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Sleeping-force's-inside

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Future Before Time
« on: November 09, 2019, 02:17:29 PM »
Warning: This story contains humanity & SciFi

"Oh Topsy…" Tria sighed in exasperation with a faint hint of amusement in her voice. Pterano had returned from his exile a few days back and Mr. Threehorn was reacting to that as expected. Which meant that only the most tolerable residents did not feel the urge to bash his head against something yet and even those were getting close.

Tria rolled her eyes as her mate huffed and turned to go to some quiet corner of the valley. She watched him go and decided to go down to one of the water-holes. Above her a dark-brown silhouette was aiming for the bigger hole, gliding down gracefully. She looked over her shoulder to where her mate had disappeared, before heading there herself.

"Old Threehorn still not happy?" Grandma Longneck greeted the arrival. She, Ducky's mother and Pterano were resting at the water's edge, watching the young ones play in the shallows.

"What do you think?" Tria snorted lightly, settling down between the Longneck and the Flyer. She smiled warmly when seeing her daughter use her big sister as a small island, climbing up and jumping down in the same move. Cera looked less happy, but had resigned herself to her fate.

"I served my sentence." Pterano grumbled, frowning as he stared at the ground.

"He'll accept you, sooner or later." Ducky's mother assured him, not adding the obvious: he'd have to, because patience in the valley was running thin.

"Grandpa is considering talking to him about it already." Grandma added, rolling her eyes in exasperation towards the Threehorn.

"Let's hope that'll do the trick." Pterano whispered, wrapping his arms around him. "I really do not want to have to go back to the Mysterious Beyond."

"It won't come that far." The Swimmer soothed him. "We'll make sure of it."

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

"So, let me get this straight…" The man growled softly, hoping that none of the dinosaurs would hear him. "They send you through Time to capture dinosaurs and you never bothered to actually look up something about those? What the crap were you doing that month you had before this job?"

"Is na ma problem." The one he had spoken to answered. "A gets paid ta bring some lizards, na ta study them. That's tha job of ya fancy scientists."

"Moron." The other looked ready to hit him. "What about you others?" He hissed. "Please tell me at least someone here beside me knows what we're dealing with?"

The other three who had discreetly spread out over the cave they had taken shelter in looked at him. Two looked slightly sheepish, but the other nodded. That was the downside if something was one big experiment where failure meant dead: they weren't going to send un-expendables. But that they'd give him these morons, he really was going to complain about.

"Well, that's better than no one." He felt a migraine coming up and rubbed his forehead. "Ok, I'm going to make this short then: the ones with a long neck are Sauropods, the horned ones Triceratops – I hope you know THAT at least, if you ever watched a dinosaur-movie – the winged ones Pterosaurs and any others I'll mention should we encounter them. Got that?"

All four others nodded.

"Good." He rose to his feet, looking out of the cave as he straightened his vest. He needed several different species – didn't matter which – but he knew from animals from his own time that he had only one shot, otherwise every wild animal in quite a radius would either flee or at the very least be on their guard. He didn't want to think about a Triceratops or the like being on guard and spotting him. "Let's get this ball rolling, I need a drink."

They followed him outside, sneaking through the forest in search for lone dinosaurs.

"Sir, what about those?" The one who had nodded pointed down the hillside. Through the forest one could make out one of the lakes that dotted the valley-floor and had made this such a good spot for the first try to capture some of the ancient lizards which had ruled earth before a giant meteorite changed history. At least, aside from the fact this entire area would in a few dozen million years be all field of the main Laboratory of the government. That was the downside with time-travel: you could only travel to the very spot you left from, even when going back billions of years.

The leader looked where he pointed and saw several different dinosaurs resting in the warm sun. There were four different adults and about 20 children. He crouched down, looking them over. The Sauropod looked old even to his eyes – which meant it was probably ancient – but the other three seemed to be at the prime of their lives. The problem was that most of the children were in the lake-water, seemingly playing in it. Their arsenal did not include ways to capture those safely aside from grabbing them physically. But it was probably the best opportunity they'd get.

"Alright, this is what we're gonna do." He crouched down. "You think you can hit that Pterosaur with a stun-net?"

The man he had turned to looked at the pterosaur, measuring the distance, before nodding. "Easily, unless it's gonna fly."

"At my signal only." He turned to the other three. "Alright, you…" He pointed at the man that had frustrated him so just a few moments back. "hit the Triceratops. You and I will hit the Sauropod and you the last one, got all that?"

They nodded and quietly prepared their weapons, all the while on the lookout for dinosaurs that might come upon them and alert the others.

"The moment we've fired, we gotta run. Try if you can get some of those kids before they completely scatter. I think 'ma fancy scientists' would like some youngsters with the adults." He reminded them, aiming the barrel of his rifle at the Sauropod. He hoped the old thing would survive this. He'd hate to have wasted a shot. From the corner of his eyes he saw the others take aim too. "3… 2… 1… fire." He hated raising his voice, even for something as fitting as giving the order to shoot. In fact, that single word 'fire' was the softest he had spoken while on this trip.

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2019, 01:19:43 AM »
Tria rose to her feet as Tricia went dangerously far into the water. Despite the young one knowing how to swim, and several Swimmers being near, she did not want to have her that far from shore yet.

"Tricia, stay close to the shore." She called. The young Threehorn answered with a squeak and obediently returned to the side of her mother. "You didn't have to get out completely." Tria chuckled, nuzzling her.

The sudden sound of a massive thunder-crack broke the silence, followed by several more.

"What…?" His question was cut short when… something hit Pterano, making him scream in agony as Sky Fire seemed to arc over his body. The other three grown-ups were hit not even moments later, collapsing on the ground where they remained unmoving.

For a moment the young ones didn't move, before falling into a panic.

Littlefoot ran ashore towards his downed grandmother, rounding her body until he reached her head. Her eyes were closed and he got no reaction when he called out to her.

"Littlefoot!" Before the young Longneck could even turn around, something gripped him as strange sounds drowned out the screaming of his friends. He twisted his head around as he struggled to get free. Sharp pain at the back of his head was the only thing he got. No movements then… His mouth dropped open as he saw the strange creatures that stood among the fallen grown-ups, one of which seemed to be ordering the others around with those strange sounds.

In the distance other dinosaurs appeared, alerted by the noise. The leader of the creatures noticed them as well and his voice grew more urgent, particularly when a Threehorn – Mr. Threehorn, he realized, who was not amused at Tria being down – started charging straight at them.

One of them lifted a shiny tree-stump, aiming the round end at the approaching male. Another clap of thunder and Sky Fire hit Cera's father square in the face. Cera screamed in horror as he crashed to the ground, his body moving forward a short distance by the momentum he had already gained before coming to a stop just a short distance from them.

The creatures acted as if it had been an action of no consequence to them, placing strange rocks in a crude circle as the other grown-ups hesitated for just the briefest moment.

Littlefoot screamed as the last rock seemed to call down the Sky Fire once more, now arcing between all of the stones those creatures had put down.

He had no idea where his friends were, or any of the other children for that matter, but he knew that he should be very jealous of them when the Sky Fire exploded into a bright light, burning his eyeballs even with closed eyes.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

"Well, that knocked them out cold…" He leaned down over the young Apatosaurus. The dinosaur had collapsed at arrival, being as unconscious as the others.

"All of them are unconscious, sir." The youngest of the team stated. "Shall I warn the scientists?"

"I am sure they already were notified." The team-leader rose again, looking over at the buildings just a short distance away. At least they had ended up on one of the fields dotting the facility, rather than in one of the labs. The Apatosaurus would have made a tight fit.

One of the doors in the perfect white building opened and a man in suit walked out, followed by several people in lab-coats. On all of them were metal wires, fused to their skin in an intricate web-like pattern. Only their faces seemed to be entirely free of the thin lines, aside from one going to their eyes.

"Wonderful job, Lewis!" He called. "What have you brought us?"

"Two Sauropods I believe to be Apatosaurus or Camarasaurus, one Saurolophus I believe, two Triceratops, a Pterosaur and a young… Stegosaurus if I am not mistaken." Lewis told him. "We were lucky, sir."

"Indeed, indeed." The man in suit tilted his head. "Well, let's get our guests settled first." The scientist moved at once as he led Lewis into the building. Neither looked back as the ground opened up behind them, swallowing those they left. "Now tell me about it. Everything."

