desperately hoped that that day was coming sometime soon.
In the meantime, Indy was trying his very best to learn his mother’s mouth sounds. Unfortunately for him, they were incredibly difficult to mimic and just trying made his mouth and throat hurt more often than not and it frustrated him so terribly that sometimes he just wanted to bite something.
His tongue wouldn’t make the right shapes, no matter how hard he tried, his sounds coming out either too harsh or too shrill…which meant that the end result of his attempts at speech was generally a great deal of frustration on his part and nothing else. It was only by pure stubborn determination that he’d managed to learn to say a few of the simplest sounds and Indy knew already that there were going to be some he would never be able to make at all. No matter how much he practiced.
He was terribly proud of what he’d managed to do so far but he hadn’t shown his mother any of it just yet, mostly because he wanted to be a little bit better at it before trying to show off. He’d learned his lesson about pride already and he didn’t need another reminder.
Indy shifted his position on the bed, laying his head down beneath his fore claws to stare unblinkingly at his mother while she brushed her odd, blunt teeth, his upper lip curling in an unconscious snarl of disgust as he watched her put more blue goo on her tooth brush.
Sometimes his mother brushed his teeth too, and Indy didn’t like the taste of the blue stuff she used to do it one tiny bit. He always did his level best to be out of sight when he saw her taking out the brush and goo, hoping that if she didn’t see him she wouldn’t want to use its on him. He didn’t always manage avoid it……but anything was worth a try if it meant not having that awful stuff in his mouth.
Indy shuddered in second hand disgust at the memory and hurriedly sent his mind down a different, far less vomit inducing pathway. Embarrassment was preferable to nausea any day, he decided.
His thoughts drifted back to the hard lesson he’d already learned about pride. It was still humiliating to think about even now, days after the incident itself.
He’d been pouncing his yellow ball, eagerly trying to show off for his mother, full of smug pride about his progress as a hunter and ever so eager to display his skills.
It unfortunately hadn’t worked out quite how Indy had imagined; because while Indy had pounced the ball perfectly, he hadn’t taken into account his momentum and the fact that the ball would roll with him.
Which meant that when he pounced, he’d ended up rolling tail over snout with the ball, slamming said snout soundly into the wood that blocked the entrance to their den with a humiliatingly loud thud. It hadn’t really hurt him, but much to his shame he’d immediately begun making distress sounds regardless.
His mother had rushed to comfort him, carefully making sure that he was alright and hadn’t managed to do himself any real damage. Indy’s snout had been perfectly fine, if a little sore from slamming it against the door…but his pride was another matter altogether, and Indy hadn’t been able to look his mother in the eyes for the rest of the day.
He and his mother were different, Indy knew that…but to him their differences mattered very little in comparison to all the ways in which they were the same. It didn’t matter to him that her teeth were blunt, that her hands had no claws, or that she lacked a tail to help her run….she was his mother, and to Indy there was nothing that mattered more than that.
Indy lazily rolled over onto his side, kicking at the blankets of their nest until they formed themselves into a more comfortable arrangement and watched as his mother carefully preened herself, patiently setting her odd crest into proper order so that it wouldn’t get in her way or obstruct her vision. Indy could see how tired she was. and that made an unfamiliar twinge of guilt ripple though him like a wave; eventually powerful enough to stop the steady flick of his tail.
His mother was tired, and unfortunately Indy was well aware of the fact that he was the reason why, of course he knew that his mother didn’t begrudge him her time or her effort, that she didn’t blame him. In the deepest part of himself, he knew at least that much without question or hesitation. That didn’t make the guilt he felt when he saw how pale and exhausted she was any easier to bear however.
She was always so patient with him, never rough or cold…even when Indy was irritating her on purpose just to see if he could needle her into doing something new to entertain himself. Sometimes her patience seemed endless and instead of getting a reaction Indy usually ended up being ignored instead, which was to Indy the worst thing EVER.
He had rapidly come to the conclusion that irritating his mother was a bad idea if he didn’t want to die of boredom.
His mother loved him and Indy knew it, but it didn’t change how absolutely exhausted she seemed under the bright white gleam of the bathroom lights, and there was nothing whatsoever that Indy could do about it at the moment.
His only consolation was the knowledge that it wouldn’t be that way forever.
