The Lost World Chapter 5

Finally, he turned to the motorcycle. It, too, was electric; Thorne rolled it to the rear of the Explorer, lifted it onto brackets, hooked the power cord into the same system that ran the vehicle, and recharged the battery. He stepped back. "That does it."

In the hot, quiet clearing, Eddie stared toward the high circular rim of the crater, rising in the distance above the dense jungle. The bare rock shimmered in the morning heat, the walls forbidding and harsh. He had a sense of desolation, of entrapment. "Why would anyone ever come here?" he said.

Malcolm, leaning on his cane, smiled. "To get away from it all, Eddie. Don't you ever want to get away from it all?"

"Not if I can help it," Eddie said. "Me, I always like a Pizza Hut nearby, you know what I mean?"

"Well, you're a ways from one now."

Thorne returned to the back panel of the trailer, and pulled out a pair of heavy rifles. Beneath the barrel of each hung two aluminum canisters, side by side. He handed one rifle to Eddie, showed the other to Malcolm. "You ever seen these?"

"Read about them," Malcolm said. "This is the Swedish thing?"

"Right. Lindstradt air gun. Most expensive rifle in the world. Rugged, simple, accurate, and reliable. Fires a subsonic Fluger impact delivery dart, containing whatever compound you want." Thorne cracked open the cartridge bank, revealing a row of plastic containers filled with straw-colored liquid. Each cartridge was tipped with a three-inch needle. "We've loaded the enhanced venom of Conus purpurascens, the South Sea cone shell. It's the most powerful neurotoxin in the world. Acts within a two-thousandth of a second. It's faster than the nerve-conduction velocity. The animal's down before it feels the prick of the dart."


Thorne nodded. "No screwing around here. Just remember, you don't want to shoot yourself in the foot with this, because you'll be dead before you realize that you've pulled the trigger."

Malcolm nodded. "Is there an antidote?"

"No. But what's the point? There'd be no time to administer it if there was."

"That makes things simple," Malcolm said, taking the gun.

"Just thought you ought to know," Thorne said. "Eddie? Let's get going."

The Stream

Eddie climbed into the Explorer. Thorne and Malcolm climbed into the cab of the trailer. A moment later, the radio clicked. Eddie said, "You putting up the database, Doc?"

"Right now," Thorne said.

He plugged the optical disk into the dashboard slot. On the small monitor facing him, he saw the island appear, but it was largely obscured behind patches of cloud. "What good is that?" Malcolm said.

"Just wait," Thorne said. "It's a system. It's going to sum data."

"Data from what?"

"Radar." In a moment, a satellite radar image overlaid the photograph. The radar could penetrate the clouds. Thorne pressed a button, and the computer traced the edges, enhancing details, highlighting the faint spidery track of the road system.

"Pretty slick," Malcolm said. But to Thorne, he seemed tense.

"I've got it," Eddie said, on the radio.

Malcolm said, "He can see the same thing?"

"Yes. On his dashboard."

"But I don't have the CPS," Eddie said, anxiously. "Isn't it working?"

"You guys," Thorne said. "Give it a minute. It's reading the optical. Waystations are coming up."

There was a cone-shaped Global Positioning Sensor mounted in the roof of the trailer. Taking radio data from orbiting navigation satellites thousands of miles overhead, the GPS could calculate the position of the vehicles within a few yards. In a moment, a flashing red X appeared on the map of the island.

"Okay," Eddie said, on the radio. "I got it. Looks like a road leading out of the clearing to the north. That where we're going?"

"I'd say so," Thorne said. According to the map, the road twisted several miles across the interior of the island, before finally reaching a place where all the roads seemed to meet. There was the suggestion of buildings there, but it was hard to be sure.

"Okay, Doc. Here we go."

Eddie drove past him, and took the lead. Thorne stepped on the accelerator, and the trailer hummed forward, following the Explorer.

Beside him, Malcolm was silent, fiddling with a small notebook computer on his lap. He never looked out the window.

In a few moments, they had left the clearing behind, and were moving through dense jungle. Thorne's panel lights flashed: the vehicle switched to its batteries. There wasn't enough sunlight coming through the trees to power the trailer any more. They drove on.

"How you doing, Doc?" Eddie said. "You holding charge?"

"Just fine, Eddie."

"He sounds nervous," Malcolm said.

"Just worried about the equipment."

"The hell," Eddie said. "I'm worried about me."

Although the road was overgrown and in poor condition they made good progress. After about ten minutes, they came to a small stream, with muddy banks. The Explorer started across it, then stopped. Eddie got out, stepping over rocks in the water, walking back.

"What is it?"

"I saw something, Doc."

Thorne and Malcolm got out of the trailer, and stood on the banks of the stream. They heard the distant cries of what sounded like birds. Malcolm looked up, frowning.

"Birds?" Thorne said.

Malcolm shook his head, no.

Eddie bent over, and plucked a strip of cloth out of the mud. It was dark-green Gore-Tex, with a strip of leather sewn along one edge. "That's from one of our expedition packs," he said.

"The one we made for Levine?"

"Yes, Doc."

"You put a sensor in the pack?" Thorne asked. They usually sewed location sensors inside their expedition packs.


"May I see that?" Malcolm asked. He took the strip of cloth and held it up to the light. He fingered the torn edge thoughtfully

Thorne uncapped a small receiver from his belt. It looked like an oversized pager. He stared at the liquid-crystal readout. "I'm not getting any signal...."

