“Where were you? I tried calling you at least twenty times this morning!” she snapped at them.
“Sorry Corrie,” replied Sampson, “but we were busy.”
“BUSY?! You couldn’t even hear your mobile phones?”
“Yeah, what we were doing was something that required so much of our attention that we couldn’t even pick them up.”
“Well, great then.”
“Uh, Corrie, why are you so grumpy this morning in the first place?” Lora wondered.
Upon hearing this, Sampson rushed into the house and started looking for any signs of what might have happened, closely followed by Lora and Corrie. They looked in every cupboard, under every couch and any well hidden parts of the house, but they found nothing.
“Brilliant. Not one sign of his departure,” the Epichirostenotes said.
Sampson then got an idea. “Did anything unusual happen last night involving you two?”
“Well, it wasn’t much different than normal, except that Kollin’s cousin from Notonas, Calvez, came and visited. He figured that while he practiced being an airline stowaway, he would pop in for a bit. All three of us actually had a great time together. Then, in the morning, Kollin had disappeared completely. Unfortunately whatever the hell you guys were doing prevented me from alerting you earlier.”
“Okay, sorry, but believe me, it meant a lot to us,” Lora apologised.
“Do you even know how much Kollin means to ME?”
“Yes, I know you two are good friends, but I’m not aware of anything further than that.”
Sampson, realising that Lora didn’t know Corrie’s history, then said “Okay, I think you should tell her about when you were young, Corrie. She will then understand you better. I’ll go and call Jeff in the meantime.”
“So, Lora, when I was a young chick in the woods, my father didn’t really care for me or any of my siblings. The rest didn’t seem to mind, but I constantly needed help from my dad. I needed to learn how to find food, and where to find water and shelter too. However, as my siblings left our nest one by one, I eventually became the only chick who still lived with my father. I tried as hard as I could to stay with him, but when I wasn’t even a month old, he finally forced me to leave him.
“I tried looking for my mother, whom I remember witnessed our hatching, but I found out that she became victim to a starving Arrhinoceratops, so I then went and looked for my siblings. As hard as I looked, I found none of them. The fact that I didn’t know how to eat anything but arthropods made it hard for me too. Then, one day, I got to meet the Albertonykus.
“The day I met Kollin, he explained that he loved the forest, and was very specific about everything it contained. However, his siblings became so tired of him correcting errors that they would make about the flora and fauna that they kicked him out of their group. However, I was fascinated by his knowledge, and having no one else to go to, we naturally became friends. Since that point, we shared every moment together. Kollin’s knowledge proved to have helped me a lot in my struggle to survive, and it felt great that I could have someone I would always rely on.
“One day, Kollin decided that he wanted to further his learning, and decided that we should try and sneak into Chasmsoria. I went along with the plan, hoping that we could try and get a better life. We kept getting chased back into the woods until one day, Sampson found out about our ambitions and asked if we would want to stay in his home. We both willingly agreed, and we then came here.” Once she finished her story, she started to cry, though she tried to control herself.
“I always wondered how you found Sampson. I now see why this has had such a big impact on you – unfortunately I’ve noticed that I can sometimes be emotionally insensitive, so thank you for elaborating.”
“No problem, Lora. I still wonder what you were doing though.”
“Uh, nothing! Nothing at all!”
“Riiiight. You two acted like it was something important…”
“It was, but it’s something we want to keep to ourselves!”
“Okay, fine. Wait, is that Sampson screaming?!”
The two maniraptors could hear that something was happening upstairs, so they went to see if he was okay. Once they made it up, they saw that Sampson was being attacked.
Lora was the first to react. “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! GIANT FROG!”
“How the hell did that get in here?”
“Never mind that, Corrie. We need to save him now!”
“But h- oh, never mind.”
Corrie’s response was to Lora pouncing after the frog, knocking it off Sampson’s head and landing on its belly. She then pierced her sickle claws through its skin and flapped her wings when it tried to move. Eventually, the giant frog died of blood loss, and Lora then hopped off the amphibian and went to the bathroom to clean her feet.
