A/N: It's been a while since I last updated. Too long. I'm trying to get in the groove of things but between real life and ark. It's hard lol. Hope you enjoy this chapter. I've gone back and revised the chapters so this one makes sense. If you have already read them, they're updated.

Chapter 4: Hunters and Gatherers

..

Unknown -

"So it would seem that they have found each other."

That statement was rewarded with an echo of the massive high-tech cavern of the Mega-Ark. A shadowy figure stared at the console that displayed binomial figures in Tek language. There was also a hologram of a superstructure that was known as the Mega-Ark. It zoomed in on a region of the island. There was a red blip. "Except for this one. He seems to be the only one in the group that didn't find his family. Instead, he found others. Interesting."

A distant sound could be heard, almost like a groaning sound. The man ignored it. He looked up out the window of space to see something. A pod of flying space whales with glowing trails of energy pouring out of them and their tails. They were common around this area. Rarely did they ever descend into the atmosphere of the Mega-ark. He smirked. The mega-Ark had a protective forcefield around it, though only to the elements of space such as a meteor shower. He had only seen that kind of protection one other time. That was on Earth, where meteor showers would pelt the surface. The only safe havens from a shower was the Proto-Arks, the cave system, and the city that had orbital protection. The mysterious man looked beyond the Astrocedus to see the rest of the Mega-ark and the distant large planet, Jupiter and its continuous storm. He looked over at another hologram. It was of the different regions in the different sectors. Then biomes started cycling through, ranging from jungles, swamps, redwoods, snow, tundra, volcanic, desert, lunar, lowlands, beach, mountainous, to oceanic. He knew each Sector had its own plethora of regions and regional variants.

He lifted off of the ground thanks to his high-tech suit and floated towards another terminal. There were several more holograms of information. One of them being of a cloning chamber, and the other several different templates of human specimens marked as drones. Each one had its own augmentations and there were males or females to each template. Under his high-tech helmet, the man smirked. He couldn't wait to see what the future would hold with this set. With everything checking out, he walked over to a small teleporter and vanished.

…..

General POV -

Over the next few days, the family and friends of survivors had become acquainted with one another. They had to pool together to survive and become one. The first night was spent under the glowing crimson hue of the Red Obelisk. There was so much to learn, so much to teach, and so much experience to gain. Their engineered brains made them aware of their true origins and accept it, but that didn't mean that a lot didn't dwell on it. To keep anyone from doing that, they kept busy.

Universally, they agreed to help. Everyone had to pitch in except those too young to do anything. The general rule was, if you were old enough to hold a spear or fishing pole, they could help. Where they started to settle was on Cragg's Island's southern coast, the very place a lot of the survivors washed up. Getting back across the river to the said area was easy as the tide had gone out for the day. The family had decided to get to work immediately upon arrival to the site, knowing that the majority of them wouldn't live here too long. First and foremost, they had to elect leaders as there were too many people and conflicting views. They all did agree on to vote who'd be in a council. The council would decide what was best for the individuals under each family. Each council member would have three assistants to help them. The council was comprised of one from of the main families. The friends of the thirteen families were all integrated into whomever they were close in friendship to. There were thirteen families; Warren, Parker, Holmes, Lilly, Karnes, Owens, Wright, Stroud, Small, Brock, Tarte, Bellamy, and Hardee. Once they had finally set up a form of government, which didn't take long. Once that was complete, they focused on getting everyone to work.

Tasks were divided based on skill. Tool/weapon making, hunting/gathering, shelter building, and babysitting the children who couldn't defend themselves. If they weren't teaching or being productive in each of the tasks, they were learning. This included everyone, even kids. It was more like an arts and crafts class for the children. Instead of coloring or drawing, it was more how to make the tools or start fires in a kid friendly way. Some of the adults had to figure it out too, only they had the capacity to learn at a normal level.

In the family group, there were about ten people who were preppers, or survivalists before they washed up. They lived and breathed this kind of thing. That wasn't to say that they weren't the only ones knowledgeable in some of their hobbies, or lifestyles, they were just more attuned to the primitive lifestyle. They had less of a problem adjusting to the discomfort of everything on the Ark. A few in particular such as Hunter Warren, Steve Jordan, and Rodney Benton were experts in Bushcraft as they had taken regular trips out to learn the skills. Bushcraft was the usage and practice of skills, acquiring and developing knowledge and understanding, in order to survive and thrive in the natural environment. It involved providing the basic physiological necessities for human life such as food through foraging, tracking, hunting, trapping, and fishing. It also included water sourcing and purification, shelter-building, and firecraft. It could be supplemented by survival skills such as woodcraft, twine-making, or health/medicine. Although over half of the adults had some kind of skill that could potentially benefit the families. In the families, it consisted of hunters, fishers, construction workers, plumbers, farmers, doctors, nurses, mechanics, engineers, professional drivers/pilots/helmsmen, smiths, instructors, and many other professions.

There was so much activity going on during the first few days. By the end of those three days, everyone had a shelter of some kind, whether it was A-frame or lean-to shelters made out of thatch, or Wigwams. At the moment, the Wigwams were the biggest structure there, being made in an open cylinder fashion or like an actual home. All the shelters were made of wood for the frames and plant material for the shelter, bindings and insulation. The plant material consisted of grass and small leaves for insulation while large leaves from palm trees and plants that had berries. Bedding was simple. It was made of grass and leaves as well. It was the most comfortable thing anyone could come up with the materials presented or foraged. The shelters were all constructed along the clifftop of Cragg's Island's at the base of southernmost mountain. The mountain itself was rocky, able to be climb with little to no difficulty if it was climbed from the south. The North, East, and West sides however were too steep near the base for anyone to climb. Some of the seasoned rock climbers could if they had climbing tools. The mountain was maybe a hundred feet in the air, with a steep vantage point for a sentry or two. From up there, one could see far to the west where the Red obelisk was and to the Northeast/East direction. To the North, most of the view was obstructed by the central mountain of Cragg's Island and its heavily forested features. A large rolling field seemed to cut the two forests in half, stretching East to West. There would be wildlife there, but nothing dangerous so far. The settlement itself was crowded already with everyone there, yet they had somehow managed to make enough room for the shelters to be built and having a path between both arcs of shelters. There were two "arcs" of shelters; which meant that they had been built around the base of the rocky mountain, and along the clifftop of the cliff. There was a path where nothing but sand that arced between the mountain and clifftop. There was one more path that cut the arc at the base of the mountain in half on the south side. Amazingly, even though there were so many people in one place, the shelters didn't exceed pass the clifftop, which was a crescent around the mountain. On the Eastern to Southeastern side of the village, the shelters were built more compact due to how steep that side had become, almost like a thatch sheltered favela. There were areas being left open for designated creatures once they figured out how to domesticate them.

