The Nanotyrannus glared at the T. rex nest. he knew thaat one day, the eggs in that nest would hatch into his mortal enemy, and he couldn't let that happen. The pack was hunting Triceratops miles away, and he knew it was time to act. He walked to the nest, wary that there was also a juvenile here. It would have to die as well, but not right now, only when the Nanotyrannus had food and strength. He walked up to the nest, full of eggs, and started digging them up and eating them, paying attention to the feeling of Earth under his feet. The moment that he felt thunder, it would be time to flee.
The eyes of the T. rex stared out from the trees at the grazing herd of plant-eaters. Finally, her eyes rested on a young individual with a wounded leg, probably induced during a sparring match with another Triceratops. That was the target. With a bellowing roar, she abandoned surprise and rushed out from the trees, flanked by two smaller males. The herd rushed into a panic, and from the other side of the clearing emerged the other four pack members. Together, they forced the herd towards the river. With luck, the wounded one would be slowed down enough for the female to pick off.
In the bushes, a pack of Troodon watched the hunt with interest. They knew once it was over, there would be meat to scavenge if they could get back the pack of T. rex. The herd of Triceratops crossed the river, but the individual wounded in a dominance fight two days before fell behind. The Troodon pack leader with the broken hand strained to see. Before this fight was over, either a Triceratops or a T. rex would be dead. She could feel it in her bones.
The mammals fled as the foot of a Triceratops crashed through their burrow. One male was crushed underfoot by the giant herbivores. The others scrambled towards the escape route in the forest. As they scuttled out, the T. rex grabbed the Triceratops by the frill. The giant bellowed and charged forward, knocking down a tree which hurtled towards the small mammals. It missed them by inches, and they watched with interest as another T. rex came from behind and bit down on the Triceratops' back, ending the fight when it had barely begun.
Far above, the eyes of a Quetzalcoatlis stared on with interest as the Triceratops collapsed and died. There could be meat in store, but not with the whole T. rex pack there. It noticed another opportunity - a pack of troodons were watching in the bushes. The giant pterosaur swooped down and landed, stretching nearly as tall as the sauropods that roamed to the south. It reached down and grabbed at the little Troodons. They fled into the trees where the Quetzalcoatlis couldn't reach, so it abandoned the chase and flew away, unnerved by the victory bellows of the tyrannosaurs.
In the seas, a giant monster stared up at the flying pterosaur with ravenous hunger. The past week, there had been little food. The giant Elasmosaurs had migrated north and there was no food but tiny Dolichlorhyncops. The mighty leviathan, Tylosaurus, plied the waters, searching for food. It knew that soon it would have to follow the migrating giants and find sustenance, but for now it had to build up body fat for the long trip.
Far above this primeval world, a massive object moved slowly forward. It was on a course for the Earth, but there was one last chance to prevent a massive collision. The Moon had taken impacts for the Earth before and it could do so again. But the asteroid had built up so much momentum that is missed the Moon by little more than a few miles. Nothing could stop it now.
The Nanotyrannus saw a distant light. Curiosity interrupted it and it stared up at the sky, where the sun was setting. But there was a second sun now, and it was setting much faster. It seemed to engulf the horizon in light, and then there was silence. Suddenly, the Earth rumbled, throwing the Nanotyrannus off it's feet. The spritely beast leaped back up and ran as a wall of fire moved towards it and the rest of this world's inhabitants.
The female T. rex heard as well, and her feast was interrupted when balls of fire started raining down from the sky. She bellowed and charged to avoid the fireballs. One struck near her companions and flung most of them to the ground. Two would never get up. In desperation, she plunged into the water, and just in time as flames engulfed the world.
The damp ferns protected the Troodons from the blast, but even hiding in the forest they weren't unscathed. Several were incinerated in puffs of smoke, and even the water seemed to burn. The pack leader with the broken hand charged for an overturned mammal burrow in desperation and leaped in. The feathers burned off her back before she was engulfed by dirt and soil.
The mammals dug into a new burrow just as the flames licked their hiding place. Many of them were consumed by flames, sending an eerie cry out into the world as they roasted. Many were well hidden in the little hollow under the rock, but the ground shook and chips of stone flew about, slaughtering many of the survivors as they flew into a panic.
The Quetzalcoatlis fought to outrun the wall of flames. It had to hide somewhere. On the water was a tiny island where it knew there were sea caves. Normally, it would never hide in them because they were dangerously close to the water and to deadly predators. But this was a desperate time. It swooped into the nearest cave and huddled down as the world seemed to end.
The Tylosaurus couldn't tell what was up and what was down. A wall of water swept across the sea and fireball after fireball impacted the sea, each one threatening to engulf it. One of the waves rolling towards the land swept it up and flung it towards the rocks. It bellowed as it seemed that it was about to be slain upon the land.