Eddie stared at the muddy bank. He bent over again. "Here's another piece of cloth. And another, Seems like the pack was ripped into shreds, Doc."

Another bird cry floated toward them, distant, unworldly. Malcolm stared off in the distance, trying to locate its source. And then he heard Eddie say, "Uh-oh. We have company."

There were a half-dozen bright-green lizard-like animals, standing in a group near the trailer. They were about the size of chickens, and they chirped animatedly. They stood upright on their hind legs, balancing with their tails straight out. When they walked, their heads bobbed up and down in nervous little jerks, exactly like a chicken. And they made a distinctive squeaking sound, very reminiscent of a bird. Yet they looked like lizards with long tails. They had quizzical, alert faces, and they cocked their heads when they looked at the men.

Eddie said, "What is this, a salamander convention?"

The green lizards stood, watched. Several more appeared, from beneath the trailer, and from the foliage nearby. Soon there were a dozen lizards, watching and chattering.

"Compys," Malcolm said. "Procompsognathus triassicus, is the actual name."

"You mean these are - "

"Yes. They're dinosaurs."

Eddie frowned, stared. "I didn't know they came so small," he said finally.

"Dinosaurs were mostly small," Malcolm said. "People always think they were huge, but the average dinosaur was the size of a sheep, or a small pony."

Eddie said, "They look like chickens."

"Yes. Very bird-like."

"Is there any danger?" Thorne said.

"Not really," Malcolm said. "They're small scavengers, like jackals.

They feed on dead animals. But I wouldn't get close. Their bite is mildly poisonous."

"I'm not getting close," Eddie said. "They give me the creeps. It's like they're not scared."

Malcolm had noticed that, too. "I imagine it's because there haven't been any human beings on this island. These animals don't have any reason to fear man."

"Well, let's give them a reason," Eddie said. He picked up a rock.

"Hey!" Malcolm said. "Don't do that! The whole idea is - "

But Eddie had already thrown the rock. It landed near a cluster of compys, and the lizards ducked away. But the others hardly moved. A few of them hopped up and down, showing agitation. But the group stayed where they were. They just chittered, and cocked their heads.

"Weird," Eddie said. He sniffed the air. "You notice that smell?"

"Yes," Malcolm said. "They have a distinctive odor."

"Rotten, is more like it," Eddie said. "They smell rotten. Like something dead. And you ask me, it's not natural, animals that don't show fear like that. What if they have rabies or something?"

"They don't," Malcolm said.

"How do you know?"

"Because only mammals carry rabies." But even as he said it, he wondered if that was right. Warm-blooded animals carried rabies. Were the compys warm-blooded? He wasn't sure.

There was a rustling sound from above. Malcolm looked up at the canopy Of trees overhead. He saw movement in the high foliage, as unseen small animals jumped from branch to branch. He heard squeaks and chirps, distinctly animal sounds.

"Those aren't birds, up there," Thorne said. "Monkeys?"

"Maybe," Malcolm said. "I doubt it."

Eddie shivered. "I say we get out of here,"

He returned to the stream, and climbed into the Explorer. Malcolm walked cautiously with Thorne back to the trailer entrance. The compys parted around them, but still did not run away. They stood all around their legs, chattering excitedly. Malcolm and Thorne climbed into the trailer and closed the doors, being careful not to shut them on the little creatures.

Thorne sat behind the wheel, and turned on the motor. Ahead, they saw that Eddie was already driving the Explorer through the stream, and heading up the sloping ridge on the far side.

"The, uh, procomso-whatevers, Eddie said, over the radio. "They're real, aren't they?"

"Oh yes, Malcolm said softly. "They're real."

The Road

Thorne was uneasy. He was beginning to understand how Eddie felt. He had built these vehicles, and he had an uncomfortable sense of isolation, of being in this faraway place with untested equipment. The road continued steeply upward through dark jungle for the next fifteen minutes. Inside the trailer, it grew uncomfortably warm. Sitting beside him, Malcolm said, "Air conditioning?"

"I don't want to drain the battery." "Mind if I open the window?"

"If you think it's all right," Thorne said.

Malcolm shrugged. "Why not?" He pushed the button, and the power window rolled down. Warm air blew into the car. He glanced back at Thorne. "Nervous, Doc?"

"Sure," Thorne said. "Damned right I am." Even with the window open, he felt sweat running down his chest as he drove.

Over the radio, Eddie was saying, "I'm telling you, we should have tested first, Doc. Should have done it by the book. You don't come to a place with poisonous chickens if you're not sure your vehicles will hold up."

"The cars are fine," Thorne said. "How's your levels?"

"High normal, Eddie said. "Just great. Of course, we've only gone five miles. It's nine in the morning, Doc."

The road swung right, then left, following a series of switchbacks as the terrain became steeper. Hauling the big trailers, Thorne had to concentrate on his driving; it was a relief to focus his attention.

Ahead of them, the Explorer turned left, going higher up the road. "I don't see any more animals," Eddie said. He sounded relieved.

Finally the road flattened out as it turned, following the crest of the ridge. According to the GPS display, they were now heading north west, toward the interior of the island. But the jungle still hemmed them in on all sides; they could not see much beyond the dense walls of foliage.