…..

Brennan Parker –

Blue Arm: Island - Cragg's Island

She had to get him off her mind, at least for right now. She couldn't help but worry for him though. Brennan was down on the west side of the beach from the main site along with a few other people. The hill she was on was across the small inlet and river below the main site. She was on break from gathering berries with her group. The council was trying to organize everything, but it was still in its early stages. She was sitting on driftwood atop a hill that had somehow gotten up there, looking out at the ocean. The waves lapped the shore. It was hard to imagine that it was all a simulated environment. No matter how much she tried to keep her mind off of him, it didn't work. Not talking to her friends, not picking berries for future meals, not even learning how to make a spear. He was always at the center of her attention even if she needed to learn more about surviving.

She grew up riding and jumping horses for equestrian shows. Horses were a big part of her life. She wished she could get on her old horse and ride away. But that wasn't possible because it was all fabricated memories. It felt real though. She knew that it wasn't though. So did that mean that her feelings for Nate had been fabricated too? That all her family's love for one another was fabricated? It was too confusing. She wanted to be with him. Now. Like some kind of force was pushing her to be with him. She let out a long sigh.

She vaguely paid attention to a group of people nearby. It was an older woman crying who was surrounded by a few people.

"I wish he was here." Brennan heard the woman say, "Why'd it have to be him?"

"I don't know mom," The younger man said, "But if there's anyone perfectly at home out there, it's Nate." Brennan perked up at the mention of his name. "You knew how he was. He lived, breathed, and dreamed about the wilderness, animals, and dinosaurs. He's probably out there kicking some T-rex's ass right now. I wouldn't be surprised if he was riding one!"

His mother let out a snort. "Knowing him," She said, "You're probably right."

"Come on," Her son said, "We've got to get back. Poppy will wonder where we went."

"Yeah Gwanny," The youngest girl in the group said, "She couldn't be no older than five, "Poppy will miss us!" She couldn't be more than five years old.

Brennan started to get up. She wanted to know more about him. His mother and brother would know. But would they be willing to tell something about him to a complete stranger to them?

"Excuse me?" She said getting up as they started to pass her by.

"Yes ma'am?" Nate's mother spoke.

"Are you Nate's mother?" She asked.

"Yes I am," His mother said, "My name is Lynn. This is my younger son Josh." She spoke about a burly man and sporting a shaved head and a bushy beard. "His wife Brandi." She was a blonde headed girl, stocky, and had blue eyes. She had an annoyed look on her face. "And their kids. Dixie and Charlie." It was two children. One was the little girl and the other was a little boy.

"Hi," Brennan spoke slightly nervous, "My name's Brennan. I overheard you talking about your son."

"And now it gets brought back up," She heard Brandi mutter, "I'm going up here with my family. Come on Dixie. Charlie." Brennan could basically see her march towards the upper area. The woman was just rude. She stopped. "Are you coming or what, Josh?"

Josh let out a huff. "Sure," He said begrudgingly before following her, "I'll see you in a little bit mom." He followed his wife up the path through the woods to the camp.

"Don't mind her," Lynn spoke, "She's always like that."

"Oh." Brennan replied. Her expression must've showed or something.

"But yes," Lynn continued, "We were talking about my son, Nate. He's the one missing. The only one."

"I know," Brennan said her heart tugging a little bit, "If you don't mind me asking. Can you tell me a little more about him?"

"Of course," Lynn said as they sat down on some driftwood, "But why do you want to know?"

"Well…." Brennan said slightly nervous, "Before we got here, we had just started talking. On our way to dating."

"Oh," Lynn replied seeming to perk up, "okay." Brennan was starting to see where part of Nate's mannerisms came from in the way he talked. "Well. To begin with…..he's a good man. And I'm not just being biased because he's my son. He's always helped out his family, but he doesn't stick around too much when there's so many. He has bad social anxiety and he doesn't like being put on the spot in front of a lot of people. He doesn't like attention, but he does like to be acknowledged. I've never seen him purposely hurt someone unless they've done him wrong or someone he cares for wrong."

"He's kind of a mystery though," Brennan said, "He seems to like animals. And he enjoys talking about horses."

"Oh yeah," Lynn said, "Nate loves horses. They're one of his favorite animals. Those and wolves. Nate knows more about animals than anyone in our family and is a bit of a Dinosaur geek. He's also a seasoned survivalist and animal trainer. Josh was right. Nate's right at home out there. He'd be crazy not to be scared, but I believe he'll be alright."

"I hope so," Brennan replied.

"What about you?" Her crush's mother asked her, catching her off guard, "He's never mentioned you before."

"We met a couple times," Brennan replied earnestly, "Before the big river party." Was her meeting him fabricated too? "Once at the country music festival and at Kayla's birthday party. We talked a couple times, but nothing happened. And then, something just clicked at the river party." She looked down at the sand slightly embarrassed. She knew she was blushing.

"I see," Lynn said, "Well. I'm glad he found someone as beautiful as you are." If she wasn't blushing then, she was now. "Listen, despite what happened earlier, we got to have faith he'll come back safely. All we can do is hold out, and hope he returns. In the meantime, learning everything we can to make a civilization to help everyone out is what we should do. Imagine him coming back to find that we have cabins and stuff. He'll be excited."

"Yeah," Brennan said distantly.

"I'm going back up to camp for right now to see if I can help out somewhere," Lynn said getting up, "Be careful if you're still sitting here. I'm surprised none of us have seen raptors like one of the other groups already had. I'll see you later."

