Chapter 24 - The Bear

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The wolves could see the indention in the wall.  A blue light on the left of one seemed to indicate occupancy.

"Push the button."  Silas whispered.  John leaned back to give the younger pirate a view.

"What button?" His voice was a louder whisper.

"The blue one."

"That's a light, Silas."  Their exchange experienced a brief moment of silence.

"Push the light."

John poked the blue light. A holographic screen filled with strange  symbols lit up the surrounding area.

"What language is that?"  Silas was attempting to look over John's shoulder.  As the giant had the advantage of a foot in height, Silas resorted to jumping.

"Would you calm down? I think they're pictures."

John examined them all.  One was a treble cleft, which he presumed was to play music. A series of three showed a bed with multiple elevations.  One by one, he ruled them all out.  None showed a door.

"There's only two I don't recognize." John leaned over so Silas could peer around.  He pointed at the first, a large circle.

"What, like infinity?  Or a ring?" Silas queried.

"No idea.  What about the three dashed bars?"

"Bars.  Cage. Cell.  Door.  It's as good a guess as any.  Hit it!"

"But I don't know what it does!" John hissed.

"I doubt there's going to be a button that ejects him into space, John."  There was wisdom, there.  The giant shrugged and pushed a fingertip to the hologram.  Instantly a sliding bar replaced the panel.

"There's a slider." John stated as if Silas werent looking directly at it.  "Blue or red?"

"Think about it.  When has red ever been good?"

John paused.  "Blue it is."  He stabbed a finger at the blue end of the bar and a hiss erupted from then sleeping berth followed by an otherworldly howl and a series of concussions.

"We killed him!"  Silas' eyes were wide with concern.  Haden's holographic construct appeared at the same moment the berth door slid away.  Terris rolled out, dropping unceremoniously to the deck, yelling loudly and drenched from head to toe.  The Wolves were paralyzed in shock, unable to process what they were seeing.  What had they done?

Terris calmed after a few moments and lay against the bulkhead, panting, his eyes focused on something only he could see.  John turned to face the severe eyes of Haden.

"When my interface systems were designed," The AI stated in the soft yet forceful manner of a man close to shouting, "it was built to be idiot proof."  Haden let the words hang for a moment.  "Clearly, the universe has since perfected the design of the idiot."

John looked at Silas.  "Did we just get called idiots by a hologram?" He asked slowly.

Silas gave a sideways, knowing grin.  "Perfect idiots." He confirmed with a nod.

"What the hell?"  Terris was looking back and forth between the pirates, his expression a mask of confused betrayal.

"I'm sorry, Terris."  John spoke up, his deep voice echoing the sympathy he felt.  "We were trying to wake you but didn't know the right button."

"The large letter "O" means 'open'.  Dashed lines mean shower.  Blue is cold, red is hot."  Haden's holographic eyes burned into the Wolves.  "Now why have you decided put my pilot through a week's worth of cardio in the span of a few minutes?"  His voice was angry and got louder as he continued.

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