*This story takes place directly after Terror On Dinosaur Island
Nelson looked at the x-ray he'd had taken of Patterson's egg and rubbed his chin. The baby dinosaur in it wasn't a species he was familiar with and that in itself was almost worth all the trouble he and Chief Sharkey had been through. Definitely not a case of been there, done that, that was for sure, Nelson thought as he looked at the x-ray again. The baby sure had a lot of teeth, Nelson noted, glancing up at the egg itself, which rested on his desk. "You, my friend are going to be big news," he said.
That was when the egg rocked. Nelson started to reach out for it, but it rolled off the desk and he heard a very distinct crunch as it met the floor. Furious with himself for not making certain that the egg was secure, Nelson moved around his desk. He was shocked to find a tiny dinosaur picking himself up out of the rubble the shell and quickly turning to face him. It let out a mewling sound and Nelson thought it almost looked cute.
Then he reached out to pick it up and it bit him, hard. It took every ounce of self control not to swat the thing across the room. The creature seemed to sense his disapproval and it scurried under the desk and out of sight. "Oh no you don't!" Nelson shouted after it, then quickly got down on the floor to look for it. There it was, under his desk, a computer disk in it's mouth. Nelson felt his face sink in dismay. That had to be the disk that he had just stored all the mission data on. How the little beast had gotten a hold of it, he didn't know, but he wasn't about to let the thing ruin it.
"Give me that!" Nelson demanded, snatching for the disk. The baby dinosaur scampered away nimbly and Nelson ended up whacking his head on the desk and all but knocking himself out. Nelson snarled, wondering how he could have ever thought the thing was cute, ready to wring the creature's neck, but it had gotten out of his view. "Where are you, you nasty little beast?" Nelson growled, casting about, looking for it. The baby dinosaur was nowhere to be seen, but there wasn't a way for it to get out of the room, so Nelson began to hunt in earnest.
Lee Crane had just come off duty on the bridge and had decided to check on the Admiral to see how he was doing. Though Nelson had shrugged it off, he and Sharkey had been through quite a harrowing experience on the island. Lee shook his head and smiled to himself, thinking that harrowing experiences were becoming a case of been there, done that on the Seaview. He had joined the Navy looking for excitement, but the sort of things that had been happening lately hadn't been what he'd had in mind.
As Lee lifted his hand to knock at Nelson's door, he heard a crash in the room. "Admiral?" Lee called out, knocking quickly. The only answer he got was another crash and he threw the door open, expecting trouble of some sort. He hadn't been expecting something small to dash between his legs, the Admiral making a diving leap after it. "What the..." Lee started to ask, only barely managing to get out of the way so he wouldn't be bowled over.
"Get it! Get it!" Nelson shouted as he launched himself after the tiny, fleeing form. Lee dashed after the Admiral, trying to see what 'it' was. It quickly rounded a corner and by the time he and the Admiral reached the same corner, the corridor before them was empty. "We've got to find it!" Nelson declared, looking about almost frantically.
"What was 'it?' Did it have a computer disk in its mouth?" Lee asked, now totally baffled about what was going on.
"'It' is Patterson's dinosaur! We can't have it running around the ship!" Nelson said, starting up the hall.
"Patterson's dino... You mean the egg hatched!" Lee exclaimed.
"Yes! Now find it!" Nelson shouted at him. Lee rolled his eyes then he started after the Admiral again. A baby dinosaur was loose on his boat. What next?
"Come on, guys? Camping? Again? Can we say 'Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt?' Didn't you have enough of the great outdoors tromping around that crazy island?" Riley asked Kowalski and Patterson as they all had lunch in the crew's mess.
"It wasn't exactly a camping trip, Riley," Kowalski replied, wondering why they had this discussion every time they were about to have a little leave. "Besides, what did you want to do? Go surfing? Definitely 'been there, done that.' How about if we go to Utah and do some skiing or snowboarding or something?"
"Hey, if I won the lottery, I'll fly us all out there," Malone declared with a big grin. Everyone else cast disparaging looks his way and he said, defensively, "First Class, guys!"
"You and your lottery tickets, Malone," Kowalski scoffed.
"Yeah. Have you ever actually won anything? Anything at all? Even a free ticket?" Clark questioned.
