Copyright© 2013 by JOHNNY SACHU
David Evans was watching some Dimetrodon, from a distance, an early sail-fin mammal-like reptile, that looked more lizard-like to him because of the way their short legs splayed out from their bodies. It walked and moved around like an alligator, though, but it had this huge bone and thin membrane fin on its back and was a fast mover. Definitely a warm blooded animal, he thought, as did most paleontologists these days.
He had driven all the way to Texas, on the opposite end of the contiguous United States, south, into the dry warmth of the distant State to see these guys. They were an early reptile/dinosaur, depending on your point of view, from the Permian period, roughly 280 million years ago, which was long before animals classified as dinosaurs lived. They still looked like one, though, he thought, and always had. David had learned to love them as an inquisitive young boy from a book in his childhood school's library, before they had put him into advanced classes, after discovering his brilliance. To him, it seemed to be a dinosaur but it wasn't classified as one by those that did that sort of thing, so really, it wasn't.
Dimetrodon's seem to have been located and found only in the United States and Germany, mostly in Texas and Oklahoma from out of the Red Beds dig fields, on Texas' northern border, and that was quite different from many ancient animals, unlike dinosaurs, that roamed or migrated over huge areas and land masses, and were found in every area of the globe.
Dimetrodon seemed to be in the neighborhood of 8 to 12 feet long, about as bulky as an alligator/crocodile, but with a short but very massive and powerful looking head for its size, with irregular, pointed, and serrated teeth. But it was the huge sail-fin back that set it apart and was the top predator of its day, way back then. And from his observation point, standing at what David considered to be a safe distance, not that any of them could harm him with his stasis field turned on, he was enjoying their antics in the daylight and the occasional scary charge of a few of the larger beasts. He knew they could see him but didn't seem alarmed by his presence or nearness so he had approached to within twenty yards of the ancient, extinct animals, laying about near the edge of this ancient swamp water environment. Several had approached him, curios, he thought, but with the invulnerable shield turned on, he was fully impervious to their sudden attacks and gnawing on the stasis bubble, trying to get at him, but they had finally left him alone, or he had merely kicked them away from him without hurting the old boys. With the field on, he was almost as powerful as a modern day rhinoceros, he figured, something the device created making objects outside the field very light, compared to his density and that of the force field it created.
David was taking video and still photos with his camera, a Canon, SX150 IS. He could change lithium AA batteries in the field without a problem with it and had come to love the many features and ease of use. Looking at a lot of the small Dimetrodon, further away from those larger adults, he figured he ought to take a couple or more back with him, if he could catch the little buggers. They were quick as lizards.
With little effort, though, he was able to surprise a few and grabbed what he thought were male and females. He got six altogether and tossed them in his backpack then sealed it via a zipper.
David pulled his device from under his tee shirt and hiked back to the spot he had entered this world, 280 million years ago, in the future. He had marked it with a circle of sticks and stones and stood inside its circle, now. He activated the device and after a rather boring return to his century, watching the gray mist that formed outside his sphere, he finally came to the time, while slowing, where the scratched off calendar and the hour clock could be seen in the visitors center office, once he slowed and returned to the week he'd left, and counted off the hours and minutes to when he had disappeared, then stopped the time travel portion of his device and restarted normal time, ending his journey into the far removed past world.
David took the aggressive little Dimetrodon's and pulled the roughly twelve inch buggers out of his backpack and slipped them into a glass display case, disturbing the integrity of the display and setting off an alarm that got a worker's attention, from the visitors center. A ranger, in fact. The young woman objected most strenuously to the intrusion that he had forced the rectangular case open so blatantly -- that is -- until she saw the small Dimetrodon's moving around inside it.
"Where..." she stammered, " ... did you get those?" Her voice trailed off, staring at them and pointing with a trembling finger. Looking between David and the squirming little animals, staring his way then theirs as he fidgeted with his camera, she obviously couldn't believe what she was seeing.
"Here," he said, handing her the SD card, which the woman took shakily, rather dazed by the sheer enormity of the vision before her. "There's some live action and stills on there you might want to review," David said. "They eat almost anything with meat to it, fish, other animals, each other. It just depends how they feel, I think. You'll need to have a tank of water for them, too, but they also spend a lot of their time on land and seem to be the most active at night, so don't over flood them with too much light. They're meaner than alligators so be careful around them. Even at this size I think they could take a finger or two off."
David felt his explanations were enough and began to walk away reaching for the device so he could stop time, but the young woman was in front of him before he could push the button.