Indy was growing quickly, becoming larger and larger with every day that passed .and not just physically. He was getting smarter too and every single day the world around him made progressively more sense.
Indy was learning, and as he watched his mother he made the quiet decision that he would keep learning. Indy was going to work even harder than he already had been. He would listen everything his mother said, watch everything she did, and one day he would be able to help her, not burden her.
Indy would make her proud of him, no matter what it took to do so, because wanted her approval with a desperation that sizzled down his spine and made his tail whip again in pure agitation. One day he would be fast and strong and she would never look so tired again.
Indy only realized that he’d started making a low, rumbling purr when his mother suddenly looked away from her mirror to cock her head at him curiously. Indy froze guiltily in place, the sound cutting off abruptly now that he realized he’d been making it.
For a moment the two of them stared at one another, Indy on the bed and his mother in the bathroom, looking more amused by the moment. Indy was mortified by the entire situation. It was him that broke eye contact first first: making a low cough of embarrassment and submission before looking desperately away and pretending he hadn’t done it at all until he felt his mothers gaze at last turn back to the mirror.
He really was going to have to work on keeping his thoughts to himself.
Indy pushed his worries about his mother’s weariness and his own embarrassment out of his mind firmly after a few long moments. There was no use in dwelling on something he couldn’t change yet, especially since it wouldn’t be that way forever. They would hunt together properly soon enough, and when that happened his mother would be able to share the prey they hunted instead of starving herself so that Indy could eat his fill.
That was another thing that troubled Indy more than he liked to think about. His mother rarely ate, and when she did it was clearly nowhere near enough to sustain her. What was worse was that some of the things she forced herself to consume weren’t even FOOD.
Indy was absolutely certain that his mother thought that he hadn’t noticed what she’d been doing; however the truth was that she couldn’t have been more wrong. He noticed. Oh, how he noticed.
She was his mother, how could he fail to see that she was starving herself? Each night they went out to hunt, and each night Indy watched her refuse to take her rightful share of their kills or carcasses they found. Even when Indy offered to share, she refused and left him the entirety of their prize.
Instead, she watched Indy eat with worry and fear in her eyes, Indy couldn’t stop himself from eating, even when he wanted to. He truly couldn’t help it, and for him, each mouthful he took was as much guilt as meat.
She did everything she could to fill the bottomless pit of Indy’s belly and when they finally returned to their den from the hunt Indy would curl himself up in the softness of their nest and watch her through slitted eyes, pretending to sleep. His mother only ever ate once she believed him asleep. Indy watched her pick at smelly plants and strange, old smelling charred meat. At times she ate other things, things that were so revolting that even the smell of them made Indy’s stomach heave. He’d only made the mistake of sniffing at one of the strange, shiny bars once. His mother had been instantly willing to give that to him as well, but Indy had refused..and not just because it was hers.
What his mother offered him was, in Indy’s opinion, the most revolting thing he had ever seen or smelled and the very thought of putting it in his mouth made him want be sick, but somehow his mother never complained about eating it herself. Not even once.
Indy would never allow himself to forget that she had starved, so that he could grow strong.
They were pack; he and his mother, now and always and pack was everything.
While there were many things that Indy needed to be taught to do there were some things that he hadn’t needed to be told or taught: they’d been there inside him from the very first moment he’d opened his eyes, in the form of a deep and wordlessly profound voice inside him that now and again whispered to him from the back of his mind. One of the loudest and most constant whispers was that two was always better than one, because to be alone was a disaster. To be alone was to die, because solitude was the death of hope.
Only the pack survived, and that was a truth that Indy did not question.
He was abruptly jarred from his brooding when he heard the hiss of the tap cutting off; the sound of running water dying away only moments before he saw his mother finally leave the bathroom, trailing the scent of soap and mint in her wake as she passed him.
To Indy’s delight, as she passed closest to the side the bed on her way to the closet she stroked her dull fore-claws down the length of his spine, following the ever-brightening yellow, scarlet and gold of his markings.
Indy loved his mother’s scratches with all his heart because while the blunted tips of her claws might have been next to useless for hunting they WERE perfect for reaching all the itchy places Indy couldn’t quite reach for himself.
He gave her a chirp of pleasure for her effort, and while it was over all too quickly for Indy’s taste, he also knew that now wasn’t the time to beg for more attention. He could be patient when he needed to be. Well, sometimes, at least.
