Disclaimer: Neither the show nor the characters belong to me, they belong to ITV1. Nonetheless, I love to borrow them from time to time. The idea of the story as well as the story itself – including all possible pre- or sequels published afterwards – are mine.
Summary: This was a dream, it had to be. This wasn’t supposed to happen, not here, not to her, not like this. Yet, here she was, trapped in the Early Jurassic, surrounded by dinosaurs considering her as nothing but food.Warnings: once again not beta-read
Of course, there had to be an investigation following the disappearance of Jess. Lester had known it right from the start. There always was an investigation after disasters like that. He hadn’t expected it to last a whole week, though.
Lester was the last one to be interviewed by the Security Service agent. The interrogation had started about a week after Jess had disappeared. By now, the agents had interviewed everyone in the building, watched their work for a few days, and read the reports of missions of the last year or so, all the while ignoring Lester’s questions about what the hell all this had to do with Jessica Parker’s disappearance.
Three agents were still inventorying the equipment of the ARC, weapons, locking devices, uniforms, everything. This whole ordeal was going to take another week, if not more.
“How are they taking it?” the man opposite of him asked.
Lester raised an eyebrow at him. “We watched a member of our team disappearing through an anomaly leading back to the Early Jurassic with no way for us to bring her back. How do you think we’re taking it?”
“Right,” the agent said, writing something into his notepad. “Your people already told me that you were snappier than usual.”
“What? Is this your way of looking for an excuse to replace me?” Lester grumbled. “I honestly don’t give a shit if my people are offended by the way I talk to them. I’m trying to run a facility where people tend to disappear through bloody anomalies, never to be seen again. If they want to be treated with kid gloves, they should work in preschool.”
Agent Jones took some more notes, mumbling something, before he asked, “How exactly did Miss Parker disappear?”
Sighing, Lester leaned back in his chair. “I’m sure everyone else has already told you,” he said. “An anomaly opened in the ADD, Miss Parker was attacked by a dinosaur that pulled her with it through the anomaly shortly before said anomaly closed.”
“And no one tried to save her?” the man asked.
“No, we don’t care if our people get killed by dinosaurs,” Lester replied.
The man looked at him over the table. “Your sarcasm isn’t helpful in this investigation, Mr. Lester.”
“And your investigation isn’t helping this facility in dealing with a loss of one of its best and most important workers, Agent Jones” Lester grumbled. “I’d say we’re even.”
“I realise that Miss Parker meant a lot to all of you,” Agent Jones told him. “Nonetheless, there are questions that need to be answered.”
“If the Security Service doesn’t happen to have any idea how to get Miss Parker back to our time, I don’t think you’ll find any helpful answers,” Lester remarked.
“Security is exactly why we’re here investigating the events leading to Miss Parker’s disappearance,” the man replied. “Something like that mustn’t happen again. So, do I sense that you are trying to reopen the anomaly?”
Lester snorted. “There’s a rule saying that no one is allowed to go through an anomaly, not even to save someone else.”
“That doesn’t answer my question,” Jones stated. “Are there any attempts going on behind the ministers back to bring Miss Parker back to our time?”
Lester folded his hands and calmly explained, “Miss Parker was a field coordinator spending most of her time in front of the computers down there. She’s neither trained for fighting dinosaurs nor for surviving in a prehistoric era. We have to assume that she is dead by now.”
“Was that what you told Miss Parker’s parents?” the agent changed the topic.
“I told them that their daughter is regarded lost and presumed dead,” he answered. He could very well remember how hard Jess’s parents had taken the news. They had asked him if there was any hope they would ever see her again, and he had refused to answer the question.
“What about the rest of your team?” he wanted to know.
“They lost a co-worker and a friend,” Lester replied with a sigh. “Besides, they’ve all been here when it happened. Some of them take it harder, I suppose. I asked all of them to take a few days off after the incident. But Mr. Anderson, Miss Merchant and Mr. Connor returned to work in the meantime.”
“Miss Maitland and Captain Becker didn’t,” Jones remarked.
Lester took a deep breath. “Miss Maitland and Miss Parker were flatmates and close friends,” he said. “As to Captain Becker, I’m not sure what he and Miss Parker actually were. I don’t tend to spy on my team.”
Of course, he knew that his team would ignore his order not to reopen the anomaly and try to bring Jess back. Frankly, he hoped his team would ignore the order, even though he wasn’t sure how they should manage to reopen the anomaly without the equipment of the ARC. And even if they did, there was no guarantee that Jess was still alive. Surviving in a prehistoric era seemed impossible for someone like her. But Lester had underestimated her abilities before.
“What about the glitch in the ADD?” the agent asked, interrupting Lester’s thoughts.
