Beneath a Blanket of Snow
The fox ran like the wind, a red-orange streak in the Canadian wilds. Another appeared, racing the other through the snow. The two foxes played, ignorant of the world. They licked each other, playing all sorts of games. Some more joined the two in the fun. The four foxes played, occasionally stopping to eat berries-
-when the ground cracked, stopping all four foxes in their tracks. The snow beneath their feet began to rise up, levitating into the air. The foxes watched in both confusion and curiosity as more snow began to swirl, transforming into a perfect sphere.
The snow then changed colors, then becoming a large sphere that swirled with color. The foxes watched the swirling dark blues and purples as the sphere achieved full form.
Without warning, two strange creatures stepped out of the swirling sphere. The creature was small, and it looked around in curiosity. One tasted a berry and found it delicious. They were small ornithopods with a tail two times longer than their body. This was Leaellynsaurua. The animals had fur, with the colorings of cherry red, soft green, and whites.
More creatures of the same came through, while the foxes decided to enter the portal.
“That’s odd,” a researcher commented, looking at a computer screen. She had a name tag that read ‘Kellen’, “all four tagged foxes just disappeared. Is it the same for you, Toby?”
“It is. How peculiar,” he replied, “Andrew, Martin you’re in charge of the place. I, Kellen, and Milly will investigate.”
The three animal researchers dressed and left the research station. Sure, they were in the middle of the Canadian wilds, but the team loved it. There were two teams, Station Alpha, and Station Beta a small distance away.
“Maybe they just managed to shake it off,” Milly guessed.
“We used the new injection trackers on them,” Kellen clarified.
“They were last seen near here,” Toby clarified, “let’s start looking.”
“Where could they be? They were just outside the station,” Milly wondered.
So the three searched the surroundings, looking for the foxes. If they could find the foxes, they would be able to fix the trackers. They did not find the foxes, nor the portal, which had closed when they were changing into better outfits.
The shy Leaellynasaurua stayed away from the humans, scared.
Kellen trudged through the snow on heavy boots, searching for the missing foxes. Little did she know that the steps alerted a dangerous creature far below her. As she stepped, the creature tracked until-
Only a scream was heard.
“Kellen ?!” Toby shouted, “What happened?!”
“Kell?!” Milly joined in.
In place of where Kellen had been, there was only a hole that was filling quickly. The others got there just as the snow-filled the hole, hiding the disturbance.
“The footprints all lead to here...” muttered Toby.
“This is impossible. All around is snow! She can’t have just walked away, and yet she’s gone!”
“Let’s go back,” Toby decided, “maybe we can use her shoe tracker.”
Underneath the snow, the tracker and shoe were crushed, stained crimson with blood.
“Now, who wants to go to Canada!” Dan presented, exclaiming the news with a false joyous tone. Everyone was in the briefing room, listening to Dan. “We’ve detected a slight tachyon energy outburst in the Canadian wilderness near a research station. Due to our… parameters, only a few people will investigate, those people being, Jack, Stacy, Maizie, and Kitten.”
“Not me?” Leo asked, “Why not?”
“As I said, parameters,” Dan explained, “Leo will be in charge of this plane. Xavier, Sukie, and I have an important meeting to go to regarding Scorpion and the artifact.”
“I see. This will be fun.”
“The four will be masquerading as new researchers. Two hours ago, someone on that team went missing. Just tracks leading somewhere and gone. Okay, dismissed.”
Dan and Xavier went off the plane to Wyvern Base to their conference. As soon as our pilots were given the all-clear, the plane took off.
Lillian set the plane on auto-pilot.
“Hey Justin, let’s take a walk.”
“Xavier says one of us needs to stay here in case someone attacks us!”
“Xavier isn’t here and I doubt Leo will care.”
“You are so evil. But yes, let’s take a walk.”
With nothing else to do, Leo was throwing a makeshift party with the soldiers and agents. Justin and Lillian joined, but not before setting an alarm to get back in the cockpit in about four hours.
And that was that.
Four hours later, they neared the outpost. Justin and Lillian activated hover mode and had the plane hover just above the trees.
“Wait a minute,” Maizie began, “how do we get down?”
“We um, put an inflatable trampoline on the ground and jump,” Kitten explained. “Yeah, I didn’t want to tell you guys.”
The vehicles were cleared, returned to a secret basement onboard the plane. Daena lowered the ramp as Kitten prepared the three others.
“B-but we’ve never done this before!” Stacy protested.
“Oh calm down,” Kitten replied, “it’s only a few. Plus, me and Daena do this all the time.”
Kitten threw down a small frisbee-like object and pressed a button. The object blew up with air and became a large bouncy block. Kitten jumped, bouncing on the device. Next, it was Maizie and Jack, and last, Stacy.
