Richard could barely think before she felt the explosions from across the window. The stomps grew closer and closer, and she heard several bellowing roars. Dyan backed away slowly and–
The west entrance of the observatory hall exploded, The structure detached from one of its four hinges, and Richard saw a massive figure rushing to where the group of employees were standing.
It was a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Another explosion rocked the north entrance to the observatory hall. The hall began to collapse onto the biological structure below, and Richard began to free-fall. She saw the T-Rex, floating in the air, grab Hannah and rip her in two– and then it made eye contact with Richard.
“Richard!” Dyan shouted. “Strap yourself in, we’re going for a ride!”
“What?” Richard hit her head on the ceiling and blacked out.
Things Richard remembered as she woke up in the middle of massive wreckage:
- The observatory hall was very fortunately outfitted with safety equipment in the case of the structure collapsing and falling.
- Stephen had his safety gear on as the structure fell, and since she was still alive, Richard probably did too. Someone must have strapped her in while she was unconscious.
- Giant dinosaurs destroyed the observatory hall.
- She was in the middle of the desert biome, where she knew several deadly scorpions and large packs of wolves lived, along with many, many other animals that would probably kill her.
- She hated sand. It was rough, and coarse, and it got everywhere.
- Dyan was the one currently pulling her out of the wreckage, and that Stephen was next to her as they ran.
Richard had barely regained her consciousness, but she was already sprinting at full speed alongside Dyan and Stephen. She could feel that she was covered in blood and bruises, but she wasn’t in pain just yet. That would probably kick in very soon. She tried not to let that dissuade her from continuing to run.
She felt that she regained the ability to talk, and tried shouting at the two humans in front of her. “Dyan!” she yelled, coughing up blood.
Dyan stopped in her tracks and let Richard catch up to her. “Are you good to keep going?” she asked.
“Yes, yes,” Richard said, panting. Stephen caught her as she started to fall to the ground. She tried to ask a question, but all she could muster was, “Dinosaur… what?”
Stephen picked Richard up and started briskly walking alongside Dyan. Richard knew Stephen’s unexpectedly-ripped body would come in handy some day… no… she was too injured to make jokes to herself.
“So about that,” Dyan said. “I don’t know why there are giant dinosaurs that have psychokinetic powers.” Psycho… what? This was very difficult for Richard to process at the moment. “Or why both of the theropods are lacking feathers. Seriously, what advantage would they get from losing the feathers? Why is the T-rex’s skin green?”
“Dyan… shut up…” Richard muttered.
“Why did they attack us just now, right as the project is beginning?” Stephen asked. “They’re from the future or something, right?”
“Probably? And I guess the only reason they came back now is, if they came back any earlier it would have created a split timeline and we would never have seen it happen because it’d be a different timeline from ours, though now that they’re wrecking the facility, looks like they aren’t from our timeline either, probably?”
“Dyan… shut up…” Richard repeated.
Suddenly, a human-sized bird with obsidian feathers swooped down and pushed sand in the three humans’ faces. Richard tried to cover her face with her hand but could barely move it.
“You’re… You’re a sentient crow!” Dyan exclaimed. “I knew it! I knew it!” The bird knocked her down, picked her up with its talons, and flew off.
“Dammit,” Stephen said. “What are we going to do now?”
“There’s a service elevator… About a quarter of a mile that way,” Richard said, trying to point. They were lucky that they had fallen so close to the outer wall of the facility, or they would potentially have to walk for days, and almost certainly die in the process.
Richard finally felt like she could stand on her own two feet again. The adrenaline of the crash had worn off, but she was still in considerable pain and did not want to do any more running for the rest of her life, from how she felt like right now.
As soon as the elevator door opened, Richard and Stephen saw flashes of pink. Was that the dinosaurs? They crept closer, and sure enough, it was. Several of their coworkers laid dead on the floor, and Dyan was surrounded by five huge monsters.
One, apparently the leader, seemed to be a T-Rex, but with clothes, a business suit to be precise, and scaly green skin. There was a macroraptor; it was a microraptor but larger. Alongsider it in the sky was an evolved crow, able to grasp and use tools at the level of a human being, and a clay-colored pterosaur that had a pink glowing aura surrounding it, meditating like a devout Buddhist and levitating a foot off the ground. The fifth and final member of this terrifying troupe was a miniature hadrosaur riding a huge scorpion as if it were a horse.
