Lady Lion

Little Primarchs- Extinction Park

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"I think this would be a great test of our park, Holy One," the man said to the Emperor. He was very insistent that the Emperor bring the Primarchs out to a new experience park that he had created. The park was featuring extinct animals that they had brought back through strange technologies. The Mechanicum was very displeased with the formation of the park, which was part of why the Emperor was talking to the man in the first place.
The Emperor didn't particularly like the idea of taking the Primarchs to this park. It smacked of Jurassic Park. He had shown the movie to the Primarchs, and Magnus had gone looing for the book as soon as he learned that the movie was based on a book.
"I do not intend to bring my sons to your park," the Emperor said. This seemed to make the man only more determined.
"How about you bring your sons and if they like it I can open the park to the public?" the man asked. "I'm sure that the Lord Primarchs are more than capable of a throughough test of the safety systems we have in place, Holy One."
"There can be no doubt of that," the Emperor admitted. "I will relay your offer to my sons, and see what they have to say. If they want to come then I will bring them. If they do not want to come, or if anything goes wrong, your park will be shut down immediately and all assets destroyed."
"I can accept those terms, Holy One," the man said. The Emperor then cut the vox link. He turned to Valdor.
"This can only end badly," the Emperor said.
"I agree with you, my king," Valdor said. He was also familiar with the story of Jurassic Park. "If the Primarchs agree to go, I will accompany you."
"I wouldn't have anyone else," the Emperor said with a slight smile.
"I won't have any part of it," Malcador said. He had also been present for the conversation between the Emperor and the park owner. "There will probably be snakes everywhere."
"There probably will be," Valdor said. He knew about Malcador's aversion to snakes, he agreed that they were rather unplesant to deal with.
"Agreed, and one of the three of us should remain behind," the Emperor said. It was always annoying having to leave the running of the Imperium to the rest of the council of Terra. The Emperor intended to go with Valdor with or without the Primarchs. He prefered the idea of not having the Primarchs with him.
The end of the school day came and the Emperor retrieved his sons. They got aboard, it was Leman's turn for front seat which always made him happy. It was one of the few things he missed about riding in the front seat of the van from M3. He couldn't lower any of the windows on the Thunderhawk.
"I was given a proposition to relay to all of you," the Emperor said. The Primarchs perked up at that.
"What is it?" Horus asked.
"A man named Master Thorne has used unsactioned technology to re-create extinct Terran animals," the Emperor said. "He inteds to keep the animals in a sanctuary type setting so that people could visit and see them."
"What kind of extinct Terran animals?" Fulgrim asked.
"Prehistoric creatures, dinosaurs, mostly," the Emperor said. He was aware that there were some other creatures that Thorne had re-created.
"I don't think the Mechanicum approved of this," Ferrus said.
"Indeed they didn't," the Emperor said. "Which is where the proposition comes in. Thorne naturally wants to keep his animals and run his sanctuary. He wants you to come with me and assess the security systems he has in place."
"We would be a good test for that and the target age group," Rogal said.
"This sounds just like Jurassic Park," Magnus said. Roboute nodded, he was in the process of reading the book Jurassic Park.
"That was my thought," the Emperor said. "I told him I would ask you if you wanted to go. If you decide not to go, it will be the same as if something happened."
"Does he have the technology that he used to create the dinosaurs on-site?" Perturabo asked.
"I'm not sure," the Emperor said. "That will be something I have to determine."
"Would it just be the nineteen of us?" Fulgrim asked.
"No, Valdor will come with us," the Emperor said. "Malcador has chosen to sit this adventure out."
"That makes sense," Magnus said. "I read something once about there being very large snakes in prehistoric times."
"That sounds cool," Fulgrim said. "I at least want to go see if this Master Thorne has a giant snake."
"Does anyone else want to go?" the Emperor asked.
"We should all go together," Horus said. The other Primarchs agreed.
"It'll be easier for everyone to stay safe if we do have a Jurassic Park type incident," Roboute said.
"True," the Lion said. "Will I be able to fight any of the creatures?"
"Not at first," the Emperor said. "Perhaps after the initial go through."
"Alright," the Lion said with a sigh.
"I think I want to leave Freki and Geri with Malcador," Leman said. He didn't want them to get eaten by anything.
"A wise precaution," the Emperor said. It was well known that Leman didn't like having to leave the pups behind, but it was clear that their safety was more important to him.
"When would we leave?" Jaghatai asked.
"Tomorrow," the Emperor said. He wanted to get done with the pretenses so that fewer people were are risk for a shorter amount of time.
The next day the Imperator Somnium departed. It took a few days to reach the planet that Thorne was using as a base. The Imperial party headed down in the Thunderhawk and were met by Thorne on the landing apron.
"It is simply wonderful to meet you all!" Master Thorne said with a smile has he bowed. He wore the red of the Mechanicum, but the cloth was stained and torn in a few places. "My apologies for my attire, I was working on part of the security system and some of the animals got a bit.... friendly."
"What kind of animals?" Fulgrim asked. He seemed the most excited of the Primarchs to be there.
"One of the smaller breeds, my lord," Thorne said.
"They are secure I hope," the Emperor said.
"Oh, naturally, Holy One," Thorne said. "Shall I take you on the tour of the main building?"
"Yes," the Emperor said. He wanted to see if the technology used to create the dinosaurs was on-site or not. The Primarchs had made a good point on the trip to the planet that if Thorne still had the technology he could create more and make a traveling show that would be less secure. The Lion had pointed out that Zephyr's parents still had not been located by Malcador's agents or the Arbitrators. Konrad had pointed out that the side shows at fairs and the like could turn a nice profit for Thorne.
"Do you have any giant snakes?" Fulgrim asked.
"Why do you want to see the snakes so badly?" Ferrus asked Fulgrim.
"Because it's cool," Fulgrim said. "Snakes are very beautiful creatures."
"If you say so, Fulgrim," Ferrus said. He didn't mind snakes, but he didn't think that they were beautiful.
"I do have a few titanoboas," Thorne said. "They were the largest snakes in Terran history. They are out in the park with the other animals, and are very hard to spot."
"i have very good eyes," Fulgrim said. "I'll spot them."
"This is where everyone who comes will start their journey," Thorne said as the group headed into a large building close to the landing pad. "It will have maps and information about the animals and safety features of the park."
