The Lost World Chapter 3

Dr. Levine had explained the bearded man was following him because of something to do with his arrest, but Kelly didn't believe that. Her own mother had been arrested twice for drunk driving, and there was never anybody following her. So Kelly didn't know why this man was following Levine, but clearly Levine was doing some secret research and he didn't want anybody to find out about it. She knew one thing - Dr. Levine didn't care much about this class he was reaching. He usually gave the lecture off the top of his head. Other times he would walk in the front door of the school, hand them a taped lecture, and walk out the back. They never knew where he went, on those days.

The errands he sent them on were mysterious, too. Once they went to Stanford and picked up five small squares of plastic from a professor there. The plastic was light, and sort of foamy. Another time they went downtown to an electronics store and picked up a triangular device that the man behind the counter gave them very nervously, as if it might be illegal or something. Another time they picked up a metal tube that looked like it contained cigars. They couldn't help opening it, but they were uneasy to find four sealed plastic ampoules of straw-colored liquid. The ampoules were marked EXTREME DANGER! LETHAL TOXICITY! and had the three-bladed international symbol for biohazard.

But mostly, their assignments were mundane. He often sent them to libraries at Stanford to Xerox papers on all sorts of subjects: Japanese sword-making, X-ray crystallography, Mexican vampire bats, Central American volcanoes, oceanic currents of El Ni?o, the mating behavior of mountain sheep, sea-cucumber toxicity, flying buttresses of Gothic cathedrals...

Dr. Levine never explained why he was interested in these subjects. Often he would send them back day after day, to search for more material. And then, suddenly, he would drop the subject, and never refer to it again. And they would be on to something else.

Of course, they could figure some of it out. A lot of the questions had to do with the vehicles that Dr. Thorne was building for Dr. Levine's expedition. But most of the time, the subjects were completely mysterious.

Occasionally, Kelly wondered what the bearded man would make of all this. She wondered whether he knew something they did not. But actually, the bearded man seemed kind of lazy. He never seemed to figure out that Kelly and Arby were doing errands for Dr. Levine.

Right now, the bearded man glanced over at the entrance to the school, ignoring them. They walked to the end of the street, and sat on the bench to wait for the bus.


The baby snow leopard spit the bottle out, and rolled over onto its back, paws in the air. It made a soft mewing sound.

"She wants to be petted," Elizabeth Gelman said.

Malcolm reached out his hand, to stroke the belly. The cub spun around, and sunk its tiny teeth into his fingers. Malcolm yelled.

"She does that, sometimes," Gelman said. "Dorje! Bad girl! Is that any way to treat our distinguished visitor?" She reached out, took Malcolm's hand. "It didn't break the skin, but we should clean it anyway." They were in the white research laboratory of the San Francisco Zoo, at three o'clock in the afternoon. Elizabeth Gelman, the youthful head of research, was supposed to report on her findings, but they had to delay for the afternoon feeding in the nursery. Malcolm had watched them feed a baby gorilla, which spit up like a human baby, and a koala, and then the very cute snow-leopard cub.

"Sorry about that," Gelman said. She took him to a side basin, and soaped his hand. "But I thought it was better that you come here now, when the regular staff is all at the weekly conference."

"Why is that?"

"Because there's a lot of interest in the material you gave us, Ian. A lot." She dried his hand with a towel, inspected it again. "I think you'll survive."

"What have you found?" Malcolm said to her.

"You have to admit, it is very provocative. By the way, is it from Costa Rica?"

Keeping his voice neutral, Malcolm said, "Why do you say that?"

"Because there are all these rumors about unknown animals showing up in Costa Rica. And this is definitely an unknown animal, Ian."

She led him out of the nursery, and into a small conference room He dropped into a chair, resting his cane on the table. She lowered the lights, and clicked on a slide protector. "Okay. Here's a close-up of your original material, before we be an our examination. As you see, it consists of a fragment of animal tissue in a state of very advanced necrosis. The tissue measures four centimeters by six centimeters. Attached to it is a green plastic tag, measuring two centimeters square. Tissue cut by a knife, but not a very sharp one."

Malcolm nodded.

"What'd you use, Ian, your pocketknife?" "Something like that."

"All right. Let's deal with the tissue sample first." The slide changed; Malcolm saw a microscopic view. "This is a gross histologic section through the superficial epidermis. Those patchy, ragged gaps are where the postmortem necrotic change has eroded the skin surface. But what is interesting is the arrangement of epidermal cells. You'll notice the density of chromatophores, or pigment-bearing cells. In the cut section you see the difference between melanophores here, and allophores, here. The overall pattern is suggestive of a lacerta or amblythynchtis."

"You mean a lizard?" Malcolm said.

"Yes," she said. "It looks like a lizard-though the Picture is not entirely consistent." She tapped the left side of the screen. "You see this one cell here, which has this slight rim, in section? We believe that's muscle. The chromatophore could open and close. Meaning that this animal could change color, like a chameleon. And over here you see this large oval shape, with a pale center? That's the pore of a femoral scent gland. There is a waxy substance in the center which we are still analyzing. But our presumption is that this animal was male, since only male lizards have femoral glands."

"I see," Malcolm said.

