rodlox (rodlox) wrote in primevalathon,

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"Torrid above freezing" 2/2 K+/M

Title: Torrid above freezing.
Author: Keenir.
With great thanks to my trusted beta, Fififolle the great, the mighty, the sage.
Written for blktauna in the Primeval ficathon.
.Part I
Part II
Characters/Pairing: Lt. Tanya Lacey, Mr. James Lester, Dr. Nick Cutter,
Rating: K+ /M
POV: Lt. Tanya Lacey.
Warnings: Lacey’s thoughts
Ficathon request:
1. Lester and Nick get stuck in the Jurassic, bitching ensues.
3. Helen appears again and convinces Nick to come through to see
someting special. It's a trap.
Like/want: a happy ending, some Bitchy Lester would be brilliant
Dislike/don't want: More angst than is warranted by the tone of the
show, Connor, no Nick death, no schmoop, Nice Helen.
I hope this is acceptable. (my Lester muse doesn’t like the Jurassic for some reason – probably read that “2 days” fic with Connor and Ryan one too many times)
…and I leave it up to the reader as to whether or not Helen knew what was going to happen – was that a general message she gave Tanya, or a specific advice?

Spoilers: only for Nick’s trusting nature. :)
Disclaimer: None of these humans are mine. Even Lacey, the OFC, is on loan. (technically, Lt Tremayne is mine, but she’s barely in this one). Only the suppermassive seal and the heatseeking bat are mine – and they are available for loan to anyone who would like to use them in a fic.
2nd Disclaimer: All errors with British ranks and titles and idioms are my own mistakes.
Summary: Lacey’s thoughts as they go from the Anomaly to fending off the attacks of the newbat.
Author Notes: If memory serves, in series 1, Lester was “Sir James,” while in series 2, he had somehow lost his knighthood (something that’s possible, but probably not intended series-wise)…so here, he’s just Mister.
Warning: the sequel to this is my Bonfire Night entry… “Firing when dry”.

.* * *.

The Second Great Ice Age had come, scouring the land with an almighty completeness. The highest peaks were now steppes covered by endless wastes of ice and snow. The last remnants of cities were crushed and pulverized, ending any hope of finding evidence of Humanity or of Ift.

The Second Great Ice Age had ended, and mammals had survived, but they would no more be the new lords of the land than would the jellyfish.

Man was gone, dead as a dodo, as were the antelopes and bats and rodents – even they, the paragons of evolutionary plasticity, had fallen before the encroaching ice. Birds too, alongside all manner of reptiles. Of all the things with which had lived on land, only the seals had pulled through.

But these beasts were no longer seals. To call them “seal” would be no different than calling Shai-hulud, the greatest Sandworm of Arrakis, “earthworm.” They were marine vastnesses, free-swimming hulks with headgear sufficient to break through meters-thick ice.

.* * * *.

The enemy was a bat, just as flightless as the Future Predator, and equally carnivorous. But while the Future Predator relied upon sonar, the newbat hunted by seeing heat. It wasn’t remarkable – vampire bats did the same thing, back in the Holocene. And though it was out of its element, and out of its era, the newbat still held the advantage.

Even if there were trees around, the newbat could not have climbed them: newbats were burrowers, with foreclaws specialized to this end. Nearly all bat lineages had a ruff of fur at the roof of the skull; in the newbat, this ruff could be lowered over the face as it dug into the earth.

Or as it tried to dig. The ground was far too packed tight and frozen for even this consummate burrower to search for warrenvoles or swarmbeetles.

The newbat gave up, lifting its head, drawing back the ruff… and saw the heat signature of the massive corpse with two smaller-than-the-corpse things standing alongside…and one last heat source, lower than the other small ones – but still plenty big enough for a newbat’s meal.

.* *.

There wasn’t an iota of dirt to be seen. Not anywhere. Not even rocks. Even the mountains looked to be naught more than glaciers and snowdrifts. Not even a hint or the barest drop of liquid water was visible, an oddity certainly, given the wholly aquatic nature of the Massive they had carved up a fraction of for foul-tasting food and transportation equipment.

