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fanfiction The Land of the Would Be Dead


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A Land of The Would Be Dead.


A Science Fiction adventure of a group of high school friends that find themselves stranded in a prehistoric world of the past. Based upon the Vietnam War and the popular video game Ark Survival Evolved, they must learn how to survive in that strange new world as they look for some means of escape.


As this is being published on the Creative Chat form of Ark Official Community Form and Facebook, I have had to remove all offensive adult language such a story would have  as the Ark forum would automatically censor the offensive words into gibberish and Facebook would place me in Facebook Jail after blocking the story. There will be no such restrictions on the revised edition for the local Writer’s Club.


Chapter 1 is currently an outline subject to revisions.


Chapter 1. The Vietnam War.


It is early Summer of 1965 when this unplanned adventure has started with a letter from Selective Service titled “Greetings.” My six friends from the high school football team received the same letter the same day that I got mine. This unexpected event had canceled our plans to start our own tree service business. We had just invested our savings in the equipment we had needed and just lined up our first job when Selective Service unexpectedly put us out of business. Oh well, it might be possible to start over once we had fulfilled our mandated tour of duty.

As Quarterback of the high school football team and the leadership of Coach Rogers, the seven of us had conducted a most unreal season that lead to us winning the State Championship. That hard work had paid off with us winning every game with lopsided scores like 63 to 0. It wasn’t because we were bigger then all the other players in the other teams, it was because of the teamwork that allowed us to anticipate what plays our opponents were going to try so we could block them at every move. We were so far ahead of the other teams that only one touchdown was scored against us in the entire season, that being in our first game. Needless to say, all of the top collages and universities had their recruiters visiting the school in their efforts to sign us into their football teams, but, us seven farm boys turned them down. We has already made our plans to create our own business and saw no future in higher education under professional sports.

Still, I think that our reputation must have followed us into our upcoming service to the military, first with the seven of us getting our draft notice to report for duty on the same day, and the interest Sargent Thomas at Selective Service showed in us the day we reported for duty that June 29, 1965. Of the 96 recruits that were processed through the center that day to be drafted into the army, eight of us were separated from the rest of the group and told that we were going to be sent to Fort Knox for a special training assignment. That group included my six close friends from the football team and strangely enough, the quaterback of the football team that had scored against us during the first game of the season. Sargent Thomas rode with us in the bus that was taking us to Fort Knox to conduct our basic training. We make two other stops to pick up twelve additional recruits on the all night drive to reach our destination with an additional stops to eat supper.

We arrive at 4:AM at Fort Knox at the new recruitment station to start our day. It has been a long and tiresome trip with it being hard to get any sleep on the bus. Soon as we get off the bus, we are ordered to line up on the yellow footprints where the Staff Sargent in charge screams at us that our day has already started and we are late as usual.

The first day is spent doing “Hurry up and wait” as we are assigned our bunks in housing, get shaved and showered, have breakfast, and make a trip to the barber shop to be sheared. Then, it is off to the quartermaster to pick up our clothes and back to the barracks to change into our uniforms. Of interest is that the 20 of us are assigned bunks together in a squad bay with Sargent Thomas. Normally, the new recruits end up assigned to the ancient wooden WW2 barracks of Fort Knox for their training. “This is interesting,” I think as we are being kept as a separate group for our basic training.

As typical of the Kentucky weather during the Summer, it has been hot and muggy. Us football players, thanks to our football training and farming background, are able to handle the stress of the physical activity in the heat. Not so for three of the “city slickers” in our group of 20 as the three of them pass out from heat stroke on a forced combat march the day before graduation. We end up with a lecture on heat stroke from the base commander when they have to be sent to the hospital and one of them dies from a body temperature that exceeds 112*F.

Still, Sargent Thomas was impressed with how we had handled the situation. Rather then have our entire group suffered punishment for leaving the three victims behind, we had organized ourselves on how to get them and their gear to our destination. So, it was with a surprise on Graduation Day, when he called for the seven of us, along with Larry, Scott, Eddie, and Mike to have a special meeting with Col Powell to ask us to join him for advanced training as a Special Forces unit. We accept that challenge by signing up for the training.

In mid September, we had returned from leave. After an orientation with Col Powell, we shipped out by transport aircraft to a base located in the Southern Florida to start our special forces training in a true jungle setting. Some of that training involved us testing the use of specialized equipment. Most of it involved the 11 of us, under the supervision of Sargent Thomas in survival tactics as a recon force. It was challenging work, especially when we scared our superiors and were forced to live off of the land when we managed to vanish for a week in the Everglade Swamps. That had happened when we lost contact due to the nature of the training we were conducting and a week of some nasty tropical weather which made traveling through the Everglades dangerous forcing us to seek shelter where we could find it. Contact was reestablished when we spotted one of the search parties sent out to look for us while heading back. Due to the unexpected conditions we had to endure, we spent the following week recovering from cases of jungle rot. We also ended up having all of our clothing and web gear replaced with jungle fatigues due to mold damage to the cotton issue WW2 style uniforms. Fortunately, we had all avoided getting Malaria or Dengue Fever. We had survived that unplanned ordeal in good physical shape which surprised the medics that were treating us for the skin issues caused by over a week of constant dampness.

Additional training took place when we were sent to the Philippines for advanced jungle training. It soon became obvious that the our final destination would be the Vietnam War when we received language training in Vietnamese along with advanced recon, sniper training, and special mission work.

In November of 66, we were transferred to a secret remote operations base in Thailand where we started conducting covet operations under the command of Sargent Thomas into Laos for real. Our mission, to conduct surveillance along the Ho Chi Minh trail of Southern Laos and to plant listening devices along those routes. Those two week long patrols often involved camping out in hidden observation posts and hiding our listening equipment in the jungle along the trails. It was dangerous work given the constant random enemy activity along the route and the risk that we could end up on the receiving end of some B-52 bombing raid.

January 26, 1967. We have been ordered to set up an ambush along the Ho Chi Minh trail close to the Cambodian Border. Dave has packed his sniper rifle for this mission with Henry to serve as his spotter. Intelligence has informed us that a high ranking NVA General is hiking the trail to inspect a supply camp recently hidden in the Parrot Beak area of South Vietnam. We have orders to take him out should we spot him.

It had been a difficult task to find an observation point where there would be ample cover and distance to conduct this mission. Given that the Ho Chi Minh Trail has several path that could be taken in this area, we have had to attempt to observe the activity on as many trails near us as possible. It would be extremely risky if we had to quickly change vantage points to get into a position to take this guy out. With a division of NVA Regulars entering the area with him, the risk of being discovered would be much higher then with the normal traffic of VC Mules pushing their bicycles packed with hundreds of pounds of supplies.

Traffic on the Ho Chi Minh that day became extremely heavy at daybreak. The NVA division we had targeted, was now moving through the area. “Is it possible that our target could be on one of the other trail,” Dave asks Henry in a whisper.

“It’s possible,” answers Henry in a whisper as he observes the new activity with his binoculars. “Wait a minute, that may be him up ahead with that command group.”

“I hope it’s not a decoy,” I whisper to the sniper team.

“I have a positive ID,” whispers Henry after checking the photo he had packed with him with what he is observing through the binoculars.

“When you are ready, take him out,” orders Sargent Thomas quietly.

It seemed like an eternity before Dave started to squeeze the trigger on his sniper rifle. Soon, a loud crack from the high powered rifle shatters the air around the hidden patrol. The response of the NVA soldiers to this sound is almost instantaneous as AK-47 rounds go flying through the jungle in all directions. The NVA General, being some 300 meters away from us, collapses in a heap as a result of a fatal wound to his head. As the sound of the shot has echoed all around them in the jungle, the NVA, unable to determine which way the shot came from, are shooting in all directions. Orders are being screamed at the NVA troops to cease fire, then to fan out in all directions to look for us.

“I got him,” whispers Dave.

“Lets get out of here,” orders Sargent Thomas.

We quietly move out to our pre determined rally point located deeper in the jungle where we can hide from the NVA soldiers that are now desperately looking for us. Desperate to find us, they are firing burst of AK-47 rounds in random directions in an effort to get us to shoot back. “Good, they don’t know where we are,” I think to myself.

We are soon halfway to our rallying point when I hear a whistling sounds coming from overhead. Then, everything suddenly goes blank before I can look to see where it is coming from.

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Chapter 2 The Land of The Would Be Dead.


I am slowly becoming aware of my surroundings as I am waking up lying under a palm tree that is shading the beach, staring face up into a beautiful tropical sky filled with puffy clouds. It is a comfortable feeling as I am no longer soaked in sweat wearing stinking dirty clothes. Suddenly I am in a panic when I realize that I am now naked with my weapon and all of my gear missing. Worse yet, I realize that I am now alone in this strange location with only the sound of waves gently lapping on the shore and the noise of the tropical birds chirping in the palms.

“What just happened? How did I lose my weapon? Where is my gear?

Where are my clothes? Where is everyone? How did I end up here? The last thing I remember was quietly moving through the jungle to our rallying point to hide from the NVA soldiers that were looking for us while bullets were flying overhead when my mind suddenly went blank.”

“Am I dead?”

“I can’t be dead. I must be dreaming. I can’t be dreaming. Everything here looks so real, like the sandy beaches of the Philippines. I can feel the wet sand between my toes. But yet, this plant life looks so out of place, like it is primitive. Those birds flying in the sky look so strange. The seashells look so strange. Ouch! It hurts to step on that sharp stone on the beach. I’ll need to find something to protect my feet from them.”

“What is that thing crawling on the beach? Why does it look like something out of a textbook of some prehistoric time?” I follow it into the sea. Then. I notice something very odd. “This sea, it stretches to the horizon.” I taste the water. “How can this seawater be fresh? Only the waters of a freshwater sea the size of the Great Lakes can be fresh. Yet, there are palm trees growing here. I can see snow capped mountains in the distance beyond what looks like a giant forest of redwood trees. There is smoke coming from a volcano near them. None of that can be seen from the shores of Vietnam. Just what is that strange thing in the distance floating in the sky, some UFO?”

My thoughts are interrupted when I hear a shout from down the beach. “Bob, is that you?” shouts Dave as we start to run towards each other.

“How did you end up here?” I ask Dave as we hug each other.

“I don’t know,” he answers. “We must be in the land of the would be dead. We have to be dead. I saw you get hit in the head by shrapnel when those 500 lbs bombs starting dropping all around us. The last thing that I remember was flying through the air into a tree as my eardrums were ruptured and I was set on fire.”

“Do you think that we got mortared?” I ask Dave.

“No,” Dave answers. “Those explosions were way too big for mortars. Before I killed General Lang, I noticed that one of his aids had one of our location transmitters we had planted on the trail a day ago. I wouldn’t be surprised that Command called in an Arc Light on top of it when they detected that it was moving South.”

“I see some more of our patrol showing up on the beach,” I tell Dave.

Tom, Denny, and Henry are the next individuals that join up with the two of us followed by Paul and Fred from the other direction. Larry, Our medic Scott, Eddie, Mike, and Sargent Thomas soon join us. As we gather together, it seems that our entire Special Forces Patrol has been wiped out by a B-52 bombing raid that had targeted our moving beacon.

During the discussion of what just happened to us, Paul asks Sargent Thomas the following question, “Sarge, do you think that it is possible that the NVA, that were killed in that bombing raid, could show up here with us?”

“I don’t know,” Sargent Thomas answers. “They should have showed up here with us already. It’s still possible that they could show up by us at any time. Now would be a good time to make use of our knowledge of survival training. Form up in teams of three. Start gathering materials to craft up some clothing and weapons. Stay as close as you can to where we first got together. Lets meet back here at this crumbling stone building at the cliff base before sundown. Doc, Eddie, you’re with me. I want to check out those ruins to see if we can use them for an overnight shelter.”

Tom, Denny, and I team up to start scouring the beach for some basic shaped stones that we can use to create some primitive tools. We find some flint like rock that we soon hammer into a useful pick head that is then lashed into a wood bamboo handle to make a pick and hatchet. We use the primitive hatchet to sharpen points on some long bamboo poles to make primitive spears we can use to catch fish along the shore of the sea for food. They become useful when we run into a small pack of curious chicken sized lizard that decide that we might make them a nice snack. We dispatch them with the bamboo spears, then skin them up for hide to make some primitive moccasins for our feet and hang up the raw meat to dry on several bamboo skewer.

I have found that the long leaves on some of the bushes near the palm trees can be split into long fibers. They are easily woven into mats that are shaped into some primitive clothes. “This is excellent,” I tell the others. “We now have the ability to make up some clothes to protect us from the sun and create thatch structures for a shelter for the night.”

We also have spotted what looks like Dodo Birds that are feeding on the various colored berries of the bushes near the edge of the cliff by the beach. “Interesting,” Denny tells me as he observes the berry types they are eating. “It looks like they are eating the colored berries but not the black or white ones.”

“As nothing here is familiar to us, lets be careful what we eat until we know for sure that it won’t make us sick,” I tell him. “The black and white ones must not be safe to eat if the Dodos are avoiding them.”

“Didn’t the Dodo go extinct when they were discovered on some remote Pacific islands by European Explorers in the 1700s?” asks Tom.

“Yes they did,” I answer him. “According to a textbook I read in High School, it was because they were not afraid of those explorers who hunted them into extinction. They had no natural enemies on the islands where they were discovered. They don’t seem to be afraid of us in this place either.”

“Well, it looks like they have natural enemies here,” warns Denny as a small flock of Dodos go running past us squawking in a panic with a lizard the size of a small pony chasing them.

“Spears!” I yell, as the lizard later known to be a Dilo, spits a green slime at Tom’s face and rushes in to bite him. With a screech, this attacking creature gets three spears into it’s body to die from it’s injuries.

“What was that thing?” ask Tom after he has washed the green spit off of his face as we start to butcher and skin it.

“That looked like a Dilopasaur,” I tell him. “Those things went extinct million of years ago.”

“How did we end up in the land of the dinosaurs?” asks Tom.

“I don’t know,” I tell him as I point to a Bronto grazing on the jungle in the distance way down the beach. “Damn, if we are indeed in the land of the dinosaurs, does that means that we could run into predatory creatures far bigger then this dilo, maybe even a T-Rex?”

“That’s not good if we actually run into a T-Rex,” comments Denny. “We would be just become a tasty snack for it. What can we do about it?”

“Lets asks Sargent Thomas about it when we are all back together this evening,” I answer. “In the meantime, lets see if we can make some slingshots from some forked sticks and this hide. Then carry this meat back to the stone ruins, build a fire, start cooking it up, and get a shelter built before the sun goes down.”

As we reach the location of the stone ruins, we find that Sargent Thomas, Doc, and Eddie, have already started to construct a punji stake style barrier around their campsite. He shows us a predator that they have stabbed to death with bamboo pike poles when it attacked them. “There were three of them,” he tells us. “The other two ran off when we killed their pack leader.”

“It’s what I was afraid of,” I tell Sargent Thomas. “We are indeed in the land of the dinosaurs. That is a Utah Raptor that you just killed. The description in the textbooks describes them as pack hunters. There will surely be predators far larger then this raptor that you killed. WHOA! Why is there a spitter hanging around in the camp acting like a pet dog?”

“We tamed it,” answers Eddie. “We actually managed to tame it. Crazy as it sounds, we found a note in an old ammo can, written by an Australian Biologist named Helena, describing the various creatures found on this island and how they can be tamed. Like a watch dog, Lassie already has acted to protect us. She spit in that raptor’s face when it attacked Doc blinding it. When we took it out with these bamboo pike poles the other two raptors fled back into the jungle as she went chasing after them.”

