Auxiliary Power - Prologue
Hello all and welcome to my first official foray into story was inspired by the ever-lovely Zephyrus Genesis,who has given me their blessing to use and adapt the headcanon oftheir stories Dark Horse Gambit and Stalking Horse Games.
Disclaimer: Fossil Fighters is property of Nintendo and RED Entertainment. I own only my own ideas and characters.
Cover Art by Pandamoniam13
He stood at the boat's prow, feeling the spray on his face as his blue eyes watched dolphins cavorting in the bow-wave and brisk winds tousled his spiky, dark blue hair, all while the dull roar of the motor filled his ears. In the distance he could see the faint silhouette of land. A hand reached up unconsciously under his orange-yellow bandanna to the fossilized claw-tip hanging on a necklace.
'Not far now and then it's a new start. I'll make you proud, Sis.'
Behind him, speakers crackled to life.
"Hey, lad! Come on up here to the bridge!" the captain called.
The young man moved from the railing of the boat's open foredeck to the enclosed wheelhouse. He took a seat next to the grinning captain.
"So you saw it in the distance then? Bet you're excited to get on the island now, huh?"
"Yes sir," he nodded calmly. 'Just not as excited as I would be if I wasn't alone.'
"Really?" the captain inquired, shooting him a bewildered glance. "You don't sound very excited. You know what goes on here, right?"
"I do," the adolescent nodded again, eyes glimmering, "For the past five years the Richmond Foundation has been letting people bring dinosaurs –and other prehistoric creatures- back to life and then pit them against each other in duels at their Fossil Stadium. I've been wanting to come here since I first saw a Fossil Battle on TV."
The captain looked him over appraisingly, eyes twinkling. "Ah, so you are a fan. And let me guess, you're coming to the island to become a Fossil Fighter?"
The young man nodded once more, now smiling wistfully.
"I thought so!" the captain crowed, slapping the steering wheel, "I recognized that glint in your eyes, Mr. Xander!"
"Just Alan is fine, Captain," the blunette informed.
"Alan, huh?" the captain broke into a broad, beaming smile. "Then you can call me Travers. That's a great name by the way! I can easily see a famous Fossil Fighter named Alan."
"Famous?" Alan blinked, glancing down at his lap before shrugging. "I don't know. If it happens, it happens, I guess."
Travers looked at him oddly, but said nothing. Turning his attention back to the ocean ahead of him, he changed the subject.
"So, Alan, if you're here to become a Fossil Fighter, I'd imagine you're a pretty big fan of dinosaurs. Do you like carnivores or herbivores more?"
"There are some cool herbivorous dinosaurs," the adolescent answered after some thought, "but I prefer carnivores."
"So do you like big, strong carnivores or the small and quick types?"
Alan's hand wandered again to the necklace. 'Well Utahraptor is my personal favorite, but they're kind of in the middle, so I'll go with...'
"Small and quick, Captain."
"Which do you like better then? Deinonychus, the stealthy red shadow, or Velociraptor, the silent gray hunter?"
"Eh, probably Deinonychus. Velociraptor is a little overrated."
Travers nodded. "Ah, more of a Nychus fan?" Alan nodded back, to which Travers hummed agreeably. "Alan, the Deinonychus fan. I'll remember that." Both males' eyes lit up as the silhouette of the island appeared in more clarity on the horizon. "Looks like we're about to arrive. Go on and grab your things."
With a quiet whirr of the engines, the boat slid to a stop. Alan leapt from ship to shore, a duffel slung over his shoulder.
"See you later, Captain," he called over his shoulder. "Thanks for the ride."
"So long for now, Alan." Travers gave him a lazy salute. "Best of luck to ya!"
The boat's idling motor roared to life again and Travers pulled away from the dock. As Alan turned his attention inland, he found himself being approached by two brightly dressed women.
"Hello!" the first woman, a sandy blonde wearing a royal blue vest and matching knee-length skirt over a pale yellow shirt, greeted. "Welcome to Vivosaur Island, where the dinosaurs of ages past lie asleep as fossils in the ground."
"Yes, welcome!" her companion, a strawberry redhead wearing a magenta vest and skirt over a pistachio colored shirt, echoed. "I'm Sue and that's Beth."
"Nice to meet you," Alan smiled.
"You as well, young man," Beth responded. "Now, I take it you're the Alan Xander in our registry who applied to be a Fossil Fighter? You match his description."
"Yes, ma'am," the adolescent nodded, still smiling, "I'm him."
"Ah! In that case you'll need to head up to the Fossil Center to finish your registration." The blonde gestured with arm outstretched behind her, pointing towards a shining dome of gleaming glass and polished, painted steel. "It's just that way."
"Alright," Alan dipped his head, "Thank you."
He was just about to start towards the Center when movement to his right caught his eye. Glancing over, he saw tall, lanky man with bronzed skin and curly cyan hair meandering towards them absently. The lab coat the man was wearing over his Hawaiian shirt and orange shorts marked him as some sort of scientist and afternoon sunlight glinted off his glasses.
From either side of the adolescent, Beth and Sue shared a look and both sighed quietly.
"Excuse me, Dr. Diggins!" Beth called. The bespectacled man jerked, jolted out of whatever reverie he'd been in, and turned his attention on the trio. As he approached, the blonde moved to meet him, lightly gripping his arm and bringing him in front of Alan. "May I assume you're here to take our newest recruit," A wave of the hand in Alan's direction. "to the Fossil Center?"
