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Parks and Rec/Jurassic World fusion: Parks and Rex (1/3)

December 9th, 2015 (12:43 pm)
optimistic

feeling: optimistic

Title: Parks and Rex

Disclaimer: I do not own Jurassic World. Or Parks and Recreation. Or even the idea for this crossover and its title.

A/N: This was supposed to be crack, but then it wasn’t? And yet still is? Basically, this is the events of Jurassic World with the characters of Parks and Rec. I had to tweak things to fit all the characters in, but that’s the gist of it. It also fills my broken bones prompt and is very, very unbeta’ed.

Summary: Jurassic World is more than a theme park. It's more than an educational experience, a scientific journey or even a business opportunity. It's a family.

PART ONE
PART TWO
PART THREE



-o-

When she'd applied for the job as Head of Operations at Jurassic World, Leslie Knope had come prepared with three binders. She'd actually made ten, but bringing that many on an international flight was cost prohibitive, so she'd selected the three most important ones.

The first had been her ideas regarding park protocols with an emphasis on streamlining tasks to create a better customer experience and to save on overall cost. The second had been about animal development, which had included an expected section on the genetic manipulation while also incorporating an ample amount of space to personal pursuits for each animal. (Happy animals; happy customers; happy executives, she'd wrote on the last page.)

The last binder had been a 503 point list of why she was perfect for this job. While the first 500 related to her schooling, experience, organizational prowess, and interpersonal skills, the last three she thought were really what sealed the deal.

501. Possesses a deep and unending love of parks.

502. Values work not just as a job but as a part of overall public service.

503. Jurassic World is more than a theme park. It's more than an educational experience, a scientific journey or even a business opportunity. It's a family.

-o-

Chris Traeger never set out to become one of the richest men in the world. In fact, he honestly didn't know how that happened. However, he was a man who knew how to commit, how to follow through. He believed in believing, in falling in love with what you did and letting that passion touch everyone around you.

Given that Traeger International was literally one of the most profitable businesses in the world, he had to be doing something right.

That said, he'd never thought much about dinosaurs. He had invested in telecom (because people needed to be connected), and he'd mastered transportation (because what was a life lived statically?), and he'd conquered food and electronics and sporting equipment. But dinosaurs?

It was ridiculous. Everyone knew what had happened when John Hammond created dinosaurs the first time around. It had been a disaster.

But that was sort of Chris Traeger's specialty. He found disasters and he fixed them. He believed that everything deserved a second chance; he believed that anything was possible.

Some people made John Hammond out to be the villain. Chris, however, saw him as a man with passion. And he could relate to that.

Taking over the work for Jurassic World from InGen hadn't just been a good business opportunity. It was something he believed in, because someone had to.

And he could literally think of no one better than himself to do it.

-o-

Ron has been around for awhile. InGen first hired him to work back on the first park, where he'd helped design the security protocols and installed a great deal of the emergency measures. However, after seeing the animals in action, he had made a series of recommendations to his superiors at InGen about the inadequacy of their plans.

His report had been read and promptly filed away as being too expensive and too impractical.

Thus spurned, Ron walked away, insisting that if something wasn't worth doing right, it wasn't worth doing at all.

He was not surprised, therefore, when news of the disaster came out.

He was surprised to get a call about a year later, asking him to come back to work.

"I gave you everything I had," he told them. "You told me it wasn't what you wanted."

"We should have listened the first time around," they'd agreed. "But we have a new opportunity for you. "Something I think you'll enjoy."

When they told him they were evaluating the animals for military purposes, Ron had nearly laughed himself out of the interview.

When they showed him his potential salary, however, he reconsidered.

He didn't have a job, after all, and after they agreed to pay him in gold, he figured what the hell. There was no way dinosaurs would replace soldiers, but that was the beauty of capitalism and the free market. If they wanted to pay him to oversee the impossible for years until they figured it out, then he was okay with that.

-o-

Tom Haverford wasn't the smartest scientist in the world. In fact, he was only pretty average at best, as far the science itself was concerned. He'd managed to get good grades by being adorable and joining the best study groups he could. He'd made a career out of taking the best projects other people came up with and slapping a brand spanking new title on it.

That was the thing about scientists. They had no appreciation for the dramatic.

He got the job at InGen based on two glowing letters of recommendation from people who knew nothing about science. And the fact that almost no one else applied really helped.

It turned out, making dinosaurs wasn't really that hard. Sure, you had to master cloning, but they'd already done that. And genetic splicing wasn't exactly rocket science anymore. All he had to do was combine the two and boom! Dinosaurs!

He'd wanted to quit after the first disaster. But apparently no one else wanted to make monsters that ate people. They'd offered him a hell of a lot of money to keep doing what he was doing, and Tom figured, why not?

It was a bold, dramatic move that got him on the list of Top 100 Sexy Scientists in 2005 and 2010. Sometimes he still got a little nervous about what he was doing, but that was all par for the course.

Bigger the bite, the bigger the buck.

Tom knew what mattered in life, after all.

-o-

Dinosaurs were awesome. Really, they were. Ben Wyatt had been collecting dinosaurs since he was two years old. Not real dinosaurs of course, but the plastic ones. He'd memorized all their names, but it was more than that. No, Ben wasn't just a casual fan. Ben invested himself into everything. He studied the time periods, the geological locations.

As a kid, he'd visited dig sites with Dr. Grant. He'd put together skeleton models on his own, and written into scientific journals about their inaccuracies regarding computer renderings of the dinosaurs. (He'd almost blown his interview at Jurassic World by starting on a five minute rant about the lack of features on their raptors, because dinosaurs were related to birds, and they deserved plumage.)

Despite what had happened at the first park, he'd been the first to apply for a job at Jurassic World. He promised them that they would regret hiring him, that he'd do anything and everything, that he'd live there and never take vacation, never take personal time, never be sick, never, never, never.

Because dinosaurs. They were cooler than video games and computer programming and board games all together. Ben was there the day they opened.

And he swore to himself he'd be there till the day it closed.