The Nanotyrannus, battered and burned but alive, stood up. The danger seemed to be over and it wondered what had just happened. It walked into the clearing where moments before it had been eating the eggs of the T. rex pack. They were all ashes, and it smelled the burning scent of flesh. The juvenile T. rex had been sneaking up on it. Well, that wasn't a problem anymore. The eggs were no longer a threat, so instinct took over and it left to hunt for food.
The T. rex female woke up a minute or two after the sky had fallen. It lay on a mudflat, swept down a mile or two to the ocean's edge. The tyrant lizard king stood and shook off the mud. Where was she, and what had happened to her pack? She decided to follow the river and find her territory.
The Troodon pack leader would have died then and there, but one of her subordinates dug her out with the killer claw on his foot. She stood up and shook the dirt out of what remained of her feathers. What had just happened? She looked up to find that all the T. rex were either dead or badly wounded. The Triceratops carcass was litle more than charred bones. She found that only four members of her pack besides herself were still alive, and of them two were badly wounded. They were unlikely to recover for many days, so she attacked and killed one, then started eating it. The other wounded Troodon yelped and started running. With a snarl, she chased after it and lashed out with her foot claw, slashing across it's abdomen and leg. It collapsed and she started eating it before it was dead. After she had eaten her fill, she turned to her two surviving subordinates. They began eating. she looked up at the sky. The sun had been setting only moments before, and now the orange sky was turning black. Fires still raged and consumed the forests, so it seemed the only safe course of action was to follow the river. Water counteracted fire, so they would probably be safe in the wet mud of the riverbank. They turned to leave their old territory, and they left behind a field of charred Triceratops corpses.
The few remaining mammals under the stone began to eat their fallen comrades. It would not do to waste food. To survive, they had to eat. They started building new nests. Soon, there would be babies to carry on the next generation, and they had to make sure that they survived.
The Quetzalocoatlis raised a water-drenched wing. It wouldn't be flying today. The immediate danger was over, and now there was the business of finding food. It left the cave and started walking along the coast, careful not to get drenched by the pounding surf. It would have to find sustenance further inland, but a massive fire still burned there, consuming the forest that covered this island. The ground felt hot to the touch and the rocks glowed like embers. What had happened to this world? Somehow, the pterosaur knew that things would never be the same again.
The Tylosaurus lay on the other side of the island. Like the Quetzalcoatlis, it was stranded on land, and it knew it had broken bones. It needed to find something to eat before it died. It heard the cry of a Quetzalcoatlis, and it whirled in the direction of the noise. It was not alone on this island. It had to eat, and the Quetzalcoatlis would do fine.
The Nanotyrannus had searched it's entire territory, and it couldn't find any living food. Could it be that everything was dead? How did that happen? It found an Ankylosaurus, lying on it's stomach, burned and wounded. Normally, a Nanotyrannus would never take on a fully-grown Ankylosaurus, but this one was on the brink of death, so it couldn't be too dangerous. The beast moved cautiously towards the head. In the blink of an eye, the tail club whirled about and slammed into the Nanotyrannus' foot. It leaped back and it's foot throbbed. It was obviously broken. The Ankylosaurus moaned and died, and the Nanotyrannus limped forward and flipped it over, then started eating. To survive in this new world with a broken food, it had to eat.
The T. rex was burned and bruised, but she could still walk. She moved further up the river, and she smelled the distinctive scent of meat. There was an Edmontosaurus in the water, a carcass drifting down the river. The T. rex leaned over and clutched the leg in it's mouth, then started eating. It needed that food. Once it had it's fill, it took a drink of water and kept moving. If it's pack was still alive, then it would be upriver. One T. rex alone would have difficulty hunting for food in this wasteland, but a pack could kill creatures an individual couldn't dream of bringing down. It was just a matter of walking.
The Troodon pack skulked along the river banl and noticed a turtle in the water. The pack leader glared at it. It hadn't seen her yet. It leaned forward, slowly but surely moving it's mouth closer to the tiny reptile. As fast as lightning, it plucked the turtle from the water and devoured most of it, throwing the shell to her subordinates. While the female ate, the male glared at the pack leader. Her back was turned as she scanned for more turtles. He could kill her and take over the pack. But he knew it was a bad idea. Two Troodons would have far less chance of taking down large herbivores than one. If the whole pack was intact, then it could be a good idea, but with only three survivors an insurrection was the last course of action they could afford to take. He relaxed and returned to taking meat of the turtle shell. Soon, when the pack had grown to it's full size again, after the alpha or the other female had mated and lain eggs, then he could take over.