"Stop!" she almost screamed, holding her hands out in front of his chest.
David thought she was pretty. Real pretty, but she would never go out with him. He looked too young, still, even though he was pretty close to her age, but he didn't want to take advantage of her astonishment because he could do this. That is, bring back extinct species from millions of years in the past and take advantage of that wonder just to have his way with her. That wouldn't be right and it wasn't what he wanted to do with his device, anyway. This was for him and him alone, and science.
"Who are you and where did you get those?" she demanded.
David liked her long brown hair pulled back as it was and thought she was twenty-four or five. Several years his senior. She was quite the beauty, he scrutinized some more, while considering her question. He wouldn't mind dating her but he had to make his escape before she made too big a deal about this. He hated accolades or attention.
"I got them by the swamp's edge that used to be here, years ago. I had to hike a little, but I finally came to a group of them on the shoreline. The Red Beds, where you dig them up was just a settling place for the bodies, washing down river, I figured, they were so concentrated there, I knew some would be around here, too. Take good care of them. They grow really fast," he warned. "Hey, they're getting out," he said, pointing.
The woman looked, turning away, and David hit the device's button that stopped time. Everything froze. Time, noise, air movement, her, it all stopped like a light switch had been thrown.
David kissed her on the cheek for fun then walked to his waiting motorcycle and fired it up after putting on his full coverage helmet with the metallic blue face shield and his white racing gloves. He slipped the bike's transmission into first and pulled out of the parking lot and accelerated away at a dramatic pace. Five minutes later he turned time back on and felt the buffeting of the wind and heard the noise of it as it streaked around him. He felt elated with the movement again, as always. He was in love with the ride, the places, the few people he met, the bike itself, but what he had done, he figured, would cause quite the stir in the world of paleontology and science, and in certain government circles. He had collected those little guys on a whim and hoped they would be okay. This ancient creature had suddenly been thrust back into existence with man, of all things, and there would be debates and philosophical discussions for years to come, he was sure.
It was sort of funny, though, David thought, and then wondered if more things like this might be fun to do, too. Collect all kinds of animals from the past and bring them back. Like, honest to goodness dinosaurs, and maybe some Pleistocene animals, like Smilodon, the Saber tooth cat. That might be a fun slap in the face, to all the professors that thought they knew so much, huh? David's travels through time had taught him very little of what paleontologist thought they knew, these days, was correct. They did a lot of educated guessing, but sadly, it was wrong most of the time.
David stopped at a roadside diner for some lunch and sat watching as several trouble making oil field workers comically tried mounting his super, Sportster-engined motorcycle and mess with it, but they couldn't get near his pride and joy. It was way too comical. They kept sliding off the bubble of the stasis field and couldn't so much as touch the bike. He had put his spare stasis ring on it and turned it up full, just so low-life's like these couldn't mess with his stuff or play with it and pick a fight with him. They slid off every time like they were trying to mount greased monkey bars. They also tried kicking the bubble but all they got were sore feet and ankles as the stasis field kicked back. It could do that under certain circumstances if it perceived a threat, as in a sudden quick movement or impact. They eventually retreated to their pickups and either left or were licking their wounds.
David forgot about the bike and wondered about getting various kinds of animals from the past to give to institutions or private people, like farmers, for instance, to raise and care for and do whatever they thought best with them. That would be quite the thing, he thought. Maybe they would survive or maybe they wouldn't. It would still be fun though, to see what happened. And finally, David decided to do it. On his way back home he would go back into the past at various spots and get young ones, then bring them back to this age.
David wouldn't bring back any malicious predators, from the age of dinosaurs, probably, as predators were pretty scarce from everything he had researched. He probably couldn't find them if he wanted to. Less than one percent of the total population, back then, as near as scientist could figure out, were carnivores. The herbivores were so successful, there were so many more of them. He would do what he could, though. That was all he could attempt, wasn't it?
When David finished eating, he stepped outside the diner and went and stood where there was no one watching him. He stopped time, went to his bike, entered the stasis sphere surrounding the motorcycle, which he could because he had one, too. He uncovered the license plate he always put over it so no one could trace it and left the dirt parking lot, knocking over several of the now fly-weight oil workers, in stopped time, as he did. They fell like bowling pins. He didn't want them or the sheriff that had been called to know who he was. Several minutes later, he was out of their county. He could only imagined how flustered they had been when the bike had disappeared.
