| Episode 1.1
An anomaly to the Eocene opens in the now-familiar territory of the Forest of Dean. But what unexpected threat emerges? In the meantime, the ARC has problems of its own...
Throughout the woods, the scene was pleasant. The air was warm, and the humidity at good levels. It had rained lightly the previous evening, and there was a mere dab of moisture. It was the perfect day for a hike.
George "Gorgo" Dixon walked among the trees, taking in his surroundings. These days, you couldn't get out here often enough, what with all the paperwork and social distractions. The forest was a much better place to gather your thoughts in.
His friends always thought he was a lunatic for staying out so long. Admittedly, he was reading a lot of transcendentalist works, but many people did. Dixon was a man of the outdoors.
Logically, then, it was the perfect day to go for a hike, because every day was.
Dixon walked, and listen to the birds. He admired their songs, and the high-pitched tunes appealed to him greatly.
Soon, most of the birds stopped singing, giving way to a louder song. It sounded almost exotic, like those birds you see at the zoo. It did sound quite big.
Dixon heard the noise again. That hadn't really sounded like a song. More like a scream of some sort.
An eerie silence fell upon the forest, and Dixon started feeling uneasy for some reason he couldn't place.
It screamed again, louder. It was getting closer. That was no bird.
Dixon was really getting nervous now. He should just go back home now.
And then the noise changed, no more a scream but a warble, somewhat like a cry of attack, something truly terrifying.
Get out of there.
The thought barely had time to cross his mind when he simply bolted. He couldn't see what direction he was going in, he only wanted to get out, but he could hear steps behind him, large steps, meaning something was after him, running after him, and getting very close.
Dixon felt pain in his back, intense pain, and he stumbled and fell, landing on the wet leaves, gasping for breath. Time went slowly now. All he felt was the ground beneath him. He could feel the contours in the ground, every detail, without concentrating.
He turned himself, to look up.
He saw a beak.
And then he saw no more.
Connor sat at his desk with the iPod in his ears. 2112 happened to be one of his favorites, and he was savoring it all, humming along with the vocals.
We are the priests
of the Temples
Our great computers
Fill the hallowed---
The distinctive alarms blew through the chorus, making Connor jump and fall out of his seat.
That could only mean there was an anomaly about.
Everyone quickly gathered around the ADD. It had been surprisingly quiet lately, so this was an important one.
"Another day, another life-threatening expedition," Becker sighed, walking into the room. "At least we get paid for it."
"Don't start," Matt said. "So what have we got, Jess?"
"Narrowing down the location now," Jess said, typing. "Looks like...looks like it's out in the Forest of Dean. I'm getting coordinates."
"Oh, lovely," Connor said with an overly obvious sarcastic tone. "Why do we have to go through that again..."
"Just be lucky that we're prepared this time," Abby said. "Let's go."
They took several soldiers with them, who went in most of the cars. The team took the van in front, and discussed the situation ahead.
"The last time an anomaly opened in the Forest of Dean, we got attacked by a gorgonopsid, tracked down a vicious predator from the future, and inadvertently inspired a psychotic woman to change the fate of human history. I don't think we have to go through that again!" Connor explained.
"What matters," Matt said, "is that we get to the anomaly as fast as possible before anything can come through. But the thing might not even be the same age---"
The van screeched to a halt, and everybody lurched forward. This was a blockade that nobody had yet thought about until now---traffic.
And it seemed to go on for a very long time.
"Get out of the way, we're on an important mission here!" Connor moaned to the cars ahead.
They finally arrived at the anomaly an hour later. The sight of a swirling mix of diamond shards, framed by long trunks of towering trees, was familiar---all too familiar.
The anomaly was promptly locked. "We need to secure the area and see if anything has come through by now," Matt explained to the others. "Abby and Connor, you take that end of the forest and bring some men with you." They nodded, and set off. "Becker, you're with me."
They walked through the forest, but there was little sign of any creature incursion. Maybe Connor and Abby would have more luck, but if there was no sign, there was usually nothing around.
After a while, Becker said, "Maybe we should go back. If you don't see any---"
Matt walked for some distance. He appeared to be investigating a disturbance in the forest floor.
"Becker," he finally said. "I think I just found the animal's last meal. Well, what's left of him."
Becker peered over, and then turned away. "Alright. I think we've gotten somewhere then."
"Not the best way to go about the process," Matt said, walking around the body. "We'll get someone to clean that up...now what's this?"
Becker ran over, and saw the track, a three-toed figure of mud interrupting the leaf litter. The shape was distinctive.
"That's a theropod track," Becker said, looking up at Matt.
"Yes," Matt confirmed, "or a very big bird."
Meanwhile, Abby and Connor were down by a river. As they both knew, water sources were a prime place to look for evidence of creatures.
"Anything?" Connor asked, after poking around with a stick.
"Nothing," Abby said. "There's no sign of an incursion at all."
"Well, we may have just gotten lucky this time. No creatures, no danger, woo! We can clean up our stuff and go home now."