“Interesting that the Dodos in the camp are not afraid of your spitter,” I tell Eddie. “We ran into one that was hunting them and killed it when it spat into Tom’s face.”

“Strangely enough, when tamed, the predators won’t harm tamed herbivores such as these Dodos.” answers Eddie. “In fact, they will protect them from the other predators, even from their own kind.”

“Kind of like the sheepdogs protecting the flock from wolves and coyotes.” I tell him.

“You mention that the note says we are on an island. Can you tell us more about this?”

“The note says that we are on a large island of about 40 clicks in diameter. It has several distinct biomes of which several of them can be seen in the distance. Apparently, we are in an artificial environment considered to be an Ark, a sort of lifeboat from a future Earth. A sanctuary for the various extinct species from Earth’s past, a giant terrarium in orbit around a dead planet. That is all Helena has written in her diary about this place.

“Interesting,” I answer. “Doc, what can you tell us about the berries we are finding in the bushes?”

“I have found that the white ones act like a stimulant. They can give you a burst of energy, like when the enemy gets wired up on Marijuana before launching a human wave attack. However, they can leave you badly dehydrated if you abuse them.”

“The black ones have amazing healing properties when used as a disinfectant. However, they will knock you out for a while if you eat too many of them.”

“Interesting,” I tell Doc. “Now, I know why the Dodos don’t eat the black or white ones.”

“The rest are safe to eat,” Doc tells us. “The the purple ones are like candy to the herbivores. That’s how we got these Dodos to stay with us. They are even better egg layers then the chickens were on my farm.”

“Unlike a lot of our extended patrols, where we have to live off of the land, it looks like that we are going to have plenty of food for our needs,” reports Eddie. “We now have dried meat jerky, fish, berries, and if we want to start a garden, veggies from these seeds and wild plants I am finding.”

“So much better then those awful C-Rats,” I answer.

Henry, Dave, and Paul are the next ones back to the now growing campsite for the night. Most interesting is that Dave is riding bareback on a Parasaur. “As a kid, I always dreamed of actually riding on a dinosaur,” admits Dave as he rides it into the camp. “Never in my life did I ever believe that I would be riding on one for real.”

“You should try to ride on a T-Rex,” kids Henry.

“Perhaps, we should wait until we can safely tame one,” warns Sargent Thomas. “After all, they can be far more dangerous then these raptors that came after us.”

“I’m certain that you are right,” I answer as I am reading through Helena’s notes. “It looks like that it can be done but we must knock it out first before attempting to tame one. It’s going to take a ton of narcoberries to do so assuming that we can find a way to feed those to it. Lets pray that we don’t have to confront one until we are ready to tame it.”

The work has continue on building a spike fence around the stone ruins where we are planning to stay for the night. A couple of campfires are going where we are cooking slices of raptor steak over the flames. Dave’s Parasaur is proving to be quite useful as he can carry the spiked logs and larger diameter bamboo poles in his forearms back to where the spike wall is being constructed. He is soon carrying poles back for the fence to Sargent Thomas without anyone guiding him.

“Amazing,” Sargent Thomas tells Dave. “I wouldn’t think that it was possible to train one so quickly to do that. He’s been such a great help in getting this fence built.”

“Oh my gosh!” comments Dave in astonishment. “Look what Fred Larry and Mike are coming back with.”

“Is that those two raptors Lassie chased off?” asks Sargent Thomas.

“It sure looks like it,” answers Dave. “Fred and Larry are riding on the raptors like horses. What is Mike riding on? Is that a Trike? Fred, How did you manage to tame these dinosaurs?”

“We got the two raptors when they came running from your direction.” answers Fred. “We stopped them by using our bolas to tangle up their legs. Mike had just tamed the trike with those purple berries who was pawing the ground and was aiming his horns to charge them. Mike told him to stand down so we could see if we could tame them per the instructions from a note we found written by a Chinese Warrior that called herself the ‘Beast Queen.’ Following her instructions for taming such dangerous predators, we were able to win their loyalty. Between those two and the trike, we were able to take out a carno that surprised us by hiding behind a boulder waiting in ambush. These primitive bows we were able to make from the saplings were a great help in blinding the carno’s eyes with stone arrows.”

“What else did you find during your exploration?” asks Sargent Thomas.

“Well, we certainly don’t want to head inland along this inlet.” reports Fred. “After killing the Carno that ambushed us, we spotted a T-Rex killing a Parasaur. I just hopes that it stays down there. I’m not sure that our trike and raptors can defend us from it.”

“Help us get our spike wall finished for the night,” orders Sargent Thomas. “Then, we should see if we can move to a safer location with our prehistoric friends. Perhaps that small island may be free of the more dangerous predators. I’ll have a team craft up a canoe to sail over there to check it out. If it is safe, we’ll move over there with our tames and make it our base of operations.”

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Chapter 3, Herbivore Island.


With the spike fence finished along with a reinforced gate, the patrol prepares for the upcoming night. Wood has been stacked for the fire, having been gathered from the driftwood and dead palms along the shore. Torches have been crafted. They are being fueled with a strange substance crafted from ground stones and flint nicknamed Sparkpowder. A debate has been going on among the patrol about if it is wise to have lit torches and fires once it gets dark due to the uncertainty of attracting any NVA solders that may have been reborn into the Land of the Would Be Dead. That argument is soon settled by the sounds of some unfortunate creature they hear screaming in pain followed by a loud roar, then a dreadful silence. It makes Dave’s Parasaur quite nervous with the raptors and trike equally becoming restless. The Dodos are scurrying about in a panic as if they are being chased by wild Dilos. Tom and I round them up locking them inside a straw hut to keep them quiet. “I hope that smaller island is safe to move to,” comments Sargent Thomas as a watch is organized for the night. “Our tames are already alerting us that this place is going to be extremely dangerous during the night.”

Darkness arrives as suddenly as it does in the Jungles of Southeast Asia as the clouds roll in from a tropical storm. It makes it difficult for the first watch to hear what is out there in this miserable stormy weather. Several sets of beady glowing eyes are seen scurrying about in the glare from the torches which thankfully have stayed lit in spite of the wind driven downpour. I hear a screech of pain as one of them runs into a punji stake. Several other pairs of eyes soon descends upon the unfortunate creature which soon disappears with the sounds of it being ripped to pieces.

“We were wise to construct this spiked fence for the night,” reports Sargent Thomas who is finding it hard to get any sleep this first night in this land of the Would Be Dead. “Any ideas what those things running around our fence are?”

“Helena’s notes describe them as Troodons,” I tell the group. “They travel in hunting packs at night. Fortunately, they don’t like the light from our fires and torches. They will run away from that light. They hunt by taking a bite out of a larger creature, wait until it passes out, then eat it alive at their leisure. We better get some more torches along the fence to keep them out”.

“I wonder if they are related to the Komodo Dragons,” asks Doc as we put out several additional standing torches along the fence. “Those reptiles would take a bite out of their victims, then wait for them to get sick from the resulting infection before eating them like those Troodons.”

“I don’t know,” I answer. “The Compys we cooked up tasted like chicken. They, the spitters, and Dave’s Parasaur look like they have chicken feet as well.”


Daves Parasaur has suddenly gone into a panic as he tries to hide in the thatch hut knocking it down and scattering the Dodos inside. A red marker is glowing outside of the fence in the direction of the inlet. Mike’s Trike is pawing the ground as his head starts to get a red glow around it. The two raptors and the spitter are growling in warning. Anyone still sleeping is suddenly grabbing spears and bows as a huge roar is heard just outside of the spike fence when a section of it goes flying in pieces in all directions.

“Aim for the eyes and it’s open mouth!” Orders Sargent Thomas in a panic as the huge predator smashes it’s way into the compound.

In the light of the torches that are still standing, several arrows find their mark into the glowing eyes of this huge predator thus blinding it. The spitter ends up crushed in the huge jaws of the monster as it rushes it to spit in it’s face. The two raptors jump onto it’s shoulders and start clawing at it’s neck. Blood and pieces of hide are flying everywhere. The trike charges the tiny forearms two legged monster burying it’s horns into it’s belly thus knocking it down onto it’s side. A spear jammed into the roof of it’s huge tooth filled mouth finishes the job.

“Anybody hurt?” shouts Doc as the battle has ended.

“Other then crapping our pants, I think that we are OK,” answers Sargent Thomas. “Lets get that fence back up, calm down our tames, and check them for injuries.”

As the fence gets placed back up, the storm starts to clear away. With a full moon now shining on the campsite and the lit torches, it has made it much easier to see what needs to be done. The rain has washed away most of the blood that was splashed on us and our tames. That has made it easier to check them for injuries. Dave has managed to calm down his Parasaur which finally comes over with him to confirm that the threat is over.

“We got lucky on this one,” reports Doc after the camp has been secured and everyone and the tames checked for injuries. “Other then losing Lassie, there are only scrapes and bruises on us and our tames which the Narcoberries easily took care of. Just what in this world happened to hit us?”

“That was the T-Rex I saw hunting in the interior,” answers Fred. “It may have had some friends further down the inlet.”

“Soon as it is daylight, I want to send a team over to that island to check it out.” order Sargent Thomas. “If it is safe to go over there, we are going to abandon this place as quickly as possible. Bob, Tom, and Denny, that will be your job in the morning. The rest of us will butcher this T-Rex, see how much of this meat we can preserve, and clean up this mess.”

Early that following morning, the three of us lash together a couple of logs to form a primitive raft. With a giant shark present in the area, it would not be a wise idea to make the long swim. Thankfully, that shark ignores us as we use makeshift wood paddles and a hide sail to reach the island.

Upon reaching the island, we pull the raft up on the sandy beech inside of a small bay bordered by a pair of sandbars with rocky outcroppings. The beach is quiet with only a Parasaur, a Trike, some Stegos, and Ankylos living there. “Excellent,” I tell the others as we finish exploring the interior plateau. “I don’t see anything threatening here, not even those annoying compys.”

During the exploration of this island, Denny has found another note hidden in a coffee tin written by Helena. “According to this note, The Pteradons are not a threat. They are only interested in catching the fish in the bay. They can be tamed to ride on them using a saddle. We just have to be careful that we travel light as they don’t have the ability to carry a lot of weight.”

“Lets get back to camp and give the rest of our patrol the good news,” I tell the others.

Back at the cliffside camp, I file my report to Sargent Thomas. “We have a safe location for setting up camp,” I tell the others. “There are no dangerous carnivores anywhere on the island, or, at least, nothing like what attacked us last night. We did find a couple of large herbivores living there. The Pteradons are no threat as they are eating fish from out of the bay. Denny walked up to one and touched it on it’s neck. The shark didn’t bother us so long as we were on our raft.”

“Excellent,” answers Sargent Thomas. “Get a detail to help you build a raft big enough to take our supplies and tames over there.”

Having cut down a bunch of the bigger trees to use for a reinforced fence, the logs are dragged into the water using Mike’s Trike. Dave’s Parasaur has carried the smaller poles which are then use to lash the big logs together and to form a deck. While the tames could have swam across, the presence of the big shark would have made it too dangerous to do so. With the primitive raft built, the Trike is loaded on board along with Mike, Fred, and Larry to paddle the raft across. Mike’s Trike stays in the center of the raft which is able to handle his weight as the six of us paddle him across.

Beaching the raft on the sandbar, Mike gets on the Trike and rides him off. We unload the first batch of supplies as Mike volunteers to stay there and start work on a shelter for the night. “At least, I won’t need to build a spike fence,” Mike comments as we leave.

Returning to camp, we load up Perry the Parasaur and the dodos. We have to place them in a pen so they don’t fall into the water and attract the shark. More supplies are loaded on, then we sail off with Dave joining us. We tie the exploration raft behind us so we have something for exploration later.

The trip doesn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked with a nervous Parasaur on board. As we get close to shore where the water gets shallow, he jumps off the raft nearly tipping it over. Wondering where he has disappeared to after we recover several crates of supplies and four Dodo Birds floating in the water, Dave spots him over by another Parasaur. “That should keep him busy for a while,” I tell Dave. “Why don’t you stay here with Mike while we go after the rest of our patrol. Maybe, you two will have two additional tames to help us build our new base of operations when we come back.”

The final trip has the two raptors, the rest of the patrol, and everything not tied down, loaded on the raft or attached with a rope floating behind. The late afternoon wind has made it easier for the ten of us to paddle that load across. Two Lystros and a Moschop has joined the tames in the group. Dave’s new Parasaur gets quite nervous at the site of the two Raptors on the raft until she is assured by Perry and the presence of the new tames that they are not on the menu.

Mike has also tamed the female Trike that is living on the island. We use the both of them to pull the salvaged fence sections out of the water.

We get a temporary thatch shelter built for the night as Fred and Larry go spear fishing for food to feed their Raptors. The two raptors stay close to them as they are wading in the bay. The Coe in the water seem to be curious about the activity as they are up in the seaweed looking for the food that the two men have tossed into the water as bait. One of the Raptors manages to catch a large Coe that wanders too close to the shore looking for a free meal. He shares it with his mate. “Good, it looks like they prefer to eat the fish rather then the raw meat we have been using for bait from killing the Rex,” comments Fred. “So long as they like the fish, we shouldn’t have to worry about them trying to go after the herbivores living on this island.”

This second night in The Land of the Would Be Dead becomes quite a contrast to the terror of that first night. Even though we have seen no threats on what we are calling Herbivore Island, a fire with several torches is maintained by the watch all night. All of the tames are resting comfortably next to the members of this Special Forces Patrol. The moon is shining brightly in the tropical sky as two of the giant floating objects in the distance, one red, the second green, can be seen with it’s strange fog like lightning in that strange colored beam of light soaring into space. Other strange colored beams can be seen in the distance on what is considered the mainland. “We will need to investigate what those objects are once we can safely do so,” comments Sargent Thomas as I discuss with him what they could be before we turn in for the night.

Everyone is able to get a good night’s sleep.

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Chapter 4. Establishing a New Camp.


“Such a quiet night,” I comment after waking up refreshed. “Such a contrast from that first terrible one by the cliff side.”

“This brings up a strange question,” asks Denny. “What would happen if one of us ends up getting killed in this Land of the Would Be Dead?”

“I don’t know,” I answer him. “Given that we were killed before we arrived here, would we return to this place if we happen to get killed again?”

“I don’t think that I would want to take such a chance,” answer Tom. “We were lucky that T-Rex didn’t get one of us the night before.”

“Still, something strange seems out of place in this world,” answers Denny. “Has anyone seen any nest or babies of any of the creatures we have seen living in this world?”

“Come to think of it, no,” I answer. “Given that the creatures in this world can be killed and we have seen the huge predators killing the other creatures for food, how is this world maintaining an ecological balance?”

“It may have something to do with those floating alien objects,” answers Tom. “Like us being reborn into this world, the creatures that get killed for food must be getting replaced to maintain a stable population. After all, Helena mentioned that this place is some kind of lifeboat for life that existed on a dead world.”

“I think that our presence on this world may have change something,” reports Dave as he joins in on our conversation. “Somehow, I managed to get Perry to get frisky with his new girlfriend last night. I know that I have seen other creatures back by the mainland when I first found and tamed Perry. I just never saw any of then involved in getting frisky with each other or saw any nest. Any eggs that I saw were from the Dodos just laying on the ground. Now those two are over by the rock outcropping next to our shelter starting to build a nest.”

