Chapter 2
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island of Kauai, Hawaii

“Hey Josh, that couple is here looking for you.” My admin said, sticking his head into my office. “Do you want me to send them in?”

“Thanks, Hector.” I stood as a couple in their mid-forties entered my office. I came around my desk and shook their hands. “Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan, it’s a pleasure to meet you I’m Joshua Jacob Muldoon, but my friends call me JJ. How can I help you two?”

I ushered them to a pair of chairs in front of my desk before I took a seat on my desk facing them.

“Two weeks ago, our daughter went with her Best friend Sandra Carrington and some others from her school to Costa Rica, but we haven’t heard anything until a week later when the crew of the yacht they were on returned to inform the authorities that Maria, that’s our daughter, had gone ashore on an island with the others and didn’t come back. The Island's name was Isla Nublar.”

I knew that name all too well. I felt my stomach drop. There was only one reason that they came to see me, but. I couldn’t lie I wished they wanted me to go to any other island.

“We asked around and everyone says you and your company are the best. Please bring our little girl home.” Mrs. Sullivan pleaded, her eye burrowing into mine.

They weren’t wrong. My company, Soaring Star Rescue, was a privately funded organization that specialized in humanitarian aid and hostile extraction. The problem was, I knew what was on that Island and I wasn’t so sure that I could help them.

My prolonged silence prompted Mr. Sullivan to say. “Money is no object, Mr. Muldoon.” He handed me a six-figure check. It was way more than I usually charged. My main objective with Soaring Star was to help people. I rarely charged more than people could reasonably pay. Except for government types. I always fleeced the bastards when they came pounding on my door, demanding my cooperation.

I looked down at the check-in my hand and with a resigned sigh said. “Well, Mr. Sullivan, you have engaged the services of Soaring Star Rescue. Rest assured, we’ll find your girl. But let me be clear, the Island she’s on is like no other place on earth. Odds are she’s already dead. You need to prepare yourselves for that possibility.”

“We have.” Mrs. Sullivan said. “But we have to know for sure Mr. Muldoon. “

I nodded once and shook their hands. “If she’s alive, I’ll bring her back. “

 

“What’s the job?” Hector asked as soon as the Sullivans left.

“Remember, I told you how my father was killed on an island in Costa Rica?”

Hector nodded, looking at me expectantly.

“The Sullivans lost their daughter on that island. Isla Nublar”

Hector whistled. “Wait, your old man was part of the Jurassic Park incident?”

I nodded my head. “He was Hammonds Game Warden in Kenya and head of security at the park. “

“Shit man. You sure you want to go there? I mean odds are she’s dead, right?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “Probably. But for six figures, I’ll find out for sure. Besides, I made peace with all that a long time ago.”

Hector looked at the check the Sullivans made out. “Let’s see if this bad boy clears.” He went inside to do just that. The man was practically skipping. I met Hector at a dive in LA. He was a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter rescue pilot. A routine mission went south, and they lost the citizen they were trying to rescue. It wasn’t his fault. But lowlife vultures formerly known as reporters blamed him for everything. I dug into the incident and drew my conclusions. Then I hired him, and he had never failed me once.

Three hours later, Hector found me in my office. “It cleared.”

“Good, get Little Bear and Loni. Have them ready to go within the hour. Prep the challenger we’re going to need it.”

 

185 Miles from Isla Nublar

 

The Challenger was a custom LHD Amphibious Assault Ship with two LCUs and a Jayhawk. A gift from one of my silent partners. We retrofitted the Challenger for humanitarian missions. But we kept most of the armaments for hostile encounters.

The Challenger would anchor a mile from the island, and we’d go in with an LCU. Once making landfall, we’d take an all-terrain vehicle to the Visitor Center. It was the consensus of the crew that Cassy Hargrove, one of the passengers, knew what she was doing when she brought them to the Island. I was hoping she’d done enough research to know that the visitor center was there and would be the safest place to hold up. A phone call to an old friend got me a map of the island and its facilities. It marked an emergency bunker on the map, but I had no way of knowing whether any of the missing kids knew about it.

We hadn’t even started, and I already hated this job. I’d be going in with James ‘Little Bear; Johnson a Cheyenne tracker I’ve known since I was in college and Loni a former EMT from New York. I first met Little Bear in college. He was a tracker who invited me on a hunting trip when I helped him fix his truck. He was a first-class tracker. I all but begged him to join Soaring Star when I started. He’d been with me ever since. I was grateful to have him.

Loni applied five years back. She’d been looking to make a fresh start when a mutual friend suggested she apply for Soaring Star. I was always looking for competent people and Loni was that and more.

As for myself, I was in Search and Rescue with the Coast Guard before establishing Soaring Star Rescue. If you were expecting some profound reason for starting S.S.R you’d be disappointed. Not being on a government payroll meant no cutbacks and with the help of some powerful partners, silent or otherwise, I dealt with little to no red tape.

On the deck of the Challenger, I could see Nublar looming beautifully and ominously in the distance. Its outline silhouetted in the mist. A feeling of trepidation filled me. “Welcome to Jurassic park.”

