This story is dedicated to Markus who suggested the crossover and helped in the story's development. Enjoy!
"Ol' Man River...He just keeps rolling...He keeps on rolling along..."
"Hey, Yar. Yar! You're singing in your sleep!," said Zini, trying to shake the lemur patriarch awake.
It was no use; Yar, in his deep slumber, continued, "He don't plant 'taters, he don't plant cotton..."
"What's cotton and taters?," asked Suri with a girlish giggle.
"Who knows," said Zini, still trying to rouse Yar. "He keeps singing about a river and getting drunk."
Suri giggled, saying, "Well, Aladar's been doing the same thing, only it's something about preparing a highway in the desert for someone."
"Yeah," said Zini, "they're both going at it like...Hey, didn't Sarama say she keeps hearing songs and stuff? Maybe Yar and Aladar are hearing stuff, but it isn't like what she hears."
Suri shrugged. "Hey, it's been bugging me, too. I never told Mom this, but I'll tell you. A few nights ago, I dreamed that I was with a bunch of other creatures, but they didn't look like us. Well, someone else who looked a little like Sarama's kid stood next to me. We were stuck in the back, and all this stuff was in front of us. All we had to do was hit these things to make the sounds. Know what? Everyone else had a thing in their hands making the same sounds. It was beautiful, and Mom was so proud of me."
"Proud of what?"
They turned around to see Plio, the lemur matriarch, giving them a disapproving look. It was just past dawn, and most of the Herd was still asleep. Plio looked at Yar, stretched out on Baylene's tail, still snoring and singing in his sleep.
"Hmm," she said with a smile, "Seems Yar is really having a good dream. He's never sung like that even when he's awake."
"That's what we've been trying to tell you," said Zini. "Everyone's got the same thing, even Aladar and Eema. Oh-oh. What's this? Baylene?"
Indeed, the lemurs gathered to listen to a still sleeping Baylene humming a lovely tune. What is coming over everyone? One by one, each Herd member began singing or humming to themselves, music that wouldn't exist for millions of years. It was just the other day Sarama at last shared those visions she had years ago, long before the Fireball. Seems, after another female's eggs were smashed by a rampaging carnotaur, Sarama began hearing strange yet beautiful sounds. She could even see the creature making those sounds. In time, she told Aladar and the others, the entire Herd will come to know these creatures who performed such exquisite music.
The elderly brachiosaurus stirred awake, surprised by the audience gathered around her.
"Oh," she said, her voice still heavy with leftover sleep, "I had the most interesting dream. We were all going somewhere, and someone sang this lovely song. Such a beautiful voice he had."
Plio wondered what these signs meant, and she wanted to share with Sarama. Seems in the past few years since coming to this place, everyone's ability to glimpse into the far-off future increased tenfold.
First, Baylene began sensing faces from her past. It was Sarama who told the Herd of Baylene's peculiar and tragic history, and the clairvoyant parasaurolophus foresaw the elderly brachiosaur's lasting legacy.
Then, not long afterwards, Sarama foresaw a tragedy that would not happen for millions of years. A grand ship, carrying Eema's remains of all things, struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage, taking all but a handful of souls to the bottom of the sea. Both Sarama and Eema felt this event unfolding, sensed the bitter cold waters and desperate screams of hapless victims. Yet, out of this tragedy, Eema's legacy emerged triumphant, thanks to diligence on part of those future creatures who will inhabit this planet long after the dinosaurs' demise.
Now, it has happened again, only this time the signs pointed to an actual encounter with those creatures. This is what unsettled Sarama, and that was one vision she had yet to share with the rest of the Herd. She never even told Hadron, her long time, faithful mate. These latest visions, the hearing of strange yet beautiful music notwithstanding, proved quite troubling.
