That Statue is a Dead Alien

It took us nearly a week, but we managed to get ourselves to the entrance to the Dinozen cavern. It wasn’t a particularly fun trip so we were both in pretty sour moods by the time we finally arrived. Things were even worse when we found out that the entrance was blocked. And maybe it was that frustration and exhaustion that made me take so long to realize the entrance wasn’t just blocked, but it looked like it had never been opened. Not ever. It was Tilly who finally made sense of it. “You didn’t exist, Frank. That means you never accidentally found the cavern. Which I guess means no one ever found the cavern.”

After a little thinking, I had to conclude that that made a kind of sense. “Maybe that’ll be a good thing. If I never stumbled onto Dinozen City, it means I never had the chance to piss them off.”

“So, now we get to do it for the first time all over again.”

“Well, hopefully we can do it this time without making any of the Dinozens want to kill us. You think we can manage that?”

Tilly phased us through the rocks and down into the caverns. It was a little bit of a hike after that, but I recognized the turn coming up. “Here we are,” I said. “Just be careful. Try not to agitate anyone.”

“Agitate? Me? When do I…?”

“Tilly.”

“No agitating. I promise.”

We took the turn and entered the large cavern. I was ready to see the city, to come face to face with the dinosaurmen. I was preparing in my head what I would say to them, how I would convince them that we were friends, how I would convince them to help us, so maybe it took a little longer than it should have to realize that there was nothing there! There were no guards. There were no dinosaurmen. There was no city! “Isn’t this supposed to be where the city is?” Tilly asked.

“Yes…isn’t it?” I replied, suddenly not feeling too confident. I looked around. It looked like this was where the city was supposed to be, but it was hard to tell without all the buildings and people. I glanced back. The path had looked familiar. I had been so certain this is where the city was supposed to be. Could I have been so wrong?

Tilly checked her upgrades. “The GPS coordinates are correct, as is the depth. This is it…but where’s the city? Where are the Dinozen?”

“Oh, god,” I exclaimed as I came to a sudden realization, “they’re gone! Completely gone! They were never here!”

“How can that be? You can’t tell me that the General wished them gone. Why would he do that?”

“It wasn’t him. At least not on purpose. I can’t believe it, but it was us. We’re the reason the Dinozen never existed!”

“What are you talking about?” Tilly asked. “How could it be our fault that they don’t exist? They were here long before you found them.”

“No. You see, that’s not entirely true. When your mother threw us back in time, we speculated that it was your father in his new dinosaur body that inspired their creation. Jamal never joined the team, never met Freyja. You were never born. You were never kidnapped. We never went after you. Freyja never trapped us back in the past. Jamal never got hurt. Doc never puts his brain into a dinosaur body. There are no Dinozen. Coincidence?”

“It could be.”

“I doubt it. It’s just too much of a coincidence. I think this is all fault. I think we were responsible.”

“Or maybe the General eliminated them for another reason that we’re not aware of? We don’t know that much about him. Maybe he didn’t like the competition? Or maybe we’ve got the place wrong? Maybe the Dinozen are somewhere else.”

“No. Look, there’s the statue that was at the entrance.”

Tilly looked at it. “That ugly statue. Why is that statue here and nothing else is? That doesn’t make any sense.”

“That statue!” I laughed. “I said he looked like that statue. I said he looked just like him and…I guess I was right after all!”

“Right about what?” Tilly asked.

“I told you about that alien we met when we went into the past, right? The one made of liquid rock?”

“Like I could forget something that weird.”

“Well…” I pointed at the statue. “That’s him!”

“What are you talking about? You’re saying that that statue is a dead alien? How can that be?”

“Well, he was made of rock or metal or something…”

“Ok, let’s say that you’re right. That this is an alien. So what? What are we going to do with the corpse of a dead rock alien?”

“What do you think we’re going to do? We’re going to bring him back to life!”

“Bring him back to life? Like that’s something we can even do.”

“We have to try,” I told her, feeling confident that this plan would work and somewhat desperate for something that would work.

“Do we? I mean, is that even a smart thing to try to do? He kidnapped ALAN and tried to kill you.”

“Not in this reality, he didn’t.”

“So you decided to give him an opportunity to?”

“He’s an intelligent being, Tilly. He’s not a mad dog. He’ll listen to reason.”

“What makes you so sure of that?”

“I’m not,” I admitted, “but we’re running out of options here. We need help and who else do we have?”

“Ok, Frank,” she relented, “let’s pretend this isn’t a stupid idea. Why would you think we could even do this? He’s been dead for 60 million years.”

“Because I don’t see any obvious cause of death. He wasn’t shot. His head wasn’t chopped off. He’s not withered or broken in anyway. He’s not even lying on the ground like he collapsed. He looks in perfect shape.”

“That doesn’t mean anything. You don’t know anything about his species.”

“I know that we won’t find out if we don’t try. I know that just the two of us together don’t have much of a chance against the General and his magic reality-altering horn.”

“And just how do you plan on doing this? We going to strap him to a gurney and hope he gets hit by lightning?”

“The first time I saw him he was emerging from a lava pit. I think that was nourishing him.”

“So you want to throw him into a volcano?”

“I think we can think of some way other than a volcano to bring him back, don’t you?”

“Yeah?” she replied. “Like what?”

“Well, assuming that it was the thermal energy that he absorbed, then it might not be a bad guess to say he just needs to be recharged.”

“Recharged? With what?” Tilly looked around. “I don’t see any sockets.”

“I was thinking something else.”

“And what was that?”

“What power source do we have readily available that we’re going to have to just expel anyway?”

“I have no idea what…No! Frank! You’re not thinking…!?”

“It’s been building up and I’ll have to get rid of it anyway. We’ve already had to absorb it twice. Why not put it to use?”

“Because it’s unstable, Frank!”

You used it to get us out of the future…”

“And we ended up missing the mark by a week and getting stranded on Mars.”

“Well, when traveling through millennia what’s one week? Besides, what other power source do we have?”

“This all seems like such a bad idea. Just every part of it. Every single part.”

“We don’t have many other choices, Tilly. We’re in a pretty bad situation. The General is marching across Europe with his army of reptilemen. All our friends have forgotten us. We have no money, no resources. If you have a better plan, I’m open to hearing it, but we have an opportunity here that might blow up in our face. Or it might actually work.”

“Good to see you’re so confident about this decision, Frank. That really reassures me.”

“I think we can do this, Till. I think we have to. I don’t think we really have a choice.”

to be continued…

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