“That will be interesting to observe how they behave around us while raising their babies given that most reptiles just bury their eggs to hide them from predators, then abandon them to their fate,” reports Doc.

“Keep taking notes on their activity,” Dave tell Doc. “Helena brought up those same questions in her diary. She mentioned about being able to breed her tames to improve on their ability much like what we were doing on my dad’s dairy farm back home. It will be most interesting to see if their offspring inherit the best of the abilities of these two.”

“We should help them get their nest built before we can use them to help us build a better campsite,” I tell Dave.

“Why don’t you and Dave help them get their nest built,” orders Sergeant Thomas. “As it looks like that we are now trapped in this strange new world, the rest of us will start establishing our settlement and checking out this island for our needed resources. Tom wants to check out those metallic looking rocks he saw up on the hill to see if they can be used to craft up some better tools. He has an idea on how he can build a forge and blacksmith bench to replace our stone tools with metal ones. That would be more useful then these stone tools that can get broken so quickly. I’ll get a detail to work with him on crafting better tools. The rest of us are going to salvage the fencing into a better shelter. If another one of those beacons show up up on the hill, I’ll head up there to check it out.”

The two of us head out along the shoreline looking for dead palm leaves which we give to the two Parasaurs as they follow us. They take turns carrying them back to start weaving them into their nest. With our help, the nest is completed in no time to Patty’s satisfaction. Then, they proceed to follow us to help carry construction items back to our camp.

While we are helping the Parasaurs build their nest, Sergeant Thomas, Doc, and Eddie have headed up the ridge to investigate a light beam that has appeared. Reaching it, the find an alien capsule sitting on the ground. “It looks like some kind of container,” reports Eddie as he inspects it. “I can see what looks like a door handle to a door. Should I open it?”

“Go ahead,” orders Sergeant Thomas.

Accessing the strange capsule, Eddie opens up the side hatch. Not only is it far bigger on the inside then on the outside, Eddie and Sergeant Thomas finds that there is a really nice quality three man canoe inside with paddles. Hauling it outside so that they can go back inside to do a further inspection of the interior, the capsule suddenly just vanishes into a shower of crystal shapes that also vanish as well.

“Just what was that thing?” asks Doc in shock.

“I don’t know,” answers Sergeant Thomas. “It must have something to do with those giant floating objects in the distance. We will need to go to inspect them as soon as we can safely do so. Anyhow, this canoe we were given is a nice gift. It will make exploration so much easier then paddling around on those awkward log rafts. Lets get it down to the water and try it out.”

Launching the canoe into the water, the three special forces soldiers decide to paddle out away from the island to get an overall view of where they are. They are out to what looks like a couple of miles away from the islands getting ready to head back when a shiny mesh shows up to distort their view in front of them. “Doc, is something happening to our vision?” asks Eddie.

“No,” answers Doc. “It appears that it is some kind of mirror rather then a mirage. We should check it out.” The threesome cautiously paddle closer to it. Then, their canoe bumps into it as if they have hit a solid wall.

“Well, that confirms it?” Sergeant Thomas tells the others as they can observe that the barrier behaves as a wall that goes up as high, as far to the left and the right, and into the water as it runs parallel to the island behind them. “Helena was right when she says that we are trapped inside some kind of a lifeboat. This strange barrier, where we can still see the sky and endless sea beyond it proves it. Lets head back to camp and tell the other what we have discovered.”

Everyone is amazed that the threesome have come back with an actual canoe instead of having built a log dugout or had lashed together some logs. It is a most unusual discovery that the beacon of light, that landed up on the ridge, contained a gift from whatever is up there observing our behavior. It certainly explains the strange behavior of being able to tame dinosaurs, this freshwater sea, and the strange plants we have found that can be so useful in our survival.

While they were gone, Tom has managed to construct a crude forge to refine the yellow colored ore that looks like Fools Gold he brought back with him from the ridge. He tells us that it resembles Iron Pyrite and he should be able to melt it down into iron. Casting the molten metal that his crude forge produces, he is able to cast it into ingots. He is soon able to construct a blacksmith bench with his basic black smithing tools for forging us some stronger, more durable hatches, pick axes, and a pike pole for our defense. With his knowledge of working with the skill of black smithing in his father’s business, he tells me that he should be able to craft tools out of malleable iron and steel, then temper that steel so that he can craft it into swords and a spring bow to make some crossbows.

With Denny and I helping out and the creation of some grinding stones, the three of us are able to craft up metal picks and hatches. Those new tools greatly speed up our logging of the palms to finish construction of our shelter as well as to supply dry wood for the forge.

Since we know that we can get rain at any time, I ask Dave if we should build a shelter over the new Parasaur nest to keep it dry. “If they will let us, it wouldn’t be a bad idea once Patty starts laying eggs in it,” Dave answers. Using the Parasaurs to help us, we start to construct a shelter over it that is big enough for the two of them to get inside. Patty seems to be concerned about us doing this. She quickly calms down and behaves quite appreciative about our effort when a tropical storm rolls in just as we have placed a roof over the nest which keeps it dry. With three walls and a gate frame we get constructed the next day, the barn is complete.

Three eggs soon show up in the nest on that same day. Unlike the typical reptile behavior of turtles and alligators, The Parasaurs are now taking turns incubating their eggs.

I ask Doc if he can tell of their eggs are fertile. “They have to be,” Doc answers. “I don’t have to candle them to be certain given the behavior of the parents. The eggs the Dodos, our female Raptor and Trike are laying, are just being dropped on the ground. None of them are fertile. I even candle them to be certain. If they were fertile, they would have been placed in a nest for their protection like our Parasaurs have done with their eggs. We’re just collecting them for food rather then just letting them go to waste.”

“How long do you think it will take before the eggs hatch?” I asks Doc.

“If it is anything like those of the turtles or alligators, about two weeks,” answers Doc. “Since they didn’t lay dozens of them at once, these three eggs are much larger. Like chickens, the babies should hatch fully capable of taking care of themselves. We will just need to be sure that Patty is in the nest when they hatch so that they will imprint on her and not us.”

During our second day staying on what we now call Herbivore Island, Fred, Larry, and Mike have been busy constructing a garden. There have been seeds found from some of the vegetable plants we have found growing wild in the forest. We just need to give them the space where they can develop properly in a fenced in enclosure so that the herbivores wandering about don’t eat them first. Needless to say, given that there is no artificial fertilizer about, we need to conduct the unpleasant job of gathering dino poop, then compost it, to serve the same purpose.

“Oh, how I hated the job of mucking the cattle barn every day,” comments Dave as we go gathering the dino poop for the compost bins. “At least, this doesn’t smell as bad as what the dairy cows were producing back home. It’s also a lot easier to pick this stuff up then those cow pies. It really stunk up the area when we would spread the cow manure out in the field.”

“At least, the tools Tom has crafted for us has made that job a lot easier,” I tell Dave.

That evening, Sergeant Thomas has gathered all of us for a planning meeting. “I’m curious, given the notes we have found from Helena, Rockwell, and others, that hint of a way to leave this lifeboat in space to return to our world. If so, in spite of the dangerous predators over on the mainland, we will need to start exploring to find the answers to the question, can we return to our world.”

“Do you think that it is possible for us to be reborn back in our world after being blown to bits by that Arc Light raid?” I ask the group.

“I don’t know,” answers Doc. “The only way to find out is to find the way back out to our world.”

“Perhaps those floating towers have an answer to that question,” answers Fred. “We should go over to the nearest one and check it out.”

“Doc, Eddie and I will take the canoe out in the morning and paddle around what Helena describes as ‘The Island.’” answers Sergeant Thomas. “Perhaps, we can come up with an answer of how to get us out of here.”

With first light, this group of what Helena has called “Survivors” prepare the canoe with supplies for the three of them to be gone for several days.

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Chapter 5. The Search for a way home.


It has been another peaceful night on Herbivore Island. While one can hear an occasional scream of something suffering in pain over where Fred first saw the T-Rexes, there is no such worry where we are. There is only the peaceful sounds of the night creatures we had become so familiar with in the jungles of Laos.

Of a most unusual interest that second night is that our two Parasaurs insisted that we spend the night with them in their new shelter. How can you turn them down when they grab your hand with theirs and gently pull us inside with them. So, Dave and I have to move our beds into the shelter with them. I guess that it will not be so unusual given that the two Lystros, Raptors, and Moschop are in the main shelter with the rest of the patrol as the two trikes bed down just outside next to the fire.

During the night, another one of those so called alien supply crates, has landed up on the ridge. This time, Sergeant Thomas has found a crossbow, some stone arrows, and a spyglass inside. Tom is taking notes on how the crossbow has been constructed. He tells me that it should be possible for him manufacture more of them from a blueprint that was also found in that supply crate. A crossbow is so much more powerful then the bush bows we had crafted that evening on our first night back under the cliff. It makes an excellent weapon for catching fish for the raptors as it can hit then while they are swimming. He even uses it to shoot salmon swimming in the bay.

After a breakfast of grilled salmon with poached Dodo eggs, the canoe is loaded with meat jerky, spare tools, and extra clothing such as a leather outfit for the patrol. As it is warm enough where we are camped, we only wear leather clothing when it is raining to keep warm. With the canoe loaded with supplies, Sergeant Thomas, Doc and Eddie set off to the West towards what they call the Red Obelisk. “It seems to be the closest to this freshwater sea,” reports Sergeant Thomas. “So, we are going to head over there as we check out the coastline. I expect that we could be gone for several days.”

A stop is made at the cliff side camp to check it out. Sergeant Thomas finds that one of the storage chest has been broken into. There are teeth marks from something that has been chewing on the latch. Given that there was nothing inside the chest in the first place, whatever was breaking into it ended up with nothing for it’s effort. There are plenty of tracks in the sand made by the Troodons the past two night. “We were wise to move out of here,” comments Sergeant Thomas. “Lets continue sailing West along this coastline. They find what the little thief was when a Pegomax jumps out of the bushes, grabs Doc’s mejoberries out of his backpack, runs off, but then comes back to stare at him while munching on the berries.

Back in the canoe, with their new pet Pego that has jumped into the canoe to travel with them, the threesome continue West along the coast. Sergeant Thomas continues to observe the edge of the jungle inside of the beach using the gifted spy glass. It is hard to see any distance in this dense jungle along the beach area.

Another crumbling stone structure gets spotted along the shoreline where a river enters the freshwater sea. Otters and ducks are swimming in it. There are also Castorades, a form of primitive beavers, in the river nearby a wood pile lodge. The canoe is pulled to the shore where several notes, written by some 18th Century British Chemist named Edmond Rockwell, is found rolled up in a whiskey flask.

“Interesting,” reports Doc as he reads the note. “This note contains recipes Rockwell develop from the various resources found here that can be used to increase our endurance to the heat, cold, help us swim underwater longer, heal our injuries more quickly, and to hide us from the bats, snakes, centipedes, and spiders.”

“Bats, snakes, centipedes, and spiders!” gaps Eddie. “I hated those things hiding in the tunnels in Laos.”

“According to Rockwell, they are far larger and nastier in this place then what you found in those tunnels,” answers Doc. “Interesting, here are recipes for a medication to prevent and cure Mega Rabies and Swamp Fever. Here is another one to repel and remove leaches the size of house cats.”

“And I thought that the finger sizes leaches were bad enough in Laos,” comments Sergeant Thomas. “I can’t imagine being attacked by leaches the size of house cats.”

“We still may need to kill some of those leaches to get their blood for a recipe to prevent getting and curing Swamp Fever,” reports Doc.

“Now, I’m scared to be near any water in this place,” reports Eddie.

“Not to worry,” answers Doc. “According to Rockwell, those leaches can only be found in the swamps. We can use his bug repellent to keep them off of us.”

Meanwhile, Pego gives off a warning growl as one of the prehistoric ducks comes running up to the groups hissing in anger. Pego grabs it by the neck as a spear soon finds it’s mark in the body. “Wow! I never knew that wild ducks could be so aggressive,” reports Eddie.

“They must be extremely territorial,” reports Doc. “Don’t bother harvesting it for it’s meat and hide. Helena warns us that these ducks contain organic polymer which is highly toxic. Actually, nothing is making sense around here, It’s as if this world has it’s own set of rules. Stay away from that beaver lodge, those Castorades could take us out in one bite if we get them mad at us.”

“We should find some way to save this organic polymer,” answers Eddie. “One of Helena’s other notes reported it as an important ingredient to make camouflage clothing that would hide us from the predators.”

“I’ll use this whiskey bottle to store it in for now,” reports Doc.

“It’s probably time for us to leave anyways,” orders Sergeant Thomas as he has spotted trouble upriver with his spyglass. “It starting to look nasty up river with that raptor pack chasing after that Parasaur. Now, they’re heading in this direction.”

Continuing westward, the patrol of Sergeant Thomas paddles around a peninsula made up of mostly stone formations. It is mostly threat free with only some Dodos being observed living among the rocks. Pulling into a small inlet, the patrol checks out the remains of another settlement. It is found to contain a stone chest with another note from Helena found inside.

“Painted Sharks!” comments Sergeant Thomas in astonishment as he reads the note to himself. “Helena describes this settlement as a fishing village from our Pacific Northwest where the tribe living here tamed and raised giant sharks to use for fishing. She says that their settlement was wiped out by a Roman Legion under the command of Nerva. She reports that he was obsessed with conquering all of the land in this world.”

“A Roman Legion? An 18th century Scientist? A Chinese Warrior from the 2nd century? An explorer from Australia from our own century? How is it possible that they were all living here together in the same time period? How would we defend ourselves from a well armed Roman Legion let alone a North Vietnam Division?” asks Eddie.

“We don’t,” answers Sergeant Thomas. “Helena writes that their leader had teamed up with Rockwell to find a way to escape from this world. From the condition of the settlements we have found so far, that would indicate that they were successful in leaving this world long ago.”

“It’s most interesting to learn that there were various diverse settlements on this lifeboat living together at one time,” answers Doc. “Too bad they couldn’t learn how to get along with each other.”

“It’s much the same as to what is happening back in our world,” answers Sergeant Thomas. “We just need to find out how the survivors of that war managed to escape back home to their time. Lets take a break for some lunch, then continue on with our coastline exploration.”

The exploration continues as the threesome paddle past the stone structures that are both natural and part of the abandoned settlement. Few creatures are observed living among the rocks, only the giant wingspan sea birds that don’t appear to be aggressive, and some pesky sky rats that try to steal from the threesome. Several of them have to be shot out of the sky with the crossbow before the rest get the message to go steal elsewhere.

A stop is made on a sandy point when an alien supply crate is spotted landing there. With the area containing only a couple of trikes and parasaurs, the crate is checked out by Sergeant Thomas. It just contains a set of cloth clothing. “That was kind of worthless,” he comments after unloading it.

With the Red Obelisk getting closer then ever, the patrol paddles onward going through a cut that separates land to the South from the mainland. They give a huge spino a wide berth as it is seen fishing in the inlet. “Can you imagine having that as your tame,” comments Eddie.

“It’s tame able according to the Beast Queen,” answers Doc. “It just takes a lot of effort to knock it out to tame it. You would have to feed it lots of fish laced with biotoxin to do the job.”

“Someday, if we are still stuck here, we will have to give it a try,” answers Sergeant Thomas.

Past the fishing spino, a beautiful waterfall is observed as they canoe by it. “What a lovey place to take a swim in,” comments Eddie.

“I don’t think so,” answers Sergeant Thomas when they observe a seabird land in the cove only to be ripped to pieces by the vicious fish swimming in that pond. “You would be shredded just as quickly as that seabird was.”