Corrie then ran to Sampson, who was just starting to recover. “…how did a frog so large get into our house?”
“Exactly what I was wondering. Lora’s just gone to clean her feet after she attacked it. Oh look, Jeff’s here.”
“Okay, so I’m meant to come here to help you find Kollin, but I’m greeted by you two with a freshly killed Beelzebufo?” he asked.
“Okay, is that the giant frog you told me about?” wondered Sampson.
“Beelzebufo ampinga, a ceratophryine frog native to Madagascar. Can grow to at least forty centimetres long, omnivorous, highly adaptable to the point of being able to survive drier climates and contains a very dangerous bufotoxin over the skin.”
“You said it came from Madagascar, so why is it here?”
“I’ve been hearing reports of giant frogs all across the country. I heard rumours that they were going to introduce this species here to help deal with the loads of gondwanatheres we’ve been getting, as well as maybe eating some of the Nemicolopterus and Microraptor too. Obviously, they have tried it, and instead we have fallen victim to an invasion of the Beelzebufo.”
Corrie was clearly unhappy upon hearing this. “Okay, so now we have to find Kollin and do something about the frogs?”
“We will try and find Kollin, Corrie, yet I don’t think we will be able to deal with the invasion ourselves. It would definitely be too large for us to handle. If we’re lucky, these two things may be connected however.”
“…so you think Kollin was attacked by one of these frogs?”
“I’m not jumping to conclusions, just making theories.”
Lora then came into the room, and said “Oh hey, Jeff. Did I miss anything important?”
“Well, aside from Kollin disappearing, we now have an invasion of these Beelzebufo.”
“Oh goody, more giant frogs. So, does anyone know how we are going to find Kollin?”
“Well, remember when I told you that Vegid made us a device this week that can help find anyone of us, as long as it has impressions of our genetic code?” recalled Sampson. “Now, let’s go and activate it.”
“Wait, how come you didn’t bring this up when I told you the news?” wondered Corrie.
“Guess we were all too emotional to consider it. Anyway, here it is. Now, let’s go and find him.”
The four maniraptors were following Kollin’s genetic signal, which seemed to lead to somewhere outside the city. Jeff was driving as fast as he could, and hoped that they could quickly find the alvarezsaur.
“Wow, Vegid sure is prepared for all of these situations,” Sampson commented.
“I’m still amazed at how she could create such a perfect mind wiping device yet not be able to think her plan through,” said Jeff.
“Yeah, it did sound like she was pretty overconfident when you took Kollin and Corrie to school a week ago.”
“That too. Say, how was last night where you went to Lora’s?”
“It was great.”
Lora then added “Well, we simply watched some Bone Wars, chatted a little, did some other stuff, and we slept together.”
“Wait, are you saying what I think you’re saying?” Jeff asked.
Sampson was looking rather embarrassed. “…oh, come on! She literally meant we slept together. As in, slept, and only slept. Not to mention what our views on sexuality actually are!”
“Uh, yes. Sampson is telling the truth. I was being literal.”
“Still doesn’t change the fact that you two still were willing to sleep together.”
“Jeff, quit it, okay! Lora didn’t want me to sleep on the couch, so she offered to share.”
“Okay, fine, I’ll keep quiet.”
Corrie, who had been silent the whole time, suddenly spoke. “Sorry guys, but I must add that it still doesn’t explain what you two are hiding from me.”
Sampson had finally snapped. “WE ARE LOOKING FOR OUR FRIEND AND LAST NIGHT JUST CAN’T BE DROPPED?!?!” Sampson never got this annoyed before, and it kept everyone quiet. Corrie suddenly felt sad once again after realising that she shouldn’t have said that, and Lora suddenly went quiet too, because she realised she shouldn’t have said that.
