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Jurassic Park (Page 47)

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The juvenile roared, but it did not attack, and Regis now edged toward the trees and high foliage to the right. In another few steps he would be in hiding. "Back! You! Back!" Regis shouted, and then, at the last moment the juvenile pounced, and knocked Regis flat on his back. "Cut that out", Regis yelled, and the juvenile ducked his head, and Regis began to scream. No words, just a high-pitched scream.

The scream cut off abruptly, and when the juvenile lifted his head, Grant saw ragged flesh in his jaws.

"Oh no," Lex said, softly. Beside her, Tim had turned away, suddenly nauseated. His night-vision goggles slipped from his forehead and landed on the ground with a metallic clink.

The juvenile’s head snapped up, and it looked toward the top of the hill.

Tim picked up his goggles as Grant grabbed both the children’s hands and began to run.

Control

In the night, the compys scurried along the side of the road. Harding’s Jeep followed a short distance behind. Ellie pointed farther up the road. "Is that a light?"

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"Could be," Harding said. "Looks almost like headlights."

The radio suddenly bummed and crackled. They heard John Arnold say,

"-you there?"

"Ah, there he is," Harding said. "Finally." He pressed the button. "Yes, John, we’re here. We’re near the river, following the compys. It’s quite interesting."

More crackling. Then: "-eed your car-"

"What’d he say?" Gennaro said.

"Something about a car," Ellie said. At Grant’s dig in Montana, Ellie was the one who operated the radiophone. After years of experience, she had become skilled at picking up garbled transmissions. "I think he said he needs your car."

Harding pressed the button. "John? Are you there? We can’t read you very well. John?"

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There was a flash of lightning, followed by a long sizzle of radio static, then Arnold’s tense voice, "-where are-ou-"

"We’re one mile north of the hypsy paddock. Near the river, following some compys."

"No-damn well-get back here-ow!"

"Sounds like he’s got a problem," Ellie said, frowning. There was no mistaking the tension in the voice. "Maybe we should go back."

Harding shrugged. "John’s frequently got a problem. You know how engineers are. They want everything to go by the book." He pressed the button on the radio. "John? Say again, please. . . ."

More crackling.

More static. The loud crash of lightning. Then: "-Muldoo-need your car-ow-"

Gennaro frowned. "Is he saying Muldoon needs our car?"

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"That’s what it sounded like," Ellie said.

"Well, that doesn’t make any sense," Harding said.

"-other-stuck-Muldoon wants-car-"

"I get it," Ellie said. "The other cars are stuck on the road in the storm, and Muldoon wants to go get them."

Harding shrugged. "Why doesn’t Muldoon take the other car?" He pushed the radio button. "John? Tell Muldoon to take the other car. It’s in the garage."

The radio crackled. "-not-listen-crazy bastards-car-"

Harding pressed the radio button. "I said, it’s in the garage, John. The car is in the garage."

More static. "-edry has-ssing-one-"

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"I’m afraid this isn’t getting us anywhere," Harding said. "All right, John. We’re coming in now." He turned the radio off, and turned the car around. "I just wish I understood what the urgency is."

Harding put the Jeep in gear, and they rumbled down the road in the darkness. It was another ten minutes before they saw the welcoming lights of the Safari Lodge. And as Harding pulled to a stop in front of the visitor center, they saw Muldoon coming toward them. He was shouting, and waving his arms.

"God damn it, Arnold, you son of a bitch! God damn it, get this park back on track! Now! Get my grandkids back here! Now!" John Hammond stood in the control room, screaming and stamping his little feet. He had been carrying on this way for the last two minutes, while Henry Wu stood in the corner, looking stunned.

"Well, Mr. Hammond," Arnold said, "Muldoon’s on his way out right now, to do exactly that." Arnold turned away, and lit another cigarette. Hammond was like every other management guy Arnold had ever seen. Whether it was Disney or the Navy, management guys always behaved the same. They never understood the technical issues; and they thought that screaming was the way to make things happen. And maybe it was, if you were shouting at your secretaries to get you a limousine.

But screaming didn’t make any difference at all to the problems that Arnold now faced. The computer didn’t care if it was screamed at. The power network didn’t care if it was screamed at. Technical systems were completely indifferent to all this explosive human emotion. If anything, screaming was counterproductive, because Arnold now faced the virtual certainty that Nedry wasn’t coming back, which meant that Arnold himself had to go into the computer code and try and figure out what had gone wrong. It was going to be a painstaking job, he’d need to be calm and careful.