"Wha...?" Diggins blinked, glancing towards the blunette. Eyes as cyan as his hair widened as Beth's words clicked. "Oh, yes, of course! It'd be my pleasure!" He produced a clipboard from seemingly nowhere and began looking it over.
'Where'd that come from?' Alan blinked.
"Let me just..."
'Oh great,' the adolescent grimaced. 'I know that look.'
"Change...schedule..." Diggins looked up at Beth blankly. "What were we talking about?" He shook his head, ignorant of Beth's long-suffering expression. "Never mind. I'll see you later." And before Beth could do anything, he'd wandered back the way he'd come, muttering to himself all the while. Beth sighed and turned back to Alan, who watched as Dr. Diggins wandered off to... somewhere.
"That... was the head of the Fossil Center, Dr. Diggins. He'll be the one responsible for issuing you your Fighter's License." A sympathetic smile at Alan's vaguely horrified expression. "Good luck with that."
'It's Mom and Dad all over again,' the blunette groaned internally.
"Why don't you head on up to the Center and get registered," suggested Sue, startling the teen from his reverie. "And if ever you need anything or ever want someone to talk to, I'm usually on duty here. You can come by anytime."
Alan smiled gratefully. "Thanks, Ms. Sue,"
A chime sounded as Alan stepped through the sliding glass doors of the Fossil Center. The receptionist looked up from her computer, smiling as she spotted the new arrival.
"Hello! Welcome to the Fossil Center. My name's Wendy." She looked him over much the same way that Travers had. "I take it you're here to register and become a Fossil Fighter?"
"Yes, ma'am," he nodded.
"Excellent!" She smiled, placing a blank registration form before him. "If could just fill that out and supply me with the ID we asked for you to bring, I'll get you plugged into our database. After that, normally I'd send you to Dr. Diggins to learn the essentials of being a Fossil Fighter." A heavy sigh. "Unfortunately, my dear husband has wandered off somewhere... again." Another sigh. "It could be a little bit before we find him again. You might want to go check in at the hotel while you wait. It's just down the road, out the door and to your left. You can't miss it."
"Does this happen often?" the teen asked as he handed back the completed form and requested ID.
Wendy looked at him questioningly. "Do what?"
"Sorry. Dr. Diggins wandering off, does it happen often?"
The receptionist gave a small smile as she took the registration form. "Thankfully no, he doesn't wander off like this very often, but this time of year keeps him really busy." A fond roll of the eyes. "He's brilliant and I love him for it, but he can be so... scatterbrained sometimes."
Alan nodded understandingly. "Alright, thanks Ms. Wendy." He turned back towards the door. "See you soon!"
"Same to you, young man!" the receptionist waved.
'She was right,' The blunette squinted against the glare of the sun as he stared upwards at the skyscraper hotel. 'you really can't miss it.'
"You alright there, bucko?"
His gaze fell groundward, turning to the feminine voice. A redheaded teenager about his own age, wearing a safari-like outfit, regarded him playfully from her spot at one of the outdoor tables.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just admiring the size of the hotel."
"Oh!" the girl hummed in realization, "You must be new here!"
"Just got off the boat ten minutes ago," he confirmed.
"Welcome to the island then!" she smiled, springing to her feet. "I'm Zoe and this," She gestured to the skyscraper behind her. "is Vivosaur Island's premiere hotel. It's where a lot of us Fossil Fighters stay when we're on the island. Even the Master Fighters like Saurhead and the Fossil Samurai!" Her bright blue eyes sparkled. "They could be in there right now! How cool is that?"
"That is pretty cool," Alan nodded calmly, a slight smirk tugging at his lips.
"Heck yeah it is!" The redhead blushed at her outburst and cleared her throat. "I'm sure you wanna get in there now, so I'll leave you alone."
"You're fine," Alan reassured. "I'm just stopping by to get checked in while the Fossil Center looks for Dr. Diggins."
"Oh," Zoe blinked. "You're gonna be a Fighter?"
"Planning on it, yeah."
"Guess we'll be seeing each other around then," she grinned, "since I'm a Fighter, too!"
"Guess so," the blunette nodded. "See you around then."
"You too!" she called as he headed into the hotel.
The adolescent felt his breath escape him as he entered the lobby. He'd been in some upscale hotels before, but this one put all those to shame. The glass dome ceiling soared stories above the pristine white marble floors, leaving ample room for the pair of live palm trees that served as the lobby's centerpiece.
"Welcome to the Relic Hotel. How may I help you?"
Again Alan's gaze dropped from high to low, this time coming to rest on a bespectacled gentleman dressed in a black suit with golden trim. The golden name-tag on the breast of his jacket read Pierre: Hotel Manager.
"I'm just here to get checked in before I head back over to the Fossil Center."
"Ah," Pierre's green eyes lit up behind his glasses. "You must be Mr. Xander then. We've been expecting you. If you will follow me I will lead you to your room, where your luggage is waiting."
"Thank you," the adolescent smiled, trailing after the man. "And you can just call me Alan."
"I am afraid not," Pierre replied as he called on one of the lobby's two elevators, the one on the right Alan noted, "It is a matter of professionalism that I address my patrons by their surnames as a way to reduce confusion over whom I am speaking to."
"Alright," Alan conceded, displeasure settling across his face as the elevator arrived and the two of them entered.
A short ride later and Pierre led the blunette down a hallway of identical doors, stopping at one marked D18.
