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Pylonosaurus
by Robert Porter

Part 2

Everyone stood transfixed, unbelieving that a giant beetle stood before them. For a second that seemed to stretch into forever, they didn't move as the beetle clicked and buzzed at them.

Suddenly, it scurried forward, toward Ta. He screamed and everyone began moving. Rick shoved Holly and Will through the small Pakuni-sized opening in the compound wall, then ducked through himself.

On the other side, he turned and helped Sa through the opening. Reaching inside, he grabbed at a stunned and slow-moving Cha-ka. "Come on, Cha-ka! Move!"

The little Paku turned and looked at him uncertainly. Finally, he moved toward Rick's arms and the opening.

Ta, still holding the pylon, shoved Cha-ka aside and dove through the opening. Rick was annoyed that he would endanger Cha-ka for his own gain, but then the Pakuni weren't always the brightest or bravest of species. He ignored Ta as he ran off, screaming something in Pakuni about the beetle and bad magic.

Turning back to Cha-ka, Rick was startled by what he saw. The little Paku still stood unmoving on the other side of the compound wall. And the giant beetle's snapping mandibles were about to grab on to him! Without thinking, Rick reached through and yanked Cha-ka through the opening, just as the beetle's mandibles grabbed at empty air.

The giant insect crashed into the wall, shaking it hard and knocking up a plume of dust.

The entire group, except for the now missing Ta, gathered at the edge of the woods near the Pakuni compound. The beetle continued to crash into the wall and the threatening, broken buzzing of it's wings could be heard as it attempted to fly over the wall.

"What're we gonna do, Dad!" cried Will. "We can't let that thing fly loose!"

"I don't know, son," he answered, never taking his eyes off the shaking bamboo wall. "We've got to capture or destroy it somehow."

"Why does it keep hitting the wall?" Holly asked in fascination, feeling creeped out by the buzzing of the creature's wings. "Why doesn't it just fly over the wall?"

Rick shook his head. "My guess is that since it's ten times bigger, it can't fly. It's wings were designed to function for a much smaller sized body mass."

A massive dust cloud plumed up from the wall, nearly choking them. The buzzing increased dramatically and Rick thought he could just spot the frantically beating wings over the compound wall, thus disproving his theory about the creature's flight ability.

But the buzzing stopped and the creature crashed against the wall again. This time, the wall cracked and splintered. It thrashed about on the wall, until it tore its way through and knocked down the wall enough for it to get to the other side.

Angrily, it scurried for the group.

"Run!" Rick commanded.

 

In her fright, Holly ran. And ran. And ran.

It was a gut-wrenching, scary experience. In the thick of the woods, she paused when she realized she had lost track of the others except for Sa, who was coincidentally still near her. They looked at each other, the understanding of fear crossing in their eyes. Sa seemed to be looking to Holly for guidance.

Holly didn't know what to do. Listening, she could hear the frightening sounds of the beetle as it crashed through the jungle. Occasionally, she could hear Cha-ka and her brother cry out. But she didn't hear her father. Suddenly, she was afraid for him. Did the beetle get to him?

"Draw it out into the open!" she heard her father cry out in the distance. Her shoulders dropped in relief. She turned to Sa and indicated that she should follow, then ran off through the jungle again.

Moments later, they burst out into a wide clearance in the jungle. Looking around, Holly spotted her father and Cha-ka on the far side of the clearance, about a hundred feet away. They could still hear the thrashing of the beetle, Will and/or Ta in the jungle, so they all looked around, wondering who or what was going to come into the clearing next. They didn't wait long.

With a crash of broken plant life, the giant beetle burst into the clearing, just a few strides from Holly and Sa's position. It turned and buzzed its wings menacingly at them. Panicking, Sa ran out across the clearing.

The movement must have focused the beetle's attention as it turned and scurried toward the moving female Paku. Sa tripped and stumbled onto the ground. She was now a perfectly prone target for the angry beetle, right in the middle of the clearing.

Holly knew she had to do something. She had to stop the beetle from catching up to Sa. Without thinking, she scooped up a fist sized rock from near her feet and heaved it at the insect. The rock bounced off the creature's back with a popping sound, but didn't do any visible harm. It did, however, succeed in stopping its approach on Sa. Instead, it turned its attentions on Holly.