"Well, this place was a valley back then. A river, several lakes and ponds and dense forests." Lewis told the other when they reached his office. He was a stark contrast to his employer, but outside of work they were the best of friends. Lewis was in his early thirties, while Cian – said employer – was already pushing sixty. Cian was the head-scientist of the biggest science-based institute you could find on planet Earth, while Lewis had been the son of a Lab-hand who had proven himself a valuable Jack of all trades. Both were smart, but Lewis' parents had been unable to afford the high education their son deserved, while Cian's father had been a scientist himself.

"Mmmmh, and how did you get all those together like that?" The other offered him coffee, which he gladly accepted. He'd drink something more spirited later.

"As I said, Cian, we were lucky. They seemed to be sunbathing or something like that together at the side of the biggest lake. There were more children around, but when we stunned the adults, most of those ran." Lewis told him. "The three we brought back had sought shelter with the others, being in the ring when we activated it."

"Good, good." Cian tapped a part of his desk. A hologram opened, showing several folders, one of which was blinking. "Let's see." He tapped the one that was blinking, watching as a list appeared. "Mmmmh… It truly is a shame your parents could not afford your education, all of your guesses were correct. Two Apatosauruses, one Saurolophus, two Triceratops, a Stegosaurus and the Pterosaur seems to be a Pteranodon. Aside from the Stegosaurus, the young Apatosaurus and the Pteranodon all are female. Though I do wonder what Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus were doing alive in the late Cretaceous…"

Lewis watched as several holographic dinosaurs floated above the table. "Perhaps there were some populations that survived until then? I can assure you I all got them from the same spot. But should you send me for more dinosaurs, please give me people that can actually tell the difference between a dinosaur and a crocodile for Heaven's Sake."

"Ah, they were trouble?"

"Only one of them knew anything about them." Lewis took another sip from the coffee. "The other three probably couldn't tell the difference between a Hadrosaur and a Sauropod."

"I am sorry." Cian turned his attention away from the holograms. "I'll look for better ones next time, I promise."

"There is going to be a next time then?" Lewis looked at the floating dinosaurs. "I'd figured you'd have enough now."

"For now, I do. But sooner or later we'd need more." Cian sat down behind his desk, as more data appeared underneath the holograms: weight, length, height… "It's funny that people are completely fine with Technical Enhancement-webs and living in space 24/7 but still frown upon cloning anything more complex than a rat."

"Yeah, that's modern society for you." Lewis chuckled then gasped as the dinosaurs' ages were shown. "Holy… I guessed that dinosaur was old, but that old? How could she still walk?"

"Reptiles are surprisingly long-lived." Cian looked quite shocked himself. "I guess that goes for Dinosaurs as well. At any rate, we two are quite useless at the moment, since the working scientists now have command. Want a drink?"

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2019, 01:14:12 AM »
To say that she was panicking would be a grave understatement. She had no clue where she was and the strange walls around her were disorientating her even more with their white sparkles. But the greatest cause of her panic was that she was alone. Where were the children? The other grown-ups?

The air was not what she was used to, smelling strange and alien. The ground too was strange to the prehistoric giant. Nothing fitted in with what she had known anymore. The creatures who regarded her were small in comparison, but they somehow had managed to get her into a cave closed at all sides with trees that felt smooth and cold to the touch.

Where was she?

Despite her throwing all her weight against them, the trees held with ease, not even bending in the slightest. Her own body however soon tired of the abuse and she knew she would have several bruises to account for this.

Not that those bruises would matter if she got a heart-attack right now. Her nostrils flared as she turned around again, pacing the interior of her… cave? Could one even call this thing a cave? A cave in a cave? Had anyone ever heard of something like that?

And what were those creatures anyway? And why did they seem not to react to her at all safe some glances?

Where was everyone?

She snarled in surprise when part of the cave-wall moved, revealing a narrow corridor. Two more creatures entered, but looking at her intently. Perhaps she had preferred it when they all ignored her.

She snarled at them, cowering away slightly. Perhaps she should be wondering why she did it, considering she could easily overcome them, but right now she was just terrified and even the creatures that would barely be able to look on top of a Clubtail got a defensive reaction out of her.

She couldn't even relax some when one of them turned to the other creatures, making strange sounds as he did so. Were they talking?

Pain shot through her heart when she realized her little one had to be in a cave just like this one, in exactly the same situation and she could offer no comfort.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

"This is so fascinating…" Cian looked from the dinosaur to Lewis. "It makes me get all giddy. Dinosaurs, here at the heart of the Union, can you imagine it?"

"I can see it." Lewis chuckled lightly at his companion. "You're the top-scientist of the government, act like it."

Cian glared at him playfully, before turning his attention to the dinosaur in the cage again. Her agitation was clearly visible, as she had taken up pacing close to the bars again. At almost even intervals she attacked them, but they didn't even get scratched.

"Simply magnificent." He stepped up to the bars, earning an instant reaction. She roared at him, backing away. He stepped back again, eyes shining as he watched her.

"Sir?" One of the other scientists tapped him on the shoulder lightly. "I think something is wrong with the children. They are not moving."

"Oh?" He turned to look as the scientist summoned a small hologram, the metal on her arms shining briefly with the same blue light the hologram did. The three hatchlings – the only dinosaurs they put together – were there, unmoving.

"If I had to place a bet, I think they're missing the grown-ups." Lewis mused. "Did you run the DNA-tests already?"

They were interrupted by the roar of the dinosaur behind him. "Well, at least we know who knows one of the kids." Cian swiftly disrupted the hologram as he turned to the cage. The female was raging, no longer showing any of her earlier fear.

"Note: Triceratops are very protective mothers." Cian spoke over the noise she was making. As he kept staring at the dinosaur, the system recognized the code-word and acted according to his wishes.

"Note: No one knows how to calm them down." Lewis pointed out, still more amused than worried.

Another playful glare and Cian raised his hand, pointing with one finger at the dinosaur. Unlike most scientists, his Web was not merely the standard variation most humans wore, but also the military-grade one. While a very dangerous setting to have in a laboratory, it had proven helpful several times in the past and did so now again.

Her roars of anger stopped when a bright flash – the same as Lewis had used when arriving back here – stunned her, bringing the Cretaceous giant to her knees with ease.

"No more holograms of any creatures in this room." Cian ordered, lowering his hand again. "Or around the other dinosaurs. It is apparent they cannot tell the difference."

"Yes, sir." The scientist nodded. "I'll alert the others at once."

"Let's see what could be up with those young ones." He looked at the defeated mother one last time, before striding out of the room, Lewis following just a short distance behind him.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

The valley was in an uproar. Dinosaurs normally do not disappear into thin air, but four grown-ups and three hatchlings had done just that not even half a day ago. The stress those left behind felt was so severe that Grandpa Longneck all but blew up at Mr. Threehorn, before storming off in a fury like none of them had seen before. The loss of his mate and sole surviving descendant had hit the old Longneck hard. At least when he had lost his daughter – and thought his grandson dead – he had had the support of his mate, but now she was gone as well.

"Grandpa?" A soft voice spoke to him. He looked up at the dark-blue flyer that had lost her brother. "Can you watch my children for a bit?"

"Why?" Only sheer force of will enabled him to rise to his feet.

"Hadria is gone, but safe for Spike, none of her children are. They need a care-taker. I intend to fly out and see if I can locate Olophon." Petrie's mother explained. "But that might take a while, and…"

She fell silent.

"Pterano is not there to watch over your children." Grandpa finished her sentence. A pang of regret shot through his heart at her sad nod, a shuddering sigh escaping her beak. "Of course I'll help."

"Thank you." She smiled up weakly at him. "I'm sorry I'm asking you, but I don't know who else to ask. Normally I'd go to Hadria, but… you know…"

He nodded, turning to her nest. "Good luck."

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2019, 08:51:22 AM »
The children were being kept in a laboratory in the very heart of the faculty, well away from potential prying eyes. Not that the adult dinosaurs weren't, but they had to be kept in outlying buildings, safe for the Pteranodon too big for the inner laboratories.

Cian strode into the small room, his eyes falling immediately on the three forms huddled together in a cage. It would seem that Lewis' assessment of them missing the adults had some ground. All three were awake, but they looked out of the cage with surprising apathy.

"Perhaps we should put them at least in the same room?" Lewis, despite being no scientist, carried Cian's trust and could always count on him being heard out at the least, even by the other scientists.

"The problem being that I doubt we have a room big enough for all of them." Cian looked at the destitute youngsters. "We could lock off a field, but that'd risk both the Pteranodon escaping and people spotting them."

"Perhaps modify one of the storage-hangars?" Another scientist suggested. "B-19 should be big enough to hold them."