They came to a Y intersection in the road, and Eddie pulled over to the side. Thorne saw that in the crook of the Y was a faded wooden sign, with arrows pointing in both directions. To the left, the sign said "To Swamp." To the right was another arrow, and the words, "To Site B."

Eddie said, "Guys? Which way?"

"Go to Site B," Malcolm said.

"You got it," The Explorer started down the right fork, Thorne followed. Off to the right, sulfurous yellow steam issued from the ground, bleaching the nearby foliage white. The smell was strong.

"Volcanic," Thorne said to Malcolm, "just as you predicted." Driving past, they glimpsed a bubbling pool in the earth, crusted thick yellow around the edges.

"Yeah," Eddie said, "but that's active. In fact, I'd say that - holy shit!" Eddie's brake lights flashed on, and his car slammed to a stop.

Thorne had to swerve, scraping jungle ferns on the side of the trailer, to miss him. He pulled up alongside the Explorer, and glared at Eddie. "Eddie, for Pete's sake, will you - "

But Eddie wasn't listening.

He was staring straight forward, his mouth wide open.

Thorne turned to look.

Directly ahead, the trees along the road had been beaten down, creating a gap in the foliage. They could see all the way from the ridge road across the entire island to the west. But Thorne hardly registered the panoramic view. Because all he saw was a large animal, the size of a hippopotamus, ambling across the road. Except it wasn't a hippopotamus. This animal was pale brown, its skin covered with large plate-like scales. Around its head, it had a curving bony crest, and rising from this crest were two blunted horns. A third horn protruded above its snout.

Over the radio, he heard Eddie breathing in shallow gasps. "You know what that is?"

"That's a triceratops," Malcolm said. "A young one, by the looks of it."

"Must be," Eddie said. Ahead of them, a much larger animal now crossed the road. It was easily twice the size of the first, and its horns were long, curving, and sharp. "Because that's his mom."

A third triceratops appeared, then a fourth. There was a whole herd of creatures, ambling slowly across the road. They paid no attention to the vehicles as they crossed, passed through the gap, and descended down the hill, disappearing from view.

Only then were the men able to see through the gap itself. Thorne had a view across a vast marshy plain, with a broad river coursing through the center. On either side of the river, animals grazed. There was a herd of perhaps twenty medium-sized, dark-green dinosaurs to the south, their large heads intermittently poking up above the grass along the river. Nearby, Thorne saw eight duck-billed dinosaurs with large tube-like crests rising above their heads; they drank and lifted their heads, honking mournfully. Directly ahead, he saw a ]one stegosaurus, with its curved back and its vertical rows of plates. The triceratops herd moved slowly past the stegosaur, which paid no attention to them. And to the west, rising above a clump of trees, they saw a dozen long, graceful necks of apatosaurs, their bodies hidden by the foliage that they lazily ate. It was a tranquil scene -but it was a scene from another world.

"Doc?" Eddie said. "What is this place?"

Site B

Sitting in the cars, they stared out over the plain. They watched the dinosaurs move slowly through the deep grass. They beard the soft cry of the duckbills. The separate herds moved peacefully beside the river.

Eddie said, "So what are we saying, this is a place that got bypassed by evolution? One of those places where time stands still?"

"Not at all," Malcolm said, "There's a perfectly rational explanation for what you are seeing. And we are going to - "

From the dashboard, there was a high-pitched beeping. On the GPS map, a blue grid was overlaid, with a flashing triangular point marked LEVN.

"It's him!" Eddie said. "We got the son of a bitch!"

"You're reading that?" Thorne said. "It's pretty weak...."

"It's fine - it's got enough signal strength to transmit the ID tab. That's Levine, all right. Looks like it is coming from the valley over there."

He started the Explorer, and it lurched forward up the road. "Let's go," Eddie said. "I want to get the hell out of here."

With the flick of a switch, Thorne turned on the electric Motor for the trailer, and beard the chug of the vacuum pump, the low whine of the automatic transmission. He put the trailer in gear, and followed behind.

The impenetrable jungle closed in around them again, close and hot. The trees overhead blocked nearly all the sunlight. As he drove, he heard the beeping become irregular. He glanced at the monitor, saw the flashing triangle was disappearing, then coming back again.

"Are we losing him, Eddie?" Thorne said.

"Doesn't matter if we do," Eddie said. "We've got a location on him now, and we can go right there. In fact, it should be just down this road here. Right past this guardhouse or whatever it is, dead ahead."

Thorne looked past the Explorer, and saw a concrete structure and a tilting steel road-barrier. It did indeed look like a guardhouse. It was in disrepair, and overgrown with vines. They drove on, coming onto paved road. It was clear the foliage on either side had once been cut far back, fifty feet on either side. Pretty soon they came to a second guardhouse, and a second checkpoint.

They continued on another hundred yards, the road still curving slowly along the ridge. The surrounding foliage became sparser; through gaps in the ferns Thorne could see wooden outbuildings, all painted identical green. They seemed to be utility structures, perhaps sheds for equipment. He had the sense of entering a substantial complex.

And then, suddenly, they rounded a curve, and saw the entire complex spread out below them. It was about a half-mile away.

Eddie said, "What the hell is that?"

Thorne stared, astonished. In the center of the clearing he saw the flat roof of an enormous building. It covered several acres, stretching away into the distance. It was the size of two football fields. Beyond the vast roof was a large blocky building with a metal roof, which had the functional look of a power plant, But if so, it was as big as the power plant for a small town.

