Chapter 30 (also Jack Ch 30) Wednesday, 2200 hours (10 PM)
They gathered around the cart, the five of them, at which point Kit suggested that it would be rather nice if someone could get his handcuffs off. Jack laughed at the comment. The events on the cliff were of such gravity that now, with the situation suddenly resolved and the tension relieved, any statement not overtly serious, was treated as something funny.
Jack took Kit in front of the cart where the headlights provided good illumination.
"Does anyone have a credit card that they could part with?" asked Jack, "and a scissors would be convenient."
Brian provided the little scissors on his pocket knife, while Derek provided the credit card. Jack cut the credit card into a tool. Brian steadied the handcuffs, and Jack, working with the skill of a jeweler, sprung Kit from the cuffs.
"Im not even going to think about asking you where you learned to do that," said Derek.
"Dont," said Jack.
Brian suggested that would be best to first drive Derek and Kit back to the leopards to mind the kids while Jack, Brian, and Evan went back to take back control of CALF.
There was a distant growl. "Let's do it now" said Brian. "You'll be safe in the leopard cage," he said to Derek. "We'll be back with a truck as as soon as we can."
The five squeezed into the little electric vehicle.
"This family definitely needs a larger car," said Evan.
When they got to the snow leopard habitat, they found Rom already there. He explained that after he had escaped through the window of the Education Building he had set out to find his cub pack. He figured it most likely that theyd be put in with Jeffrey, and was pleased to discover that it was indeed the case. His scouts had their uniforms back, obviating the need for bunny slippers. One of his scouts, had caught him up on the news and he was just about to go out looking for Kit, when the cart arrived.
Brian, Evan, and Jack drove the cart back to Zoo Central and discovered that aside from there not being any electricity, things hadnt changed much. The Pony Express was still riding, the techies, who were largely battery powered anyway, continued monitoring what they could still monitor, and Operation Zoo went on.
Theyd give explanations later. Right now, they needed a truck to ferry back Derek, Rom and the cubs. There were no trucks, at least none with ignition keys. They had to settle on taking two carts, and they were not easy to come by. There were lots of carts of course, but the Calfers were a little cavalier about plugging them in for recharging. They kept some on charge of course, but just enough for their immediate needs. Joshua had often complained about that, saying "Were only one charge away from being pedestrians." Now, with the electricity out, there would be no recharging and over the next couple of hours or so, the carts would start to die. The current run of the Pony Express in fact, would be its last. The Calfers in the field, and hanging out in the remote buildings would be isolated, at least until morning when it would be safe to roam the zoo on foot. At night, the zoo belonged to the predators. So it was a great concession being granted use of two of the precious vehicles. It was rank that allowed them to be commandeered, not Brians, but Jacks. Jack was generally considered Joshuas right hand man, and unconfirmed reports of Joshuas demise did not seem to diminish Jacks authority.
The next couple of hours were spent in reestablishing Brians authority and standing down from Operation Zoo. Not that he needed to, but Brian first went back to the broadcast room to see if maybe Joshua had left the petition document there, and maybe had left it intact. Brian found it, crumpled on the floor where it was thrown just hours ago. He smoothed it out. With it, and only with it, he felt entitled to act as the President of CALF once more. He realized he had no choice but to retake the presidency. It was his duty and obligation, even if it would expose himself more than most to the tender mercies of the legal system. He had no doubt he would be going to jail, and deserving it.
Incredibly, it was several hours before anyone thought about freeing the hostages. Evan and Brian took a cart for the short distance to the Education Building. They kept the lights off and drove slowly to save power. A half hour later they were back.
"Where are the hostages," asked Rom.
"They decided to stay where they are," answered Brian.
Brian looked at the others. They all looked beat. "Get some sleep, guys," he said, "I've got to go to the communication room to organize things there. I'll be right back."
Evan followed him out..
"I really wonder," said Brian, "what Joshua was planning to do with Kit."
"Brian, you dont want to know," said Evan. "You really dont want to know."
"You know? Tell me," said Brian.
"Come on Evan, Tell me."
"No!" answered Evan. "I won't not talk about it. Not now. Not ever."
"Do you know why he had a hangmans noose with him, then?" Brian persisted.
"Let it alone, Brian."
"Then tell me how come you know, and I don't."
"I read Joshua's diary," said Evan.