Chapter 14 Tuesday, 2300 hours (11 PM)
"Do you go on camping trips often with wolves?" asked Derek lightly.
They sat, sipping hot chocolate, and warming their hands over a small, back-packing stove. Rom had set up a compact campsite with all the amenities at the rear of the wolf habitat. The wolves had maintained a respectful distance, and Derek watched them with some disquiet.
"What?" asked Rom, and then following Derek's gaze, he said, "Oh, you mean them." Then he laughed. "Don't worry. They won't eat you." Rom drained his aluminum cup and stood. "I'm going to turn in," he said. "You can stay out here and play with the wolves if you want."
"No. That's all right," said Derek. "I might as well get to bed too."
They went into the tent, and Rom pulled the liner out of his sleeping bag. "Here," he said. "You use the sleeping bag, and I'll use the liner."
"I couldn't do that."
"It's OK," said Rom. "I'm used to upstate New York winter camping, and my gear's pretty good. I'll be plenty warm in the liner."
"Well, thanks," said Derek, eying the moving shadows, "but what'll we do about the wolves."
"Nothing. They'll be quite warm enough without sleeping bags."
Derek thought Rom had made a joke, but saw from his expression that no joke was intended.
Derek crawled into the sleeping bag but couldn't sleep. He noticed that Rom dropped off to sleep like a baby. But Derek was kept awake by worries about Jeffrey, and concerns about wolves.
Then Derek heard singing. "What the hell?" He sat up and listened. It sounded like a bunch of college kids at a pep rally. Derek tried to listen to their conversations. He picked up the gist. They were the Columbia University Calfer contingent. They'd been forced to leave, and were singing their way toward a zoo exit. Something about them not going along with hurting a hostage.