"None of our storage-hangars was made to hold dinosaurs." Cian pointed out. "Though perhaps if we keep them in their cages…" His voice trailed off as he left the room, Lewis still his faithful shadow.

True to his own orders, he waited until the doors had closed before summoning a holographic lay-out of the faculty.

"B-19 is the biggest we have." He murmured as he looked the hologram over. "But I'm not that happy with its' proximity to the outer perimeter." His Web glowed as he turned the blue specter. "D-13 might be a close fit."

"It is more secluded though." Lewis supplied, watching just as intently at the glowing form. "And with cages they won't need that much space yet."

"Thank you for stating the obvious." The older man chuckled. "Well, unless the government suddenly gives us funding to expand the A-hangars, I am afraid we'll have to do with what we have. Tell them to transfer the dinosaurs to D-13, underground and when not possible, cloaked doubly."

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

The young flyers had been brought to the Longneck resting-place by their mother before she left to look for the father of Ducky and her siblings, who had taken to travelling with his own siblings. His restless nature had called him away and knowing his family had been safe, he had answered its' call a few Cold Times after they had reached the Great Valley.

He visited regularly, but there had been an unspoken agreement that they could not wait for him to arrive for his next visit this time.

From what Grandpa had gathered, the young Swimmers were staying with a hollow-horn that was a friend of their mother until their father would arrive.

He looked at the young flyers sitting together in his shade. Unlike the grown-ups they had dearly loved their uncle and this sudden disappearance of the old flyer had unsettled them deeply. And for Petrie especially there had been the additional blow of Littlefoot and Spike suffering a similar fate.

He briefly closed his eyes. They should not see how hard he had been hit by his own loss, it would only add fear to grief and that was by far unnecessary.

His first instinct was to send them to their friends for a bit, until he remembered that two of said friends were gone.

He started when he realized that two different friends were dwelling in a set of caves on the far side of the valley, well away from their own families. Who was keeping watch over Ruby and Chomper right now? They'd be equally upset, but they would have no grown-ups to turn to.

He rose to his feet with a shuddering sigh, gladly taking the excuse to focus on something else but his own recent loneliness.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

He had gained a new hatred for enclosed spaces in a surprisingly short time, because wherever he was, he could not even open his wings properly.

He shook his head in frustration, clawing at the strange thing firmly locked around his beak.

His first instinct had been to lash out at the strange creatures surrounding him, and he even had managed to wound one before one of the others had grabbed his beak – his actual beak – as if it was nothing and forced this strange thing around the two halves.

And now he couldn't even open his beak wide enough to fit a leaf in edge-wise.

A deep breath passed through his nostrils as he gave up trying to free himself for the moment, instead staring at the creatures around him. They seemed more active all of a sudden, as if they had smelled Sharpteeth on the wind.

But there was no wind in this strange cave, and he somehow – almost instinctively, perhaps – knew that there were not even Sharpteeth around.

In that same instinct he tried to lift of when the strange thing he was in suddenly jolted and moved. All he gained from that was a painful wing, the frail bones and membrane not meant to be hit against unforgiving trees that were cold and shiny. They reminded him of the Stone of Cold Fire or whatever he had taken for that thing. He had never really figured that one out.

He growled in the back of his throat in surprise when the wall faded in front of him, revealing a corridor leading Heaven knows where. What was this place?

The old Flyer was hardly one to get afraid (even Threehorn could not call him a coward) but now his heart was hammering in his chest, eyes wide in sheer terror at the place he found himself in right now.

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2019, 01:05:42 AM »
They were afraid, terrified even, but mostly they were just without hope. In other situations they had at least hope of ever seeing their families again, but this time even that seemed impossible to the uncounted degree.

"Cewa…" Tricia whimpered, big tears forming in her eyes as they were moved through a shining-white corridor. What were they supposed to tell her? Especially since they were hardly in a better state. In the end Littlefoot simply leaned over, rubbing his head against hers.

They curled together, the sound of the walls fading and reappearing terrifying them – and in Littlefoot's case reminding him of when Sharptooth killed his mother – as the strange creatures kept moving them.

"Grandma!" His eyes widened in horror when he saw her. Unlike him, she was not surrounded by shining trees, but rather bound by shining vines easily as thick as her neck. They allowed some movement, but even those held strong against the old Longneck.

"Littlefoot!" She tried to reach him, but the vines weren't even long enough for her to stretch her neck completely, let alone reach across half a cavern to her grandson.

The walls all around them now made that horrible sound, opening several more times to bring in the other grown-ups.

As the two-legged beings left, the trees surrounding the young ones sunk into the ground, freeing them.

"Mama!" Tricia immediately squeezed through the trees holding her mother, pressing herself against Tria's dark-pink leg. She was sobbing, clinging to the older threehorn.

Spike and Littlefoot wasted hardly any time either to get to their respective grown-ups, Grandma with some trouble managing to lay down on the floor to hug him close.

Even as they soothed their young ones, the grown-ups looked at each other with despair, fear and near overwhelming hopelessness.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

"Do you thing I could get thrown into jail if I said I hated the government?" Lewis muttered, looking at a hologram of the interior of hangar D-13. "Look at them, Cian, it's as if they know how far away they are from where they belong." He poked the image of the Triceratops-mother.

"It indeed seems to be that way…" Cian was sitting on the chair behind his desk, while Lewis was leaning against it. "Or it is because they are captured. At any rate, this is only a temporary solution to their depression."

"This feels wrong on quite a few levels." Lewis looked at the Saurolophus with lidded eyes. She had almost automatically taken the Stegosaurus to comfort him, despite the latter not even being supposed to be alive at the same time. "There were more children with them, no doubt their own. Did we condemn those to death now?"

"If we look at animals today – those that were not driven to extinction at least – many children don't make adulthood anyway." Cian mused. "A good part of those would not have made it anyway."

Lewis sighed in defeat, not at all happy with the answer his superior had given him. At the same time he knew that would be all he'd get. That there was only one government for the entire planet did not mean that everyone agreed with it. And he could interpret that thought in several ways.

They watched the dinosaurs a little while longer, before Cian rose from his seat. "Let's see if we can get some of that funding now. I want to redesign and connect the A-hangars. We can't keep them like that forever."

Lewis swung his arm through the hologram, cancelling it as he followed the older man out of the room.

"Let's hope dinosaurs are enough to make them give us that funding." Cian pulled on his cloak.

"If they aren't, then we really need a revolution…" Lewis followed him, still wearing the same outfit – cleaned, obviously – as he had when he had gotten said dinosaurs. Just like he was everytime, he now was the older man's shadow again, even if both of them were as different as night and day.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

"I don't know what you expected to happen." Thicknose looked at the old Threehorn beside him. "He was and is already at his wit's end. You can't tell me you'd actually expect him to have patience now?"

"How can you expect me to stay calm at a time like this?" The threehorn countered, eyes flashing in anger.

"Not, I know." Thicknose muttered. "But even you should be able to tell that that was way out of line." Oh, what he wouldn't give for Tria being here. At least she was able to reason with Mr. Threehorn, if only by the fact that few things scared him more than the thought of earning her disfavor. Sadly, the entire fact that she was not here was the reason for this recent and terrible temper-explosion from Cera's father. The fact that he could still hardly walk from that strange Sky Fire did nothing to help him keep a semblance of calm.

Speaking of Cera, where was she?

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2019, 01:09:51 AM »
The children – those remaining at least – had gathered at one of the many water-pools that dotted the valley-floor. They were listless, unsure as to how to proceed after this. It had been several days after the incident, but it felt like it had been mere hours.

Mr. Threehorn had become nearly unbearable, self-loathing mixed with fury in his heart; he dared not name the most prominent emotion he felt: grief. Grief at the loss of his mate and youngest child.

Grandpa too had gained a cold edge to him. Sheer force of will kept him from succumbing to grief, but that same force was cooling his demeanor considerably. In fact, some dinosaurs were silently wondering if the old Longneck's heart had literally frozen over after the disappearance of his mate and grandson.

Everyone started to make wide berths around the two old males out of fear of triggering something.

And something was triggered alright, though it was not what anyone expected. Pterano had spoken truly when he mentioned a 'strong family resemblance' between Cera and her father.

It showed itself when the young threehorn exploded in her father's face, screaming at him in helpless rage, demanding to know why he thought she could deal with this on her own.

