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TimeRiders: Day of the Predator
TIMERIDERS2 front
The latest cover for the book.

Author(s)

Alex Scarrow

Series

TimeRiders

Genere(s)

Science Fiction

Publisher(s)

Penguin Group

Publication date

5 August 2010

Edition(s)

Paperback, Hardback

Pages

448

Chapter count

82

ISBN

9780141326931

Book in series

2

Preceded by

TimeRiders (book)

Followed by

TimeRiders: The Doomsday Code (book)

TimeRiders: Day of the Predator is the second book in TimeRiders, and was written by Alex Scarrow. It follows the TimeRiders as they try to fix a contamination in which the grandfather of time travel, Edward Chan is assassinated. When Liam O'Connor and the newly birthed support unit Becks head back to find out the cause, Maddy sneds a tachyon message there, warning Liam that something will go wrong. This causes the reactor there to behave erratically, causing a large explosion which transports Liam, Becks, and several others back 65 million years.

PlotEdit

Spoiler warning!
This article contains plot details about an upcoming episode, book or any other feature of this topic.

The book begins by describing Saleena Vikram's recruitment into the TimeRiders. Sal is trapped inside a burning building with her family, with seemingly no way out. However, an old man (Foster) goes up to Sal and tells her that he can only her her alone a way out. After several minutes pass, Sal accepts, just as the skyscraper she's in begins to collapse, and both Sal and Foster escape, but not before Sal glimpses a one eyed bear, the same bear one of the people was holding, before she awakens in the archway. 

Back in the archway, Maddy and Liam are both going back in time, but not to fix a contamination; rather, they are going to get new support units, so that Bob can become fully operational once more. They arrive in San Francisco, 1906, April 17th, where Liam realizes they have arrived one day before the San Francisco earthquake which devastates the city, and wonders why the agency stores the foetuses on this date. Maddy explains to him that this way, any evidence which could lead anyone back to the TimeRiders' base of operations is eradicated in the following earthquake. After that conversation, Maddy and Liam head to the bank the units are stored in. Maddy manages to extract the spare untis successfully, but before finding a note intended only for her, telling her to watch out for Pandora and tell no-one. After the units have been secured, Maddy and Liam return to 2001, where Sal sets one of the units is set on a growth cycle and the others are placed in stasis. The next day, the agency receives a tachyon message from the future, notifying them of another time contamination originating from 2015. In this contamination, Edawrd Chan has been assassinated, resulting in an alternate timeline where time travel is never invented. The TimeRiders halve the time for the growth unit, meaning it will deploy in 14 hours with the body and sterngth of an 18 year old human. When that time passes, Sal discovers that instead of a male unit being placed in growth, she inadvertently placed a female unit instead. Nevertheless, Bob's AI is uploaded into the female chassis, and the unit, along with Liam, are sent forwards to 2015, where they disguise themselves as schoolkids and join Edward Chan's group. Whilst Liam and the unit (which is given the alias of Becks) try to find the cause of the contamination, Maddy becomes concerned after Liam and Becks fail to return via the return window, and so sends a narrow beam tachyon message to warn them. Computer-Bob informs her that there is technology at TERI which may be unpredicatbly affected by the message, but Maddy sends it anyways, against Computer-Bob's advice. Later on, she finds out that it was her message which causes the event at TERI, with Computer-Bob calculating that there is an 87% probability that it was an explosion.