Malone looked at his lunch, frowning, and grumbled, "It just means I'm due."
"To lose again?" Pat said with a chuckle, then took a bite of his sandwich.
"Says the guy who really likes to push his luck. What were you thinking with the egg anyway?" Riley asked.
Pat shrugged, chewing his food and declining to answer, but Kowalski knew he had been thinking it would be a great souvenir. Pat was like that. Tense, weird stuff going on all around them and he'd stop and say, 'Hey, isn't that the neatest thing,' like everything else had just gone on a commercial break. And he probably would have tucked the egg away in a box somewhere to have to look back at when he was old and retired. Other guys would have been wondering how much money they could make with it or used the egg as their ticket to the talk show circuit. To Pat it was a keepsake, nothing more. Ski wished he could have that simple a take on life.
"Lost it anyway, didn't ya?" Clark taunted Pat.
"The way weird stuff keeps happening, I'll pick up another one by and by," Pat said with another shrug, then ate some more of his sandwich. The other guys laughed and Ski gave Pat a good natured poke in the ribs.
"Well, this is my ticket to the big time," Malone said. He pulled his infamous lottery ticket out of one of his pockets and holding in front of himself, smiling down at it.
"You're a sick guy, Malone," Ski commented and another round of laughter swept through the room.
"Sure, sure, you guys are all laughing now, but when I win twenty million dollars and retire in style, I'll be the one that's laughing," Malone said, waving his ticket before him. No sooner had he finished saying it when something, Ski had no idea what, jumped up on the table and ran up the center between the men gathered there. It was tiny, which made the fact that it was carrying a computer disk in its mouth almost comical. Of course, Malone wasn't laughing when it snatched the lottery ticket out of his hand. "Hey!" he shouted as it continued on and jumped off the far end of the table. Malone was up and about to chase after the little creature when the Admiral and Captain burst into the room.
"Is it here?" the Admiral demanded. "Grab it!"
Thoughts of what the creature might be ran out of Kowalski's mind as he leapt out of his seat and joined Malone in pursuit. "Where is it? Where did it go?" Ski asked as everyone searched the room for the tiny intruder. With a dozen guys in the room, it seemed inconceivable that the creature could elude everyone.
However, that's what it did because a moment later, Riley was shouting, "There it goes!" and was running out the door back into the hallway.
"What was that?" Clark questioned as the rest of them dashed after him.
"Patterson's dinosaur!" the Captain shouted back.
"My dinosaur? How did I get a dinosaur?" Pat muttered to Ski as they joined the pack of guys running up the passageway.
Ski grinned. "I guess your egg hatched."
Pat let out a deep sigh. "Probably didn't keep it in the refrigerator."
"Oh yeah, that would explain it," Ski said, but he was just blowing smoke. He had no clue as to whether keeping an egg cold would keep it from hatching, but he was ready to take Pat's word on it. After all, Pat had grown up on a farm. Ski hadn't. He grinned again. Never a dull moment on the Seaview.
Chief Sharkey was just returning from brushing his teeth in the Sickbay bathroom when he heard a commotion moving in his direction. He thought about going to the door to see what was going on, but shook his head, telling himself, "Francis, you have had enough. Just go back to bed and forget you heard a thing." He kept hobbling back toward his temporary bunk when something low to the ground scurried into the room, closely followed by Riley, a very irate looking Malone, the Skipper, and the Admiral, several other men screeching to a halt at the door.
"What the..." Sharkey started when the mysterious something leapt up on the examination table that separated him from the other men. It was about a foot high and it had a computer disk in its mouth and a piece of paper in its little hands. It was a lizard, Sharkey thought, but when it jumped onto his chest and looked straight into his eyes, all he could think was that this thing was way more intelligent than any lizard he knew of.
"Get off!" Sharkey shouted, swatting the thing with his toothbrush, succeeding in knocking the computer disk out of its mouth. It squealed at him, then leaped off of him just as Riley snatched for it. The young sailor had built up so much momentum that he couldn't stop and he wound up knocking Sharkey over and falling on top of him. "Get off!" Sharkey snarled, shoving Riley off of him. "What's going on? What was that?"