“We should send the spino over there,” answers Eddie. “I bet he could clean them out in no time.”

Continuing on, the threesome find an inlet that takes them directly to the giant floating red Obelisk. Tying up the canoe at the shore, they proceed to head up a natural ramp where an alien like platform containing a podium lit by a narrow beam of red light awaits them. A strange alien hum fills the air around them as they walk across a metal plate platform to the illuminated alter.

“Is this thing dangerous?” asks Eddie.

“It must not be,” answers Doc. “Otherwise Pego wouldn’t have followed us here.”

“I’m going to check out this terminal,” reports Sergeant Thomas.

“Interesting, we need to obtain four keys to place in this terminal in order to unlock it. Those keys are called The Cunning, The Immune, The Skylord, and The Strong. Where are we suppose to find those keys?”

“This is interesting,” reports Doc as he looks over Rockwell’s notes to see if he can find any info on the Obelisks and their keys. After turning them over to look at the back side of the pages, he finds the information he has missed when he first examined them. “Here is a map of this place where Rockwell has marked the location of ten caves where those keys were found hidden in there. He warns that it can be quite dangerous in some of the those caves. He also writes that the three keys, currently locked inside the three Obelisks terminals, are needed to unlock a door hidden deep inside the crater of the volcano. He thinks that it may lead to a way to escape from this lifeboat back to the Earth.”

“That sounds like a mission we will need everyone for,” answers Sergeant Thomas.

“How are we suppose to go down into the crater of an active volcano?” asks Eddie.

“I guess we will find out once we go over there,” answers Sergeant Thomas. “Lets continue on exploring the coastline.”

The exploration of the West Coast starts as the canoe exits the passage to the Red Obelisk. It takes much of the afternoon for the threesome to reach where the tropics suddenly changes into an Arctic environment.

“What a strange contrast of the environment,” comments Doc. “How can it go from tropical to Arctic with such a sharp change in the environment?”

“Good grief, look at all of those creatures on the beach fighting each other,” warns Doc. “How is that possible?”

“A Mosh Pit,” answers Sergeant Thomas. “I read about one in a science fiction story. Strange to see one of those in real. That is proof that this environment is being artificially managed by whatever is controlling it. There is no way that such fighting among the predators would last for long before they end up killing each other off.”

“Damn, it sure got cold all of a sudden,” complains Eddie as they continue paddling North.

“Lets just paddle up to the iceberg, then turn around and head back to where it is warm,” orders Sergeant Thomas.

Reaching the ice field by the iceberg, strange looking rocks are seen that appear to be covered in oil. Primitive penguins are also observed wandering about on the ice and fishing in the freshwater sea. “Interesting,” reports Doc. “These creatures are raising families. I have not seen that among any of the other creatures in this world other then with Dave’s Parasaurs.”

Out of nowhere, the weather suddenly turns for the worse. The wind picks up as the fog suddenly rolls in. It gets very dark out as it starts snowing causing the threesome to get lost in the confusing jumble of ice floes. Frostbite is soon threatening everyone in spite of them getting dressed into their leather outfits. Torches are not helping much as one cannot easily paddle and hold onto one at the same time. “We should have made a compass,” warns Sergeant Thomas. Soon, in the confusion to find out where they are are, they run into the transparent barrier. “Place the barrier on our right side,” orders Sergeant Thomas. “That should send us South to where it is warmer.”

With the threesome, now having found a way to get back on course using the barrier as a directional guide, they are soon out of the snow as it starts to rain. The fog soon clears as they can now see where the land is far to their left. Sailing further down, they turn to head to a sandy beach far from the Mosh Pit of danger. There the threesome set up a camp for the night to recover from frostbite and rest up for the return trip back to Herbivore Island.

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Chapter 6. Back on Herbivore Island.


In spite of our hastily setting up an overnight camp in the dark on the beach, it has been a relatively quiet night. Out torches have kept any Troodons away. All of the activity has remained down at the Mosh Pit where the roars of the predators and screams of pain from the victims have made it difficult to get any sleep. “It is as if the aliens in charge of this lifeboat are deliberately placing those creatures together so they can place bets on the outcome of those fights,” reports Eddie “It is much like those illegal dog and rooster fighting rings that were taking place down in the flats near my grandpa’s farm where the State Police kept conducting nightly raids trying to put them out of business.”

Finally, the morning has arrives clear and cold. With a quick breakfast over an open fire, we pack up to make the long paddle home.

Instead of paddling through the cut, we have paddled around the large island to the South. Along it’s shore, we find the remains of another settlement. A note found in a tin located inside a ruined hut is from Helena. It contains more descriptions about the deep sea creatures in this world. “We definitely want to stay out of the deepest part of the freshwater ocean around here,” warns Doc as he reads the note. “She describes seeing the Lock Ness Monster swimming in these waters when she was riding with the Painted Sharks on one of their underwater hunts for explorations. She also saw a giant squid and other frightening nightmares of the deep.”

A supply drop has landed nearby which is then checked out by Sergeant Thomas. It is found to contain a black powder rifle along with a primitive scope. “If we can find a way to make black powder and bullets for this, Dave would find this rifle to be most useful if we need to use it for our defense.”

“If we can do that, It should be possible for me to create tranc darts to help us knock out a T-Rex or Spino,” reports Doc.

Two additional notes are found in two other tins scattered about the area. They contain more information about the conquest of the local settlements by Nerva’s army.

It is late afternoon when the threesome return back to the campsite on Herbivore Island. A meeting is taking place with everyone to learn about what has been taking place the past two days. The nine left behind have been busy exploring the mainland with the rafts and have made many additional improvements to the camp.

“Where did you find the sheep,” asks Doc.

“There was a small herd of them in the plateau on the East of the inlet where the T-Rexes were hunting,” answers Paul. “Beware, unlike the sheep back on the farm, these sheep have morales far worse then those of the hookers that were hanging around the bars back in Pleiku.”

“At least, you won’t have to worry about catching some uncurable disease from them,” reports Doc. “Some historians write that VD originated in sheep, but it was the Spanish Explorers that brought it back with them to Europe after catching it from the local Natives.

“It was so emotionally upsetting when I found out two weeks ago that my girlfriend dumped me for some draft dodging hippie that took her to Canada with him,” complains Larry.

“It was even worse when my new wife, Sally, sent me a Dear John letter along with divorce papers a month ago,” complains Eddie. “I almost decided to go pull the pin on a grenade to end it all. But, now I see that I would have ended up here had I done so, just sooner then we all did. It would have been far more satisfying to have return home to beat the living crap out of that creep and his lawyer, even if it meant spending the rest of my life in jail.”

“At least, when we can shear them for their wool, we will have the materials needed to craft some warmer clothing for exploring the frozen North,” reports Sergeant Thomas.

Beer is being brewed by Henry in several homemade vats using berries and thatch. It’s not the best tasting stuff around, yet, it is far better then then that Panther Piss sold by the Vietnamese in Pleiku or the outdated Black Label shipped over from the States that needed a Church Key or P-38 to open.

Tom has been able to craft up six additional crossbows for the group. They have been tested out when the raft was taken over to the inlet where a strange feathered creature, resembling a huge bird with long claws on it’s hands, started attacking them. “That thing killed Paul,” Fred tells us. “Yet, somehow, he ended up very much alive back in camp when we returned with the feathers, meat, and hide from this giant creepy chicken.”

“Looks like that I am the proof that we can be reborn if we get killed in this Land of the Would Be Dead,” reports Paul. “Still, it was no fun being ripped to pieces by that strange creature before dying to it’s attack.”

“That thing must have been highly territorial given that it is just a herbivore,” I tell the returned patrol. “We found no signs of any nest or other reason for it to have attacked us.”

“What do you think those huge claws are used for?” asks Doc.

“I believe that it uses then to gather food from the bushes and to defend itself from predators,” I answer.

“It would make an interesting tame for gathering resources,” answers Fred. “It should be extremely efficient in getting fiber for us from the bushes.”

“We would need to get it into a stone trap to knock it out given that our bolas were just shredded by those claws as it tore the trees down that were in it’s way,” I report to the patrol.

“Still, that would be too risky to even trap one,” reports Paul. “It move way too fast for me to get out of it’s way.”

Dave gets surprised when Sergeant Thomas hands him the long neck black powder rifle he found in a supply drop. “I should be able to craft gunpowder and bullets for it,” Dave tells him. “We have the spark powder that behaves like saltpeter. We have charcoal from the fires for the forge. Those old Kentucky Rifles could reach out a long ways when properly loaded. It should work as well as my sniper rifle once I can dial it in with the proper gunpowder and bullet mix.”

“Henry’s group found a cave hidden in the box canyon along the shore close to our island.” reports Dave. “They found some crystal when they went inside to explore it. They didn’t get very far before they were forced to turn back due to the heat and the presence of huge bats and spiders.”

“With Gillie Armor and some of Rockwell’s potions, it should be possible to explore that cave to retrieve one of the keys hidden in it,” reports Sergeant Thomas.

Fred has managed to befriend a small monkey he found hiding in the bushes by the lava cave. “It’s certainly far better behaved then that one Oriville had back in Base Camp. At least, it doesn’t bite you, try to steal your stuff, or throw poop at you like that little DireWolf did.”

“Speaking of stealing stuff, beware of Pego,” warns Doc. “She got tamed when she took the Mejoberries out of my backpack. “Actually, she has been quite useful for finding things for us that were hidden in some of the abandoned settlements that we found.”

During the two days that the three man patrol has been gone, Dave’s Parasaurs have been taking turns incubating the eggs on their nest. “I think that we will have baby parasaurs soon,” Dave reports to the patrol. “it will be most interesting to interact with them as they are growing up.”

An interesting observation that is being made is that there are no longer any wild creatures left on Herbivore Island. The Anklyo pair has been tamed. They are proving useful for efficiently mining metal ore for the forge and clearing some boulders for stone structures. The two Stegos have proven to be efficient at gathering thatch and wood from the forest in the back of the island.

The garden started by the group is well underway with corn, carrots, beets, potatoes, and other root crops already starting to grow. Poop from the dinos has been composted to produce an organic fertilizer that is producing an amazing growth rate to the plants in the plots in the fenced in area. A fence has been needed to keep the sheep and the tames out of the garden area.

In the evening, everyone has gathered around for a formal report from the three man canoe patrol and the flight on the Pelagornis from Tom and Denny. The first batch of homemade beer gets tested tasting far better then expected.

“We had a most interesting flight on these huge sea birds.” reports Tom. “The further you go inland from the coast, the more dangerous were the creatures we were spotting on the ground.”

“There is a huge redwood forest in the interior,” Tom continues. “While we saw elk with huge antlers and giant sloths, we also saw what looked like Terror Birds chasing after them.”

“There is a vast swamp in the middle of the mainland teaming with crocodiles and giant snakes. There is also a giant size mammal living in there as well. I know that there some huge insects that used to exist in prehistoric times, but I never imagine that I would see one in the swamp as big as a Huey. Needless to say, we kept our distance from that creature.”

“Getting close to the Arctic area, we observed wolves the size of Welsh Ponies, and Mammoths. I also saw what looked like a sabertooth cat. There was a huge dinosaur hunting down there that looked like a feathered T-Rex. It had an escort of Carnos hunting with it. As it was getting too cold to continue flying there, we turned East to check out the mountains coming out of the jungle. That was a place you don’t want to be up in given that we saw one of the biggest T-Rexes I have ever seen. It didn’t have the stubby arms of a T-Rex or a Carno. Then, coming back here we saw what looked like Godzilla walking on four legs. That thing was huge.”

“The mountain top was rich in crystal, what looks like obsidian, and metal ore,” reports Denny. “Unfortunately, it contains packs of the biggest scorpions that I have ever seen. They looked to be the size of horses.”

“We were unable to circle around the mainland due to running into a glacier, bitter cold, and the barrier,” reports Sergeant Thomas. “We found several abandoned villages and some notes hidden in tins and bottles. Most important, we now have a map of the terrain on this lifeboat with important locations marked on it. Doc obtained several recipes found in notes from an 18th century English scientist named Edmund Rockwell. They will provide protection from the extreme heat and cold. There is even one that will hide us from the bats and spiders Henry’s group ran into in that cave containing lava. According to Rockwell, we should be able to escape back home through a gateway hidden in the crater of the volcano. We just need to find all of the keys hidden in the caves to place in the terminals of the three Obelisk to obtain their keys to unlock that door.”

“In the morning, we are going to explore the coast to the right as far as we can go before we run into the glacier and the barrier. Then, we will start exploring those caves to find the key we need to get out of here.”

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chapter 7 The eastward journey.


The following morning, Paul, with the help of Henry and Dave, have been able to shear the sheep using a primitive scissors crafted up by Tom on his new forge. “Wow! These girls and their boy friend have been so much easier to shear with these primitive scissors then the sheep back on the farm using electric clippers,” comments Paul. “It’s as if they know that they will be a lot more comfortable without their heavy wool coat in this tropical climate.” Enough wool has been obtained for the three men to start spinning it into thread to weave into wool clothing once they have boiled off the lanolin in Tom’s newly crafted cooking pot. With the help of some of the new tools crafted up in the Smithy, three wool spinners and a loom have been crafted to turn the wool into cloth for warmer clothing.

Checking on the shearing progress, Sergeant Thomas tells them that they will be looking for animals that they can get fur pelts from to craft up Arctic weather gear for everyone. “Your sheep will be good in giving us the wool needed for warm clothing,” he reports. “Still, we are going to need something much warmer for travel into the Arctic region. Those giant wolves, bears, elk, and Mammoths that Tom found in his exploration flying near the Arctic Wilderness should be a good source for the pelts we will need to craft up heavy Arctic gear.”

For the Northeastern shoreline exploration, Sergeant Thomas has taken Dave along in place of Doc. Tom and Doc have managed to craft up gunpowder and bullets for the Long Neck Rifle which Dave will use to hunt for large fur bearing animals. Doc is staying behind so he can craft up Frea Curry, Caloway Soup, Bug Repellent, medications to prevent and cure Swamp Fever or Mega Rabies, and Medical Brew from the Rockwell recipes.

Denny and I started working on creating what will be called Gillie Armor. It is a type of cloth clothing interwoven with camouflaging foliage coated with a material using organic polymer to create a new type of hot weather gear to help us to stay cool and hide us from the predators. A note for it’s crafting has helped us create thus unusual set of camouflage gear. Later in the afternoon, we give it a good test when we take the raft over to the mainland by the box canyon of the Lava Cave to cut down more wood for our construction needs and collect crystal. I nearly step on a spitters that fails to see me as I am cutting down palm and bamboo for our needs. It takes off in a panic when I slap it behind it’s head and it finally realizes just how close I got to it. While it is quite warm out cutting wood along this jungle beach, this new cameo outfit is like working out in an air conditioned building.

“You should see how close we can get to one of those giant claw chickens,” challenges Denny after he sees what I ended up doing to the wild spitter.

“No thanks,” I tell him. “It may not run away like that spitter did. I’m not taking the chance of ending up being ripped to pieces by those claws.”

With our wood gathering task done, we make a trip into the Lava Cave to harvest the rest of the crystal located near the entrance. The Gillie clothing has made that job much more comfortable in addition to hiding us from the bats that are further back in the cave. We are able to gather all the crystal that we can carry. It will be used to craft up some storage jars we can use to gather Leach Blood for Doc. What is not needed will be used for crafting beer from a recipe doc has obtained in a hidden box near our home base. It is a strange recipe using berries and thatch in a fermentation barrel. It should be an interesting brew once it is ready for consumption.