-o-

Donna Meagle has a way with animals. Always had and always will. She called, and they listened. While most of her life had been spent with dogs and cats and other domestic animals, her talent had become apparent with more exotic animals, too. She could face off with a lion, unarmed and covered in bacon grease, and the big cat would be the one to hang its head and walk away with its tail between its legs.

To Donna, it wasn't even a job. It was just who she was. Which was why taking a job with animals was the smartest thing in the world. That way, her job was over in about two seconds and she had the rest of the day to do whatever it was she wanted. After working in several top class zoos, including San Diego, she finally took a job offer from InGen to work at Jurassic World.

Some people thought she'd just gotten bored with African cats. That maybe she needed to be impressed with the largest predators in the world.

That didn't hurt, probably.

But she'd been to Costa Rica. And damn, the men there were fine. She'd coddle a t-rex and pet raptors to get some of that action.

Because Donna Meagle was a woman who knew what mattered in life.

-o-

No one remembered hiring Jerry Gergich, especially not Leslie, who found him impossible to work with productively but harder still to fire. He was one of the few who'd had a job at the first park, an incident that he probably shouldn't have survived.

He wasn't good at his job, and he had no identifiable skills. So Leslie took him on as her assistant because, frankly, she didn't need an assistant. Instead, she sent him on pointless errands and counted it as a win when he didn't get eaten by the end of the day.

-o-

April Ludgate took an internship at Jurassic World to get as far away from her family as possible. It didn't matter that there were dangerous predators and she was assigned trivial work and didn't get paid.

As it turned out, she was good at it.

She volunteered for more work, and one day when one of her other idiot interns falls into the raptor pit, she doesn't hesitate to unload a stun gun into the creatures before the other kid can get eaten.

Leslie had called her brave and selfless. April didn't see what the big deal was.

That was all they wanted to hear. Apparently it was a job asset not to be scared of large, carnivorous creatures in times of peril. Under Ron's guidance, she was trained as a member of the ACU.

Leslie told her this was an important job, preserving the safety and integrity of the park.

April just liked playing with guns.

Whatever worked, though.

-o-

Ann Perkins visited the park when it first opened with her boyfriend. She had come expecting an engagement ring by the end, but instead she'd been forced to camp out in Costa Rica when her boyfriend managed to break both his legs.

Not from the dinosaurs, mind you. Instead he managed to fall into a construction pit on the far end of the park.

Frustrated, Ann Perkins had insisted on meeting with the Head of Operations to hold someone accountable. Leslie had listened and been rightly indignant on Ann's behalf. In addition to filling the pit, Leslie offered Ann a job.

Ann, seeing no possible means of return with her boyfriend still laid up, agreed. In Ann's mind, it was a temporary agreement.

But years later, she'd dropped the boyfriend and gained a best friend, and she never left Jurassic World.

-o-

Andy Dwyer tried to sue Jurassic World after breaking his legs as a last resort. He had no girlfriend and no money, and apparently lawyers really liked helping people who were too stupid to keep themselves from obvious peril.

Leslie Knope came to talk to him personally, offering him free passes and a plane ticket home.

Andy didn't want that, though. Jurassic World had taken everything from him. That wasn't quantifiable. He wasn't going to leave until he felt like his loss had been acknowledged.

With that in mind, Leslie Knope had offered him a job.

"Can I feed the t-rex?" he asked.

"No," she said. "Because I'm pretty sure you'd die."

"Can I swim with the mosasaurus?" he asked.

"Again, I'm pretty sure you'd die."

"The raptors, then," he said. "Maybe I can train the raptors?"

"You know what, okay," Leslie said. "You won't go inside the paddocks and you won't even touch them, but you can train the raptors."

Andy frowned. "How can I train them without going inside?"

Leslie shrugged. "Claps and whistles?"

Andy thought about that. Claps and whistles.

That might work.

Anything was possible, after all, for Andy Dwyer, Raptor Trainer.

-o-

It was a lot of work, running a successful theme park with deadly prehistoric creatures. There were always visitors to placate, investors to woo, employees to drive and executives to impress.

And the animals. There were always animals to deal with. Leslie never did understand why it was so impossible to make the animals do what they were told. They were eating the wrong berries and getting sick or smacking their heads together and knocking their trackers loose. And the ridiculous mosasaurus refused to jump for anything less than a Great White Shark. Did it not understand how expensive a Great White Shark was? Twice a day, every day?

(Also, there was an inexplicable infestation of raccoons. They’d shipped in a handful to feed to some of the smaller carnivores, but the damn things had taken over. She’d had to close various sections of the village in order to control them, and although Tom had assured her they weren’t rabid, she had her doubts.)

Really, the only one she could trust was Rexy, who turned out for the goats with such vigor that Leslie knew she was doing something right.

Which was why she didn’t have time for special visitors.

“Who are these kids again?” Leslie asked, flipping through her paperwork.

From his desk, Ben glanced up. “Uh, I think kids is a bit of an exaggeration.”

Ann smiled up at her. “Jean Ralphio and Mona Lisa,” she said. “Didn’t Jerry give you the file?”

Leslie took the one Ann was using for reference. “I’ll assume you don’t really need that question answered,” she muttered. “So who are these two?”

“Their father is some big time doctor,” Ben said. “Saperstein--”

Leslie’s eyes widened. “Doctor Saperstein? Our biggest midwestern donor?”

“So you know him, then,” Ben concluded.

“Know him? I want him to consider investing in our upgrades to the petting zoo,” she said. “I was going to pitch it as Be a Sap and Hug a Dinosaur: Saperstein’s Petting Zoo.

Ann made a face.

“Too obscure?” Leslie asked. “What about Jurassic World Petting Zoo: Saperstein’s Spectacular Sitting Selection?

Ann’s expression deepened.

“I’ll think on it,” Leslie said instead. “When do they arrive?”

“Today,” Ben said. “They should be on the next ferry.”

Leslie checked her watch in dismay. “That’s no good!” she exclaimed. “I have to meet investors for the new attraction.”

“The top secret one?” Ann asked.

“Yes, and don’t even ask me what it is because I’m not telling,” Leslie said. “Even if you are like a rare Jurassic wildflower, primed and perfect for a herbivore delight.”

