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Primeval fic: (Don't Build Your World Around) Volcanoes Melt You Down (1/1)

June 3rd, 2014 (05:59 am)
quixotic
Tags: ,

feeling: quixotic

Title: (Don’t Build Your World Around) Volcanoes Melt You Down

Disclaimer: I do not own Primeval.

A/N: Written for the primeval_denial art challenge. Beta by kristen_mara. Spoilers for S1 mostly. Apologies to Damien Rice for the title. Based on the art by goldarrow, which can be found here.

Summary: Time will always tell.



-o-

The world is young and undisturbed. Dinosaurs roam, and the plant life thrives under the scorching heat and thick rains. The herbivores eat hungrily at the groves of greenery, scattering at the thundering call of predators in the area. They coexist, in their own way, in the shadow of the great mountain at the center.

This mountain is special, after all. On its steep sides, everything blooms. It is the essence of life, poking dramatically up into the sky. The clouds hide the peak sometimes, but nothing can ever change the mountain unless it wishes to be changed. Here, species flourish and the ecosystem thrives. The streams run cool and fresh, babbling under the shade of the forest that has grown for centuries.

It is a delicate balance, maintained naturally by the ebb and flow of life. It is wild and raw, and it is very, very beautiful. Some might call it perfect.

Then, one morning, while the herbivores graze and the predators stalk, the mountain rumbles.

With a belch, ash spews into the air. The rumbling increases as rocks go flying. By the third gurgle, lava starts to bubble over before the eruption takes full effect. It is a flurry of activity, hot ash burning through the green as it coats the mountainside. Animals start to run, prey and predator alike, fleeing frantically through the foliage they once called home. They’re fast, but the lava flow is faster still. It burns its way down the mountain, destroying everything before it. Trees disappear; dinosaurs are consumed. What had once been balance is entirely dominated now, everything subjugated to a force of nature made of fire and ash.

That mountain -- and every creature near it -- will never be the same.

-o-

When Helen makes up her mind to go through an anomaly, it seems like the only reasonable choice. She doesn’t understand why people are so scared of such things. It’s not that she’s without some trepidation, but for the science alone, she has to know.

She has to know.

On the other side, she realizes that everything she thought she knew wasn’t enough. She learns that there is more to this world, more to this life. She scouts the mountainside in abject awe, mentally cataloguing the plants and the animals and the intensity of the sun.

It’s a volcano, she notes immediately, and an active one at that. There are small seismic sensations, and there is evidence of ash in the region. It’s probably only a matter of time before a full-on volcanic event levels the area, leaving nothing but the fossils Helen has studied all her life.

When she goes back to the present, everything seems dimmer by comparison. In her lab, she sits vacantly, tracing her fingers on the impressions of a plant found imprinted in stone.

“Volcanoes,” Nick muses as he walks by. “A scientist’s best friend.”

“Yes,” Helen murmurs. “Powerful forces.”

“And think,” Nick says good-naturedly. He has no idea, and Helen hasn’t told him. If he wanted to see the signs of the changes in her, he’d have looked harder. The truth is, he’d stopped looking a long time ago. “They had the ability to change entire ecosystems. Entire habitats. The entire course of history.”

Helen looks at the fossil again, and does her best not to smile. “They certainly do change everything.”

-o-

Tom Ryan doesn’t know anything about science. He doesn’t know much about dinosaurs or history. It’s not his job to know. It’s his job to serve and protect.

And he’s been in other worlds before. Not technically of course, but being dropped off in a warzone in Afghanistan is a world away enough. Front line combat is nothing like civilian life, and after that, Ryan had thought he’d seen everything.

Standing, gun in hand, looking around at the prehistoric earth, he realizes how wrong he was. Because he’s never cared about the how’s or why’s. He’s just cared about coming home.

Here, there are dinosaurs and creatures. Here, Ryan stands at the foot of a volcano holding nothing but a gun and he knows how small he is. He can’t serve and protect. If something goes wrong, he can’t even save himself or the wandering Cutter.

Nervous, he glances back toward the anomaly and fights the urge to run. Ryan’s no coward, and he’s been scared before, but never like this.

He looks up at the volcano and can’t suppress a shudder.

This is a war he’ll fight because someone has to.

Somehow, he fears, it’s a war they’ll lose.