Whilst that is happening, something much more mundane is taking place in 2015. Edward Chan, the grandfather of time travel, is just a teenager in this time period, on a trip with several other students to the Texas Advanced Energy Research Institute(TERI) along with their teacher, Mr Whitmore. When the student group arrive at TERI, they are greeted by their tour guide, Mr Kelly, who briefs them about the type of energy scientists are researching here: zero-point energy. He explains to them about Albert Einstein and his theory of relativity, how even in a complete vacuum there is endless energy waiting to be tapped, harvested. The experimental zero-point energy reactor at TERI is able to partially harness this energy, opening a minute gap in space-time in order to harness this energy. Unbeknowst to all of them, one student is not who he seems to be. Howard Goodall (who is under the alias of Leonard Baumgardner) is a time traveller from the future who has come back to assassinate Edward Chan, preventing time-travel from being invented. He fails to do so, however when something (the explosion) causes the entire group, including Liam and Becks to be transported back in time. Liam notices several forms of Seeker heading towards him and the group in chaos space, but before they can do anything, the group materializes in prehistoric Texas. We find out here that half the group have been lost in chaos space, with some individuals turned inside out, and only Liam, Becks, Chan, Howard, Whitmore, Kelly, one of the techinicians from TERI, Lam, and some othher students survive. One of the students, a short ginger kid by the name of Franklyn, deduces that the group are located 65 million years ago, after spotting a species of giant dragonfly which only existed during that time period. Whitmore notices Liam and Becks, and demands they tell him what exactly has happened to the group. Liam tells him that he and Becks have travelled in time in order to save one of his students, Edward Chan, from being assassinated. After they tell Whitmore about the history of time travel and the role which Edward Chan plays, Liam instructs the group to remain stationary here and also build a camp in order to ensure they survive through the Cretaceous period, so he and Becks can formulate a plan to ensure they are rescued soon. Liam and the others find out that the group is located on some form of island, with a river circling off the island from the mainland. Franklyn also explains to the others species of herbivorous dinosaur they can expect; Ankylosaurus, Triceratops, Pachycephalosaurus, Parasaurolophus. He also explains the carnivores the group might run into; packs of therapods (dinosaurs similiar in size to raptors) and even Tyrannosaurus rex. After that is done, Becks suggest a bridging device be built across the river, so the group can head out and inspect the surrounding area.

Back in 2001, Maddy itends stormed out, distraught that she was the cause of the explosion at TERI. Computer-Bob informs Sal that the explosion may have acted as one of their time-portals, transporting Liam and Becks somewhere in time. He is unable to determine when exactly Liam and Becks are located, though. Howver, he does tell Sal that Liam and Becks will try to communicate with the agency, and that the best course of action is to simply wait. Maddy leaves in search of Foster, stating that they have to do something besides sitting around. After a failed search for Foster however, Maddy eventually returns to the archway, hoping that Liam will attempt to make contact with the agency by sending them a message through history.

For two days, Liam and his group create their own base, assigning themselves separate roles. Juan(a student) takes on the role of hunter, helping gather food for the group. Franklyn and Whitmore serve as the group's experts on dinosaurs, helping to identify various species and judge whether they are harmful or not. Keisha(another student) would be the group's medic. During this time period, Liam tells Whitmore about their true origins, about how he himself was plucked from 1912 and given a second chance at life, whilst he explains that Becks is from the 2050s. Whilst exploring in the surrounding woods, Liam and a small exploring party find a recent corpse stripped of flesh and entrails. Even Franklyn is unable to indetify the species of predator that did this, and the group slowly backs away. Liam look sinto the forest one last time, before turning back to base. There, he finds that Becks has attempted to kill Laura(another student) and stops her from doing so. Becks experiences conflict between Liam O'Connor's orders and basic mission protocol, but obeys him, and does not attempt to kill Laura. Instead, in secret, Liam tells Becks that when the six month mission timer comes, only then is she permitted to terminate him and the the others, ensuring that this contamination does not change the future further. Liam suddenly develops an idea, to create fossils which will alert the TimeRiders to their location and allow Liam and Becks, along with the rest of the survivors, to be rescued. Becks suggests using a book code for the tablets, as any mathematical code carrying the TimeRiders' message can be decoded. Liam is gratefull for this, so he makes out with her. As for where the fossils will be buried, the group decide on Dinosaur Valley, as this location was the very first American dinosaur fossils were discovered. Thankfully, Dinosaur Valley is not too far from the island, and so Liam, Becks, and several others, including Whitmore and Franklyn set off to Dinosaur Valley, with a few students staying behind should a density probe scan the area. On the way to Dinosaur Valley, Liam encounters a species of alamosaurus, which begins to inadvertently graze on his hair. Becks punches the dinosaur, causing the alamosaurus and several other beasts to stampede. After that, Becks also tells Liam she was able to calculate where in time they are, give or take a few thousand years. Her best estimate is 62,739,406 years, which is the date Liam and Becks place on the clay tablets.

