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At the moment, I've placed a quick hiatus on the rewrite due to my being very busy, but the next chapter will hopefully be up soon.
Prologue: Monsters in the Mist
Fog. Endless fog, thick and dense. All you could see was the fog. Fog, mist, dew – whatever you wanted to call it – it still overwhelmed your mind and your senses.
Beneath the fog – ocean. Waves making their way to an unseen shore nearby. But it was a still wave, still enough for the blanket of fog to settle without much disruption.
There was only the fog and the waves, except for a lonely boat, cruising slowly and steadily towards the invisible shore. And a man, standing on a deck, hands at the railing, staring into the wall of white and dull blue.
Paul Emhart watched, and waited patiently. It was bound to appear soon. Only a few more moments now.Almost on cue, the dim silhouette of an island started to emerge from out of the fog. To a layman, it would have looked dark and menacing. But Paul had seen it many times before, and it was like the return of an old friend.
Paul was a geneticist back at the park – the original Jurassic Park. He had wonderful memories of the job, right up until that fateful day, so many years ago. At first, it was like any other day, apart from the inspection team. Then he hopped on the boat with the rest of the staff.
It was only the next day when he finally heard what happened at the island. Sooner than he could speak, his job was gone and all his work was collected and simply filed away, never to be remembered again. The company handed him plane tickets home, and then simply disappeared from his life forever.
It took Paul a while to get over it all, but he was later able to leave the world of InGen behind. After a reluctant divorce (he decided to forget about that like he did with the island disaster), he got a job at the post office for the next few years, and then retired, as soon as he earned enough money to last himself, to the peace of the mountains.
Still, he was restless. He had to see one more thing before he could die a happy man.
Now, at the age of sixty-one, he had decided to take a vacation, and say goodbye to Isla Nublar properly.
Paul glanced back at the driver, who was standing by the engine and steering the boat along. He was the only one willing enough – or, as some would say, crazy enough – to take Paul this close.
Of course, there was no danger here. The authorities had taken care of that issue right off the bat. They had firebombed the island, blasting it with napalm wherever they could. After the fires exhausted themselves, the jungles should have been a ruin and no animals should have remained standing on the island. But the locals believed whatever they wanted to...
The boat passed gnarly rocks sticking up from out of the sea. “Get us in a little closer,” Paul beckoned to the driver, who gave a single, silent nod.
Paul turned back to the island and the fog, resuming his thoughts. There was so much that they had left unfinished. Wonderful plans that would never come to fruition...
Hammond and the surviving scientists were the only ones that would ever remember the grand plans. Preliminary projects had already started on Isla Sorna, but they were abandoned. And they were forever irretrievable, now that the island had been set up as a private reserve. After the San Diego incident, nobody was allowed within 25 miles of Sorna, and security from both air and water would detect any attempted approach. It was for the good of the animals, but it was also a dream wasted. Nobody would ever really know.
But then again, not everybody knew all about Isla Nublar, either. Maybe after all these years –
With a noticeable jerk, the engine cut and the boat stopped. Only the waves moved them forward.
Paul looked towards the boat driver, vaguely annoyed. The driver was looking anxiously at the water’s surface, like he was searching for someone.
“What is it?” Paul said.
“I do not know,” the driver said, with a heavy accent. “There was something in the water. What it was...well, I cannot tell.”
“What sort of shape?”
The driver paused. “Long, perhaps like a pole.”
Paul stumbled through the man’s English. From what he could tell, he was trying to describe something elongated. “Maybe a shark,” he ventured to the driver. Paul had never considered the idea of sharks around the island before, but it was perfectly reasonable now that he thought of it. The Pacific Ocean teemed with sharks.
The boat driver shrugged, but still looked uncertain. He kept scanning the water.
“Well, start it up and let’s keep going,” Paul said. “I just need one more look up close.”
The driver nodded, and Paul turned back to the ocean. He gazed up at the island, noticed the trees that were blackened and burned from the bombings, long ago.
But still the boat did not move. Paul sneered, and turned back towards the driver once more. “Did you hear? Keep on –"
He stopped when he saw the driver’s face. His eyes were wide, and his mouth was slowly starting to fall open.
“What?” Paul asked. He knew he shouldn’t have chosen a local to do this for him, especially one who didn’t speak much English. “What’s so funny?” he said again.