Ann wrinkled her nose.

Leslie sighed. “I can’t miss this,” she said, shaking her head. “I’ll have to send Jerry to the docks. Just for a little bit.”

Ben raised his eyebrows. “Have you met Jerry?”

“It’ll just be for two hours, tops,” Leslie said. “What could possibly go wrong?”

-o-

One of the best things about owning an island was that he got to ride a helicopter to visit.

Chris loved helicopters.

Which was why he’d taken it upon himself to learn how to fly one. His instructor, Captain Richard Nygard, seemed skeptical of Chris’ abilities in this regard, but Chris was forever confident that he would very soon be fully licensed to fly helicopters whenever he wanted.

And helicopters were wonderful.

So were business meetings.

All of which made this morning literally one of the best Chris had ever had. He got to ride in his helicopter to come to a business meeting. With Leslie Knope, no less. There was no doubt about it: this was going to be a great day.

“Leslie Knope!” he said when he saw her at the edge of the landing pad. He shook her hand warmly. “This is going to be the best day ever!”

“Oh, good!” Leslie said. “Because I was kind of nervous about our investor meeting.”

“Nervous?” Chris asked. “Why?”

“Well, our numbers haven’t been as great this quarter--”

Chris shook his head. “The numbers aren’t that important.”

“Well,” Leslie said. “They’re kind of important.”

Chris looked at her seriously. “Leslie, do you know what my flight instructor, Captain Richard Nygard says?”

Leslie made a face. “Um, watch the landing?”

“Yes,” Chris said. “But also that sometimes in flying, you have to go with your gut. Too many accidents are caused by pilot error, because they don’t know how to read the full situation and respond appropriately.”

“You must be good at that, then,” Leslie said. “To get your license.”

“Oh, no,” Chris told her. “I’m terrible. I over think over decision and have nearly killed us three times. But, I’m making progress. That’s what counts. So what is our progress today?”

“Um,” Leslie started. “I have some good growth estimates--”

“And the visitors?” Chris asked.

“Very happy across the board,” she said. “Some people are complaining about the size of our children’s sodas, but Sweetums refuses to renegotiate their contract.”

Chris nodded. “And the animals? Are they happy?”

“Well, they’re animals,” Leslie said. “Food, shelter, water, and, you know--”

Chris tilted his head. “Aren’t they all girls?”

“Tell that to the two brachiosauruses in the plains,” Leslie said. “They’ve made us quite popular with the gay community.”

“That’s excellent!” Chris said. “I trust that you will continue to make this an excellent day by getting the money we need for the new exhibit.”

“Yeah, about that--”

Chris held up his hand. “You can tell me later,” he said. “I plan to visit there later today, and I can literally think of nothing better than seeing the dinosaur and hearing about our investors all at once.”

Leslie nodded. “Okay, then.”

Chris grinned. “Leslie Knope!”

She hesitated, then grinned back. “Chris Traeger.”

He chuckled, starting on his way. “Leslie Knope!”

Chris knew already that this simply had to be a wonderful day.

-o-

This was the part of the job he loved.

Talking to rich people.

Of course, that’d be a lot more fun if he hadn’t been forced to sign fifty legal documents that forbid him for selling his work or selling himself to anyone else, like, ever. He might have rethought that if given the choice again all these years later, but his resigned contract for Jurassic World had landed him on the cover of Scientific Frontiers.

The price he paid for fame.

All that said, Tom loved to put on a good show.

“We designed her to be bigger than the t-rex,” he said with a glint in his eyes. “And that’s not all. She’s not just bigger, but better. We took a little of this, and a little of that, and put it all together for genetic glory. I mean, dinosaurs? Been there, done that. This, though. This is dinosaurs times ten. You should get ready, gentlemen, because this one is going to knock your socks off.”

Leslie beamed at him, and her investors looked duly impressed.

“This just doesn’t up the wow factor,” he assured them. “It redefines the wow factor into the ka-wow factor.”

Ka-wow, he thought. He would have to look into patenting that.

“Right, thank you, Tom, for that stimulating scientific journey,” Leslie said.

“Any time,” he said, taking time to wink at the older investor and offer his most winning smile. “If you need dinos, Dr. Tommy is your man.”

“Wonderful,” Leslie continued. “Now, if you’d like a fly over the island--”

“Wait!” Tom said. “I have a powerpoint, too, if you want.”

“Maybe later,” Leslie told him with a nod to their investors. “We’re on a bit of a schedule.”

“But I found all the best pictures of my work,” he complained. “Mostly, me doing my work. In my tailored lab coat with special glitter monograms.”

“Maybe over lunch?” she suggested, but she was already leaving.

Tom sighed, watching her go.

Miserably, he turned back to his lab.

Science.

What was he thinking?

He totally should have gone into marketing.

-o-

Donna had her pick of departments when she arrived at Jurassic World, and she bounced around some until she came to the raptors. True, they weren’t as much of a high profile commodity on the island, and they were rather high maintenance.

But one look at Andy Dwyer in those pants of his -- and da-yum. There was only one thing Donna wanted to climb, and it wasn’t the corporate ladder.

That wasn’t to say that he was any good at what he did.

No, Andy Dwyer was pretty much horrible at what he did. The fact that he was still alive was nothing more than dumb luck and Donna’s inherent ability with animals.

“Blue!” Andy called from the top of the pen, clicking the trainer tool in his hand. “Hey, eyes on me!”

Blue, who was at least 50 IQ points smarter than Andy, ignored him.

“Delta, Echo -- come one, follow me,” Andy ordered.

Delta and Echo yawned and tussled with each other instead.

“Champion!” Andy barked. “This way!”

Champion, having lost part of her foot in an accident as a baby, hobbled in the opposite direction.

Not deterred, Andy clapped and whistled for a good five minutes.

When Donna finally grew tired of watching the spectacle, she pulled out her dog whistle and gave it to short blows. While the entire training exercise was pointless, it was good exercise. Just like that, the four raptors came to attention and jogged back to their enclosures.