"Here is your room, sir," the manager announced, producing a keycard that he handed to Alan.
Unlocking the door and stepping inside, the adolescent surveyed the room. It was comfortably sized and painted in warm colors. All his luggage sat on the full-sized bed that lay against the wall to his left. A waist high dresser stood along the far wall directly in front of the door. The far right corner of the room had a desk, on which sat an older model computer, and some bookshelves. A door beyond the head of the bed led to a bathroom and sliding doors in the middle of the far wall led out to a balcony. Inspection done, Alan set his duffel on the foot of the bed.
"Is everything to your liking then?" Pierre inquired, idly adjusting his glasses.
"It's very nice," the blunette nodded, "thank you."
"You are most welcome," Pierre dipped his head graciously. "If I am no longer needed here, I shall take my leave. Have a nice stay." And with that the hotel's manager turned and headed back towards the elevator - only to reappear in the doorway abruptly. "Oh, and breakfast is six to nine every morning; left side of lobby coming out of the elevator."
'Glad he mentioned breakfast,' Alan mused as he began to unpack his belongings. 'I need to see about grabbing some dinner once I visit the Fossil Center again.'
He blinked, freezing in surprise, when he opened the suitcase with his clothes, staring at the outfit sitting on the top of all the others and the note with it. Momentary surprise fading, he snatched up the note.
Thought you might appreciate another change of clothes.
~Love, Your Watchful Big Sister
He lowered the note, glowering at the white t-shirt, hot pink shorts and pale pink bandanna that his sister had slipped into his suitcase.
"Thanks, Serena," he sighed exasperatedly, resuming his unpacking. 'At least now I've got a set of emergency clothes.'
"Oh hello again," Wendy greeted as Alan returned to the Fossil Center, "How was your dinner?"
"It was good," the adolescent smiled. Blue eyes flicked towards the cleaning room door and back to Wendy. "Is Dr. Diggins back?"
"He is," the receptionist nodded brightly. "You're just in time, too. He's just about to address the others who were delayed by his little... excursion." She gestured to the cleaning room door. "Go head on in."
"Thanks, Miss Wendy," Alan smiled.
"You're welcome," she smiled back, "and good luck!"
The blunette headed into the cleaning room, joining the handful of other Fighter-hopefuls. The idle chatter of the group ceased when Dr. Diggins came in. Pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose, he greeted the group.
"Hello everyone! I'm Dr. Diggins, Director and Head Researcher for the Fossil Center. I want to apologize for delaying your initiation by wandering off. This place just keeps me really, really busy, you know?" He clapped his hands together. "Now then everyone, fossil hunting is all kinds of fun. I should know - it's my life's work! I've been interested in fossils since I was a little boy. I broke my mother's favorite teacup and tried to hide it," a sheepish smile, "by burying it in the garden!"
The room broke into laughter.
"A few shovel scoops of dirt later, I found a strange rock. I stopped to get a close look at it and it turned out to be a Stegosaurus fossil!" Diggins laughed, "I was so excited, I forgot what I was doing in the first place! I ran inside to show my mother. She asked me where I'd found it, and before I knew it, I had to explain why I'd been digging in the first place!"
Everyone laughed again. Once it had mostly died down, Diggins continued his story with a wistful smile.
"I've only seen my mother that angry a few times, but even so, I was excited by my discovery! That fossil is still my most prized possession." He shook his head, still grinning. "Enough about me though. Let me explain about being a Fossil Fighter.
"As Fossil Fighters, you'll search for fossils, dig them up and then use them to revive dinosaurs. Fossil Fighters strive to revive stronger and stronger dinosaurs and eventually become Master Fighters! You'll bring fossils you've dug up at dig sites here to the Center for cleaning and revival. Cleaning is the process of removing extra rock from around the fossil. Bringing dinosaurs to life is called revival. And revived dinosaurs are more properly called vivosaurs. But more on that in a moment."
"Now, fossils can be divided into four types - heads, bodies, arms and legs. As long as you have the head you can revive the vivosaur. The revival process isn't perfect however. Dinosaurs we revive pick up traits from their environment, which can give them odd appearances and powers. Plus, a number of revivable creatures aren't even dinosaurs at all, hence the term vivosaur. In any case, you should remember that the more parts of a vivosaur you find and clean, the stronger it will be. And as important as hunting for fossils may be, cleaning is also very important! The more effectively you clean your fossils, the stronger your vivosaurs will be and the better they'll function!"
The cyan-haired scientist led the group to the massive machine at the back of the room. He grinned, "Okay! Time to take your first step towards becoming a Fossil Fighter - learning to clean a fossil!"
He waited for everyone's excitement to settle before speaking again.
"Before we begin, I need a volunteer." Every hand shot up, but it was a shock of blue hair that caught the doctor's eye. "You there. Alan, isn't it?"
"Yes sir." the blunette replied, as the group shifted to let him up front.
"Alright then, Alan, let's talk cleaning." Everyone watched as Dr. Diggins guided him through the basics of cleaning, then hurried off to try it themselves.
As he cleaned, Alan tuned out everything else and focused on the whirring of the drill.
Diggins stared in dumbfounded amazement.
"One hundred percent clean on your first try? Amazing work!" The scientist winced at himself as the adolescent, Alan, if he recalled correctly, jerked and dropped his drill in surprise.
"Wha-?" Alan blinked and looked around. "Where is everyone?"