"Bye," Brennan said with a smile, "I'll see you later."

Brennan remembered those raptors and how the men of her family protected the rest of them along with those big crocodiles until they got across. She had never been so scared in her life. She couldn't remember what those big gators were actually called. It started with an "S." She sighed giving up. There was so many things she had to learn. She felt practically useless. A lot of other people in the group knew how to do so many things she didn't. She had to admit, she had a sheltered life and didn't have to worry about anything growing up. Her family was a rich one, her grandparents owning a significant amount of property and assets that would've been eventually passed down to her parents and their siblings. But now, she had to adapt to this strange new world. She had to survive in order to thrive. Maybe if she learned a lot more, then she could be of use to everyone. She had been pitying herself for what had happened and her crush being lost. With newfound determination and hope, she got up.

She started to make her way to the other side of the inlet towards the forest. She crossed in the shallow part of the water again to get back across how she originally did. She had been on this beach twice to gather berries. The Berries just kept growing back once a day. The yield wasn't much per plant, but it was worth it. She got maybe ten berries per plant and they were usually the yellow ones. She sure was glad other people were out here harvesting berries with her otherwise it would take forever. Her usual bounty of berries helped feed maybe four people a day if rationed correctly. The plants usually grew back a day or two later, but even berries were getting scarce. The Berry gatherers hardly ever got too far from the camp without an escort of four or five guards to protect them. Even then, some of the guards would aid them. The yellow berries seemed to be the most common, with purple ones right after. The least common was the black ones. Red, white, and blue berries were scarce, but not as scarce as the black berries. All the berries were separated by different baskets. One of the women in the tribe actually figured out how to weave basket inserts to separate the scarcer berries. Not everyone got those, but there were group community baskets that the gatherer groups would put in the general area so they could put them for later transport back to the camp.

She rejoined the group and finished out her daily quota of two baskets of yellow berries. There hadn't really been too much of a problem from the local wildlife with the exception of a few dodo's and some kind of small dinosaurs that looked like mini-raptors with two feathers on their heads each. They weren't dangerous alone, but they often called out to others of their kind and one could easily get swarmed by many of them. Alone though, they were curious little creatures. They would run up to you and stare at you or at what you were doing. They were friendly. That was until there were more than one. The more of their kind, the more vicious they got. She didn't like to be mean to animals, but she couldn't trust one of these tiny creatures, she always tried to shoo them away. One of the more knowledgeable kids in the group who was named Damian Owens, told everyone that they were called Compsognathus. She didn't know how she remembered that name, but he said just call them Compy's because the longer name was a mouth full. The hunters usually killed the Compy's along with Dodo's and Dilophosaurus' for meat. It was so much work for them, as they had hundreds of mouths to help feed, but they rose up to the challenge and always brought back food so far.

Brennan was only worried that food would eventually run out. She walked back up the slope through the forest with the rest of her group, sweaty and grimy as usual. She, like the rest of the folk here, hadn't bathed since they arrived on the island. She wondered how they were going to tackle that problem. She wanted some kind of creature comfort. She hoped that they would figure something out. She finally came out of the woods following close to the top of the cliff. There were people returning from the field with their daily catch strapped to them in some way or another. Compy's, Dilos, and Dodo's were the majority of the quarry. There was occasionally some kind of reptilian, the size of a small dog. It wasn't dangerous. It was more like an oblivious puppy sniffing around for food.

She eventually met up with her cousin Eric and his best friend Zack, who were coming back from a hunting trip. "Hey Brennan," He said looking exhausted, "Good haul?"

"Yeah," Brennan replied looking at the four dodo's strapped to his back by rope made out of plants. Zack had one of those dog-reptiles on his back. "Look's like you two had a good time."

"Livin' the dream," Zac spoke up looking exhausted.

The crowd of people started to flow into the into the camp/village. The place was almost cramped, especially with the influx of people trying to bottleneck into the entrance. There were tents erected in rows and semi-circles in between shelters or the main path. Standing torches dotted the area, along with campfires and log seats. It seemed that more and more tents were appearing as well, obviously coming from the beacons or supply drops. There were seven that appeared near the camp every day or every other day, dotted around the camp/village. Each was a variety of white, green, and blue beacons. Each time one of the scouting party's that went to investigate them, brought back something. There were usually three different groups of items that were available for dropping. Only one could be selected. Most shelters had thatch foundations to cushion from the rock. In between some of the shelters, were walkways that looked out over the cliffside to the small channel and beyond that, the mouth of the river and the Red Obelisk.

She hadn't been there for the meeting, but word traveled fast. Each time a drop collection would occur, to begin with, if the scouts came across a new selection, they were given instructions collect that one instead of an old one to see what would be given. The selections across the three colors were, Resources, Explorer, Campsite, Storage, Clothing, Weapons, Furniture, Taming, Agriculture, and Combat. Each color apparently had its own tier of each selection. If it had a gold ring around it, more items would appear or better grade. Everything varied, but the clothing selection had one to three complete sets of clothing, ranging from Primitive clothing, burlap clothing, or primitive cloth clothing. Some kind of sack was also present, either being a burlap sack, a cloth sack, or a basket backpack. The supply drops were life savers and helped speed up the process of making the area into a village. It wasn't a lot considering the sheer numbers of people. But it worked. The best part was, sometimes, the drops would have blueprints in addition to the items they spat out.