Back on ground level, Andy beamed. “Did you see? I think they’re getting better.”

“Oh, yeah,” Donna agreed.

Andy rubbed the scruff on his chin. “Though are you sure about Blue being the beta? Because there’s something about Champion.”

Champion was a poor excuse for a raptor with no killer instincts and a pathetic top speed. “I’m pretty sure it’s Blue,” Donna countered.

“Yeah,” Andy said, sounding a little disappointed. “It still sort of seems like they’re not getting very far very fast.”

Donna almost pointed out that they were raptors, which meant they were prehistoric killing machines and that the very notion that they could be fully trained for safe usage was basically complete idiocy. It was also, consequently, nothing she had signed up for and the instant that crap hit the fan, she would be out of here before the first blood curdling scream sounded.

But Andy looked so damn hopeful and so damn earnest and so damn good. She gave him a commiserating pat on the back. “We’ll just have to keep trying.”

He nodded, resolute.

She smiled. They could keep trying forever, as far as she was concerned.

Inspired, she took out her phone and snapped a picture of Andy while he was tying his shoe.

He looked up, confused.

“To document the training,” she said.

“Ah,” he said, putting his finger to his head with a grin. “Then here, let’s try one like this!”

He bent over, flexing in an over the top fashion, his biceps nearly bursting from that tight, tight shirt.

Donna snapped a few more pictures and quickly uploaded them to her Instagram.

The caption read: best job ever.

-o-

To be completely honest, Andy wasn’t totally sure what he was actually supposed to be doing sometimes. He introduced himself as Andy Dwyer, Raptor Trainer, but sometimes his duties seemed to consist of watching raptors run in circle while playing guitar back in his bungalow.

(The bungalow as another one of the perks of his job. Most people got to live in employee residences back in the hotel, complete with all sorts of complimentary services, but Andy got to live in a bungalow. Away from everyone else with almost no amenities. This was perfect because then he got to play his music as loud as he wanted and they let him keep stuff in his yard. Like lawn chairs and a baby pool. Because those things are necessities.)

And in his mind, Andy was doing top secret military work. After all, he was Owen Grady, former navy specialist turned animal trainer turned raptor ninja turned undercover agent. Owen Grady, after working closely with FBI agent Burt Macklin, had accomplished countless feats with his Raptor Squad, mostly with the loyal Champion by his side. Since raptors could open doors, they were actually the best spies ever, and Owen Grady had even taught them to use machine guns. And grenades.

In reality, however, Andy was lucky if he could get all the raptors back into their cages. Everyone said this was great progress, though, so he had to think he was doing something right.

“Andy!” Leslie said. “Shouldn’t you be at the raptor paddock?”

“Oh, we’re done with morning exercises,” he said.

She looked at her watch. “It’s only 9 AM.”

“Yeah, it took a little longer today,” Andy said.

Leslie blinked at him. “Raptor training is supposed to take all morning,” she said. “And you have it done by 9 AM?”

“My team is just that good,” Andy told her, puffing up his chest.

“Right,” Leslie said. “Anyway. I was wondering if you had time to help me out, but obviously--”

Andy got up, at the ready, saluting. “I’m always ready to serve!”

“Andy, I told you, we’re not actually in the military,” she said.

Andy let his hand drop. “Good practice, though, right? I was convincing, right? I’ve been trying to teach the raptors but every time I get close, they keep trying eat my hand instead of saluting back.”

“You remember we don’t touch the raptors, right?” Leslie asked.

“I know that,” Andy said. “But you might want to remind them.

Leslie stared at him a moment. “True,” she said. “I should completely remind the prehistoric creatures not to eat the meaty hands that come close to their cages despite the fact that they are bred to hunt.”

“Good!” Andy said. He leaned closer. “To tell you the truth, maybe they’ll listen to you. They don’t seem to listen to me at all.”

“Go figured,” she said.

“Anyway,” Andy said, rocking contentedly back on his heels. “What can I do for you?”

“Well,” she said. “We’re opening a new exhibit, and we need to give it a secondary security check. It’s routine, mostly. Just someone to sign on the right line so we can move ahead with production.”

Andy brightened. “And you thought of me?”

“Of course!” Leslie said. “I mean, after I thought of all the other trainers who are actually busy, you know, training.

Andy beamed. “Never fear,” he boasted. “I’m always lazy enough to lend a helping hand.”

“That’s great, Andy, thanks,” she said, making her way toward the car.

Andy followed eagerly. “What kind of dinosaur did you say it was?”

-o-

“You made a new dinosaur?” Ron asked, not sure if he wanted to be incredulous, amused or angry. “You actually made a new dinosaur?

Standing on the observation deck, Leslie rolled her eyes. “We made all the dinosaurs,” she pointed out. “This isn’t so different.”

“You spliced together DNA from different animals with the expressed intent to create the most fearsome beast possible,” Ron pointed out, arms folded over his chest. “You don’t see anything wrong with that?”

Andy, who was jumping on his toes to see if he could get a better look, said, “I don’t see anything at all!”

“Well, it likes to hide,” Leslie admitted.

Ron huffed. “Probably because it’s tired of being stared at by tiny little people who it wants to eat.”

Leslie sighed. “You know, if you hate what we do so much, why are you here?”

“Because they pay me a lot of money,” Ron said. “Mostly for my advice. It is entirely your prerogative if you choose to ignore sanity.”

Andy tapped the glass. “Hello? Hel-lo? Here, dino, dino, dino.”

Leslie drew a breath and steadfastly ignored that behavior. “I don’t ignore your advice,” she said. “Why do you think I asked you here.”

“Because no one knows safety like I do,” Ron said. “But even if you raise the walls and reinforce the glass, it doesn’t change the fact that you have an animal locked up that you know nothing about. You can’t prepare for everything when you don’t even know what you have.”

“It’s a dinosaur basically,” Leslie said. “A big dinosaur, but a dinosaur. We just need to prepare for all the same eventualities as ever. I have binders in my office just on this species alone. It’s not like we’re going in blind on this thing.”

“If we’re not blind, then where is it?” Andy interjected, sounding disappointed.