What disturbed Sarama even more that her closest friends were experiencing the same thing, only in their dreams. Almost every night, Yar and Aladar sang in their sleep; Baylene and Eema head someone singing. Although Suri never shared her dreams with anyone other than Zini, Sarama felt it, saw it in her own dreams. Last night, she saw the lemur child along with another child dinosaur, merrily playing whatever those things were. Why was everyone experiencing these things? Sarama, long before dawn, while the Herd slept, stole to the rock formation where upon the remains of the legendary Gotoma rested.
"Oh, Gotoma, you appeared to us before...When I foresaw the tragic sinking of the Titanic, and Eema's ultimate legacy...Gotoma, it is happening again..."
Sarama stood at the base of the rock formation. Even with the bit of light in the eastern sky, it was still quite dark, but a brilliant full moon illuminated her surroundings. In the silvery moonlight, she could see Gotoma's bones, forever enshrined in solid granite. As she intoned his name, she could feel his presence, his wisdom. Sarama knew it was true: Not only did Gotoma found the Nesting Grounds as a place to rejuvenate and reconnect, but to enable all who live here the ability to see into the far-off future. Yet, this time, those visions and clairvoyant episodes pointed to not a specific event but an actual encounter with alien creatures who will have a profound impact on the Herd, perhaps change life as they know it forever. This is what unsettled Sarama so much, and she had to seek out advice from Gotoma. So she continued to speak to his bones.
"Gotoma," she said with reverence, "you appeared to us before, and now, more than ever, I need your guidance. I am not only seeing visions of these creatures but hearing the most exquisite sounds. This has spread to the rest of the Herd, most notably Yar and Aladar. They are singing in their sleep! And now Eema and Baylene are hearing the same things. Baylene, at this moment, is mouthing words in a language I don't understand. Eema is singing to what I think is an unseen being, perhaps a higher power, but I can't figure it out. Right now I sense danger not only for us, but for creatures who live far beyond here, perhaps beyond the stars themselves. Please, help me..."
Bathed in moonlight, the solid granite wall seemed to sparkle and glow, taking on an appearance of coming alive. As was when Aladar and Yar experienced it, Sarama was about encounter the spirit of Gotoma. Only this time, the legendary dinosaur's words of wisdom would cause even more consternation for Sarama. She thought of her daughter Ola who now exhibited the same prophetic gifts, only the girl's visions involved an encounter with creatures that died out eons ago. How can that be? How can we see and converse with animals who came before ages ago? Yet Ola insisted she saw these dinosaur children, some who looked like her, others who somewhat resembled Baylene but not as tall, save one.
"Her name was Sue, and she was so tall!" said Ola in straight-out manner. So sure of her budding talents, little Ola insisted her visions would always come true. So did Sarama at that age, when she glimpsed into the Herd's future. That is what troubled Sarama so, and she had to get answers.
Gotoma's old bones glowed, then fleshed out as in life. The old dinosaur's head turned to Sarama. He smiled at her, noting the parasaurolophus' conflicting emotions. He knew what was going on, and now was the time to inform Sarama of not only the days to come but another visit to another valley long ago. Those previous visits set in motion an impending arrival of the very creatures Sarama foreshadowed. Subsequently, this visit would seal the Herd's true fate, and for the better.
"Sarama," said Gotoma in an ethereal voice, "I know why you have come here. It is those visions, this time of mysterious creatures visiting our Nesting Grounds. It is true, Sarama, and it cannot be avoided. I have seen this day coming for many, many years. You think the creatures' visit will have profound impact on the Herd. That much is true, but not what you fear. On the contrary, what the Herd will experience will directly impact its very future, and I have seen this."
Sarama stood dumbfounded. So, the creatures have been here before. How? When? In the Herd's lifetime? These questions she levelled at Gotoma.