By the time Petrie's mother returned with Olophon, he had returned to his old self, a state of mind everyone had sorely missed. Oh, the irony…

Instead the very presence of Littlefoot's Grandfather's anger was felt all around him. Some would swear the temperature itself dropped when he had walked past them. His red-brown eyes – full of warmth just a Change of the Moon ago – now called forth memories of Sharpteeth, being just as cold and cruel.

Chomper and Ruby abandoned their caves, instead taking to staying with their friends. Normally the grown-ups would have objected, but they let them simply do so now.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

"At least they didn't merely give us money…" Lewis looked over at Cian, who was watching the work on their A-hangars.

"Though I can do without whatever they will no doubt request in return for this." The older man answered. "This will not have come for free."

"True." The younger male nodded, pushing some of his rebellious curls out of his light-brown eyes. "They'll be done soon, I believe."

"They better. The Apatosaurus stopped eating." Cian turned his attention to the holograms floating in front of the far wall. The adult Sauropod had text blinking underneath her in a vivid red.

"Let's pray, shall we?" Lewis joked, looking from the hologram to the dark-skinned man beside him.

"Ditched your atheist ways?" Cian countered. It was a favorite pastime of theirs. "I think it might be better if we remove her. Place her somewhere we can at least keep her alive. We can't do that with all those bustling youngsters."

"Vhy, it ees almost as if you care about ze beast." A voice came from the door. The man that had spoken was just a few years older than Lewis, but he already needed a cane to move around. An accident had caused his right-leg Web to malfunction, rendering the limb nearly useless. It was a well-known secret it had been his own fault.

"Jacques Jarosz." Cian turned to the new arrival. "When you speak of the devil, he shall arrive. I assume you are here on business?"

"Vhy else vould I bother getting 'ere?" Jacques countered, entering the room. At least he had had the decency to leave his cigarettes outside this time. Too bad he had not done the same with his ego. "Zey vant more, Cian."

"More dinosaurs? We haven't finished expanding the A-hangars yet!" Lewis was shocked, forgetting his place for a moment.

"Yes, more dinosaurs." The blond rolled his eyes, snipping his fingers at the other. "Preferably – as zey call zem – useful ones…"

"In other words, those that they can modify to fight for them?" Cian hated politics, he really did. Now was such a moment. 'We have dinosaurs, instead of studying them, let's slaughter them.' Worst of all, he knew he had no choice. It was either do as they wanted or become their enemy. And modified dinosaurs would be your last worry if that happened.

Jacques said nothing, merely smiling that blasted smile of his.

"Lewis, prepare to go again." Cian ordered, glaring at the government-employee in front of them. Lewis, despite hating it, had no choice but to obey. He left the room without gracing their guest with even the faintest look.

The other could not care about that, instead turning to the holograms of the dinosaurs that were already there. "Vhat ees vrong vith zat one?" He poked the adult Sauropod with his cane.

"We are not sure yet." The scientist coldly stated. "We were interrupted as we tried to figure out how to best find out."

The verbal jab was lost on the target. "Zen find out vhat ees wrong. Ve have no use for dead lizards."

"The moment I don't have to play host anymore, I'd gladly do it." Cian's voice had reached freezing temperatures. Jacques' ego was like a warm blanket wrapped around him: he never cared what other people thought of him.

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2019, 03:55:33 AM »
"Grandma!" Littlefoot cried in helpless horror as the strange creatures removed the old Longneck from the cavern they were in. The shining vine around his back-leg kept him well away from them, no matter how hard he struggled against it.

"Littlefoot…" She had no more strength left in her body, her legs unable to hold her any longer. He felt as if he was seeing his mother's death all over again. She too had been unable to rise to her feet again and the results of that were well-known. His heart was thundering in fear as his mind flashed back to that horrible day.

The wall of the cavern closed between them, leaving a devastated hatchling separated from the only family he had.

The vine that held him disappeared and he shot to the wall through which his grandmother had disappeared. It was as smooth as all the other walls, with no clue how to open it like those creatures had done.

Behind him the other grown-ups could only look on even more helplessly, their prisons too well-build for them to escape. They could not comfort the young longneck-child, let alone help him as he collapsed against the cold wall, sobbing softly.

Spike and Tricia both had no such troubles, for the first time since arriving here leaving their mothers' sides to comfort him.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

"It's almost sad to see something this magnificent so… weak." Cian looked at the downed giant. The Apatosaurus was breathing softly, the rise and fall of her chest the only thing moving. He slowly walked to her head, trailing his eyes over her body.

He stopped dead in his tracks when he met her eyes. They were only half-open, but looking at him with an intensity he'd never have expected from her in this state.

He pulled himself on the platform she was on, muttering under his breath about his old age as he did so.

"Careful, Sir!" One of the other scientists warned him as he approached the thick neck. He waved the other man's concerns away. Old he might be, but he was still quite capable.

The old female shifted her head a bit to look at him. When he got even closer she tried to lift her neck away from him, but her weakness and the chains holding her dragged it down almost instantly again.

He did not move, watching as her face changed… into resignation? He reached out slowly with his hand, briefly hesitating when she growled weakly. Both of them knew it was an empty threat…

Her skin was warmer than he expected it to be. He carefully rubbed it, feeling the texture under his fingers with interest.

She was staring at him, her eyes burning with emotions. Did dinosaurs have emotions to begin with?

He trailed his hand up, getting closer to her head. Her eyes narrowed some, but she made no more move to get away.

He marveled at the powerful heart-beat he felt under his fingers. If it had this much power when she was so weakened, what did it have to feel like when she was at full strength?

The rate of her breathing did not change, though her eyes – or rather, eye, considering the position she was in – remained fixed on him.

He sat down a short distance from her, looking at her with a contemplating look on his face. She returned the look, making him wonder exactly how far her mental capabilities went. True, for her body-size her brain was rather small, but that had to mean nothing.

His mind trailed off a bit, leaving the old Sauropod in favor of his young protégée: Lewis had left a few hours ago on another dinosaur-hunt, this time intending to bring back the dangerous kind. He just hoped everything would go as well as it had the first time.

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2019, 12:32:18 PM »
It seemed as if the dinosaurs were more alert now than the first time he had come here. Because of the short notice he had gone alone, preferring to rather be alone than with people who had trouble distinguishing between a cat and a dog.

With some surprise he noted that though there were plenty of herbivores in the valley, there was not a single carnivore. As he searched for an exit he wondered how that could be.

After an hour he realized why: the mountains were damn near impassable, even for someone his size – which was small for a human male of his time, namely 6 and a half feet – and crossing them required heavy web-use that would warrant an extensive cool-down once he got back to his own time.

He just hoped he could find a carnivore near the area. It wouldn't do if he appeared with one at an intersection in the nearby city-in-a-few-million-years.

As he reached his assumed highest point, he turned to look out over the valley once more. Still no sign of anything more carnivorous than the odd mammal.

He climbed down on the other side, growling under his breath at the… deadness of the land outside of the protective mountain-ring. How did that even happen? There was nothing here, hardly any plants and even less animals by the looks of it. Just his luck, he apparently picked the part of the entire perimeter where nothing lived.

Or so he thought, before noticing a pair of T-rexes moving across the arid landscape. They were magnificent, one colored a darker green than the other. Both of them were huge from what he could tell, dwarfing several of the small trees that managed to survive here.

The one that was leading stopped, taking several deep breaths. Lewis held his own, freezing in the crevice he was hiding in and prayed that he smelled enough like 'mammal' to be of no concern to the giant. Military-grade assassin-level web aside, he'd rather not have to fight one of them if it could be prevented.

He sighed in relief when they moved on again, either not having smelled him or – what he thought was far more likely – simply deemed him uninteresting. He left his safe cover in between the rocks, sneaking after them with a cat-like grace. Through his clothes the faint glow of his web could be seen, shining with his use of it. On his belt the Teleporters were nestled securely in pouches alongside one lone gun.

The two carnivores moved with determination to a far away entrance into the protective circle of mountains, unaware of the strange creature stalking them.

His lone gun was heavy in his hand, but he hardly acknowledged the weight. By now it was clear to him that they were mates and he inwardly wept at having to separate yet another family. If scientific research was anything to go by, they were smarter than their herbivore prey. And if said herbivore-prey could feel the loss of family, so would they.

Despite this, he leveled his gun, aiming for the one closest to him. Unlike the shots from the guns he had used the first time, this one was no louder than a heavy stone falling a few feet.

It hit the dinosaur smack at the back of its' skull. A roar of pain, a few shuddering steps and the giant fell.