Servitors were waiting for their entrance and handed pamphlets out to each Primarch, along with the Emperor and Valdor. One of the last servitors provided a coin to everyone.
"What are the coins for?" Mortarion asked.
"The coins serve several functions, lord," Thorne said. "One is to signal that admission has been paid for. It can also serve as a locator beacon if something goes wrong, it'll bring staff out to provide assistance."
"Servitor staff?" Ferrus asked. He hadn't seen any other human staff yet.
"Not entirely servitors, lord," Thorne said. "There will always be a human over-seer with any team of servitors."
"That is good to know," Ferrus said. He didn't want humans to risk themselves, but a servitor's programming could only extend so far. It was the flesh that was weak, not so much the mind of the human.
They continued past the gauntlet of servitors and deeper into the main building. Thorne showed them the gift shop and the dining areas before taking them an area giving an overview of the process used to create the dinosaurs.
"Since the genetic material we have is severely degraded these aren't completely Terran dinosaurs," Thorne said. "We spliced in compatable DNA from saurian species found on other planets in the Imperium."
"That seems strange that xenos saurian species had compatable DNA for you to use," Magnus said. Though it was more believable than the frog DNA used in Jurassic Park. "Did you try for anything from Terran avian DNA?"
"We did use Terran avian DNA for those types of dinosaurs," Thorne said. He seemed impressed with Magnus' question. "However, there were dinosaurs that were more reptilian in nature."
"True enough," Magnus said. "That DNA would have to come from other sources."
They entered a lab area where they saw the first non-servitor staff. Thorne seemed to have gotten at least a few tech adepts to work with him, despite the Mechanicum's dislike of the entire project.
"Are all the dinosaurs created here?" Roboute said. He was aware of the second book in the Jurassic Park series, Lost World, which included a secondary site where new dinosaurs were made before being taken to the park.
"Yes, I only had the funding to create the one site," Thorne said. "If the park does well I plan to move the research aspects to a different site so we can have more space for different species."
"If the park is allowed to operate at all," the Emperor said.
"Yes, Holy One," Thorne said quickly. "That is what I meant."
They continued through the lab, only slightly disappointed that there weren't any hatching dinosaurs as they went through. Then it was time to head to the main tour of the park itself. Thorne provided them with two servitor driven ground cars. The Emperor went in one car with nine of the Primarchs, and Valdor went in the other with the rest of the Primarchs.
"Wonder what we will see first," the Lion said. He was in the second car with Valdor along with Fulgrim, Jaghatai, Ferrus, Roboute, Mortarion, Magnus, Vulkan, and Corvus.
"I don't know," Valdor said. He wasn't very impressed with the park yet. He had seen some security, but what he had seen hadn't seemed promising. He reminded himself that this wasn't the Imperial Palace, so the security would be different. However, he still thought what he had seen was sub-par for the situation.
"I hope it's a titanoboa," Fulgrim said. He was determined to find the biggest snake in the park.
"Probably not," Ferrus said. "I think the tour is set up to take us to enclosures where the animals are highly visible. The titanoboa is probably difficult to see from the inside of a groundcar, unless it's eating."
"You think a giant snake would be hard to see?" Fulgrim asked.
"Snakes are very limited in their range of movement because they lack limbs," Ferrus replied. "It's easier for them to blend in so that prey comes to them, and so any predators they have will think they are part of their surroundings."
"Ferrus has a point," Magnus said. "That's how snakes work in our times, even on other planets."
"Fair enough," Fulgrim said. "It would still be cool wouldn't it?"
The groundcars began to move, taking them along a designated road to a large ornamental gate that marked the beginning of the main loop. Valdor noted that it had no reinforcement to be a security measure. He added it to the tally of disappointments for the inspection.
"The first enclosure is to the left," came a voice from the servitor. It wasn't the servitor itself that was speaking, but a recording that it was playing. "The first dinosaur on our tour is a herd of parasaurolophus. They were herbivores who tended to live near large sources of water."
The car paused for a moment, the Primarchs and Valdor looked out the windows and spotted the hadrosaurs in the far corner of the enclosure. It would be hard tor normal humans to see them if they stayed there, but wasn't a problem for them.
"Well, they won't always be back in the corner," Roboute commented.
"The crests are very interesting," Magnus said. "I read they were used to enhance their vocalizations, or so researchers believe."
"That would make sense," Valdor said. "It could create a greater vibration which would enhance the range their vocalizations could be heard."
The groundcars moved on. It was a little while before the next enclosure. In between the enclosures was open space where Thorne said smaller dinosaurs and other small creatures roamed. A vox channel opened up between the two cars.
"Are you guys reading us?" Perturabo asked.
"We hear you, Perturabo," Ferrus said, quickly locating the vox system in their own car.
"What did you think of the parasaurolophus?" Sanguinius asked. "I thought they were cool looking."
"Yeah, though it would have been nicer if they were closer," the Lion said.
"I thought they looked a bit like some of the deep drakes from Nocturne," Vulkan said.
"I believe drake DNA was used with those ones," the Emperor said.
"Hey, Ferrus, want to see which of us can hack the noosphere first?" Perturabo asked.
"I'll beat you," Ferrus said with a grin. It was part of why the two robotic Primarchs had been put in separate cars. The noosphere was the communication system used by the Mechanicum to control servitors and other constructions. It was also a typical way for members of the Mechanicum to communicate with each other. They functioned on a local level, sort of like the vox system used by the rest of the Imperium.
The hacking of the park's noosphere was one of the tests the Primarchs had come up with on the trip over. Perturabo and Ferrus had determined that if it took less than thirty seconds for them to hack the noosphere that it would be deemed unsecure.
"I'm in," Ferrus and Perturabo said in unison six seconds later.
"That's not a good sign," Lorgar said.
"It gets worse," Ferrus said as he poked about the noosphere and its specifications. "This is all run through one hub, it wouldn't take much to take this whole system out."
"Ferrus is right," Perturabo said as he made his own assessment of the noosphere. "All of the security systems are run through the noosphere too, so if it goes out, the whole park goes down."
"I don't think Master Thorne is going to like what we have to say about his park," Rogal said. "Funding may have been tight, but no one should skimp on the noosphere."
"Agreed," the Emperor said. "What do you think of the security so far, Valdor?"
"It is quite poor," Valdor said. "It is slightly better than the jail I stayed in back in M3."
"That must be pretty bad then," the Lion said.
