Sandra had been running for only a few minutes, but she was already winded. The thing that was chasing her had no place in the wilderness; it was some sort of flying machine, bigger than her but more like a drone than anything else she'd ever heard of. A group of them had dropped down into the National Park campsite out of the night sky, and started chasing the campers. Sandra had helped her daughter-in-law get the children into the car in the commotion, and then practically danced in front of the thing to distract it while Phebe took off in the car to get the children away from whatever was going on.
The plan had worked, she was being followed but Sandra simply couldn't run fast enough to keep ahead of the thing, and she was stuck in the beam of its headlight. It was metal, plastic, and internal lights, and she wished her husband or her son were there to hit it with something heavy, but they'd chosen to go ocean fishing for the weekend instead of camping. It caught Sandra when she stumbled over a fallen branch, and she didn’t hit the ground, but was wrapped in some sort of entangling netting then lifted up and away.
The giant drone turned up its lights as it flew upwards, and Sandra somehow wasn't surprised when it flew into a large opening in the side of a dark flying saucer just as the air was getting cold enough to make her want a cardigan. Because the entire situation was so out of the ordinary that an actual flying saucer couldn't make everything seem stranger than it already was. Sandra wasn't the only person who'd been caught by a giant drone, and she recognised several people from the campsite. She could have cried though when a much bigger machine than the drones flew in, carrying Phebe's car in a bigger version of the net that had caught Sandra. Little machines cut open the car, then herded Phebe and the children towards the group caught by the drones.
Sandra was still hugging Phebe and the frightened children when an artificial-sounding voice said, "I am sorry you have been frightened." Everyone looked around to see a seven foot tall, hunched figure with a scaled muzzle, clawed hands, a ground sweeping tail, and mostly brown body feathers who was draped in what looked like scarves. A patterned metallic ball about the size of a baseball floated beside it, and the words came from that. "It is not our intention to harm you. Indeed, we are trying to rescue you because your world is facing an extinction-causing threat. Your species is perhaps wisely wary, and we are concerned that when we reveal ourselves your leaders will reject our help."
"What's the threat? Is it global warming?" The speaker was a brown-haired woman wearing a park ranger's uniform.
The scarved figure turned to her and it spoke, but the understandable words came from the ball, "That is an important problem, but it isn't why we are here. The planet-killer cluster is returning, and there will be another impact. As our ancestors were rescued by the First Hatchlings of this world, we, the Second Hatchlings, have returned to rescue you, the Third Hatchlings. Please, let us help you."
A man in a Hawaiian shirt asked, "Are you saying your ancestors came from Earth?"
"Yes. We were removed to escape the planet-killer strike here." An image appeared in the middle of the space above them all that showed a map of the world with a red dot on the eastern side of Mexico.
"You're a dinosaur?" The park ranger was incredulous.
"That is what you call the general grouping to which our species belong, yes." The creature looked at the group as if trying to judge their reactions.
"So, if you're the Second Hatchlings, and we're the Third," said the ranger slowly, "who are the First?"</font>
This entry was originally posted at https://rix-scaedu.dreamwidth.org/101190.html. There have been comments there.