“It’s a gigantic dinosaur, Andy,” Leslie snapped. “It’s not like you can lose it.”

Ron pointed at the glass. “Then tell us,” he said. “Where is it?”

Leslie turned and looked. “Well, she’s--” she started as her brow furrowed. She pointed. “She’s -- well--”

Vexed, Leslie turned away, picking up her phone and dialing. “Ann? Ann! Where’s the Indominus Rex?”

“And what kind of name is Indominus Rex anyway?” Ron asked loudly. “It defies all naming principles and substitute science for cheap thrills and user friendly consumerism.”

“And it sounds awesome,” Andy said.

Leslie glared at Ron. “Yes, the Indominus,” she clarified on the phone. “I know. Wait, what do you mean, it’s not there? How could it not be there?”

She turned back toward the glass in horror.

Stepping closer to her, Ron did his best not to smile. “Is now a bad time to say, I told you so?”

-o-

Jerry had one job today: meet the Sapersteins at the dock and bring them back to the main visitors building before starting a tour for the day. He had prepared meticulously, studying the background of his guests and prepping a day full of events that the thought they would enjoy. He arrange for private showings and personal interactions, even a full tour of the lab.

He had planned out meals and snacks and had complimentary t-shirts ready for them.

All he had to do was meet them.

Standing on the dock, he held up his iPad, feeling quite contented with himself.

It was only an hour later, when the dock was empty, that he realized he didn’t have the screen on.

And he had no idea where Jean Ralphio and Mona Lisa Saperstein were.

-o-

The thing about Ben’s job was that it was actually sort of hard. One might think that working at one of the most advanced theme parks in the world would be a coveted position, but since he spent all his time in a dark room filled with computer screens, watching blips on a screen, it wasn’t actually very glamorous.

Which was why he had the plastic dinosaurs at his work station. Because he never wanted to forget that those blips meant something.

Also, dinosaurs are amazing.

But seriously, it was a hard job. There was a lot to monitor, and as one of the lead technical specialists at Jurassic World, he was in charge of understanding how all the security systems communicated with each other, essentially giving him unlimited power over every working element of the park. No one thought about it, really, but Ben knew. Ben knew how important he was.

He could tell you where any creatures was at any given time. He knew exactly how many people were in the park at any given moment. He knew the status of every maintenance project, every ACU trooper, every special dignitary, every malfunctioning bathroom.

So when Leslie came in, looking more than a little stressed, and asked, “Where’s the Indominus Rex?” he thought he had a ready answer.

But before he could say, “Duh, it’s in its cage,” he actually looked.

And it was nowhere.

“What the hell?” he muttered, pressing the arrow keys a few times to switch his cursor from one blip to the next. “It should be right there.”

“Yeah, I know,” Leslie said, leaning over his work station. “So why isn’t it there?

Ben frowned, running a quick look at the other security systems. “There’s been no triggers on any of our other systems, and we’re running at 97.7 percent efficiency,” he said. “Although I have told you that if we just reroute the wires in the mainframe, we could bump that to 98.3.”

Leslie stared at him. “Rerouting the wires would require moving the building.”

“Sure, but that .6 percent matters in times like these!” Ben insisted.

Leslie blinked. “So you’re saying without that .6 percent, we can’t find a dinosaurs.

Ann leaned over from her work station. “Or we could reboot,” she suggested. “When we had the lapse in the grasslands this morning, we had to fine tune some things. We occasionally lose the signals after those outages.”

Leslie looked at Ann.

She looked at Ben.

He glowered, slumping in his chair. “Yeah,” he muttered. “That could work, too.”

-o-

The thing was, Ann Perkins was actually a nurse. A pretty good nurse, too. She’d had a nice, paying job with normal people in a normal town.

So how she’d ended up here, was a long story that started with her ex-boyfriend falling into a pit and ended with Leslie Knope.

At the very least, Ann still felt like she was serving the public good, because if she wasn’t around to state the obvious sometimes, she was pretty sure people would die.

Because Jurassic World employed good people who did good things.

And they were all crazy.

It was a little terrifying, actually. That the most dangerous creatures on Earth were entrusted to these people.

As she started the reboot, Ben rocked back in his chair. “When do the rest of us get to see the Indominus anyway?” he asked.

“When she’s ready,” Leslie replied. “And, you know, when we find her.”

Ann refused to let that make her nervous. People lost stuff all the time at Jurassic World. Cell phones, luggage, boarding passes, children.

What was a dinosaur here and there?

“The walls on that paddock are higher than any other in the park,” Ben pointed out. “This dinosaur would have to have the strength of a t-rex and the agility of a raptor to get out of a thing like that.”

Somehow that didn’t make Ann feel any better. “The system is at 45 percent,” she announced.

“You have to wonder if that makes it more like Superman, endowed with unnatural greatness,” Ben mused.

“Compared to what?” Ann asked.

“Compared to Batman, of course,” Ben returned.

“You think the Indominus dresses up like an overgrown bat for fun?” Ann asked.

Ben scoffed. “No,” he said. Then he hesitated. “I simply think that with enough intelligence, it may have made a point to better itself, secretly training itself for personal greatness that no other dinosaur would think to achieve.”

“It’s a dinosaur,” Leslie pointed out with an uncommon dose of sanity. “I’m not sure its greatness expands beyond eating a bigger dinner.”

“That’s not true!” Ben said, voice starting to rise. “Dinosaurs have a social system just like we do. It can learn and innovate--”

“79 percent,” Ann interjected, hoping to make him stop.

“--this dinosaur could be provide and essential link between mankind and the dinosaurs, two of the greatest creatures to ever walk at the top of the food chain,” Ben continued.

Ann raised her eyebrows, and only wished that this was unusual.

“Again,” Leslie said. “Dinosaur. And the only feat I want to achieve right now is to find it.”

“93 percent,” Ann said.

“I’m just saying, this opens up all sorts of questions, about control and dinosaur intelligence and the feasibility of human intervention in natural selection, and--”

“100 percent,” Ann announced, sitting up to look at her screen a little more closely.