"It is," Valdor said. The next enclosure had utahraptors in it. The Primarchs quickly recognized them as being similar to the velociraptors from the movie. However, these dinosaurs had a small amount of feathering. This made Magnus happy as his research had indicated that some species of dinosaurs had had feathers.
As they left the utahraptor enclosure they heard what sounded like a cry of distress. The Emperor instructed his servitor driver to stop, causing Valdor's servitor to stop as well. The Primarchs got out of the cars, Valdor and the Emperor just behind them. The Lion and Leman both began to track the sound, Ferrus pulled out his auspex unit and began scanning.
They found what they were looking a little ways from the road where their vehicles were. Several of the Primarchs had their locator coins out, but put them back quickly as they spotted a biologis adept was already on site. She was standing over an injured dinosaur. It was a leptoceratops. One of its legs was broken, it looked like it had been squeezed.
"What happened?" Angron asked.
"A titanoboa seems to have mistaken it's leg for a fish, lord," the adept said after noting who was there. There was a stream that flowed nearby, which made sense to the Primarchs.
"Can you help it?" Corvus asked. The adept nodded.
"I will have to take it back to the lab for treatment," she said. "It should make a full recovery though. Thankfully the titanoboa hasn't seemed to want to persue the leptoceratops."
"Could it eat the leptoceratops?" Fulgrim asked.
"No, lord," the adept said. "It might have made the attempt though if it had killed the leptoceratops."
"Then it is good for both that the titanoboa didn't succeed," Ferrus said. The adept nodded. The wind began to pick up, a storm was rolling in.
"This just gets more like Jurassic Park every minute," Magnus said to himself.
"I will assist you in bringing the leptoceratops back to the main building," the Emperor said. He agreed with Magnus and wanted to shut things down. However, they hadn't seen all of the animals and only some facts were listed on the pamphlets. "Valdor, you and the Primarchs with you should continue the tour, assure that we know about all of the creatures in the park."
"As you say, my king," Valdor said. "What of the Primarchs with you?"
"They will stay with me," the Emperor said. "I think that would be for the best."
"Agreed," Valdor said. "We will have to take your vehicle, my liege."
"Indeed," the Emperor said with a nod. Valdor turned and signalled to his Primarchs. They headed back to the vehicles and got into the lead car.
"Ferrus, can you tell the servitor of the other car to return to the main building?" Valdor asked.
"No problem, Valdor," Ferrus said as he trotted over to the second car. He could have canted it on the noosphere, but he was concerned about overloading the system. The car reversed and then turned around.
"I wish I could have seen the titanoboa that tried to take on the leptoceratops," Fulgrim said.
"Why are you so interested in this snake?" Ferrus asked. He just couldn't get his head around Fulgrim's obsession with titanoboa. "It's just a snake."
"But it's a giant snake," Fulgrim said. "That makes it more exciting."
"It's not though," Ferrus insisted. "Unless it's venemous or something, being bigger only makes the corpse more interesting."
"Take that back," Fulgrim said. The other Primarchs were watching warily. It was very unusual for Fulgrim and Ferrus to argue, and it tended to end with Fulgrim in a snit for a few days.
"No," Ferrus said. "It's the truth. It's only the idea of it that's interesting."
"That's a lie," Fulgrim said. Valdor considered interveening, but decided to wait and see if the two would resolve it on their own.
"Really it's the idea of the threat it could have represented," Ferrus said. "It likely won't attack us, even if it gets the chance. It's just a snake, nothing else."
Fulgrim made a sound of disgust and turned away from Ferrus. Valdor relaxed a bit, the argument seemed to be over. They were nearing the T-Rex enclosure when the storm broke. The rain came in a torrential downpour. They barely made it to the enclosure before the servitor began to flail.
"What's happening?" Mortarion asked.
"The noosphere went down," Ferrus said. He had been accessing it again when the system broke. "The servitor isn't receiving any instructional cants."
"Can you make your own noosphere?" Roboute asked. Ferrus shook his head.
"I can access the noosphere, but I can't make one yet," Ferrus answered. It was something he was learning from the Mechanicum though.
"The vox network is also down," Valdor said after a moment. "I cannot reach your father."
"Magnus?" the Lion asked. Magnus shook his head as well.
"I would have to go outside, to get away from you guys," Magnus said. "I can't block you out like Uncle Malcador can."
"The storm makes that a bad idea," Valdor said. "We will have to wait here until they can repair the noosphere or the vox network. It is also probable that your father will contact us."
"Valdor's right," Roboute said.
"We don't have much choice," Vulkan said. "However, the location could have been nicer."
"Yeah," Corvus said. "This is getting way to close to Jurassic Park. At least no one here is the lawyer." That got everyone to chuckle. Even Valdor had seen Jurassic Park.
"And we all have the sense to not shine lights at the T-Rex," Mortarion said.
"Though the standing still to avoid detection isn't valid," Magnus said.
"That's only an issue if the T-Rex comes this way," the Lion pointed out. "I don't sense it anywhere."
"That's a good sign," Ferrus said quietly. It was the first time he had spoken since his argument with Fulgrim.
"Has Father made contact with you, Valdor?" Jaghatai said. He looked like he might be willing to play the part of the lawyer.
"Not yet, Jaghatai," Valdor said. "We need to patient."
*********************
The Emperor found Thorne surrounded by blueprints and technical read outs. There was no doubt that the Emperor was displeased with Thorne. Thorne rose and bowed deeply before the Omnissiah.
"I will locate Valdor and my sons," the Emperor announced.
"I beg you to have patience, Holy One," Thorne said in a pleading voice. "I can locate them if I am given a bit more time."
"You have thirty minutes," the Emperor said. "If you do not have their location by then, and a rescue team headed their way, I will locate them myself."
"Thank you, Holy One," Thorne said. "You will not regret this, Great One."
The Emperor moved back over to where his nine Primarchs were. Sanguinius looked very concerned. Perturabo was assisting the tech adepts in trying to get the noosphere back up and working again.
"They'll be alright, won't they?" Sanguinius asked the Emperor.
"They should be fine," the Emperor said, placing a hand on Sanguinius. "Valdor is with them. He will keep them safe until we can get to them."
"I have the last location of their vehicle," Thorne said with ten minutes left. "They were at the T-Rex enclosure when the noosphere went down."
"They will likely still be there," the Emperor said. "I will assure that they are still with the vehicle."