In the end, it was a cool new experience.
“So we’ll be here for only twelve hours,” Kitten informed, “so now it is twelve, and a helicopter will pick us up at midnight.”
“Then let’s do this,” Jack happily supported.
“I wonder if we’ll finally encounter dinosaurs,” Stacy muttered.
Out of the corner of her eye, Stacy saw a quick movement along the trees.
Stacy ran, quickly catching up with the creature. The rest of the team followed, and soon discovered Stacy carrying the peculiar Leaellynasaurua in her arms.
“Whoa! A dinosaur!” Maizie giggled, stroking the cute little creature. “What is it?”
“Judging by its long tail, I’d say Leaellynasaura. I’ll tag it- we’ll need to put this one and any more into a Wyvern Base habitat.”
Kitten nodded and they continued to travel to the station. Below them, something awakened. It listened to them talk, muffled through the heavy blankets of snow. It selected a victim and began the hunt, stalking the four from below, preparing an attack when-
“Stay out of the snow!” cried a voice.
“What?” Maizie inquired. “Why? It’s just snow- I know you- you’re Milly.”
“And you must be the new researchers! Come, quickly!”
With no choice, they ran to Milly, who was standing on top of the research station’s roof. The creature beneath stalked, but soon, the muffled footsteps faded and the stalker lost interest.
Inside, the four were served hot chocolate by a man named Martin. It was nice, hot, quite warm, as opposed to the cold environment. It oozed with the soft delights of liquid joy.
“So you’re the new researchers?” he asked, shaking with worry. “You’ve come at a bad time- we all need to leave!”
“What exactly happened?” Jack inquired. “We heard one researcher died. What’s with the no standing on snow thing?”
“We think whatever took or killed Kellen hunts from underneath the snow,” the one called Toby explained, “I was with her when she disappeared!”
“A bear?” Maizie offered.
“T-there were no bear tracks,” Milly stammered, “just gone.”
“And how do you know it’s under the snow?” Kitten queried.
“I ran a scan on the ground, and we found that the snow had been disturbed,” Martin informed, “we’re all staying here until we find out what it is. We tried to get a helicopter out of here, but there were none for today.”
“Oh no...” Kitten began, then turning to whisper to Stacy, “we may have caused these people to meet their end.”
“Either way,” Stacy whispered back, “we have no choice now.”
“So, did it try to get in here?” Jack asked.
“It did, follow me,” Martin answered.
The four followed Martin to another room, which had a large window. There were no cameras anywhere in the station, due to a budget. The window was scratched, two long streaking cracks, which were spider webbing along the lines.
“What the hell could’ve done this...” Kitten muttered.
“No animal should be able to do that,” Martin further explained, “it’s very tough glass. Bears couldn’t even damage it.”
“Peculiar,” Stacy noted.
In the next nine hours, nothing happened. But that’s when the tapping began. There were small, patterned taps coming from the area where the cracks were.
“That tapping! Could it be?” one named Marcus guessed.
“It must be!” Milly returned.
Our four followed the researchers into the room, where they saw a white something dash away. On the window was another slash, making it four lines in total.
Behind them, they heard knocking on the door.
“Don’t open it!” they heard Andrew yell.
“I need to!” Toby responded. “It could be Kellen!”
The door opened and closed. Toby was outside on his own.
Then there was only a single scream. And then there was silence.
An hour passed without anything. Everyone but the DAE agents were asleep, scared. The agents were in the kitchen, drinking tea, and hot chocolate.
“What do you think it is?” Maizie inquired.
“No idea,” Kitten replied.
“Two large claws, where have I seen that before,” Stacy mumbled, pondering the data. “Must be a dinosaur...”
“What if we try to lure it out?” Jack suggested. “Leave out food or something?”
“No, it’d react to animals or us stepping on the snow.”
Tap, tap tap…
“It’s back!” Maizie shrieked.
“Wait, something’s different,” Kitten realized, “the taps sound… off.”
“No, there are two taps,” Stacy realized, “communication. Math.”
And then something slammed itself into the door, giving it a loud thud. Then there were more thuds.
“We need to wake up those researchers!” Jack remembered.
Kitten ran to wake up the researchers. The others prepared their TSC pistols.
The door flew inwards, crashing into a desk and computer. The alarm rang a loud klaxon. From the kitchen and dining room, the four heard something growl at the alarm.
The researchers awoke, bursting out of their rooms and going into a hall. They saw Kitten with a pistol, pointing it at the door. The door was being banged against as if a madman was trying to enter.
“Do you guys have any path out of here?!” Kitten demanded, sweat beading in fear.“Or a path to the other station?!”