At the far end of the main building, Thorne saw loading docks, and turnarounds for trucks. Over to the right, partially hidden in foliage, there were a series of small structures that looked like cottages. But from a distance it was hard to be sure.

Taken together, the whole complex had a utilitarian quality that reminded Thorne of an industrial site, or a fabrication plant. He frowned, trying to put it together.

"Do you know what this is?" Thorne said to Malcolm.

"Yes," Malcolm said, nodding slowly. "It's what I suspected for some time now."


"It's a manufacturing plant," Malcolm said. "It's a kind of factory."

"But it's huge," Thorne said.

"Yes," Malcolm said. "It had to be."

Over the radio, Eddie said, "I'm still getting a reading from Levine. And guess what? It seems to be coming from that building."

They drove past the covered front entrance to the main building, beneath the sagging portico. The building was of modern design, concrete and glass, but the jungle had long ago grown up around it. Vines hung from the roof Panes of glass were broken; ferns sprouted between cracks in the concrete.

Thorne said, "Eddie? Got a reading?"

Eddie said, "Yeah. Inside. What do you want to do?"

"Set up base camp in that field over there," Thorne said, pointing a half-mile to the left, where once, it seemed, there had been an extensive lawn. It was still an open clearing in the jungle; there would be sunlight for the photovoltaics. "Then we'll have a look around."

Eddie parked his Explorer, turning it around to face back the way they had come. Thorne maneuvered the trailers alongside the car, and cut the engine. He climbed out into the still, hot morning air. Malcolm got out and stood with him. Here in the center of the island, it was completely silent, except for the buzz of insects.

Eddie came over, slapping himself. "Great place, huh? No shortage of mosquitoes. You want to go get the son of a bitch now?" Eddie unclipped a receiver from his belt, and cupped his hand over the display, trying to see it in the sunlight. "Still right over there." He pointed to the main building. "What do you say?"

"Let's go get him," Thorne said.

The three men turned, climbed into the Explorer, and, leaving the trailers behind, drove in hot sunlight toward the giant, ruined building.


Inside the trailer, the sound of the car engine faded away, and there-was silence. The dashboard glowed, the GPS map remained visible on the monitor; the flashing X marking their position. A small window in the monitor, titled "Active Systems," indicated the battery charge, photovoltaic efficiency, and usage over the past twelve hours. The electronic readouts all glowed bright green.

In the living section, where the kitchen and beds were located, the recirculating water supply in the sink gurgled softly. Then there was a thumping sound, coming from the upper storage compartment, located near the ceiling. The thumping was repeated, and then there was silence.

After a moment, a credit card appeared through the crack of the compartment door. The card slid upward, lifting the panel latch, unhooking it. The door swung open, and a white bundle of padding fell Out, landing with a dull thud on the floor. The padding unrolled, and Arby Benton groaned, stretching his small body.

"If I don't pee, I'm going to scream," he said, and he hurried on shaky legs into the tiny bathroom.

He sighed in relief. It had been Kelly's idea for them to go, but she left it to Arby to figure out the details. And he had figured everything out perfectly, he thought - at least, almost everything. Arby had correctly anticipated it would be freezing cold in the cargo plane, and that they would have to bundle up; he'd stuffed their compartments with every blanket and sheet in the trailer. He'd anticipated they would be there at least twelve hours, and he put aside some cookies and bottles of water. In fact, he'd anticipated everything except the fact that, at the last minute, Eddie Carr would go through the trailer and latch all the storage compartments from the outside. Locking them in, so that, for the next twelve hours, he wouldn't be able to go to the bathroom. For twelve hours!

He sighed again, his body relaxing. A steady stream of urine still flowed into the basin. No wonder! Agony! And he'd still be locked in there, he thought, if he hadn't finally figured out -

Behind him, he heard muffled shouts. He flushed the toilet and went back, crouching down by the storage compartment beneath the bed. He quickly unlatched it; another padded bundle unrolled, and Kelly appeared beside him.

"Hey, Kel," he said proudly. "We made it!"

"I have to go," she said, dashing. She pulled the door shut behind her.

Arby said, "We did it! We're here!"

"Just a minute, Arb. Okay?"

For the first time, he looked out the window of the trailer. All around them was a grassy clearing, and beyond that, the ferns and high trees of the jungle. And high above the tops of the trees, he saw the curving black rock of the volcanic rim.

So this was Isla Sorna, all right.

All right!

Kelly came out of the bathroom. "Ohhh. I thought I was going to die!" She looked at him, gave him high five. "By the way, how'd you get your door unlatched?"

"Credit card," he said.

She frowned. "You have a credit card?"

"My parents gave it to me, for emergencies," he said. "And I figured this was an emergency." He tried to make a joke out of it, to treat it lightly. Arby knew Kelly was sensitive about anything to do with money. She was always making comments about his clothes and things like that. Arid how he always had money for a taxi or a Coke at Larson's Deli after school, or whatever. Once he said to her that he didn't think money was so important, and she said, "Why would you?" in a funny voice. Arid ever since then he had tried to avoid the subject.

