"Reuben! The mail's here!" Dad called from down the hall.
Reluctantly, I paused my session of Jewel Chase and walked down the hall. Dad was standing in the dining room, holding a medium-sized cardboard box. I looked at him funny.
"I'm... not entirely sure. It's from your sister."
"OH BOY!" I snatched the box (which was a little heavier than I thought it'd be) and dashed upstairs to my room. I had seen very little of my sister since she got that part-time as a Fossil Center staff member on Vivosaur Island. I tore open the box. In it was a yellow rock with a hole in the middle and a letter, which said something like this:
"Hello, Reubster! "Things are going well here. Those nasty B.B. Bandits have left town, and we're no longer under lockdown! I was so excited, I actually hung out with some of my co-workers. They're not as geeky as I thought they were. You're probably curious about that rock, right? Well, while I was walking around town, I found an interesting Neutral Fossil Rock by the Center's rear entrance. Seems like some careless fighter dropped it. I had it appraised at the Guild. The guy I talked to told me it was a Head Fossil, and that whatever it is has feathers. 'That's all I can tell you,' he said. You'll be eligible for your Fighters license again next year, so I figured you might like it.
"See you at the end of the summer! Hugs and kisses, Mia."
The P.A. buzzed to life one year to the day after I received the aforementioned rock. "Attention, denizens of Ribular Island! The first Fighter Station in the Caliosteo Island chain is now open! Please form an orderly line and register to use this amazing gift from Joe Wildwest!" Upon hearing this, I was absolutely stoked! I rushed on over to my good friend Celestial's house to ask her to come with.
One thing most people don't realize about Ribular Island is its size. Yes, it is still smaller than Cranial Isle, but less than half of Ribular is owned by Wildwest and FossilDig. Ribular Town in particular is much larger than it first appears. There's a school, hotel, bakery, soda shop, and a supermarket to name a few of our amenities. It also has the best weather of any of the islands, peaking at around 25⁰ in summer and 10⁰ in winter. Not too hot, not too cold, but fairly wet.
But anyway, let's get back to the story. I knocked hard on the door; "Hey Celery! Open up!" (A note about Celestial: she is VERY difficult to enrage. Consequently, I love to rib her. Especially about her name, she does NOT like being called Celery. I'm sure her naturally GREEN hair also contributed to the distaste.)
She responded with a mildly irritated look and tone; "What is it, Rube? I was writing my pen pal." (Another note: She's a naturalist. I asked her one time if she would ever get a Paleopager. She looked at me like I had grown a third thumb.)
I bit my tongue to hold back a snide remark about snail-mail. "Didn't you hear the announcement? About Joe opening the cleaning machine? You've just GOT to come along!"
She stood before me, thinking it over. The suspense was killing me. And then I got an idea. The stoic in me rose to the occasion. "Yeah, I thought so. Well, I guess I'll be going now. You obviously don't want to come, so..."
"Wait! I do have that Fossil Rock I found past the Hot Springs..." I could hardly hold my poker face. "So, does that mean you're coming?" She shrugged. "Sure, why not? I've already compromised my hippie-ness by having such a techy friend with me." She smirked. (I'd bet two hundred gold that's what kept our friendship going: mutual fascination with each other.)
"Alright then, we should probably get moving before a big line forms."
Thankfully, there were only a few people in front of us. One man stood out. Tall and mustachioed, he introduced himself as Robinson. He also smelled like fish, which Celestial was more than okay with.
"So... you're a fisherman?" I asked carefully.
"Yup. I jus' spent the last three hours in Ilium," Robinson replied. "Still haven't landed th' big one yet."
Celestial kept him engrossed in trifling conversation while I snuck ahead in line. A blonde teenage girl I recognized was "supervising" the affair, but it appeared my slip went unnoticed. Gleefully, I put my Fossil Rock on the designated cleaning spot and..."Wait a minute!" She raised her index finger and walked towards me. I gulped and froze right where I was.
The adventure continues in Chapter 2: Raptor Revival!