He was working on it. Really.
Something was wrong, and his mother wasn’t telling him what it was, although Indy desperately wished that she would. Instead, she seemed to be determinedly pretending that everything was as it should be.
It wasn’t working, no matter what she though because Indy could smell her anxiety as clear as day, he could see it in the tense way she held herself, strange sounds making her go still and taut with tension, He could also smell her fear; it faint but definitely present. Not fear of him, of course…fear of something else. Something Indy couldn’t see or hear or smell.
She couldn’t hide her unease from Indy, and Indy didn’t like it at all.
Not one tiny bit.
If something terrible happened Indy knew that there was no one to protect he and his mother from whatever it was that was frightening or threatening them and that troubled him deeply. They were vulnerable and Indy hated it.
Perhaps if his father were there his mother wouldn’t be so on edge, but Indy had never seen or even smelled the male who was his mother’s mate and that told Indy all he needed to know because if he were alive, he would have come to help them long before now.
He would also have been with Indy’s mother when she had come for Indy, saving him from the white coats. That was what made Indy certain that his mother’s mate had died long before he had hatched, most likely killed by the white coats that stole his egg to start with.
Indy knew these things because the voice inside of him whispered from the back of his mind that his father would have died protecting their nest before allowing a white coat to steal an egg and abandoning his mate.
One day, when Indy had a mate and hatchlings of his own he knew that it would be his duty as well, because it was a male’s task to protect the nest and the pack’s territory, to guard the hatchlings once they emerged from their eggs until they could protect themselves, and to share the burden of feeding and caring for those hatchlings with his mate by taking turns to hunt and sleep.
His father was gone, and that meant that Indy’s mother was raising him alone, and Indy was still too small to help her if a larger predator chose to attack them or steal their territory.
Their only defense was secrecy, and that explained his mother’s caution all too well and even without the voice, Indy knew that both their lives depended on their silence.
For now, at least.
Indy knew his mother carried a heavy burden, and that unlike him, she carried it alone. Indy at could at least count on his mother to be there if he needed her, and he knew that she would protect him from anything that wanted to hurt him, that she would die to keep him safe if she had to.
She was his mother, she’d come for him when he was in the bad place with the white coats even though she was all alone, fed him and taught him how to feed himself. She saw all the things Indy didn’t and without her, he knew that he would die.
Indy loved his mother, and as he watched her walk out of the door to their nest from his position on the bed, safely hidden beneath the blankets a rumbling, throaty growl slipped out of him. Once he was certain she was gone, he hopped down off the bed and headed for the balcony. Whatever it was his mother was afraid of, he wouldn’t let her face it alone.
They were pack, now and always.
Chapter 14: Brave
A long awaited confrontation.
I am so, so sorry this has taken so long to update but hopefully the product is worth the wait. Comments are love and feed the beast. ^_^
Owen has been at the Lockwood estate for three weeks, six days and twelve hours and he still hasn’t found Eli’s missing science experiment, and while he’s doing his level best to stay calm under pressure the truth is that he’s rapidly running out of the ability to maintain the carefully crafted illusion that he isn’t freaking right the fuck out.
He’s been doing everything he can to project a calm and confident demeanor in front of Wu and Mills, and even Claire ...but the truth is that Owen has begun to well and truly panic.
The only thing that’s giving him any sort of peace of mind at all at the moment is that he’s absolutely positive the creature is still in the area, but even that is becoming a cold comfort because Owen knows that he’s running out of time to find it before things go entirely to shit.
Realistically speaking , he’s pretty surprised that they haven’t run out of luck already, but it’s just a matter of time before that lucky streak comes to an abrupt and bloody end.
It’s a goddamn miracle that no one has been hurt yet, and Owen is seriously questioning just how much of that is intentional on the part of the creature he’s been hunting.
He’d been hoping desperately that Wu’s estimate of the Indoraptor‘s level of intelligence would fall short of the reality but with evidence mounting to the contrary Owen is now forced to accept the fact that far from falling short, the Indoraptor has actually surpassed Wu’s expectations exponentially.
It isn’t good news.
Wu and Mills have created a terrifyingly clever monster and Owen is now plagued by the nightmarish certainty that he’s not tracking an animal at all any more, because no animal is capable of being this cautious, this careful and measured in the chances it takes and the plans it makes...and it IS planning ahead, Owen has seen clear evidence that the Indoraptor has been covering its tracks and even doubling back in its own footprints now and again to
throw him off it’s trail.