“Well, since we’re doing it, it’s totally feasible,” Leslie said. “And the only question that matters is if we can figure out how to get this thing back in its paddock--”

Ann tilted her head.

Her heart stuttered in her throat.

“It’s already there,” she said, a wave of cold terror flooding over her.

“--before this entire day is a complete and epic disaster,” Leslie said.

“It’s already there,” Ann said again, heart starting to hammer in her chest.

“Because I’ve got special guests and special investors and my special dinosaur is--” Leslie stopped, looking at Ann. “Wait, what?”

Ann looked up at her, horrified. “It already there,” she said. “The Indominus Rex never left its paddock at all.”

Leslie half pushed Ann out of the way to look at her workstation, then looked up in horror at the screen. “Which means, Andy and Ron and the tech worker are…”

Ann nodded soberly. “Locked in the cage with the most dangerous dinosaur on this island.”

-o-

Technically, April was on duty, but technically, April didn’t care. Most of the guys on the ACU were super freaks, who actually liked to practice and train. As if anything could actually prepare them for a real disaster. Most of the time, they were picking up stray herbivores who were too stupid to stay in their zones. Sometimes, if they were lucky, they might actually get to charge head to head with a triceratops.

At least, when her supervisor wasn’t looking. Apparently, engaging in physical combat with the dinosaurs was a policy no-no, which made her job really boring.

Fortunately, everything on Jurassic World was wired for perfect Internet and cell reception. And while most of the other losers at this park would be sufficient t-rex fodder, she did have a thing for the raptor trainer.

Because hello, he trained raptors. He was the only one on this island with a semblance of imagination. It didn’t matter that it was impossible and stupid. At least it was interesting.

She really thought this whole experience would be a lot more interesting.

“Babe, you should totally be here,” Andy said to her over the phone.

“Yeah, well, I wish I was,” she said. “Did we really lose a dinosaur?”

“That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” Andy replied. “And duuude, you should see these claw marks.”

“We haven’t gotten a call yet,” April said. “You’d think if we lost the biggest, most dangerous animal in the park, they would bother to call ACU.”

“Oh, man!” Andy said. “This thing must be crazy big. Like big enough to eat me in one sitting!”

April made a face. “Then should you really be in its cage?”

“How am I supposed to figure out if it’s gone if I don’t look in its cage first?” Andy asked, as if it were obvious. “Owen Grady, Raptor Trainer, needs to be on the scene.”

“You know, while Owen Grady is looking in empty cages, Janet Snakehole could be making off with the baby brachiosauruses,” April said.

“Well, that will totally be next on my to do list,” Andy replied. “I’ll stop by your place and we can hunt dinosaurs together.”

April narrowed her eyes, trying to envision Andy in his ridiculous vest with pockets full of candy wrappers and paper clips. “Naked,” she said.

“Wait,” Andy said, as if coming to full attention. “Naked?”

“Except for your vest,” she clarified, enjoying the mental image. “And wet. You will have to be totally wet.”

“I will be so wet,” Andy said. “Soaking wet. I’ll jump in the mosasaurus tank if I have to. But just to be clear, we are talking about sex, right?”

She grinned, thankful that there was no one else around. Because damn it, he was such an idiot, and she was so, so in love with him. “Yeah,” she said, turning away from the door just in case. “Lots of sex.”

“Good,” Andy said, sounding relieved. “Because I totally am ready for -- wait--”

“Wait?” April asked.

“Whoa,” Andy said, and the playful tone in his voice was gone. “Dude.”

Sitting up a little straighter, April did her best not to be concerned. “What?”

“Uh, well,” Andy said, his breathing audibly hitching on the line. “You know how I’m looking for the dinosaur that’s not supposed to be in here?”

April frowned. “Yeah.”

“Turns out, it is in here,” he said. “And it is way bigger than I thought.”

April was on her feet, heart pounding. “Andy,” she said. “You need to get out of there.”

There was a muffled curse on the line.

“Andy!” she yelled. “Andy!”

The only reply was a scream before the line went dead.

For a second, she stared at her phone.

Andy was in trouble.

Andy could already be dead.

April didn’t volunteer for much, and she didn’t get up of her own volition except for very good reasons.

And this reason was the best of all.

She grabbed her guns and loaded up on ammo, hit the alarm and set out.

-o-

Leslie got the job at Jurassic World partly because of her passion. She cared about what she did, and she cared about doing it right.

But that was only part of it. She’d also been hired because she was meticulously. She had plans and plans and more plans, and then she had contingencies to make sure those plans came to fruition no matter what. It would never be said that Leslie Knope wasn’t prepared.

“Okay,” she said, swallowing back her fear (which tasted a lot like vomit). “So, we have a gigantic beast roaming an island with 20,000 visitors. That’s not so bad, right? That’s bad. Is it hot in here? I’m so hot. This is really bad.”

“It’s on the move,” Ben announced, staring at the blip on the screen.

“Of course it is,” Leslie said. “If you’d been trapped in a small cage your whole life, you’d be on the move, too. Throw in the evil witch and we’ve got Rapunzel.”

She stopped and thought about that.

“Great, I’m the evil witch!” Leslie said.

“It’s still miles from the main gates,” Ann said.

“And the gates are impenetrable, right?” Leslie said. “I mean, that gives us plenty of time to deploy ACU to track and contain, right? That’s why we have ACU?”

“ACU is deployed,” Ben said.

“The Indominus is still on the move,” Ann said.

Just then, the elevator opened. Standing in the doorway was a very unhappy looking Ron.

The only thing different about him was that his pants were dirty.

“Ron!” she said, almost running to meet him. “You’re not dead!”

“Apparently not,” Ron said, stepping inside. “But not for a lack of trying.”

“How did you survive?” Leslie asked. “You couldn’t have outrun it, could you? Unless, by some chance, it’s not a fast runner?”

“No man can outrun that thing,” Ron said.

“Then how did you get away?” Leslie asked.

“Simple,” Ron said. “I simply outran everyone else in the cage, and then outran everyone else back here.”