The mammals started hunting small insects. However, many of them fell prey to Didelphodon, a badger-sized mammal that had once eaten the eggs of dinosaurs. They had to find new territory to escape, so they climbed into the trees to escape the deadly jaws of the hunting marsupials. But fire was coming, so the Didelphodons waited patiently until the small mammals would be forced to climb down into their waiting jaws.
A Gallimimus was fleeing from the fires on the island. It ran right out of the frying pan, then into the fire as the Quetzalcoatlis snatched it up and ate it. As it ate it's meal, it faced away from the sea, so it didn't see the mosasaur lunging forward. It felt a sharp pain in it's left leg and it screamed as the Tylosaurus dragged it towards the sea.
The Tylosaurus knew that the Quetzalcoatlis would put up a struggle, but it was surprised by the ferocity of the huge pterosaur. With a sharp crack, it brought down it's sharp beak on the roof of the mosasaur's head. The Tylosaurus bellowed with pain and the Quetzalcoatlis escaped, presumably to fly away. But the Tylosaurus had underestimated his quarry. The beak came down again and drilled into his back. The wounded beast retreated into the sea and sank to the bottom to escape the powerful jaws of the pterosaur.
The flames swept through the forest towards the Ankylosaurus carcass, and the Nanotyrannus was left with no choice but to abandon the dead beast. Normally, during a fire it would hunt on the outskirts and kill anything fleeing the flames or cooked by the blaze, but not after eating such a large meal and certainly not with a broken foot. The Nanotyrannus doubted it could outrun the flames and it headed for a small hill, which could hopefully provide shelter until the fire had died out. Atop the ridge, the sheer immensity of the destruction wreaked by the mysterious fireball stretched out before him. What had happened to the world? Suddenly, it was startled by a noise. It whirled to find itself faced by a Triceratops. The gentle giant was startled by the sudden appearance of this predator and it charged. There was nowhere to run but the fire, and it couldn't get out of the way fast enough to avoid the collision. It was like being hit by a train. The dwarf tyrannosaur sailed through the air and landed in an unconscious heap.
The female T. rex continued upriver towards her old territory. The smell of fire met her nose and she moved closer to the river. This is exactly what an unseen foe had been waiting for. A huge Deinosuchus lunged forward and clamped onto her leg. The T. rex roared with anger and frustration and lunged forward, dragging the huge crocodilian from the water. It struggled and she fell backwards into the water, where two others grasped her and attempted a death roll. With a defiant roar, the female turned the water crimson. But she was drowning. Water filled her lungs as her tail propelled her towards the surface. She lunged to the surface where the third Deinosuchus was waiting. She walked onto the riverbank and flattened the crocodile's skull under her foot.
The Troodon pack leader watched with interest as the T. rex ate the dead Deinosuchus. She knew that if they wanted food, this was the time to act. Her and her subordinates crept through the undergrowth towards the dead beast and the female subordinate walked slowly forward, ready to grab a chunk of meat and run. The T. rex froze, and so did the female. The T. rex then resumed eating, and she continued to creep forward, thinking the T. rex hadn't noticed her. But it had. As soon as she was in striking range, the T. rex grabbed her and gulped her down. The male let out a battle screech. That was his mate, and he had to avenge her. He assumed the pack leader was at his side, but she hung back. She knew he couldn't win this fight. Realizing this, the male wheeled around. The T. rex roared and ran after him, and the last thing the pack leader ever saw was the bottom of the T. rex's foot.
The Quetzalcoatlis had a badly injured leg, but the fire had dried out it's wings enough that it could fly and it fled the deadly mosasaur. Disappointingly, the mosasaur remained alive, meaning the Quetzalcoatlis would have to find food inland. It flew towards the flames, knowing it could probably snatch up a bird or two in midair.
In the water, the injured Tylosaurus knew that it's blood was luring sharks. To survive those sharks, it needed food. A few Dolichlorhyncops and some large ammonites had survived, and it did manage to kill a Xiphinactis, but the blast and the tsunamis had killed off pretty much everything else. Starving and wounded, the Tylosaurus headed towards the river delta. With luck, some carcasses might get washed downstream.
The Nanotyrannus awakened to great pain and the sound of munching. It opened it's eyes to see a huge pack of Didelphodon was eating him alive. He roared and tried to stand, but his injuries were too great. The tiny mammals swarmed all over him and he grabbed up two with his jaws, ripping them apart with animalistic savagery. A trickle of blood ran down his chest as one Didelphodon bit down on his throat and it's jaws sank into his windpipe. His roars of agony slowly faded and soon the only sound to be heard was the crackle of fire below and the munching of the Didelphodon as they consumed their spoils, shortly before the flames consumed the rest and left only another blackened skeleton in the bleak wasteland.