No animal Owen has ever heard of can do what the Indoraptor has been doing, and that terrifies him in ways he doesn’t have words to explain, not even to Claire, and as horrifying as that knowledge is it still isn’t the worst of their problems.
Clues had been dangerously thin on the ground since the whole mess started, but Owen had by dumb luck managed to run across some intact tracks the previous evening and the size of them had chilled him to the bone and turned his blood to ice-water in his veins .
The Indoraptor was growing at an accelerated pace, just as Eli and that fucker Wu had promised that it would, but yet again it seemed to be surpassing every expectation of it because it’s rapid maturation and growth was outpacing even Wu’s most optimistic projections, so much so that Wu himself had gone a little pale when Owen had brought him the plaster cast of the tracks he’d found.
The look of stunned horror on his smug fucking face when Owen had dropped the cast on his desk in front of him and demanded an explanation was something Owen knew he would never forget. It wasn’t much but it was a small pleasure considering how far up shit creek they all were.
In the past month and a half the Indoraptor had gone from being something around the size of a beagle to something more than large enough to give an adult velociraptor a run for its money. It was now somewhere around the size Blue had been as a sub-adult, and Owen’s best guess is that it probably weighs something in the area of three hundred pounds, maybe more...but absolutely no less than 250 even at his most conservative estimate and if it couldn’t already look him in the eye right now, he knows it won’t be long at all before that is no longer the case.
Owen has never in his life wanted to kill someone as much as he does Eli Mills and Henry Wu, and considering the fact that killing people used to be his job, in his opinion that’s really saying something about his feelings toward the two of them and the monumental fuckup they’ve so recklessly instigated.
This shit was why he wished life came with a back button, it really really was.
Owen stared out at the setting sun from his position on the balcony of the guest room Mills had given him, and as he watched the last ruddy fingers of light lose their grip on the sky he couldn’t help but shudder and hope that their luck would hold for another night.
Mills had been pressing him to continue the search even after sundown but Owen had shut that idea down hard each and every time Mills and Wu brought it up. It was dangerous enough hunting the Indoraptor in daylight....Owen knew that pursuing it after dark would be suicide. He was already at more than enough of a disadvantage without making the situation any worse for himself and if Eli had a problem with it he could go find his goddamn murder-lizard himself with Owens blessing and good wishes.
Ordinarily Owen would have already gone inside by now, he would have long since locked up his windows and scooted the heavy mahogany dresser in front of the French doors of his balcony just in case the Indoraptor decided that it was tired of playing the mouse in their cat-and mouse game and was interested in being the cat for a change.
Tonight though something had made him stay put, even as the last of the light died....and he was glad that he had, because from the corner of his eye he saw it, near the tree line on the west side of the estate where manicured lawn gave way to old growth forest, a long black snout, followed by a compact and efficiently built body with a row of what looked something like quills running down its spine and a long, brilliant stripe of orange and gold running down its side.
It was the first time he’d actually seen the creature, and if it wasn’t so goddamn terrifying Owen might have called it beautiful. As it was, he wasn’t entirely certain he hadn’t pissed himself in pure terror and all he could do was stay as still as possible and pray that it didn’t notice him. It was watching the house, for what reason Owen didn’t know but it was bad news regardless. The house was full of people, vulnerable people who had no way of knowing what was coming for them if the Indoraptor decided it was tired of venison and wanted a taste of the other, OTHER, white meat.
It felt to Owen like his heart was trying to beat right out of his chest and run screaming into the night, and just when he thought the situation couldn’t possibly get any worse...it did. It absolutely fucking did, because why wouldn’t it?
The Indoraptor was crouched by the trees, mostly hidden in the underbrush...Owen would never have seen it if he hadn’t been looking in the exact place at the perfect moment to catch the faint movement that had given the creatures position away, and now Owen could see what it had been watching.
It was Lockwood’s granddaughter, Maisie.
Owen had only really spoken to her once since he arrived, and at the time she’d seemed withdrawn and painfully shy, skittish like the mustangs that had roamed his grandfathers ranch when he was a kid, likely to bold at the first wrong move, eyes full of mistrust and skepticism at his intentions. Owen had never been much good with kids, Claire’s nephews notwithstanding so they’d done their best to avoid one another since, though he’d felt her watching him now and again, usually from some high point or other, like she was a cat instead of a little girl.