The T-Rex roared, and then used its telekinesis to lift Dyan off the ground. Its eyes flashed bright pink, and then an aura surrounded Dyan; it was as if they were absorbing information from her.
After just a minute, the aura vanished from Dyan, and the T-rex waved its hand; Dyan’s body ripped itself to shreds and poofed into a thousand tiny, anti-climactic sparks.
“DYAN!” Richard shouted. As soon as she realized what she did, she covered her mouth, but, predictably, the four dinosaurs (and one pterosaur) turned their heads and walked towards her and Stephen. “What are you monsters?” she yelled as they approached.
The T-Rex coughed and cleared its throat. “Ahem. Ah, yes,” it said with a deep, posh British accent, which was strange because Dyan had a clear New Jersey accent so it couldn’t have gotten the accent from absorbing her. “You believe us to be monsters from our apparently-terrifying physical appearance. That, you would be mistaken about. You are the true monsters, humans.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You left us here in this chamber to die! Our food and water slowly grew ever-more scarce, and over the millennia, we were forced to adapt, or die. And when our ancestors were finally intelligent enough to figure out how to escape this monstrous facility–” the T-Rex looked ever-frustrated by the second “–we found out you humans left the entire planet in shambles, and went to another one to save yourselves! Earth is a desolate ruin, plagued with garbage, waste, and death. We are among the last of our kind.”
“What? But we didn’t–”
“No, but you will. Which is why we have come back to take over this planet and keep it safe for our ancestors to grow and develop. And then, in a few million years, we will let them take charge of what’s left of you.”
At this, the pterosaur sprang out of its meditative stance and flew into the air alongside its crow and macroraptor compatriots. “I wish I could do that,” the T-Rex said. “There is a reason I survived though, and it is despite my lack of powered flight. It is because I am strong. What you humans would apparently call a superhero!” It roared and sent a shockwave towards Richard and Stephen, sending them flying against the wall. Superheroes did indeed do things similar to this, though usually not with the intent of brutal murder.. “Prepare to suffer the fates that our poor ancestors went through!”
“Starving to death?” a voice asked. A nearby hologram projection spot turned on; AI Dyan stood in front of the dinosaurs, in a confident pose. “Because from here, it looks like you’re about to eat them, and when you apply that to your ancestors, that doesn’t really make very much sense.”
“No…. no! No!!” the macrorapor squealed before crashing into the wall. The other four quickly backed up from the AI hologram.
AI Dyan turned around to the humans behind her. “Richard, Stephen? Do you have any time travel devices on you?” She asked.
Richard looked down at her watch. “Uh, Dyan gave this to me as a present a while back. Maybe this?”
“Almost certainly. Set it for two weeks ago and leave!” She turned back around to the dinosaurs. “Yes, motherfuckers, you remember me, don’t you?”
“You will pay for what you did!” The hadrosaur yelled as it charged forward with its scorpion.
“No!” the T-Rex ordered. The hadrosaur stopped. “I will face her. Death, destroyer of worlds? No, you are merely a mortal. I will obliterate you!” The T-Rex roared in the direction of the hologram projector.. and broke the projector almost instantly. The hologram of AI Dyan disappeared.
“Do you have it?” Stephen asked, the desperation clear in his voice.
“Yes! Hold on, Stephen!” Just as the dinosaurs turned their attention back to the humans, they warped away.
Richard and Stephen appeared in front of Dyan’s office, exactly fourteen days before the project launch date. They were both bloody and bruised, but conscious enough to be able to dash into the office room, where Dyan was petting M’tsargh’i and talking to AI Dyan.
“Yeah, I understand that,” Dyan laughed, apparently at something AI Dyan said. She turned her attention to the two people who had intruded into her office. “Richard? Stephen? What the hell happened to you two? And wait, shit, you’re not supposed to know I’m alive for another four days. Please don’t tell anyone, okay? It’s going to be a really cool and dramatic surprise.”
“We need to talk to you about the experiment,” Stephen said.
“There’s, uh, some problems with its current structure,” Richard said, just before passing out and hitting the carpet with a thud.