The next day, we make the trip by raft to the Eastern Swamps to bait the leaches to shore where we can kill them for their blood. Warned about the risk of catching Swamp Fever, we don’t want to be wading in that scummy water to look for them. Besides, it’s too hard to see where they are hiding in that greenish muck. We certainly don’t want them sucking on our blood. We use the blood from a freshly killed spitter to bring them ashore. The Gillie suits are a great help in keeping the giant prehistoric crocs and Kapros from attacking us as we watch them ambush a pig like creature, then start fighting over it’s carcass. We manage to fill all of our containers with leach blood which will assure that Doc can craft up plenty of potions for our protection once we start to search the caves for their hidden keys to unlock the ones stored in the Obelisk. We have been ordered by Sergeant Thomas to stay out of the caves until he gets back from his eastern coast trip.

Sergeant Thomas exploration trip has confirmed how strange and diverse the distribution of it’s extinct creatures has been. They spend the night on shore hiding in the boulders of the Northeastern shores. With all of the predators living up on the nearby mountain, it’s the safest place they can find to stay for the night. The boulders make it easier to hide from the giant eagles hunting in the nearby shoreline.

Canoeing over to another island, located near the barrier, they finds a strange world inhabited only by predators. “What are they feeding on besides each other?” Sergeant Thomas asks Dave as he studies the activity of that island.

“It definitely has to be maintained by whatever aliens are running this place,” answers Dave. “Unlike that Mosh Pit you describes finding by the glaciers, this one appears to be a habitat to study just how the meat eaters can thrive in a setting of their own. Strange in that it’s only reptiles, giant snakes, scorpions and those huge eagles living there. It’s like Herbivore Island in reverse. I don’t see any wolves in that place to hunt for their hide.”

“They probably would get eaten along with us as soon as you shot one of them for their pelt,” answers Sergeant Thomas. “Lets continue along the main coastline until we reach the Arctic Tundra.”

Continuing along the northern coastline, the threesome find what they are looking for in the tundra area of the main island. “Is that a woolly rhino?” comments Dave as he spots the unusual creatures with a huge horn on it’s head. “There should be heavier fur on that creature then on those wolves.”

Landing on the shore, the threesome proceed to stalk two of the prehistoric mammals. Checking the surrounding area for any predators that could be a threat to their mission, they climb up on a rock ledge so that they have some protection in case one of the rhino charges after them. With the preparations set, Dave takes the shot with his new Long Neck Black Powder Rifle and drops the first woolly rhino. As predicted, the second one charges the rock ledge to get at the threesome that killed it’s buddy. Dave gets reloaded and drops it as well. “It’s slow to reload, but it sure got some good hitting power,” Dave tells Sergeant Thomas after dropping the second rhino.

“Lets bring those horns back for Doc,” suggests Eddie as they hop down to skin the rhinos. “He might be able to craft up some of that Chinese enhancement I heard about in the bars in Thailand.”

“Doc might have some more important uses for those horns then crafting up that fake poison,” answers Dave. “Besides, no human is going to the endurance of an African Lion, not even in this world.” The two massive horns are cut off from the skulls to be brought back to base camp.

The threesome are soon down off of the rock ledge to start skinning the two rhinos for their hide. It takes much of the afternoon to complete the job. There is so much heavy fur hide skinned from the two rhinos that it’s fills up the canoe. They end up leaving much of the meat behind. Dire Wolves soon show up to claim the bounty of food. “We got that job done just in time,” comments Sergeant Thomas. “Lets head over to that sandbar to camp there overnight before heading back to Herbivore Island.”

An overnight camp is set up on a small sandbar off shore. A small thatch shelter is needed to ward off the cold given that they are still in the Tundra area of this Ark. It snows much of the night. Fortunately, enough driftwood is on this sandbar to keep a warm fire going during the night.

In the morning, they start making the trip back to base camp. It is late afternoon by the time they return with their bounty of heavy fur pelts.

Denny and I start to work crafting the Arctic Gear. There is more then enough heavy fur to craft a complete Arctic outfit for the 12 of us. They will prove quite useful, according to a Rockwell note found high up on the ridge, for later exploration of the ice caves located near the Blue Obelisk.

While the three explorers were gone looking for hide, the campsite has been fully developed with it’s garden plots, sleeping quarters, place for the dodos to lay their eggs, docks built for the rafts, and a fishing pier. The crops are already growing at an astonishing rate in this artificial environment. So is the recovery rate of the bushes, bamboo, and palm trees that were harvested for their wood, berries and fibers. Doc has been able to craft up most of the potions that will be needed for cave exploration. The two rhino horns, brought back from the hunting expedition, are the last ingredient needed for the Megarabies cure.

Dave’s Parasaur has been on her nest. The three eggs are already starting to hatch as Dave warns everyone not to get too close to them as they will need to imprint on their mother when born. By that evening, there are three new additions to the tames on Herbivore Island. It may be the first time that any creatures have actually been born in this Land of the Would Be Dead. Everyone is really enjoying their presence.

With the evening meeting, plans are being formulated to start the first of the ten cave explorations to look for the keys to unlock a possible escape route back to the real world. “Do you think that it’s possible for us to return back home?” I ask Sergeant Thomas.

“I don’t know,” he answers. “We could return to our world in a different location and be OK. We could also return to where we were killed only to see our dead bodies before we are taken to who knows where. We might even return to an alternate world. One thing is for certain, the only way we are going to find out is to unlock that door, go inside, and see if we can actually escape as those notes hint will happen there. Anyhow, lets all get a good night’s sleep, then we will go cave exploring. We will start with that lava cave in the morning and go from there.”

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  • 4 months later...

It's been a while since the last chapter thanks to Ark ASA. Expect changes and details to be added in the future

Chapter 8, The hunt for the keys in the dangerous Caves.


As the patrol prepares for their first cave exploration, Doc and Tom are going to remain in camp. Doc plans on continuing to craft up the needed potions for future cave exploration. Tom continues with crafting more tools on his forge. Warned about the risk of running into poison gas in the Swamp cave, the two of them are also working on crafting gas masks using leather hide, wool cloth, crystal for the goggles, and charcoal for the gas filter. When not working on those projects, they plan to continue with tending the crop plots, collecting Dodo eggs, and tending to the needs of all of their tames.

Armed with their potions, crossbows and pikes, and wearing Gillie Armor the rest of the patrol has sets sail for the lave cave. With the raft secured on the beach by the box canyon, they head for the cave entrance. Bug repellent is applied on everyone. Then, with their torches lit, then enter the cave proper.

“Could our torches attract the bats?” I ask Sergeant Thomas.

“It’s possible,” he answers. “If we find there is enough ambient light in here, we can extinguish the torches.”

“Last time I was in here, I noticed that the crystal and mushrooms were giving off a soft glow,” I tell Sergeant Thomas. “We may not need the torches when we get further in here. It was also extremely hot where the bats were located.” As predicted, as we get closer to where the bats are roosting, there is enough ambient light to see what we are doing. It’s also getting very hot but our new gillie suits are doing a good job of keeping us from overheating. The torches are ordered extinguished as we continue to carefully move deeper into the cave.

There is near panic when Eddie steps on a badger like creature that has hidden itself in the rubble of the cave. Eddie quickly hides behind a nearby boulder. The creature, upset at being disturbed, is scurrying about looking for him as I light my torch and toss it towards the bats. The badger, attracted by the flame of the torch chases after it, then gets mauled by a bunch of bats that attack him. We sneak away further into the cave as the fight continues, then dies out with the death of the badger and several of the huge bats that have attacked it.

“That was close,” comments Sergeant Thomas quietly. “Lets be more careful of where we are walking in here.”

Continuing on down into the cavern, the area is soon being lit up by the orange glow of hot lava flowing down below the ledge and coming out of a hole in the wall. It seems so strange when there is no active volcano above or even near where the cave is located. At least, our gillie camo is working to keep us from overheating from the heat in this cave. We just chalk it off to the strange nature of this artificial world we are currently living in.

Things start to quiet down as we travel deeper into the interior of this cave. We find a strange spot where it is much cooler and take a break in that location. The threats we have sneaked around are no longer present. A strange distortion is seen up ahead. I carefully travel a treacherous path along the wall to that pulsating distortion. There, inside it, I find one of the ten keys, the Artifact of the Massive.

Carefully retracing our steps, we make the trip back out of the cave nearly stepping on a sleeping reptile the size of a Carno. Thankfully we don’t disturb it’s daytime slumber in that scary home for the giant bats, spiders, and other dangerous threats. It’s with a sigh of relief that we finally make it out of that treacherous place and return to camp with our first of many keys.

Back at camp, Doc and Tom have prepared more of the potions we are going to need for exploring in the additional caves. Warm fur clothing have been prepared for the two ice caves where we will need to search for their keys. Gas masks have been crafted for the dangerous Swamp Cave along with more bug repellent. With the prospect of having to explore two underwater caves to find the keys hidden in them, Tom has managed to tame the two big sharks hanging around in the inlet. The three baby Parasaurs are growing up and are already getting into trouble in the camp with their exploration and knocking things over.

In the evening meeting, a new planning strategy for the additional cave exploration is discussed. “To speed up recovering of the key, we’ll work as teams of three,” suggest Sergeant Thomas. “Those teams will perform recon of their assigned caves to determine the risks they present to their exploration. If the opportunity presents itself, the team will recover the keys hidden in them. If they determine that it is too dangerous to proceed on their own, we’ll mark that cave for a full recon patrol to recover it’s key.”

Tom, Denny, and I have formed up the first team. We get assigned the Lower South Cave. Henry, Dave, and Paul get assigned the Upper South Cave. Fred, Larry, and Scott go looking for the Swamp Cave. Eddie, Mike, and Sergeant Thomas take on the Central Cave. We get our gear ready to be gone for a couple of days if needed. As all of the caves we will be searching for their keys are located near rivers, we will be using canoes and rafts to get as close to them as possible.

We take along crafted radios to keep in contact with each other. The radios themselves, are most unusual given the materials Sergeant Thomas has needed to use to craft them. They behave like those old Radio Shack crystal radio kits in that they work without a battery, but can transmit and receive, have the range to work on the entire island, are about their size of the old WW2 Walke Talke, and have 10,000 channels available.

With only a proper canoe and two dugout ones, Tom, Denny, and I take a raft as our destination is the closest to the sea. Having studied the map Rockwell had left us, we decide to sail around a landmark that is called Stonehedge to sail up the river to our destination.

Reaching the river that heads inland by late afternoon, we stop to recon the area up ahead only to find that several dangerous predators have made it their home. With how many rocks that are in the river restricting the passage of our bulky raft to head upstream, we decide to beach it and make the rest of the way to the cave on foot. Wearing Gillie Armor, we are able to sneak by a Carno and Spino that are busy chasing nearby herbivores to find the canyon that leads us to the cave entrance.

“Lets build us a temporary shelter in the cave entrance,” suggest Denny. “It will give us a safe place to shelter for the night. Then, we should have plenty of time to check out this cave.”

The night at the Lower South cave remains rather quiet. There are the peaceful jungle noises with the occasional roar of a fight in the distance. Thankfully, the giant bats don’t leave the caves during the night like normal cave bats. In this Land of the Would be Dead, they remain in the caves with the snakes, spiders, giant scorpions, spitting centipedes, and other nasties.

Unlike the Lava Cave we had explored days earlier, this cave is quite cold. We remained dressed in the Gillie as it keeps us hidden from any creatures we find living in them. Unlike the cave in the actual game, this one has remained relatively free of threats. We are able to get by the threats we actually see and are able to retrieve the Artifact of the Hunter.

We managed to sneak back to the raft as we use the cover of the nearby jungle to avoid the attention of the Spino that is fishing in the river. Getting on the raft, we get it launched quickly as a pack of raptors gets uncomfortably close as they are chasing after a lone Parasaur that comes running towards our raft. The trip back to Herbivore Island is completed by late afternoon. The Hunter key is placed in safe storage. As we are the first ones back, we spend the rest of the day playing with the baby Parasaurs that have been growing at an astonishing rate.

Henry, Dave, and Paul are the next patrol to return to the base camp.

“I’m glad that we had these grappling hooks on us,” Dave tells me. “After heading deep below into that cave, we found an extensive underwater system packed full of vicious piranha. They even tried to launch themselves up onto the ledge where we were planning what we should do next. It looked like an impossible task to attempt to kill such a huge school of these giant vicious fish at once. That is when Paul, who had a map of this cave system, pointed to a hole he spotted high over the pond. It took several tries until Henry could get a grappling hook to catch in a rock next to that entrance. Climbing up there, he found the key called The Pack. Coming back down, he slipped and ended up in the freezing water. We were lucky that the piranha didn’t get him. We quickly pulled him out of the freezing water and ran up the ridge as hundreds of those vicious piranha launched themselves into the ridge below us killing themselves in the process.”

“Sounds like it was really nasty in there,” I tell Dave as all of the Parasaurs come over looking for attention. “Better give your Parasaurs some attention. They so miss us not being around them. They just won’t let us get anything done here.”

Fred, Larry, Scott, Eddie, Mike, and Sergeant Thomas have taken their canoes to head for their assigned caves. They have a long ways to travel up the dangerous river systems that have narrow rock strewn rapids to traverse. As a result, they are expected to be gone for a couple of days.

Travel is made past the boulder strewn rapids in the further west branch of the river to avoid traveling through the dangerous Kapro infested swamp where the giant helicopter size flying dragonfly was spotted. As they spot one flying about hunting creatures in the distance, the two patrols proceed to head West along the redwood forest to set up a camp for the night. Fred’s patrol plan to head inland away from the dangerous swamp to reach their assigned cave while Sergeant Thomas will take his patrol by canoe upriver past the volcano to reach their destination.

After an unusually quiet night in the temporary camp at the edge of the redwood Forest, the two groups split off to head to their destinations. Sergeant Thomas takes his patrol up the river by canoe towards the volcano. Wearing Gillie Suits, they are able to hide their presence from the dangerous predators hunting along the river. Still, the trip takes the better part of the day to reach the location near the cave. Landing on the beach, the patrol has to deal with a nest of terror chickens that they have stepped into. Given the three soldiers are well trained in the art of hand to hand combat, the threat is quickly dispatched with their pikes and swords. Given how quickly those giant chickens are dispatched by the three man patrol, the other nearby predators quickly get the message that they should go hunting elsewhere. Another hour of careful travel gets them to the cave entrance by late afternoon. An overnight camp is placed at the entrance to Central Cave for the night. A spiked wood fence is used for perimeter protection with a thatch hut for the overnight protection from the rain and cold night.

Dressed in Gillie armor and armed with bug repellent, the threesome head into the cave. It is a long way down to where the key is located with dangerous creatures about. Carefully proceeding through the labyrinth of passageways, they finally reach their destination to recover a key known as the Clever. They make it back to their overnight camp by evening. It had been a long and exhausting day that had involved a lot of climbing and crawling in order to avoid the numerous bats and spiders living in there. They are the last ones back to herbivore Island by late evening.

Fred’s patrol has been no picnic either. Upon carefully picking their way to the Swamp Cave, they have had to put on their home crafted gas mask and extinguish their torches due to the presence of methane and a rotting egg smell of sulfur dioxide. Armed with bug repellent and Frea Curry to ward off the cold, they proceed down into the unknown darkness. Fortunately, there is enough ambient light from the fungus and mushrooms to light the way. Travel is slow in order to avoid setting off all of the bugs, spiders, and bats living in there. Quietly, they continue in around a small pond to finally reach the key called “The Immune.”