The driver started backing away, gasping for breath, and then finally released his energy and ran towards the far side of the boat, through the fog and out of sight.
It was then that Paul finally realized something, and he looked over at the water behind him. He saw a black shape under the ocean, emerging from the fog, moving slowly but steadily towards the boat. He could not see it, but he somehow knew what it was. As his emotions turned from surprise to fear, only one if his thoughts escaped to his lips:
There was a splash, and then there was nothing.
The BadlandsThe badlands were an empty place. Outcrops of red rock covered the ground all the way to the horizon. Not a cloud was in the sky, allowing the heat of the blazing sun to beat down on the landscape without resistance. Brief gusts of whining wind blew down from the cliffs, sending small clouds of dust across dry riverbeds.
In this merciless land, some people would call it hell. But Alan Grant called it heaven.
He was crouched on a barren hillside in the middle of Alberta. In front of him, the edge of a dinosaur skull was half-exposed, seemingly trying to free itself from the rocky prison that had held it for millions and millions of years. Bits of red stone flaked away as the bone was slowly exposed.
Grant paused to wipe away the sweat gathering on his face. As he had expected, he had found another styracosaur. He wasn’t sure what this individual’s number would be; he had lost track of the count long ago. But he didn’t really care about numbers – ceratopsians were his favorite dinosaurs.
Grant and his team were digging in the middle of Dinosaur Provincial Park. They had been called been to investigate a possible bonebed, which it had indeed turned out to be. And now they were in the long, slow process of uncovering all the skeletons.
After gluing a crack in the bone, Grant stood up and dusted himself off. He had been sitting there for more than two hours now, and it was time to stretch his knees. Simply put, he wasn’t as youthful and energetic as he used to be. It was a shame, but at least there was a new and willing generation of paleontologists waiting for him to hand over the torch.
Stepping over bones still partially encased in the ground, he made his way to the trailer parked nearby. A drink would be nice right about now.
As Grant stepped inside and grabbed a bottle from the fridge, one of the local volunteers popped her head through the door. “Dr. Grant, Richard is here,” she said, and disappeared back outside.
Sighing, Grant took his bottle outside. Most of the young paleontologists were friendly people that Grant liked to have around, but Richard Levine was not one of those paleontologists.
The door of a dirty pickup truck slammed closed, and a thin man in his early thirties with a stubble of a beard descended down a ridge. After reaching the bottom, he extended his hand. “Grant,” he said.
“Richard,” Grant returned, and tried to smile. “So the guys at Tyrrell wanted you here?” he asked.
Levine nodded. “Not that I really enjoy the badlands. I’m a man of the museum.”
Grant led him down to the bonebed, and collected his thoughts.
There was no denying that Richard Levine was a brilliant man, and a true expert in what he did. There was also no denying that he was a very irritating man. At Yale, he had established himself as one of the most promising young paleontologists in the entire field. Of course, nobody liked him much, as he was rather arrogant and spoke before he thought whenever he was given a chance. But nobody could disregard his expertise, and he was sent all around the world to various digs to give his opinion on specimens.
As they reached the field of bones, Levine asked, “So what species have been found here?”
“Well, mostly Styracosaurus, both adult and juvenile,” Grant said. “There’s also a couple chasmosaur bones located a few meters away from the bonebed, but I assume that just got washed in later on.”
“Well, I’ll have a look. But it’s equally possible, even likely, that those bones could represent multi-species herding behavior within groups of ceratopsians. It’s like the herds of wildebeest and zebra on the Serengeti, just on a dinosaurian scale.”
Grant paused. “Well, uh, as I said, there’s only a couple of those bones...”
"'Absence of evidence'..., as I believe the old saying starts," Levine said, and crouched down to examine an articulated skeleton. “I see no reason why there shouldn’t be.”
Grant sighed, and decided not to push it any further. It had barely been two minutes, and Levine was already living up to his reputation.
Levine stayed throughout the week, spending the days inside the trailer analyzing bones and writing up drafts of papers to be written about the site. Grant read a couple of the drafts, and there was no mention of him or the team inside.
The first night, Levine refused to sleep in the tents that the rest of the team was bedding down in, calling them “bare minimum accommodations”. Eventually, as the trailer was off limits, he decided to set up a sleeping back inside his truck. Naturally, he was in a bad mood all the next morning.