She changed the slide, Malcolm saw what looked like a close-up of a sponge. "Going deeper. Here we see the Structure of the subcutaneous layers. Highly distorted, because of gas bubbles from the clostridia infection that bloated the animal. But you can get a sense of the vessels - see one here - and another here - which are surrounded by smooth muscle fibers. This is not characteristic of lizards, In fact, the whole appearance of this slide is wrong for lizards, or reptiles of any sort."

"You mean it looks warm-blooded."

"Right," Gelman said. "Not really mammalian, but perhaps avian. This could be, oh, I don't know, a dead pelican. Something like that."


"Except no pelican has a skin like that."

"I see," Malcolm said.

"And there s no feathers."


"Now," Gelman said, "we were able to extract a minute quantity of blood from the intra-arterial spaces. Not much, but enough to conduct a microscopic examination. Here it is."

The slide changed again. He saw a jumble of cells, mostly red cells, and an occasional misshapen white cell. It was confusing to look at.

"This isn't my area, Elizabeth," he said.

"Well, I'll just give you the highlights," she said. "First of all, nucleated red cells. That's characteristic of birds, not mammals. Second, rather atypical hemoglobin, differing in several base pairs from other lizards. Third, aberrant white-cell structure. We don't have enough material to make a determination, but we suspect this animal has a highly unusual immune system.

"Whatever that means," Malcolm said, with a shrug.

"We don't know, and the sample doesn't give us enough to find out. By the way, can you get more?"

"I might be able to," he said.

"Where, from Site B?"

Malcolm looked puzzled. "Site B?"

"Well, that's what's embossed on the tag." She changed the slide. "I must say, Ian, this tag is very interesting. Here at the zoo, we tag animals all the time, and we're familiar with all the ordinary commercial brands sold around the world. Nobody's seen this tag before. Here it is, magnified ten times. The actual object is roughly the size of your thumbnail. Uniform plastic outer surface, attaches to the animal by a Teflon coated, stainless-steel clip on the other side. It's a rather small clip, of the kind used to tag infants. The animal you saw was adult?"


"So the tag was probably in place for a while, ever since the animal was young," Gelman said. "Which makes sense, considering the degree of weathering. You'll notice the pitting on the surface. That's very Unusual. This plastic is Duralon, the stuff they use to make football helmets. It's extremely tough, and this pitting can't have occurred through simple wear."

"Then what?"

"It's almost certainly a chemical reaction, such as exposure to acid, perhaps in aerosol form."

"Like volcanic fumes?" Malcolm said.

"That could do it, particularly in view of what else we've learned. You'll notice that the tag is rather thick - actually, it's nine millimeters across. And it's hollow."

"Hollow?" Malcolm said, frowning.

"Yes. It contains an inner cavity. We didn't want to open it, so we X- rayed it. Here." The slide changed. Malcolm saw a jumble of white lines and boxes, inside the tag.

"There appears to be substantial corrosion, again perhaps from acid fumes. But there's no question what this once was. It's a radio tag, Ian. Which means that this unusual animal, this warm-blooded lizard or whatever it was, was tagged and raised by somebody from birth. And that's the part that's got people around here upset. Somebody's raising these things. Do you know how that happened?"

"I haven't the faintest idea," Malcolm said.

Elizabeth Gelman sighed. "You're a lying son of a bitch."

He held out his hand. "May I have my sample back?"

She said, "Ian. After all I've done for you."

"The sample?"

"I think you owe me an explanation."

"And I promise, you'll have one. In about two weeks. I'll buy dinner."

She tossed a silver-foil package on the table. He picked it up, and slipped it in his pocket. "Thanks, Liz." He got up to go, "I hate to run, but I've got to make a call right away."

He started for the door, and she said, "By the way, how did it die, Ian? This animal."

He paused. "Why do you ask?"

"Because, when we teased up the skin cells, we found a few foreign cells under the outer epidermal layer. Cells belonging to another animal."

"Meaning what?"

"Well, it's the typical picture you see when two lizards fight. They rub against each other. Cells get pushed under the superficial layer."

"Yes," he said. "There were signs of a fight on the carcass. The annimal had been wounded."

"And you should also know there were signs of chronic vasoconstriction in the arterial vessels. This animal was under stress, Ian. And not just from the fight that wounded it. That would have disappeared in early postmortem changes. I'm talking about chronic, continuous stress. Wherever this creature lived, its environment was extremely stressful and dangerous."

"I see."

"So. How come a tagged animal has such a stressful life?"

At the entrance to the zoo, he looked around to see if he was being followed, then stopped at a pay phone and dialed Levine. The machine picked up; Levine wasn't there. Typical, Malcolm thought. Whenever you needed him he wasn't there. Probably off trying to get his Ferrari out of impound again.

Malcolm hung up, and headed toward his car.


"Thorne Mobile Field Systems" was stenciled in black lettering on a large rolling metal garage door, at the far end of the Industrial Park. There was a regular door to the left. Arby pushed the buzzer on a small box with a grille. A gruff voice said, "Go away."

"It's us, Dr. Thorne. Arby and Kelly."

"Oh. Okay."

There was a click as the door unlocked, and they walked inside. They found themselves in a large open shed. Workmen were making modifications on several vehicles; the air smelled of acetylene, engine oil, and fresh paint. Directly ahead Kelly saw a dark-green Ford Explorer with its roof cut open; two assistants stood on ladders, fitting a large flat panel of black solar cells over the top of the car. The hood of the Explorer was up, and the V-6 engine had been pulled out; workmen were now lowering a small, new engine in its place -it looked like a rounded shoebox, with the dull shine of aluminum alloy. Others were bringing the wide, flat rectangle of the Hughes converter that would be mounted on top of the motor.