As each man pulled a sinew rope, Dr. Cutter said, “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

“Now what is it that confounds you?” Mr. Lester asked.

“This. This Creature is clearly marine in its origin.”

“Yes, I’d say that’s rather obvious.”

“So where is it?”

“Where is what?” Sometimes it’s clear when he’s asking so he can hear an explanation, and sometimes it’s clear when he wants you to see the fault in your reasoning…and then there are the times when you’re not sure which is which.

“The water, Lester, the water. How’d it get up on the ice?”

“Sir,” I asked. “Request permission to scout ahead for a cliff to hurl William Thomson off.”

“I must say, I’m sorely tempted to approve your mission,” Mr. Lester says.

“What?” Dr. Cutter asks. Shock? Or has he somehow not heard of how Lord Kelvin, when he calculated the age of the sun, said that there had not yet been time for evolution to occur?

“If not physics, then perhaps literature, as you are instilling in us great agony, Ancient Mariner.”

Dr. Cutter grumbles something that sounds quite like,” How like Helen.” To us, aloud, “Ya’know, if you’ve got something to say, then just come out and say it.”

“Very well then,” Mr. Lester says, and I can hear the smile in his voice. “A decidedly Biblical reference: we are at present *walking* upon your missing water.

“Whereas, had this brute fallen from one of the Anomalies in the sky, the ice beneath us would have a vastly different appearance.”

“Okay, you know what?” Dr. Cutter replied. “The two of you worry about the ice. I’ll worry about that bat coming back.”

“That? I should think the answer is fairly obvious.”

“You do?” Dr. Cutter asks. And he’s quiet – mulling it over? – before he says,”Surely you can’t be serious.”

“This is no time for American comedy, Cutter,” Mr. Lester says. “And I am perfectly serious. What other option is there?”

“I don’t know – yet!” he rushed to add. “We’ve got at least another hour before our Anomaly is anywhere near the ground. Plenty of time.”

“’At least an hour’ you say. Need I remind you of the Creature presently hunting the three of us?” Or our limited supply of bullets?


“Very well then, it’s agreed.”

“No, it isn’t agreed! You can’t just unilaterally make your say-so and expect everyone to fall into line.” (You can if you signed up for it; now either shut up or take my place as bait.)

“First comedy and now this,” Mr. Lester says. “Are you quite certain you’re not American?”

“Lt. Lacey,” Dr. Cutter says, presumably to avoid falling into a yes/no verbal trap.

“Yes?” I ask.

“What do you think? About -”

“My fate is in your hands, sir.” Has been since my first day at work.

“There now,” Mr. Lester says to Dr. Cutter. “You see?”

“How do you know she meant you?”

I answer: “Because your only rank is rank.” Okay, so Tremayne does better plays on words than I do, but not bad, methinks, given the circumstances.

Dr. Cutter sighs, sounding resigned about it.

And then, and then there’s no sound, save for the crunch of thin ice and brittle snow underfoot, and even that sound fades away.

Theory, and practice. In principle, vs reality. Intellectually, against more visceral reactions. I.e., right now.

Okay now… keep the breathing steady, keep the pulse under control, don’t think about the ice pick-clawed Creature I can see on approach, don’t second-guess command structures, try not to contemplate wrenching the Dr.’s ankle if and when I get out of here.

Keep the moving Creature in my sight. Keep the carcass Creature at my side. Keep the Anomaly overhead.

The Creature leaps at me.

The report was deafening in this echo chamber that’d been deafeningly silent before Mr. Lester fired my pistol at the bat.

“Fine aim, sir,” I holler over my ears ringing.

The only thing remaining is to wait for the Anomaly to finish arcing to the ground. Probably by the time we make it to the giant’s skull, the Anomaly’ll be on the ground.

Great, just one more hour in this frozen hell. Though it might not be so bad if I wasn’t stuck here with this bickering pair.
.* * * * * *.
Tags: author: rodlox, genre: gen, year: 2008 autumn
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