Arby wasn't always clear about the right thing to do around people. Everyone treated him so weird, anyway. Because he was younger, of course. And because he was black. Arid because he was what the other kids called a brainer. He found himself engaged in a constant effort to be accepted, to blend in. Except he couldn't. He wasn't white, he wasn't big, he wasn't good at sports, and he wasn't dumb. Most of his classes at school were so boring Arby could hardly stay awake in them. His teachers sometimes got annoyed with him, but what could he do? School was like a video played at super-slow speed. You could glance at it once an hour and not miss anything. And when he was around the other kids, how could he be expected to show interest in TV shows like "Melrose Place," or the San Francisco 49ers, or the Shaq's new commercial. He couldn't. That stuff wasn't important.

But Arby had long ago discovered it was unpopular to say so. It was better to keep your mouth shut. Because nobody understood him, except Kelly. She seemed to know what he was talking about, most of the time.

And Dr. Levine. At least the school had an advanced-placement track, which was moderately interesting to Arby. Not very interesting, of course, but better than the other classes. And when Dr. Levine had decided to teach the class, Arby had found himself excited by school for the first time in his life. In fact -

"So this is Isla Sorna, huh?" Kelly said, looking out the window at the jungle.

"Yeah," Arby said. "I guess so."

"You know, when they stopped the car earlier," Kelly said, "could you hear what they were talking about?"

"Not really. All the padding."

"Me neither," Kelly said. "But they seemed pretty worked up about something."

"Yeah, they did."

"It sounded like they were talking about dinosaurs, Kelly said. "Did you hear anything like that?"

Arby laughed, shaking his head. "No, Kel," he said.

"Because I thought they did."

"Come on, Kel."

"I thought Thorne said 'triceratops."'

"Kel," he said. "Dinosaurs have been extinct for sixty-five million years.

"I know that..."

He pointed out the window. "You see any dinosaurs out there?"

Kelly didn't answer. She went to the other side of the trailer, and looked out the opposite window. She saw Thorne, Malcolm, and Eddie disappearing into the main building.

"They're going to be pretty annoyed when they find us," Arby said. "How do you think we should tell them?"

"We can let it be a surprise.

"They'll be mad," he said.

"So? What can they do about it?" Kelly said.

"Maybe they'll send us back."

"How? They can't."

"Yeah. I guess." Arby shrugged casually, but he was more troubled by this line of thought than he wanted to admit. This was all Kelly's idea. Arby had never liked to break the rules, or to get into any kind of trouble. Whenever he had even had a mild reprimand from a teacher, he would get flushed and sweaty. And for the last twelve hours, he had been thinking about how Thorne and the others would react.

"Look," Kelly said. "The thing is, we're here to help find our friend Dr. Levine, that's all. We've helped Dr. Thorne already."


"And we'll be able to help them again."


"They need our help."

"Maybe," Arby said. He didn't feel convinced.

Kelly said, "I wonder what they have to eat here." She opened the refrigerator. "You hungry?"

"Starving," Arby said, suddenly aware that he was.

'So what do you want?"

"What is there?" He sat on the padded gray couch and stretched, as he watched Kelly poke through the refrigerator.

"Come and look," she said, annoyed. "I'm not your stupid housekeeper,"

"Okay, okay, take it easy."

"Well, you expect everybody to wait on you," she said.

"I do not," he said, getting quickly off the couch.

"You're such a brat, Arby."

"Hey," he said. "What's the big deal? Take it easy. You nervous about something?"

No, I am not," she said. She took a wrapped sandwich out of the refrigerator. Standing beside her, he looked briefly inside, grabbed the first sandwich he saw.

"You don't want that," she said.

"Yes, I do."

"It's tuna salad."

Arby hated tuna salad. He put it back quickly, looked around again.

"That's turkey on the left," she said. "In the bun."

He brought out a turkey sandwich. "Thanks."

"No problem." Sitting on the couch, she opened her own sandwich, wolfed it down hungrily.

"Listen, at least I got us here," he said, unwrapping his own carefully. He folded the plastic neatly, set it aside.

"Yeah. You did. I admit it. You did that part all right."

Arby ate his sandwich. He thought he had never tasted anything so good in his entire life. It was better even than his mother's turkey sandwiches.

The thought of his mother gave him a pang. His mother was a gynecologist and very beautiful. She had a busy life, and wasn't home very much, but whenever he saw her, she always seemed so peaceful. And Arby felt peaceful around her, too. They had a special relationship, the two of them. Even though lately she sometimes seemed uneasy about how much he knew. One night he had come into her study; she was going over some journal articles about progesterone levels and FSH. He looked over her shoulder at the columns of numbers and suggested that she might want to try a nonlinear equation to analyze the data. She gave him a funny look, a kind of separate look, thoughtful and distant from him, and at that moment he had felt -

"I'm getting another one," Kelly said, going back to the refrigerator. She came out with two sandwiches, one in each hand.

"You think there's enough?"

"Who cares? I'm starving," she said, tearing off the wrapping on the first.

"Maybe we shouldn't eat - "

"Arb, if you're going to worry like this, we should have stayed home."

He decided that was right. He was surprised to see that he had somehow finished his own sandwich. So he took the other one Kelly offered him.

Kelly ate, and stared out the window. "I wonder what that building is, that they went into? It looks abandoned."

"Yeah. For years."

"Why would somebody build a big building here, on some deserted island in Costa Rica?" she said.

"Maybe they were doing something secret."

"Or dangerous," she said.

