CHAPTER 10

BACK TO THE FUTURE

That afternoon, a lot of the longnecks were leaving to return home. Lesik announced to his herd that they would soon be leaving as well.

He and Bron were gathered in a clearing to say their farewells to Shirkan.

"It pleases me greatly that you've finally seen the error of your ways, Shirkan..." Bron said. "That was a very brave thing you did, and I'm proud of you!" he smiled.

"Well..." Shirkan began as he pawed the ground in embarrassment. "Something told me I had to... clear the air... with this..."

Lesik laughed. "And 'cleared the air' you did... to the point of tears..."

"Just don't tell anybody, okay?" Shirkan insisted.

"Don't worry! My lips are sealed..." Lesik smiled.

"Thanks, brother!" Shirkan smiled back.

Then they shared a warm embrace between them.

Shirkan then faced the male longneck he called 'father' for most of his life.

"I promise I'll come and visit as soon as I can... I may even convince Lesik to come with me..." Bron said.

Lesik chuckled. "If I go, I'll go willingly..."

Shirkan laughed at this. "I'd like that."

Then they shared that loving father and son embrace. "I love you, son!" Bron said.

"I love you, too, dad!" Shirkan reciprocated.

Bron was surprised a bit at hearing his adoptive son call him 'dad', but didn't allow himself to relinquish the long embrace he shared with the male longneck he had looked after as he would've looked after Lesik.

"I gotta go. The herd's waiting for me..." Shirkan said with moist eyes and a sniffle as he finally relinquished the embrace.

"Safe journey!" Bron called as Shirkan walked away to join his herd.

"Bye!" Shirkan called back.

Both males watched Shirkan walk away. When he reached his herd, they all parted way to allow him to march to the front and lead them out of the stone circle towards home.


Meanwhile, Michael and Bonnie were taking down their camp and packing everything inside KITT's trunk.

"Michael! Bonnie!" KITT said to get their attention.

"Yeah, KITT?" Michael said.

"I was waiting for the right moment to say this, as I don't want anyone else to know... Might as well tell you now, while we're alone..."

Michael and Bonnie looked at each other. They knew that KITT was being serious, and that the news probably wouldn't be too good.

"What is it, KITT?" Michael said as he got into the driver's seat. Bonnie took her place on the passenger's side.

"I've noticed something during my scan of the solar eclipse, and I found something disturbing... Michael, Bonnie, I don't think that was the moon that passed in front of the sun."

Michael and Bonnie looked worried. "What makes you say that, KITT?" Bonnie asked.

"Observe..." KITT said as he showed zoomed in replay of the solar eclipse on his dashboard monitor. "As you can see, it's not a perfect spherical shape; and I've also detected what looked like micro meteorite impacts on the large dark mass..."

Indeed, they could see bumps and ridges on the very edge of the object. It was definitely NOT the moon! The micro meteorite impacts on the surface of it made it even more sinister.

"If that wasn't the moon, KITT. What else could it've been?" Michael asked.

"The obvious conclusion was that it was an orbiting asteroid... possibly The Big One..." KITT announced.

"The Big One!?" Bonnie said in surprise.

"Yes! It could very well be the very asteroid that will impact the earth and essentially wipe out all dinosaur life..."

"You can't be serious!" Michael exclaimed.

"Believe me, Michael! I wish I weren't... I've also calculated its orbital trajectory based on data I've compiled during its pass in front of the sun..."

KITT then displayed a graph on his monitor that showed the path of the asteroid in conjunction with the orbital path of the Earth. On the lower right hand side, he depicted a countdown of the years from that period in time, showing an intersection point at the end of the graph.

Michael and Bonnie were stunned for a few moments, then Michael spoke up. "KITT... if your calculations are correct... that asteroid's gonna impact the Earth in... forty years from now, by the Gregorian calendar..."

"That's within the lifetime of most of them, and ALL of their children!" Bonnie exclaimed. "In forty years, they'll all be DEAD."

Bonnie then grew deeply sad. She was to the point of tears. Michael immediately moved in to comfort her.

"Michael..." she sobbed. "They're all such nice dinos... Why do they have to die? Why do they have to suffer this fate!?"

"Honey!" Michael comforted. "You know full well that in order for our kind to evolve on this planet, the dinosaurs have to DIE... It's part of the circle of life... Understand?"