-o-

Stephen’s been cooped up in a lab for so long that he’s forgotten what he really loves. He’s forgotten how this all started, how he was young once and in love with nature. He’d meant to travel; he’d meant to study natural habitats and stake all he had to save them. He’d meant to study the rainforests, and document the Congo. He’d intended to see crocodiles on the Nile and watch the wolf packs in Alaska.

Instead, Stephen’s spent the last eight years in a lab by Cutter’s side. There had been field excursion, to be sure, and tracking wildlife across remote regions are still the most exciting times he’s ever had. But it’s never quite been his adventure; it’s never truly been his choice. He’s been Cutter’s right-hand man, on call no matter where or where not they may roam.

He’s never regretted it, of course, but when the anomaly refracts in front of him, he finds he can’t resist. In most things, Stephen is measured and predictable.

But sometimes he just lets go.

And it’s either the best thing or the worst thing.

He tumbles through one anomaly, but before he can stop himself, he’s tripping headlong into another. The sudden shift in atmosphere steals his breath, and he gets his footing and whirls around. He’s someplace ancient, he knows from the heat and thin air alone. And the volcano…

The top is smoking, and Stephen feels a tremor beneath his feet. The damn thing is going to explode.

So much for impulses. The need to survive supersedes all the rest, and he suddenly feels stupid. To risk everything on a whim. That’s just like him, though. Heedless in the face of disaster before the whole thing blows up in his face.

Literally.

Stephen really should know better.

Swallowing hard, he turns back and dives through the anomaly. This time, he stops himself and realizes that this is the halfway point he rolled right through. Only it’s more than a halfway point.

Standing, he gapes. Because it’s not just one anomaly. It’s dozens of them. More than he could imagine. These things are not singular occurrences. They may actually be far more prevalent than they ever knew.

This is a big deal. This could change everything.

Stephen’s next instinct is to try another one, but he still feels the tremor of the ground and reminds himself that his first instincts aren’t always his best.

In fact, as he looks around, he’s not even sure they amount for much, all things considered. He may have escaped the imminent eruption of the volcano, but he’s by no means home. Coming through as fast as he did, he’s not entirely sure which anomaly he came through.

Stephen should probably be scared, but he’s too overwhelmed to muster up the fear. It’s just remarkable. One second, he’s in the present. The next, he’s in the past. Now, he’s someplace in between, watching the convergence of dozens of points in time.

It’s funny to think about. All these portals, all these places. So many points in time, all coming to a point, right here. As if everything could culminate to a point, as if it were possible to have infinite possibilities right before him.

Here, where everything has already happened, where everything is going to happen. Somewhere a volcano explodes; somewhere scientists dig up fossils. The past is never over, and the future doesn’t really exist. It’s all in the moment. That volcano is going to erupt forever.

Stephen might be foolish enough to think he can avoid that.

But time will tell

Time will always tell.

-o-

Thousands of years in the future, a predator finds herself alone. This world is barren and bleak, and there is nothing left. Lesser beings have tried to change this, but she knows better. Evolutionary fact remains what it is; she was always meant to see this planet to its next era.

She runs through the trees, pursuing her latest meal. The volcano behind her is inactive and dormant, as unimportant as the humans who lay claim to her creation.

It matters not, for she has eclipsed them. They seek to control her, but she has evolved beyond them now. She is powerful; she is pure. The children she bears will conquer this planet, and her kind will live.

This is a certainty, she decides as she lays her claim to the pristine landscape. Humans still exist, of course, and they may seek her, but they will not find her. Those who try will never go home again.

She climbs high in the mountain, looping through the trees. She turns her head up to the sky and relishes in her glory.

This is her time.

This is her moment.

Nothing will change that.

Below her, the mountain rumbles.

Comments

Posted by: fredbassett (fredbassett)
Posted at: June 3rd, 2014 01:04 pm (UTC)
raccoons - Ryan

That's beautifully imagined! Each section is both very vivid and a lovely character study. And I enjoyed the predator getting the final word.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 12th, 2014 02:01 am (UTC)
stephen sad

I had trouble with a plot for this one, but the character study came pretty naturally. Thank you :)

Posted by: nietie (nietie)
Posted at: June 3rd, 2014 01:25 pm (UTC)
StephenTracker

Great, atmospheric snippets of the different characters with the volcano at the centre of the storylines.