However, Liam and his team are not alone. A group of hyper-intelligent predators are watching him intently, especially their leader. The leader of these creatures notices that Liam and his team are intelligent, and becomes wary of the new arrivials. the creature vows to learn more about these new creatures, and he is certain they do not pose a threat, he will kill them, allowing his pack to rule undisputed once more. Over the following days, the creatures (which we learn are an intelligent form of dinosaur) especially their leader, Broken Claw, study the group intently, learning that the humans are capable of using tools to catch river fish and even create a way across the river which can be raised and lowered at will. We begin to learn more about these creatures: how Broken Claw and his pack are capable of successfuly replicating other creatures' calls, luring their prey into thick forest where they cannot move. Then, Broken Claw and the creatures would leap onto their prey, hacking away at the muscle, and Broken Claw would slash at the creature's heart, killing it almost instantaneously. We also find out that Broken Claw and his pack have depleted the amount of prey within the surrounding jungle, gorging on prey and throwing away the parts they did not want. The creatures follow Liam and his group to Dinosaur Valley.

Liam successfully manages to bury the clay tablets carrying a message intended for the TimeRiders only, whilst Chan meets up with and talks to, Howard. Whilst they are talking, a large marine creature attempts to attack Hoawrd. The creature fails, and is driven back by Becks and Chan. The team checks to see if everyone is here, and notice one student is missing. Fearing an attack, they cover the last few miles to Dinosaur Valley relatively quickly, but not before Broken Claw corners Franklyn, who found out that the grup had been followed ever since they set off towards Dinosaur Valley. The creature examines Franlyn and vice versa; we learn that Broken Claw's species is a cross between a raptor and a hominid, his prominent feature being his banana-shaped skull. Becks drives the creatures away along with Liam, and both manage to kill two of the creatures. Once they reach Dinosaur Valley, Liam and the team camp out there for the night, producing and burying the five tablets the next morning. As they make their way back to camp, Franklyn is sidelined and killed by Broken Claw's pack. The group sets up camp one last time before heading back to base, where Liam, Becks and Whitmore begin to talk about the Unknown Dinosaurs. Whitmore states that it is possible these creatures are a dead-end of evolution, possibly even sharing an ancestor with another hyper-intelligent dinosaur, Troodon. Becks notes that although the creatures display extreme intelligence, they have not learned how to use tools. Whilst that is happening, Howard is thanking Edward for saving his life. During this chat, he informs Edward that he was sent back in time to kill him, preventing time travel from being invented. Edward is not angry, instead forgiving Howard, and promising not to reveal his secret to everyone else.

The tablets each leave their imprints, with only one surviving until the 20th Century, where it is discovered by two boys in 1941. The tablet eventually makes its way into the hands of a secret US agency known only as 'The Club', and their main inspector, Lester Cartwright is the man who takes the surviving message to the TimeRiders' HQ in 2001. He apprehends the TimeRiders, but is unable to prevent Computer-Bob from locking down the system. When interrogating Maddy and Sal about the time displacement technology, Sal reveals to him he only has a half hour before Computer-Bob completely destroys the computer system, along with all the vital information inside. Cartwright, along with one of his men, Forby, returns Maddy and Sal to the archway, where the self-destruct sequence initiated by Computer-Bob is stopped. Here, both the TimeRiders, along with Cartwirght and Forby, experience a major time-wave, one which rewrites New York and leaves a new reality in which New York is nothing more than a tropical jungle basin. All of them glimpse humanoid-reptillian creatures near the archway, and at first, the TimeRiders wonder why the creatures are not as advanced as humans. Cartwright replies that the species has plateauted, that it evolved to the best it could possibly be and simply stopped, now it faced no opposition from anything.The TimeRiders study the message, and deduce that thanks to the estimate Becks provided, they will have to 9 hours' worth of density probes. After the 9 hours are up, Maddy selects one probe which shows promise, and opens a portal for Liam and Becks to pass through.