+Valdor+ the Emperor said, reaching out to the mind of his Custodian.
+My king+ Valdor replied. +We are at the T-Rex enclosure. Lord Manus is trying to get control of the servitor driver.+
+That is good to know+ the Emperor said. +Is he having any luck?+
+Not as yet+ Valdor answered. +Lord Jonson says he cannot sense the T-Rex, so we assume we have time.+
+Thorne is organizing a rescue team+ the Emperor said. +Can you hold there until they arrive?+
+I believe that depends on the T-Rex, my king+ Valdor replied with a hint of humor. +We will remain with the vehicle unless it becomes unsafe. I will have Lord Magnus try to contact you if our situation changes.+
+If Ferrus can get the vehicle mobile, head this way. Same if you have to abandon it+ the Emperor said. Valdor indicated his understanding and the Emperor cut the psychic link.
****************************
"What did Father have to say?" Magnus asked.
"Thorne is organizing a rescue team," Valdor said. "If we can get the vehicle to work or if we have to abandon it we are to head back to the main building."
"That means if we have to abandon it," Ferrus said. "I don't have the right tools here to reset the servitor, and it's fused into the vehicle so we can't just move it over and let Valdor drive us back."
"That's annoying," Jaghatai said. He wanted to get going again. He didn't like being next to the T-Rex enclosure without any safety.
"Any idea how long it will be until...." the Lion's voice trailed off. Valdor didn't have to ask why, he felt the footsteps approaching, and realized that T-Rex was deciding to check out the vehicle.
"No one's the lawyer, right?" Vulkan said, Corvus elbowed him.
"We will stay in the car unless we have to leave it," Valdor said.
"Hopefully it'll leave once it learns the car isn't edible," Magnus said.
"I also hope that the car can withstand the test bite," Roboute said. He was happy that Lorgar wasn't with them, he didn't want to hear Lorgar's praying.
The T-Rex appeared out of the trees. It seemed very tall in the dark and rain. Valdor noted that it wasn't much taller than he was, though it was much longer then him which made it heavier and probably more powerful. It sniffed the groundcar, trying to figure out if it was food. It then forced the car to move, pushing it towards a ledge. The car reached the ledge, and tipped over, falling into a deep gorge.
"What just happened?" Mortarion asked.
"It just pushed us into a gorge," Vulkan said. "Maybe it was redecorating?"
"I doubt that," Corvus said. "More likely it saw the movie."
"Is everyone alright?" Valdor asked. The Primarchs indicated that they were alright. The car had taken damage when it fell, causing Valdor to have to force a few doors open so they could escape.
"Does anyone know where the T-Rex is?" Fulgrim asked.
"I can sense it," the Lion said. "It seems to be checking out the road."
"Then we should start back," Valdor said. "Everyone stay together, no wraith-slip Lord Corax."
"Right," Corvus said. He had no intention of shadow walking.
"Lord Magnus, you can stay towards the edge of the group and attempt to contact your father," Valdor said. Magnus nodded as they all headed away from the car and arranged themselves around Valdor. The Lion led, he was the only way to tell where the T-Rex was as Ferrus' auspex didn't have the range. They paused for a brief rest, the jungle like terrain and the rain were making for slow giong.
"I need to go," Fulgrim said.
"So do I," the Lion said.
"And I make three," Roboute said. "Shall we take turns while the others look out for dinosaurs?"
"Good idea," the Lion said, Fulgrim nodded his agreement. Fulgrim went last; he was just finishing when the Lion tensed.
"We need to get going again, Valdor," the Lion said. "The T-Rex is getting really close."
Valdor nodded, but an ankolosaur broke through the group first, cutting the Lion, Fulgrim, and Roboute off from the rest of the group. The rex appeared in pursuit of the ankolosaur.
"Run!" Valdor called out, leading the six near him away. The other three rushed away in a different direction, trying to avoid getting too close to the rex. They came to a ragged stop a few moments later.
"This is bad," Fulgrim said. "What if Ferrus dies before I can apologize for that stupid argument?"
"Ferrus is with Valdor," the Lion said. "That's practically the same as being with Father."
"What if we die?" Fulgrim insisted. "That's the same result as if Ferrus dies."
"We have Lion though," Roboute said. "He survivied on Caliban for six months without anyone's help. Between the three of us we should be just fine."
"What do we do though?" Fulgrim asked.
"Head back to the building, like Father said," Roboute said.
"And we try to angle it so we can rejoin Valdor," the Lion said. They headed out in the direction that the building was in, knowing that Valdor would have aimed his group that way as well.
**********************
Valdor called a halt again when Mortarion stumbled. The six Primarchs that were still with him halted and then clumped together. The only exception was Ferrus, who simply stood where he had stopped. Valdor frowned with concern and approached Ferrus. Valdor loved the Primarchs, much as the Emperor and Malcador did. He typically saw them as extensions of the Emperor. Looking at Ferrus though, he saw a child who was concerned and maybe a little afraid. Standing next to Ferrus, he reached down and gently placed a hand on Ferrus' shoulder.
"Will they be alright?" Ferrus asked quietly.
"I believe they will be," Valdor said. "Lion survived on Caliban for six months. It'll take more than a handful of dinosaurs to take him down."
"What about Fulgrim?" Ferrus asked in that same quiet voice.
"Fulgrim may be proud, but he's not stupid," Valdor said with a slight smile. "He'll stick to Lion. They will all stay together."
"But what if something happens?" Ferrus insisted. "I may never get to apologize for that stupid argument."
"Nothing will happen to them," Valdor said. "They may get chased by a few dinosaurs, but they will either find us or make it back to the building."
"How can you be so sure?" Ferrus asked.
"They are Primarchs," Valdor said. "You are all strong and capable." Ferrus hugged Valdor around the waist. It somewhat surprised Valdor that Ferrus wasn't reaching up to do this. He knew they Primarchs were growing, but it was still strange.
"Father!" Magnus called out. His eye, which had been closed in concentration, opened looking very much like the heart of a star. Valdor then felt the Emperor's mind touch his.
+What's happened, Valdor?+ the Emperor asked.
+The T-Rex decided to inspect the car anyway, my king+ Valdor began. +We had to abandoned the vehicle. We encountered the T-Rex again on a brief rest. Lord Jonson, Lord Fulgrim, and Lord Guilliman were separated by the second encounter.+
+i will reach out to them then+ the Emperor said. +Is anyone injured that's with you?+
+No, we are all unharmed+ Valdor said. +Lion, Fulgrim, and Roboute were also unharmed when I last saw them.+ He felt the Emperor's presence leave.
