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Dinosaur Wars, by Thomas P. Hopp
Star Wars meets Jurassic Park as dinosaurs return to earth from space. First book of the action-packed series.
When a U.S. space probe discovers a 65-million-year-old derelict outpost at the moon’s south pole, the owners of the moonbase return in spaceships to claim their home world —our world! As the U.S. military responds, Yellowstone wildlife biologist Chase Armstrong and Montana rancher’s daughter Kit Daniels discover they are at ground-zero, where the invaders’ lost city lies buried under a mountain of sandstone. Kit and Chase survive attacks by T Rex and deadly Utahraptors only to be trapped in the underground catacombs where human-sized intelligent dinosaurs prepare for mankind’s downfall. While battles rage, this unlikely couple find they may be humanity’s last hope for survival.
An action-filled adventure suitable for all ages, Dinosaur Wars: Earthfall brings the colossal beasts of the past to life again, putting the human heroes in peril of their lives. Meet Captain Vic Suarez, commander of what might be the last tank column on Earth, meet cantankerous Professor Ogilvey, who struggles to understand living creatures whose fossil bones he had been excavating, meet Gar the Kra, an invader with a soft heart for humans, and meet Oogon, the bloodthirsty Kra warlord who intends to show us no mercy. Now humans are the endangered species!
Less than a mile from where it joined the county highway, the fence-line road entered an area where huge rock outcroppings and dense sagebrush made the route tortuous. Chase reluctantly slowed down to negotiate the tight turns. His view of what was ahead was hidden around each bend and that made him edgy. Coming out of one particularly tight turn, he spotted a reddish-brown animal about the size of a cow moving in the sagebrush beside the road.
“What’s this?” he asked. “One of your dad’s steers?”
Kit shook her head. “That’s no steer.”
The creature trotted onto the road, forcing Chase to stop. Kit was right, it was no steer. It had a horn on its nose, stubby like that of a baby rhinoceros, a wide bony frill at the back of its head lined with small horns and a snout with a hooked beak. Its feet were padded with flat toenails like a rhinoceros but its tail was long and reptilian, a dead giveaway that this was another dinosaur.
Chase looked it over uneasily. “Okay, Kit, you’re the aspiring paleontologist. What is that thing?”
“A pachyrhinosaurus, I think. Look, it’s fuzzy.”
Chase looked again. The animal was covered in red fuzz like a baby elephant and had a dark tuft of hair at the end of its tail. “Is it dangerous?”
“I’m not sure,” said Kit. “It’s a plant eater.”
“I’ve darted bison in Yellowstone Park,” said Chase, “and they’re pretty dangerous. This thing’s about the same size, but I guess this truck’s more than a match for it.” He rolled forward. The animal had paused to eye them warily but reacted to the truck’s movement by trotting away in front of them on the road.
“Figures,” said Chase. “We’ll have to follow it.” He fell in behind the pachyrhinosaurus and it broke into a gallop, bleating like a scared calf. Chase grumbled, “This must be one of those dinosaurs with a brain the size of a pea.”
“Walnut,” Kit corrected.
“No wonder these things went extinct,” muttered Chase, moving up and following close on its tail. It bucked and brayed but stayed on the road.
Kit said nervously, “I don’t think you should be doing this.”
“Why not?” Chase scoffed. “That’s not enough dinosaur to give us any trouble.”
“But it’s just a baby.”
“Aww. Are your maternal instincts kicking in?” He pushed in the clutch and revved the engine, hoping the roar would scare the beast off into the bushes. It brayed louder but stuck to the roadway.
Kit shook her head. “I wasn’t planning to mother it myself.”
Around the next rock outcrop the reason for Kit’s worry appeared. Another reddish-brown animal rushed onto the road. This one was nearly as big as a grown elephant.
“Oh, Mamma!” Chase shouted, slamming on the brakes and skidding the truck to a halt.
“Exactly,” said Kit as the little one scurried under the big one’s flank. “Mamma.”
The new beast was darker, hairier and ten times the size of the smaller one, and the differences between it and its offspring sent a tingle of shock through Chase. It was bristling with huge horns like some horrific gargoyle. The nose horn, long and upwardly hooked, stood a good five feet above the beaked snout and looked fit to penetrate the armor of a tank. Another half-dozen shorter horns bristled from the top and sides of the frilled head. The animal’s shoulders were made more imposing by a thick covering of bison-like, curly dark brown wool.
The beast made a thunderous bellow and shook its bristling head at them and pawed the ground, lowering its nose horn until it pointed at the pickup.
“It’s going to charge!” cried Kit but Chase needed no explanation. He grabbed the shifter and searched for reverse. Gunning the engine, he dumped the clutch—but the truck was still in first gear. It leaped ahead instead of back. He jammed on the brakes and skidded to a halt just a few feet from the tip of the animal’s horn. Startled by the truck’s apparent aggressiveness, the beast took a step backward but then lowered its nose horn again and shook its frill from side to side in a fierce display of counter-aggression. It uttered another deep bellow that reverberated in the frame of the pickup and blended eerily with a high-pitched scream from Kit.
Chase got the shifter into reverse and floored the accelerator. The rear tires spun madly, dragging the truck backward and throwing out dust that momentarily confused the pachyrhinosaurus. Turning to look out the back window, Chase tried to keep the truck on the road as he accelerated in reverse.
“Here it comes,” Kit cried. As the pickup lurched backward over the rough track, Chase couldn’t bother looking at the animal. He concentrated on steering backward, maintaining his speed and holding the truck on the twisting road. He could hear the drumming charge of elephantine feet and Kit was more than willing to inform him of the view out the front windshield. “It’s gaining on us.”
He pushed the accelerator harder but the uneven route was more than he could handle. One of his rear tires struck a boulder that bounced the whole truck to the left and into the sagebrush. An instant later the tailgate rammed into another boulder. They came to a dead stop and the engine died.
Kit screamed, “Look out, Chase!” as the monster closed in. Chase cursed and cranked the ignition but there was only time watch the thing lower its nose horn, hook the bumper, and almost effortlessly flip the truck over backwards. The sky went reeling past them and Kit let out another scream. The pickup smashed down on its roof and for a moment they hung upside down, suspended by their seat belts. Then they were whipped around helplessly as the creature pounded the pickup this way and that, bellowing furiously. The body of the truck crumpled around them, gouged again and again. The nose-horn smashed through Kit’s side window, penetrating right in front of her face. Chase tried to dodge the horn tip as it came at him but it caught his chin and everything went black.