He replied, "Sarama, one of those beings came to this planet eons after my death. You see, when I founded the Nesting Grounds, there was another valley much like this one. It was fertile and green, teeming with life, and it sheltered many a family. To this valley arrived a stranger, so unlike us appearance-wise but like us in character. He called himself Ricar Tasou, a brave warrior from his home world. Somehow, by someone, a time slip was breached in the outer realms of space far above this planet. Through this breach Ricar passed, bringing him here. He remained long enough to acquaint himself with the valley residents, learned their ways. He also discovered several disturbing things: One of that Herd had died, another left the valley out of grief, and the fate of a sister was still unknown. But only one, other than myself, knew what happened to the youngling. She was kidnapped by the very one who breached the time slip. Now, he is long dead, killed by the one you saw in your dreams. There will be trying times ahead, Sarama, for the Herd, and for the remainder of Ricar's family and warrior friends. As I speak, the son of that evil one desperately endeavors to fulfill his father's destiny. He feels the good in his father, and he wants to draw his father away from the evil which consumed him long ago. Others are determined to take back their worlds from a far more wicked one. There will be much death and sorrow before this dreaded evil is stopped."
Sarama asked, "But what does this all have to do with the Herd? What you described happened millions of years ago. Yet, it seems as it all happened just days ago."
Gotoma replied, "Yes, Ricar's visit here was, in Earth terms, millions of years ago. But he was a young man, still learning his craft as a warrior. In time he became a fully fledged Jedi Knight, yet he left the Order to marry and have children. Ricar is now dead, killed during the wars. His widow and children hid for many years, always fearing the purge that took so many of Ricar's colleagues. Now, the widow is dead; the children are grown. It is Ricar's children, Marbe and Kirel, who will come here, and this was planned by the parents. You see, Ricar foresaw his children's greatness; and, for one, that destiny lies here on Earth but in an entirely different time period. There are those who are, at this moment, monitoring this impending visit. Some for good, others for evil, selfish purposes."
At the approach of dawn, Gotoma knew he had to return to the nether world of the afterlife, so he left Sarama with these words:
"All I can say is this: There will be danger ahead, but there will be wonderment and joyous reunions. I cannot say for whom, but what will transpire within the coming days will alter the Herd's future forever. And, when the time comes, when she makes herself known, follow her, Sarama. Convince the Herd that this is written in the stars, this relocation to a land rich in wonder and all things fantastic. Oh, yes, the music the Herd hears...You will hear it often, and come to love it. A few members of our beloved Herd will discover talents they never dreamed possible. That is a promise."
That said, Gotoma fell silent; the bones solidified with the granite wall.
Sarama sighed, still not knowing what to make of Gotoma's story. Was it true? A creature from a world far away made a visit to this very planet, and his children now are heading this way. She had to look up at the sky, now beginning to illuminate with the rising sun. Even with the increasing light, stars were still visible. One in particular seemed to pulsate and move. It slowly streaked across the sky, pass the brightest morning star. Sarama wondered if this was the sign of things to come.
She sighed again, glancing at a stirring Hadron. Old had already awakened, taking her usual stroll to the lake. Sarama's gaze followed Ola from the lake to the trees where the child's attention was momentarily distracted by a flying lizard. The girl began to chase the reptile, running here and there, finally bringing her to that cave. The lizard flew inside the cave and Ola followed. At first, Sarama didn't worry as the cave served as the alternate route to the Nesting Grounds. Yet...there was a chance Ola could find her way to the other side, therefore ending up in the canyon where the Herd encountered the carnotaur... In an instant, Sarama blew a series of alarms, alerting the entire Herd awake. Ola may find herself in danger. She said to a half sleepy Hadron, "She went into the cave. She may become lost, or worse, on the outside...in the canyon..."
Aladar noticed that too, saying, "Sarama, you and Hadron come with me. We'll head her off. She's little, so she probably hasn't gotten too far inside. With any luck, she'll get scared then come out–"
At that moment, from the cave, they heard a child scream in terror. Out came Ola followed by the most curious looking thing...
It was Eema, seeing this thing, who asked, "What is that? And is it dangerous?"
Copyright @2006 by P.R. Parker. All Rights Reserved.