 

Isla Nublar, Costa Rica

(Maria)

“Maria! Get off the boat and come join us.” Sandra whined. The previous evening, Cassy explained we were going to barbecue on the infamous island with the dinosaurs. I objected, of course, and reminded them about the fact that several people had died on this island. Call me crazy. I didn’t think it was a good idea to barbecue on an island where people were eating.

“Oh, Mari, don’t be such a chicken,” Cassy said. “That was years ago. As I understand it there was only one major predator on the island, the big one, whatsitsname.”

I narrowed my eyes at her. “Tyrannosaurus rex.”

“That’s the one.” She snapped a finger. “It has to be dead by now and even if it’s not we’re going to be on the beach close to our boat. We’ll be fine.”

And like that, everyone wanted a BBQ on Dino Island. Well, not me, which was why I sat stubbornly in the zodiac while my BFF tried to coax me out. Sandra walked over with a plate loaded with lobster tails smothered in butter sauce with fried scallops. She waved it under my nose, making my mouth water. “It’s all yours if you come join us.” She cooed.

My stomach rumbled, betraying me. “Damn you.” Sulking, I followed her to the table. They had erected a canopy over the table, providing shade. A few crew members had come and set up the canopy, table, and a little BBQ pit before returning to the ship on a second zodiac.

After our seafood breakfast was over, the boys blasted music out of a boombox they brought, and we played a game of volleyball. That turned into a game of dodgeball, which turned into a game of tag, which dissolved into everyone splashing around in the waves, my self-included. After that, the boys took to wrestling about in the waves while the girls and I worked on our tans.

I was loath to admit it. But I was having fun. I hadn’t seen one dinosaur, nor had I heard anything alarming. Maybe Cassy had been right, maybe all the dinosaurs had died already, and we were on a deserted island.

When the boys had finished goofing around in the water, Cassy’s boyfriend suggested a little exploration. He brought out a worn brochure. At the top of the Brochure read Jurassic Park. On the brochure was a cartoonish picture of the island.

“Check it out.” Jake pointed to the marker on the map that had the skull of a dinosaur, a Brachiosaurus to be exact. “This is where those big, long-necked lizards are.” He pointed to another marker with a boat icon. “This is where we are, so if we follow the path shown here, it’s a straight shot.”

“Didn’t Cassy say that all the Dinosaurs were dead?” I pointed out.

“There might be some alive you never know. Look, I’m suggesting we hike there to see if we spot anything. If not, we come back no harm no foul.”

In the spirit of adventure, which I didn’t even realize I had, I agreed to go. Emilia was happy tanning and was going to stay behind, which meant her boyfriend was staying too. That left me, Sandra, her boyfriend, Cassy, and her boyfriend, Jake.

While Jake was a jerk, he was smart. Using the brochure as a reference, he directed us up the beach, where we found an old half-destroyed dock with a rundown guardhouse. The road shown on the brochure was there mostly overgrown with vegetation, but you could still partially see it.

We followed the road for the better part of an hour when it became clear that the road shown on the brochure was an oversimplified generalization. After another hour of hiking, we came upon a maintenance storage shed. Inside was a far more detailed map of the island.

Also, inside was a pair of flairs and a flashlight. I took the flairs and flashlight just to be safe. We followed the access road for another hour when we came to a twenty-foot electric fence. The wires hung loose, covered with vegetation, while the gridwork of steel bars had seen better days. At the top of the twenty-foot fence posts were pairs of lights, one orange, and one blue. We checked to make sure the fence wasn’t live before crossing over to the other side. The grasslands that met us were empty of life.

Seeing that heartened me. I won’t lie, seeing a dinosaur would be incredible, but I had no desire to be eaten. We hiked across the fields to a series of large hills in the distance. The sight that greeted us when we crested the hill took my breath away. The land below us was alive with dinosaurs.

My childhood came rushing back to me. In the distance, I saw a small herd of brachiosaurs grazing from the trees. They let out soft trumpeting calls that were carried away by the wind. Running information was a herd of Gallimimus. Farther in the distance I could see a herd of duckbilled dinosaurs with large crests on their heads, Parasaurolophus I think, was their name. My knees gave out from under me. I landed hard on my ass transfixed, while simultaneously terrified. Sandra was at my side in an instant, her arms around me protectively. The sight before us was majestic, I wanted to bask in the awe. But the rational part of my mind knew that if these dinosaurs were alive, then the Rex could still be alive.

“We need to leave now,” I told the others. I tried to keep the panic out of my voice. “Sandra, if they’re still alive, the predators might still be alive too.” I snatched the brochure from jake and pointed to the Legend. “Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor, Herrerasaurus, Dilophosaurus, and Baryonyx.” I stood on shaky legs. “If any of these dinosaurs survived, we’re dead.” I shook Sandra, desperate to get my point across. “We have to leave.”

“Ok.” She took my hands in hers. “Okay girl, let’s go.” We turned around and marched back the way we came, not bothering to check if Cassy and Jake were following. Thankfully, her boyfriend didn’t argue with me. I always like him. I needed to get Sandra out of this place. I should have been stronger and made a better case on the boat. My mind was racing with all the things that could go wrong on the way back. This was a stupid idea, and I said as much. The whole fast walk back I kept jumping at every sound, seeing monsters lurking in every shadow.

I was on the verge of hysteria. But give me a break. I had an excellent reason to be. When we finally got back to the beach, what I saw there would forever haunt my dreams.

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