And so the days continued in a similar fashion, until the ninth day, when Grant looked over the mail that had been brought in from the nearest town. To his dismay, he was not alone.
"I think, with reasonable certainty, I know exactly what happened to these animals. The dry season was at its peak, and the herd was congregating around a shrinking water hole. Unbeknownst to them, however, rains from the northeast –"
“Mm-hm,” Grant muttered as he sorted through the mail, not bothering to pay attention. By now he had figured out that Levine was a radicalist, and not above subscribing to the most ridiculous and implausible theories.
Among the notes and papers, Grant finally found a small letter at the bottom of the pile, addressed to him. He ripped it open as Levine continued his speech.
"– flood would have washed the entire herd off its feet and buried them, where they would have remained to this day! Anyone with elementary knowledge of stratigraphy can figure that one out. Say, what do you have there?” Levine asked, and read over Grant’s shoulder. The letter read:
Dear Dr. Grant,
You have been invited to speak at the 5th Annual Ostrom Memorial Paleontological Symposium, being held this year in Cleveland, Ohio, by an anonymous patron. Please RSVP within two weeks with your name, affiliation, and lecture title at our website (link at bottom of page). If you attend, you will be given special seating at table 32 with fellow colleagues, with complimentary dinner and wine tasting. More details about the symposium can be found at the website. We hope that you will attend and enjoy this event!
All the best,
Grant was pleasantly surprised. He had heard of this symposium before, although he had never bothered to attend in previous years. Being invited by an “anonymous patron” made him feel all the more honored.
“I guess I’ll have to redo my schedule,” he said, smiling. It was only one night, so it wouldn’t be too much of an interruption to his work. For once, some peace and solitude with like-minded friends.
“Congratulations on the luck,” Levine said.
Grant noticed another, similar letter at the bottom of the pile that was addressed to Levine, who grabbed it before Grant could read anything else. Levine tore it open and skimmed its contents.
“Well, well, wouldn’t you know it,” Levine said, smiling. He held up the letter. “Table 32.”
Grant blinked. It was a nice dream of solitude, he supposed. It lasted just over twenty seconds.
ParadoxThe room was dark, excepting for the spotlights lighting the temporarily assembled stage and the dim outlines of giant skeletons and hushed faces. The stage itself was almost entirely bare, with only a podium resting in the middle. But that did not mean the speaker was actually using the podium, instead walking across the stage and addressing the audience.
“Science can be seen as a land full of uncertainties. It is an enterprise built around knowledge, and how to attain it. In fact, some people say that the point of science is to ask questions. For one fact that we discover, there are ten other problems that emerge from it, waiting to be solved. Uncertainties are everywhere in the world today, and we try to make the uncertain certain using science. Despite what other people may want you to believe, there are actually very few true certainties in science – say, gravity, for example. But another is the notion that someday, somehow, the human race will no longer exist on planet Earth.
“As many of you are likely to know, when a species disappears it is termed to be that species’ extinction. The thylacine, the quagga, the passenger pigeon – these and hundreds of other species have gone extinct in the past three hundred years alone. The golden toad became extinct as recently ago as the 1980s. But I like to think of extinction as an intriguing little scientific paradox. Excepting the recent cases in human history, the exact methods and triggers of extinction are very uncertain. But it is very certain that extinction can, will, and does happen.
“One of the problems is that the causes of extinctions are controversial and little known. Everybody talks about the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period, but what about the one at the end of the Permian, which wiped out in excess of eighty percent of all life on Earth? Or the Eocene-Oligocene extinction event? And all of those are mass extinctions, events where significant portions of the existing fauna and flora are eliminated. The vast majority of species die off one at a time, in what is called background extinction, and that is a phenomenon that is even more poorly studied.”
The speaker, having reached one end of the stage, turned around and headed slowly back the way he came. “Not only are we uncertain of the causes of extinctions, but also exactly why some species go extinct. Upon first glance, well-adapted animals and plants seemingly have no good reason to go extinct. And yet they do. The oreodonts, a now-extinct group of even-toed mammals, persisted for thirty million years almost entirely unchanged. They weren’t particularly large. They weren’t particularly fast. They weren’t particularly strong, or scary, or smart. And generalization is a fairly sturdy strategy against extinction. And yet, about five million years ago or so, they disappeared without a trace.