As he had expected, the other one wheeled around immediately, leaning over its' unconscious companion. A worried growl issued from that impressive maw as the dark-green individual nudged the downed one.

He merely shot again. This shot was a lot less clean, hitting his target in the chest as it reacted to the sound immediately.

With the gun still in his hand he rushed forward, seemingly uncaring as the Tyrannosaur was only paralyzed and not knocked out. Red eyes glared at him with burning intensity. Was that hate that surfaced there in those shining depths?

Lewis – like many of his time – had a knack for following orders and ignoring everything else. Even as the shot took full on the beast effect he started laying out the Teleporters around the light-green giant.

He noticed the charging youngling a split second too late, powerful jaws closing around his leg. His web kept the teeth from doing more that superficial damage, but he could not work with a damn T-rex attached to him.

The lines started glowing again, giving off a electric sparks. The hatchling retreated, letting go with a cry of pain. It shook its' head to clear the pain, even as Lewis advanced on it. In his eye-corner he could see more dinosaurs now, including a fully grown Sauropod who did not look happy at all.

Crap…

His leg hit the hit of the child at the side, stunning it, but before it could recover he grabbed its' neck, lifting it as if it weighed no more than a pebble despite reaching well over his waist. He threw it just as easily, smacking it against a nearby rock.

He managed to get the last Teleporter down mere moments before the raging Sauropod reached him.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Cian read the report that had reached him with impassive eyes. A T-rex of all things…

"Sir?" The scientist that had alerted him looked up in his stormy-grey eyes.

"Put it in a separate hangar." He told her, before recalling the hologram and taking up looking at the Apatosaurus beside him again. They had double-checked her, but it seemed her only problem was basically a broken heart. He hoisted himself up again, his dark-skinned hands a stark contrast to his white scientist-robes.

He looked into her eyes calmly, regarding their red-brown depths evenly. Despite her weakened state they still shone with clarity…

"Get me a base-grade web." He told no one in particular, knowing that someone would automatically obey him. "I want to try something."

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2019, 01:10:00 PM »
Good, everyone would call him crazy once they found out since he was about to do something that was the equivalent of handing Hitler an unlimited supply of Atomic bombs: completely nuts and even more irresponsible…

In other words, it was science. Or so he convinced himself when a young man handed him the base-grade web he had requested. He watched as the light reflected from the shining glass-like stone in his hand. His other hand went to the back of his neck, where a similar stone was fused to his skin, thin metallic lines originating from it to reach every part of his body.

Webs came in two main variants: basic and military grade (though there were several 'sub-grades' in military). Basic – which the majority of humanity wore nowadays – mostly just allowed the wearer to interact with the holograms which had replaced the ancient technology of television, computer and whatever-else-screens and allowed them to understand every other wearer, regardless of locality and mother-tongue.

Military could be considered a true 'upgrade' of the being wearing it: on top of the features of the basic web, one could - by meddling with a good part of the nervous-system and all hormones – gain increased stamina, improved reflexes and greater muscle-strength resulting in sprinters that could run for miles at near inhuman-speed for example. And that was only the tip of the iceberg of abilities for everyone that managed to gain approval of the government to upgrade their Basic web to a Military-grade one. Though the Military web carried it's downsides as well: by basically turning a person's capacities to two or even four-hundred percent, one risked irreparable muscle and nerve-damage. It was what happened to Jarosz, causing him to lose his Military-upgrade: the official version was that he had overestimated his own body's limits in regard to the web while on duty, the unofficial was that he had had 'crushed' resistance in the mountains of what once had been called Russia too enthusiastically.

And now he was honestly contemplating putting a Basic web on the Sauropod in front of him. He had to be barking mad…

She had stopped objecting to his presence near her head quite a while ago now, though her eyes still followed him whenever he was close.

Was it mere instinct that she revolted when he rested the stone at the back of her skull, there were it was connected to her neck-vertebrae? Was it the cold of the stone? The mere fact he was now touching such a vulnerable spot? Or did she somehow realize that that stone was not a mere stone?

His own web glowed as he held her head down forcefully, the stone in his hand pulsing with the same light.

Her growls transformed into roars of pain, her neck swinging wildly enough to actually knock him of the platform as the web connected to her nervous-system. Yup, not one of his better ideas…

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

"Grandma?" Littlefoot exclaimed in horror when the roars of the grown-up Longneck reached him. "Grandma!" He had never heard such a sound coming from her before and it terrified him. What was happening? What were they doing to her? "Grandma!"

He was not the only one to be terrified by the sound: even the grown-ups, normally even collected in the face of Sharpteeth, couldn't help but feel sheer terror at the sound of the missing Longneck. She had hardly ever raised her voice, let alone screamed. They dared not imagine what would make her scream in agony like this…

The following silence merely increased their worry. What if they had killed her?

Littlefoot kept screaming her name, the sound of his voice echoing in the room. Spike had to hold onto him to keep him from running against the shining walls and hurting himself.

Soon the little hatchling collapsed, sobbing uncontrollably on his friend's legs.

Tricia clambered into her mother's tree-ring, pressing against the older female's leg with wide eyes.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

The adult Sharptooth had to lean heavily on the Longneck that was helping him get to safety. Parts of his body still felt numb, and he could hardly feel his left leg.

Worse was the sheer despair he felt: his wife had been taken, from what his son had told him. He looked down upon the young hatchling who was being carried by his Threehorn-friend, too bruised by his failed attack on that strange creature to walk on his own strength.

From what he had gathered, it had happened once before, claiming among others the young Longneck that had saved his son.

His next glance was for the Longneck that was supporting him. Under the safety of a language-barrier Chomper had told him how different the old Leafeater had become after the disappearance of his wife and grandson, of the new cold and indifference that seemed to make up most of the dinosaur's character now.

They moved only slowly, the uneven ground an added obstacle for the dark-green male as he struggled to keep his footing.

He hoped it would not be long now until he could rest.

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2019, 12:51:47 AM »
She moaned softly in pain, her chest heaving with the desperate gulps of air she was taking in. Her entire body hurt as if she had just rolled down a mountain-side after a Sharptooth-battle. A strange feeling covered most of her skin, like she had walked into a massive eight-legged-crawler's web. Only neither of those things could have happened since she was still trapped in the strange white cavern where there were neither eight-legged-crawlers nor mountain-sides.

The old Longneck opened her eyes, looking around blearily. The strange two-legged creature stood beside the rise she was laying on, looking at her with fire in his eyes. What had he done to her? Why had it hurt so much?

Her head, normally the easiest part of her body to move, but now near impossible as well, turned more, allowing her to look at her body.

She did not see the interest in the human's face when her eyes filled with horror at what they saw: her entire body – all imposing 80 feet of it, though she did not know said measurement – was covered in an intricate web of thin shining lines. The Web had successfully taken hold, connecting not only to her every muscle, but also to her spine with surprising ease.

"How are you feeling?" The voice was that of a male, soft and well-spoken, it reminded her of Ducky's father a bit. She turned her head to its' origin, realizing that she was still the only Dinosaur in the room. Instead it had come from the two-legged creature who seemed a bit too eager for her to answer.

"What… did you do to me?" She counter-asked, eyes narrowing at the shock in his face. He recovered surprisingly quickly, unlike the others in the room.

"I merely insured we could talk to one another." He climbed back on the rise, his loose skin shifting around his form as he did so. "Forgive me for making it hurt."

"Honestly? This is the least painful thing you did." Her voice turned angry, the humans hearing under the translation offered by their web the snarls of the reptile-female.

"That is understandable." He offered, reaching with his hand towards her.

"Don't touch me." It was a roar this time, nearly drowning out the translation as her anger gave her new strength.

"Let me explain." He soothed, clearly trying to calm the old female down. "Please."

Somewhere, in a far corner of her mind she remembered that she had always been calm and had indeed been the only one that could reign in her husband's temper the moment it WOULD finally blow. Now she drew from that calm, closing her eyes briefly.

When they opened again, he could not look away, captured in their powerful gaze. Despite most people stating that he – Homo Sapiens, the species that created Time Travel – was far, far above her – Apatosaurus louisae, merely one of the most well-known sauropods to ever be discovered – he found that she was in charge of their conversation.

He merely talked to her, the expression on her face leaving him feeling like a little child that had been caught with his hand in the cookie-jar. She did not speak much herself, but he knew almost instinctively that she was absorbing his every word.

The other scientists moved around them in silence, looking in awe upon the dinosaur whose mental capabilities seemed to be on par with their own, despite much evidence to the contrary before this day.