Bonnie eventually nodded. "I just wish that there was something that we could do..."

"Yeah... Me, too..." Michael said as he kissed her on the forehead and continued comforting her until she stopped crying.


A short time later, the entire herd was marching out of the stone circle and were heading back to The Great Valley. KITT took his place behind Lesik and his family, and was trudging along slowly behind the big longnecks.

Michael felt compelled to play a song that expressed his mood. He didn't play it too loudly. He didn't want it to be picked up by the sensitive ears of the longnecks.

This is the end... beautiful friend

This is the end... my only friend! The end!

Of our elaborate plans, the end

Of everything that stands, the end

No safety or surprise, the end

I'll never look into your eyes... again...

Can you picture what will be

So limitless and free

Desperately in need... of some stranger's hand

In a... desperate land...

Lost in a Roman... wilderness of pain...

And all of the children are insane...

All the children are insane...

Michael always thought that this song by The Doors was probably one of their darkest hits. It came out just as the Vietnam War was starting, and it was also the featured intro song to Apocalypse Now. Michael was always struck by the lyrics of the song, which basically recaps, in a nutshell, what the Vietnam experience was like. Although he didn't stay there long enough to really be affected by it, he had many friends who came back from there totally changed. They were never the same again!

Michael also felt it reflected he and Bonnie's current mood given the bombshell KITT just dropped on them a short while ago. They held each other blankly as the song played over KITT's car speakers.


They would reach The Great Valley two days later. Trixia and Korkum reached them as soon as they arrived at the border of the valley. They told Lesik that "strange blue circle of light" had appeared in a clearing in the valley yesterday, and his been there ever since. They also said they were quite puzzled by it.

"The time vortex!" Michael immediately said in recognition. "My god! Has it been a week already!? Time flies when you're having fun!" Michael smiled to Bonnie.

"I take it you're going to be leaving right away?" Lesik said as he bent his head down to face them.

"As much as we'd love to stay for one more day, we HAVE to!" Michael said. "We were due back yesterday, and our human friends on the other side are waiting for us... They're probably very worried by now..."

Lesik nodded. "Understood..."


A short time later, all of the dinos who were close friends of Michael, Bonnie and KITT were gathered in front of the time vortex to see them off. Plenty of hugs and well wishes were exchanged between them.

Lesik was the last to say his goodbyes to them. "I'm curious, though..."

WHOO WHOOO. "That always seems to be a recurring theme with you..." KITT said with a hint of annoyance.

Lesik just chuckled. "It's my nature! Anyway, that song you were playing when we left the stone circle... the one that spoke about some kind of an 'end'... It sounded pretty sad..."

Michael shared a glance with Bonnie. "Can't hide nothing past those sensitive earholes of yours, can we? Yeah... it IS a pretty sad song..."

"Does it hold any special meaning to both of you?" Lesik asked.

Michael shrugged. "No..." he lied. "Except maybe... to evoke the sadness of us leaving The Great Valley: We kinda fell like home here!"

"Nobody said you couldn't stay..." Lesik suggested.

Michael said. "Thanks for the offer, but we can't stay... We belong in the human world with our human friends... Besides, where would KITT find the gasoline he needs out here?"

WHOO WHOOO. "Especially the premium brand that allows me to show off, now and again..."

"Okay! That's it! A steady diet of unleaded for you, from now on!" Michael teased.

"Please, Michael! ANYTHING BUT THAT! I'LL BE GOOD! I PROMISE!"

Everybody laughed at this banter between them.

Then Lesik allowed the two humans to give him a warm farewell. "Goodbye, my hyoo mahn friends! I'll miss you!"

"We'll miss you too, Lesik!" Bonnie said with a shaky voice. She was to the point of tears, but she managed to hold them back.

Lesik noticed this. "Why do I get the feeling that this may be the last time we'll see each other... You DO plan on coming back, do you? If your friend's time travel mah-sheen is as you've described, one would think you'd have all the time in the world..."

"It's hard to say, Lesik! It's hard to say... Maybe... Maybe not..." Michael admitted.

Lesik brought his face close to Michael. "Myk'l... If you know something, please tell me... Is it about our future? About what is to become? Is something bad going to happen?"