Picking up two more rocks, Holly put all her strength behind them as she threw them at the creature. Again, there was no visible harm to the creature, but it did hold back its advance for a moment.

Then it did something totally unexpected. It did something it wasn't supposed to do. With a frantic beat of it's fibrous wings, the beetle rose off the ground and flew. It hovered over Holly, the ugly, bulbous underside visible to her and the disjointed legs seeming to reach out for her.

Frantic, Holly ran across the clearing to the prone Sa. Sa quickly got to her feet and the two of them ran with all their strength to the far side of the clearance.

Holly stole a quick glance back and up and was startled to see the beetle gaining on them. It was almost on top of them!

The ground shook beneath them, causing them both to be knocked off their feet. Holly grabbed Sa and they rolled themselves into a ball to avoid the attacking beetle. But it never came.

Holly stole a glance and the beetle was gone. Then she heard the familiar rolling squeal of the Land of the Lost's resident ceolophysis, Spot. "Holly, get out of there!" she heard her father scream. Looking around, she saw Spot standing near them, with the now familiar shape of the giant beetle caught up in its jaws. The beetle squirmed under the grasp, but it was helpless against the much bigger and stronger ceolophysis.

Stumbling the rest of the way to the edge of the clearing, Holly and Sa made their way to her father and Cha-ka, who stood watching Spot eat the beetle. Holly hugged her father, grateful that it was over. "Whew! Daddy, Spot showed up just at the right time."

Rick looked at her, concern and gratitude on his face. "You'll also have to thank your brother, Holly."

"What do you mean, Daddy?"

Nodding his head at Will on the other side of the clearing, Rick said, "He found Spot and drew him toward the beetle. It was your brother's quick thinking and a ceolophysis in the right place at the right time that saved you."

Smiling, Holly said, "Well, I'm just glad nobody was hurt." She turned to Sa. "Are you okay, Sa? Wesa?"

In a rare moment, Sa smiled. "Me ma wesa," she said, then grabbed Holly and gave her a powerful hug of gratitude.

Laughing, Holly hugged back.

 

Back at the Pakuni compound, Sa and Cha-ka moved to pick up the broken pieces of their home, with Will and Holly's help. Rick confronted Ta, sure now that it was too much of a danger for the Paku to possess the miniature pylon. Now he just needed to find a way to get it away from him before he caused more trouble.

"Ta," Rick pleaded, "you don't know how to use the pylon properly. You could hurt yourself. Pylon pulu Ta i omara Pakuni. Let me take a look at it." He pantomimed himself holding the miniature pylon.

But Ta still didn't trust him. "No!", he shouted, while holding his prize pylon close to himself. "Humani ku! Ta no kera humani! Ta fa wocasa lupari! Ku! Ku! Ta bi-oganza!" He turned his back on the humans and walked away.

Rick sighed. He was getting nowhere with this.

Dropping an armload of broken bamboo wall into a pile at the edge of the clearing, Will asked, "What're we gonna do now, Dad?"

"Well, considering that Ta sees the pylon as a source of food for his people and it gives him power over them, then we need to find something that will replace that."

"Or find some way to stop the pylon from being a source of food," Will offered,

Rick smiled. "Good thinking, Will."

"So again, what're we gonna do?"

"I don't know, son. I'll have to think on it for a while." He sighed in resignation and spoke louder. "Let's finish helping them clean up, then we'll go back to High Bluff and have lunch and think about it."

"But Dad, Ta still has the miniature pylon. What if he does something else like he did with the beetle?"

"I don't think that's going to happen. I think he's learned his lesson for a while and will be a little more careful with it. Things should be fine until tomorrow when we can come back with something better to trade."

Will seemed to accept that. They all, except for Ta who was off on his own, finished cleaning up the mess that the giant beetle had created.

 

With the humans gone, Ta felt more secure in his Paku superiority. He didn't trust the humans. They had much that Ta wanted and they sometimes shared with him, but they also were pushy and demanding-- like how the large one called Rick wanted him to give up his magic pylon! If it were not for the benefits associated with the humans, such as soup stones, tools and added protection from the Sleestak, Ta would never put up with them. Plus the small female had a strange, intoxicating scent sometimes...

