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The three members of the Paleontology club sat in the near-dark of Trilobite Park's education centre. They sat apart from the other students, who they had come to hate in a very short span of time.

"This is not as much fun as I thought it was going to be," Blake said. "You getting a signal yet, Juraj?"

"Still nothing," Juraj said, holding up his phone. "Damn it, I have to log in soon. My Candy Train Empire needs constant updating if I want the Crystal Station built by Wednesday."

"Cheese 'n' crackers," Daisy sighed. "Turn off the damn phone. Everyone turn off your phones. You ain't got no way to recharge 'em so just check in once an hour, capice." ...continue reading "Trilobite Park — Chapter 18: Courage"

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When the alarms went off and the lockdown locked down, Valerie had been in Thag's office, trying to find a suitable instructional video about ancient curses on YouTube.

"I think we were right about this place being cursed," she said, shouting over the klaxon.

"Yeah, I gathered," said the perpetually exasperated Thag, turning on his phone-light. "And now the internet has gone down. Great."

"What do we do now?"

"Me?" Thag said. "I'm HR Manager, so I'd better get to work saving peoples' lives and trying to stop the curse. You? You've been very helpful, but this isn't really your responsibility. You can just hide out here in my office, if you like."

"Now hold on, I'm the one who sold –" ...continue reading "Trilobite Park — Chapter 17: Danger at Every Turn"

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After some serious deliberation the students and plumbers decided that, for safety's sake, the Prime Minister needed to be hidden. After a lot of arguing, no one was willing to accept responsibility for babysitting the nation's leader. In the end, they drew straws and June ended up responsible for finding a hidey hole for the doughy idiot.

Sighing deeper than she'd ever sighed before, she led Prime Minister Brett Blandson through the darkened corridors of Trilobite Park. "If we can make it to the security office, that barbarian woman can look after you," she said.

"I've got nothing against the Barbarian people," the PM said, "they've made a wonderful addition to this great country, but did she arrive legally? Or at least illegally, but by plane?"

"Shut up." ...continue reading "Trilobite Park — Chapter 16: The Doom that Came to Room 12a"

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2

Jacobs stood with Hey Ew in the twilit corridor outside Room 807b. The floor was wet with brine that trickled out from under the door. The emergency lighting buzzed and flickered. A vending machine lay broken on the floor.

"The lights are off for, like, twenty minutes and already people are breaking into vending machines," Jacobs scowled.

"No, the vending machines were all broken into long before the emergency," Hay said. "It was just after my cafeteria opened, as a matter of fact." ...continue reading "Trilobite Park — Chapter 15: Winds of Terror"

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2

Barry stood behind Captain Pete's desk, a mixture or annoyed, bored and terrified. Annoyed because Captain Pete was dragging his feet on the paperwork, bored because watching the Captain slowly fill in paperwork was frankly dull, and terrified because a primordial trilobite spirit was scuttling ever closer to taking control of his body.

It was not a great day.

"And schedule D," he said.

"Aye."

"No, schedule D. There's no schedule I."

"Why, ye lubber…"

...continue reading "Trilobite Park — Chapter 14: The Trial of Metamorphosis"

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Hello, my tens of fans. There was a sickness in my family this week -- nothing serious and everyone's recovered, but I'm seriously behind the eight-ball on just about everything I was supposed to do. Consequently, my new-schedule Trilobite Park will begin next week, and if I have time there will also be some other stuff.

Thanks for your patience, and come back again for more crazy extinct-arthropod related hilarity next week.

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Change of schedule -- I'm finding it a little hard to write a 1000 word update once a week, so instead there will be two 500 word updates. Ideally, these will be Tuesday and Friday. Thanks, and hope you keep reading. Or start reading. Whatever.

In the education room, Maria and Lenore watched and sighed as the teenagers bickered about who would make the escape through the air ducts. The argument went on for nearly twenty minutes, until Juraj was selected by virtue of being the skinniest. The teens then unscrewed the access panel only to find that even skinny Juraj was much too broad-shouldered to fit in.

"Could have told them that," Lenore said. She was buffing her fingernails, which were surprisingly well groomed for a plumber. "If air ducts were big enough for people, they wouldn't be air ducts. They'd be corridors."

"So why didn't you tell them that?

"Eh, it was funny to watch."

"Good to see Aussie kids having a go," said the weird, creepy, fleshy guy who was hanging around. "You have to have a go to get a go, and if you get a go you have to have a go, because if you take your go then, fair dinkum..."

"Who were you again?" Maria asked.

"The Prime Minister." ...continue reading "Trilobite Park — Chapter 13: Escape Impossible"

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In Canberra, miles away from the disaster at Trilobite Park, a hood was being yanked off the head of a handcuffed man. He blinked in the sudden brightness, and sneered at his captors.

"Taipan McGillacuddie?" came a voice.

"You know, the hood was kind of uncalled for," Taipan said. "I only have one eye. You could have just moved my eyepatch over onto it, and I couldn't have seen a thing."

"You have been –"

"I mean, I guess the hood was easier to pull over my head, but it's hot. Middle of summer, yeah?"

"You have been accused –"

"I don't even want to think about how my hair looks now," Taipan continued. "I know, I'm an ex-special forces hardass turned criminal, maybe I shouldn't be worried about the hair. But my mullet is my trademark, you know? Where am I anyhow? AFP headquarters?" ...continue reading "Trilobite Park — Chapter 12: Downhill"

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2

Control Room

When the lights went down, Jacobs the engineer didn't have time to wait for R17 to climb the stairs from the pump-room. He ran up them two at a time, tripped, fell on his face, turned on the flashlight on his phone, and ran up them again. Bursting from the pump-room door, he ran across the corridor into the Trilobite Park control room. Backup power was on inside the room indicated – for some reason – by a red incandescent bulb that the unknown original engineer had seen fit to install.

"Converse with me, humans," Jacobs said.

There was a long pause before a palid young man in an Aquaman t-shirt replied: "Do you mean 'talk to me people?'"

"Yes," Jacobs said, hoping that the reddening of this face wasn't visible in the crimson light. "That." ...continue reading "Trilobite Park — Chapter 11: No Improvements Here"

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Jacobs and R17

In the cool damp bowels of Trilobite Park, Jacobs the chief engineer was heading towards apoplexy. The plumbers who he had hired were nowhere to be seen, the pumping room was full of smashed barrels and there actually seemed to be more pipes running spaghetti-like through the room.

"This is bad engineering," he said. "The engineering is just bad."

He noted that this wasn't much of a thing to say, but as there was no one there to hear him, he didn't suppose that it made a difference.

The robot R17 entered from upper doorway. "Beep," it said.

"No, stay there…" Jacobs began, too late to stop the thing from toppling down the stairs. ...continue reading "Trilobite Park — Chapter 10: From Worse to Worserer"

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