Michael sighed inwardly. He's got no idea how prophetic that statement is! He thought to himself. Bonnie shared his discomfort.

"We have another expression: Some things are better left unsaid..." Michael simply said.

Lesik nodded. "Well, whatever is bound to happen, I will accept it as such... even if it means that some of us have to die... Such is the great circle of life... I just hope that my children won't be part of this fate... Not while they still have their entire lives ahead of them..." he said as he glanced back at them a short ways away. They were play fighting at their mother's feet.

Bonnie got into KITT's passenger seat. She felt that if she stood there any longer, she was going to start crying, and that would only make things worse.

Michael said one final goodbye as he got in to KITT's driver seat. He then had KITT back up at the appropriate distance to reach the right speed before crossing through the vortex. "Let's go home, KITT..." Michael said softly as he pressed on the accelerator after they were backed up fully. All of the assembled waved or cried out "goodbye!" as KITT crossed through the vortex and disappeared. The opening closed as soon as he went through. Then life returned to normal in The Great Valley.


In the warehouse back in Malibu, California, Dr. Anders was monitoring his time travel machine from his computer console. He had reopened for vortex yesterday morning, and was anxiously waiting for his friends to emerge from it. He grew increasingly worried as time wore on. At one point, he feared the worst! He figured he'd leave the porthole open for a few more days, and simply close it if they did not reappear. He would then accept their unfortunate demise, and make it a point to tell whatever friends and family they had left.

A brilliant flash of light made him squint. He looked up and saw KITT skid to a halt sixty feet away from him. He smiled brightly. "Welcome back! You were due back yesterday! We were getting worried! What took you guys so long!?"


That evening, after dinner, they were all sitting in Dr. Anders' and his wife's living room sharing cocktails from the mini bar and talking mostly about the recent adventure Michael and Bonnie had. David Anders and his wife Caroline were quite fascinated as Michael and Bonnie told them about everything that happened and how they were treated by the dinosaurs of The Great Valley. "Wow! Sounds like you had a lot of fun!" Caroline commented.

"We did!" Bonnie replied.

Then they described what KITT had discovered, then the mood changed. Everybody felt sad at the notion that all of the friendly dinos of The Great Valley are destined to die as a result of the giant asteroid that will crash into the Earth forty years from that point in time.

"That's so terrible!" Caroline said sadly. "Oh, Davey! I really wish that there was something we could do!" she whined to her husband.

David was pensive for a few moment, then his eyes lit up. "Maybe there is..."

Everyone looked at him curiously. "What do you mean?" Bonnie asked.

"I have a younger brother who's a zoologist and an amateur archaeologist... I'm sure he'd JUMP at the chance at saving these dinos!"

"How!?" Michael asked.

"There an old abandoned military base not far from here... It's got a giant aircraft hanger that's mostly intact. With my brother's help, he could convert it to an arboretum that's best suited for these dinos. With his knowledge of animals, I'm sure it'll be a SNAP!"

"Do you think Ralph'll go for this, Davey?" Caroline asked.

"I'm SURE he will, honey!" Davey reassured.

"Okay... assuming your brother goes along with this, Davey... How soon can this arboretum be ready?"

"I figure two years... maybe three, at the most... What do you say?"

Michael looked towards Bonnie.

"I think it's worth it..." Bonnie said with a smile. "That way, our dinosaur friends and their children don't have to die tragically in that asteroid impact. They can live out their natural lives in that controlled environment! They can have some kind of FUTURE, at least! I say: LET'S DO IT!"

"ALL RIGHT!" David exclaimed happily. "I'll call my brother tomorrow... I can't wait to hear how he'll react to THIS..."

"And we can also help Ruby!" Bonnie exclaimed. "We have numerous advances in medicine that allows infertile women to conceive: in vitro fertilization, DNA splicing... controlled cloning... She can finally have those children she's been wanting for so long!"

David smiled. "Hey! My brother's breeded rare and endangered species most of his life! Why not a dinosaur!?"

"Great!" Michael said. "So you and your brother take all of the time you need to get this arboretum ready; and when the time comes, we'll use the time machine to bring the dinos over..."

Everyone squealed with delight at this.

"... and what's even better, Davey: You'll finally get to meet them!"

David stopped laughing and glared at Michael with eyes that betrayed shock.