"Command: release the chains." A gamble, even more so than giving her the web had been. The computer that could control every aspect in the facility did not bother which such details and merely did as told. The thick, pure steel chains retracted into the walls, leaving the female dinosaur with only her weakness as restraining factor from destroying everything in sight.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

He understood little of the argument going on in front of him, all participants speaking Leafeater, a tongue he had never learned safe some odd words here and there.

His massive form rested on the ground, finally unable to move even a single step after managing to reach the Valley. His son was curled up at his side, having fallen asleep after his wounds had been treated.

And now the residents were arguing about his presence, or so he presumed. It was basically the only thing that made sense…

Chomper's father watched as the uncaring Longneck clashed verbally with the hotheaded Threehorn – wasn't that the one that had toppled him back when Chomper's egg had been stolen? – his voice even to the Sharptooth's ear cruel and cold. Had his wife's loss really hit the old one this hard?

He watched them with lidded eyes, curling around his son even as the argument carried on.

The atmosphere was pushing him down, in a matter of speaking. It was thick and loaded, as if something was just waiting to burst forth. He imagined that this was how Leafeaters felt when they had to travel through Sharpteeth-territory: something, just waiting beyond the next bush. Waiting… Preparing… Ready to strike at full force the moment your attention was elsewhere.

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2019, 12:59:00 AM »
The old Longneck looked from her now chain-free body to him to the other scientists, who had frozen in their tracks when their superior gave that particular command, realizing the scale of the gamble as much as he had.

"Even I know this might backfire for you." She softly said, her face softening as she regarded him.

"I have my ways to ensure it won't." He countered equally softly, this time meeting her gaze evenly with one of his own. "And then it might be even longer until you see your son again."

"Grandson." She automatically corrected him. "Littlefoot is my grandson, not son. I'm far too old to have had a nest that could result in a hatchling his age."

Cian blinked in surprise, neither of them saying anything for a while. "What… why was he with you then?"

It was apparent that it was a painful question, the old female looking like he had just hit her in the face – or whatever the Dinosaur-equivalent of that was. "His mother – my daughter – was killed. With his father gone, I and my husband took to caring for him."

It certainly explained why there was such an age-difference between them. It also explained why he had felt like he could relate to her even before she had been given a web.

"I know how that feels." His hand settled on her skin once more, the touch soft and soothing. "I was the prime care-taker of my grandchild as well. My son was killed in action and her mother died by a web-malfunction. Her name is Mary."

The dinosaur said nothing, regarding him in silence instead. "I'm hungry…" She murmured in the end, looking around the cavern.

"So you'd eat now?" He whispered.

"Would not eating get me home or to Littlefoot faster?" She countered, a cold edge coloring her words briefly. Yup, he had quite the battle ahead of him if he wanted her to like him.

"I think not." He said evenly.

"Well then." She looked him in the eyes with a strictness that made him feel like a naughty child again. Good lord, was she always like this?

He snorted instead, shaking the feeling off. "Would I need to fear you destroying this place?"

"Would I be able to?" She counter-asked again, her eyes trailing from him to the walls with their white sparkling expanse.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

In the end the Longneck won that argument, no one all that keen on having to argue with him. Not that there was much that could be done about a Sharptooth already in the Valley anyway.

Grandpa had left after that, taking to one of his many, long walks all over the Valley. He had lost weight and it seemed like he had aged Cold Times over these last 10 days. Yet any concern was met with cold indifference, if not outright hostility.

There was a strain on the Valley like never before, their unity and dependence on one another crumbling beneath the leaf-eating giants that called this safe haven home with two of their leading figures absent and several more as good as.

It could not go on like this, everyone – including Grandpa – knew this, but no one knew how to revert the change that had come over the old Longneck, safe by the impossible notion of returning his mate and grandchild.

So it came to pass that Petrie's mother once again flew out over the Mysterious Beyond, leaving her children under the watchful eyes of Olophon as she searched for Bron and his herd.

Not only did he need to know what happened to his son, but perhaps he had enough pull on his former father-in-law to make life bearable around the old male once more.

It took her so long that some feared she had been lost as well…

By the time Bron arrived in the Valley – having hurried there with is herd at near insane speeds for a Longneck-herd – over two weeks had passed since his son and mother-in-law had disappeared.

A shattered heart, broken like a piece of frozen water falling down the Great Wall…

Pain, nearly unbearable in its' sheer intensity, bringing the giant to his knees…

Grief, too long denied…

That night, the valley resounded with the grieved howls of a broken man.

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2019, 04:57:45 AM »
"Grandma!" Littlefoot was blind to everything around him as the walls opened to reveal his grandmother, now back on her feet again.

She chuckled softly as he ran to her, throwing his front-legs around one of hers, nuzzling the grey skin. She rubbed her head against his small body, a content rumble building in her chest.

The other children approached her much more hesitant, though even they looked elated at her returned presence.

"What happened to your skin?" Tria spoke up, her sky-blue eyes trailing over the shining lines on the other female's skin.

"What happened to you in general?" Pterano demanded.

"That is a long story." She softly answered both of them before gently picking up Littlefoot and setting him down on her back. Unlike back in the Valley, the ground carried the reverberations of her steps well, shaking even the shining trees around the other grown-ups as she walked into the cavern. "And you might want to sit down for it." She added as an afterthought, settling down between their shining-tree caves – or wait, Cian had called those things cages, hadn't he? – and started to tell them what the human had told her.

Rapt attention mixed with horrified disbelief in her audience as her tale progressed, more than once someone interrupting her with exclamations of said disbelief.

"And you're sure he is speaking the truth?" Ducky's mother demanded after the story was finished. "The very thought… millions of Cold Times having past us by in just a moment…"

"I can hardly believe it either, but I am inclined to believe him." The old Longneck-female whispered. "All of this is far too strange to have existed in… well, our time… Surely word would have reached the Valley had something like this been found?"

"That is true…" Pterano agreed softly. "I have never heard of something like this or seen their like, and I traveled far and wide during my exile. Perhaps he does speak the truth, though it hurts me to admit that."

The thought that accompanied his words was shared by all: their loved ones, families, friends… everyone was long dead. Even their Valley had disappeared, if the human spoke the truth about that too and this was the now-timed Valley.

"Why?" Tria finally broke the silence. "Why did they take us like this? What could they believe would excuse their cruelty?"

"They thought us mindless." Grandma snorted. "Believed that we lived on instincts alone, having no feelings safe pain and hunger."

"And then they think they can just take us?" Hadria – this was the name of Ducky's mother – exclaimed. "Just because they think something of us? That would have been the same as if we killed Chomper when our children introduced him to us because certainly some of us thought he was dangerous." She threw her hands up in the air, pacing in her cage. Spike scooted over a bit, giving his mother room to vent her anger.

"I am not happy with this either, far from. But that is the only reason they considered worth telling me at least." The oldest female rolled her eyes as she sighed in defeat.

They were interrupted by the sound of moving walls. She rose to her feet, the children automatically seeking cover. Two of the strange beings stood in the formed opening, one of which she recognized as Cian. The other she couldn't place, his skin looking far different from the other human's.

"That's the one that took us." Littlefoot whispered from where he was still securely on her back, well out of reach of the humans. "He was the one leading those that took us."

She looked at him, before turning to the humans again. "He says your companion was the one that took us… Is he right?"

Some things are universal. They understood the nod of the older human well enough.

The roar was one her husband could have been jealous off, Tria's rage fuelling her voice.

"Tria!" The free dinosaur admonished her, stopping the Threehorn in her tracks. "Why is he here?" She turned to the human again once she was certain the others would not interfere.

His voice was soft, but Littlefoot couldn't make out anything of what he was saying. If there were words, he could not even distinguish them. He looked up at his grandmother's face when the human stopped talking.

"And why did you come?" She asked the human, ignoring her grandson's questioning glance. The other grown-ups waited in silence, though their glares would have sent a Sharptooth running for the Mysterious Beyond – which also did no longer exist.

The Longneck sighed when another silence descended on them, neither of the humans moving as they waited for her to act.

"They want to be introduced." She finally said. "They want to get to know us."

"Isn't it a bit late for that?" Tria snarled softly. "That should have come before the 'taking away', no?"

"What choice do we have though?" Pterano pointed out. "I do not see us turning back time to get back to our families anytime soon."

A shudder went through the Threehorn's body at that, something flashing in her eyes as she turned away. Tricia softly squeaked at her mother, rubbing herself against the older female's leg in an attempt to comfort her.

