The jeep arrived in front of a large stainless steel gate painted matte black and disguised from view by a variety of fronds and plants around it. The gate swung inwards, and as soon as the gap between the gate and the fence was wide enough, Copeland drove the jeep through, then past a second interior gate, and then the jungle gave way to a small clearing in which an octagon-shaped building had been constructed. The building had a bunker-like feeling to it with its thick concrete walls and small openings aside for a steel door and a garage entrance built into the side of the bunker building. Copeland drove the jeep through the garage door before finally stopping inside, and as she looked back, Claire thought she could see an electric or laser grid shine to life just outside of the garage door before it slammed shut.
"Welcome to the Site B Tracking Center, lady and gentleman," Copeland said, extending his hand. "The gang's over at the command center; let me show you how we do things here."
The command center itself was a large eight-sided chamber, with dozens of computer monitors and screens mounted on the walls. These screens were further divided into smaller sections in which numerous sectors of the island could be watched over at the same time. A man and a woman were seated on two sides of the octagon opposite the door leading to the garage, and as Copeland entered followed by Claire and Owen, the two stood up. "Let me introduce you to the gang," Copeland said to Claire. "This is Willem-Louis Wilmots and Leona de Veyra."
Willem-Louis Wilmots (Billy for short) was Dutch, born in Curacao and served with the Royal Dutch Army before making the leap to their special forces, and then he had retired and moved to Canada where he had been recruited by InGen. Wilmots had a shaved head and a thick beard, and his accent, though mild, was now more Canadian than Dutch. Leona de Veyra was born in America to Costa Rican parents and had been working as a dispatcher for a private security company before she was lured back to the country of her parents' birth by InGen with the promise of much better pay. Leona was the outlier in the otherwise all-male group of former special forces operators, but she had been quickly accepted into the group both because she was very professional and very good at her job.
"So, Moe, didn't you say something about having picked up a bunch of people not from InGen running around Site B?" Owen asked. "Mind showing us where you've last seen them?"
"I can do you one better than that," Copeland replied. "Leona, go show Owen here where our mystery visitors are right now."
"Sure thing," Leona replied, and she swiveled around in her chair and got to work typing commands into her computer. She closed a window that appeared to be showing a soccer game and then expanded one of the nine frames on her monitor to show what appeared to be a group of people moving around on the island's central plain. Their bodies glowed white hot on the infrared cameras being used for the night feeds.
"Where exactly on the island is this?" Claire asked as she leaned over Leona's shoulder to take a closer look at the feed.
"Sector 070," de Veyra said, looking at the timestamp on the corner of the video. "That's a bit over to the southwest of Isla Sorna."
"Can you clean up that image a little bit more?" Owen asked. Leona nodded her head and typed in some more commands into the computer, and the video feed cleared up somewhat. It now showed the group of people bunching together into a tight little circle, and what appeared to be weapons were being pointed outwards. It was a classic defensive formation to Owen's trained eye, and he knew exactly why the group had formed themselves like that. "Can you check if there are any animals near that location?" he asked.
"Over here, Minnesota," Billy Wilmots called out, and Owen walked over to his station, which was showing a thermal overview of Site B. Wilmots then used a mouse to zoom in on a specific part of the island. "Okay, so looks like there's an Iguanodon herd to their north and a pack of Dimetrodons to their west but other than that, no real threats. There are compys all over the place, but then again, when aren't they?"
"So it's all clear then? No raptors, no dilos, no Deinonychus, nothing?"
"Not really, no. This group is well outside the ranges of the nearest Velociraptor tribes and Dilophosaurus and Deinonychus packs. However, if this group moves to the southwest towards the coast, they could very well end up straying into Baryonyx territory."
"Well, we certainly don't want them to do that," Owen muttered. "All right, is there any way that we can get to where they are from here?"
"Whoa, whoa, Grady, you're seriously not thinking about going out there tonight, right now, to pick them up, are you?" Moe Copeland suddenly asked him.
"I mean, we already know where they are," Owen replied. "Might as well get them out now while they're all still in one piece, right?"
"Look, Owen, I understand what you're trying to say to us here," Copeland replied. "I really do. But even with all the cameras and trackers that we have in here right now, there are still things on this island that we don't know about. Sometimes we would get heat anomalies on the thermal cameras and it would look like that it was a massive dinosaur, and then we would zoom in on it and it won't be there anymore. I'm just saying that we don't know what could be out there."
"But right now, is there anything out there that could pose a danger to the group and/or me and Claire?" Owen asked back.