Ta had commanded Sa and Cha-ka to repair the compound's damaged wall. They had gathered the necessary vines and he would next instruct them on where to find the appropriate plants for the wall itself. But first, he made them stop and feed-- a reminder that he was the superior Paku and he was the source of food for them.

They sat around an oversized carrot, feeding upon its orange, fibrous material. Ta used his sharp rock to shave off yet another sliver of plant flesh and offered it to Sa, who hungrily took it. He then took a chunk for himself and sat back to ponder his situation.

The beetle had frightened him. It was normally so small and powerless against the Pakuni, but with his magical pylon, he had granted power to the beetle. Ta realized the power of the magic pylon and it was for this reason that he did not want to show it to the humans. He might want to someday use it against the humans. After all, the human males were much bigger and much more powerful than himself. If the magic pylon could make him bigger and more powerful like the beetle...

Picking up the pylon, Ta considered it. He could be big and powerful. He could dominate over the humans. He could dominate over the Sleestak. He might even be able to dominate over the dinosaurs.

But the idea frightened him. He was not sure he liked the idea of being a giant. Would it hurt? Would he be able to find enough to eat? Would he be eaten by a dinosaur? No, the risks were too great. He could not use it on himself. If he were to use it, he needed to use it on something or someone he could control-- someone who would recognize his superiority as the Alpha Pakuni.

Ta looked up from the miniature Pylon to Cha-ka and Sa as they feasted on the carrot flesh, an idea formulating in his mind.

He pointed the device at Sa and manipulated the appropriate controls. In a flash of light, the unsuspecting Sa grew to gargantuan proportions. Her sudden expansion pushed Ta and Cha-ka aside and crushed the remaining walls of the compound.

Sa was now the size of a dinosaur.

 

It was a curious feeling for Sa. She was frightened. This new experience of being a giant was so different from any reality she had ever known before. Her whole world existed differently now. She longed for the normalcy she had known. She didn't want things to change. The change frightened her.

At the same time, she was fascinated. She had never seen the world from this perspective. She was looking down on everything. The trees, her home, everything-- it was all so small. She reached out and touched a tree on one side of the compound with one hand, and touched a tree on the other side of the compound with her other hand. She did this at the same time! The world was so small now. Her curiosity made her want to examine everything.

So it was a curious feeling for Sa, this mixture of fascination and fear.

Then she heard Ta calling up to her. Looking down, he was so tiny. He could easily fit in the palm of her hand. She was tempted to reach down and pick him up, but her fear of Ta overrode her curiosity and she left him on the ground. Besides, Ta was the Pakuni leader. He would know how to handle this new situation. She trusted him.

"Ting aluso," he called up to her.

What he said didn't make any sense to her. She grunted back to him, her own voice louder and stronger than she had realized.

"Ting aluso," he called again.

Now she understood. He wanted her to pick up a tree. He wanted her to experiment with her new size and see what she could do.

She located a smaller tree on the edge of a clearing that was relatively alone from the rest of the jungle. It's height was to her middle chest. Grabbing at its trunk with both hands, she pulled at it. It proved to be more difficult than anticipated, but after a few pushes, pulls and twists, it uprooted in a shower of dirt and debris.

The power frightened her and she looked down to Ta for guidance.

Ta was dancing with joy and excitement.

 

This was working out better than Ta had planned-- not that he really had a plan in the first place. Sa was as big and powerful as he had hoped and she was following his orders as expected. Cha-ka cowered in fear, but followed along beside Ta, seeking protection from the giant he created and controlled.

Delirious with excitement and eager to see what else she could do, Ta directed Sa to follow him out into the jungle. He didn't really have a plan in mind, but he wanted to see what they would find and confront it. He wanted to test the new parameters. And he kept the miniature pylon with him, clutching it for the powers it gave him.

As they crashed through the jungle, Ta had Sa uproot more trees and pick up and threw boulders. Finally, they arrived at the edge of the swamp and startled two ceolophysis feeding on the lush ferns. The thin, reptilian creatures had never encountered a giant Paku before and stood watching Sa, unsure whether to flee or not.

"Ting ara," Ta commanded.

Sa seemed reluctant to confront the creatures. They stood unmoving, simply watching Sa. She stared back, unsure what to do. The ceolophysis creatures normally agitated and chased the Pakuni, so she appeared frightened of them, despite her size.