“Another example would be, again, the dinosaurs. They simply dominated the planet for over a hundred and sixty million years, and then disappeared sixty five million years ago at the end of the Mesozoic era. Several theories, ranging from the plausible to the mundane to the ridiculous, have been put forth to explain this extinction, as I’m sure you’re all aware of, and the current suggestion is that a large meteorite slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula, causing untold damage and loss of life around the globe. But that theory, like all the others, has its flaws. If the dinosaurs, the marine reptiles, and the pterosaurs were killed, why not the other large animals around at the time, like crocodiles or sharks? Amphibians, too, are particularly sensitive to changing environmental conditions. Hundreds of amphibian species can die at the drop of a hat if the change is sudden enough. But there is no record of a large amphibian die-off at the end of the Cretaceous. Why was it that this mass extinction was so selective in choosing its victims?
“My point is that there are so many unanswered questions about extinction out there. Because the topic is so difficult to study as a whole, even the most experienced and talented scientists have a hard time with it. There are believed to rough patterns determining extinction, but they are in no way clear, and certainly not yet proved. For the most part, the whole process seems to be overwhelmingly random.” The speaker gestured to the skeletons surrounding the stage, and then turned to face the audience. “But will we ever unlock its mysteries? Is it possible that someday we might figure out the secrets of extinction, a force that has vanquished tens of billions of species and even these mighty dinosaurs themselves? To achieve such a feat, extinction itself might have to be more complicated than we now believe.” Ian Malcolm smiled and said, “It’s the essence of chaos.”
The Houston Museum of Sciences was a grand place by anyone’s standards. To be invited to lecture inside the museum’s newly renovated paleontology halls would be a great honor, even for the most distinguished paleontologist. But Ian Malcolm was hardly impressed by it.
Malcolm had been a prolific lecturer in mathematics and chaos theory for the past fifteen years now, and had published several books. In recent years, he had focused on extinction and theoretical ecology and how they were affected by the implications of chaos theory. It had become a popular field, and Malcolm was invited to speak about the topic to a wide audience, both scientific and non-scientific, to speak about it. It was difficult to find a hidden pattern into the process of extinction, but Malcolm had been investigating other complicated theories and strategies. But even he could not find a meaningful answer yet.
That was exactly the reason why Malcolm had never put forth any certain hypothesis about the subject in his entire career, and was instead mentioning several equally viable and equally untestable possibilities. The trick was to find a theory that could be supported by evidence present in the fossil record, and in great enough quantities to be indisputable. But that was a task that nobody had yet set forth.
However, Malcolm was working on it.
Several hours passed, and Malcolm walked out of the museum doors. Pulling out his cell phone, he dialed his secretary.
“Hey Bev, I’m done over here. Any chance you could call the university and tell them I’ll be back in the office tomorrow?”
“Sure thing.” Malcolm could hear Beverly scribbling notes down onto a sheet of paper over the phone. “Oh, by the way Dr. Malcolm, a letter arrived for you today. It’s from some symposium. Would you be able to read it when you get back?”
“Alright. Bye now.” He hung up, and sighed, expecting yet another invitation to some museum.
Dear Dr. Malcolm,
You have been invited to speak at the 5th Annual Ostrom Memorial Paleontological Symposium, being held this year in Cleveland, Ohio, by an anonymous patron. Please RSVP within two weeks with your name, affiliation, and lecture title at our website (link at bottom of page). Having noticed your ventures and expertise in the field of studying extinction, we would appreciate it if your lecture topic correlates with this field somewhat. If you attend, you will be given special seating at table 32 with fellow colleagues, with complimentary dinner and wine tasting. More details about the symposium can be found at the website. We hope that you will attend and enjoy this event!
All the best,
Malcolm gave the letter a long, hard stare. Things like this usually didn’t come up. In general, he tried to avoid places relating to paleontology, as none of the questions he got ever related to the lecture itself on those kinds of days. But this was something different...
He dialed the phone again. “Beverly? Hi. Would you be able to make a hotel reservation?...”
The skyline of the city was silhouetted against a pastel backdrop as the sun dipped down below the inky horizon. Building lights started to switch on, and the nightlife of shoppers and residents began to awaken and patrol the streets. It was all a budding tourist could ask for. But not all of them were very interested.