Over to the right, she saw the two RV trailers that Thorne's team had been working on for the last few weeks. They weren't the usual trailers you saw people driving for the weekends. One was enormous and sleek, almost as big as a bus, and outfitted with living and sleeping quarters for four people, as well as all sorts of special scientific equipment. It was called "Challenger" and it had an unusual feature: once you parked it, the walls could slide outward, expanding the inside dimensions.

The Challenger trailer was made to connect up through a special accordion passageway to the second trailer, which was somewhat smaller, and was pulled by the first. This second RV contained laboratory equipment and some very high-tech refinements, though Kelly wasn't sure exactly what. Right now, the second trailer was nearly hidden by the huge stream of sparks that spit out from a welder on the roof. Despite all the activity, the trailer looked mostly finished-although she could see people working inside, and all the upholstery, the chairs and seats, were lying around on the ground outside. Thorne himself was standing in the middle of the room, shouting at the welder on the roof of the camper. "Come on, Come on, we've got to be finished today! Eddie, let's go." He turned, shouted again, "No, no, no. Look at the plans! Henry: you can't place that strut laterally. It has to be crosswise, for strength. Look at the plans!"

Doc Thorne was a gray-haired, barrel-chested man of fifty-five. Except for his wire-frame glasses, he looked as if he might be a retired prizefighter. It was hard for Kelly to imagine Thorne as a University professor; he was immensely strong, and in continuous movement. "Damn it, Henry! Henry! Henry, are you listening to me?"

Thorne swore again, and shook his fist in the air. He turned to the kids. "These guys," he said. "They're supposed to be helping me." From the Explorer, there was a white-hot crack like lightning. The two men leaning into the hood jumped away, as a cloud of acrid smoke rose above the car. "What'd I tell you?" Thorne shouted. "Ground it! Ground it before you do anything! We've got serious voltages here, guys! You're going to get fried if you're not careful!"

He looked back at the kids and shook his head. "They just don't get it," he said. "That IUD is serious defense."


"Internal Ursine Deterrent-that's what Levine calls it. It's his idea of a joke," Thorne said. "Actually, I developed this system a few years back for park rangers in Yellowstone, where bears break into trailers. Flip a switch, and you run ten thousand volts across the outer skin of the trailer. Wham-o! Takes the fight out of the biggest bear. But that kind of voltage'll blow these guys right off the trailer. And then what? I get a workmen's-compensation suit. For their stupidity." He shook his head. "So? Where's Levine?"

"We don't know," Arby said.

"What do you mean? Didn't he teach your class today?"

"No, he didn't come."

Thorne swore again. "Well, I need him today, to go over the final revisions, before we do our field testing. He was supposed to be back today."

"Back from where?" Kelly said.

"Oh, he went on one of his field trips," Thorne said. "Very excited about it, before he went. I outfitted him myself - loaned him my latest field pack. Everything he could ever want in just forty-seven pounds. He liked it. Left last Monday, four days ago."

"For where?"

"How should I know?" Thorne said. "He wouldn't tell me. And I gave up asking. You know they're all the same, now. Every scientist I deal with is secretive. But you can't blame them. They're all afraid of being ripped off, or sued. The modern world. Last year I built equipment for an expedition to the Amazon, we waterproofed it - which you'd want in the Amazon rain forest - soaking-wet electronics just don't work - and the principal scientist was charged with misappropriating funds. For waterproofing! Some university bureaucrat said it was an unnecessary expense. I'm telling you, it's insane. Just insane. Henry - did you hear anything I said to you? Put it crosswise!"

Thorne strode across the room, waving his arms. The kids followed behind him.

"But now, look at this," Thorne said. "For months we've been mod]fying his field vehicles, and finally we're ready. He wants them light, I build them light. He wants them strong, I build them strong-light and strong both, why not, it's just impossible, what he's asking for, but with enough titanium and honeycarbon composite, we're doing it anyway. He wants it off petroleum base, and off the grid, and we do that, too. So finally he's got what he wanted, an immensely strong portable laboratory to go where there's no gasoline and no electricity. And now that it's finished ... I can't believe it. He really didn't show up for your class?"

"No," Kelly said.

"So he's disappeared," Thorne said. "Wonderful. Perfect. What about our field test? We were going to take these vehicles out for a week, and put them through their paces."

"I know," Kelly said. "We got Permission from our parents and everything, so we could go, too."

"And now he's not here," Thorne fumed. "I suppose I should have expected it. These rich kids, they do whatever they want. A guy like Levine gives spoiled a bad name."

From the ceiling, a large metal cage came crashing down, landing next to them on the floor. Thorne jumped aside. "Eddie! Damn! Will you watch it?"

"Sorry, Doc," said Eddie Carr, high up in the rafters. "But specs are it can't deform at twelve thousand psi. We had to test it."

"That's fine, Eddie. But don't test it when we're Linder it!" Thorne bent to examine the cage, which was circular, constructed of inch-thick titanium-alloy bars. It had survived the fall without harm. And it was light; Thorne lifted it upright with one hand. It was about six feet high and four feet in diameter. It looked like an oversized bird cage. It had a swinging door, fitted with a heavy lock.