Heading back out, something unknown has created a disturbance among the bugs, bats, and spiders in the cave. It has resulted in an explosion of activity blocking the way out for the patrol. “How are we going to get out of here?” Larry asks quietly among the echoing racket being generated by all of the flying creatures going after each other.

“I have an idea,” answers Scott. “Do you think that there’s enough methane in this cave to set it off with a torch?”

“There’s one way to find out,” answers Fred. “Lets get into the pond, light a torch, and throw it into the bugs as we duck underwater for protection from an explosion.”

Getting into the pond, they reach an area where the patrol can submerge themselves. With the dry torch, Fred lights it and toss it to the shore by the bugs. One of the flying bugs takes off to the cave ceiling with a wing on fire setting off a huge methane gas explosion. The bats are screaming in pain as they start dying from having their lungs burned out by the resulting fireball. The giant flying bugs fall from the air with their wings on fire. Stone and gravel is shaken loose from the cave ceiling as everyone ducks under the water for protection. The giant spiders are in a panic scurrying about attacking each other as their numbers get thinned out by being squashed by falling rocks. Using the light generated by the burning insects, the patrol race out of the cave as fast as they can travel. Reaching the exit, they stop to catch their breath in the fresh air as smoke is observed pouring out of the cave entrance.

“Well, that was fun!” comments Fred. “That actually worked.”

After spending the night in the temporary camp, the trip on foot is made back to the river. Using their canoes, they make it back to Herbivore Island by late afternoon.

Having been back from the Lower South Cave, Tom and Denny have taken the two big sharks to the nearest underwater cave to get the key of the Cunning. I have remained back at camp to keep tabs of housekeeping duties using the forges and harvesting duties with the tames. Bug repellent has helped to hold off the jellyfish living in that cave. They have to sneak by them fast as it quickly lose it effectiveness while in the water. After a long swim in the confines of an underwater cave the key is found and recovered.

“Four more keys to obtain,” declares Sergeant Thomas at their meeting the following morning with everyone attending.

We spend that next day preparing for the mission ahead. Being warned about the extreme cold and the dangerous creatures they had to fight in the Snow Cave, Sarge, Eddie and Thomas plan to take the same route they took to the Central Cave, but will travel overland past the Volcano to reach the entrance marked on the map. Tom and Denny plan to use the Sharks to reach the western underwater cave. Fred, Larry, and Scott will canoe into the Arctic Sea to reach the ice cave on the cliff by the ice field. Eddie, Mike, and Carlos are taking a canoe to Carno Island to go in that cave. I remain to secure the camp to prepare for the trip to the Volcano once the three Obelisk Keys are obtained for us to return to our world. It takes a full day for each team to reach their objective where overnight camps are set up before the actual trips are made inside.

With their scuba gear activated, Tom and Denny make the long dive down into the tunnel entrance. After having to bait away the dangerous creatures guarding the entrance, they manage to slip inside and start the long trip into the interior. “Oh, how I hate these tight underwater spaces,” Tom thinks to himself as he guides his shark through a long barrow tunnel barely big enough for the two of them to swim through. Eventually, it opens up to reveal the key of The Brute sitting on a pedestal at the bottom of a pit.

Coming out, they run into an ambush by an Alpha Tuso. Abandoning the sharks which have created a diversion as they gang attack the Tuso, Tom and Denny are able to slip away. Hugging the sea floor they swim East to reach the shore near Sand Point. Finding a safe sheltered area, they start construction of a canoe and a shelter for the night.

The patrol of Fred, Larry, and Scott has been no picnic either. It has taken most of the afternoon to get through the sea ice to reach a place on land where they can set up an overnight camp. Taking the path along the icy cliff to where the cave entrance is located, they have had to rig a way across a place where the path had been wiped out in a landslide. Reaching the cave entrance, they light up the torches and start to crawl inside.

The tunnel into the glacier is wet and cold with many branches heading off in different directions. It is also very cramped and dangerous with several ways to the key of the Skylord being blocked by cave ins. Finally, they find a path to it’s location where it sits on a pillar of ice surrounded by a bottomless pit with one place they can jump down. Rigging up a harness to Fred, he is able to jump down to retrieve the key. With the aid of grapples, he is pulled back up to where Larry and Scott have set up anchors in the ice.

The exit out gets blocked by a falling chunk of ice before they have reached it. Using their metal picks, they are able to break it up and escape this death trap before more of the ceiling starts falling in on them.

“That was close,” reports Fred. “Had we waited any longer, we would have never been able to complete our mission.”

“We’re not done yet,” reports Larry. “We have to get back across the path or it’s going to be a long cold swim in those shark infested waters back to the camp.” After a long and slippery trek back to camp, the mission has been completed to retrieve the key of the Skylord. They camp out for the rest of the day and night before making the long canoe trip back through the ice field and Herbivore Island.

The Carno Island trip has been no picnic either. The overnight camp has had to be set up in the boulders near far Peak as Carno Island proved to be much too dangerous to attempt to set up a camp there. Around the first light of dawn, Eddie, Mike, and Carlos take the canoe across finding a spot among the boulders where it can be safely tucked away out of the reach of the big predators that are busy killing each other off. “So that’s how they maintain a population on this island,” Mike jumps with surprise when a Carno just materializes in front of him. Everyone jumps into the narrow cave entrance as the carno tries to paw it’s way in, then giving up, goes after a pair of raptors that take interest in it.

“Well, that proves that this environment is being artificially managed,” reports Eddie as everyone gets a chance to calm down. “Here’s that siphon we need to swim through.”

Thankfully, it’s a short swim through the flooded passageway where they soon emerge into a huge cavern. Using homemade parachutes, they jump down into the abyss below given that Rockwell’s diary suggests that this would be the safest and quickest way to reach the artifact located in the ruins of a shrine at the bottom. It only takes 5 minutes to reach the bottom.

Using swords and crossbows, the spiders and creepy giant centipedes big enough to ride on are quickly dispatched.

With the key of the Devourer recovered, the long way back up takes place. While there is a narrow path cut into the side of the pit by whoever built the shrine, it is no easy task to climb out. There are numerous places where the path is missing due to a rock slide and erosion. Some places the threesome can easily jump across. Others, they have to rely on the use of grapple hooks to reach across. It is dangerous exhausting work as it is like training that they endured in the Philippines where they had a training mission to scale a rock face at night, only this is worse. In one spot, they set off the giant bats being force to fight them off with pikes and swords when Carlos tossed his grappling hook into a hidden nest. Eventually, they complete the climb back to the siphon where they take a break before swimming through it. They make it back to the canoe where a giant eagle gets shot out of the sky that has taken an interest in them. It is already dark before they reach the temporary camp in the boulders near far Peak.

Sarge, Eddie, and Thomas have hiked along a frozen stream to where the entrance to the Snow Cave is located. It had taken them much of the second day from where they left their canoe by the Central Cave. Because of the extreme cold and numerous arctic predators in the area, travel has been slow as they have needed to remain hidden from something they have called a feathered T-Rex. They get away from it when a herd of Mammoths enter the area and get into a battle with it and it’s three Carno escorts.

Finally reaching the entrance of the Snow Cave, they set up camp inside of it for the night. Trips are made in the surrounding area for firewood and the construction of a spiked wall that will keep out the wolves and Sabertooths in the area. With a watch set up for the night, the roaring campfire has kept away the bitter cold and any arctic predators in the area.

In the morning, armed with grapples, heavy fur arctic gear, and Frea Curry, they start into the frozen cave. “How can there be water in this cave when it is so cold?” asks Eddie as they past by a small cave pond.

“It isn’t,” answers Sergeant Thomas. “It has to be liquid air. Fall into that and you will be frozen solid like these creatures you are seeing in the ice walls.”

“Lets get this over with as quick as we can,” warns Thomas. “It’s so cold in here that you can stick your hand into the torch without getting burned by it.”

The trek through the slippery cave continues with one delay needed to smash a path through ice cycles blocking the path down. With the cave being much colder then reported, all of the threats have been frozen by the bitter cold. Retrieving the key of the Strong, the trio head out as fast as they can safely do so reaching their campfire at the entrance. Stocking it up with wood, they spend the rest of the morning thawing out and recovering from frostbite. It is two days later when they make it back to herbivore Island They are the last group to do so.

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Chapter 9. The Volcano.


This next day of their adventure in the Land of the Would Be Dead is spent recovering from their grueling cave exploration, sharing their adventures exploring them, and comparing their note with their actual experience. “We really lucked out with what dangers we faced compared to what the authors of those diaries wrote about,” comments Sergeant Thomas to his elite squad of Special Forces soldiers.

“That Swamp Cave was no picnic,” answers Fred. “The swamp gas in it turned out to be a blessing in disguise when those insects went crazy in there. There’s no way we could of have escape an attack by so many of them without reducing their numbers in that explosion we set off to get them out of our way.”

“I can’t think of anything worse then the confines of squeezing through those narrow underwater passageways to recover the key of the Brute,” answers Tom. “I’m just glad that Fred’s team found us after we had lost our sharks to the predators at the cave entrance. The laws of physics must work differently here. There is no way we could have made such a dive down over 200 meters on a single scuba tank for over an hour, let alone not suffer from a fatal case of the bends afterwards.”

“This entire place is just strange, period,” answers Sergeant Thomas. “Anyhow, I got a recon mission for Tom and Denny. I need you two to fly recon to the volcano, find that exit door, and plot us a safe path for us to get down to it. Take these three keys with you and get the key of the Megapithecus from that Blue Obelisk. Fred and Larry. Take your raptors with the keys over to the Green Obelisk and recover the key of the Brood Mother. Tom and Denny, take the canoe and go get the key of the Dragon. The rest of us will get prepared for the trek to the volcano and hopefully our escape back to the real world.”

“What do you think it will be like when we return to the real world?” I ask Sergeant Thomas.

“I don’t know,” he answers. “We could arrive at a different point in time, in a different location, or arrive back where we started from just in time to be blown to bits.”

“I wonder if we could bring our dino friends back with us,” I ponder.

“There’s one way to find out,” answer Sergeant Thomas. “I plan to bring them to the volcano with us.”

With the meeting ended, the three groups head out to conduct their special tasks at the alters of the three Obelisks. Sergeant Thomas has confirmed that it should be possible to sail their rafts upriver to where the Central cave is located near the Volcano. With the clearing away of a couple of boulders blocking the way, ferrying the tames on rafts to that location will be the easiest way to get them that far in their one way journey. They will then follow a path Tom and Denny will locate to get to the hidden door inside.

Flying to the Central Cave camp, Tom and Denny rest the seabirds in the camp before heading on. They easily find a suitable path that works it way around to the north side of the volcano where an eroded section of the North Face provides a way to get inside. A continuing path is then spotted leading the way down alongside a lava lake to an alien looking door built into the side of the inside wall.

“That looks nasty in there,” comments Tom.

“Lets land on top, then switch to fur before heading over to the Blue Obelisk.” orders Denny.

Continuing on, they reach the terminal at the base of the Blue Obelisk. “I’m definitely happy that we don’t have to attempt to kill King Kong,” comments Tom as he places the keys into the terminal to unlock the key of the Megapithecus.”

“Most certainly,” answers Denny. “It took a lot of firepower to weaken Kong before he finally fell to his death from over 1,000 feet up.”

With an overnight stop at the Central Cave camp, they reach Herbivore Island by noon.

Meanwhile, Fred and Larry have taken a raft with their raptors to the gully located neat the Eastern Swamp. Riding on the raptors, in order to avoid any predator ambush, they reach the ramp leading up to the terminal of the Green Obelisk. After clearing away a spitter threat, they access the terminal to retrieve the key of the Brood Mother.

“And, I though that the giant spiders in the caves were bad,” comments Fred as he recovers the key. “Imagine having to fight that ugly thing.”

“I can’t,” answers Larry. “At least it was killed first by the Roman Legions.” They return to base camp by nightfall.

The trip by canoe to the Red Obelisk goes well with Tom and Denny reaching the terminal by noon. The Dragon key is retrieved. The return trip is made with a detour needed to avoid the attention of a giant fishing spino. Fortunately for Tom and Denny, it gets distracted by a giant shark that gets in it’s way when it starts chasing after them.

At the noon meeting, Tom and Denny sketch out the path they have found on the map of this strange new world. “We will have to watch out for some big carnivore especially if we take our tames with us,” warns Tom.

“So long as we are well armed with rifles and crossbows loaded with tranquilizers, we should have no problem dealing with them,” answers Sergeant Thomas. “Bob and I knocked out a T-Rex over in Drayo’s Cove as a test of their effectiveness. Knocking it out to stop it was far more effective then trying to kill it. We could have even tamed it if we had wanted to. After remaining unconscious for over an hour, it woke up and ran away from us.”

“It was unbelievable to be able to get so close to that T-Rex and touch it,” I tell the group. “It looked like it was actually afraid of us being able to immobilize it like that. With us letting it go, I’m sure that the word is going to get out that we are not on their menu.”

“As knocking out an apex predator is a lot quicker then trying to kill one, Doc has made us up a large batch of tranquilizers for use in some customized ammo we crafted for our crossbows and sniper rifles. That should help us in making the trip to the volcano without having to fight all of the way there.”

“We will take our tames with us on rafts up the Western River to the campsite by the Central Cave,” announces Sergeant Thomas. “From there, we will follow the path to the Tek Door in the Volcano, open it, and proceed to escape back home. Prepare your gear for one of the rafts, get some rest, we leave at first light.”

With the gear pack and the tames divided up on six rafts, we depart from Herbivore Island on a caravan to the unknown. A trike and several sheep are on the first two rafts. Mama Parasaur and her three half grown juveniles are on the third raft. Perry is on the fourth with the Lystros and a Moschop. The ankylos and raptors are on the last two rafts with dodos and misc tames we have acquired during our stay. The two big birds fly alongside the caravan. We have left the Stegos behind removing the saddles from them so they can graze freely in their safe home as before. They were just too big to fit on rafts without enlarging them to the point we would be unable to get up the river with them. It would have taken too long to try to caravan all of our tames that far with the dangerous swamp and redwoods to contend with.

On the trip up river, a pack of Carno takes interest in one of the rafts. When their leader runs into the water to investigate us, it gets several tranc arrows in it’s neck. Realizing that it is about to pass out, it turns tail running to shore where it collapses on the shoreline. It’s buddies run over to check it out deciding it is best to leave us alone to go hunt elsewhere.

Still, it is a long day pushing the rafts up the river, maneuvering around the rocks and shallow spots in order to reach the campsite of the Central Cave. With the two adult Parasaurs on alert status, we end up spending a quiet night.

The next morning, travel has continue on foot. Sergeant Thomas and I lead point while riding on the two Trikes. The dodos have been placed in cages to ride behind on the Trikes. Dave and Paul ride the two Parasaurs which they use to shepherd the juveniles, sheep and other smaller tames. Fred and Larry are on their raptors bringing up the rear while Tom and Denny are flying recon on the big seabirds. Around Noon, we have reached the notch to enter the crater of the volcano. We take a break for a noontime meal, then descend down into the crater to where the huge alien looking door is located with it’s access terminal.

Dressed in gillie armor for protection from the heat, we proceed down the path to the terminal. Our tames appear to be enduring the heat just fine for the time being as we gather around the terminal. Placing the three keys into it, there is a loud click, then with a creaking sound, the huge door opens revealing a dark tunnel inside that heads further down into the interior of the crater. “This looks like something out of that Jules Vernes Journey to the Center of the Earth,” Tom comments to the group.