I swear I’m the only one in a good mood today, thought Jeff.
An hour and a half passed, and the four maniraptors had calmed down since then. Corrie apologised for adding that final remark, and just was feeling quite cynical today, and Lora did so as well, feeling like that she shouldn’t have been so literal. Sampson forgave them both, as well as Jeff, who realised he should’ve been focusing on finding Kollin instead of asking questions.
Stupid Corrie. Stupid, STUPID Corrie, the Epichirostenotes thought to herself. Why did you need to say that! Imagine if it got us off course and lost! We’re only lucky that we are still on track.
They drove some more, only to find a traffic jam with what appeared to be large, warty skinned, rusty coloured amphibians.
“More Beelzebufo. And they’ve caused a traffic jam!” However, once Jeff said that, he realised that they were trapped between other cars.
The Beelzebufo were all over the road, hopping everywhere and trying to eat whatever they could find. There were troodonts trying to remove the frogs, but more kept coming.
“Where are all of these frogs coming from?!” Lora questioned.
“Well, they lay a minimum of 27 500 eggs,” Jeff replied. “All of them have to go somewhere. It doesn’t take that long for them to get to froglet stage either.”
“…27 500!” Corrie couldn’t say anymore, as she was feeling quite shocked from the amount. However, when she looked at the genetic tracker, she saw that she was only a few hundred metres away from Kollin’s signal. “Guys, I’m going out.”
Sampson then went to ask “Are you sure? I don’t think this is a good time to go running through these cars, even if you do have you troodont mask.”
“You might think that, Sampson, but nothing is going to stop me from finding Kollin.”
“Fine, if you insist. Just make sure you ask if you can go past the driver next to us.”
“Sure.” Corrie then went to ask the troodont next to them if he wouldn’t mind letting Corrie through. “Uh, hello there. Could you please let me through your car? I have an urgent meeting in the woods here, to help do something about these frogs.”
The troodont turned to face her, only for Corrie to realise who it was. “Well, I was planning on doing the same thing. Want to stay in here, so we can get there together? Say, why won’t your friends let you go with them?”
“Uh, Mr. Synaphy, like I said, it’s urgent for me… and ooh, I saw someone there getting the meeting ready. Must be a different meeting to what you have then, so gotta go!” The oviraptorosaur then ran out of the car and into the woods.
Say, I wonder how she knows me. Must have a friend at university or something. Hey, is that who I think it is next door? Feduciucc then proceeded to shout “HELLO TO MY LEAST FAVOURITE STUDENTS!”
Lora, being aggravated by her zoology teacher, retaliated by saying “Oh, F’ucc, only you could make a day involving giant frogs worse!”
Sampson tried to stop Lora, but she still felt like she needed him to be quiet. Sampson still remained by her side though, just in case the feud got any worse.
“Kollin! Kollin!” Corrie was already right into searching for her roommate, and was searching in every single spot she could find. “Kollin, the theory about edaphosaurs using their sails for swimming and filtering oxygen through the water got a movie that received critical acclaim! Kollin, somebody called a nautiloid a synapsid!”
She kept walking a bit more, and found herself at the side of a river. She saw a dead Albertosaurus juvenile, with what appeared to be Beelzebufo skin and flesh in its mouth. The poisoned skin was obviously too strong for the tyrannosaur to handle. When she started to move on, she heard rustling through the bush. She went over to the activity and then saw what she had been looking for.
“KOLLIN! Thank goodness I found you!” Corrie then went up to the Albertonykus and hugged him tightly.
“Corrie! You went looking for me!”
“Well, that device Vegid made helped us track your genetic code, but whatever, because I’m just so happy to have found you. Say, what actually happened.”
“Some damn Beelzebufo saw me as a snack in the middle of the night, just soon after you fell asleep, and decided to prey on me. Out of pure terror, I ran for my life, to the point where I eventually ended up here. However, the bastard would continue to hunt me, despite myself being much faster than it was. Nothing seemed to stop its chase either – I knocked it into a drain, set it on fire, had a bus run over it and I even stole a bomb and tried to blow him up with it! Yet the goddamn anuran still kept on chasing me!”