What's that for?" Arby asked.

Actually," Thorne said, "it's part of that" He pointed I across the room, where a workman was putting together a stack of telescoping aluminum struts. "High observation platform, made to be assembled in the field. Scaffolding sets up into a rigid structure, about fifteen feet high. Fitted with a little shelter on top. Also collapsible."

"A platform to observe what?" Arby said. Thorne said, "He didn't tell you?"

"No," Kelly said.

"No," Arby said.

"Well, he didn't tell me, either," Thorne said, shaking his head. "All I know is he wants everything immensely strong. Light and strong, light and strong. Impossible." He sighed. "God save me from academics."

"I thought you were an academic," Kelly said.

"Former academic," Thorne said briskly. "Now I actually make things. I don't just talk."

Colleagues who knew Jack Thorne agreed that retirement marked the happiest period in his life. As a professor of applied engineering, and a specialist in exotic materials, he had always demonstrated a practical focus and a love of students. His most famous course at Stanford, Structural Engineering 101a, was known among the students as "Thorny Problems," because Thorne continually provoked his class to solve applied-engineering challenges he set for them. Some of these had long since entered into student folklore. There was, for example, the Toilet Paper Disaster: Thorne asked the students to drop a carton of eggs from Hoover Tower without injury. As padding, they could only use the cardboard tubes at the center of toilet paper rolls. There were spattered eggs all over the plaza below.

Then, another year, Thorne asked the students to build a chair to support a two-bundred-pound man, using only, paper Q-tips and thread. And another time, he hung the answer sheet for the final exam from the classroom ceiling, and invited his students to pull it down, using whatever they could make with a cardboard shoebox containing a pound of licorice, and some toothpicks.

When he was not in class, Thorne often served as an expert witness in legal cases involving materials engineering. He specialized in explosions, crashed airplanes, collapsed buildings, and other disasters. These forays into the real world sharpened his view that scientists needed the widest possible education. He used to say, "How can you design for people if you don't know history and psychology? You can't. Because your mathematical formulas may be perfect, but the people will screw it up. And if that happens, it means you screwed it up." He peppered his lectures with quotations from Plato, Chaka Zulu, Emerson, and Chang-tzu.

But as a professor who was popular with his students-and who advocated general education-Thorne found himself swimming against the tide. The academic world was marching toward ever more specialized knowledge, expressed in ever more dense jargon. In this climate, being liked by your students was a sign of shallowness; and interest in real-world problems was proof of intellectual poverty and a distressing indifference to theory. But in the end, it was his fondness for Chang-tzu that pushed him out the door. In a departmental meeting, one of his colleagues got up and announced that "Some mythical Chinese bullshitter means fuck-all for engineering."

Thorne took early retirement a month later, and soon after started his own company. He enjoyed his work thoroughly, but he missed contact with the students, which was why he liked Levine's two youthful assistants. These kids were smart, they were enthusiastic, and they were young enough so that the schools hadn't destroyed all their interest in learning. They could still actually use their brains, which in Thorne's view was a sure sign they hadn't yet completed a formal education.

"Jerry!" Thorne bellowed, to one of the welders on the RVS. "Balance the struts on both sides! Remember the crash tests!" Thorne pointed to a video monitor set on the floor, which showed a computer image of the RV crashing into a barrier. First it crashed end-on, then it crashed sideways, then it rolled and crashed again. Each time, the vehicle survived with very little damage. The computer program had been developed by the auto companies, and then discarded. Thorne acquired it, and modified it. "Of course the auto companies discarded it - it's a good idea. Don't want any good ideas coming out of a big company. Might lead to a good product!" He sighed. "Using this computer, we've crashed these vehicles ten thousand times: designing, crashing, modeling, crashing again. No theories, just actual testing. The way it ought to be."

Thorne's dislike of theory was legendary. In his view' a theory was nothing more than a substitute for experience put forth by someone who didn't know what he was talking about. "And now look. Jerry? Jerry! Why'd we do all these simulations, if you guys aren't going to follow the plans? Is everybody brain-dead around here?"

"Sorry, Doc..."

"Don't be sorry! Be right!"

"Well, we're massively overbuilt anyway-"

"Oh? Is that your decision? You're the designer now? Just follow the plans!"

Arby trotted alongside Thorne. "I'm worried about Dr. Levine," he said.

'Really? I'm not."

"But he's always been reliable. And very well organized."

"That's true," Thorne said. "He's also completely impulsive and does whatever he feels like."

"Maybe so," Arby said, "but I don't think he'd be missing without a good reason. I'm afraid he might be in trouble. Only last week, he had us go with him to visit Professor Malcolm in Berkeley, who had this map of the world in his office, and it showed - "

"Malcolm!" Thorne snorted. "Spare me! Peas in a pod, those two. Each more impractical than the other. But I'd better get hold of Levine now." He turned on his heel, and walked toward his office.

Arby said, "You going to use the satphone?"

Thorne paused. "The what?"

"The satphone," Arby said. "Didn't Dr. Levine take a satphone with him?"

"How could he?" Thorne said. "You know the smallest satellite phones are the size of a suitcase."

"Yeah, but they don't have to be," Arby said. "You could have made one very small."

"Could I? How?" Despite himself, Thorne was amused by this kid. You had to like him.