"They've already left. The hour's just finished and you're the only one here." He looked again at the readings of the fossil skull the computer was displaying. "Though I can't say that it's a bad thing in this case."
"So I did well then?"
"Did you do well?" Dr. Diggins stared at him incredulously. "Alan, as far as I'm aware, no one else has ever gotten a perfect score on their first cleaning! Let's get this fellow revived!"
He excitedly called for an assistant to help move the skull into the revival chamber. Alan watched him, eyes wide and lips moving silently.
'I did what?'
'You just impressed the head of the Fossil Center with a feat that's never been achieved before,' the more analytical part of his brain informed him. 'Maybe he's not as much like Mom and Dad as we thought.'
A smile blossomed on the blunette's face, alongside a warmth in his chest.
Blue eyes stared into gold. Nearly nine meters in length, the vivosaur, a Becklespinax according to the data panel and called just 'Spinax' for short, was gray-blue with a green underbelly and lower jaw. Fearsome spikes rose from its back, a suitable defense for a battling vivosaur.
Alan felt something faint stir in the back of his mind before the Spinax disappeared in a flash of light. A medallion, roughly two inches across, dropped from the machine into Dr. Diggins' waiting hand. He held it out for Alan to see. It was silver with alternating green stripes along the rim and an embossed image of the Spinax in its center.
"This is a Dino Medal." The doctor explained, "One of the advantages of our revival process is that vivosaurs can be carried around in this compact form. Then you can always have your favorite vivosaurs with you to challenge other Fighters in Fossil Battles. Here. This one is yours to keep."
Diggins handed the Medal to Alan. Words of thanks died on the adolescent's lips as everything went dark.
"What the-" the blunette blinked, "What just happened?"
As far as he could see an inky black void surrounded him, Diggins and the cleaning room nowhere in sight. "What is this place?"
Joyful bright orange-yellow and relieved dark teal enveloped him in a warm, powerful gust of wind. :Father! Found you!:
Alan startled at the unexpected brush against his awareness, going rigid and eyes widening.
"Whoa." The word was a barely breathed whisper.
Swirls of color formed in front of him, looking like someone had suspended chalk dust on currents of air. Cool blues, sunflower yellows, pale pinks and tinges of pale oranges and greens all gyrated energetically in a loose, hazy cloud.
Wind blew again in a soft caressing breeze, streamers of affectionate warm pink and relaxed sarkine blue twining about each other. :Safe now.:
The adolescent blinked at the sensations and impressions that his brain transformed into words.
"Safe? Safe from what?" he wondered aloud to himself. The winds apparently heard and understood him, because they responded.
Wind sighed sadly in a shivering downdraft of forlorn dark ocean grey-blue. :No purpose, no function
The blunette blinked.
"I'm supposed to give you purpose and function?" he questioned the sentient winds. His eyes snapped wide open as some of Diggins' words replayed in his minds' eye.
-The more effectively you clean your fossils, the stronger your vivosaurs will be and the better they'll function!-
"Are- Are you my Spinax?"
Air of hazy white affirmation rushed upwards, bursting with happy sunflower yellow. :Yes! Yes!:
"Huh." Blue eyes blinked again. "Then yeah, I guess I am supposed to give you purpose and function. You're my vivosaur and I'm your Fighter-"
Another, stronger, updraft surged, eager yellow-orange warming with battle-ready pale orange-reds and beginning to twist into a cyclone. :Fight?:
"Not yet," Alan chuckled, gesturing placatingly.
Rotating winds died down abruptly, oranges and reds dulling to washed out dark midnight disappointment with a mournful whistling sigh.
"Soon though," he assured with another chuckle, "I promise."
Air thrummed with anticipatory orchid purple before dispersing.
As the Spinax retreated from his awareness, the void enveloping the adolescent began fading away, returning him to the smooth silver of metallic ceiling panels.
"This isn't the cleaning room," he announced to himself after a moment of bewildered staring.
"Oh!" Blue eyes flicked left and green and brown and white filled his vision as Dr. Diggins leaned over him. "Thank goodness you're awake!"
"Awake?" Alan repeated, the confusion written across his expression deepening as he sat up. "What happened?"
"When I handed you the Spinax Medal, your body went comatose! I feared that since you had cleaned its skull perfectly the Spinax was too powerful and had leeched too much of your vitality. So-"
"Hang on," the blunette interrupted with a raised hand, "What's vitality?"
"Oh," Diggins smiled sheepishly, "Sorry. It's a term for the energy your body produces and it's the primary power source for your vivosaurs."
"Anyway, when you froze up, I brought you here to the Center's emergency medical station. But when I checked your vitality levels, I found they were within what I'd expect to see from a normal revival, with no signs of major drain. And now, fifteen minutes later, you wake up again speaking like you'd not passed out." Light glinted off the scientist's glasses as he tilted head curiously. "So what happened?"
"I had an... encounter with my Spinax."
The confusion and curiosity on the scientist's face only deepened.
"An encounter? What do you mean?"
"The moment you handed me the Spinax's Medal I wasn't in the cleaning room any more, I was in some sort of black void. And then I was hit with this sensation of wind and color that turned out to be the Spinax, who I could somehow understand and communicate with."
"You could communicate with your Spinax?" Diggins echoed, eyes wide as saucers. "Can you still do it?"
"I... I don't know," the adolescent admitted hesitantly, "but I can try and see." He closed his eyes and focused on reaching out to the Spinax.
'Can you hear me?'