"What did Father say?" Ferrus asked.
"He asked if anyone was injured," Valdor said. "He is also going to talk to the other three."
**********************
The Lion stopped abruptly as the Emperor touched his mind. Fulgrim and Roboute stopped behind him, also sensing the Emperor's presecence. They were beginning to get tired and were contemplating stopping for the night.
+Father!+ the Lion said psychically.
+Sons+ the Emperor said, speaking to all three at once. +I have spoken with Valdor. Are any of you injured?+
+No, Father+ all three Primarchs answered.
+Do you know how far we are from Valdor?+ Fulgrim asked.
+You are about six kilometers away from him+ the Emperor said. +If you angle slightly eastward your path will intercept them tomorrow.+
+Thank you, Father+ Fulgrim said. +Are any of them injured?+
+Valdor said that everyone was fine+ the Emperor said. He wasn't aware of the fight between Fulgrim and Ferrus. He did know that Fulgrim and Ferrus wouldn't like being separated in this situation. The Emperor then severed the link.
"We should stop for the night," the Lion said. They climbed a tree and then settled in before activating their catalepsean nodes.
************************
The sun rose and warmed the three Primarchs. They each shook their heads, getting rid of the tension, then they got going. Angleing as the Emperor had directed them, they moved to meet back up with Valdor and their brothers. They were passing through a clearing of tall grass when the Lion froze.
"What is it?" Roboute hissed. The Lion took a quick glance towards the trees they were headed for.
"When I tell you to run," the Lion started, "head for the trees and climb the first one. Wait for me there."
"Why?" Fulgrm whispered.
"GO!" the Lion roared. Roboute and Fulgrim sprinted for the trees just as a utahraptor bigger than the Primarchs erupted from the grass. The Lion rushed forward and slid under the utahraptor's attack. Fulgrim and Roboute made it to a tree and swarmed up it, each settling on their own branch and turning to watch the Lion fight. The Lion popped up again having found a tree branch taller than him. It wasn't quite as tall as the utahraptor, but it was thick and heavy. He swung at the back of the utahraptor's head. The branch connected with a loud crunch and the utahraptor dropped to the ground.
"Aren't they pack hunters?" Fulgrim asked, looking concerned.
"I think this one had something wrong with it," Roboute said. "It may have been abandonded by it's pack, or forced out of one." Their conversation paused as the Lion approached the downed raptor and broke its neck. He then plucked a feather from its head to keep as a trophy.
"You guys can come down now," the Lion called up when he made it to the tree that his brothers were in. Roboute climbed down and turned around to wait for Fulgrim. Fulgrim had found what he took to be a vine and decided to slide down the vine. He gave the vine a good tug, noting that it was warm and felt slightly scaley. He felt the vine wrap around his chest. So that's how Corvus does that trick with his power whip Fulgrim thought. The vine was still secure, so he went to slide down it.
The problem was he didn't go anywhere, and the "vine" was beginning to squeeze his chest. Fulgrim quickly realized that the vine was in fact a very large snake. He hadn't been aware that titanoboas could climb trees, but it didn't really surprise him when he thought about it.
"Brothers?" Fulgrim called down, trying to not to sound too pained. "I need some help."
"Can you get out of the tree?" the Lion called up. Fulgrim thought about it, and then forced himself to fall out of the tree, hoping on some level that it may get the snake to let go of him. It didn't. The snake squeezed tighter, Fulgrim felt something crack in his chest, and pain flared up his side.
"What are we going to do?" Roboute asked.
"Find the head," the Lion said. He had already picked up a large rock and began looking for the head in the tangled mass of snake and Primarch.
"I found it!" Roboute called, the Lion hurried over. Roboute held the base of the snake's head against its body so that the Lion could kill it without hitting Fulgrim. The Lion caved in the head of the titantoboa with his rock. Once the tension released, Fulgrim got out of the coils.
"Are you alright?" Roboute asked.
"It cracked my upper ribcage," Fulgrim said with a wince of pain. "It's not too bad though."
"Can you keep going?" the Lion asked. With one of them injured it became more important to get back to Valdor and the others. Fulgrim nodded and they headed out.
***********************
They had been going for most of an hour before they head something that told them they were close. It was Valdor's voice.
"Lords of Terra, Mortarion! What did you eat?!" Valdor's voice called out through the jungle almost directly in front of the three Primarchs.
"I don't think I've ever been happier to hear someone complain about Mortarion before," Roboute said. The Lion and Fulgrim both nodded, and then shook their hair in front of their faces. The breeze carried their hair back away from their faces. All three Primarchs began breathing through their mouths so they didn't have to smell Mortarion.
"Valdor?" the Lion called out as they got a bit closer.
"Lord Jonson?" Valdor called back. "Are Lord Fulgrim and Lord Guilliman with you?"
"I'm here, Valdor," Roboute said.
Fulgrim attempted a deep breath and aggrivated his injured ribs, causing him to gasp. He screwed his eyes shut against the pain flaring in his chest, he found it hard to get a breath in. He made a loud gasping sound instead of truly breathing.
"What happened?" Valdor asked as he appeared through the bushes.
"Fulgrim encountered a titanoboa," Roboute said.
"It cracked his upper ribs," the Lion said. They were standing to either side of Fulgrim, holding him upright. Valdor lifted Fulgrim gently, carefully running a finger down Fulgrim's side. Fulgrim winced, but the pain was fading back down.
"Did you try to take a deep breath, Fulgrim?" Valdor asked quietly. Fulgrim nodded, he didn't want the pain to come back.
"Did that make it worse?" Roboute asked.
"It did," Valdor said. "It forced the crack to separate."
"It hurts," Fulgrim muttered.
"I know," Valdor said. He had had his share of broken ribs, even a Custodian could be injured. Sagitarus would point out that Custodians could even die. He then brought the three Primarchs back over to the others with him. He carried Fulgrim while the Lion and Roboute followed behind him.
"Fulgrim!" Ferrus called out, seeing his favorite brother being carried by Valdor. "What happened?"
"Titanoboa," Fulgrim said quietly. "Cracked my upper ribs."
"So you were right about the excitement," Ferrus said.