"I wouldn't just yet," Abby said, peering at the water's surface. "They could just be elusive."
Connor looked around at the river's edge, turned around, and sighed. "If they happen to be elusive, then maybe, for once, they'll leave us alone!"
A deafening eruption from the water splashed out, narrowly missing Connor. He dived to the side, and the force of the explosion of liquid seemed to descend back into the river.
"What the hell was that?" Connor squealed.
Soldiers now had their weapons up, wary of another attack. "It looked like a crocodile of some sort," Abby said, helping Connor up.
"Oh, that's just great," Connor said. "There's a giant prehistoric crocodile on the loose again."
"There was something strange about it, though, from what I could see. It looked furry."
"So what trouble have we gotten ourselves into this time?" Lester said. "Maybe for once we can find an anomaly that hasn't let a ravenous chicken through..."
"Still have yet to hear the next update from Matt," Jess said. "But so far they've found tracks."
"I was hoping you wouldn't say that," Lester sighed, and walked back to his office. He had a lot more in the way of paperwork to do.
But he couldn't help but feel a sense of uneasiness. After all these events involving the ARC he couldn't help but ponder who might be watching them now, what dangers would appear next. Maybe he was just being paranoid.
Lester noticed Burton walking along, and so he gestured for him to come over.
"I just wanted to say to be careful," Lester said. "We're in a pivotal point right now, and if..."
Burton seemed confused. "That's what we've been doing, James."
"You know that, and I know that," Lester said. It must be nothing, he was being too worried about this. "Carry on," he said, and managed a smile.
As he went back to his papers, he noticed Burton walking away. He seemed hasty.
The team met up again at the anomaly site. This was a definite incursion.
"We found a body and three-toed tracks," Matt said. "So it's either a theropod or a bird."
"Down by the river over there, Connor got jumped by some furry crocodile in the water," Abby explained.
"You don't have to rub it in, do you?" Connor said. "But that means we have two creatures out here. You said there were three-toed tracks in the forest?"
"Definitely," Matt said. "I'd say the creature was about 2 meters tall or so."
"I think that settles it then. That furry crocodile thing was probably an Ambulocetus. Which would mean the killer is probably a Gastornis."
"So it's an Eocene anomaly," Abby said, looking back at the locked sphere.
"Lovely," Becker said. "We're dealing with parakeets and giant otters."
"That's odd, then," Matt said. "Correct me if I'm wrong, isn't Gastornis from Germany?"
"Yes," Connor confirmed, "and North America as well."
"And Ambulocetus is from...?"
"Um...Pakistan, I think."
"Then we have creatures from the same time, but two different geographical areas," Matt said. "That worries me. There might be an open anomaly somewhere in the Eocene."
Becker said, "Then we should go in and look for it."
"Alright, we'll take some soldiers with us. Connor, if you could come, you'd be valuable in the field."
"Alright." Connor turned to Abby. "Can you stay here and look after the equipment? They need me in there."
"Okay, unlock it," Matt said. The anomaly split open, becoming a swirl of diamonds once more.
And they walked through the anomaly.
Through the light, they emerged into a forest. Tall trees with gnarled roots stood all around them. It was very hot and very wet.
"This is Germany, then," Connor said, looking around. "Pakistan wasn't so tropical."
They stepped forward, cautiously. They had full knowledge that anything could leap out of the bushes, trees, or leaf litter at any moment.
"Check for any other anomalies," Matt said. Connor took out a detector. "Nothing yet," he said after a minute or two. "Although there might be interference from the one behind us."
"Let's move out then."
They walked deeper into the trees. It wasn't long before they came across a wide, deep river.
"Christ, what is it with the bugs here," Becker said, brushing off his pant legs. "These bloody ants are enormous."
"Well, be glad you weren't there for the spiders then," Connor said, and continued scanning the banks.
Matt soon got lucky. "There," he said, "on the other bank."
A group of Ambulocetus was laying in the shade of the trees. Some were sleeping, while others were just sitting there, looking bored.
"But why are there so many of them?" Matt turned to Connor. "No other anomalies, right?"
"Definitely not. 100% positive."
"Then let's keep moving and see if we find one."
Abby kept an eye on the open anomaly, cautious. If anything was going to jump out, it would probably be now. No pattern to it or anything, but just because they always had a tendency to choose the worst time possible to get angry.
She glanced at the guards, who were keeping themselves busy. Abby was eager to stop standing around and get back to work.
Then, she noticed a rustling up in the trees. Not a rustling of birds, but a bit bigger. Not something that you'd find in the Forest of Dean.
The guards were taking care of the anomaly, so Abby went towards the source of the noise.
A few leaves fluttered down to the ground, pointing out the creature's position in the trees. An odd snuffling accompanied the rustling. If it was making this much noise, it probably wouldn't be an ambush predator. Something fuzzier, for once?
Abby looked up, and saw a long snout peering down at her, attached to a head with black buttons for eyes. The creature was equipped with large claws and a long, twisting tail.
She recognized it as a Eurotamandua. Not much of a threat, and in fact was rather cute. But it was moving across the treetops at a steady pace, away from the anomaly.