"With that VLSI com board that we picked up," Arby said. "The triangular one. It had two Motorola BSN-23 chip arrays, and they're restricted technology developed for the CIA because they allow you to make a - "

Thorne said, interrupting him. "Where did you learn all this? I've warned you about hacking systems - "

"Don't worry, I'm careful," Arby said. "But it's true about the com board, isn't it? You could use it to make a one-pound satphone. So: did you?"

Thorne stared at him for a long time.

"Maybe," he said finally. "What of it?"

Arby grinned. "Cool," he said.

Thorne's small office was located in a corner of the shed. Inside the walls were plastered with blueprints, order forms on clipboards, and three-dimensional cutaway computer drawings, Electronic components, equipment catalogs, and stacks of faxes were scattered across his desk. Thorne rummaged through them, and finally came up with a small gray handheld telephone. "Here we are." He held it up for Arby to see. "Pretty good, huh? Designed it myself."

Kelly said, "It looks just like a cellular phone."

"Yes, but it's not. A cellular phone uses a grid in place. A satellite phone links directly to communication satellites in space. With one of these I can talk anywhere in the world." He dialed swiftly. "Used to be, they needed a three-foot dish. Then it was a one-foot dish. Now no dish at all - just the handset. Not bad, if I say so myself. Let's see if he's answering." He pushed the speakerphone. They heard the call dial through, hissing static.

"Knowing Richard," Thorne said, "he probably just missed his plane, or forgot that he was supposed to be back here today for final approvals. And we're pretty much finished here. When you see we're down to the exterior struts and the upholstery, the fact is, we're done. He's going to hold us up. It's very inconsiderate of him." The phone rang, repeated electronic beeps. "If I can't get through to him, I'll try Sarah Harding."

"Sarah Harding?" Kelly asked, looking up.

Arby said, "Who's Sarah Harding?"

"Only the most famous young animal behaviorist in the world, Arb." Sarah Harding was one of Kelly's personal heroes. Kelly had read every article she could about her. Sarah Harding had been a poor scholarship student at the University of Chicago but now, at thirty-three, she was an assistant professor at Princeton. She was beautiful and independent, a rebel, who went her own way. She had chosen the life of a scientist in the field, living alone in Africa, where she studied lions and hyenas. She was famously tough. Once, when her Land Rover broke down, she walked twenty miles across the savannah all by herself, driving away lions by throwing rocks at them.

In photographs, Sarah was usually posed in shorts and a khaki shirt, with binoculars around her neck, next to a Land Rover. With her short, dark hair and her strong, muscular body, she looked rugged but glamorous at the same time. At least, that was how she appeared to Kelly, who always studied the pictures intently, taking in every detail.

"Never heard of her," Arby said.

Thorne said, "Spending too much time with computers, Arby?"

Arby said, "No." Kelly saw Arby's shoulders hunch, and he sort of withdrew into himself, the way he always did when he felt criticized. Sulky, he said, "Animal behaviorist?"

"That's right," Thorne said. "I know Levine's talked to her several times in the last few weeks. She's helping him with all this equipment, when it finally goes into the field. Or advising him. Or something. Or maybe the connection is with Malcolm. After all, she was in love with Malcolm."

"I don't believe it", Kelly said. "Maybe he was in love with her...."

Thorne looked at her. "You've met her?"

"No. But I know about her."

"I see." Thorne said no more. He could see all the signs of hero worship, and he approved. A girl could do worse than admire Sarah Harding. At least she wasn't an athlete or a rock star. In fact, it was refreshing for a kid to admire somebody who actually tried to advance knowledge.

The phone continued to ring. There was no answer.

"Well, we know Levine's equipment is in order," Thorne said. "Because the call is going through. We know that much."

Arby said, "Can you trace it?"

"Unfortunately, no. And if we keep this up, we'll probably drain the field battery, which means- "

There was a click, and they heard a man's voice, remarkably distinct and clear: "Levine."

"Okay. Good. He's there," Thorne said, nodding. He pushed the button on his handset. "Richard? It's Doc Thorne."

Over the speakerphone, they heard a sustained static hiss. Then a cough, and a scratchy voice said: "Hello? Hello? It's Levine here."

Thorne pressed the button on his phone. "Richard. It's Thorne. Do you read me?"

"Hello?" Levine said, at the other end. "Hello?"

Thorne sighed. "Richard. You have to press the 'T' button, for transmit. Over."

"Hello?" Another cough, deep and rasping. "This is Levine. Hello?"

Thorne shook his head in disgust. "Obviously, be doesn't know how to work it. Damn! I went over it very carefully with him. Of course he wasn't paying attention. Geniuses never pay attention. They think they know everything. These things aren't toys." He pushed the send button. "Richard, listen to me. You must push the 'T' in order to - "

"This is Levine. Hello? Levine. Please. I need help." A kind of groan. "If you can hear me, send help. Listen, I'm on the island, I managed to get here all right, but - "

A crackle. A hiss.

"Uh-oh," Thorne said.

"What is it?" Arby said, leaning forward.

"We're losing him."


"Battery," Thorne said. "It's going fast. Damn. Richard: where are you?"

Over the speakerphone, they heard Levine's voice: " - dead already - situation got - now - very serious - don't know - can hear me, but if you - get help - "

"Richard. Tell us where you are!"

The phone hissed, the transmission getting steadily worse. They heard Levine say: " - have me surrounded, and - vicious - can smell them especially - night - "

"What is he talking about?" Arby said.