"I didn't want this much excitement in the encounter," Fulgrim said with a smle. "And I can still walk on my own, Valdor."
"I know," Valdor said. "However, I intend to bind your ribs before we continue. I don't want you making your injury worse."
"What will you use?" Magnus asked. There wasn't much around where they had stopped. Valdor set Fulgrim down on a log and sat beside the Primarch. He then grabbed the hem of his crimson Custodian robe and tore a wide strip off. He tied it around Fulgrim, making sure it was tight so that the ribs would stay in place.
"It's not the best," Valdor said. "But it should hold until we reach your father."
"Thanks, Valdor," Fulgrim said. Mortarion darted into the bushes, a horrendous smell came from that direction.
"What did you eat, Mortarion?" Fulgrim asked, his face screwed up with his disgust.
"They looked like strawberries," Mortarion said from the bushes.
"Do you feel better, Mortarion?" Valdor asked.
"Yes," Mortarion said, stepping back out of the bushes. "I'm sorry about this everyone."
"Hey, it's probably cleared out the area," Magnus said. "And it'll keep anything nasty off our trail for a bit."
"That's very true," Valdor said. "Are we ready to go?" The Primarchs nodded and they headed out. Valdor was much happier with all of his Primarchs back together.
*************************
"Are you any closer to getting the noosphere up again?" the Emperor asked. Thorne shook his head.
"My deepest apologies, Holy One," Thorne said mournfully. Perturabo came out from under a control panel.
"I have the vox network repaired, Father," Perturabo said. "I just need to power it up."
"Excellent," the Emperor said. Perturabo initiated the power up sequence for the vox net. There was a pause while everyone waited for the network to power up. The Emperor then opened a vox channel.
"Valdor, do you hear me?" the Emperor said.
"I hear you, my king," Valdor said.
"What is your status?" the Emperor asked.
"Lord Jonson, Lord Fulgrim, and Lord Guilliman have reunited with us," Valdor reported. "Lord Fulgrim was injured by a titanoboa. Lord Mortarion found something like strawberries that are not strawberries. Otherwise we are unharmed."
"You have not encountered any of the rescue parties?" Horus asked.
"Not yet," Valdor said. The Emperor glanced over at Thorne, who was busy making contact with the rescue parties.
"How bad is Fulgrim's injury?" Alpharius asked.
"His upper ribs are cracked," Valdor said. "He should recover given a bit of time."
"The rescue parties are working a grid pattern with the road as their center, Holy One," Thorne reported.
"Do you know how far from the road you are?" the Emperor asked Valdor.
"I am unsure," Valdor said. "The road doesn't show up on Lord Manus' auspex."
"Continue your current course," the Emperor said. "We'll see you soon enough I believe."
"As you say, my lord," Valdor said and closed the vox channel.
"I'll start working on the auspex array for the park," Perturabo said. Most of the tech adepts were trying to rebuild the noosphere from the ground up. The Emperor nodded to his son. Perturabo then began to ask his brothers to get him various things. He had Alpharius help him get into some of the smaller areas.
The Emperor stood watching the repair work continue around him. He felt someone press up against his leg, and glanced down. He had been expecting Horus, but found Leman instead.
"They'll make it back to us right?" Leman asked, looking up at his father.
"Yes, Valdor will get your brothers here," the Emperor said with a reassuring smile.
"I feel a bit bad for Valdor," Leman said. "He has to deal with Mortarion. It sounded like that was worse than Fulgrim."
**************************
Fulgrim was having issues keeping up. This was causing Valdor some concerns. He didn't want to stop the group again, it hadn't been that long since they had paused the last time. He was also aware that Fulgrim wasn't fond of the idea of having to stop frequently. Fulgrim said that it made him feel worse, and like he was dragging the pace.
Valdor dropped back so that he was next to Fulgrim. He bent down and lifted Fulgrim without breaking stride, placing the injured Primarch on his back. Fulgrim let out a surprised squeak before he realized what was going on. For the most part Valdor didn't carry the Primarchs in such a manner.
"Thanks, Valdor," Fulgrm said quietly. That was as close to admitting that he wasn't able to keep up as he was going to allow himself.
"I think we are closer to the road," the Lion said. "I can sense a group of people."
"Which way?" Valdor asked. The Lion pointed southward from them. Valdor turned the group, adjusting Fulgrim as he did so. It wasn't very long before Ferrus' auspex made a beep.
"Lion's right," Ferrus said. "I just picked up a troop carrier type ground vehicle. It's just ahead of us."
"Lord Valdor?" a voice called a few moments later.
"Here," Valdor said. They stepped through some bushes and found a few serfs wearing bright orange body gloves.
"Les, vox back to Thorne, tell him we have Lord Valdor and the Lord Primarchs," one of the serfs said. Another activated their vox-caster.
"Is everyone alright?" the leader asked.
"Lord Fulgrim's ribs are cracked," Valdor said. "Aside from that no one is injured."
"Though I ate some strawberry things that didn't sit well," Mortarion said. He had gotten over it for the most part, but occasionally still had particularly bad farts. Everyone boarded the groundcar, Valdor pausing to set Fulgrim in a seat before climbing in himself.
The drive back to the main building was fairly quick. It pleased Valdor to no longer have to pick his way in the jungle. The Primarchs also seemed happier to be out of the jungle. The three who had been away from him over night seemed especially tired. Valdor suspected this had to do with them not having truly slept the previous night. They noted groups of dinosaurs being herded towards the main building by tech-priests.
"Father must be preparing to kill all the dinosaurs," Magnus said.
"I would get them all in one spot and then bomb that site from orbit," the Lion said.
"That may be what he does," Valdor said. He agreed with the Lion's idea. It was the most effective use of resources.
"That looks like a problem," Jaghatai said pointing out of the window he was closest to. A pack of utahraptors had turn on the adept that was trying to herd him. The occupants of the ground vehicle looked on as the raptors killed the adept, and then headed into the main building. There was the sound of lasfire as some of the other workers tried to regain control of the raptors.
"My king, a pack of utahraptors has gotten into the main building," Valdor said into the vox.
"Thank you, Valdor," the Emperor said. "How close are you?"
"We were found by a rescue party," Valdor said. "We are approaching the building ourselves now."
*************************
Sanguinius and Horus headed to the kitchen. They had not informed their father as he was busy organizing the gathering of the dinosaurs for the culling. It also didn't seem important because the building was secure. They found food set out in the dining room.