“We can hide in an outpost along the way!” Milly responded. “But we need to go!”
Milly, Kitten, and the researchers headed out in the snow just as the door broke, flying across the hall.
Meanwhile, the three others ducked behind a cooking table, just as their doors broke. Something sniffed in the air and snarled.
Whatever it was, the creature approached the trio’s table. With a clawed hand, it scratched the table. The three crept around to another table, hiding from their unknown attacker.
“We need to run,” whispered Maizie.
“Okay, I’ll try to shoot it,” replied Stacy.
Stacy leaped up and fired at their attacker. Then, all three ran out of the room and out of the building.
Unfortunately, the darts did not hit the creature, but hit some pans, causing the creature to be distracted.
“Did you see it?!” Jack gasped. “I didn’t!”
“No,” Stacy informed, “but we need to run!”
“Jack! Stacy! Maizie!” Kitten yelled, “Quick! Follow us, we’re running to a safer area!”
Behind them, a door burst open. The four turned back, but they saw nothing.
Everyone started running for their life. They ran on the snow, alerting the creatures, who were beneath. A scream was heard as Marcus the researcher was seen being swallowed up by the snow.
Now, the outpost was seen just near them. But not all of them would make it. Left and right, humans disappeared into the white blanket of snow, never to be seen again. Milly opened the outpost door and they walked in.
Milly screamed as she disappeared into the deadly snow.
For the rest of them, they were safe. The creatures wouldn’t break through the stronger metal doors as easily as before. They still tried, but after four thuds, the door stopped rattling.
“What the hell?!” a researcher screeched. “Did any of you see that?!”
“Maizie, see if you have a way to contact Wyvern Base. And no,” Stacy replied, “though we do need to tell you something.”
While Stacy told the researchers all about the DCU, Xavier, Dan, and Sukie were at a conference meeting.
“Presenting DAE representative Vivan Zhu of the Asian Division,” a speaker announced.
“Presenting DAE representative Austin Bennet,” another announced.
“We’re up next,” Xavier whispered. “I’m Xavier Krassant of the American Division.”
“Next is Xavier Krassant of the American Division.”
Dan was next, and an announcer announced, “Dan, Time Displacement project leader.”
Sukie gave one announcer a piece of paper.
“Sukie Everlie, head researcher of geologic time shift.”
“Ash Bayin, of the India-Africa Division.”
Soon, all of them took seats in the theater-like room. Dan went up to the front, where as a leader, he would present Sukie’s findings and discuss the mysterious organization Scorpion. From a hidden room, Milo, leader of Wyvern Base, watched.
“As you know, I am Daniel Napoleon, the agent assigned to lead this investigation on time portals,” he began, “now, our leading expert Sukie Everlie has given us a lot of information, along with a strange artifact we believe may be from the future. All of you have been chosen due to your ideas and methods.”
“Excuse me,” somebody started, “why do we keep all this hidden? It would be a lot easier to just let the public know.”
“You see, time travel may have consequences,” the agent explained, “imagine a hundred, no thousands of people wanting to use time travel to save a loved one. It would be chaos, and the world could be changed drastically.”
“Now, let us continue. This device, which seems to be some sort of future tablet, has given us knowledge of the portals and some future animals. There are log entries and video files of many creatures, both past, and future. The author of these entries refers to him or herself as Glass,” Dan paused to drink, then continued. “What’s peculiar is that some of these entries seem to reference us, the DAE. In Tibet, Agent Vivian Zhu and her team traveled to the past and found evidence of human survival, as well as a ruined TSC pistol. As far as we know, only the DAE has TSC guns.”
“So you’re saying this has something to do with us?”
“Precisely, and the fact that portals have opened in Asia is unsettling indeed. This can only mean that this Scorpion has created man-made time portals there as well.”
“This Scorpion, do we have any leads on them?”
“Unfortunately not,” Dan clarified, “not even our spies know who the leader is or all their bases. However, we know something of them- something we are calling the Scorpion Train. This device is a train that they have engineered to run on tachyon energy. It isn’t limited to train tracks, and it has been spotted in Colorado.”
“What if we weaponized these portals?” someone asked.
“We may be able to do that. In fact, we have a team of researchers working on that right now.”
Xavier’s phone buzzed. He checked it and found that it was Maizie. Realizing that something must’ve happened, he excused himself from the room to answer it.
“Maizie? It isn’t pickup time yet.”
“We need help! Please!”
“T-these things, we don’t know what they are!”
“What do you need?”
“Help! T-they’re gonna come through!”
“Maizie, where are you?!”
“The outpost in the middle of the way to Station Beta!”
“Stay there, I’ll get a team immediately!”
Xavier hung up the phone and instantly dialed a Canadian outpost belonging to the DAE. Within minutes, he was informed that a helicopter would be in the air.