" - to - injury - can't - not long - please - "

And then there was a final, fading hiss.

And suddenly the phone went dead.

Thorne clicked off his own handset, and turned off the speakerphone. He turned to the kids, who were both pale. "We have to find him," he said. "Right away."


"Self-organization elaborates in complexity as the

system advances toward the chaotic edge."



Thorne unlocked the door to Levine's apartment, and flicked on the lights. They stared, astonished. Arby said, "It looks like a museum!"

Levine's two-bedroom apartment was decorated in a vaguely Asian style, with rich wooden cabinets, and expensive antiques. But the apartment was spotlessly clean, and most of the antiques were housed in plastic cases. Everything was neatly labeled. They walked slowly into the room.

"Does he live here?" Kelly said. She found it hard to believe. The apartment seemed so impersonal to her, almost inhuman. And her own apartment was such a mess all the time....

"Yeah, he does," Thorne said, pocketing the key. "It always looks like this. It's why he can never live with a woman. He can't stand to have anybody touch anything."

The living-room couches were arranged around a glass coffee table. On the table were four piles of books, each neatly aligned with the glass edge. Arby glanced at the titles. Catastrophe Theory and Emergent Structures. Inductive Processes in Molecular Evolution. Cellular Automata. Methodology of Non-Linear Adaptation. Phase Transition in Evolutionary Systems. There were also some older books, with titles in German.

Kelly sniffed the air. "Something cooking?"

"I don't know" Thorne said. He went into the dining room. Along the wall, he saw a hot plate with a row of covered dishes. They saw a polished wood dining table, with a place set for one, silver and cut glass. Soup steamed from a bowl.

Thorne walked over and picked up a sheet of paper on the table and read: "Lobster bisque, baby organic greens, seared ahi tuna." A yellow Post-it was attached. "Hope your trip was good! Romelia."

"Wow, " Kelly said."You mean somebody makes dinner for him every day?"

"I guess," Thorne said. He didn't seem impressed; he shuffled through a stack of unopened mail that had been set out beside the plate. Kelly turned to some faxes on a nearby table. The first one was from the Peabody Museum at Yale, in New Haven. "Is this German?" she said handing it to Thorne.

Dear Dr. Levine:

Your requested document:

"Geschichtliche Forschungsarbeiten ¨¹ber die Geologie Zentralamerikas, 1922-1929"

has been sent by Federal Express today.

Thank you.


Dina Skrumbis, Archivist

"I can't read it," Thorne said. "But I think it's 'Something Researches on the Geology of Central America.' And it's from the twenties - not exactly hot news."

"I wonder why he wanted it?" she said.

Thorne didn't answer her. He went into the bedroom.

The bedroom had a spare, minimal look, the bed a black futon, neatly made. Thorne opened the closet doors, and saw racks of clothing, everything pressed, neatly spaced, much of it in plastic. He opened the top dresser drawer and saw socks folded, arranged by color.

"I don't know how he can live like this," Kelly said.

"Nothing to it," Thorne said. "All you need is servants." He opened the other drawers quickly, one after another.

Kelly wandered over to the bedside table. There were several books there. The one on top was very small, and yellowing with age. It was in German; the title was Die F¨¹nf Todesarten. She flipped through it, saw colored pictures of what looked like Aztecs in colorful costumes. It was almost like an illustrated children's book she thought.

Underneath were books and journal articles with the dark-red cover of the Santa Fe Institute: Genetic Algorithms and Heuristic Networks. Geology of Central America, Tessellation Automata of Arbitrary Dimension. The 1989 Annual Report of the InGen Corporation. And next to the telephone, she noticed a sheet of hastily scribbled notes. She recognized the precise handwriting as Levine's.

It said:





1 of 5 Deaths?

in mtns? No!!!

maybe Guitierrez


Kelly said, "What's Site B? He has notes about it."

Thorne came over to look. "Vulkanische," he said. "That means volcanic,' I think. And Taca?o and Nublar...They sound like place names. If they are, we can check that on an atlas...."

"And what's this about one of five deaths?" Kelly said.

"Damned if I know," he said.

They were staring at the paper when Arby walked into the bedroom and said, "What's Site B?"

Thorne looked up. "Why?"

"You better see his office," Arby said.

Levine had turned the second bedroom into an office. It was, like the rest of the apartment, admirably treat. There was a desk with papers laid out in tidy stacks alongside a computer, covered in plastic. But behind the desk there was a large corkboard that covered most of the wall. And on this board, Levine had tacked up maps, charts, newspaper clippings, Landsat images, and aerial photographs. At the top of the board was a large sign that said "Site B?"

Alongside that was a blurred, curling snapshot of a bespectacled Chinese man in a white lab coat, standing in the jungle beside a wooden sign that said "Site B." His coat was unbuttoned, and he was wearing a tee shirt with lettering on it.

Alongside the photo was a large blowup of the tee shirt, as seen in the original photograph. It was hard to read the lettering, which was partly covered on both sides by the lab coat, but the shirt seemed to say:

nGen Site B

esearch Facili

In neat handwriting, Levine had noted: "InGen Site B Research Facility???? WHERE???"