"I bet Ferrus is happy that there aren't any electric fences," Sanguinius said. The necrodermis on Ferrus' hands formed a farraday cage until it met skin. The problem was that the xenos metal was highly conductive and when the charge did reach Ferrus' skin it caused the discharge to hit the ulnar nerve, better known as the funny bone. It wasn't uncommon for Ferrus' arm to go numb if the discharge was big enough.
"Horus," Sanguinius said. "We have a problem."
"What is it?" Horus asked.
"There's a utahraptor behind you," Sanguinius said. He wondered where other raptors were. Horus turned and glanced over his shoulder at the utahraptor.
"Kitchen?" Horus suggested. Sanguinius nodded and they both headed to the kitchen. As they were moving another raptor appeared, blocking off any exit not the kitchen.
"There should be another entrance for supplies right?" Sanguinius said as they crept through the kitchen.
"Agreed," Horus said. They heard a scrapping sound from the main door. They quickly hid behind a large cabinet. The main door opened, and they heard the click-click sound of claws on hard flooring. The raptors were in the kitchen with them.
"There's a freezer unit," Horus suggested.
"The door's closed though," Sanguinius said. "One of us will have to distract the raptors while the other opens the door."
"True," Horus said. "I'll provide the distraction."
"No," Sanguinius said. "I'm faster than you, I'll be the distraction."
"What will you use for a weapon?" Horus asked. Sanguinius looked in the cabinet and found a pair of frying pans. Horus raised an eyebrow, but didn't object. The two brothers stared at each other and nodded their heads three times in unison.
On the third nod, Sanguinius launched himself into the air, and Horus ran to the freezer door. Sanguinius banged the frying pans together causing a lot of noise. The utahraptors focused on Sanguinius, trying to capture the flying Primarch. He kept either just ahead of them, or above them.
"I got it, Sanguinius!" Horus called after a few moments. One of the raptors turned its attention to Horus, but Sanguinius hit it with a frying pan. Horus dived out of the way and the disoriented raptor hurtled into the freezer. The other raptor followed after its partner, with some help from Sanguinius.
"Let's get back to Father," Horus said as he slammed the door closed and activated a locking mechanism. Sanguinius landed and placed the frying pans near a servitor. He was fairly certain it was a servitor that would wash the pans when the noosphere was up again.
"I don't want to re-live a movie like this again," Sanguinius said as they headed back to the control room where the Emperor was.
"So now would be a bad time to tell you I found a copy of the board game Jumanji?" Horus asked with a grin.
"Not funny, Horus," Sanguinius said, though he did grin back.
"Then why are you smiling?" Horus said. They saw a door open just ahead of them and froze. Relief filled the two when Valdor stepped through the door, followed by the nine Primarchs who had stayed with him.
"Valdor!" they called out together, trotting up to the group.
"What happened, Fulgrim?" Sanguinius asked, noting the strip of cloth. The crimson of Valdor's robes stood out against the purple of Fulgrim's body glove.
"Titanoboa," Fulgrim said. "I thought it was a vine, and it thought I was food."
"Or a threat," Magnus said.
"Or that," Fulgrim said. "It cracked my upper ribs before Lion could kill it."
"Were you not with your father when I reported that Lord Fulgrim was hurt?" Valdor asked.
"No," Horus said. "We were getting things for Perturabo. He's done more to repair the systems than the adepts that Thorne hired."
"We need to get to your father," Valdor said. "There's a pack of utahraptors loose in the building."
"We know," Sanguinius said. "We just did our own version of the kitchen scene from Jurassic Park."
"This way," Horus said and lead them to the control room. The Emperor turned when he heard them all enter. He seemed relieved that everyone was back together.
"Any sign of the utahraptors?" the Emperor asked Thorne.
"Not as yet, Holy One," Thorne said. "I have teams looking for them."
"You'll find two in the freezer unit of the kitchen," Horus said. "We didn't see any others."
"How did they get into the freezer unit?" a serf asked. He mostly worked in the hydroponics labs, though he did volunteer to help with injured or sick animals.
"We got them in there," Sanguinius said. "They thought we were food or something."
"There were six that entered the building," Ferrus said. "This leaves four unaccounted for."
"I could run an auspex sweep of the building," Perturabo said. "However, the sensor logs were wiped when the noosphere crashed. It would tell us where everything more complex than a basic fungus was in the building."
"Here, we can plug in my auspex unit to the building's system," Ferrus said. "I took readings of all the dinosaurs when the tour was still happening."
"That's a good idea," Perturabo said, taking Ferrus' auspex unit and connecting it to the building array. The scan went quickly and those deployed to retrieve the raptors were told where they were.
"Where are you holding all the dinosaurs, Father?" Magnus asked.
"Rogal is directing the building of pens," the Emperor replied, indicating an external pict feed. It showed Rogal directing several people and building himself at the same time.
"May I go help him, Father?" Vulkan asked. The Emperor nodded and Vulkan hurried outside, pleased to be able to help.
"How do you intended to get the T-Rex here?" the Lion asked. He was curious about that.
"I have my best handlers working on the rex, lord," Thorne answered. He was in charge of getting all of the dinosaurs to the pens that Rogal was building. There was a deep, rhythmic thudding sound and they all turned towards the windows. The group that had spent the night in the park knew that it was the T-Rex before it broke through the trees. However, it didn't look controlled. It looked very angry.
"I'm suddenly thinking of Godzilla," Angron said. Roboute nodded, he didn't look happy to be seeing the rex again.
"Godzilla was inspired by T-Rex and other large predatory dinosaurs," the Emperor said. "Rogal, Vulkan, come back inside."
"Yes, Father," Rogal and Vulkan said together over the vox. They waved to the other workers, trying to get everyone inside.
"What are we going to do about the rex?" Angron asked. Valdor noted that the Emperor's sword and the Lion's favorite blade were on a table, his own guardian spear was leaning against the same table. He glanced at the Emperor who gave a nod. Picking up his guardian spear, Valdor stepped outside.
He approached the T-Rex, shooting with the bolter part of his spear once it was in range. The mass-reactive rounds mostly struck glancing blows, though a few tore larger holes into the rex's side. This did cause the T-Rex to bellow in pain and focus on Valdor, instead of other people.