"Hey, why are you roping me into this?" Claire asked him quietly.
"All right, man," Copeland said, shaking his head. "There's an old road from here that leads to an abandoned dock over at the west-southwestern part of the island. That road passes near the place where this group had set up camp. You can take one of the gas jeeps and drive over to them if you make a move right now—"
Suddenly a yellow warning light on the ceiling above their heads spun to life. "Okay, what's that and what does it mean?" Claire asked nervously as she looked up at the light.
"Asset proximity alert," Copeland replied as he rushed over to his own console and began checking the numerous status updates.
"Asset proximity alert?" Claire repeated. "You mean to tell me that a dinosaur is getting close to the fence around this place? I thought you said this place was far away from the territory of any dinosaurs!" she said to Owen.
"Billy, Leona, can you see what's tripped the alarm?" Copeland asked the others.
"It's him," Wilmots replied. "SPN-005. Big Boss."
"Big Boss? Who's that? What is that?" Claire asked.
"I have a feeling we already know who Big Boss is," Owen replied to her question.
"Put up some video, Leona," Copeland ordered. "Where is he?" De Veyra switched the video feed on the main screen in front of them to a camera that appeared to be mounted on a joint on the first fence that they had passed through on their way to the tracking center. The camera gave them a good view of a large portion of the jungle surrounding the electrified heavy steel fence planted around the observation bunker. It also gave them a very nice profile view of the head of the Spinosaurus.
"Holy shit!" Claire cried out as she saw the Spinosaurus on the monitor. "Does that thing never give up?"
"This whole thing has gone completely out of hand now," Owen added. "That spino out there has gone beyond persistent now. It's more like a slasher film killer now. That thing has been following us around this whole island ever since we hid in that warehouse."
"What? You mean to tell me that Big Boss over here has been following you around Site B?" Copeland asked Grady. "Well, that explains his strange movement pattern, and why he's strayed this far from his usual territory."
"It's a long story," both Owen and Claire said at the same time. That made them look at each other in surprise, and then both of them decided to just shrug it off. "Tell you what, Moe, if we make it through this, I'll buy you a beer in San Jose and tell you all about it."
"Make it a Cerveza Negra and you're on," Copeland replied. "Anyway, I wouldn't be afraid if I were you. Big Boss always has a little look-see around our place whenever he gets this far down from his territory. He bumps against the fence a few times and gets shocked but it's like he doesn't even feel it. But that's just about what he does most of the time, look around, pace around, and maybe roar a little bit. But he's not breaking through that fence. Trust me on that."
Right on cue, the spinosaurus turned to look at the camera as if it knew that it was there and roared. They all could actually hear the roar inside the tracking center, and Owen saw Claire going pale, which was saying something because Claire was actually quite fair-skinned to begin with. Owen himself could feel his palms going cold and sweaty in his own fear and anxiety. He had been in combat before, fought against hardened al-Qaeda, Taliban, Boko Haram and even ISIS fighters. He had raised and trained (or done something very close to such an inherently untamable animals) velociraptors, and never before had he felt so scared and nervous. It was also the first time in a long time that he felt a genuine shiver up his spine.
The spinosaur began to poke its snout at the fence. Sparks traveled from the metal to the dinosaur's snout and it flinched, once or twice, but like Copeland had said, the shocks didn't seem to affect the spinosaur that much. And then, once it saw that rooting around with its snout simply wasn't enough, the spinosaur began to headbutt the fence. The spino aimed the top of its skull at the fence, stepped back, and then it ran forward to strike the fence. As its head struck the fence, a big ball of sparks flew out and the camera winked out. Even the lights in the tracking center dimmed as power was redirected to the fence. "Switch to the overhead feed, quickly!" Copeland shouted.
Wilmots switched the video on the screen to the feed coming from the Masrani Global infrared satellite in geostationary orbit almost right over Isla Sorna. He got the feed up on the monitor just in time for them to see the spinosaur walking away from the fence. The dinosaur's body glowed white hot on the monitor. The spino roared once again and rushed the fence, and the image bloomed into a large circle of white and power fluctuated yet again.
"Holy shit," Copeland muttered. "Big Boss never attacked the fences like that."
"I'm telling you, that thing knows that we're here," Claire said. "I don't know how it knows; it just knows. Just like how it knew that we were in the radio room, in the cartel camp, and in the old terminal. That thing out there will not stop chasing us until it's finally eaten us!"