Leslie was both relieved and horrified. “Does that mean--”

“That other people are dead?” Ron supplied for her. “Possibly. Since you did create giant carnivores at the top of the food chain and then allowed them to escape.”

“I didn’t allow it to escape,” Leslie said.

“And yet, here we are,” Ron said, glaring at the screen. “Our meddling in the affairs of this creature have create the opposite of the intended effect. We set out to prevent disaster and instead have caused it. I would say I told you so, but that would probably be gratuitous until we fix the situation.”

Leslie took a breath, feeling her self control reassert itself.

She had a plan for this.

She had an entire binder about this.

Escapism: More Than Dinosaur Pastimes. Policies, Procedures and Possibilities for Handling Escaped Dinosaurs. An Inclusive Guide.

It was her thickest binder, too.

“Okay,” she said. “ACU is on the ground, but first we need to know what we’re dealing with.”

-o-

Tom was hard at work when Leslie arrived.

Hard at work reorganizing his iPod, anyway. His scientific discovery mix was woefully out of date, and he needed far more representation on his academic genius playlist.

“Tom,” Leslie said. “We need to talk.”

Tom rocked back in his lab chair, which he had taken extra care to order direct from Italy with the finest leather and smoothest wheels. For added character, he had added bling to the handles and had his name written in the back with the best rhinestones money could buy. “That’s why I’m here.”

“The Indominus Rex,” Leslie demanded, Ron no more than a step behind. “What’s in it?”

“Well,” Tom said. “The Indominus is part monster and part bad ass, for the ultimate dinosaur experience.”

“I don’t want your sales pitch,” Leslie said.

“Really?” Tom asked. “Because I’ve been tweaking it.”

Leslie shook her head. “That really doesn’t matter--”

“Listen to this,” Tom said, hands in the air. “The Indominus Rex: it will dominate your imagination -- and your wallet. We can charge extra admission just for a peek.”

“That would only work, son, if the thing were still in its paddock,” Ron said.

Tom stopped. “Wait, what did you say?”

“The Indominus got out,” Leslie said.

Tom’s jaw dropped. “But how did it do that?”

“I don’t know!” Leslie said. “That’s why I want you to tell me what you put into that dinosaur to make it so smart and so dangerous!”

Tom’s stomach churned. “It really got out?”

“And it is currently rampaging through the island,” Ron said. “Answer the question.”

Tom stuttered. “Well, it’s a hybrid,” he said. “It’s got a little bit of everything--”

“Like what, Tom?” Leslie asked, sounding a bit desperate. “Because this is bad.”

“Of course it’s bad!” Tom asked, voice rising. “You asked for bad!”

“I asked for something to scare the guests!” she said. “Something that roars more or has more teeth.”

“Both of which the Indominus does,” Tom pointed out.

“Breaking out of its cage wasn’t in my binder,” Leslie said, unrelentingly.

Tom paled. “Well, I told you there was ingredient!”

“And I thought it was passion!” Leslie yelled back at him.

“Well, it was passion,” Tom said. “And, you know, frog and bird and crocodile and raptor--”

Leslie’s jaw dropped. “It’s part raptor?

“And part frog!” Tom said.

Leslie wasn’t listening, though. “You crossed a t-rex with a raptor!”

Tom fet like flailing. “I was going for show stopping!”

“The show is stopped, all right,” Leslie said. “Because it can eat the show.

Tom threw his hands in the air. “I’m sorry! I was just doing my job!”

Huffing, Leslie scowled at him. “Tell that to the Indominus when it breaks in here and tries to eat you.”

“I probably deserve that,” Tom said. Then he hesitated. “But it’s not really going to break in here, is it? Leslie?”

She didn’t answer his question, though. Instead, her phone buzzed and she picked it up. “Tell me it’s miraculously gone back into its enclosure,” she said, turning away from Tom. “Tell me, tell me, tell me.

Sighing, she rubbed her hand to her forehead.

“That’s not what I wanted to hear,” she muttered. “No, I’ll be right there.”

Hanging up, she looked back at Tom.

Tom did his best to look small and cute, two things he was actually very good at.

Leslie didn’t try to kill him, so Tom thought it was probably working.

“Just, don’t move,” she muttered at him. “And don’t go inventing any dinosaurs while we’re gone, okay?”

Tom held up his hand. “Scouts honor.”

Leslie rolled her eyes and left.

Ron narrowed his eyes and left as well.

Tom watched them go. Sitting numbly back in his chair, he scrolled through his iPod. The Deadly Dinosaur mix it was.

-o-

According to Chris’ personal belief structure, personal belief was 95 percent of success. Which was to say, if you believed in something hard enough, it usually came to fruition. Seeing as his life had been an unqualified success, rising from a sickly child to one of the richest men in the world, he had never had cause to doubt this strategy.

But when he got a call saying that their latest and most expensive asset was out of containment, he was keenly aware of the other five percent of times that his personal belief structure on personal belief might actually fail him.

Not yet, though.

And not without a fight.

“Okay,” Chris said, rubbing his hands together as he smiled brightly to the command center. “So we have a little bit of a crisis, but that’s okay. My flight instructor, Captain Richard Nygard, always tells me that times of trial are the only way to find out if you’re actually going to fly or crash and burn in a deadly and horrible inferno.”

Ann and Ben frowned, disconcerted from their seats.

“But that is not going to happen!” Chris said. “So we lost two VIP guests. So we may have gotten a few workers eaten. So our most valuable and deadly asset has escaped. We can fix this! We were trained to fix this! We’re going to fix this! Because if we don’t, we are literally going to die.”

“Chris is right,” Leslie said, though with far less cheer. “Our ACU troopers are the best there is. We are trained and ready for situations just like this. They will contain the Indominus Rex, and I will lead a search party out to locate the Sapersteins, and with the Indominus still miles from the gates, we will have plenty of time to launch a full scale evacuation.”

Chris was nodding enthusiastically until that last point. “Wait,” he said. “Full scale evacuation?”

Leslie looked at him, a little dumbfounded. “It is clearly stated as the second primary protocol given a breach of this scale.”

“But the Indominus is miles from the gates,” Chris said. “And the security measures around the park are designed to protect against incursions.”