“…you tried blowing him up and he survived?”
“Yes, I know how absurd that sounds, but it was true! Oh great, I think it’s found me again!”
Out of the bushes came the Beelzebufo that Kollin had mentioned, and it was looking hungry. It lunged at Kollin, and the two maniraptors then started running away extremely quickly. However, like what Kollin mentioned, the amphibian just kept chasing them.
“Oh, Lora, have you read the paper about my new theory on mammalian evolution at all? It’s an official source, so it’s automatically right!”
“Your theory on pterosaurs evolving into mammals made no sense at all! Oh, yes, I did read it, but the point still stands! I’ve never seen something so crazy in my entire life.”
“Oh, and where’s your little article about it, Miss Anuscler?”
“Me writing an article? I’m not that professional, F’ucc. VerBi has a much better rebuttal.”
“Vertebrate Biology? That blog is so lame. MARTIANS are so much more reasonable than that crackpot running it.”
“Uh, guys? I think some of the frogs are moving away,” said Jeff. “May as well get moving.”
“Oh, the Beelzebufo! As a toxicologist, I was asked to come to their meeting about the invasion today,” Feduciucc added.
Lora was stunned at the revelation. “…you’re a toxicologist? Teaching us about mammals? A class with so few venomous species?! Pfft, you better at least be good at that profession.”
“BUT I KNOW MAMMALOGY TOO!”
“Guys, it’s Kollin and Corrie!” Sampson noticed. “And they’re being followed by a Beelzebufo!”
Feduciucc then saw who Sampson was referring to, prompting him to say, “What? You’re friends with an Albertonykus and an Epichirostenotes? And they’re now putting those cheap masks on for disguises! Hey, I must admit, that’s a pretty cool achievement for you guys, to make friends with discriminated species. Well, the traffic’s gone now, so see ya later, morons!”
Kollin and Corrie eventually made it to Jeff’s car, but the frog was still persisting to eat Kollin.
“So, did you disappear because of this?” asked Sampson.
“In fact, it’s the exact same frog that chased me out of the house!”
“Okay, now we’ve had two frogs enter our house somehow. How odd...”
“Oh, so you got one yourselves?”
“Yeah, it attacked my head thinking it was edible. Luckily Lora managed to get it off me.”
“Wait, it even tried that? Man, those frogs will eat anything. Say, what are we going to do about the one that’s chasing us right now?”
“I have absolutely no idea,” Jeff concluded.
“Wait, I’ve got an idea.” Corrie then got some paper and drew a replica of Kollin, with many details of feathering and skin present. She then opened one of the car’s windows and sent the replica out, hoping to fool the Beelzebufo into thinking that it really was Kollin. “Aaaaaand there it goes.”
“Wait, how did you design something so well so quickly?” wondered Lora.
“Well, I’ve become pretty used to doing these things when Kollin is off ranting. And by the looks of it, it seems to have worked.”
Kollin then turned to Corrie and said, “Uh, and thanks for saving me from that beast by the way.”
Corrie was quite happy to see that her roommate actually thanked her for saving him. “No problem at all.” She then gave him another hug, which he gladly returned.
Kollin then turned to Sampson and Lora. “Say, how was that Bone Wars episode?”
“As ridiculous as usual,” the former replied.
“Still want to tell us what happened that night between you two?” teased Jeff.
“Uh, seriously, it’s not something we really want to share, remember.”
“Come on. It can’t be that bad.”
“…we decided to watch a live stream of some guys watching the series The Parksosaurs, and attentively watched the chat and commentary.”
Jeff, Kollin and Corrie just remained quiet, until Kollin said “Well, the franchise seen for sissies has finally gotten something decent then, if intelligent geeky people can enjoy it.”