“It has nothing to do with Miss Parker’s disappearance,” Lester assured him. “Well, maybe except for the fact that she would surely have been able to repair it much faster than the team currently working on it.”
He looked at the two men working on the ADD, and sighed.
One of the other Security Service agents stormed into Lester’s office without knocking, a chart in her hands. “Sir, there’s a locking device and an EMD missing.”
The agent turned to Lester. “Do you know anything about it?”
“One moment,” Lester replied, grabbing his phone. “Miss Merchant, my office.”
Agent Jones looked at Lester expectantly.
“She can answer your questions,” Lester assured him. While he knew that Matt would have been able to come up with an excuse just as fast as Emily, he had to admit that the latter was better brought up and the more pleasant company.
Emily appeared in the doorway about a minute later, politely knocking at the door frame before entering. “You wanted to see me, sir?”
“Apparently, there’s a locking device and an EMD missing,” Lester told her. “Would you mind telling our guests what happened to them?”
“They were lost during one of the latest missions,” Emily hurried to explain. “Before we could lock it, the anomaly suddenly grew bigger swallowing the locking device and the EMD I had laid down next to it. I had to jump out of the way and couldn’t grab the locking device or the EMD anymore to save it.”
“Where’s your report on that mission?” the agent asked.
Emily opened her mouth, not knowing how to explain that, but much to her surprise it was Lester saving her.
“Miss Merchant isn’t familiar with our computer system yet,” Lester said. “I extended the time she has to hand in reports so that she can ask someone for help if she can’t handle the program. Usually, Miss Parker did this, by the way. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not that easy to replace her.”
“I thought the people working here have been chosen for their abilities,” the agent remarked, frowning first at Lester then at Emily.
“If a T-Rex was about to turn you into its appetiser, would you rather have someone coming for your rescue who can handle a computer or a gun?” Lester asked in return. Then he added sarcastically, “It didn’t help Miss Parker that she knew how to use a computer, did it?”
The agent didn’t seem to know how to answer that question. So he turned back to Emily saying, “I expect the report on my desk by tomorrow.”
“Yes, sir,” Emily said, not sure if she would really be able to do that.
“How long will it take to fix the glitch in the computer system?” Jones asked, changing the topic.
“We should ask Mr. Connor and the computer genius you chose to help him,” Lester told agent Jones, “I’d like to take a look how the system check is going, anyway.” Not waiting for the agent to approve, Lester got up and stepped outside his office looking at the man working in the ADD.
“Connor, how far have you progressed repairing the ADD?” he asked.
“Almost finished rebooting the system, sir,” Connor told him. “If we’re lucky, rebooting the whole system will be enough to fix it. If we’re not, I have to try and repair it manually.”
Connor pressed a few keys as the computers booted, carefully watched by the Security Service agent who was supervising his actions.
He considered himself lucky nonetheless. For three days now there was a glitch in the ADD they couldn’t seem to fix. The anomaly alert went off without an anomaly, or it didn’t go off even though there was an anomaly.
Lester had headed him off the moment Connor had entered the ARC, telling him he was glad Connor was back and that the team needed his help with the ADD. Connor had run another system diagnosis, giving him the time to disappear to ‘get something from his office’ and enter the virus into the system.
When the system check was complete, Connor told them about malfunctions in the ADD leading to mistakes in locating anomalies. He had suggested rebooting the whole system, which took about thirty minutes, well aware that it wouldn’t destroy his virus.
The anomaly alert went off right after he had rebooted the system, showing a new anomaly in Jess’s apartment. Crap!
“What’s going on?” Lester asked.
“Just another glitch, I suppose,” Connor said, switching the alert off.
“Where is the anomaly?” the agent wanted to know.
“Miss Parker’s apartment,” the other tech replied before Connor had the chance to say anything.
Matt came running into the ADD. Hearing the location of the anomaly, he stopped, frowning at the others.
“Well, that surely is a glitch,” Lester commented.
“Don’t you want to send a team investigating it?” the agent asked, sounding surprised and suspicious. “Just in case?”
“Agent Jones,” Lester said sternly. “If there was an anomaly in the middle of Miss Parker’s apartment, don’t you think Miss Maitland would have noticed it and called us?”
“Maybe she was surprised and killed by whatever creature came through,” Jones said, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
Lester gave him an almost pitying smile. “Apparently, you don’t know much about Miss Maitland.”
“Someone should at least take a look, don’t you think?”
“I’ll go and see if there really is an anomaly,” Emily suggested.
“Alone?” the agent asked, raising both his eyebrows, before Lester could answer.
Turning to agent Jones, Lester asked, “Do you want to accompany her finding out whatever creature came through?”
Jones swallowed, but didn’t say a word.“Yeah, I didn’t think so,” Lester mumbled.