"Yeah. Or that." The idea of danger was both titillating and unnerving. He felt far from home.

"I wonder what they were doing?" she said. Still eating, she got up off the couch and went to look out the window. "Sure is a big place. Huh," she said. "That's weird."

"What is?"

"Look out here. That building is all overgrown, like nobody's been there for years and years. And this field is all grown up, too. The grass is pretty high."


"But right down here," she said, pointing near the trailer, "there's a clear path."

Chewing, Arby came over and looked. She was right. Just a few yards from their trailer, the grass had been trampled down, and was yellowed. In many places, bare earth showed through. It was a narrow but distinct trail, coming in from the left, going off to the right, across the open clearing.

"So," Kelly said. "If nobody's been here for years, what made the trail?"

"Has to be animals," he said. It was all he could think of "Must be a game trail."

" Like what animals?"

"I don't know. Whatever's here. Deer or something."

'I haven't seen any deer."

He shrugged. "Maybe goats. You know, wild goats, like they have in Hawaii."

"The trail's too wide for deer or goats."

"Maybe there's a whole herd of wild goats."

"Too wide," Kelly said. She shrugged, and turned away from the window. She went back to the refrigerator. "I wonder if there's anything for dessert."

Mention of dessert gave him a sudden thought. He went to the com partment above the bed, climbed up, and poked around.

"What're you doing?" she said.

"Checking my pack."

"For what?"

"I think I forgot my toothbrush.


"I won't be able to brush my teeth."

"Arb," she said. "Who cares?"

"But I always brush my teeth...."

"Be daring," Kelly said. "Live a little."

Arby sighed. "Maybe Dr. Thorne brought an extra one." He came back and sat down on the couch beside Kelly. She folded her arms across her chest and shook her head.

"No dessert?"

"Nothing. Not even frozen yogurt. Adults. They never plan right."

"Yeah. That's true."

Arby yawned, It was warm in the trailer. He felt sleepy. Lying huddled in that compartment for the last twelve hours, shivering and cramped, he hadn't slept at all. Now he was suddenly tired.

He looked at Kelly, and she yawned, too. "Want to go outside? Wake us up?"

"We should probably wait here," he said.

"If I do, I'm afraid I'll go to sleep," Kelly said.

Arby shrugged. Sleep was overtaking him fast. He went back to the living compartment, and crawled onto the mattress beside the window. Kelly followed him back.

"I'm not going to sleep," she said.

"Fine, Kel." His eyes were heavy. He realized he couldn't keep them open.

"But" - she yawned again - "maybe I'll just lie down for a minute."

He saw her stretch out on the bed opposite him, and then his eyes closed, and he was immediately asleep. He dreamed he was back in the airplane, feeling the gentle rocking motion, hearing the deep rumble of the engines. He slept lightly, and at one moment woke up, convinced that the trailer actually was rocking, and that there really was a low rumbling sound, coming from right outside the window. But almost immediately he was asleep again, and now he dreamed of dinosaurs, Kelly's dinosaurs, and in his light sleep there were two animals, so huge that he could not see their heads through the window, only their thick scaly legs as they thumped on the ground and walked past the trailer. But in his dream the second animal paused, and bent over, and the big head peered in curiously through the window, and Arby realized that he was seeing the giant head of a Tyrannosaurus rex, the great jaws working, the white teeth glinting in the sunlight, and in his dream he watched it all calmly, and slept on.


Two large swinging glass doors at the front of the main building led into a darkened lobby beyond. The glass was scratched and dirty, the chrome door-handles pitted with corrosion. But it was clear that the dust, debris, and dead leaves in front of the doorway had been disturbed in twin arcs.

"Somebody's opened these doors recently," Eddie said.

"Yes," Thorne said. "Somebody wearing Asolo boots." He opened the door. "Shall we?"

They stepped into the building. Inside, the air was hot and still and fetid. The lobby was small and unimpressive. A reception counter directly ahead was once covered with gray fabric, now overgrown with a dark, lichen-like growth. On the wall behind was a row of chrome letters that said "We Make The Future," but the words were obscured by a tangle of vines. Mushrooms and fungi sprouted from the carpet. Over to the right, they saw a waiting area, with a coffee table, and two long couches.

One of the conches was speckled with crusty brown mold; the other had been covered with a plastic tarp. Next to this couch was what was left of Levine's green backpack, with several deep tears on the fabric. On the coffee table were two empty plastic Evian bottles, a satellite phone, a pair of muddy hiking shorts, and several crumpled candy-bar wrappers. A bright-green snake slithered quickly away as they approached.

"So this is an InGen building?" Thorne said, looking at the wall sign.

"Absolutely," Malcolm said.

Eddie bent over Levine's backpack, ran his fingers along the tears in the fabric. As he did so, a large rat jumped out from the pack.


The rat scurried away, squeaking. Eddie looked cautiously inside the pack. "I don't think anybody's going to want the rest of these candy bars," he said. He turned to the pile of clothes. "You getting a reading from this?" Some of the expedition clothes had micro-sensors sewn into them.

"No," Thorne said, moving his hand monitor. "I have a reading, seems to be coming from there."

He pointed to a set of metal doors beyond the reception desk, leading into the building beyond. The doors had once been bolted shut and locked with rusted padlocks. But the padlocks now lay on the floor, broken open.