A warm, caressing updraft of affirmative hazy white, tinged with affectionate warm pink and reassuring robin egg blue, scattered dark clouds of doubt. :Yes, Father! Always hear you.:
Alan's eyes snapped open in surprise.
"I take it tha-" Diggins started, eyes glimmering with hope, only to fall silence nt at a raised hand from Alan.
'Father?' the blunette questioned of his vivosaur. 'You think I'm your father?'
A burst of confident matte purple air. :Not think. Know.:
'Know?' Alan echoed quizzically. He blinked with realization. 'Oh, because I revived you?'
Another updraft of affirmative hazy white. :Yes!:
'That doesn't make me your father,' the boy chuckled, shaking his head.
Air currents of perplexed light brown and quizzical tan twisted back and forth. :Not father?:
'Not father' Alan confirmed. 'Alan'
A calm breeze of inquiring coffee tan. :Alan still guide? Still give purpose?:
'Of course,' the blunette nodded. 'I'm not your father, but it's still my job to guide you in fights and strengthen you outside of them.'
A calming sigh of relieved dark teal and pleased celadon cleared away lingering still air heavy with uncertain sandy yellow and coiled breezes of anticipating orchid purple replaced them. :Good. Fight soon?:
'Yes, soon,' Alan reassured.
An upward spiral of gleeful radiant yellow-orange and eager yellow-orange.
With that, the Spinax receded again from the adolescent's conscious awareness, leaving the human with a sense of satisfaction and amusement.
"You can hear the Spinax, can't you?"
Alan's gaze snapped towards Dr. Diggins. The scientist was observing him with wide, hopeful eyes.
"Yeah," the blunette nodded, the grin playing at his lips widened as the reality of the situation set in, "I can." 'I'm not alone anymore.'
The caress of affectionate warm pink and reassuring robin egg blue in a warm, whispery breeze. :Not alone.:
"A two-way FMP bond," Diggins breathed, gaze distant, "After all this time I was beginning to think they were purely theoretical." The scientist's gaze refocused on Alan, "Alan, would you... would you be willing to let me study the bond between you and your Spinax? What you can do is completely unprecedented!"
"I kinda gathered," the adolescent chuckled. He shrugged, "And sure, why not? Be interesting to see what I can do with this connection."
"Excellent!" Diggins beamed, clapping his hands together. "Now, we need to establish a baseline of what your bond allows you to do and how it affects your Fighting skill. And you still need to take your Licensing test, don't you?"
"Yeah," he nodded, glancing at the scientist, "So, two birds, one stone?"
"Two birds, one stone," Diggins confirmed. He gestured to the door, "Come on, let's introduce you to Fossil Stadium."
The brunette receptionist looked up from her computer to see Dr. Diggins and a young man dressed in a red shirt and blue shorts approaching her.
"Hello, Doctor. Bringing one last recruit for testing?"
"Yes," the doctor chuckled, "very much so. Now, I've already explained to him how the Licensing Test works, so if you could just send him on."
"Oh," the young woman blinked, mental preparations for the speech she knew by heart jarred to an abrupt halt. "Just head to the door to your right there," she offered lamely.
"Thank you," the young man bobbed his head.
Tiffany nodded back absently. As soon as he was gone, she mock glared at Diggins.
"Doctor, teaching them how the test works is my job!"
"Sorry," Diggins grinned sheepishly, "I got carried away with excitement. You see..."
Not quite an hour had passed when Alan returned to the lobby, a smattering of rock dust in his hair. He strode up to Dr. Diggins and Tiffany with a pleased smile.
"The robot said I passed."
"That you did," Tiffany smiled, "95% clean, excellent work! Now you can move on to your Fossil Battle test."
Wind roared with eager yellow-orange. :Fight! Fight! Fight!:
'Almost,' Alan grinned. "Alright, where are we headed?"
"Through that same door," the receptionist gestured, "Your opponent will be waiting for you and they'll show you to the stadium floor."
"Oh," the adolescent blinked, "Sure thing." He glanced at Dr. Diggins. "You'll be watching right?"
"Of course!" the cyan-haired man nodded energetically, turning away from the desk. "I'll be in the stands analyzing your performance. Good luck, Alan!"
"Thanks, Doctor," the blunette responded, before turning back towards the stadium door. 'Time to face our foe.'
Whirling gusts of yellow-orange stirred restless dull orange-red into bright orange-red tempest winds of battle-lust. :Finally! Fight, Strike, Scatter!:
'So very eager for this aren't you?' Alan chuckled. 'But then, you're not the only one.' He strode swiftly down the hall to meet his opponent, only to pause in surprise. "Captain Travers?"
"We meet again, Alan!" the captain laughed, flashing a bright grin. "I bet you didn't expect to see me here, did ya?"
"Not at all," Alan confirmed.
"Well, I help test new recruits like you, so here I am!" The captain smirked at him, "Now, it's time for your first Fossil Battle, but I don't intend to lose."
"Neither do I," Alan smirked back.
"That's the spirit!" Travers laughed, "Now follow me."
He turned and the metal door behind him slid up, letting sunlight flood into the dim hallway. Alan shielded his eyes, lagging behind Travers as he tried to adjust to the change in light level.
'That must be why he wears the hat.' the blunette mused.
As his vision adapted and the harsh glare began to fade away, the adolescent observed the arena he'd seen so many times on TV with mounting excitement. The arena floor, an area about half again as large as a football field, was coated with a thick layer of sand. Metal walls, painted silver and orange, gleamed in the evening sun and stretched up some 15 feet to the stadium seating, currently filled to about half capacity. The rolling drone of the crowd and amplified voices of the commentators washed over him.
