Laurel Otani was youthful zoologist in her late thirties who was hired from a biotech company in Tokyo to work for Denham Products in New York. She debuted the 2005 novel Kong Reborn by Russell Blackford.
History[edit | edit source]
At Denham Products, Laurel worked mainly with the animals kept on the replica zoos and farms on the lower floors of the facility. In January of 2004 she was summoned by CEO Jack Denham to a secret meeting with Graham Riley and Mark Illingworth at Denham's apartment. There, they were approached with the idea of cloning King Kong in order to compete with rival Charlton Hemming and his company Bionimals, which they suspected were also trying to clone the beast. Denham had a blood sample, but needed tests run to determine if it was legitimate.
After it is determined that the gorilla Matthilde would be unable to carry the gargantuan fetus to term, Laurel and her team are sent to build an artificial womb to house it, which they dubbed the "placental tank". Laurel and Graham Riley ran tests on the tank gestating mice and kittens, but they were often unsuccessful. However, with Matthilde unable to carry the fetus any further, Laurel and the rest of the team had to perform a cesarean section and moved it into the tank, where it grew for the next five months before they agreed to take him out. Laurel then began to take on a role as Kong's "mother", and cared for him as he outgrew his cage and was moved to a specially built facility on the roof, where she fed him milk from a 2 pint bottle, and gave him his first solid foods wearing a shabby gorilla costume. Laurel continued to care for Kong with the rest of the team, until in March of 2008 he went wild.
He began throwing a tantrum after tearing a branch off of a mango tree, and Laurel theorized that he had simply enjoyed the feeling, and coupled it with early-onset puberty due to his lack of contact with a proper mother, like a normal gorilla would have had, and his understanding his unnatural existence and yearning for his natural habitat. The team then suggested they move Kong to Skull Island. Following the close of the legal disputes in December of 2008, Laurel, Mark, and Riley were present at the press release when it came up to Kong's enclosure. She remarked that Kong was often less happy than he had seemed. They entered his habitat, and over the next few days they ran several tests on him and determined that he was unnaturally stressed for no reason, and he was growing more and more complacent. However, when they left him, he grew angry and broke out of the building. Jack rushed upstairs to get a tranquilizer rifle. In the street Kong utterly destroyed many cars by smashing them or throwing them until he smelled Central Park on the air, and began making his way there when Jack hit him in his back with a tranquilizer. Kong turned and began angrily approaching the man as police and helicopters swarmed, but the dart took effect and put Kong to sleep. Laurel and Roxanne paid the depressed Kong a visit before he was loaded onto the ship before the voyage began. On reaching Skull Island, it only took a few days for Kong to be sedated and air lifted to the beach, where Laurel ran to him off of the landing craft and encouraged him to explore.
Laurel and Mark were among the crew members chosen to remain on the beach as part of their journey's headquarters so that they could advise the exploration teams, one of which would repatriate Kong. Laurel stayed up late that night sitting on the beach watching the sleeping Kong. Around midnight, Jack arrived and bade her not to stay up too long, and the next morning she said goodbye with tears in her eyes to Kong's bewilderment. Over the following days, Laurel worked to keep in contact with the exploration teams until the team without Kong became unreachable. She informed Jack, and they worked out a plan to reroute the mission to search for the missing team. Laurel sent a helicopter to search for them, but during this time, a landing party sent by Hemming arrived to commandeer the operation. After consistent disagreement, he and his mercenaries agreed to search for the now missing helicopter, but while they were out, they lost contact with Jack. A day later, Jack and Roxanne emerged as the only survivors, and the team used DNA collected from the landing party as proof of Hemming's having tried to have Jack killed.
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