“So?” Jack began, “What did Xavier say?”
“A team is coming to get us,” Maizie responded, sighing in relief.
But as if to prove Maizie wrong, whatever it was out there, it began to slam into the outpost once more, shaking the building in anger. The two creatures were trying to get in, but for now, the door was holding.
“There’s got to be a way to scare them off or something,” Kitten muttered.
“We haven’t even seen what they are,” Stacy replied.
“Wait, this is a tower- I’ll be on the roof!”
Kitten rushed to the roof, almost hitting two researchers resting on the stairs. Kitten opened the roof door, and illuminated by a full moon, he looked down at the creatures. Kitten scanned them and gasped.
“Oh my god...”
Dinosaurs. Specifically, theropods. But not like any the world had seen before. According to the scanner, they were theropods, but not a group that had been discovered.
They had long, slender bodies, with feathers white as the snow. Long arms and very long fingers that curved backward. The claws seemed like large shovels, and they were, as the dinosaurs used them to get into the snow. But something was strange- the dinosaurs were sweating- no, excreting some liquid from quills all over their bodies. Kitten watched as drops of the liquid touched the snow. The snow seemed to bunch up together and tighten.
The liquid was used to create their homes. The creatures lived deep under the snow, and the liquid hollowed out the snow, giving them homemade caves.
Their legs and feet were long, similar to their upper appendages. Kitten watched one of the two kick back snow quickly in anger. One jumped high and kicked the door, another use for the strong legs.
Unfortunately, Kitten couldn’t shoot down the creatures from his angle, afraid of alerting them.
“So?” Jack asked, fear in his eyes. “What are they?”
“Dinosaurs,” Kitten began, an amazed look on his face. Kitten proceeded to explain.
“Somethings wrong!” a researcher shouted. “It’s too quiet!”
Jack cracked the door open but did not see any of the newly discovered theropods. Instead, he saw one of those large air pipes snapped in two.
“Damn it! The basement!” a researcher realized.
Down in the basement, someone screamed as they saw the two creatures emerged from the vents, throwing the heat fan across the room. Like octopi, the creatures were slender bodies able to squish themselves even further.
Unable to save the researchers, Stacy just shut the basement door, but before it could click shut, one of the theropods threw itself at it, sending Stacy to the floor, a wooden door in her hand.
The creature snarled and stepped towards the stunned Stacy when-
-A burst of flame suddenly lit the creature’s snow-white feathers on fire. The creature writhed in agony as it fell to the floor, rolling on the flames and coincidentally putting out the flames.
The other dinosaur emerged and immediately knocked out the makeshift flamethrower from Maizie’s hand, learning from the other’s mistake. The partly burnt one rose up, now madder than ever. Their two long claws clicked together as they moved.
Everyone ran outside. That is, everyone but the professionally trained Kitten, who stayed behind to protect the injured Stacy. One of the creatures, the one that hadn’t been burned raced for the exit, but a few TSC shots later, the creature fell to the ground.
The burnt one growled and charged.
Kitten sidestepped and fired three more times, but only hitting once. He aimed and fired, but got an empty click.
“Fine, come and get it,” Kitten declared, drawing not one electroshock baton, but two.
The dinosaur jumped and kicked, but our Kitten jumped to the side, and the animal landed on the floor. Kitten took the chance and struck once at the creature, who roared in pain. The theropod slashed at Kitten who deflected it with one baton.
The creature turned to attack once more, but Kitten struck the creature’s head as it turned, blinding it temporarily.
Making good use of the distraction, Kitten dropped to the floor and slid to Stacy. He took her TSC pistol but-
-a slash came upon Kitten’s face, sending him to the side, and the gun and a baton, across the room. The snarling monster approached Kitten and-
-a baton hit the creature from behind. In surprise and pain, the beast fell to the floor, revealing Stacy.
“I hate dinosaurs,” she mumbled.
As the dinosaur began to get up, Stacy found her pistol, aiming it carefully at the dinosaur.
Two silenced shots later, the creature was down.
The two walked outside and looked up. Above, they saw a certain helicopter.
Hours later, Stacy, Kitten, Jack, and Maizie were back on the plane, along with the theropods and Leaellynasaurua. Due to the tracker, Stacy had injected on the Leaellynasaura, they had managed to locate seven more of them. The dicoverence of the theropods would have been big news, but sadly, everything had to be kept hidden. Stacy decided to call them Pagodromos nivea, meaning the ice and the subterranean tunnels of snow.
But nobody realized that the liquid excreted by the dinosaurs hardened snow to create caves.
Below the blankets of snow, a fox explored a strange cave. A dinosaur stalked it with hungry eyes.