"Why don’t you go downstairs to the cafeteria," Arnold said, "and get a cup of coffee? We’ll call you when we have more news."

"I don’t want a Malcolm Effect here," Hammond said.

"Don’t worry about a Malcolm Effect," Arnold said. "Will you let me go to work?"

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"God damn you," Hammond said.

"I’ll call you, sir, when I have news from Muldoon," Arnold said.

He pushed buttons on his console, and saw the familiar control screens change.

*/Jurassic Park Main Modules/
*/

*/ Call Libs
Include: biostat.sys
Include: sysrom.vst
Include: net.sys
Include: pwr.mdl

*/

*/Initialize
SetMain [42]2002/9A{total CoreSysop %4 [vig. 7*tty]}

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if ValidMeter(mH) (**mH).MeterViS return

Term Call 909 c.lev {void MeterVis $303} Random(3#*MaxFid)

on SetSystem(!Dn) set shp_val.obi to lim(Val{d}SumVal

if SetMeter(mH) (**mH).ValdidMeter(Vdd) return

on SetSystem(!Telcom) set mxcpl.obj to lim(Val{pdl}NextVal

Arnold was no longer operating the computer. He had now gone behind the scenes to look at the code-the line-by-line instructions that told the computer how to behave. Arnold was unhappily aware that the complete Jurassic Park program contained more than half a million lines of code, most of it undocumented, without explanation.

Wu came forward. "What are you doing, John?"

"Checking the code."

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"By inspection? That’ll take forever."

"Tell me," Arnold said. "Tell me."

The Road

Muldoon took the curve very fast, the Jeep sliding on the mud. Sitting beside him, Gennaro clenched his fists. They were racing along the cliff road, high above the river, now hidden below them in darkness. Muldoon accelerated forward. His face was tense.

"How much farther?" Gennaro said. "Two, maybe three miles."

Ellie and Harding were back at the visitor center. Gennaro had offered to accompany Muldoon. The car swerved. "It’s been an hour," Muldoon said. "An hour, with no word from the other cars."

"But they have radios," Gennaro said.

"We haven’t been able to raise them," Muldoon said.

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Gennaro frowned. "If I was sitting in a car for an hour in the rain, I’d sure try to use the radio to call for somebody."

"So would I," Muldoon said.

Gennaro shook his head. "You really think something could have happened to them?"

"Chances are," Muldoon said, "that they’re perfectly fine, but I’ll he happier when I finally see them. Should be any minute now."

The road curved, and then ran up a hill. At the base of the hill Gennaro saw something white, lying among the ferns by the side of the road. "Hold it," Gennaro said, and Muldoon braked. Gennaro jumped out and ran forward in the headlights of the Jeep to see what it was. It looked like a piece of clothing, but there was-

Gennaro stopped.

Even from six feet away, he could see clearly what it was. He walked forward more slowly.

Muldoon leaned out of the car and said, "What is it?"

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"It’s a leg," Gennaro said.

The flesh of the leg was pale blue-wbite, terminating in a ragged bloody stump where the knee had been. Below the calf he saw a white sock, and a brown slip-on shoe. It was the kind of sboe Ed Regis had been wearing.

By then Muldoon was out of the car, running past him to crouch over the leg. "Jesus." He lifted the leg out of the foliage, raising it into the light of the headlamps, and blood from the stump gushed down over his band. Gennaro was still three feet away. He quickly bent over, put his hands on his knees, squeezed his eyes shut, and breathed deeply, trying not to be sick.

"Gennaro." Muldoon’s voice was sharp.

"What?"

"Move. You’re blocking the light."

Gennaro took a breath, and moved. When he opened his eyes he saw Muldoon peering critically at the stump. "Torn at the joint line," Muldoon said, "Didn’t bite it-twisted and ripped it. Just ripped his leg off." Muldoon stood up, holding the severed leg upside down so the remaining blood dripped onto the ferns. His bloody hand smudged the white sock as fie gripped the ankle. Gennaro felt sick again.

"No question what happened," Muldoon was saying. "The T-rex got him." Muldoon looked up the hill, then back to Gennaro. "You all right? Can you go on?"