Resources seemed to range from wooden logs, plant fibers, plant materials, sand, clay, stone, flint, thatch, to spark powder. Explorer often gave spyglasses, primitive torches, maps, journals, pens, compasses, wooden spears, and/or primitive flare guns. Campsite was often the one chosen more due to the need for shelters and sleeping arrangements. It offered, Small A-frame tents, lean-to shelters, campfire materials, fire-starting kits, hide sleeping bags, primitive standing torches, primitive bug repellant, primitive rotisseries, cooking pots and water skins. Tools offered Bone knives, stone hatchets, stone pickaxes, primitive hammers, primitive chisels, fire-starting kits, and primitive wedges. Weapons included Bone knives, bone spears, wooden clubs, wooden spears, wooden Pitchfork, Primitive obsidian spears, Primitive obsidian Knives, bone axes, stone axes, and primitive obsidian axes. Furniture, was kind of hit or miss. It contained wooden chairs, benches, primitive hammock, bamboo bed, log bed, Hide sleeping bag, pillows, standing torch, and wooden tables. Storage had small storage boxes, primitive woven baskets, mud storage box, primitive weapon rack, Primitive smoker, large storage box, and various stands for different things. These stands included the Log stand, long stick stands, stick stands, small stick stands, stone stand, large stone stand, Leaf stands, Thatch stands, flint stands, and rope stands. Taming categories had given bows, tranquilized arrows of different grades, net traps, primitive clubs, primitive slingshot, narcotics of different grades, and bolas. Agriculture selections got could be potentially a life saver. It would have various stone pipes that could be connected to other pipes, stone reservoirs, Mud water filters, water filters, water collectors, mud showers, and compost bins. The problem was, most of these were blueprints, such as the different filters, collectors, stone reservoirs, and mud shower. Last but not least, combat had multiple primitive-like different types of armor, such as bamboo armor, wooden plank armor, Bone armor, and hide armor. It also had selections such as bows, arrows, bolas, parachutes, primitive spyglass, different spears, staves, primitive wooden shield, Wooden clubs, primitive war hammer, and primitive war axes.

All of these were naturally a benefit to the tribe as a whole. Really, most of the weaponry, clothing, and armor were given to those who hadn't already had any. There were still some who didn't have a lot of equipment, so some people shared weaponry when out hunting/gathering or trusted those who were on sentry duty. So far, there hadn't been any major attacks, other than the compy's and dilos. There was a raptor spotted once, but it hadn't gotten close to the village. It actually snapped up one of those dog-like reptiles on the beach in the east and took off into the woods.

Other than that, things were running smoothly. Comfortable was not the word one would use, but it was the new normal. Surprisingly, with rationing, the tribe wasn't starving. The only shortage at the moment was clean water, which was what the tribe engineers were working on. There were people constantly boiling water in makeshift bowls out of coconut shells from the palm trees or cooking pots that came in the supply drops. There were primitive water filters being built, which took a while to build. Usually, the men who had experience would be put in charge finding the materials and assembling one. They often took their children who were able to contribute, and the few women who showed interest in crafting one. Brennan wanted to get into learning it. She wanted to contribute more than just gathering berries for the tribe.

She walked towards a food storage area completely dedicated to the gatherer's efforts, to wait in line with everyone else who had baskets. There were four people manning the Gatherer's food storage. Two were taking in baskets and putting the right berries where they needed to be, one was helping keeping it organized, and the last was rationing the berries and wild vegetables for the next meal time. The storage area was a cylinder-shaped hut with a cone roof made out of thatch, bamboo, and occasional banana leaf walls with the exception of three directions. Shelves and primitively built wooden tables from drops held everything used to store the berries. Common containers would be wooden bowls, burlap sacks, coconut shells that were cut in half, woven basket trays, mud storage boxes or small storage boxes.

She noted the gossiping that was going around in line. Most of it was of memories of the old world, which was before they arrived here on the Ark. She knew that those memories were fabrications. Her time in college, all her horse shows she took apart of and attended, the festivals, everything. But was it much easier to pretend that they were real? Yes. It reminded everyone that they are all different somehow, even if they were all off an assembly line. Talk about an existential crisis.

Ten minutes later, she finally got to the front of the line. One of her friends Meagan, was one of the people working the vegetable station.

"Got a good haul today B?" She asked.

"A lot of yellow berries," Brennan replied, "Having fun sorting?"

"No but it's something to do." Meagan replied, "I feel like I'm back working in a fast food restaurant."

"But you're helping feed hundreds of mouths," Brennan added.

"More like controlling the portions," Meagan said sarcastically, "Oh well. I think we're almost done."

"Come find me later then."

"Will do."

Brennan walked through the village, weaving in and out of people. She noticed many shelters and tents. Tents were either in double rows, with a walkway between them or half circles. There were hide sleeping bags or leaf bedding inside with a burlap sack or two inside each tent. Each half- circle had a campfire in the center with seats. Some campfires had small primitive rotisseries above them. Small stacks of wood was on one side or another of the rows or half circles of tents.

She looked at the many shelters made from wood and thatch, able to house many more people compared to just A-frames or lean-to shelters. A-frame and Lean-to shelters had one or two inhabitants. Some of these shelters that were made out of wooden frames, palm leaves or banana leaves could house up to twenty people. Usually, the inhabitants would be families with children. She wound up at one of group of tents a lot of her family had claimed. It was a semi-circle of tents with a shelter right in the middle. This was almost in the center of the encampment, at the base of Mt. Cragg, as everyone had come to call it. There were ten tents on each side each of the shelter. The shelter would be where her brother, his wife, Eric, Kayla, and all their kids slept. Also there was the grandfather and grandmother, Don and Angela Parker slept. Brennan and her cousin Christian, who was Eric's sister, bunked in a tent together. Both pairs of their parents had their own tent as well. She walked up to her father chopping wood with a makeshift hatchet.

"Hey baby girl," He greeted her, "Good harvest today?"

"Pretty good," She replied, "Anything interesting in the hunts today?"

"I bagged some dodos today," He replied, "Donnie got a couple as well."

"Cool." Brennan replied, "What about mom? Did they ever figure out anything for her to do?"

"She's working on setting up a teaching area," Her father replied, "Like the Academy she worked at. The kids still need to learn. Writing, reading, math, maybe history. That kind of stuff."

"What about science dad?"

"Well apparently our understanding of it is all jacked up at the moment," Her father replied, "Paper doesn't get wet anymore? That makes no sense."

"That is weird," Brennan replied. She still couldn't believe that one. It was one of the many things she'd have to except. There was a commotion that steadily got more intense happening. People were rushing off towards the western entrance of the camp. "What's going on?"

"I have no idea," Her father replied, "Let's go find out."