"Ting! Ting!" Ta commanded once more.

Finally, attracted by the noise, one of the creatures noticed the normal sized Pakuni on the ground. It's natural instincts kicked in and it turned to confront the pair. Ta and Cha-ka back up in alarm and looked to Sa for protection. Ta moaned, "Ting!"

Wanting to protect her people, Sa stepped over and inserted herself between the Pakuni and the ceolophysis. She shoved hard on the creature and it stumbled back a few step before falling on its side. Alarmed, it quickly righted itself. The pair of dinosaurs ran away, now aware that the largest Pakuni they had ever encountered was a real threat to them.

Ta was drunk with power. With his control of Sa, he could rule the entire jungle! He was king of the Land of the Lost!

What was the first thing he wanted to do as king? He wanted what had always been denied him. He wanted the humans things. He wanted their tools. He wanted their soft bedding. He wanted their cave. He wanted everything!

Directing Sa and Cha-ka to follow him, Ta headed for the human's cave.

 

After a light lunch of nuts and palm tree hearts in their cave at High Bluff, the Marshalls started the cleanup process.

Holly slid the last of the sweenaku fruit into her mouth and chewed. She wasn't real fond of the fruit, but it was different at least. The Paku certainly liked it, when they could find it.

Will disliked the fruit so much he refused to eat it. He looked up from piling the last of the inedible parts of lunch into the trash pile and asked his father, "Have you figured out what you're gonna do about that little pylon that Ta has?"

"That's just it, Will. I'm not sure there's anything else I could offer him that would give him the equivalent of the food it provides now. I think your idea is best: make it so the miniature pylon isn't so profitable anymore."

"What're you gonna do? Break it?"

"If need be."

Holly hadn't paid much attention to the exchange. Something didn't seem right around here and she couldn't quite put her finger on it. She looked around and everything looked normal. She looked outside and the weather seemed fine... Then it dawned on her.

"Hey, Daddy," she asked, "what do you suppose is going on out there?"

Rick looked at her with concern, then at the cave entrance. "What do you mean, honey?"

"Well, listen. The dinosaurs are raising a four alarm ruckus. I wonder what's got them so angry."

Pausing a moment to listen, Rick heard it as well. He walked to the cave entrance and looked outside, but couldn't see anything out of the ordinary. "I don't know." He turned back to her. "Maybe after we clean up, we can go out and take a look."

"Okay." Holly accepted that.

As they moved to continue the clean up, a strange, moaning wail emanated from the jungle. Holly stopped in her tracks and locked eyes with her father, a stunned expression on her face. "What was that!?"

Rick turned again to the cave entrance, followed closely by the two children. They stood on the ledge outside the cave and looked off into the distance.

The sound of the dinosaurs and jungle creatures going crazy seemed to increase its frenzied din. Also, they could make out a disturbance in the trees, as if a large dinosaur was fast approaching and thrashing through the jungle. "It's Grumpy!" Holly cried, while grabbing onto her father for protection.

Rick placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "I don't think so, honey."

"It's moving too fast?" Will offered.

"That's right, it doesn't seem to be moving like Grumpy. Whatever it is, it's clumsy."

From the jungle, Cha-ka and Ta came running into the large clearing in front of the cave. Ta still held his miniature pylon protectively. "Oh, no!" Holly cried. "It's after them!" She cupped her hands around her mouth and leaned over the ledge. "Run, Cha-ka, run!" Cha-ka continued to run forward and began climbing the rocks up to the Marshalls and the cave entrance. But Ta stopped and turned around to face the approaching creature.

And then the now gigantic Paku, Sa, broke through the jungle and into the clearing. Their faces dropped in astonishment. "I don't believe it," Will offered meekly.

Rick grew angry at what he saw. "That idiot Ta used the pylon on his own people. He must be stopped!"

Cha-ka approached them, excitement on his face. "Ta bi-oganza! Ta fu Sa bi-Pakuni!" he told them. He jumped up and down, agitated excitement preventing him from keeping still.

Turning to the little Paku, Rick admonished him, "Cha-ka! Sa can't stay like this! She can't get enough to eat! She'll die or throw the Land of the Lost out of ecological balance! Ta must turn her back!" He knew that Cha-ka would not understand him, but he was desperate to express himself.