Edited at 2014-06-03 02:09 pm (UTC)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 12th, 2014 02:04 am (UTC)
stephen cutter distance

I struggled with this one, so I'm glad the result was readable!

Thanks!

Posted by: goldarrow (goldarrow)
Posted at: June 3rd, 2014 03:34 pm (UTC)

Oh, bloody hell that was evocative.

Here, where everything has already happened, where everything is going to happen.
A most amazing sentence. Made me shiver.

Loved the character drawings - they came to life so beautifully. Each one separate, distinct, but all revolving around the power of the volcano.

Beautiful.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 12th, 2014 02:05 am (UTC)
stephen cutter sit

Your art was a lovely prompt! I was having a hard time doing it justice, so I hope this character driven piece was good enough :)

Thanks!

Posted by: goldarrow (goldarrow)
Posted at: June 12th, 2014 05:51 am (UTC)

Thanks, I'm so glad you liked it!

And most definitely I loved your piece. Aside from the lovely writing and the excellent characterizations, it was just so different, a totally fresh take on the idea. *hugs*

Posted by: reggietate (reggietate)
Posted at: June 3rd, 2014 06:24 pm (UTC)
worriedstephen

I like the way you've used the volcano as a motif. A fascinating take on the artwork :-)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 12th, 2014 02:06 am (UTC)
stephen goodbye

Thank you :)

Posted by: The Libran Iniquity (tli)
Posted at: June 3rd, 2014 06:30 pm (UTC)
Primeval

Gorgeous writing and I love how it ended with the predator.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 12th, 2014 02:06 am (UTC)
stephen skeptical

The predator was fun to write :)

Thanks!

Posted by: knitekat (knitekat)
Posted at: June 3rd, 2014 07:37 pm (UTC)

Lovely use of the pic, with all the different sections and go the predator getting the last word.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 12th, 2014 02:07 am (UTC)
stephen goodbye

It's neat how one pic can spawn such different fics :)

Thanks!

Posted by: clea2011 (clea2011)
Posted at: June 3rd, 2014 10:49 pm (UTC)
Stephen black white

I really liked the way you wrote this, with a segment for each character. Great take on the prompt.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 12th, 2014 02:08 am (UTC)
stephen happy

Thank you :)

Posted by: Cordelia Delayne (cordeliadelayne)
Posted at: June 4th, 2014 12:59 am (UTC)
[primeval] abby/connor

That was great. I loved the different ways each character reacted to their predicament. And I'd certainly never bet against a predator's survival.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 12th, 2014 02:10 am (UTC)
stephen hair

Thanks :)

Posted by: kristen_mara (kristen_mara)
Posted at: June 4th, 2014 12:37 pm (UTC)
Stephen Clouds


I like how the volcano had the last word, especially in the final part! Interesting character studies too, especially of Ryan

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 12th, 2014 02:07 am (UTC)
stephen wary

It was all about the volcano :) I'm glad this one turned out okay! I was worried.

Thanks :)

Posted by: Celeste (celeste9)
Posted at: June 4th, 2014 05:07 pm (UTC)
primeval: stephen w/ gun

This is such a cool fic. I love how the whole fic revolves around the setting and each segment is devoted to expressing the effect on one of the characters. Stephen amongst all the anomalies was particularly lovely. Gorgeous fic.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 12th, 2014 02:02 am (UTC)
stephen shocked

I was worried the character driven focus would be a bit dry, so I'm glad it was an okay read :) Thanks!

Posted by: lsellersfic (lsellersfic)
Posted at: June 4th, 2014 06:51 pm (UTC)
Primeval:Dave

Lovely take on the prompt! Each section is so evocative.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 12th, 2014 02:02 am (UTC)
stephen cutter distance

Thank so much :)

Posted by: fififolle (fififolle)
Posted at: June 5th, 2014 07:36 pm (UTC)
Primeval - bellhop of doom

Ooh, that's fabulous. You brought the artwork to life very vividly. I loved the predator section, it was amazing! And rather scary...

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 12th, 2014 02:02 am (UTC)
stephen hair

The predator was probably my favorite to write, for some reason...

Thanks!

Posted by: athene (deinonychus_1)
Posted at: June 8th, 2014 08:50 am (UTC)
helen

Great atmospheric piece.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: June 12th, 2014 02:01 am (UTC)
stephen hair

Thanks :)

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