'Finally here,' he breathed deep. His wonder-filled expression turned bittersweet when he caught a glimpse of a TV camera. 'Hope you're watching, Sere'
"Come on, Alan!" Travers hollered, breaking the blunette from his thoughts, "Get in position!"
"Right," Alan murmured, darting out across the sand to where he'd see many Fighters stand during a Fossil Battle.
"Ready?" Travers called.
"I am!" the blunette yelled back, drawing the Spinax's Medal from his pocket.
"Show me what you've got!" the captain shouted, tossing his own Dino Medal.
With a swift arm, Alan tossed his Spinax, shielding his eyes again as twin bursts of bright light announced the appearance of the vivosaurs.
Tempest winds of bright orange-red battle-lust, eager yellow-orange and bright yellow excitement howled.
Alan blinked, mildly startled by the intensity of the roar that filled the stadium as well as his mind.
'Easy, easy,' he chided gently, even as the crowd cheered their approval.
The Spinax glanced back him. The eager energy alight in its golden eyes softened, revealing the intelligence within, but did not completely diminish.
Cool breezes of acquiescing soft white calmed the swirling storm winds with a only whisper of sulking dark red-violet, though the air remained thick with anticipatory orchid purple. :Yes, Alan.:
The tension in the 'Beckles' Spine's' frame shifted and loosened as it settled into a stance less directly aggressive and more passively alert.
'Thank you,' Alan smiled. With his own vivosaur taken care of, the blunette shifted his attention to his opponent's. He blinked. 'He's gonna fight me with that?'
In front of the ferry captain was a royal blue vivosaur with gold and purple markings that Alan recognized as a Goyo. A member of the Pachycephalosauria, the 'Decorated Head's skull was indeed broad and flat for striking against foes and its legs looked strong and muscled. But other than that it seemed woefully outmatched against his Spinax. Where the theropod was nearly 30 feet long, the Goyo was perhaps a fifth of that and likely weighed somewhat less than its Fighter as well.
'But you have seen small vivosaurs defeat much larger ones,' he reminded himself, settling into a ready stance, 'So don't get cocky. Now, how are we gonna-'
"Goyo!" Travers bellowed, abruptly putting an end to Alan's attempt at strategizing, "Use Rock Head!"
Sand sprayed as the 'Decorated Head' leapt forward with incredible speed.
"Brace!" Alan countermanded, wide-eyed at the Goyo's speed. It was much different experiencing vivosaur abilities firsthand rather than on a screen.
The rising hiss of hot air, bright with yellow-orange and bright orange-red, sputtered as it met a cold countercurrent, causing a backdraft of startled yellow and confused taupe brown.
Golden eyes, dark and narrowed with anticipation, blinked and widened. The Spinax abandoned its battle-ready posture to glance at its Fighter with confusion.
"Brace now!" the blunette bellowed.
Breezes of perplexed light brown and questioning coffee tan were annihilated when a sharp burst of pale yellow surprise exploded into a wave of shocked yellow laced with streaks of crimson-black pain.
Alan grimaced as the Goyo struck home against his Spinax's chest. Despite its size, the force of the little herbivore's blow was enough to make the distracted 'Beckles' Spine' stumble back across the sand several steps. The adolescent hurriedly backpedalled and sidestepped to avoid being trampled by the staggering vivosaur, pulling his bandanna up over his nose to shield himself from all the sand flying about.
"I'm sorry," he whispered into the yellow-orange cloth, hoping the Spinax could hear him through their mental bond, "That was my fault. Obviously you thought that was a bad idea and it cost us. But now we gotta shake it off, focus, and attack."
The chaotic railings of the disoriented muddy brown air currents left in the wake of the shockwave subsided, replaced by a swooping breeze of hazy white affirmation and eager-to-please golden-orange. :Yes, Alan. Will obey from now on.:
A purr rolled in the Spinax's throat as it lowered its head to look at Alan with bright, soulful eyes.
The young man chuckled, lowering his bandanna so the vivosaur could see his smile, while placing a hand on its snout.
"Thank you, that'll be helpful. And I'll give you the leeway to obey my orders as you see fit. Now," his smile turned turned predatory and he pointed, "Go and get that Goyo!"
Icy gusts of eager yellow-orange cut through a warm updraft of grateful warm sienna, followed after by the howling of frigid, vicious dark rust red gale winds. :Yes! Thank you, Alan! Strike, Rend, Scatter!:
Golden eyes widened, alight with bright eagerness once more, and the Spinax rose up, turned to face its diminutive foe, and roared. 2000 pounds of vivosaur surged forward aggressively, jaws agape and kicking up sand in its wake.
"Goyo!" Travers barked with alarm, "Evade!"
As the pachycephalosaur tensed, the Spinax lunged to cross the last few feet between it and its prey, trying to keep the herbivore from escaping, but it was too late. The 'Decorated Head' sprang several yards to the side, well away from the 'Beckles' Spine's' gaping maw. And with too much momentum already invested in its strike to change direction or even halt itself quickly enough, the Spinax struck the arena floor snout-first, jaws closing reflexively on a mouthful of sand.
Gale winds sputtered, then surged with irritated burgundy and aggressive dark red.
