Advent

Juravenators are nocturnal, so that means you keep night hours too. Suits you. You haven’t seen the right side of nine am since leaving home and you don’t aim to start now. Night’s a different color of daylight these days anyway, all bright lights and moving pictures. Midnight’s noon with a billboard deal.

Brainwashing this time, maybe, or maybe just poorly-timed religion. Either way, you’re both sharing space in the back pew of a box store that they’ve turned into a church, listening to the pleasant female voice of a robot reading the day’s lesson, which is from Sirach. Apparently there’s a book called Sirach.

“Send new portents, do fresh wonders, win glory for your hand and your right arm,” it reads. “Rouse your fury, pour out your rage, destroy the opponent, annihilate the enemy.” The crowd’s not really into it, or maybe they’re just too ground down for either wonders or fury. Alphonse keeps one saurian eye on the priest while you scan the crowd for your pigeon.

“I don’t see him,” you whisper. “Think we’ve got the wrong one again.”

“Name of a name,” says Alphonse. “I am full up of this nonsense.” He gnashes his teeth with frustration and the sinosauropteryx to his right edges uneasily away, forelimbs wheeling placatingly. “All right. Pack it in.”

You slide out of the pew, heading for the next night sermon on your list. Behind you the lesson goes on, give those who wait for you their reward, let your prophets be proved true, that placid robotic voice as perfect and unchanging as the face of god.

Some Sort of Holiday

Tank Girl and Magnum PI are hanging out by the punch bowl, talking about a lot of things, mostly aliens and the proper way for a t rex to eat a triceratops.

“It rips the head off,” says Tank Girl, with glee, “and then nibbles delicately at the tender meat of the face.

“Heck, yeah,” says Magnum. “The face is the best part. Tender as baby fat.”

They cackle madly and drink more. Across the room Jem, half in mufti as Jerricha, is talking convivially with Pizzazz. (They’ll make out later, to everyone’s unending delight.) Also, weirdly, about dinosaurs.

“They aren’t the biggest thing ever. They’re, like, only half the size of a blue whale.”

“Jesus, that’s big enough,” shudders Pizzazz, “have you seen those teeth? HUMAN. SIZED. Just look at the picture! God. There’s no bottom to an ocean with such monsters in it.”

The Mythbusters are digging it. Jamie doesn’t say much, but he’s slowly, wonderfully getting drunk as a lord and has nothing but good feelings for everyone.

Archaeology

So it maybe turns out you’ve been calling Alphonse the wrong thing all this time, which is mildly embarassing. “Is it jurvenator starki or juvenator starki?” you ask. “I read an article that said juravenator and now I don’t know.” He looks at you for a second, long enough for you to realize that that’s kind of a rude question, or at least fairly tactless. “Oh,” you say, quelled. “I guess you wouldn’t know. Why would you know?”

He bristles his feathers, the j. starki version of a shrug. “Focus, woman, focus. There are more pressing matters at hand. What do we know of our would-be killer?”

“They weren’t human,” you say. “And not bipedal. The prints are all wrong.”

“Go on,” he purrs.

“And I’d go farther. Look at the gouges here and here–” tapping the pictures with a pen. Alphonse picks his way across the table, nods. “–those are vault marks. I think they’re a dactyl, either Murgatroyd or MacGuillicuddy, they’ve both got motive enough.”

“More than enough. But can we put them there? Motive, yes, means, yes, you’ve spotted the key part, but opportunity, that’s the rub.”

Anachronism

The dinosaurs come back from space one day and try to integrate themselves into human society. For the most part it’s a success, no eating anyone or anything like that – even the mighty tyrannosaurs have had to become vegetarians after 65 million years in space – they aren’t even offended at Jurassic Park. “How quaint,” they say, or “Oh, I liked that one – so exciting!” You’re thrilled the dinosaurs are back (part of you is still three and goes Rarrrrrr! all the time) but they can be kind of patronizing.

A lot of the dinosaurs open detective agencies for some reason. They’re really good at it, through not so much at following people around. Even the compsognathus – the smallest dinosaur ever! – sticks out in a crowd, so for the boring day-to-day routine they hire people like you. “This is my Peephole Specialist,” says your boss, a juvenator starki who calls himself Alphonse. It’s hard to tell, but you think he’s smiling. You darkly suspect him of having a sense of humor.

“Thanks,” you growl. You’ve got five feet on him, easy, but he bullies you around like your older sister. “Pleased to meet you.”

“I don’t think you’ll have much work,” says your client, who’s a little too nervous. “It’s really just a simple job. I just want to know where my husband goes during the day. I think I’m entitled to that, surely? I mean, he’s my husband, I should know what he does for a living, right?”

“Of course,” purrs Al, and you suddenly remember that these dinosaurs have spent 65 million years surviving.