"Heads up, Big Boss is going for round three!" Billy Wilmots shouted. The spinosaur roared once again as it butted against the fence yet again, and once again sparks flew out of the fence where the dinosaur had hit it. And once again, the spinosaurus walked away from the incident none the worse for wear. "Man, that is some messed up shit," Wilmots muttered as he watched the dinosaur test the fence integrity. The Spinosaurus roared one more time in frustration and then it walked away from the fence.
"Still want to go out there now?" Copeland asked.
"Well, when you ask me that question right after a dinosaur just almost busted through your fence…" Owen replied.
"It's cool, man," Copeland said. "You can always pick them up in the morning. Meanwhile, you and your girlfriend can stay the night here, eat some dinner, sleep someplace where you know dinosaurs can't get to you. What do you say to that?"
"I'm not his girlfriend," Claire said immediately.
"She's not my girlfriend," Owen said at the same time. The two of them looked at each other once again, and once again both of them elected to ignore the fact that the two of them had spoken at the same time yet again.
"Well, no matter what the relationship status between the two of you is, the offer still stands."
"All right, fine," Owen said. "You said something about dinner?"
"We've got some MREs over there in the break room," Copeland replied, gesturing with his thumb down the hallway at a pair of doors that were located farther down from where the main control room was. "The bunks are in the door furthest down the hallway."
"Thanks, man," Owen said. "I appreciate it. We appreciate it."
Owen and Claire went into the break room where Copeland had told them some food was. "Do you think they have some vegan food in there?" Claire asked.
"Hang on, let me see," Owen muttered as he rummaged through the cupboards in the break room for a vegan MRE. "Aha, here we go. Caesar salad MRE. That good enough for you?"
"It's fine, just give me that," Claire replied. Owen tossed her the MRE while he took one for himself from the cupboard. They tore open the brown packs and tucked into the food, the first decent meal that both of them have had for more than a day. As Owen ate through his chicken breast, he heard Claire call out to him. "Can I ask you something?" she said.
"Yeah, sure, what is it?" he replied.
"That time, when those feathered raptors were chasing the hypsys, and we were up on the trees, you said that you had an idea why the Pardew guys wanted us here on Site B," Claire said. "Yet you never really explained to me what it was, mostly because you said you were busy trying to see if the raptors knew we were there. So why do you think Pardew wants us here?"
"I mean, where do I start?" Owen said with a sigh. "So let's go back in time, say about a few months ago. Three, if you want to be specific. There I was, minding my own business, training Blue and the others when I get orders from Hoskins telling me to get my ass over to Site B to check out, well, something. Vic was vague about the whole thing, never really let on what it was all about. So I arrive here on Sorna, in the Masrani cloning facility, and I get steered immediately to one of the nurseries where this guy Frankie Jefferson—he's this guy from InGen who let's just say is in the same line of work as me—is surrounded by these juvenile raptors, feathered raptors. So Frankie asks me, no, begs me to help him sort out his raptors because they just won't accept him as their alpha. And I tell him that there's no way that he'll become their alpha the way he's doing it so I help him out by first calming down his raptors, or at least reduce their aggressiveness as much as they could because I felt like these raptors weren't necessarily bred with calmness and submissiveness in mind. Then I taught Frankie how to assert himself over his raptors, maybe even choose a beta. I didn't know how much of it Frankie really remembered or applied because I was called back to Nublar after only three days here, but if those Pardew guys wanted my ass back here, it must be because either Frankie couldn't calm his raptors down or he needs my help once again."
Claire nodded her head. "But why in the world would Henry make a bunch of feathered raptors for Pardew?" she asked. "If anything, I would've thought that he would actually make them for Hoskins. Or am I missing something here?"
"I don't know too," Owen replied with a shrug. "I know that Hoskins is friends with Pardew's founder Richard Seamus Pardew but I don't know if that has anything to do at all with Wu's feathered raptors. Maybe Wu is just letting his inner capitalist out, selling his services to the highest bidder. Maybe he realized that there was no way that the Indominus could be contained like the other animals on Nublar so he set up an insurance policy or two for himself."
"Well, that makes sense. Henry does seem like the type to have a backup and a backup to his backup."
They then ate the rest of their dinner in silence, and then once dinner was done, they threw the remaining stuff from the MREs into the trash, and then they headed for the bunk beds that Copeland had pointed out to them earlier. There were two rows of three bunk beds each lining two of the long walls, apparently in case more people needed to be assigned to this tracking center. Owen and Claire took the beds nearest to the door and settled in. And just before she drifted off, Claire heard Owen say to her, "Good night, Claire."
"Good night, Owen," Claire replied automatically, and then she drifted off to a dreamless sleep.