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Fan episode:

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

CHAPTER 1

THE SPOOKY NIGHT TRAIN ADVENTURE

It had been roughly two years since he started his travel agency business offering eco sensitive safaris to that magical place called "Dinosaur Land". He had first learned about the place through Sparky the dragon, the official mascot for the New York Islanders hockey team. When he got there, he was amazed to not only see the land inhabited by sentient talking dinosaurs of all kinds; but even more amazed to find that a virtual railroad network was built and that it connected all of the different time periods the dinosaurs flourished in. The train itself was a rustic looking locomotive that hauled custom made passenger cars for those dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes who would wish to ride it. This train was simply named "The Dinosaur Train".

During the time he spent there, he met many interesting characters, and became friends with some of them. The two most interesting friends he made were, on the one end, a young T-rex named "Buddy", who was adopted by a pteranodon family when he was a hatchling. What struck Kark about this young T-rex boy that was he was infinitely curious, and was eager to learn about himself, his species, and the other dinosaur races he came into contact with.

The other interesting Dinosaur Land inhabitant he became friends with was a stygimoloch named "Jake", and what was amazing about this character was his ability to transform from stygimoloch to human and back again. He was, in essence, a shapeshifter. This, most of all, was what allowed Kark to bond with this young stygimoloch male, since he was a human shapeshifter, too! He had the ability to change from dragon to human, and back again, as well. Most of the time, though, he stayed in his dragon form- the form that he felt was his true natural form. Jake felt the same way, so they had that much more in common.

After his first trip to Dinosaur Land, Sparky gave him a magic key that he said could fit into any lock of any door, and could open the doorway to Dinosaur Land once turned. Kark used it once to return to Dinosaur Land with S.J Sharkie- the official mascot for the San Jose Sharks hockey team- where he would not only meet Jake for the first time, but other interesting dinosaur characters as well. Jake was already a close friend of Sharkie's, so it was easy for the anthro shark to introduce young Jake to Kark, and allow them to bond as friends for life through what they both had in common: Their shapeshifting abilities.

Since then, Kark decided to fulfill another of his life long dreams and become official mascot for the Montreal Canadiens hockey team. Although Youppi was already the official team mascot, Kark teamed up with him to become co-mascot.

In the interim, Kark started his travel agency business that specialized in the eco sensitive safaris to Dinosaur Land he felt would run big among the human populace. In fact, the business became quite successful once word spread of these magical tours into a land located in Earth's distant past. Not surprisingly, the business was called "Prehistoric Travels". Kark established the company's headquarters in Montreal, seeing as he started a new life in that city. Franchises then started to pop up in various places throughout Canada and the U.S., as Kark spoke to other team mascots, and established business relations with them. First in line for a franchise opening up was San Jose, California; where S.J. Sharkie was eager to launch the partnership with Kark and make himself the local spokesperson for these safaris into Dinosaur Land. Most of the safaris that were organized were for local special needs or disadvantaged kids; and sometimes, their parents.

When word spread quickly about these magical safaris, bookings for these trips into Dinosaur Land were selling like hot cakes! In Dinosaur Land, many of the dinos were delighted to interact with these "creatures" from the Cenozoic Era; but none were more delighted than a female troodon named Mrs. Conductor. The former Dinosaur Train Conductor came out of retirement to become a Tour Guide for the safaris where she would teach the kids and their parents all about the various dinosaur races. Her son, Mr. Conductor, was delighted to see his mother so overjoyed at the job she took on for herself. It was as if she was ten years younger, and it pleased him greatly to see his mother so vibrant again! When things got really busy, though, he took on the duties as Tour Guide on some of the safaris; which he didn't mind doing.

Although most of the safaris were family oriented, some of them were more adult themed, geared more towards professional and amateur archaeologists and palaeontologists; or college students wanting to go into archaeology or palaeontology as a career. These tours gave them a chance to see living, breathing specimens of dinos they were studying. Even the famous palaeontologist Dr. Scott sometimes ventured to Dinosaur Land to find out more about the dinos he was studying!

Meanwhile, when Kark was not busy looking after his thriving business, he would perform his duties as co-mascot during Canadiens home games at the Bell Center; but there were games when he was not there, due to the demands of his business, leaving Youppi to do the work by himself. Youppi didn't mind, though, he has done it himself for years before Kark came along. All in all, life was good for Kark!


When Kark first heard about it from some of the visitors who came back, he just had to see this for himself! He used his magic key he was given as official mascot to open the doorway to Dinosaur Land, and made his way to the Cenozoic train station. He walked down the familiar path leading to the station, like he had done many times before. Only this time, it was night; and the sun had set maybe a half hour ago. The full moon was shining in the clear sky, and the sounds of many night creatures could be heard resonating everywhere.