“And we designed an impenetrable paddock that the thing still managed to break out of,” Leslie reminded him.

“If we evacuate, there is a 99 percent chance that we will never open again,” Chris told her emphatically.

“And if we don’t evacuate and people die, there’s a 100 percent chance of the same thing,” Leslie said. “Look, I don’t like it either, but we don’t have any other option. We are here to serve our customers, and there is no way we can do that with half raptor, half t-rex running around out there.”

Chris sighed, drawing his brows together. She was right, of course. Leslie usually was. That was why he’d hired her.

That didn’t make it easier, though.

It was like evacuating a dream.

It was very disappointing.

An extra flying lesson might help him. He would have to see if Captain Richard Nygard would have time to fit in another when this was over.

“She’s right,” Chris announced, turning back to the rest of the room. “We will start evacuation procedures and monitor the situation.”

“Until we know more, we can chalk it up to unexpected maintenance,” Leslie said. “In fact, pass that on to the PR department. Jurassic Maintenance for Jurassic World: Popular Usage Demands Prompt Upgrades at the World’s Most Exciting Park.

Chris tilted his head.

Leslie wrinkled her now. “Or, you know, something shorter.”

Before he could tell her that was the best worst headline he’d ever heard of, the elevator doors opened.

And Chris saw the best person in the entire world standing there.

“Andy!” Chris exclaimed, rushing forward to hug his employee. “You’re alive!”

Andy hugged him back.

Chris stepped away, making a face. “You smell horrible.”

Andy looked down at himself. “Oh, yeah,” he said. “Funny story. I was running from the big dinosaur thing you made, and tripped. Next thing I know, there’s this car flying right on top of me! So I was like, okay, but it didn’t actually squash me. Instead, the dinosaur is, like, going after it, and there are car parts flying everywhere.”

“That doesn’t explain why you smell,” Chris pointed out.

“Or how you’re alive!” Leslie said, in obvious disbelief.

“Right,” Andy said. “Yeah, I don’t know either. When it was biting everything, the dinosaur broke the fuel line and just soaked me. Next thing I know, it was running off.”

Ron stepped forward. “The gasoline served as a natural cover for your scent,” he explained. “When it could no longer smell you, it moved on to other prey.”

“So you’re saying it was just luck?” Andy asked soberly.

“More or less, yes,” Ron said. “By all accounts, you should be dead.”

“Whoa,” Andy said, laughing. “That is crazy. It’s crazy, right?”

Chris nodded intently. “It is by far the craziest thing I have heard all day,” he agreed. “Except for the part where my best asset escaped and I ordered the evacuation of the island, which will cost me billions of dollars and probably set me back five years with investors.”

Andy nodded.

Leslie stepped between them. “First things first, we have to control the situation,” she said. “Ann, Ben, I want you to continue monitoring where the Indominus is located and keep in touch with the progress of the ACU. Ron, Andy, as our two resident safety and animal experts, I’m going to need your help in locating and returning the Sapersteins to safety.”

She stopped, turning toward Chris.

“Can you handle things here?” she asked.

“Leslie,” Chris said. “I am the owner of the world’s largest corporation. I am in prime physical condition and almost a licensed helicopter pilot. I think I can handle things from here.”

“Good,” Leslie said. “Then I’ll leave you to it.”

He watched Leslie leave, giving Andy one more friendly wave as they got into the elevator to leave. Turning back to the room, he rocked back on his heels contentedly. “Okay, people!” he said. “Let’s avert disaster!”

-o-

In the forest, April turned her radio off. When her supervisor kept calling, she finally chucked her cell phone into the river.

She already knew what he would say.

That he needed to follow protocol and stay with the team. They were more effective as a group, and there was safety in numbers.

Blah, blah, blah.

April didn’t come to Jurassic World to play nice with others or dinosaurs.

Especially not when someone she cared about was in danger.

Most of the time, she was just as happy to think about tranquilizing the guests as she was the animals. But if this dinosaur went after Andy?

Then all bets were off.

Although her superiors accused her of being slothful, April saved her energy for when she needed it. With this, she made good time and picked up a fresh trail about a mile out from the paddock. She knew that she could probably make contact with the command center for a precise update on the creature’s location, but that would put her directly within their purview.

There was no point in hearing orders she wasn’t going to take.

Besides, she didn’t need the coordinates. It was a massive dinosaur, stomping through the forest. It wasn’t like it was hard to track.

It was, however, harder to find.

The trail came to an abrupt stop by the river. At first, April thought it had just obscured its trail by moving through the water, but a creature that size would still leave some kind of footprint. Instead, it looked like it had come this far and just…

Stopped.

Flexing her fingers on her gun, April stood up, squinting around at the surrounding trees. Common sense might dictate that something that size couldn’t hide, but common sense was for common people. And common people were stupid. Common people came to theme parks to gawk at animals that could kill them. Common people took selfies with a mosasaurus like it couldn’t eat them in a single bite. Common people put their kids on baby triceratops because that totally seemed like a good idea.

No, common people and common sense were not what April needed right now. Her ACU supervisor thought that humans could be trained to control animals and whatever, with enough tranquilizers, they could usually get the job done. But April was good at this job because she identified more with the animals than the humans.

If people were going to stare at her all day and laugh.

She was going to find a way to stare back and kill them.

Then, she saw it. A flicker of movement in the trees. She brought her gun up, holding it steady on her shoulder as the Indominus Rex moved from its spot among the foliage.

It had camouflage, the bastard.

And it really was taller than a t-rex.

And the hands -- what the hell was with those hands.

Add all that to the massive teeth and the murderous glint in its eye, and April thought she might have found her soulmate.

But then April saw the blood on its jaws.

It could have been from another dinosaur. Maybe it was from another park worker. Maybe it just happened to have a red splotchy birthmark right there.

Or maybe it was Andy’s blood.

Her stomach hardened, her eyes narrowed.

So much for soulmates.

With a determined scream, she charged forward, starting to fire.

And she didn’t stop.

Not until the massive jaws came at her, primed and open toward her head.