The national news was aflame with reports of all these ancient live animals tossed back into existence. It was like Jurassic Park had been thrown into the mid-western states, only from every age imaginable, from Texas to the northern border of Canada and nobody could figure out how it had happened. Only one witness had come forward with any information about how it had happened and David was the prime suspect, even though the ranger knew almost nothing about him. A drawing was on TV about the mysterious boy that had given animals to the visitors center, down in Texas. That female park ranger looked just as pretty, he thought, as she had back then, too, two weeks before.
David was eating pizza, laughing and swallowing big swigs of Cherry Pepsi. He was loving all the anonymous attention. What was really interesting, though, was how the federal government had laid claim to every exotic animal he had brought back, except one. The farmer he had entrusted the one species to, some Hyractherium, an antelope-like, dog-sized herbivore, had not come forward or announced his find in his corral, where David had left them. What his plans for them were, were unknown, but it would be interesting to see what developed out of it. Hopefully the family intended to raise them on their own and profit by them, and hopefully, not eat them, and thus insure their continued existence in this day and age. That or set them free. Supposedly, and it might still be a debate in their family, he thought, as they were considered to be the precursor to the horse by paleontologists, and that could be a very interesting debate once they finally emerged, whenever that was.
Whatever happened to them, happened. He was just enjoying the show back home under the glowing light of his huge big screen TV.
David had got back from his trip four hours previous. He had bathed, napped, and was now feeding himself without distraction and watching the national news. He was still a bit stiff from the long ride but he felt pretty good for being on the road as long as he'd been, almost a month gone.
David's phone rang and he checked the caller.
It was Rachel. His fifteen year old 'girl friend' he had cut ties with. David was seven years her senior and didn't think he should see her, even though he liked her a great deal. He hadn't answered her calls for some time. She was calling less and less but for whatever reason, David answered this time. I must be more tired than I thought, he said to himself, bring the smart phone to his ear. That ride must have take a lot more out of me than I thought. This is bad judgment here, isn't it? he questioned.
"Hello," he said, anyway.
"Hi Rachel," he said, formulating a lie inside his head. "I've been away for quite a while. I just got home a few hours ago. I see you've called me quite a few times."
"Where did you go?"
"Um, well, I can't tell you over the phone. Would you like me to pick you up?"
"Where? How? Are you in the area?"
"No, I'm at home."
"You can move around pretty fast, can't you?"
"Yes," he told her, and wondered, for the umpteenth time, if he should continue his relationship with her. She was so gorgeous, though, and such a temptation to him. He recalled how he had kissed her lavishly, the last time they had met, but feeling guilty about it, he had reversed time and thus, their meeting. Then, by not answering the phone, it had never happened. She let him kiss her, too, back then, and she had kissed him back like an involved lover. He knew she enjoyed, no, loved his attentions, but thought better of it, later on, at home. He could still reverse this, too. This call. It would be easy with the device in hand and then not answer the phone, but, deep inside, David wanted to see her again. "Is there someplace you can go to be alone? So no one can see me land?"
"I'm alone, now. Everyone's gone to town. Can you come over now?"
"Yes. Meet me behind the barn, again, okay?"
"Okay. I'll be ready."
David pulled the device from under his clean tee-shirt and stopped time. He was very tired and his judgment wasn't too keen, he knew that now. What if something happened to them, something that shouldn't happen? This is dumb, he thought. Who threw his judgment brains out the window, huh? But thinking about Rachel, what she looked like, how her voice sounded, he was overwhelmed with a renewed desire to be near her once more. She was a dreamy, dreamy young woman.
He stood up and went to the walk-in safe, out in the enormous garage, where he kept his flight suites. Where he had just stored his suit. The two Rocketeer ones and his new black suit that was pure function and much more space worthy. He put it on and after seventeen actual minutes, sealing everything up, he went outside.
He flew to Rachel's house in moments and landed quietly behind her barn, knowing precisely the lay of the land, and easily found their farm. He turned on time and waited. He'd beat her to the barn but he didn't wait that long, removing his helmet.
She burst through the back door of the red barn and almost jumped on to him, and then did, wrapping her lovely, long, jean-enveloped legs around his waist. She was glad to see him, alright.
"I thought you might have died on Mars," she said, her speech tickling his ear as she spoke into it, breathlessly. "But when I heard about that Viking space craft that was found in front of the Smithsonian and that 'Yogi' rock from Mars, I knew you'd come back. I was afraid you didn't want to see me anymore. I cried so hard. Where have you been? Why didn't you call?"
"I went into the past. It took a while to do what I wanted to do. I left my phone at home," he lied, but knew it was convincing.