The two followed the rest of the crowd back around the bend of the camp. A massive bird-like reptile was sitting there, with a white ribbon around its neck. The ribbon must've been similar to the white flag. This thing's head was big, its beak being able to swallow four whole humans at the same time. It had massive claws attached to leathery wings. It stood higher than any human, and was eye level with palm trees. On its back was a structure made of metal with minigun emplacements on it that were deactivated. The structure was built like a metal modular home. One the front was a glass cockpit-like area, where the reigns of the creature were. Getting out of the hatch was a woman who had brunette hair and an athletic body. She wore aviators and wore leather armor. She stood on the side of the structure and climbed down onto the creature's shoulder.

"Wow," She said nodding impressed, "The other Rangers weren't kidding. There are a lot of you. And you're all doing decent for yourselves."

The members of the tribe council made their way forward.

"You're an Ark Ranger?" Her grandfather asked, who was on the council.

"Yes sir I am," She replied, "I'm our tribe's Archivist. I take care of the paperwork basically. Blueprints, guides, written history, all that. I've been busy making multiple copies of things that you'd all need. Our leader is very adamant about helping you all. Normally, we don't get involved with wash-up's much outside of recruiting them if we need them."

"Where are all the other rangers?" Don asked.

"They're all on different assignments," Ranger Lauren replied, "Or they're busy with different things. Some of them are still searching for your missing family member." Brennan's heart sank once more. "I think one guy is cave spelunking. Me? I'm here to deliver some stuff. Give me one moment." The big beaked dinosaur let out a loud call as she climbed back onto the structure.

"What exactly is that thing?" A random person asked.

"Oh Lenny here?" Ranger Lauren asked, "He's a Quetzalcoatlus, or Quetzal for short. He's the biggest native flier in the Region. We use them as mobile sky bases or caravans."

"Do you usually have them packing that much heat?" Another person asked, how many people serves as its crew?

"Well this one yeah," Ranger Lauren said, "but no turrets on them are called auto turrets. They aim for center mass. Extremely difficult to construct and program. These are deactivated for safety reasons. They target anything I need them to. Of course, only if I put in the right command. I can tell them to target wild animals, tames, or people. There's a lot more functionality to it, but still. We use them for defense. Anyways, give me a second." She went inside the cockpit and took a moment inside the metal structure. The Quetz turned to face the Red Obelisk, making its left side face the camp entrance. On the back of the structure, behind the tail body of the giant pterosaur, an elevator extended down revealing a small lift. On the lift were various wooden small boxes stacked, and the Ranger herself.

"Okay," She said sighing, "In these boxes here are maps of the island Region. There are resource maps, as well as the locations of the various caves, and obelisks on them. I made many, many copies. I'm pretty sure it's in the thousands. So if someone could take these boxes off my hands, that'd be great. I've got more to unload."

Several men walked over and grabbed the four wooden storage boxes. It took two people to move one out of the way. The elevator then retracted for a few moments back into the structure before returning with more small wooden storage boxes.

"I've got more to unload for this set of boxes," Ranger Lauren said, "But in these small storage boxes are the islands Dino Dossiers. It's a collection of information regarding the various species found in the region."

People started offloading the elevator and another set as it returned with more. When she returned with more storage boxes, she spoke quickly. "In here is what we call the Cookbooks. They contain a lot of recipes for dishes and tonics that will become extremely valuable for any tribe. Energy Brews, Healing brews, Fria Curry recipes, etc." Once those were offloaded, there were more.

"These here will help you figure out how to effectively tame the various creatures on the island, train them, and use them," She spoke, "We call it the Domestication Guide. They're useful in conjunction with the dino dossier's. Our very own Ranger N, was the one who wrote this one. He's what we call a Beastmaster and studier of the wildlife and botany. Basically, a genius."

"Wasn't Ranger N the one who joined the search for Nate?" Brennan spoke up.

"I believe so yes," Ranger Lauren replied getting seemingly excited, "Ranger N's one of the best. He's been here longer than most. In fact, He's been to many of the regions on the Mega-Ark. Oh there are so many regions to explore. I've only been to The Center Region. And no I'm not talking about the center of the Mega-Ark. It's a region known as, the Center. A lot of regions have the same creatures and may have their own regional variants. But there are some regions that have exclusive creatures and botany that no other has. Sorry off topic. Yes, Ranger N is looking for your family member." She continued to unload the Creature Guides.

"Next is the Island Region Geography and Botany Guide," She continued as she brought down more storage boxes, "It's an Encyclopedia of anything related to the Biomes, Botany, and Geology of the Region. It's another guide written by Ranger N."

She brought down more boxes, "Okay." She said, "It took me some digging to make copies of these and to make sure we had plenty of extras. These are all blueprints. I could only get one copy of each, so don't lose them. Have you gotten any since you arrived here? From the supply drops I mean?"

"We have," One of the council members spoke, "We have scouting patrols going to pick them up every time there is one nearby."

"Excellent," Ranger Lauren said, "Guard those blueprints with everything you have. They'll make life here a lot easier. These blueprints are going to help you out. They show you how to build structures, gear, boats, traps, armor, weaponry, saddles, all sorts of stuff."

"We will," Don said, "Thank you kindly."

"No problem at all," Ranger Lauren said, "Now. I have to get back to Headquarters. I've got a lot of work to catch up on. My duties were put on hold when I was tasked with bringing all this information to you. But we'll be checking in every now and then. Just look for the white flag and our symbol."

"We will." Don spoke, "Safe travels."

Ranger Lauren rode the elevator back into the structure and made her way back into the cockpit of the saddle. She tightened the reins up, and the massive pterosaur lifted up into the air. The structure on its back didn't seem to encumber it at all. The pterosaur was slow, but it ascended into the air, flying North. A lot of people watched as it disappeared over the trees of the central mountain of Cragg's Island. Everyone else got to work on moving the many storage boxes of reading material and blueprints towards the center of the camp.

The next challenge was passing out copies of each piece of reading material to anyone who was old enough to read and understand. It took nearly an hour and a half for this process and not everyone was able to get one in that time. Brennan thumbed through the Dossier, which like her, seemed to captivate everyone. There were 106 creatures in the region, 7 Alpha Predators, and 1 Guardian. There were truly monstrous creatures on this island. Giganotosaurus, T-rex's, Mosasaurus, Tusoteuthis, etc. Looking at each one almost gave her an anxiety attack. There were size comparisons to humans, their diet, and where each creature could usually be found.