Now he was about to watch her die, and there was nothing Owen could do to save her, no matter how much he wanted to....there was simply no way he could make it down the stairs and out of the front door in time to get to her before she was within the Indoraptor’s strike range.
Instead of thinking, Owen let his body react, hopping over the balustrade and grabbing on to the lattice of creeping ivy that blanketed the stonework of the manor, using it to slow his decent. It gave way under his weight halfway down and dumped him unceremoniously into the rose bushes below but even an ass full of thorns didn’t slow Owen. He clawed his sidearm from its holster as he ran, desperately glad that he hadn’t already taken it off, and clicked off the safety as he pelted towards the disaster about to happen.
His ammunition wasn’t lethal, only a heavy duty sedative because Owen was well aware that there was no way he’d be able to drop an animal like the Indoraptor in one shot, no way in hell, this wasn’t the ‘ Wild Wild West’ and he wasn’t Will Smith but a tranquilizer would knock the murder-lizard out regardless of where he hit it.
At least he hoped it would, but that was if he even made it in range in time.
Owen knew the exact moment the Indoraptor saw him and understood what was about to happen. That big black head swiveled towards him and instead of staying low it stretched out as large as it could and roared at him, looking between Owen and the girl, weighing its options.
Owen ran faster, he knew that he just needed to get a little bit closer....just a little bit, but his luck had finally run out, because instead of turning on him, the monster burst from the brush and headed right for the girl. Owen had never seen anything move so fast in his entire life, it was like the thing was greased lightning, and it was zigzagging to avoid letting him get a clear shot at it.
He raised his gun just as the creature reached the girl, he was out of time, either he fired now or he watched that girl die, so he took his shot. Owen heard her scream, a high, panicked wail as he pulled the trigger.
His shot was good, and Owen knew that it would drop the animal in its tracks.
At least, it would have, if Maisie Lockwood hadn’t thrown herself between the dart and the Indoraptor as a human shield, and so instead of striking true it hit her instead, the dart driving deep into her skinny little back and Owen watched in horror as she crumpled to the ground at the Indoraptor’s feet.
The Indoraptor itself howled in fury, and as Owen fumbled to reload he watched in confusion as that towering fury suddenly turned into terror as it saw Maisie motionless on the ground. Fury forgotten for the moment, it crouched again and nosed frantically at Maisie’s limp body, keening softly as it tried to wake her.
Owen knew those sounds it was making, knew them so well that they made his heart twist in agony. Blue had made them as a baby, whenever she was afraid or when she wanted him to protect her, she would make that exact sound, sometimes Owen still heard it in his dreams.
It was a distress call, from child to parent. The Indoraptor was crying for its mother, the mother that Owen had just shot. He was fucked, he was so fucked.
At last Owen understood how the Indoraptor had been avoiding them all so skillfully. It’d had help, it hadn’t escaped at all.....someone had stolen it, and that someone was Maisie Lockwood. He stared in numb horror as the Indoraptor nosed at the girl’s body, trying to get her to her feet again, and when that failed it tried to use its forelimbs to drag her away, fumbling and awkward, those goldenrod colored eyes fixed on Owen in fear and hatred.
He knew it wasn’t going to leave her behind and as their eyes met Owen saw the moment it decided to kill him.
He pulled the trigger again and watched his second dart strike home on that dark, leathery neck, and even as the creature crumpled to the ground with a vicious snarl it tried to curl itself around the girl, put its larger body between her and Owen as she herself had done only moments before.
As Owen cautiously approached the pair he pulled out his radio and clicked the talk button, the sound obscenely loud in the hush left in the wake of the drama that had just played itself out in front of his eyes..
“ Claire, go get Wu and Mills. I got their monster....but you are not going to like what else I got in the process, tell Wu to bring a crash kit and the antidote to his high octane night night juice, FAST. We have a potentially lethal unintentional exposure. ”
They were all so, so fucked.
Chapter 15: Secrets
Trying to wake up felt like swimming through an ocean made of thick maple syrup. The fancy kind her grandfather insisted on importing from Canada. In the heavy dark, sometimes Maisie could hear voices—they yelled and argued and sometimes they even begged but she couldn’t make out what they said, and every time she thought she’d finally reached the surface the blackness pulled her back down again. She wanted to wake up—she truly did. But every part of her told her to give in and let the darkness have her.