Perplexed by his anger, Cha-ka cowered. "No amura?"

"Cha-ka!" Ta called from the ground below them. "Duchi! Pi duchi!"

Torn and unsure of himself, Cha-ka froze, unable to move.

Ta turned to the gigantic Sa and pointed her toward the cave's entrance. Sa seemed reluctant and unsure of herself, looking back and forth between Ta and the cave entrance. By way of encouragement, Ta ran toward her and kicked the side of her giant foot and pointed to the cave's entrance.

Sa finally stepped forward, each step kicking up dust and shaking the Marshalls and Cha-ka at the cave entrance. She approached and placed her giant-sized hand on the edge of the cave's ledge. Will and Holly stepped back and cowered for protection. Cha-ka stood perplexed beside Rick, who stood firm as he called out, "Sa! You can't stay this size! It's dangerous! Make Ta change you back!"

"If he can..." Will added under his breath. So far, they had seen the miniature pylon make things bigger, but there was no assurance that it could also make things smaller.

"Nu humani a banda!" Ta called to Sa from the ground. "Nu a onam! Nu a efi!"

Holly's stomach churned with fear. "Dad! Did you hear that?"

Turning to her, Rick asked, "No, what is it?"

"Ta is telling Sa to remove the humans from the cave and take our stuff! He's trying to use Sa to take everything!"

"That's crazy!" added Will.

The news made Rick angry. He concentrated on his limited Pakuni language skills and tried to implore with Ta to stop what he was doing. "Stop this! Ta! Sa dupo! Po! No fu!"

Ta shook his fist at Rick. "Ta kera humani efi! Ta fa humani efi! Ta a gosa a jimera!" He kicked again at Sa's foot. "Fa humani!"

Sa was torn between Ta's commands, her affinity for the human girl after her kindness with the beetle, and her natural instinct toward gentleness. After a few moments of uncertainty, the encouragement from Ta and her natural instinct to respond to him as the dominant Paku, she reached her hand out for Rick Marshall.

Alarmed at the approaching fingers, Rick balled his fists and punched with all his might at the closest one. Although it couldn't be enough to hurt her, it was enough to stun her and cause her to pause.

Confused and torn by her loyalties, Sa didn't know what to do. She stood poised at the cave entrance, unmoving.

A roar and a crash in the nearby jungle solved the dilemma for her. Out of the jungle came the land's tyrannosaurus, named Grumpy. He spotted the giant Sa, who was easily the same height, and roared at her menacingly.

Sa turned, fear of the creature playing across her face. Then she remembered her encounter with the ceolophysis and her chest pumped up with confidence.

Fearing the encounter, Ta with his miniature pylon ran to the jungle's edge. The Marshalls and Cha-ka backed up and watched from the cave entrance. "Grumpy thinks Sa is an invading dinosaur," Rick offered. "He's trying to defend his territory. That's part of the danger of having a giant Paku running around the Land of the Lost."

Holly realized that Sa was not running away, but instead was holding her ground. "Oh no!" she cried. "She's going to fight Grumpy!"

And, indeed they fought.

Grumpy launched himself at Sa, his jaws opening for attack. Avoiding the attack, Sa hunched her shoulder and rammed the tyrannosaur in the chest. Surprised by the move, Grumpy backed up and paused as if reevaluating the situation.

Finally, they settled into slowly circling each other, each roaring or grunting at the other and waiting for the other to make the first move. This went on for a full tense minute before they finally clashed in front of High Bluff.

They thrashed and wrestled in the clearing and after a few bumps, bruises and thumps, Sa screamed as Grumpy caught her forearm in his jaws. He tried to back away, wrenching her arm, but she moved wherever he did to prevent the pain.

Pain and fear played across her face. This was something she had not anticipated. As the dinosaur turned its head, it twisted her arm and she cried out in pain. She could not let him get in a position to cause further damage to her, so she turned to his side, and wrapped her legs around his powerful tail. This would prevent him from turning and twisting her arm in his jaws again. He bucked his tail violently, but he couldn't shake her.

With her free hand, Sa began beating on Grumpy's head. He finally relented to her punishment and let go. They separated and again circled each other. Each was more wary this time, Sa with her bitten arm and Grumpy with his bruised head.

 

FADE TO COMMERCIAL

 

Part 3