The Domestication Guide looked promising as well. There was just too much information to process in a few hours. There was a couple animals she wanted to look at more, that caught her eye. The Equus was the main one. It was the ancestor to one of her favorite animals, the horse. She would do her best to get one if she found them. For now though, it was time to eat dinner around the campfire with her family, and then get some sleep. The next day was probably going to be much of the same, only there was a new vigor in everyone's mind…..

….

Nate Walker –

Blue Arm: Island – Northeast shores

The hidden canyon was as fortified as they could get it. A week had passed since they had begun. Nate, Eric, and Mark had put in a lot of work for three people. They had built wooden dinosaur gates at every entrance, with walls on either side of them along with spike wall barricades. There was a lookout post at every wall. Their shelter had expanded as well. Each member had their own shelter made out of wood and banana leaves for roofing. Other than that, an open shed was being built to house construction materials such as wooden logs, planks, sticks, etc. A wooden shed was being built to store materials and gear in. It was easy to make the shed, but getting the materials took a lot of work.

The three ventured out into the northern plateau to gather berries and supply drops. They had discovered the many different selections and capitalized on them. There was even three supply drops that would land in their canyon. They had gotten a lot of helpful things such as clothing, armor, more weapons, and gear. The thing was, it wasn't all primitive. They had gotten metal tools, which had quickly sped up the process of gathering. They had gotten metal hatchets, picks, and a sickle. There was one matchet as well. Other than that, it was all primitive gear.

The three were out on the North Eastern beach scouting and looking for food. They had made it a point not to stay on the beach as it was more of a paranoia thing. As far as they knew, any other human was hostile or unknown. They had done this many times. Hunting dodo's and Lystrosaurus'. Erik had skewered a dodo with his spear, killing it instantly.

"Look's like that's one for each of us," He said, "Ready to head back?"

"Sure," Mark replied. The three of them paused when they heard someone.

"Please!" They heard, "I didn't do anything!"

"Why does that guy sound familiar?" I asked quietly, "Come on." They all three moved as silently as they could through the brush. It was a good thing they weren't on the beach.

"Liar!" A man said, "You were trying to get the drop on us. Weren't you?" They peered through the thicket.

"Holy shit," Mark said, "That's Dylan."

"Dylan?" Nate asked confused, "how the hell?" Dylan was another friend of ours. Crass a lot of times, but a good man. The man in question was backing away slowly from a group of four people who had a wooden boat and a campfire on the beach. The boat wasn't much to look at. It looked like a row boat. The men in question, had on leather armor with the exception of a fifth person who walked up behind them had on some kind of metal armor. Each were equipped with different weaponry. Three had metal pikes, one had a bow with arrows, and the metal armored man had a sword. Their row boat had a small storage crate, and some burlap sacks.

"No!" Dylan said pleadingly, "Please. I'm so hungry. I didn't know it was your bird."

"Oh I believe you," The metal armored man said walking up to Dylan, "It's just that, you're pathetic. A Wash-up. You won't last much longer out here. So we're just going to put you out of your misery."

"The hell they are," Mark whispered aggressively.

"We're outnumbered," Erik replied.

"Guerilla warfare then," Nate said pulling my bow and arrow.

"We're really gonna kill them?" Erik questioned.

"It's either them or Dylan," Mark said huffing nocking an arrow, "He's our friend. The ROE doesn't apply here Erik. We're not in the military right now."

"Fine," Erik replied getting his own out, "I got the archer."

"I got one of the pikemen," Marcus said.

"I got the leader," Nate spoke up heart pounding. He was an excellent marksman. Nowhere near as good as his cousin Clyde with a bow, but still.

"Got your marks?" Mark asked.

"Yup."

"Yes."

"Fire on three." Mark said, "three. Two. One. Fire."

The three let loose of the strings. Nate's was a headshot. It pierced the back of the leader's head as he started to walk to the boat. Erik's arrow hit his target in the neck and Mark's arrow hit his target in the chest right where his heart was. The remaining two men shouted in surprise looking in the trio's general direction weapons raised.

"What the hell!?" One of them yelled startled. Dylan took the moment of confusion to grab the fallen pikeman's weapon and thrust upward into the closest hostile, killing him instantly. The other man shouted in anger.

"I'll kill you!" He went to run at Dylan only to be met with an arrow that stunned him off his feet as it hit his shoulder. He grabbed the puncture spot, then was hit again in the thigh, causing him to fall to his knees. He went to thrust at Dylan in defiance. Nate let loose his arrow which hit him in the side. Blood poured out. The man was done for. He wouldn't survive even if they didn't continue.

Dylan stood up, anger and bravery in his eyes. "Please," The man said weakly.

"I'm gonna put you out of your misery," Dylan echoed the words of the leader. He then raised the pike above his head, then thrusted down into the man's chest.

The trio walked out solemnly. They just took the lives of four people. That thought weighed on their minds. Nate sighed. "You alright buddy?" He asked Dylan.

"Yeah." Dylan didn't recognize them. He still stared at the dying man as he removed his new weapon, "Who are…." He looked at us, realization washing over him. "Son of a bitch. Thanks guys." He fell back on his rear sitting down. The adrenaline had vanished. "First off. What the hell?"

"Gotta be more specific than that," Mark replied. "here." He gave him a canteen to drink out of. Nate gave him a handful of editable berries. Erik inspected the rowboat full of supplies.

"Thanks," Dylan said nodding as he took a drink from the canteen and then stuffed his mouth full of the berries.

"Long story short," Nate said, "We're on an island full of extinct creatures. Nothing here makes sense and we just saved your ass from, I'm guessing a bandit crew or something. We all washed up here. Don't know how. Don't know why. It just happened."

"Oh great," Dylan said sarcastically, "So the usual BS huh?"

"Pretty much," Mark said nodding.

"Look's like they were a scouting crew of some sort," Erik said combing over the supplies, "There's some decent food and supplies here. Spyglasses, dried meats, bolas, a map, a compass some spare cloth clothes, and other gear. There's also more arrows."