Before Travers could take advantage of its vulnerable position, the spike-backed carnivore was up again and glaring at the Goyo with a calculating look, saliva-dampened sand spilling from between its teeth. With another roar that sprayed yet more damp sand, the 'Beckles' Spine' charged forward again.
Travers sighed with disappointment. Despite the curious interactions between Alan and his Spinax just moments before that suggested an almost disturbing level of intelligence in the newly revived vivosaur, it seemed neither of them had a strong battle-sense.
'Shame, too. Lad seemed like he had real potential.' "Goyo," the ferry captain called, "Rock Head. Finish this."
'He thinks we're already beaten?' Alan raised an eyebrow and smirked. 'Well I don't. Knock that thing out of the air.'
Coursing currents of affirming hazy white and eager-to-please golden-orange wound against the roaring gale of dark red aggression, changing its direction ever so slightly. :Not beaten! Will strike!:
The Spinax slid to a halt and leaned to the side just before the 'Decorated Head' collided with its own skull. Then that same fanged cranium whipped sideways to sharply hammer the pachycephalosaur in the midsection as it sailed past. The Goyo barked a yelp of surprise as it was struck and forcefully redirected. Sand was tossed up as it hit the ground, tumbling to a stop.
'Maybe he does have that potential after all,' Travers blinked.
'Ha!' Alan grinned. "Now don't let it get back up! Spinax Fang!"
Wind howled, eager yellow-orange and vicious dark rust red surging. :Scatter!:
The 'Beckles' Spine' spun and charged the Goyo for a third time, jaws once more agape.
"Goyo!" Travers barked, "Up! Move!"
The dazed little vivosaur staggered to its feet and tensed its legs, only to squawk as slim serrated teeth clamped down on its already battered midsection and swept it bodily off the ground. Royal blue limbs and body writhed in the vice-grip to no avail.
Alan shook his head, chuckling as his Spinax pranced playfully about and showed off its captured foe.
'Alright, that's enough. Put the poor thing out of its misery.'
The Spinax chuffed at him, rolling its eyes
Swirling breezes of playful goldenrod-orange were stilled by a gust of scoffing grey-lavender and a sluggish sigh of acquiescing soft white. :Fine.:
Its head lowered, then snapped up, loosing the Goyo and sending it skyward.
"Use Rock Head!" Travers yelled as the 'Decorated Head' reached the apex of its impromptu flight.
The limp and battered herbivore came alive again, twisting in midair so its descent was headfirst towards the Spinax's open maw.
Alan's gaze flickered between the falling pachycephalosaur and his own waiting carnosaur. He drew a sharp breath as an idea struck him.
A wisp of quizzical tan swirled until pale yellow-white understanding dawned, triggering a breeze of affirmative hazy white.
The Spinax waited until the last second and then stepped forward, back arched, so that the Goyo was directly over the vivosaur's largest neural spine.
"Divert course!" Travers bellowed.
The Goyo did twist and lean away, but was too close to avoid being impaled by the bony blade. Speared from chest to hips, the pachycephalosaur groaned in pain as it hung upside down and sagged, going limp before its body dispersed from around the spike as it returned to its Dino Medal. The green-rimmed disc fell, bounced off grey-blue hide, and landed in the sand with a muffled thump.
A roaring updraft of victorious burnished gold and pleased celadon. :Victory!:
The silence in the stadium was shattered when the Spinax reared back and bellowed its triumph. Quiet lingered a beat after the roar ended and then the stadium exploded with the roar of cheering and excited shouting.
Alan soaked in the sound, smiling broadly as his mind reordered itself after the outburst of the Spinax and the reality of the situation dawned on him.
'We did it. We won. We're Fossil Fighters'
"Well how 'bout that," Travers murmured, smiling.
"Those were a clever couple of moves you pulled out there, Alan!" the ferry captain praised as they returned to the lobby.
"Thanks," the blunette smiled, waving a hand dismissively, "but really they were just gut reactions."
"Well," Travers glanced at him, "those gut reactions put a you step ahead of most new Fighters. Usually, the rookies I battle just attack head-on; try and brute force their way to victory. So, you keep honing those instincts and you'll go far." He grinned. "'Specially if you stay as quiet as you did."
'Quiet?' Alan mouthed, forehead scrunching up in confusion, 'But I was giving instructions the whole time-' Realization dawned and the adolescent's eyes widened. 'In my head! I could do that for a whole fight and never give a move away to my opponent!' He flashed a smile at Travers. "That's a good idea, thanks. I'll do that."
"Happy to help," Travers nodded, a smirk playing at his lips.
The two entered and Travers headed straight for Tiffany's desk. Alan followed after for lack of anything better to do when he didn't spot Dr. Diggins anywhere.
"Alright lad," Travers smiled, turning towards him, "Before we part ways, here's a little something for you."
The ferry captain held out a slim metallic box about the size of a CD case, but two or three times thicker and with rounded corners and beveled edges.
"What is it?" the adolescent asked, taking the box from Travers to inspect it closer. There wasn't much more to see. The only thing he'd missed in his initial assessment was the clasp on one side of the box. Undoing that clasp let the box open like a book, revealing eight indents, each a square about the size of a Dino Medal, in the interior, four on either side.
"That's your Fossil Case," Travers explained, "You'll use it to store and carry all the fossils you get." He laughed, "A lot easier than luggin' around what else I'm about to give ya!"
Alan looked up from the Fossil Case to see the captain with another Case in hand, though this one was thicker than his. The older male opened the thick Case, revealing it had three additional 'pages' and grabbed at a dark lump in one of its indents with a pair of fingers.