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2019, 01:07:14 AM »
The man was different from any others that the dinosaurs had seen. Not that they were seeing him, that is. He was far away from them, his home situated in the city of Paris, looking out over the ancient Eiffel Tower, with in the distance the river running through the city being visible. His house was located rather high up. Very few humans lived in this city in the current age, most having abandoned it for Space or the open country-side, depending on their money.

It was almost solely inhabited by high-ranked government-officials, the old city-blocks having long ago made way for extensive villa's taking up almost entire blocks at times. Certainly the biggest of these was his own, covering almost two or three square miles of prime-estate in the very center of the city. He never had bothered to check.

He looked from the papers on the desk to the holograms floating in front of it. "What say you?" He asked, his young voice in stark contrast with his old appearance. His web was almost forcefully keeping his nerve-system alive and young, while his body withered around it. The heavy web-use (he was well beyond a 100 years at this point) was leaving its' mark. Having gone all but bald a few decades ago, he was wearing a wig and mask. Though the mask was mostly a prerequisite for his position.

"It ees ridiculous." Came the voice of Jacques Jarosz from one of the holograms, the heavy French accent echoing in the room. "Vebs on Dinosaurs? Vhy not immediately do it to dogs as vell? And you are alright vith heem vasting resources like zis?"

"Cian has yet to disappoint me." The old man stated coolly. "It might be an opportunity, what he is doing."

"An opportunity to vaste money of ze Union." If he was anyone else, the old man would have sighed in irritation: Jarosz had his uses, but spending time with him was nearly impossible without wishing to strangle him at least once.

"My Grandfather would not do things like this merely to waste money." The other Hologram spoke up, glaring at where her version of Jarosz would be. "Perhaps it was a gamble and potential waste when he used the first one, but why would he web eight dinosaurs if he did not see use in it?"

She was young, barely legally of age, but she had inherited her mother's – and by proxy her grandfather's – brilliant mind, allowing her to quickly rise among the government-positions available. Not that she had begun that low anyway. Even in this age connections were everything. And having the primary scientist of the Union as your grandfather was as good as they come, short of having the President as your father.

Said President was regarding her intently now. Instead of having her work as a scientist, he had pulled her into politics after she had reached her majority. It had proven a wise step: since she knew Cian like she would have her father, she could read him like a book and make quite educated guesses as to his motives.

"News travels slow." He spoke up, drawing their attention to him fully again. "And I lack a proper interpreter of what is happening over there." He might rule the world – literally even – but even he could be stumped by all the scientific jargon littering the reports of institutes he received from all over the planet. "Mary, travel to your grandfather, I want some understandable reports about what he is doing."

He was only human, after all. Even while holding the world in his hands.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

He moved through the rocks carefully. Without his wife, he was no longer safe from Red Claw, so he had to be careful.

Chomper's father followed the trail of a lone and foolish Fast Biter, searching for a meal he could eat without offending the residents of the Great Valley.

He rolled his eyes as he thought back to that particular conversation he had had with his son. He still wasn't sure how the young hatchling had convinced him to actually stay, nor could he tell how the young Sharptooth had convinced the residents to let him stay.

The Sharptooth pushed it from his mind, instead concentrating on his hunt again.

By the time had finished eating, he was back in mull-over-land. He remembered the one that took his wife well, having had plenty of time to look at it while whatever it was that had hit him took effect and downed him.

It had been so small, barely reaching his knee, but somehow he had easily brought down two grown-up Sharpteeth. And more, if the story his son had told him had been accurate.

The dark-green male walked back to the hidden entrance he had been shown – after another lengthy argument among the residents – carefully ensuring that other Sharpteeth could not easily follow him. It wouldn't do for Red Claw to enter the safe haven, after all.

His blood-red eyes trailed over the valley-floor, settling on a grey form in the distance. It felt odd, but he shared a sense of kinship with the old Longneck, despite them not being the only ones to have lost a wife.

Then again, who could feel a sense of kinship with the old Threehorn? And the Swimmer just looked at him weirdly all the time.

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2019, 01:11:51 AM »
"You could have warned us that it would hurt this much." Tria shook her head in an attempt to clear it from the pain that 'web' had caused.

"I did say it would hurt." The old Longneck pointed out. "And no one forced you to take these."

"My desire to give those humans a piece of my mind did." Tria stated coolly, studying the silver lines on her body. The others rolled their eyes at the reminder of the tirade she had launched into the moment she was certain that said humans could understand her. It had been one that her husband couldn't have done better.

"I guess we should be glad they took you and not your mate." Ducky's mother chuckled. "Can you imagine how he would handle this?"

"Good heavens, no." Pterano shuddered. "He'd have killed them. At best."

The children looked between their elders – who seemed to be taking the change quite well – and then at each other.

"What are we going to do now?" Littlefoot finally asked. At that moment he realized that the grown-ups were not taking the change as well as he had expected. Pain flashed in his grandmother's eyes, something she could not quite hide on time.

"The best with what we are given." The old Longneck finally said. "That is all we can do."

"It probably will not help if I apologize again, will it?" Cian walked up to them, his faithful shadow Lewis at his side. "On the upside, I have a more comfortable place for you to stay."

They said nothing, merely rising to their feet and Pterano settling down on the Longneck's back.

"So…" Hadria spoke as he led them through a shining white corridor. "What is life like for humans? With all of this, I doubt you need to fear Sharpteeth." She gestured around them to the walls.

"Sharpteeth?" Cian tilted his head. "What do you understand under Sharpteeth? Carnivores?"

"Yes." Grandma answered, her grandchild walking between her front-legs. Despite him knowing that there were several side-corridors, he was failing miserably at spotting them. Could humans really manipulate stone to be as smooth as hard water one moment and completely absent the next?

"Well, we indeed have no trouble of those." Cian said. "If only because…" He fell silent suddenly, feeling he was going too far. They were supposed to learn from the dinosaurs, not teach. And yet, it almost felt nice being able to stun others with things he deemed almost inconsequential.

"Because you are the most dangerous thing around." It was Tria that spoke up there, finishing his unspoken sentence. "Isn't that it?"

"Yes." No use in lying. "That and most of our… Sharpteeth died out long ago."

"Are you sure?" Littlefoot spoke up for the first time towards the human. "I thought that too once, but in the end he proved alive."

"Yes, I am sure." Cian smiled gently. "It has been generations since some of them were seen by any human. And we live far and wide in this world."

He thought back to the ancient movies which had been filled with lions, wolves, sharks… all gone. Nothing of those long ago times were humans needed to fear was left, for as some put it: Mother Nature had given up on Earth, leaving it to Men to destroy. He couldn't help but wonder how it felt to live in fear.

Then his thoughts turned to another dinosaur in the facility: an impressive female Tyrannosaurus Rex who had reacted little better than these had done. Wait a moment…

"Say, are you ever friends with Sharpteeth?" He looked at them intently as they digested his question.

"What makes you ask that?" The Pterosaur finally asked, shifting into a more upright position as he looked at the human.

The others said nothing, merely looking at the Apatosaurus questioningly. She in turn tilted her head, clearly waiting for his answer to the male's question.

"You are not the only dinosaurs we… took." Lewis spoke up. "There was a T-Rex – a Sharptooth – from outside the Valley. It seemed like she was heading in."

Another series of glances and the two older youngsters gasped. "Light-green from color? With another dark-green one?"

Lewis nodded.

"That's Chomper's mother." Littlefoot turned to his grandmother. "She and his dad were supposed to visit him, remember?"

"Then it seems you have one of the few Sharpteeth we do not look upon with hate." Grandma looked at Lewis. "Where is she?"

Unlike her husband, Tria never felt like arguing with the older Longneck-couple. Despite only one of them being present, she almost immediately would defer to the elder female's judgment. Hadria and Pterano felt likewise, trusting Grandma to make rational choices and hear them out the moment they did want to say something. It was another reason they were glad it was Tria with them and not Topps. Littlefoot threw a grateful glance at the old Longneck.

"We can bring her to where we are taking you." Cian assured her. He couldn't help but notice the influence of the old female as well.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

She recognized two of the youngsters, and even the Longneck and Swimmer were faintly familiar to her. As for the rest? The young Threehorn smelled somewhat like the Threehorn that was the friend of her son, but the older Threehorn and Flyer were completely unknown to her.

"You remember me?" It was the little Longneck. Still as brave as when he had jumped to her son's aid. It felt strange suddenly understanding him.

The female Sharptooth looked at his elder, meeting the other female's eyes over her grandson's form.