"Not doing them any good," Mark said, "Might as well take what we can carry."

"Wait hold up," Dylan said thrown off, "You being serious right now? We're really looting the dead?" Dylan was new to this. The trio wasn't. It may have been the first time they had killed another person on the island, but it was obviously survival of the fittest out here.

"Well yeah," Mark replied, "Listen man. Morals don't apply on this island. It's full of dinosaurs. Now we're not going to attack anyone we don't want trouble with unless they're a threat. But all this gear sitting here will help us more than them."

"He's right Dyl," Nate said, "I don't like it anymore than you do, but we do what we have to. These guys weren't friendlies."

Dylan shook his head with a huff. "Fine."

"We need to hurry before their bodies attract something big." Erik said.

"Help me get this armor off them Erik," Mark said, "Just the armor. Dylan. You might want to put on that set of cloth clothing."

"Better wearing all that," Nate said clapping Dylan on his shoulder as he stood up, "than your pecker flying in the wind."

"True," Dylan said realizing he was still naked. Dylan walked over to the storage box and slipped on the shorts and shirt as well as tying the bandana around his head. He helped himself to a piece of the dried meat. "Tastes like beef jerky," He said.

"Good," Nate replied as the other two were stripping the armor off the dead guys, "We could use some more food." They stuffed the leather pieces in a rucksack. The metal armor took up its own burlap sack. "Hey Mark." Nate picked up a metal open faced helmet.

"Yeah?" Mark asked shouldering the burlap sack full of metal armor.

"This will complete the set." Nate replied tossing it to him.

"Thanks," Mark replied strapping it to his side.

"Here." Erik said as he held the dead archer's quiver full of arrows and bow, giving them to Dylan. "Now we all got ranged weaponry."

Nate picked through the boat along with Dylan, restocking what arrows into his friend's quivers that they had used the entire day. They got maybe one arrow back from their assault on the marauders. Pretty soon, there was nothing left of the marauder's belongings but the clothes on their backs. Nate claimed the sword, while the other three claimed the pikes. It beat lugging around three or four spears. The three left the area, quickly gathering their quarry they left from their firing line, they had left there.

They arrived back at their base an hour later. They unloaded their excess stuff into the shed that was still being built on. After they did so, they began constructing Dylan's shelter out of the materials they had. They had enough to build a full shelter like their own. He did however, have to sleep on bedding. The construction of his shelter took the remainder of the day to do. They also got him up to speed on what they had been up to and their plans. Their plans were to finish construction of the shed, then work on getting better equipment. The only way to do that was to figure out where more resources were, such as metal. Obviously, there was metal around somewhere. The main problem was, transporting it if it wasn't close by. How would they do that? They'd probably have to travel to the top of one of the mountains.

It was Nate's watch. He had been staring at the fire as it crackled. He could hear distant sounds of dinosaurs and night life. Something was walking in the background through the trees. It was snapping branches and everything. As long as he didn't hear anything hit the gates. He'd know that sound. It'd be much louder and the sound of a gate hitting the ground would surely wake someone up. Whatever it was that was walking in the forest, was large. It was probably a T-rex or something. He hadn't seen one yet, but that's what he'd assume. He distinctly remembered the sound of the Allosaur's charging the Gallimimus. Their footsteps were heavy, but nothing like this. The T-rex was his next guess. He'd love to see one. In fact, he wanted to know more. He wanted to study the animals on this island. Not just the animals though; he wanted to learn about the plants and habitats. He wanted….to find his family. Thinking about them made him depressed. He needed to focus on surviving and getting better. Maybe learn some things before he went off to find them. The problem was, he always felt like an outcast to them. Like he didn't belong. He sighed thinking about it more and more.

The next morning, he woke up. Dylan had taken second watch. Now that there were four in their group, two people could sleep a whole night and two people could take watch, five hours each. When it was only three of them, one person would get to sleep in, while the other two would take turns taking watch. The system worked. But now instead of one person being fully rejuvenated in the group, two would be. That meant more people well rested.

He got up, grabbed a few pieces of jerky for breakfast and was ready for the day. He looked out over the short clifftop and pond to see Dylan walking the perimeter. He definitely was trying to familiarize himself with the place. There wasn't much to it though. Just three entrances, the shelters, a few trees, and a pond. Nate sat on the cliffside above the pond watching him. Dylan got distracted a lot. It was a habit he'd have to get rid of on this island.

Something caught Dylan's eye Nate's way. He pointed at Nate. "Nate!" He yelled.

Nate immediately turned around rolling to his feet with his bow nocked and drawn at whatever was behind him. It was an Argentavis. It landed right in the middle of the camp. The only reason Nate hadn't fired an arrow at it was because someone was on its back. This left Nate a little shocked. The massive predatory bird

Mark and Eric came running out their shelters with the Pikes drawn. "Calm down," The rider said, "I'm not here to fight."

"Swooping in unannounced?" Mark said, "Not reassuring."

"True," The man said. He wore a balaclava , cotton clothing, and metal armor on his forearms and shins, "Well what I'm going to tell you will be even more suspicious." By this time Dylan arrived with his Pike raised like the others. "I've been watching you three, and now I guess your new member for around a week now."

"I'm not sure if I would have led with that," Erik said sarcastically, "You're not making yourself any friends right now."

"Why?" Nate asked, "Why were you watching us?"

"To see what kind of people you are," The man said, "Do you know how many people wash up here and lose their minds? Attacking people, killing them? I've seen it. I saw what you four did yesterday. It was in pure self defense. I wanted to make sure you were the right kind of people. You are all decent in combat, survival, and primitive engineering. You're also not afraid to kill when necessary. That tells me you've got the right kind of stuff to survive this place."

"What's your point?" Dylan asked.

"My name is Michael," The man said looking at Nate, "I'm leader of the Ark Rangers. A tribe dedicated to helping others when we can, and maintaining the peace and balance of the Mega-Ark."

"The what now?" Nate asked confused.

"I've got a lot of explaining to do," He said, "May I get off? I promise I won't attack if you won't."