Just below that was a page cut from the InGen Annual Report. A circled paragraph read:

In addition to its headquarters in Palo Alto, where InGen maintains an ultra-modern 200,000 square foot research laboratory, the company runs three field laboratories around the world. A geological lab in South Africa, where amber and other biological specimens are acquired; a research farm in the mountains of Costa Rica, where exotic varieties of plants are grown; and a facility on the island of Isla Nublar, 120 miles west of Costa Rica.

Next to that Levine had written: "No B! Liars!"

Arby said, "He's really obsessed with Site B."

"I'll say," Thorne said. "And he thinks it's on an island somewhere."

Peering closely at the board, Thorne looked at the satellite images. He noticed that although they were printed in false colors, at various degrees of magnification, they all seemed to show the same general geographical area: a rocky coastline, and some islands offshore. The coastline had a beach, and encroaching jungle; it might be Costa Rica, but it was impossible to say for sure. In truth, it could be any of a dozen places in the world.

"He said he was on an island," Kelly said.

"Yes." Thorne shrugged. "But that doesn't help us much." He stared at the board. "There must be twenty islands here, maybe more."

Thorne looked at a memo, near the bottom.



Mr. Hammond wishes to remind all****after^*&^marketing

*%**Long-term marketing plan*&^&^%

Marketing of proposed resort facilities requires that full com-

plexity of JP technology not be revealed announced made

known. Mr, Hammond wishes to remind all departments that

Production facility will not be topic subject of any press release

or discussion at any time.

Production/manufacturing facility cannot be#@#$#

reference to production island loc

Isla S. inhouse reference only

strict press****^'%$**guidelines

"This is weird," he said. What do you make of this?"

Arby came over, and looked at it thoughtfully.

"All these missing letters and garbage," Thorne said. "Does it make any sense to you?"

"Yes," Arby said. He snapped his fingers, and went directly to Levine's desk. There, he pulled the plastic cover off the computer, and said, "I thought so."

The computer on Levine's desk was not the modern machine that Thorne would have expected. This computer was several years old, large and bulky, its cover scratched in many places. It had a black stripe on the box that said "Design Associates, Inc." And lower down, right by the power switch, a shiny little metal tag that said "Property International Genetics Technology, Inc., Palo Alto, CA."

"What's this?" Thorne said. "Levine has an InGen computer?"

"Yes," Arby said. "He sent us to buy it last week. They were selling off computer equipment."

"And he sent you?" Thorne said.

"Yeah. Me and Kelly. He didn't want to go himself. He's afraid of being followed."

"But this thing's a CAD-CAM machine, and it must be five years old," Thorne said. CAD-CAM computers were used by architects, graphic artists, and mechanical engineers. "Why would Levine want it?"

"He never told us," Arby said, flipping on the power switch. "But I know now."


"That memo," Arby said, nodding to the wall. "You know why it looks that way? It's a recovered computer file. Levine's been recovering InGen files from this machine."

As Arby explained it, all the computers that InGen sold that day had had their hard drives reformatted to destroy any sensitive data on the disks. But the CAD-CAM machines were an exception. These machines all had special software installed by the manufacturer. The software was keyed to individual machines, using individual code references. That made these computers awkward to reformat, because the software would have to be reinstalled individually, taking hours.

"So they didn't do it," Thorne said. "Right," Arby said. "They just erased the directory, and sold them."

"And that means the original files are still on the disk."


The monitor glowed. The screen said:


"Jeez," Arby said. He leaned forward, staring intently, fingers poised over the keys. He pushed the directory button, and row after row of file names scrolled down, Thousands of files in all.

Thorne said "How are you going to - "

"Give me a minute here," Arby said, interrupting him. Then he began to type rapidly.

Okay, Arb," Thorne said. He was amused by the imperious way Arby behaved whenever he was working with a computer. He seemed to forget how young he was, his usual diffidence and timidity vanished. The electronic world was really his element. And he knew he was good at it.

Thorne said, "Any help you can give us will be - "

"Doc," Arby said. "Come on. Go and, uh, I don't know. Help Kelly or something."

And he turned away, and typed.


The velociraptor was six feet tall and dark green. Poised to attack, it hissed loudly, its muscular neck thrust forward, jaws wide. Tim, one of the modelers, said, "What do you think, Dr. Malcolm?"

"No menace," Malcolm said, walking by. He was in the back win of the biology department, on his way to his office.

"No menace?" Tim said.

"They never stand like this, flatfooted on two feet. Give him a book" - he grabbed a notebook from a desk, and placed it in the forearms of the animal - "and he might be singing a Christmas carol."

"Gee," Tim said. "I didn't think it was that bad."

"Bad?" Malcolm said. "This is an insult to a great predator. We should feel his speed and menace and power. Widen the jaws. Get the neck down. Tense the muscles, tighten the skin. And get that leg up. Remember, raptors don't attack with their jaws - they use their toe-claws," Malcolm said. "I want to see the claw raised up, ready to slash down and tear the guts out of its prey."

"You really think so?" Tim said doubtfully. "It might scare little kids...."

"You mean it might scare you." Malcolm continued down the hallway. "And another thing: change that hissing sound. It sounds like somebody taking a pee. Give this animal a snarl. Give a great predator his due."

"Gee," Tim said, "I didn't know you had such personal feelings about it."

"It should be accurate," Malcolm said. "You know, there is such a thing as accurate and inaccurate. Irrespective of whatever your feelings are." He walked on, irritable, ignoring the momentary pain in his leg. The modeler annoyed him, although he had to admit Tim was just a representative of the current, fuzzy-minded thinking - what Malcolm called "sappy science."

