The cell is unlike any they have seen in movies or what the Ivanoviches have heard of in the horror stories of their ancestors. It looks more like a living room or even a private den. Of course, it could very well be anywhere since the couple seem to have lost all recollection of the recent turn of events at their ocean farmhouse. Post traumatic stress is a plausible cause if one of them is still mostly functional but for both of them?
A young boy arrives with a tray of blini and offers one to Igor then walks away. Igor digs into it voraciously while his wife looks on in envy.
“Excuse me?” She finds it curious that with such a huge stack the attendant didn’t offer her one as well. “Could I not have one of those? They look delicious.”
The boy turns around and smirks. “Oh no, Madame! You have had a few too many already.”
Well the nerve! Svetlana is incensed. How dare he imply that she is fat. She looks over to her husband as if to say “Do you think I’m fat?” but he is too busy devouring the pancake.
In walks Captain Petrovich dressed in civilian clothing. He takes the tray from the boy and carries it towards the couple as he exclaims: “Igor, my friend. What a pleasure to see you again. Here, have more blini.”
Svetlana sits there dumbfounded as her husband devours the entire tray without once offering her even a single pancake or even acknowledging her presence. “Cve-nya,” she thinks to herself as she crosses her arms and slowly shifts her attention to their host who drags over a chair and sits down right opposite her.
“And Svetlana. Beautiful as always. How long has it been?” He smiles at her obvious confusion as she searches her brain for a memory of this man and comes up empty. Captain Petrovich chuckles and taps her on the thigh. “Too long I see.” He laughs and signals the boy to bring over a tablet from a desk by the window.
He presents the device to Svetlana and reaches over to turn it on. An image of her ocean farmhouse appears on the display. She says nothing. The captain swipes to the next slide— a picture of Igor holding up a freshly caught halibut on a boat with the same house in the background. Still no reaction.
Image after image stored in Svetlana’s camera roll album induces no reaction from her. Captain Petrovich flips to a different album. A photo of Svetlana sunning herself on the deck of the ocean farmhouse fills the screen, then one of her on the fishing boat hauling a net full of halibut, then one of her and Igor’s face, next, one of them kissing. At last some recognition.
Svetlana grimaces and stares at the man on the couch beside her, head flopped back in a deep sleep and snoring. “I must have had way too much vodka that night.”
Excellent! Exactly the reaction the captain was hoping for. He calls in the assisting officer, dressed in a civilian red dress, who had entered the Ivanoviches’ home with him and presents her tablet to Svetlana. A Gruesome slideshow of hundreds of arctic terns decorating the inside of the house with their blood and entrails plays.
“Who would do such a thing?” Svetlana cries. “Why are you showing me this?” She sobs. “These people have no moral conscience. They should all be—“
“Yes. They should. We are doing all we can to make sure no one sees this happen every again.” He rubs her shoulder mechanically. “You may go now Svetlana. Your family has been worried.”
The woman in the red dress escorts Svetlana to the foyer where an older couple claiming to be her parents wait nervously. She leaves the three of them to get acquainted and returns to the study to take care of the second loose end.
“What are we to do with this one, Sergei?” The woman in red pulls Igor’s head forward then lets it go limp again on the back of the couch. Sergei Petrovich reaches over to his wife and sits her on his lap.
“I think we let him sleep. He looks very tired, Nadia.” They both laugh. “Now back to business.” Nadia picks up her tablet and reports on their results.
“The iron-fertilization was a success again. The organic matter is settling down current as expected and stealing the oxygen. The fish are coming across nicely from the neighbouring farms. Soon we’ll be able to buy out the whole region.” Sergei nods excitedly.
“And the dead zones? We can clean those as well?”
“Yes,” Nadia continues. “Once the toxic blooms settle down, we can send our radio-controlled submarine to vacuum up the organic debris. X-ray imaging of the remaining farmhouses show that they have no escape chambers. We can be sure that no one sees this ever happen again.”