It was safe in the dark, nothing could touch her there.
Maisie refused. She had to wake up. She had to get to Indy. She had to save him. He needed her. Nobody had ever needed her before Indy, Maisie had been alone in every way that mattered—waiting for her grandfather to die and doing her best to pretend that she didn’t notice that sometimes Iris looked through her instead of at her.
It was the thought of Indy that finally gave her the strength to struggle free of the dark and push her eyes open.
Maisie knew where she was immediately. The basement lab. Her heart skipped a beat in pure dread as she took in the gleaming walls and the soft beep of machinery. It surged into her throat like it was trying to stage an escape when she realized that Dr. Wu was sitting by her bedside, the older man was focused on the tablet in his hands but when her heart rate spiked on the monitor he looked up abruptly and Maisie wasn’t quite quick enough to shut her eyes and pretend to still be asleep.
“Sleeping beauty has awakened.” Wu said, and although his tone was jovial—Maisie could sense the anger behind the pleasant mask.
He knew. Wu knew what she’d done, and that meant that so did Eli. Maisie had known she couldn’t hide Indy forever, but she’d hoped to have more control over the situation when what she’d done was finally exposed. There was no point in pretending ignorance now though. Maisie knew it without a doubt. They had Indy. If they had her, they had to have him too because her sweet boy would never leave her willingly.
They either had him, or he was dead—and if he was dead then Maisie was going to tear Wu’s throat out with her teeth if it was the last thing she ever did.
“Where is he?” it was hard to talk, her throat hurt terribly and it made her voice a ragged croak but her words were clear enough. There was no confusion on Wu’s face as he watched her, only cold fascination.
“Safe,” he said, and his smug tone made Maisie’s blood boil.
“Where!” Maisie shouted as she pushed herself up onto her elbows before bracing her hands on the bed and shioving herself with all her m right into a sitting position. Wu didn’t answer, he only smiled again and this time it reached his eyes.
Once Maisie was vertical the world spun dizzyingly around her and colors seemed to bleed from the walls. But Maisie didn’t care, let them bleed. She had to get up. Wu wasn’t going to tell her anything and terror beat like a drum inside Maisie’s heart and brain. She had to find Indy. He needed her and she had to find him. Indy was the only thing that mattered now. He loved her. He trusted her— and she wasn’t going to betray that trust.
The whole world tilted crazily around her as she scrambled to yank out the IV lines in her arms and rip the monitor wires off her body. To her surprise Wu didn’t seem inclined to stop her. He just watched as she dragged herself out of the bed by sheer force of will. He didn’t intervene when she fell the first time—or the second. Or the tenth.
He watched her crawl to the door and out into the hallway as she pulled herself one painful inch at a time towards her goal. Once she was in the wider area of the hall Maisie called out—and she prayed with everything inside of herself that Indy would answer her.
“Indy!” she could hear the fear in her own voice, and she knew Wu wasn’t far behind her but reason had fled the moment she’d realized that Indy was in danger.
His keening, shrill answer to her call gave Maisie new strength. She pushed herself up off her bleeding knees and used the wall to support herself as she made her way single-mindedly towards her goal. Towards Indy.
She called his name again and her heart skipped a beat when he answered her immediately. She knew where she was going now. Wu was forgotten as Maisie made her way along the hall on shaky, unreliable legs. She started crying the moment she turned the corner and saw him in the dark cage they’d put him in.
Maisie stumbled blindly towards the bars, sobbing in relief as Indy pressed his dark body as close to them as he could in an effort to be closer to her. His forelimbs slipped through the bars and curled around her. His talons dug into her gown-clad shoulders painfully but Maisie didn’t care.
Indy was alive. He wasn’t hurt. Indy was alive and she was alive and they were together. That was the only thing that mattered.
Maisie had forgotten Wu until he spoke, but his voice jarred her from her trance and she turned abruptly to put herself between the man and Indy—and from somewhere deep inside of herself a sound came boiling out of her mouth that was nothing human.
Maisie hissed, low and vicious and bared her teeth at him in pure threat. She didn’t want him near Indy, she didn’t want him near her—and with the drugs still fogging her ability to think clearly and logically Maisie had no way to keep instinct from overpowering her reason.