"Let's go get him," Eddie said, heading for the doors. "What kind of a snake do you think that was?"

"I don't know."

"Was it poisonous?"

"I don't know."

The doors opened with a loud creak. The three men found themselves in a blank corridor, with broken windows along one wall, and dried leaves and debris on the floor. The walls were dirty and darkly stained in several places with what looked like blood. They saw several doors opening off the corridor. None appeared to be locked.

Plants were growing up through rips in the carpeted floor. Near the windows, where it was light, vines grew thickly over the cracked walls. More vines hung down from the ceiling. Thorne and the others headed down the hallway. There was no sound except their feet crunching on the dried leaves.

"Getting stronger," Thorne said, looking at his monitor. "He must be somewhere in this building."

Thorne opened the first door he came to, and saw a plain office: a desk and chair, a map of the island on the wall. A desk lamp, toppled over from the weight of tangled vines. A computer monitor, with a film of mold. At the far end of the room, light filtered through a grimy window.

They went down the hall to the second door, and saw an almost identical office: similar desk and chair, similar window at the far side of the room.

Eddie grunted. "Looks like we're in an office building," he said.

Thorne went on. He opened the third door, and then the fourth. More offices.

Thorne opened the fifth door, and paused.

He was in a conference room, dirty with leaves and debris. There were animal droppings on the long wooden table in the center of the room. The window on the far side was dusty. Thorne was drawn to a large map, which covered one whole wall of the conference room. There were pushpins of various colors stuck in the map. Eddie came in, and frowned.

Beneath the map was a chest of drawers. Thorne tried to open them, but they were all locked. Malcolm walked slowly into the room, looking around, taking it in. "What's this map mean?" Eddie said. "You have any idea what the pins are?"

Malcolm glanced at it. "Twenty pins in four different colors. Five pins of each color. Arranged in a pentagon, or anyway a five-pronged pattern of some kind, going to all parts of the island. I'd say it looks like a network."

"Didn't Arby say there was a network on this island?"

"Yes, he did....Interesting...."

"Well, never mind that now," Thorne said. He went back into the hallway again, following the signal from his hand unit. Malcolm closed the door behind them, and they continued on. They saw more offices, but no longer opened the doors. They followed the signal from Levine.

At the end of the corridor was a pair of sliding glass doors marked NO ADMITTANCE AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY. Thorne peered through the glass, but he could not see much beyond. He had the sense of a large space, and complex machinery, but the glass was dusty and streaked with grime. It was difficult to see.

Thorne said to Malcolm, "You really think you know what this building was for?"

"I know exactly what it was for," Malcolm said. "It's a manufacturing plant for dinosaurs."

"Why," Eddie said, "would anybody want that?"

"Nobody would," Malcolm said. "That's why they kept it a secret."

"I don't get it," Eddie said.

Malcolm smiled. "Long story," he said.

He slipped his hands between the doors, and tried to pull them open, but they remained shut fast. He grunted, straining with effort. And then suddenly, with a metallic screech, they slid apart.

They stepped into the darkness beyond.

Their flashlights shone down an inky corridor, as they moved forward. "To understand this place, you have to go back ten years, to a man named John Hammond, and an animal called the quagga."

"The what?"

"The quagga," Malcolm said, "is an African mammal, rather like a zebra. It became extinct in the last century. But in the 1980s, somebody used the latest DNA-extraction techniques on a piece of quagga hide, and recovered a lot of DNA. So much DNA that people began to talk about bringing the quagga back to life. And if you could bring the quagga back to life, why not other extinct animals? The dodo? The saber-toothed tiger? Or even a dinosaur?"

"Where could you get dinosaur DNA?" Thorne said.

"Actually," Malcolm said, "paleontologists have been finding fragments of dinosaur DNA for years. They never said much about it, because they never had enough material to use it as a classification tool. So it didn't seem to have any value; it was just a curiosity,"

"But to re-create an animal, you'd need more than DNA fragments," Thorne said. "You'd need the whole strand."

"That's right," Malcolm said. "And the man who figured out how to, get it was a venture capitalist named John Hammond. He reasoned that, when dinosaurs were alive, insects probably bit them, and sucked their blood, just as insects do today. And some of those insects would afterward land on a branch, and be trapped in sticky sap. And some of that sap would harden into amber. Hammond decided that, if you drilled into insects preserved in amber, and extracted the stomach contents, you would eventually get some dino-DNA."

"And did he?"

"Yes. He did, And he started InGen, to develop this discovery. Hammond was a hustler, and his true talent was raising money. He figured out how to get enough money to do the research to go from a DNA strand to a living animal. Sources of funding weren't immediately apparent. Because, although it would be exciting to re-create a dinosaur, it wasn't exactly a cure for cancer.

"So he decided to make a tourist attraction. He planned to recover the cost of the dinosaurs by putting them in a kind of zoo or theme park, where he would charge admission."

"Are you joking?" Thorne said.

"No. Hammond actually did it. He built his park on an island called Isla Nublar, north of here, and he planned to open it to the public in late 1989. I went to see the place myself, shortly before it was scheduled to open. But it turned out Hammond had problems," Malcolm said. "The park systems broke down, and the dinosaurs got free. Some visitors were killed. Afterward, the park and all its dinosaurs were destroyed."

They passed a window where they could look out over the plain, at the herds of dinosaurs browsing by the river. Thorne said, "If they were all destroyed, what's this island?"