The female T. rex, weakened by the attack of the Deinosuchus and her near drowning, lumbered on towards her old territory, despite the pain inflicted on the bottom of her foot by a Troodon's foot claw moments before it was killed. The wound would probably become infected. She needed to keep up her strength to survive. She had to kill. She ventured towards the roaring flames, ready to devour whatever fled the inferno. A pair of Gallimimus met her gaping jaws and were destroyed, but she needed more than that to feed her bulk. Suddenly, she heard a familiar sound from atop a distant hill. It was a Triceratops, which meant food. She walked over hot embers where the fire had burned away all it's fuel towards the hill and her mouth watered in anticipation of the kill.
In the trees, the flames licked at the little mammal's tails. Below, the new nest under the rock was protected from the flames, but the heat was enough to literally cook the inhabitants, and they were roasted alive. Some even lasted long enough to melt in the blazing inferno. Those in the trees didn't fare much better. One after another, the trees fell and the tiny mammals met either the jaws of the fire or of the Didelphodon that waited so patiently for their meals below. It was obvious that they had to find another escape route. So they scurried through the trees away from the fire and from the carnivores, and they scurried towards where they thought they could find safety.
The lone male Troodon jumped at every noise. He knew that alone, he stood next to no chance of survival. He would have to find a mate and start a new pack. Suddenly, there was a snap of twigs. He whirled to find a Didelphodon. He screeched and fled, but there were others ahead waiting to cut him off. His claws cut down one, two and three of the mammals, but he couldn't take them all. He fled into the fire and ran around to the sides, hoping to skirt the blaze and loose the Didelphodons. Suddenly, there was a loud whoosh and several tendrils of flame caught to him. He fell back towards the Didelphodons who lunged. His life would either be ended by falling back towards the flames or by the savage jaws of the hungry mammals. Suddenly, something grabbed him by his tail and pulled him up. It was the Quetzalcoatlis. He screeched and struggled, but if he fell he would land in the fire. With one gulp, his head vanished into a dark tunnel. He slashed out with his claws, but the beak clamped down hard on his back and his legs fell immobile. He was paralyzed, and he could only watch as he slid down a dark, wet tunnel into the giant's stomach to be digested.
The Quetzalcoatli could hardly feel the Troodon struggle as it slid down it's throat to be digested. It then grabbed up three small Didelphodons and consumed them. Satisfied, with a flap of it's wings it soared into the air and headed towards the island again, where it planned to nest in the future. It was a relatively isolated spot and there were no large predators, and it was only a minute or two from rich hunting grounds. It skimmed low over the water, hoping to grab a bird on the fly. That was a mistake. There was a massive splash and the mosasaur rocketed from the water and dragged the Quetzalcoatlis into the drink.
Once again, the hungry Tylosaurus underestimated the Quetzalcoatlis. The beast was crippled and as good as dead, but it still landed several sharp blows on the mosasaur's head and neck with it's beak. Blood filled the water and the mosasaur let out a low, deep rumble. The last thing the Quetzalcoatlis would ever see was the open jaws of the mosasaur, whereas the last thing the king of the sea would ever see was the pterosaur's beak protruding from his upper jaw and a thick plume of red blood gushing into the water.
Atop the hill where the Nanotyrannus met it's doom, the lone Triceratops grazed on some shrubs. Then, the Earth was filled with thunder. In the pond the Triceratops had drank from, ripples drifted across the water. It looked up to see the king of the Cretaceous striding forthwards and prepared for a fight to the death.
The T. rex bellowed and charged forwards. The Triceratops did the same and they met right at the skeleton of the Nanotyrannus, which was trampled and the ashes scattered to the wind. Didelphodons struggled to get out of the way as the greatest carnivore and the greatest herbivore met. One of the Triceratops mighty horns stabbed into the T. rexs hip while the other caught in the goliath's jaws. The Triceratops withdrew it's horn and the rex roared with pain and frustration. The horn clamped in it's jaws ripped away from the Triceratops skull and the giant herbivore, not feeling the pain thanks to adrenaline, stabbed the remaining horn deep into the T. rexs gut, then again into it's chest. The king of carnivores let loose one last, defiant roar and then collapsed, crushing the Triceratops under it's weight.
The mammals floated across the water on a branch to find the island. The fire had long since burned out and everything had been incinerated. They reached the sea caves and emerged onto the island, a new home. Instinctively, they scuttled up the nearest tree to build their new nest.
Under the beating sun of the badlands, Professor Smith excavated the last of the ancient primates from the dig site. The tiny mammals had obviously been thriving on the small island in the Early Paleocene before they disappeared, as if there was somewhere they needed to go. Smith briefly entertained the laughable notion that these could be his ancestors. "Hey, Doc!" came the voice of Jack, "over here!" Professor Smith ran over the crest of the hill, and there he saw something truly amazing. The skull of a T. rex poked up through the rocks.