Liam, Becks and the others return to a deserted camp (without Kelly, he was murdered by the creatures, who have now learnt to use tools), and Liam begins to fear something has gone terribly wrong. Becks leaps over to the other side of the river, lowering the bridge so that the surviving students can get to the other side. The stundents make it across, but Liam slips and falls into the river. He also drowns until he is banged onto a fallen tree, which he is able to climb up on and escape the water. When the team gathers once more, Liam deduces that the predators went ahead and learned from the group; that they made their own bridge. The team manages to get their windmill up and running ( the windmill's purpose is to give Maddy a constant signal to lock onto, so she knows where Liam and the rest are located) at least before the creatures begin to swarm the island, en masse. Whitmore and Howard are murdered by the beasts (although Howard was only murdered as he was buying time for Chan to escape back to base). Liam, Becks, Laura, Edward and some other students, Laura and Jasmine, manage to fend off the beasts briefly, but Laura is snatched and killed by the beasts. Becks kills several of the dinosaurs, but suffers a critical wound to her abdomen, as one dinosaur impales her with a sharpened bamboo shaft. Becks kills the beast, just in time for the portal to open. Liam, Becks, Edward, Laura and Jasmine all run towards the portal, with Jasmine being snatched away at the last second. The rest all escape back to a changed 2001, but with the addition of two of the beasts. Forby manages to shoot one dead, but is unceremoniously scalped by the other. Maddy picks up his gun and shoots the other creature dead. It takes four and a half hours for Becks to partially recover in the growth tube, and when she has partially healed, she is sent back 65 million years to kill the rest of Broken Claw's pack, all whilst carrying the deceased Forby's MP15 submachine gun. She succeeds, even displaying a tone of regret as she does so. Becks also destroys the camp, wiping out any possible sources of contamination which could alter the future. Back in 2001, Maddy secretly sends Liam back to 1941, to correct the contamination caused by his placing of the clay tablets. He finds the person who discovered his last tablet, and manages to acquire the tablet. With both contaminations re-routed, Liam returns back to 2001, and so does Becks.

Back in the archway, Cartwright becomes incensed at Maddy, but his shock soon stops when the second contamination is fixed, meaning Forby materializes outside. Whilst in a heated argument with Maddy, Cartwright reveals he is not arguing for the sake of national security, instead wondering where the machine could take him to: the fall of Atlantis, the destruction fo Pompeii. Maddy warns him that Liam's correcting of the timelines means Cartwright must be outside the archway, otherwise he will simply be erased from history. Cartwright refuses to listen, but suddenly, the time portal opens, dragging Cartwright into chaos space. Liam emerges from the other end, remarking that he felt odd when returning back. He retches on the floor where Cartwright's hand lays, with Maddy breathing a sigh of relief now she knows that Liam was not going to merge with Cartwright. When the time wave comes, Edward and Laura are placed outside the archway, where they are both re-written, meaning that now in 2015, they will have no recollection of what has transpired. Their fellow classmates, along with Lam, Mr Kelly and Mr Whitmore will be still alive. Maddy eventually finds Foster in Central Park, where he tells her he left the archway because of the corrosive effect of the time bubble. If he had remained there, he would have been long gone, but here in Central Park, he will still be able to help them. He also explains that because of the time bubble's cycle, every time Maddy visits Foster, she will have to repeat herself, because for him, it'll be his first meeting with her since he left the archway. With that complete, Maddy asks him if there is anyone else within the agency she can contact. Foster tells her that the agency cannot make contact with its other members in order for their safety not to be compromised. She also asks him why he's so sure that Liam will keep on protecting time when he learns that time travel is slowly killing him.

Foster calmly replies that Liam will keep on doing what is right - because Liam and Foster are the same person.

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