Driving along the roads, amongst the shiny new Toyotas and Mercedes, was a dirty, battered pickup truck. It did seem rather out of place in the gleaming realm of the city, but its occupants didn’t care very much.
Grant eyed the empty potato chip bags that were scattered on the truck floor, and looked out of the passenger window at the city sidewalks. He sighed. “I hate cities,” he grumbled to nobody in particular. “It’s all too crowded for me.”
Levine continued to drive. “You hate people nowadays too, so I guess that’s a good combination to have. Remind me again where this place is?”
“Just past the corner of Rockwell Avenue and East 12th Street.”
Grant turned back to the window and let his mind wander again. They drove in silence for a while until they reached the convention center. It was a low, unassuming building with small windows, and the parking deck next door towered over it. Levine pulled up next to the sidewalk and got out, and Grant followed him inside.
The symposium was being held in a large, carpeted room, with a stage on one end that was flanked by bright red curtains. Each table was circular and had a number on it, but the numbers were hard to spot due to the amount of people inside. Grant recognized a couple of familiar faces, but he didn't give them a further thought. There would be time to chat later.
TO BE CONTINUED
Before I begin, I should probably state why I decided to rewrite this article, the longest story on the wiki. Isn't it fine as it is?
Some people would say it remains a classic, but it still bugs me. I wrote this a couple years ago, and I can easily tell that. The writing isn't as developed, it's not as smooth. Everything happens too fast. I don't explain important plot details and I cram too much material into a small space. At least that's how I feel about it, and I also feel I can do much better at this stage of my writing level.
Even if you've read the original story, this rewritten version isn't going to be a longer, more detailed clone of the original, not by a long shot. I'm going to do my best to throw in some new plotlines, introduce some new and secretive characters, and explain some of the holes in the movie canon. I will also be rewriting what little I have written of JP5, this movie's sequel, to clear up the rest of the plotlines and bring the series to an epic close. But that's far in the future.
So pack your bags, grab your guns, and get ready for a whole new thrill ride. Oh, and Malcolm. Stuck full of morphine. Lots of it.
This opening scene has an air of mystery about it, and is retained from the original version with little changes (excepting the fact that Paul is no longer alone, and therefore has someone to talk to). It also opens up many questions. Nublar was bombed with napalm, so what exactly was he thinking about on the boat? What does (or did) he really know about this place?
The ending remains a bit predictable I suppose (it seems that in the opening scene of any Jurassic Park film, somebody has to get eaten), but it still works in my mind. What exactly is it that attacked the boat? (And for those of you who are long-time readers of the original version, keep quiet :) You might not even be right this time around :D)
Ah, the badlands. Alan Grant without the badlands is like Ernie without Bert. I simply had to get him into Alberta again (the setting remains unchanged from the original version); the place is great for paleontology. This part also reveals how old Grant is getting - this scene is almost 10 years after JP3 after all. And Sam Neill is sixty-something anyways. Sooner or later, Grant will have to give the field to the newer generation of paleontologists.
But not Richard Levine. He's utterly new to this story, and it was a great opportunity to introduce him. He's not really a mean man per se, just annoying and irritating. I did lift a lot of his personality and radical thinking from the second novel (yes, including that "absence of evidence" line :P), but over time he should develop in his own unique way.
For the record, the Annual Ostrom Memorial Paleontological Symposium is something I made up, although I wish it was real. Now, who's this "anonymous patron" fellow?
This is another entirely new scene, although based on the lecture in the previous version. It's Ian Malcolm! And he's talking about extinction in the context of chaos theory! This will be something that plays a part in later chapters. Dallas is also dispensed with, and I've replaced it with the science museum in Houston. If you look up the pictures of the new paleo hall, it's actually really cool-looking in there, I'd highly recommend doing so.
By far the most difficult part of this chapter was recreating Malcolm's suave speeches. It's really freaking hard to recreate it, and I'd be honored if people thought that I'd pulled it off.
More characters from The Lost World novel appear with Beverly's introduction, Malcolm's secretary. And that darned anonymous patron is back, with a recommendation for table 32 again. I don't know about you, but I smell a meeting. </foreshadowing>
(in order of appearance:)
- Paul Emhart
- Unnamed boat driver
- Alan Grant
- Unnamed dig volunteer
- Richard Levine
- Ian Malcolm
- Rather like the original version of the story, Extinction features many elements from both novels.