So, she went after it.
The Eurotamandua continued moving farther away, until it stopped in a tall tree. It started picking at one of the branches, apparently searching for food. There was now way to get it down from there---Abby would have to climb up after it.
She started ascending the tree. She didn't worry much; the creature looked preoccupied looking for tiny insects. Getting to the very top of the tree was the challenge.
But she forgot all about the Eurotamandua and the tree when another small creature jumped down through the branches and stopped in front of her. Its shape was unmistakeable, and its identity was obvious. A Darwinius.
Abby was fascinated. It was one of the most astounding and influential fossils that had been discovered in recent years, and it was now perching right in front of her, giving her the curious look that a small primate would give anyone.
Suddenly, it scampered down the tree and onto the ground. Abby climbed down and followed it through the trees. The Darwinius slowed and then stopped at a blackberry shrub, and started nibbling at the berries.
Abby was still staring fixedly at the creature. There were many times when the team encountered creatures that changed the face of paleontology's history, but they had been brief encounters, and nothing had been gained from them, aside from a couple of near-death experiences.
She glanced back toward the anomaly. Soldiers were still guarding it, and if she took the Darwinius back to release it into the Eocene, they would probably want to shoot it.
She couldn't take it back yet. She would have to wait, until there was a better opportunity to return it.
Thinking quickly, Abby took a few berries from another shrub and dropped them in a plastic carrying case. And then she waited, silently, behind a tree.
The Darwinius noticed the crate almost immediately, and hopped toward the berries inside. As soon as it was in the crate, Abby quickly closed and locked the door.
She looked inside, and the Darwinius was still munching berries. It gave her a quizzical look.
So now they would wait. Sooner or later, it would be returned to its home time.
"Nothing. No other anomalies in sight. None detected either."
In the Eocene, things were not looking promising. It was now almost entirely certain no other anomalies were present. Which meant either that another anomaly had closed, or that they had gotten here by some other unnatural means. Either way, the end product was animals from two different ecosystems colliding.
"Should we get going, then?" Connor asked. "I wouldn't like to stay here longer than neccessary for once."
"Just a little while longer, and then we can go home," Matt said.
But then there were screams. Harsh, unearthly screams from the forest, and then a piercing warble echoing through the trees.
"Are you sure about that, Matt?" Connor said.
The response was immediate. Matt quickened his pace, and turned back the way they came. "Alright, so let's just get the hell out of here," he said.
Everybody followed, and Becker loaded a spare gun. Just in case.
They weren't running, just walking very quickly, brushing up leaves as they moved. More calls emerged from behind them. They didn't sound any closer than before, or at least it didn't seem so.
"Hold it!" Connor shouted, and stopped suddenly. He was looking at a patch of forest, where the trees were more open.
"It's just your eyes playing tricks on you, leave it be," Matt said. "Keep your mind open."
"It's not that. Look."
And there it was. A glinting pinprick of light, off in the forest. Sunlight was reflecting off of it.
Connor took the risk and ran over in its direction. Grudgingly, Matt and Becker followed, leading the soldiers on.
The glinting object was nestled atop a large clump of branches. But this clump hadn't formed by chance. It was obviously hand-made, and that meant something bad. It was a shelter.
And then there was a rustling from inside, and a grunt. And then familiar noises, but cries of neither fear nor joy. More of an angry, annoyed cry.
And a man in uniform stumbled out.
Connor was looking at the glinting object atop the shelter, which was a decorated badge. He couldn't believe what he saw.
Becker was looking at the man's uniform, which had a swastika stiched onto his soldier patch.
"You have got to be kidding me," Becker said.
Without warning, a Gastornis erupted from the foliage in a warbling fit. The team ran, and Matt and Becker quickly grabbed the soldier, who immediately started struggling and screaming, and hauled him off as fast as they could.
Connor could feel the bird pursuing them from behind, and then several warbling cries at once. That could only mean there were more of them, and they were catching up fast---
The anomaly! They'd finally reached it, and it gave Connor the energy he needed to plow through. The soldier noticed it, became wild-eyed, and then they were through.
They emerged back into the Forest of Dean. Connor screamed "Lock it! Lock it! Lock it!" and Abby ran over, firing the locking mechanism and rendering the anomaly a safe and sound shining sphere.
The soldier threw himself out of Matt and Becker's grip, and leapt back at the locked anomaly, scrabbling at the sphere and trying desperately to get back in. As the team watched him in fear and curiosity, the soldier gave up, cursing something in German.
Abby shot a glance at Connor. "Did you...find anything?" she said.
Connor panted. "Nothing," he gasped, "Well. Except for the Nazi."
(TO BE CONTINUED)
(in order of appearance)
- George Dixon
- Connor Temple
- Hilary Becker
- Matt Anderson
- Jess Parker
- Abby Maitland
- James Lester
- Phillip Burton
- One of my first episode ideas, I've expanded on it to give it a unique twist.
- This article just so happens to be the 300th on this wiki.