Chapter 14 Tuesday, 2300 hours (11 PM)
Rom returned to the Mexican Wolf habitat, with Derek following. Rom climbed the railing, and so, with some urging, did Derek. Although he'd intended to search the zoo for his scouts before setting up camp, Derek had argued against it. By now the kids would be asleep inside somewhere. And since they weren't in the dorm in the Education Building, they could be anywhere. In the morning, Derek suggested, they'd probably let the kids out for exercise. It's hard keeping a bunch of kids indoors. The morning would be a good time to search the zoo.
Rom took down his pack from the tree limb, set up the two man tent, and stowed the gear inside. Outside the tent entrance, he set up a back-packing stove and made hot chocolate.
"Do you go on camping trips often with wolves?" asked Derek lightly.
They sat, sipping hot chocolate, and warming their hands over the stove.
Rom smiled, enjoying the sight of Derek and the wolves eyeing each other with mutual suspicion. "What?" asked Rom, "Oh, you mean them." 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."
In the tent, 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," said Derek.
"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, "but what'll we do about the wolves."
"Nothing. They'll be quite warm enough without sleeping bags."
"Fine," said Derek. He crawled into the sleeping bag.
Rom crawled into the sleeping bag liner, and feigned sleep. He'd told Derek he had a plan to get the kids out of the zoo. But he had no plan, not even the fuzziest outline of a scheme. With his eyes closed, Rom hoped some brilliant idea would come to him.
"What the hell?" said Derek, waking Rom.
Rom sat up and listened. There was rowdy singing outside. It was a fight song he'd heard at Cornell-Columbia football games. Rom thought he was just having a bad dream.
"Sheesh," he said as he flopped back down in his sleeping bag liner.
Had Rom or Derek listened carefully, they might have heard the Columbia University Calfers talking about how Joshua demanded they leave the zoo at once--because of disloyalty. They did not agree with Joshua's plan to kill a hostage.