"Yes, I remember." She answered, her voice far softer and smoother than one would expect of a Sharptooth. "I never could properly thank you for what you did for my son."

He beamed, though she wasn't entirely certain if it was merely for her gratitude or if the more familiar surroundings made him happy as well.

Around them trees rose to the top of the cavern, a deep water-hole sparkling in the distance and low greens covering the ground. The work on the hangars had been finished, offering the Dinosaurs a semblance of home.

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2019, 01:04:03 AM »
"There they are." Cian gestured to a hologram that took up the entirety of his office. It showed part of a forest and in the blue forms of the trees and bushes were others tinted a bright red. The red ones were moving, congregating at the deep-blue part that indicated the small lake.

His granddaughter was standing beside him, a frown on her youthful face. Her blue-colored pony-tail was fanned out around her head like a halo in a stark contrast with her dark skin. Several days had passed between now and her talk with the President, Paris being not exactly around the corner for this particular institute.

"And they are… sentient?" She asked softly, turning from the image in front of her to the man beside it. Her eyes were sparkling in excitement.

"As much as you and I." He told her with an indulgent grin. "I can introduce you to them. I think you and the little Apatosaurus are much alike."

Yes, she was an advisor to the President, but damnit, she was only 19… Mary squee'ed at the prospect, eyes shining brightly. Her grandfather laughed – as did Lewis, his eternal shadow – the sound echoing in the room.

They led her to the A-hangars which had been connected and modified to hold almost three square miles of Cretaceous-inspired forest and a lake. The first dinosaur they spotted was immediately the most imposing one. The Apatosaurus-female was resting on the open spot onto which their door opened.

For a while, Mary could only stare with an open mouth.

"Careful, human, you might get a buzzer in there." A warm, kind voice told her, the long-necked Dinosaur chuckling – good lord, chuckling! – as she regarded the human. "Is this your granddaughter you told me about, Cian?"

"Yes, Mary, this is… well, she insists we call her Grandma Longneck, so that it'll be. Grandma, this is Mary."

There was wisdom in the old female's gaze, and kindness. But all Mary registered was her inner squee'ing at being in her presence.

It appeared like the dinosaur could tell, grinning as she rose to her feet. "I assume you'd like to meet the others as well?"

The young woman nodded eagerly, much to the amusement of her grandfather. Then she actually squeaked when the dinosaur lifted her up with ease, putting her on the grey back.

"Woah." It felt weird – and not only because of the web both of them were wearing – but the sauropod seemed like she did not care as she disappeared in the forest, simply abandoning the two males.

"You're the first Cian and Lewis really introduce to us." The old female mused. "Oh, there were plenty to – how did he call it? Ah yes… - study us, but you are the first that has a name, shall we say."

"Oh…?" Good god, she was talking to a dinosaur here! She just barely managed to keep herself from bouncing in utter glee.

"Well, we are from a completely different time. They're curious." In front of them the small lake appeared between the trees, several other dinosaurs resting at the water-edge. The Tyrannosaurus was drinking as the herbivores were just idly resting on the grass.

"Who's that?" The voice of a boy greeted them, the young Apatosaurus running up to the old female.

"This is Mary, Cian's granddaughter." And again the woman sailed through the air, being set down a short distance from the youngster as his grandmother joined the other adults at the small lakeside.

Suddenly she felt awkward and even a bit scared as the adults regarded her intently, clearly deciding if they'd allow her close to their little ones.

Only 'Grandma Longneck' was not looking at her, clearly having made her decision already, though Mary had no doubt she was very much aware of her grandson's position in regards to the human.

"Oh my gosh, so adorable!" Then she noticed the little Threehorn – little being relative, of course – and could only gush at the cuteness of the hatchling. She completely forgot the protective, massive mother just a few yards away, reaching for the young one to cuddle. She gently scratched the little head, cooing softly.

Only to notice the shadow that had fallen over the both of them as she did so. At over nine feet, the pink-tinted Triceratops-mother dwarfed the 5-and-a-half foot human, who got back to her feet quickly. Stunning sky-blue eyes looked from her to the youngster that immediately shot to her mother for more cuddles.

"Her name is Tricia." Soft and gentle came the voice which was in complete contrast with the threatening appearance dominated by 3 feet long horns.

"She's cute." Mary said.

"That she is." The voice was from someone else, the Saurolophus-female resting a hand on the young Stegosaur's back as he munched on some of the ferns nearby. "A thing she only inherited from her mother. Her father was never sure he even had a youth."

"Hey." The Triceratops threw a playful glare that the female. "That is still my husband, thank you very much."

"He could be an ass, you have to admit it." The voice was male, with a British accent. Mary only now noticed the Pterosaur sitting in the nearby tree.

"Don't even think about it." The Apatosaurus warned the mother who snorted in answer.

"They're always like that. Arguing about stuff. I think they like it." Came a conspirational whisper from behind her. The young Apatosaurus stood so close she could feel the warmth of his body, the Stegosaurus a short distance away from them. "Wanna play with us?"

"Sure." She grinned at him. The report could wait a bit after all. Besides, she was sure to learn about them like this. "What kind of games do you guys play?"

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Re: Future Before Time
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2019, 01:02:18 AM »
"It is simply magnificent, sir." These were the openings-words of the letter he had received a day after the young woman had reached her grandfather's institute. "My grandfather has given them the Basic Webs as reported and I myself had enough access to tell that that was truly all invasive measures he had taken with them – aside from bringing them here, obviously – and they… I can hardly find the words, sir, but they were sentient. I spend hours just talking with them. True, they lack much of our modern knowledge, but what they did know… It was magnificent. They even name each other – though their names are a bit lacking in the normalcy department for us humans. At any rate I can see why my grandfather used the webs. From what he told me the first use was on the old Apatosaurus-female (who goes by Grandma Longneck) after she started dying from grief and after finding that she was a match to his intellect he opted to give the others the choice to take one too. From what he told me and what I saw on the security-footage, there was quite a discussion over this among them before they all agreed. Now grandfather is testing them to see what they are capable of. The children think it hilarious, but the adults think it mostly annoying though they still cooperate."

He rose from the chair he was seated on, walking over to the window nearby. In front of him the villa's of Paris stretched beyond his gardens out in every direction. The report Mary had send was longer than the page he was still holding, the scientist-granddaughter telling him more about the conversations and the individual dinosaurs as well. Meticulously and elaborate, but understandable.

Unknowingly though, she had given rise to a problem with her 'they are like us'-message. Would it be appropriate to use the dinosaurs as they had intended: mindless drones, at best heavy infantry or cavalry for areas they did not wish to send humans, no matter how expendable said humans were deemed.

The scientists would revolt if they simply used them as intended now. True, they wouldn't have been happy to begin with, but now that the dinosaurs seemed to be on par with humans, this would worsen exponentially.

"Order: copy the letter and send him to my advisors. Recall Mary for council." The same kind of system that did everything in the faculty also worked in his home, allowing him to do everything without essentially having to move even a finger.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

It was a few minutes later that across the world people suddenly found a letter of the President in their inboxes. Jacques Jarosz was one of them, reading the ten-page letter with disdain.

He was alone in his own house, located in Moskau – another city that now held mostly government-officials, though lower-ranked than Paris.

He stopped reading after the first page, slamming the paper down on his own desk. "Reedeeculous…" He muttered, walking over to his couch in the adjacent room. "Dinosaurs smart? Zey are aneemals at best."

Few would dispute his intelligence, but his complete disregard for another's view and points had long kept him from rising further in the ranks. And so he was stuck as the occasional military advisor to the President if his superior was busy, such as now.

He snorted, taking a sip from his glass. The sharp burn of alcohol traveled down his throat, filling his stomach with heat.

"Dinosaurs as humans. Vhy not eemmediatly exonerate all rebels? Vould be ze same zing…"

His thoughtful gaze turned to the far bookcase. "Per'aps I do need to get going on zat project if zis is vhat ve have come to…"

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Almost two changes of the Night Circle had passed since someone had ripped his heart out and the pain was etched in his face. He kept losing weight at an alarming rate, many fearing that soon the old Longneck would perish from sheer grief.

He hardly slept, and food hardly carried more appeal to Grandpa Longneck.

He was dying in front of their eyes, and they could only watch as one of the pillars of strength of the Valley crumbled.

Bron had become a constant presence around the older male, straining to keep him alive. Surprisingly, the Old One too staid around him after another visit to the Valley. It seemed like her presence comforted him, the old female a reminder of better times.