After about half an hour of further travel along a path where a lava river flows far down below, we reach an alien looking chamber and a dead end. Here, we rest for a moment in the cooler confines of this chamber to recover from the heat and allow our tames to do the same. There is a water source in the corner of the chamber where we, and our tames, can get rehydrated.

“Now what?” I ask Sergeant Thomas. “The door shut after we all entered and there’s nowhere else we can go.”

“There’s a terminal here,” reports Eddie. “It may be needed to open another door.” Pressing a switch in the terminal activates a strange swirling light. Then, suddenly, we are in a similar chamber with an alien looking pathway to what looks like the interior of some huge ship. We quickly switch to our fur clothing as unlike the lava cavern, it is bitter cold in here.

As we are heading down the alien corridor, we are treated to a holograph imagery of the Earth in different stages of it’s history from the dinosaur age to far into the future. “We must be inside one of those Obelisk,” comments Henry as we continue down the corridor with our footsteps echoing off of the metallic floor.

Looking down another passageway in which we are blocked by a force field barrier from entering, we can see creatures being created before being teleported to the surface. “So that confirms where all the creatures are coming from,” I tell Sergeant Thomas. “They are being replaced as adults as the predators are killing them for food.

“So that’s how I was reborned,” comments Paul when he observes another passageway where the ghost of a human form is showing up.

Soon, the solid floor opens up to show the view down below. Even though they are walking on a solid surface, it is quite disorienting to find themselves high above a world that looks exactly like the map they found in one of the notes left behind. It’s also more shocking to see that world appears to be closed inside a transparent dome, the three obelisks clearly visible. “That confirms that we were actually inside some kind of container when we hit that force field,” answers Sergeant Thomas.

Reaching the end of the passageway, they enter a huge room where the numerous windows allow a spectacular view outside into space. Dominating one side of the view is a planet that looks like Earth, but it is one where the land masses look like the holographic model of a future Earth. Outside are additional miniature worlds in their containers with a bubble for a dome. “What could they be?” ask Eddie.

“They must be some kind of lifeboats,” I answer him. “Something must have happened on Earth to result in our world being recreated in miniature in space,”

“Sort of like a Noah’s Ark,” answers Doc. “But with species that have since gone extinct from our time period.”

“It would explain those diaries we have found from people of various time in our history to a few years ago,” answers Paul.

“I wonder if they all made it back home?” asks Mike.

“There’s one way to find out,” answers Sergeant Thomas. “Get everyone and our tames inside of this circle and activate the teleport. With everyone inside the circle, the teleport is activated. With a swirling kaleidoscope of colors, everything goes blank.


Chapter 10, The Return.


“Where are we?” I ask as I wake up missing all of my clothes in what looks like a desert badlands.

“I don’t know,” answer Sergeant Thomas. “We’re definitely alive. It’s certainly not the jungles of Laos.”

“It looks like we are in the Outbacks of Australia,” answers Doc. “I visited there during our R&R break last month.”

“It looks similar to Arizona or Nevada.” I answer.

“We could even be in Saudi Arabia or Western Mexico,” answers Fred.

“Where are our tames?” asks Dave. “I don’t see them anywhere.”

“It may be that they were never intended to come back with us,” answers Doc. “It might be a blessing in disguise that we won’t have to tell our superiors about finding those living fossils. Even the sheep would not be happy living in our world let alone our prehistoric friends.”

“Well, lets find something to prevent us from getting sunburned and start looking for civilization,” orders Sergeant Thomas. “See if we can do something with this grass and bushes to give us protection from the sun.”

Having done so before, it doesn’t take long for the patrol to fashion some protective clothing and some primitive tools. Gathered together, it is decided to head downhill to find a dry wash, then later, a stream or river that will lead them to a Ranch or Outback Station.

As they round a pile of boulders to start down into a dry wash, everyone is suddenly shocked by what they see in the distance. “OH CRAP!” I yell. “We never return to Earth. That’s another Obelisk in the distance.”

To be continued.

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They will find them soon enough.

Chapter 10, The Return.


“Where are we?” I ask the others as I wake up laying in the hot sand, missing all of my clothes in what looks like a desert wasteland.

“I don’t know,” answer Sergeant Thomas. “It’s certainly not the jungles of Laos. At least, we are still alive.”

“It looks like we are in the Outbacks of Australia,” answers Doc. “I visited a friend there during our R&R break last month.”

“It looks similar to the Mohave Desert of Arizona.” I answer.

“We could even be in Saudi Arabia or Western Mexico,” suggest Fred.

“Where’s our tames?” asks Dave. “I don’t see them anywhere around here.”

“It may be they were never intended to come back with us,” answers Doc. “It might be a blessing in disguise that we won’t have to tell our superiors about where we found those living fossils. Even the sheep with their risky behavior would be getting us into a lot of trouble.

“Lets find something to prevent us from getting sunburned and start looking for civilization,” orders Sergeant Thomas. “See if we can do something with this grass and bushes to give us protection from the sun.”

Having done so before, it doesn’t take long for the patrol to fashion some protective clothing and basic primitive tools. Gathered together, it is decided to head downhill to locate a dry wash, then, hopefully, find a stream or river that will lead them to a Ranch or Outback Station.

As we round a pile of boulders to start down into a nearby dry wash, everyone is suddenly shocked by what they see in the distance. “OH CRAP!” I yell. “That’s looks like another Obelisk floating in the distance. Are we back in the Land of the Would Be Dead?”

As the story continues, it appears that the patrol never did return back to Earth. They have certainly ended up in a world of semiarid rugged scrub lands. Did they end up being teleported to another one of the Arks they saw from the alien ship? Is this another one of those Arks orbiting a dead planet? Is the climate on this Ark going to be a lot harsher then the one they left? Can they ever escape back to Earth? The patrol is destined to soon find out?

“Did those people that left those Explorer Notes for us to find actually escape from The Island?” Tom asks everyone as they get prepared to start exploring this strange new world. “Did they make it back home? Or, end up here instead.”

“Lets start heading down this dry wash,” Sergeant Thomas tells the others. “If luck is with us, we should be able to find some clues as to what happened to them. Hopefully, we can also find a source of clean water and shade before it gets too hot around here.”

As we start down into the dry wash, Dave has asked me a rather interesting question,” Could we run into more wild creatures in this world? If we do run into them, can we tame them for our use?”

“Given the experience from that past world, I expect that we should run into them soon,” answers Sergeant Thomas who has been listening to our conservation. “It’s anyone’s guess what we may run into, so be on the alert for the unexpected.”

It’s a clear warm day with the hot sun climbing into the semiarid desert sky. The terrain in this area is sandy with gravel bars and scattered rocks down in the dry wash. Sandstone cliffs line the one side of the dry wash. Vegetation consists of brush, stunted conifer saplings, Joshua Trees, lots of flowering type plants, and some giant Sequoia Cactus.

Early on our journey down the dry wash, Doc has discovered that the Sequoias are able to give us water along with cactus sap and thatch. So long as they are present, they will be able to provide us with water given that the berries appear to be be nourishing but have little water in them. “That confirms we are still in the Land of the Would be Dead,” reports Doc as he is able to ID the berry types as being the same as The Island along with three additional types that appear to be named after primary colors of dyes. “We have all of the same berry types from these plants and several more.”

“It seems strange that we can quench our thirst by just chopping on these cactus with a pick ax,” I tell Doc.

Dave soon comes back with a strange looking fox eared long bushy tail rodent sitting on his shoulder. It looks so cute just sitting there looking around. We see several of them scurrying about in the bushes.

Further down, we suddenly hear the noise of what sounds like some sort of a fight. “That sounds like raptors!” warns Sergeant Thomas. “Stick close together in case we have to defend ourselves from them.” We stay put as the fight continues. Then, with a thud, it suddenly ends followed by the sound of some unknown creatures resuming their normal activity.

“Dave, go check out what just happened up ahead,” orders Sergeant Thomas. Cautiously heading up ahead, Dave disappears from view. He is gone for several minutes which begins to worry the members of the patrol. A few minutes later, he returns riding on the neck of a strange creature the size of a Stego, but with a mammal's body shaped like a one hump camel with a flat top reptile’s head. Three other camel like creatures are following him of which two are of juvenile size.

“What are those things?” asks Sergeant Thomas.

“I don’t know,” answers Dave as he dismounts the large male and pats him on the neck. “I’ve never seen anything like him. All I know about them is that they are herbivores. They were grazing on the brush when I found them. The one I rode back on became friends when I offered him a bush with the purple berries. So long as you don’t do anything to harm them, they won’t do anything to harm you. There are three dead raptors back there we can harvest for meat and hide.”

“We better get some bolas made if we are going to have to deal with predators,” orders Sergeant Thomas. “Then continue down the dry wash until we can find a suitable location for a shelter.”

While the three raptors are being skinned with some campfires constructed to cook and dry the raw meat, Fred has found a baby raptor the size of a small dog hiding in the nearby rocks. Larry a juvenile raptor the size of a large dog. They feeds them a piece of a dead Lystro they have found and skinned for more hide. They soon calms down to join the patrol sticking closely to Fred and Larry.

With the adult raptors skinned for their hide, some raw meat cooked up, and bolas with bow and arrows made, the patrol heads down the dry wash with Dave in the lead riding the camel like reptile mammal hybrid. The creature he has named Morley, selects the path to head down for him. Everyone follows him including the three other Morleys. Vultures fly in to clean up the remains of the dead raptors. They soon reach a small oasis in the valley below that contains a large pond of fresh water with fish living in it.

“Interesting, we would have never found where this place was hidden,” reports Dave. “I didn’t have to guide Morley to it. He seemed to know where we wanted to go. It must be their watering hole.”

“Did we just obtain four new tames?” I asks Dave.

“I don’t know,” he answers. “Being the herd leader, the other three will follow him wherever he goes. I believe that they will hang around this area with us mostly out of curiosity. What is most interesting is that we are finding juveniles and babies traveling with the wild adults in this world. With the exception of the penguins in the arctic region, there were no wild babies or juveniles on The Island. Now we have four of them as tames.”

“That would be most useful,” answers Sergeant Thomas. “We should do what we can to keep them interested in staying with us. They could serve to alert us to anything dangerous that shows up especially after it gets dark out. Lets protect the spring from contamination, get some shelter constructed, and a spike wall built up on that stone shelf overlooking this pond. If this is like any desert I have been to, it will get quite cold once the sun goes down. As desert waterholes will attract the wildlife that need to get a drink, it will also attract the predators that hunt them. Until we know what is living in this strange new world, we had better be prepared for the unexpected.”

As the patrol starts working on a shelter and defensive fencing for the night, the four Morleys come up onto the stone shelf and bed down by the campfire that is cooking up the rest of the raw meat. The two raptors lay down next to it to stay warm as the evening chill sets in. “We better make the fence large enough to accommodate them for the night,” suggest Dave.

“Lets do a temporary gate for now,” suggest Sergeant Thomas. “We can make a better one for them tomorrow.”

As predicted, it gets quite cold during the night. It is a clear star studded sky with the moon shining down. Wolves are heard howling in the distance. Those that are on watch keep the torches lit as the rest sleep with the Morleys by the fire using their bodies to keep warm. Several creatures are observed coming down to get a drink out of the pond. They keep a watchful eye on them as some familiar predators show up but stay away from the fenced in area and the torches lighting the area. Otherwise, it’s a fairly quiet night with only the noises typical of the desert scrub land taking place.

The morning arrives clear and cold as the patrol gets prepared for the tasks they will need to do to establish their pond side location as a base of operations. The Morleys head out to graze as the two young raptors follow their foster parents about. Metal ore rocks are harvested. A crude forge is crafted to smelt the metal down to ingots, and a Smithy is built so that Tom can start crafting crossbows and pikes for defense.

As Tom is busy crafting tools, the rest of the patrol is in the area gathering resources. I make an unexpected discovery when I find a giant snake. We have seen some huge snakes in Vietnam but nothing of the size of this one. I yell for help as it starts to chase me. The patrol quickly comes to my rescue as I lead it back to where they are gathering resources. We attack it with spears finally killing it. As we start to harvest this bounty of raw meat and hide, Henry finds Larry taking a nap. Doc quickly determines that the snake had bit him during the fight. With the use of the white berries, Larry finally wakes up, then heads down to the pond to quench his thirst given the dehydrating effect caused by the stimm berries. Fortunately for Larry, the injury is minor with the effect of being bitten has the effect of having eaten a large hand fill of narco berries.

“Where did you find that giant snake?” as Sergeant Thomas once the excitement died down.

“It just showed up hiding in the brush near the dry riverbed,” I tell him.

“I only though that they were a swamp creature,” answers Fred.

“Apparently, they can survive in these desert environment like the rattlesnakes in our desert southwest,” reports Doc. “Looks like we have supply drops in this world as well. Lets go check it out.”

The supply drop, which lands close by the developing campsite, is found to contain a set of desert armor, a blueprint for how they are constructed, and blueprints for constructing an Adobe Shelter. Handing the blueprint to Tom, given that this specialized set of clothes require crafting in a Smithy, we go about gathering silk from the purple flowers. By the time the serious desert heat arrives in the afternoon, we all have a set of desert armor. We find it just as cool to wear as the gillie from The Island but much more suited for the desert conditions we are now in.

Dave’s furry little friend is now having a fit. The wild ones nearby are doing the same. In the distance, the sky had darkened as a black cloud starts rolling in from the end of the valley. “Sandstorm,” warns Dave as he realizes that his furry friend has detected a change coming in the weather. Everyone has gone inside of the thatch shelter which shakes from the roaring wind outside. The young raptors come inside with them as the four Morleys bed down against the side of the hut the way camels do in a sandstorm. It is an hour later before the storm suddenly ends as quickly as it has started.

During that hour of howling wind and blowing sand, a lot of damage has been done to their thatch shelter and spike fence. “Perhaps it’s time to start construction on that adobe shelter,” orders Sergeant Thomas as the patrol starts cleaning up the mess of tumbleweeds and piles of sand. “It should be a lot stronger then this thatch.”

Now that Tom has crafted up a set of metal tools needed for the construction, All of the nearby Joshua Trees are cut down for the timbers and thatch needed for the structure. The pile of tumbleweeds provide the fibers needed to bind the clay mixture into durable panels. A waterproof clay is made with the fine sand and cactus sap per the instructions in the blueprint from the supply drop. By nightfall, a shelter has been built for the patrol and their smaller tames as a vicious electrical storm is observed raging in the distance. It remains a peaceful second night as the storm stays up in the distant buttes.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chapter 11, The Dangerous Deserts of Scorched Earth.


Fred and Larry wake up to something most interesting that is taking place at the spiked fence. A female adult raptor is at the fence along with the two claimed juveniles on the other side. They are talking calmly to each other. Strangely, the Morleys are not disturbed by her presence. In a bold move, Fred has gone outside the fence with a coe and cautiously offers it to her. She carefully takes it from his hand and slowly eats it, then comes up to him to be petted.

“You got some balls to go out there like that,” Larry tells Fred.

“She has not acted aggressively to me or to the youngsters,” answers Fred. “I think we may now have a foster mom for our claimed youngsters. Bring me some of Doc’s medical brew. She must have been injured in a fight last night. It should be safe to bring her in with us so that she can be with the youngsters.” With the female raptor Fred has named Rosemary due to the colors on her feathers, they treat her injuries with the medical brew as she interacts with the two juvenile raptors and the men treating her injuries.