"This island," Malcolm said, "is Hammond's dirty little secret. It's the dark side of his park."

They continued down the corridor.

"You see," Malcolm said, "visitors to Hammond's park at Isla Nublar were shown a very impressive genetics lab, with computers and gene sequencers, and all sorts of facilities for hatching and growing young dinosaurs. Visitors were told that the dinosaurs were created right there at the park. And the laboratory tour was entirely convincing.

"But actually, Hammond's tour skipped several steps in the process In one room, he showed you dinosaur DNA being extracted. In the next room, he showed you eggs about to hatch. It was very dramatic, but how had he gotten from DNA to a viable embryo? You never saw that critical step. It was just presented as having happened, between rooms.

"The fact was, Hammond's whole show was too good to be true. For example, he had a hatchery where the little dinosaurs pecked their way out of the eggs, while you watched in amazement. But there were never any problems in the hatchery. No stillbirths, no deformities, no difficulties of any sort. In Hammond's presentation, this dazzling technology was carried off without a hitch.

"And if you think about it, it couldn't possibly be true. Hammond was claiming to manufacture extinct animals using cutting-edge technology. But with any new manufacturing technology, initial yields are low: on the order of one percent or less. So in fact, Hammond must have been growing thousands of dinosaur embryos to get a single live birth. That implied a giant industrial operation, not the spotless little laboratory we were shown."

"You mean this place," Thorne said.

"Yes. Here, on another island, in secret, away from public scrutiny, Hammond was free to do his research, and deal with the unpleasant truth behind his beautiful little park. Hammond's little genetic zoo was a showcase. But this island was the real thing. This is where the dinosaurs were made."

"If the animals at the zoo were destroyed," Eddie said, "how come they weren't destroyed on this island, too?"

"A critical question," Malcolm said. "We should know the answer in a few minutes." He shone his light down the tunnel; it glinted off glass walls. "Because, if I am not mistaken," he said, "the first of the manufacturing bays is just ahead."


Arby awoke, sitting upright in bed, blinking his eyes in the Morning light that streamed in through the trailer windows. In the next bunk, Kelly was still asleep, snoring loudly.

He looked out the window at the entrance to the big building, and s aw that the adults were gone. The Explorer was standing by the entrance, but there was no one inside the car. Their trailer sat isolated 'n the clearing of tall grass. Arby felt entirely alone - frighteningly alone and a sudden sense of panic made his heart pound. He never should have come here, he thought. The whole idea was stupid. And Worst Of all, it had been his plan. The way they had huddled together in the trailer, and then had gone back to Thorne's office. And Kelly had talked to Thorne, so that Arby could steal the key. The way he had set up a delayed radio message to be transmitted to Thorne so that Thorne would think they were still in Woodside. Arby had felt very clever at the time, but now he regretted it all. He decided that he had to call Thorne immediately. He had to turn himself in. He was filled with an overwhelming desire to confess.

He needed to hear somebody's voice. That was the truth.

He walked from the back of the trailer, where Kelly was sleeping, to the front, and turned on the ignition key in the dashboard. He picked up the radio handset and said, "This is Arby. Is anybody there? Over. This is Arby."

But nobody answered. After a moment, he looked at the dashboard systems monitor, which registered all the systems that were operative. He didn't see anything about communications. It occurred to him that the communications system was probably hooked into the computer. He decided to turn the computer on.

So he went back to the middle of the trailer, unstrapped the keyboard, plugged it in, and turned the computer on. There was a menu screen that said "Thorne Field Systems" and underneath that a listing of subsystems inside the trailer. One of them was radio communications. So he clicked on that, and turned it on.

The computer screen showed a scrambled hash of static. At the bottom was a command line that read: "Multiple Frequency Inputs Received. Do you want to Autotune?"

Arby didn't know what that meant, but he was fearless around computers. Autotune sounded interesting. Without hesitation, he typed "Yes."

The static scramble remained on the screen, while numbers rolled at the bottom. He guessed he was seeing frequencies in megahertz. But he didn't really know.

And then, suddenly, the screen went blank, except for a single flashing word in the upper-left corner:


He paused, frowning. That was odd. Apparently he was required to log into the trailer's computer system. That meant he would need a password. He tried: THORNE.

Nothing happened.

He waited a moment, then tried Thorne's initials: JT.












Well, he thought, at least the system hadn't dumped him out. Most networks logged you off after three wrong tries. But apparently Thorne hadn't designed any security features into this one. Arby would never have made it this way. The system was too patient and helpful.

He tried: HELP.

The cursor moved to another line. There was a pause. The drives whirred.

"Action," he said, rubbing his hands.


As Thorne's eyes adjusted to the low light, he saw they were standing inside an enormous space, consisting of row after row of rectangular stainless-steel boxes, each fitted with a tangled maze of plastic tubing. Everything was dusty; many of the boxes were knocked over.

"The first rows," Malcolm said, "are Nishihara gene sequencers. And beyond are the automatic DNA synthesizers."

"It's a factory," Eddie said. "It's like agribusiness or something."

"Yes, it is."

At the corner of the room was a printer, with some loose sheets of yellowing paper lying beside it. Malcolm picked up one, and glanced at it.

[GALRERYF1] Gailimimus erythroid-specific transcription factor eryf1

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