There was a bright flash and a burst of air and then Alan found himself gaping at the hunk of pale brown at his feet. It was a rock, easily a foot-and-a-half by two feet wide and a half foot thick. Not nearly as big as the rock encasing his Spinax's skull, but still much larger than the Case it'd been in.
"Surprised, lad?" Travers chuckled, "It's a fossil of the vivosaur you said you liked."
'Right, I told him I like Deinonychus,' recalled the portion of his brain that wasn't still hung up on the Fossil Case's violation of physics.
"Well?" Travers laughed, "Aren't you gonna put it in your Case?"
The captain's question and voice pulled the stupefied adolescent from his gaping.
"Yeah sure," he nodded. His gaze swapped between the fossil and his Case a few times before he looked to Travers questioningly. "How?"
"Just put the inside of your Case against the fossil and it'll do the rest."
The blunette did just that and was rewarded with another bright flash and a rush of air. The fossil was gone from the floor and when he turned his Case back over it was resting in one of the indents, miniaturized.
'NYCHUS: LEGS,' a computerized voice issuing from the Case announced.
"Now, obviously that's not a head fossil -that's for you to find- so you can't revive a vivosaur from it," Travers pointed out, "but when you do find a Nychus head, this can be integrated to make that Nychus stronger."
"Thank you," Alan smiled, bowing his head.
"My pleasure, lad," Travers smiled back. He clapped the adolescent on the shoulder, "I wish you all the best. Good luck out there."
The ferry captain gave him a crisp salute, turned, and headed off, whistling as he went.
Alan watched him go until a flash of distinctive green caught his eye. Dr. Diggins approached, a broad, almost giddy, smile on his face. The scientist was stopped by Travers and the two conversed for a moment before Diggins resumed his walk towards the registration desk.
"Congratulations, Alan!" he beamed, shivering with excitement, "Your connection with your Spinax gives you an advantage in Fossil Battles that only a few other Fighters I can think of have! I can't wait to get back in the lab!..." The scientist paused and recomposed himself. "But first, since you passed your Fighter's test, I can now present you with your Fighter's License." Tiffany handed him a card and Diggins handed it to Alan. It was a plastic two by four card that looked like a cross between a drivers license and a credit card. "That's proof that you are officially recognized as a Fossil Fighter. Now, there's just one other thing to do. Let me see your Fossil Case."
Alan complied, handing the still open device over to Diggins.
"Now, place your license on one of the slots," the scientist instructed.
The blunette did and it was absorbed like the fossil had been. Then, after ten or fifteen seconds, it was released and the Case beeped loudly.
'LICENSE IDENTIFIED. HELLO, ALAN.'
"There you go!" Diggins grinned, handing back the Case and License, "You're connected to the Fossil Center database!" He waited until the blunette had tucked away both items, then gestured towards the outside. "Now, come on! We have tests to run!"
Alan chuckled, shaking his head as he followed the energetic scientist out of the Stadium and back to the Fossil Center.
"Alright, so it seems that thirty meters is about the maximum distance you can still 'hear' each other, but your connection begins weakening at twenty-three meters," Dr. Diggins noted, scribbling the information down on his clipboard. He sat down next to Alan, eyes bright, "Which leads me to my next question; what does your Spinax's voice sound like?"
"It doesn't really have a sound at all," Alan clarified, "and it's not exactly just words appearing in my head. Instead it's -or I assume it is, based on what I saw and felt when I first revived him- these flashes of emotion tied to sensations of color and wind I get in my mind's eye and then my brain interprets them as words."
"Really?" Diggins queried with intrigue. His pencil wriggled across his clipboard and he muttered to himself, "Then is that how vivosaurs perceive the FMP?"
"FMP," Alan echoed, "You mentioned that before. What is it?"
"Oh," Diggins blinked and turned to the adolescent with a bright grin, "FMP stands for Fossil Mind Phenomenon. You see, I discovered that every Fighter does mentally bond with their vivosaurs somewhat, though definitely not anywhere near like you have. And that bond makes sure the vivosaur will only react to their Fighter's commands, or rather the mental intentions behind those commands as you obviously know."
"So if they have a basic version of what we've got, then why don't they give all their orders to their vivosaurs mentally and avoid telling their opponent what they're going to do?"
"Well for one, it'd be much less entertaining for the audience if Fighters didn't tell them what was going on through shouted commands. Second, speaking your orders does not necessarily mean a disadvantage if you're clever, as you'll discover. And finally and most importantly, most Fighters actually can't do what you're suggesting. I've tested it and for whatever reason most Fighters cannot get their vivosaur to react to an order unless they speak or shout it. I'm not sure why, even after studying the neurology, but with your bond to look at, maybe we can find out!"
Diggins hopped up out of his chair, only start in surprise when he noticed his lab's clock. "Yikes! Not tonight though!" He smiled apologetically at Alan, "Sorry for all the yakking; you must be tired after your long day. Go get a good night's rest. Your life as a licensed Fossil Fighter officially starts tomorrow."
"Actually I don't feel all that tired, Doctor," Alan grinned, "We can run another test if you want."
"Oh, excellent!" the scientist beamed, "Come on!"
Chuckling, Alan followed him to another part of the lab.
A/NHello! Thank you for taking the time to read this!(And for those who read the old version, thanks for reading again)If you enjoyed it, continue reading for more action and adventure.
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