its just a bit of snow you fucking pussies
Pan Topaz had dropped anchor. On the work deck, the roughnecks from Crew B were still breaking down the drill bit that had dug the first well. On the other side of the rig, workers were beginning to trickle in to the canteen, freshly changed out of orange coveralls, queuing up along the deli case with their plastic trays.
From the surveillance unit on the bridge, Erik Erstad was surveying the workings of Bergen’s first self-contained oiling rig, a 50-storey monolith in the sea. The captain and crew were buzzing about nearby reviewing the North Atlantic tide tables, but Erik was fixed to his seat at the screens, an index finger poised at his keyboard. He was a wiry man of 25, with nearsighted, limpid blue eyes. He wore round wire-framed eyeglasses, and was in the habit of clearing his throat as he went about his duties—a tic he must have thought underscored his place on the bridge, the epicenter of the Pan Topaz, where men of power and esteem gathered and decided, and a place where he took up relatively little space.
Through the slanted windows that lined the bridge, the sky was just beginning to darken. There was no sunset that signaled the day’s departure, just a gradual dimming of the sky which accentuated the firelight of the flume that radiated from the ballast.
Inhaling sharply, Erik hunched toward the grid of screens in the surveillance booth, casting a quick look around to see if anyone was watching. No one. The captain was smiling and nodding at Sandgren, the newest recruit, with a superhuman amount of patience, Erik thought. Valko was radioing to someone in hushed tones. Solotov was pacing, eyes fixed on a clipboard.
Then there was a figure on camera 21, a yellow blur, something scurrying between the containers on deck. The containers were stacked in twos and threes, forming something of a labyrinth. The shape ducked between shadow and light.
Erik magnified the figure 500%. He felt his entire body tense. The face of a young boy shone out from the darkness like a moon. Then as quickly as he had come, he was gone.