Malcolm had long been impatient with the arrogance of his scientific colleagues. They maintained that arrogance, he knew, by resolutely ignoring the history of science as a way of thought. Scientists pretended that history didn't matter, because the errors of the past were now corrected by modern discoveries. But of course their forebears had believed exactly the same thing in the past, too. They had been wrong then. And modern scientists were wrong now. No episode of science history proved it better than the way dinosaurs had been portrayed over the decades.

It was sobering to realize that the most accurate perception of dinosaurs had also been the first. Back in the 1840s, when Richard Owen first described giant bones in England, he named them Dinosauria: terrible lizards. That was still the most accurate description of these creatures, Malcolm thought. They were indeed like lizards, and they were terrible.

But since Owen, the "scientific" view of dinosaurs had undergone many changes. Because the Victorians believed in the inevitability of progress, they insisted that the dinosaurs must necessarily be inferior - why else would they be extinct? So the Victorians made them fat, lethargic, and dumb-big dopes from the past. This perception was elaborated, so that by the early twentieth century, dinosaurs had become so weak that they could not support their own weight. Apatosaurs had to stand belly-deep in water or they would crush their own legs. The whole conception of the ancient world was suffused with these ideas of weak, stupid, slow animals.

That view didn't change until the 1960s, when a few renegade scientists, led by John Ostrom, began to imagine quick, agile, hot-blooded dinosaurs. Because these scientists had the temerity to question dogma, they were brutally criticized for years, even though it now seemed their ideas were correct.

But in the last decade, a growing interest in social behavior had led to still another view. Dinosaurs were now seen as caring creatures, living in groups, raising their little babies. They were good animals, even cute animals. The big sweeties had nothing to do with their terrible fate, which was visited on them by Alvarez's meteor. And that new sappy view produced people like Tim, who were reluctant to look at the other side of the coin, the other face of life. Of course, some dinosaurs had been social and cooperative. But others had been hunters - and killers of unparalleled viciousness. For Malcolm, the truest picture of life in the past incorporated the interplay of all aspects of life, the good and the bad, the strong and the weak. It was no good pretending anything else.

Scaring little kids, indeed! Malcolm snorted irritably, as he walked down the hall.

In truth, Malcolm was bothered by what Elizabeth Gelman had told him about the tissue fragment, and especially the tag. That tag meant trouble, Malcolm was sure of it.

But he wasn't sure what to do about it.

He turned the corner, past the display of Clovis Points, arrowheads made by early man in America. Up ahead, he saw his office. Beverly, his assistant, was standing behind her desk, tidying papers, getting ready to go home. She handed him his faxes and said, "I've left word for Dr. Levine at his office, but he hasn't called back. They don't seem to know where he is."

"For a change," Malcolm said, sighing. It was so difficult working with Levine; he was so erratic, you never knew what to expect. Malcolm had been the one to post bail when Levine was arrested in his Ferrari. He riffled through the faxes: conference dates, requests for reprints...nothing interesting. "Okay. Thanks, Beverly."

"Oh. And the photographers came. They finished about an hour ago.

"What photographers?" he said.

"From Chaos Quarterly. To photograph your office."

"What are you talking about?" Malcolm said.

"They came to photograph your office," she said. "For a series about workplaces of famous mathematicians. They had a letter from you, saying it was - "

"I never sent any letter," Malcolm said. "And I've never heard of Chaos Quarterly."

He went into his office and looked around. Beverly hurried in after him, her face worried.

"Is it okay? Is everything here?"

"Yes," he said, scanning quickly. "It seems to be fine." He was opening the drawers to his desk, one after another. Nothing appeared to be missing.

"That's a relief," Beverly said, "because - "

He turned, and looked at the far side of the room.

The map.

Malcolm had a large map of the world, with pins stuck in it for all the sightings of what Levine kept calling "aberrant forms." By the most liberal count - Levine's count - there had now been twelve in all, from Rangiroa in the west, to Baia California and Ecuador in the cast. Few of them were verified. But now there was a tissue sample that confirmed one specimen, and that made all the rest more likely.

"Did they photograph this map?"

"Yes, they photographed everything. Does it matter? "

Malcolm looked at the map, trying to see it with fresh eyes. To see what an outsider would make of it. He and Levine had spent hours in front of this map, considering the possibility of a "lost world," trying to decide where it might be. They had narrowed it down to five islands in a chain, off the coast of Costa Rica. Levine was convinced that it was one of those islands, and Malcolm was beginning to think he was right. But those islands weren't highlighted on the map....

Beverly said, "They were a very nice group. Very polite. Foreign - Swiss, I think."

Malcolm nodded, and sighed. The hell with it, be thought. It was bound to get out sooner or later.

"It's all right, Beverly."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, it's fine. Have a good evening."

"Good night, Dr. Malcolm."

Alone in his office, he dialed Levine. The phone rang, and then the answering machine beeped. Levine was still not home.

"Richard, are you there? If you are, pick up, it's important." He waited, nothing happened.

"Richard, it's Ian. Listen, we have a problem. The map is no longer secure. And I've had that sample analyzed, Richard, and I think it tells us the location of Site B, if my - "

There was a click as the phone lifted. He heard the sound of breathing.

"Richard?" he said.

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