The Grassy River Plain

You go down the hill and come into a wide grassy plain between the hill and the river. You can see the river up ahead, but the grass is almost as tall as you are. As you continue through the grass, you almost run into something you’ve never seen before. It looks like a giant bony snapping turtle, with a long clubbed tail and armored ridges and humps all across its wide back. You shrink back into the tall grass and pound down on the button of your ETC.

YOU
Dr. Owen, you better be listening! You’re not going to believe what I’m looking at right now…

DR. OWEN
That’s strange—[static]—my screen showed you moving on the museum map; it says you’re not by the main entrance anymore.

YOU
Dr. Owen, listen to me! I’m standing in front of a real actual real-life dinosaur! It’s a chunky four-legged dinosaur with a club on the end of its tail… I think it's a—ummm—an anklee-oh-saurus!

DR. OWEN
[Long pause.] Now listen, kid, that’s just ridiculous. I can’t believe I called the police; you’re just hiding somewhere in the museum right?

As Dr. Owen is speaking, the dinosaur turns. It hasn’t seen you yet, and you’re now behind it.

YOU
I’m not joking Dr. Owen, there’s really a real dinosaur here! I bet you wish you could see this!

DR. OWEN
[Confused] This just doesn’t make any sense. I’m looking at my display here that shows where you are in the museum. It says you’re in the ankylosaurus exhibit. But I just looked again at the date indicator, which makes sure the clock on your ETC is synced to the main office clock for closing time… It says the date on your ETC is… 153 million years B.C.E.!

YOU
I told you so! I’m standing in front of a real-live dinosaur!

DR. OWEN
This is unbelievable. I don’t know how it’s possible, but it is. You’re in the time of the dinosaurs. What I wouldn’t give to be where you are right now! Now, my display here says you’re in the ankylosaurus exhibit, and you say you’re standing in front of a club-tailed dinosaur… Could it be true?

YOU
What?

DR. OWEN
Well, the museum was modeled after a real dinosaur quarry just outside the city. The main entrance is where the hill would be, then just past that is the ankylosaurus exhibit, which is right where you are now. Extraordinary! Somehow, it’s telling me exactly where you are, based on the exhibits in the museum!

You look up at the ankylosaurus and have an idea...

YOU
I’m going to try to ride it.

DR. OWEN
What?! No you’re not! Stay as far away as you can!

YOU
Well, just think: If I can ride it, I’ll get to where that blue light is in no time. The sun is really setting now, and I have a strange feeling that the blue light has something to do with me getting back home!

DR. OWEN
Don’t be ridiculous! Ankylosaurus is a herbivore but it’s dangerous and we have no idea what kind of temper it has. It could knock you over or hit you with its tail without even noticing. Don’t even think about going near that thing!

DECISION TIME

Do you approach the ankylosaurus, or keep your distance?