"Deal," Nate replied lowering his bow. It was like he had a hunger for knowledge that needed to be sated.

"Well." Michael said dismounting his Argentavis, "For starters…" Michael had spent the next two hours explaining everything he could about the Ark. He noted that it was exactly the same thing his fellow rangers spoke of to a fairly large group that arrived just a week prior. "…By the way, are one of you named Nate?"

"I am," Nate spoke raising his bow slightly again in preparation for anything about to happen. He was still trying to digest everything about the Mega-Ark and having his own existential crisis.

"Nate Walker?" The man named Michael said looking at him.

"Yes?" He responded again. His friends returned to raising their weapons as well.

"Oh good." Michael spoke, "That big group I told you about? That was your family."

"What?" Nate said perking up and dropping his bow once more, "Where are they?"

"I think they all settled down on Cragg's Island down near the Red Obelisk," Michael said, "Last we spoke to them, they were all accounted for. You are literally the only one that didn't wash up with them. It took some time and some coordination on the Ranger's part, but we got them all together."

Nate sighed in relief. It was wonderful news. In the back of his mind he wondered how many would make it. "So they're okay?" Nate asked.

"More than okay actually," Michael said, "I've never seen a group of people spring back and have a strong foundation of togetherness. They've got their own little village and system worked out already. They've established a council, got people pitching in to help, and are even staying alive by adopting hunting and gathering. No casualties as far as I'm aware. One of our Rangers even delivered a lot of information to help them out even further. We supplied them with guides and blueprints. So long as they aren't raided by foreign invaders, they'll be okay."

"You mean like that scouting party we saved Dylan from?" Erik asked.

"Yes," Michael replied, "We're good at keeping them off the island to protect newcomers, but sometimes they slip by. Raiders is a loose term by the way. Any survivor can be a Raider. You, me. It doesn't matter. If they're hostile and are attacking your base, that's what they are commonly known as. I can get into proper terms later. For now. Nate. I know you probably want to go to your family. And I'll respect that. Maybe your friends will want to as well. But…I'm going to ask you something first."

"And what would that be?" Nate asked.

"You all are pretty good for wash-ups," The Ranger said, "But I'm offering to train you all in different Combat, survival, and engineering while having access to resources that will help you. You'll become Ark Rangers, or honorary members. Your choice."

"What kind of combat we talking here?" Mark asked.

"Being made up of people from many different backgrounds," Michael replied, "We have come across some incredible warriors from different time periods. I'm talking about ancient warriors like Spartans, ancient Chinese warriors from different dynasties, samurai, Ninja, other Japanese periods, Vikings, Medieval, and Romans. There are also different counter terrorism unit and military backgrounds from the Moderate age of Earth's countries such as U.S, Russia, British, France, Canada, Poland, Israel, Pakistan, Australia, Japan, China, Italy, South Korea, Morocco, and Mexico. You're probably more familiar with this time period. There were also people from after your time. The Terran Federation and the United Republic of Earth. We train our Tribe members in all manners of combat, survival, and equipment handling from each era that can be used here. We've trained with them all and learned what we can use to help our tribe members."

"The Ark Rangers sound like a PMC," Mark spoke after this.

"True," Michael said, "But we just learn from all forms of combat possible so every member is as lethal as possible. Our combat capabilities don't just stem from these training routines. We also use the various creatures in combat and for different things."

Everything came to a halt for Nate. "Wait," He said, "When you say….creatures. Do you mean….like a T-rex?" He temporarily forgot that the creatures on the Mega-Ark could be domesticated.

"Yes," Michael replied, "Remember? I told you this already." It refreshed the idea of a wolf army in Nate's mind. Michael continued. "Aside from combat, we have other areas of expertise."

"Like what?" Dylan asked.

"We study behaviors of creatures," Michael said, "Plants, develop new concoctions, map out new Regions, agriculture, engineering, building. All that. With that, we try to share our knowledge with upcoming tribes and wash-ups who are deemed quote on quote, friendly."

"So say we join you," Erik said, "We are free to leave whenever?"

"Of course," Michael spoke, "But we ask that you help keep tabs on tribes that would disrupt the peace of the Mega-Ark. Like I said, we aren't looking for War. We're trying to help keep the peace and discover everything we possibly can on the Mega-Ark. There are many, many secrets that we have yet to discover, let alone species of creatures, plants, and technologies. The only way to discover these secrets is to challenge the Guardians of the different regions and visit them. I've told you about your Implant. That thing tracks where you are on the Mega-Ark and will allow you to see what is available to learn in the region." The more Michael spoke, the more Nate was enticed to learn more.

"I will make you a deal," Nate said after thinking about it, "I'll join, but I want tabs to be kept on my family." He struggled to say the next part, "And I don't want them to know that where I'm at right now. Until I'm more valuable to them, I don't think I want to return to them." What good would it do them if he showed up as he was now. If he knew more about this place and learned more, he could help them more. "I suppose you have means of doing so?"

"Of course we do," Michael said nodding, "And those terms are acceptable. We were planning on doing so anyways. What about the rest of you?"

"It beats trying to do this stuff on our own," Erik said, "What'll happen to this place after we leave?"

"We can help maintain it," Michael said, "It's fairly hidden and not many survivors find it. When they do, they usually move on or die by the local wildlife. We'll see what we can do with it later. For now however, I suggest we pack your belongings. You don't want anything left here for raiders to pick apart. There's not much we can do about your shelters."

"How are we going to transport it all?" Dylan asked, "This is a lot of gear."

"I've got you covered," Michael said grinning. He pulled out a radio and spoke into it. "Ranger Lauren. They're on board. Over."

"Roger that Ranger N," A female said. Suddenly, a shadow was cast above them.

"What the hell?" Erik said thrown off. A massive Pterosaur was descending over the ledge with a structure on its back.

The giant bird landed behind the Argentavis. The Argentavis looked at the larger flier before looking back at the people all around it. The four newly recruited Rangers looked shocked at the massive bird. With Nate, an inner excitement started to build.

A woman climbed out the cockpit-like area with a grin. "Hey guys," She said smiling, "Welcome to the Ark Rangers."

….