"Pat's dinosaur!" Riley said with a jaunty grin as one of the other sailors yelled that 'it' was headed up the passageway again. Before Sharkey could say anything else, the entire group had rushed off again.
"Chief, are you all right? What was that all about?" the Doc said as he helped Sharkey up off the floor.
"I have no idea," Sharkey grumbled, wondering what other indignities he'd have to suffer before this cruise was over.
Pat had gotten to the front of the chase when the dinosaur had scampered out of Sickbay. His dinosaur, several people had said in the last few minutes. That meant that he was going to catch it for all this commotion. Keeping his eyes firmly glued to the fleeing creature, Pat chided himself for taking it in the first place. It was just that when his dad had taken those photos of that dig in Mongolia for National Geographic, he'd commented about how he'd always been fascinated by dinosaurs. His birthday was coming up and Pat had thought that his dad would have gotten a huge thrill out of getting an actual dinosaur egg for a gift. Pat would never have guessed that all this would have been the result of taking one egg off that crazy island.
"Your fault," Pat told himself firmly as he tried to close the distance between himself and the fleeing dinosaur. "Your mess. Fix it." With that, he pushed a little more speed out of himself and found himself within feet of the critter rather than yards. That was when the creature leaped over the door frame into the Missile Room. Pat felt like groaning. Didn't anyone close doors anymore?
"Hey, what's that?" someone shouted and the creature drew up for a second. Pat made a leaping dive for it, only coming up with Malone's lottery ticket. He tossed it aside in disgust, then scooted forward on hands and knees as the baby dinosaur ducked under the diving bell. The guys must have been lowering it to the deck to do maintenance and the dino, sheltering under it to escape the circle of people, didn't seem to realize he was about to be squashed.
"Come on, come on," Pat muttered, grabbing at the little creature, forced to go down on his belly to keep from hitting his head. Guys were yelling, some of the shouts about stopping the diving bell. It was getting awfully tight underneath the bell, but the dinosaur kept dodging out of his reach and squeaking at him. Pat felt like cursing, certain he was about to get a lot thinner but unwilling to give up, when someone grabbed him by the legs and yanked him roughly out from under the bell. A moment later, it clanged to the deck and a couple of guys made disgusted sounds. Apparently, the dinosaur had decided on death before capture. Poor little guy was all Patterson could think.
"Geez, Pat, what were you thinking?" Ski said, smacking him across the back of the head as he sat up.
Pat shrugged, then gave a sheepish look to the Admiral, who was looking duly disappointed as the diving bell was finally lifted off the deck again. "Sir, I..." Pat started to apologize, but he wasn't really sure what to say. How could he replace something that was extinct?
"You tried, Patterson," Nelson said, though it was obvious that he wasn't that thrilled with the way things had turned out. "He probably wouldn't have survived very long in any case. We didn't know what to feed him or if his food supply went down with the island. Next time, don't cut things so close."
"Yes, sir. I mean, I won't, sir," Patterson said.
"You men, clear this area," the Skipper said, waving him and the other guys that had been off duty out of the Missile Room. "As for the rest of you, would someone care to explain to me why this room's hatch was not secured? The Admiral has lost an irreplaceable specimen. Well?"
Ski grabbed Pat's arm and guided him out of the room and back toward the crew's mess. "At least I got my lottery ticket back," Malone said once they were well away from the Missile Room.
"Malone!" Riley shouted at him. "Have a little respect, huh? We just extincted something! That cannot be good karma."
Pat finally let out the groan he'd been holding in since the chase had started. "Hey, at least the little guy got a some time and excitement, Pat," Kowalski reassured him. "Everybody else went down with the island."
"I suppose," Pat begrudgingly agreed.
"And those guys in the Missile Room just bought whatever trouble you were going to get by leaving that door open," Clark pointed out. Riley gave him a dirty look, but Clark ignored him.
"And it goes to show that you don't think big enough," Fuentes commented with a grin.
Pat gave him a confused look. "What do you mean?"
"Next time," Fuentes said, wrapping an arm around Pat's
shoulders, "Grab two eggs." Pat rolled his eyes as another bout
of laughter broke out.
*Click here to see Catfish's and her Mom's version of the baby dinosaur-picture is not part of the challenge.*