When he climbed the steps that led to the wooden platform, he noticed that the area was strangely deserted and quiet. He saw some light coming from the ticket booth, which meant that the Quartermaster for the train station was on duty. He approached the booth and saw the familiar form of Troy Troodon, whom he had gotten to know quite well. He noticed that the inside of the booth was lit by something similar to an oil lamp. It felt weird, though, seeing this troodon's eye shine in the dark! Kark already knew that troodons were mainly nocturnal. He had learned about it on a previous visit to Dinosaur Land from Mr. Conductor himself, and seeing Troy's eyes glow in the dark kind of confirmed that hypothesis for Kark.

"Hey, Kark!" Troy called as he saw him approach his booth.

"Hi, Troy!" Kark replied.

Then they did a surfer's style handshake that Kark liked to do with people he valued as friends.

"How's things?" Kark asked in casual conversation.

"Great!" Troy replied. "Let me guess... You're here for the night train?"

Kark smiled and nodded. "That's right! When I first heard about it, I knew I just had to come and see! I'm thinking of having my travel agencies offer some sort of night train expeditions around Halloween..."

Troy chuckled. "I'll bet something like that could run big where you come from... Halloween, huh? Hmmm... If memory serves me correctly, that's a holiday in your time where all sorts of spooky stuff happens... and people like to dress up in equally spooky costumes..."

Kark smiled. "You got it!"

"Well, you won't have to wait much longer! I've already radioed the Dinosaur Train. It should be here any moment now... I think you're going to like the night train..."

"I hope so..." Kark mused.

A flash of light down the tracks and the distant sound of the train whistle announced the train's emergence from the time tunnel and its impending arrival at Cenozoic Station.

"Speak of the devil!" Troy said.

Kark was a bit surprised to hear Troy use an expression from his time. Kark guessed that after meeting and greeting so many humans over the past two years, he would've picked up some of their expressions.

"Have fun, Kark!" Troy said as he retreated back into his office inside the station.

"I'll try!" Kark said as he walked towards the end of the platform close to the tracks where the Dinosaur Train was to stop. The breaks emitted their high pitched squeal as the passenger car stopped right in front of where Kark was standing.

The passenger door opened up to reveal Mr. Conductor. Again, Kark was surprised to see the troodon's eye shine. He also noticed that he had his face hidden behind some kind of dark purple bat wing he was wearing.

"Welcome to the night train, Meester Karrrk!" he said with an obvious fake Transylvanian accent.

Kark chuckled. "Why it's 'The Count'!" he said in a teasing fashion.

"Yeeesss... I am 'The Count'!" Mr. Conductor said as he emerged from the passenger car, maintaining his poor Transylvanian accent, and keeping his face hidden behind his fake bat wing. "And I LOVE to count!... TRAAAINS!" He cried as he raised his arms in the air. "That's one! ONE DINOSAUR TRAIN! AH AH AAAAH...." He motioned as he did a lousy imitation of a lightning crash sound. His bat wings were fluttering in the night breeze.

Kark laughed. "It's funny that you would know about 'The Count' from 'Sesame Street'..."

Mr. Conductor chuckled. "Well, after hearing so many human kids talk about him, I figured I'd do a nice imitation of him as part of my... NIGHT TRAIN SPOOOOOKY ADVENTURE TOUR..." He did his face again behind his bat wing and readopted his fake Transylvanian accent as he said the last phrase.

Kark chuckled again. "Well, it certainly feels 'spooky', and I hope it will be equally 'spooky' to any future adventure tours I'll be sponsoring. 'The Count' was one of my favourite characters from the show, by the way. I also liked Ernie and Bert... and the Cookie Monster..."

"Well, as much as I'd like to hear all about those other characters, we really should get going... We have a few other stops to make along the way to Big Pond; so climb aboard! OH! I'll need to see your pass..."

Kark smiled as he brought out the plastic card he was given roughly a year ago. Since he became a frequent visitor to Dinosaur Land, he was given the card to use, instead of the universal paper tickets he had to pick up at the booths. Other mascots were given the same card to use.

After eyeing the card, Mr. Conductor gave him a wink and thumbs up gesture. "Just sit back and relax..." Mr. Conductor motioned for him to come on board. "There are refreshments available in the dining car, if you're interested..."

Kark nodded in acknowledgement as he made his way inside the passenger car. The Dinosaur Train chugged along and blew its whistle as it left Cenozoic station and headed for the time tunnel. The Spooky Night Train Adventure had just begun!


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