“Wu, don’t move—“ a second voice got another hiss of warning as Maisie struggled to divide her focus between two threats instead of one. Owen Grady had appeared from around the corner and as he crept slowly forward he was watching her with wide, fearful eyes.
All Maisie could feel was satisfaction. Good. Let him be afraid. If he was afraid he would stay away from them.
“Mr. Gra-“ Wu started to speak but Grady cut him off abruptly.
“Shut up, Wu.” Grady hissed urgently, his wide eyes fixed unwaveringly on Maisie.
“—-If you move she’s going to go for your throat and I don’t know if I can get to you in time to keep her from tearing it out.”
“She’s a child!” Wu scoffed incredulously, looking at Grady as if the other man had clearly lost his mind.
“Not right now she’s not.” Owen replied grimly, never taking his eyes off Maisie for a moment. The man was watching her as if she were a bomb that was likely to detonate at any moment not a little girl.
“ —the lights are on but there’s nobody home. Whatever is driving right now isn’t human. I know that sound Wu, it’s the one a mother raptor makes when her nest is threatened and it’s usually the last sound whatever doing the threatening ever hears.”
Wu goes pale and silent, and Maisie can see the whites of the doctor’s wide eyes as he very carefully takes a step back. A step backwards Maisie will accept, but a step forwards will be the end of her patience. Owen is watching Wu too, and there’s nothing kind in his eyes as he glares at the other man.
“What did you do?” the words are low and soft and full of dread as they leave Owen’s mouth. He already knows the answer. Maisie can see it on his scruffy-bearded face.
“What I was ASKED to do—nothing more!” Wu retorts, but his guilt is as plain as Owen’s dread.
“—and what were you asked to do?”
“Mr. Lockwood had a daughter. He lost her. He wanted her back. He hired me to make that happen.”
“Jesus Christ Wu.” Owen hissed angrily, looking worriedly back to Maisie to see her reaction to Wu’s bombshell. He was disappointed , because Maisie didn’t react at all—instead she stood there wavering on her feet. Her eyes glassy and unfocused. It seemed almost as if she weren’t really awake at all.
His suspicion was confirmed when Wu noticed where his eyes had drifted. “ Don’t worry, Grady. She won’t remember any of this. The sedative you used on her is similar to rohypnol. Her short term memory is compromised. It will remain that way for several more hours. We developed it that way to keep our specimens from developing negative associations regarding medical testing. You can’t fear what you can’t remember after all.”
Wu turned his focus back to Grady and his question.
“I made some small alterations—the Lockwood genetic samples were degraded by both time and disease. Certain parts of her code had to be replaced entirely to produce a viable zygote. I used what I knew, but it shouldn’t have had an effect like this!” Wu retorted, attempting to defend himself—-but he couldn’t quite bring himself to meet Owens eyes as he said it.
Owen couldn’t believe the magnitude of the bulls hit he was hearing and it showed plainly on his side eyes face. “You played Frankenstein and made a human and raptor hybrid? I’m pretty fucking sure Lockwood never asked you to give his dead daughter an upgrade!”
“I made two, actually.” Wu said quietly, but his pride was wilting in the face of Owen’s rage.
“ I used the Lockwood genetic samples to make the Indoraptor as well. They’d already been sequenced and had proven stable in the long term. I was trying to save time by using what I had on hand.”
“You’re certifiable, Wu. Do you have any fucking idea how illegal all of this is? “
Wu snorted. “ Why do you think Mr. Mills had you sign all those NDA’s?”
Owen Grady had never wanted to hit someone so much in his entire life as he did Henry Wu in that moment.
“You smug little fuck. I should have let your little science experiment eat your face and do the world a favor.”
In the meantime, the science experiment in question had used the time that the two men were distracted by their argument to slip herself between the bars of Indy’s cage. It was a tight squeeze, but she’d managed—-however once she had and a deeply relieved Indy had curled himself around her as tightly as she could unconsciousness had surged up and over her again like a dark tide, pulling her down into sleep again. Leaving Indy to clutch her limp body and hiss quietly as he watched the two humans bicker.
Indy didn’t understand most of what they were saying—but he didn’t need to. As long as they left he and his mother alone they weren’t his problem.
For now, anyway.