During the treatment, several large quills have been pulled out of her face, neck, and arms. “What do you think those are from?” asks Sergeant Thomas as he comes over to examine their new tame.

“Those look like some kind of giant porcupine quill,” answers Doc as he examines them. “Given the size of those quills, it must be bigger then this raptor.”

“I’ve never seen anything like that in any of the scientific textbooks,” I tell Scott. “Then again, there were no examples of anything that looked like those Morleys in those textbooks either.”

“We had better armed ourselves with shields, swords, and crossbows as soon as possible,” answers Sergeant Thomas. “Given the fact that we don’t know what’s could be out there, we had better be prepared for anything.”

Tom has already been busy crafting up the steel needed for the weapons. “I should have them ready by mid afternoon,” he announces to this lost patrol.

A supply drop beacon has been spotted coming down in the dry wash. Given the unknown in the area and the fact that there are places in the dry wash that could harbor predators hiding in ambush, six of us armed with bows and spears, head down to retrieve it. Rosemary follows Fred out to the supply drop. “She insists on coming with me,” announces Fred as the female raptor sticks close by him.

Reaching the supply drop, it is found to contain a high level raptor saddle and a high quality crossbow. “Great! I just got a new saddle for Rosemary,” replys Fred as he checks out the contents of the drop. Placing the saddle on the raptor, Fred finds that it works quite well as he proceeds to ride her. “I thinks that she likes it.” He rides her about in the dry wash as both of them become familiar in how a saddled raptor can be ridden.

“Wasps!” something suddenly makes a noise from behind some boulders in the dry wash nearby.

“Look out!” warns Larry as he loads the new crossbow to deal with the unknown threat.

Spotting it, Fred yanks hard on the reins to pull the raptor out of harms way kicking her in the flanks at the same time. She hisses in protest from the violent maneuver. They duck behind a boulder as she trips over a fallen log, and take a tumble as several dozen spikes go flying just over their heads impacting on the cactus and splintering off of the rocks beyond. Larry drops the threat with an arrow to the head as Fred and the raptor scrambles to get back up. “That was close,” he comments as he tries to calm her down. “This must be what attacked her during the night. What is that thing?”

“That thing looks like a giant porcupine in a dragon body,” comments Doc as he examines the new creature. “There’s nothing like this in any of the textbooks on prehistoric creatures.”

“Those quills might be useful for use in a dart gun,” reports Sergeant Thomas. “Lets collect them to use for a new weapon.”

Cautiously the rest of the patrol go over to examine this new threat of the desert dry wash. Finding that it is indeed dead from the crossbow arrow into the head, the others start to pull out all of it’s quills with gloved hands, then proceed to skin it.

“Let Rosemary know that we got rid of this threat,” orders Sergeant Thomas as they start to butcher the creature soon known as a Thorny. Eventually, Fred is able to coax her over to where the rest of the patrol is butchering up the Thorny. She quickly calms down when she realizes that the threat is over.

“As soon as she will let me, I’m going to continue surveying what is down on this dry wash,” Fred tells the others.

“Be careful out there,” advises Sergeant Thomas.

“I will,” answers Fred. “That scared the wits out of the both of us.”

After a bit of coaxing to let Rosemary get some of her confidence back, Fred takes the raptor on a quick trip down to the end of the dry wash. It opens up into a desolate sea of sand that stretches on forever. In the distance on the horizon, the ruins of a large desert settlement can be seen in the haze from the hot morning sun. A mountain range barely is visible a long ways beyond. “That’s as far as I want to take you without the others along,” he tells Rosemary as they turn around to head back to the rest of the patrol. She chirps happily in agreement with his decision.

It is noon by the time the six man patrol returns to the campsite with a bounty of leather hide, raw meat, and a huge bundle of 12 inch long barbed spikes. “Those will come in useful for a dart gun if we have to fight the bats in a cave,” reports Doc as he examines one of the barbed spikes. “With some additional toxin on the tips, they will be even more effective then the darts the Laotian locals were using against the NVA in their ambushes.”

The other six individuals of this lost patrol have not been sitting idle either. While Tom has been working on crossbows and swords, the other five have been out survey the area for resources and possible tames. Dave and I have located and tamed two Parasaurs. Their behavior and intelligence has been similar to those we first encountered on The Island. They have proven quite useful in our tasks in expanding our camp and fenced in enclosure. A male raptor was obtained when we had to knock it out with tranc arrows before our Morleys decided to take it out. Seeing that we had the two juveniles interacting with us, it soon figured it out that it would be safer to stay with us then try to survive in the desert alone.

A small pack of four Dire Wolves surprised Eddie and Mike later that morning as they were returning from a hunting trip where they took out a pack of Terror Birds using poison tipped spears. Climbing up onto the cliff above them, they knocked out their pack leader with tranc arrows. As the rest of the pack watch, they were able to tame the pack leader. Before they knew it, they had the loyalty of the rest of the pack with them and rode back on the two leaders with the other two serving as pack animals.

Most unusual is when we were all back together around noon, a pair of giant kangaroos showed up at the watering hole along with a small herd of camels and some primitive giant flightless birds known as Moas. They were all quickly passive tamed with their favorite foods, those purple berries that grow in abundance around out camp in the small cactus patches. A supply drop showed up with a saddle blueprint for the Moa, a Giant Kangaroo saddle, enough wool for a second one, and a stack of preserving salts. We now have a mount for everyone as well as extras that could serve as pack animals once we were ready to conduct an extended patrol away from out oasis camp.

“Where do you think where we can find crystal for a spyglass?” asks Denny.

“We could try looking up on the mesa,” I answer. “Lets try out these Kangaroos. They should be able to carry extra supplies in their pouches.”

With a second saddle made, Denny and I saddle up the two Giant Kangaroos. We find they ride similar to a Parasaur but it’s a bouncy ride as compared to a two legged stride.

“How are we going to get up on those ledges?” asks Denny.

“Lets see if they can jump up there,” I answer. With a cue to the sides, the Giant kangaroo charges up it’s jump leaping up to the ledges with no effort at all.

“This is great!” I tell Denny. “We can reach places with these creatures that would be most difficult otherwise.”

“Those back legs should pack quick a kick against a predator,” answers Denny.

“I bet that they could drop kick unconscious most any threat their size or smaller,” I answer.

“Lets test it out if we have the chance,” Denny answers.

Continuing up the mesa, we finally find what we are looking for. Spy glasses are crafted with the crystal found in the area. We also find some metal node and harvest them given that there are no river rocks in our canyon area. We are able to pack a sizable amount of metal given our rides can carry a lot of weight.

Coming down from the mesa, we run into a lone male raptor. It decides that I would make a good meal. Big mistake. My Kangaroo drop kicks the raptor as it runs in to attack thus knocking it out. Eventually, we end up with a tamed male raptor for Rosemary when it finally wakes up. I name him Ralph and craft a saddle for him.

It is late afternoon when we head back to camp with our booty.

Metal ore is placed in the forge. The spyglasses are handed out to the others for use.

At the evening meeting, it is decided that we should continue to look for civilization. “Lets plan an expedition over to that desert village Fred spotted out in the desert,” suggest Sergeant Thomas.

“I suggest that we leave the slower creatures back here and just ride our fast creatures,” I answer.

“Good idea,” answers Sergeant Thomas. “That way, we can travel light and fast to stay away from danger. I’ll have Doc make us up water skins for everyone. Lets plan on traveling early in the morning so we can get back here before the afternoon heat becomes a problem.”

The rest of the evening is spent on preparation for the trip planned for the next day.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chapter 12: The ruins of Nostril.


It had been a bitter cold night in the wastelands of Scorched Earth as the patrol wakes up in the early morning fog over their oasis. The makeshift canteens, which had seen successful use over on The Island, are prep and filled at the spring. The raptors, camels, Moas, Dire Wolves, and giant Kangaroos are saddled for the patrol. The slower and juvenile tames are being left back in the camp. The patrol leaves traveling light in the early morning light in order to reach their destination before the desert heat becomes an issue.

Traveling through the ravine the patrol reaches the edge of the desert by mid morning. It is already getting hot as everyone changes to their desert armor, the heat haze and drifting sand already making it difficult to judge the distance to the settlement beyond.

“What happened to the water in my water skin?” asks Tom when he checks to see if it is full. “It’s half full and I didn’t get a drink from it.”

“Didn’t you fill your water skin before we left?” asks Sergeant Thomas.

“Yes, I did,” Tom answers.

“Everyone, get a drink and fill your water skin before we head out into the desert,” orders Sergeant Thomas.

Leaving their last source of water, the patrol continues on to their destination that is shimmering on the sand dune horizon. It’s a long trip through the hot desert as they continue on the journey. Their destination is finally coming into sight just as a huge black cloud is seen approaching them on the horizon.

“Take shelter by that large building,” orders Sergeant Thomas as the wind starts howling with the blowing sand bringing the visibility to zero. As only the raptors can fit through the door to get inside, the rest of the tames hug the side of the large building for shelter as tents are set up inside the building to shelter from the sand filtering down from a large hole in the roof.

“Why is my water skin empty?” complains Larry after everyone has gone inside the tent to get away from the sand. “I thought that I filled it before we left the pond to go to the desert.”

“Mine’s empty too,” complains Tom.

“Their all empty,” everyone else is complaining.

“It must have something to do with this desert heat,” suggest Doc. “They never leaked like that back on The Island. Hopefully, we can find a well somewhere in that abandoned village when the storm ends.”

As the storm continues to rage outside, I have noticed that Fred’s raptor has been acting strangely. “What’s wrong with Rosemary?” I ask Fred.

“I don’t know,” Fred answers. “She’s been very nervous ever since she came in here with us.” She refuses to leave my side.

“I wonder if there is something in here with us that is making her nervous?” I ask Fred.

“Do we even want to know,” answers Fred. “There’s not much that a raptor is afraid of in these worlds.”

“I think that we are about to find out,” I answer given that the storm is ending with the dust settling out of the air. A shape the size of a T-Rex is seen down in a low area inside the large structure.

“Is that a dragon?” warns Fred as everyone goes on alert with the two raptors sticking close to him.

“It sure is,” I answer. “Hold your fire. Lets see what it’s intentions are. It seems to be more frighten of us then we are of it.”

“Crap, I wish we still had those rifles with tranc darts,” Sergeant Thomas comments as the rest of the patrol has their crossbows on the ready.

“Stand down,” I order everybody after a couple of minutes of us staring at the dragon and it staring back at us. With our weapons in a resting position, the dragon appears to relax some. Then, with a sign of relief, it lays down facing me. Interestingly, Fred’s raptors are no longer acting so nervous about the presence of a dragon in the building with us.

“Somewhere, I read that dragons can be quite intelligent. They can actually talk to people in those stories.” reports Doc. “At least, that is what I read in those manuals from those Dungeons and Dragons games I used to play with my buddies back home.”

“Are you sure about that?” asks Sergeant Thomas. “They could be quite nasty in that game.”

“Still, they could become an ally if you were to defeat them in battle without injuring them.” reports Doc.

“Those same rules may not apply here,” suggest Fred. “He doesn’t look to be as big as those dragons in that game. He’s more of the size of that T-Rex we dropped with tranc darts back on The Island. He appears to be a two legged variety. Those dungeon ones in that game were always guarding a nest full of gold and jewels. I don’t see anything like that in here. So far, he hasn’t made any attempts to attack us. He’s just staring at us.”

“There’s one way to find out,” I answer the group. “Let me go over and talk to him.”

Cautiously approaching him, I have taken the chance that I will not become his tasty snack or get turned into charcoal. He gives me a sniff, then lets me pet him on the side of his face, then rub his neck. His hide surprisingly is quite soft, not hard and abrasive. We are soon talking to each other as he appears to be enjoying this new form of attention.

After making the first contact with him, I ask for Doc to come over with some Medical Brew. “He has several nasty scrapes and bruises on his wing and body as a result of falling through the roof of the structure we have taken shelter in.” I tell the others. “He tells me that he has been unable to fly back out of the hole to escape.” Doc and Tom start taking care of the injuries as the dragon and I continue talking to each other. I give him the name of Spooky which is the call sign of a specialize cargo plane that is outfitted with Gatling Guns we once called in to fire thousands of rounds a minute onto an enemy patrol that was chasing us one scary night weeks ago. The stream of tracers reminded me of a dragon breathing fire to the ground below.

“Is there some way we can chop a hole in the wall big enough for Spooky to escape?” I ask Sergeant Thomas.

“Let me examine this building to see if we can find a weak point to create an opening that doesn’t bring the entire structure down on top of us,” answers Sergeant Thomas. There is soon a detachment that starts to set up a scaffold to reach the top of where two large window frames are next to each other in a back wall. They then proceed to tear out the loose adobe separating the two window frames.

While the detachment is tearing out the window frames, Spooky tells me where we can find a well down below as well as information about the huge cave down there while he was trying to find another way out of his trap. “We should explore that cave to see if it has any keys we need to use to get out of this world,” answers Sergeant Thomas.

“Be careful down there,” Spooky warns Sergeant Thomas. “There are creatures hiding down below can be very dangerous to you humans and your tames.”

“I’ll send Fred and Larry down to do a quick survey on their raptors,” Sergeant Thomas tells him. “If it’s as bad as you say it is down there, we’ll come back later once Tom can craft us up the weapons we need to deal with the threat.” With a crash, the center section separating the two windows and their frames comes crumbling down.

“Thank you, thank you so much,” spooky tells the group as he steps through the hole in the wall. “If it wasn’t for you humans, I could have been trapped in here forever.” He flies off, circles around the abandoned settlement, then comes back inside to be with us.

Meanwhile, Fred and Larry have taken the two raptors down into the cave to check it out. They are only gone a short while returning to file their report. “The well Spooky told us about is located just down the first flight of stairs in a cellar,” reports Fred. “The rest of this cave system looks like the ground just opened up and swallowed a large village. We found an Explorer’s Note hidden in an Egyptian Vase. It’s author called this place Nostril. She said it was destroyed by the Green Obelisk when they became too prosperous. It looks to be a vast cave system down there. We didn’t go any further then where we saw a tile mural on the wall of something called a Manticore. The raptors were getting quite nervous down there. I could see hoards of giant bats, spiders, giant snakes, and other creepy crawlies further down in the distance. It was time to turn around before they spotted us and became a threat.”

Back outside, the patrol starts searching through the ruins still up on the surface for any clues to what happened to it’s inhabitants. “Watch out for some of these holes in the ground,” warns Sergeant Thomas. “You don’t want to fall to your death in the cave down below.”

More notes found confirms the story of Nostril becoming too successful as well of their inhabitants worshiping the Obelisk as a God by offering sacrifices to them. “The aliens must have punished them for such savagery by destroying their desert city,” declares Tom as he studies ruins of their technology left behind.

“It appears that what must of have happened,” answer Doc as the patrol finishes up their exploration returning to the ruined temple. “There are no signs that anyone survived the destruction. It must have been similar to what happened to Sodom in the Bible.”

“The punishment must have affected this entire Ark,” reports Sergeant Thomas. Any structures we have found so far are all in a state of ruins.”

Meanwhile, I have been invited to ride on Spooky to explore the nearby desert. It is an unexpected opportunity to do a quick exploration of Scorched Earth by air. “I’ll be back to camp by evening,” I tell Sergeant Thomas as the patrol start their return trip out of the desert.

“Be careful out there,” orders Sergeant Thomas as Spooky takes off with me riding on his shoulder. “I’ll see you in the evening.”

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