Valdor continued shooting at it, more and more of the shots were making solid hits. The rex charged, trying to head-butt Valdor. He rolled instead and came up, striking out with the blade of his guardian spear. Next it tried to bite him, but he shoved the point of the spear up into the roof of the rex's mouth, and fired a bolt round into its brain. He drew the guardian spear back out as it collapsed in front of him.
The Primarchs cheered, until they spotted that one of Valdor's sleeves was torn, and that the cloth was getting darker and damp. The frontmost teeth of the rex had cut Valdor as he tore his spear out of the dying creature's mouth. Valdor didn't seem too bothered by the injury as he returned to the building. The Primarchs surrounded Valdor as he entered. Fulgrim was attempting to undo the knot of the cloth binding his ribs.
"There is no need for that, Fulgrim," Valdor said, placing a hand over Fulgrim's hands to stop the Primarch. "There should be a medikit somewhere, right?"
"Of course, lord," Thorne said and quickly went off to go find it. He returned after a few moments of searching. "I don't know how much help it will be to you though, lord."
Thorne had a point, the medikit was meant for humans, not trans humans like Valdor, however, he did find antiseptic and some bandages that would be helpful. The Primarchs were more than willing to assist him in the cleaning and dressing of his injury.
"Rogal, Vulkan, you can go finish working on the pens now," the Emperor said, once Valdor's injury had been tended. The two Primarchs nodded and lead their crews of serfs back outside.
"Can I fight a utahraptor, Father?" the Lion asked.
"I thought you fought one earlier," Corvus said.
"I did," the Lion said. "It was fun, but the raptor was injured before I got to it. There was something wrong with one of its legs."
"You can fight a utahraptor of your choice," the Emperor said. This had been an anticipated thing, which was why the Lion's favorite sword was present. The Emperor had had some of the serfs bring the weapons when Valdor had reported the utahraptors entering the main building.
"Thanks, Father!" the Lion said.
"You have to wait until all the dinosaurs are brought in though," the Emperor said. The Lion nodded his acceptance, it wouldn't be too bad to wait.
"We're done," Rogal voxed several minutes later.
"All units, bring in the last of the dinosaurs," Thorne voxed out. "And prepare to evacuate the location. We leave everything behind."
"We are one short on the utahraptor census," one of the team leaders voxed.
"We need to find it," Thorne said.
"If it's only one, it's already dead," the Lion said. "I killed one earlier today."
"Correction," Thorne said into the vox. "Lord Jonson of the Lord Primarchs killed one today, we are down one utahraptor."
"Then all utahraptors are accounted for," the leader replied.
"You may go and pick the one you want to fight, Lion," the Emperor said. "Have them move the one you chose to a solitary pen."
"I have a special pen for your fight, Lion," Rogal voxed. "We can move the one you choose there."
"Thanks, Rogal," the Lion said and then headed outside to choose his raptor opponent.
"Can we watch like at the zoo?" Leman asked. He was somewhat disappointed that he had missed the other fight.
"Yes," the Emperor said with a smile. He retrieved the Lion's sword from the table. They gave the Lion a bit to find a good opponent, and then followed him outside. The adepts had just put the Lion's choice in the special pen that Rogal had made.
"It's the biggest one isn't it," Perturabo said. It almost sounded like a question, but was a statment.
"Naturally," Konrad said. "It's Lion, he wouldn't have it any other way."
The Emperor went over by the Lion and handed his son the sword. Sword in hand, the Lion entered the pen. The raptor charged as soon as the gate opened. Rogal quickly closed the gate as the Lion rolled away from the leaping utahraptor. Rogal's design for the arena pen had included windows so everyone could see in while maintaining wall height.
"Windows are a weak point in walls though," Perturabo pointed out.
"I don't think the raptor's going to have a chance to try and escape out of one," Rogal said. Perturabo left it at that, he did like being able to see the fight himself. He also had to admit that Rogal had a point about the utahraptor having any chance to escape out of a window.
The Lion came up from his roll, blade whirrling. He caught it on the tail, forcing the raptor to move more slowly. The Lion circled with the injured dinosaur, each eyeing the other. The raptor went to move first, seeming to ignore the injury to its tail, it seemed like it tried to leap over the Lion's sword, but landed right on the point of it. Removing his sword from the raptor's chest, the Lion then grabbed its foot. He severed the large claw of the second toe, claiming it as prize. Holding his bloody trophy aloft, he left the pen.
"Thanks, Father!" the Lion said with a wide smile on his face.
"You can be Alan Grant if we ever do Halloween again," Leman said, indicating the raptor talon.
"But that was a fossil," the Lion said. "This won't be a fossil any time soon."
"True, but it would still work," Leman said. The Lion chuckled, but didn't dispute it.
"How are you going to kill the rest of them, Father?" Horus asked.
"Controlled orbital bombardment," the Emperor said. The Lion looked almost as excited for that as he had for the raptor fight. He liked bombing things from orbit when a direct fight wasn't a viable option. There was no way that they could directly fight all of the dinosaurs. The T-Rex had been bigger than Valdor, and there were sauropods that were giant compared to the rex.
"When do we leave?" Jaghatai asked. He was ready to move on to the next thing.
"I want to clean my claw first, if I may," the Lion said. He figured it would be preferable to clean it off the Imperator Somnium. The Emperor nodded to the Lion, who quickly trotted off to find a sink. He returned a few moments later.
"Let's get out of here," Angron said. He was just as ready as Jaghatai to get out of there. Everyone boarded the Thunderhawk. They all seemed happy to be back aboard the Imperator Somnium, their first stop was the strategium to watch the bombardment of the park.
"I almost feel bad for Thorne," Rogal said. "He built a very bad park, but he did put a lot of money into it and he just lost it all."
"True," Corvus said. "However, he was set to lose more than money if Father allowed the park to run."
"Yeah," Rogal said. "That's the reason I don't actually feel bad about it. He has a better chance of recovering from just this."
With the orbital bombardment complete, the sensor officers made a final sweep of the area, to ensure that there were no saurian lifeforms still alive. Once it was confirmed that all the dinosaurs were dead, the Imperator Somnium headed back to Terra.
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Comments

  1. Nyctophora's Avatar
    Poor Fulgrim. The snake got a crush on him.
  2. Lady Lion's Avatar
    I don't think Fulgrim feels the same way...
  3. Nyctophora's Avatar
    No, I think he would prefer a feather boa

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