12 April 2024, Friday, 23:00
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Chronicle Of Sudden Disaster

Chronicle Of Sudden Disaster
Uladzimir Khalip

And then something strange and peculiar began.

Time is like this — everything flies in suddenly. Sometimes it is impossible to understand how this could happen if no one is to blame for anything. There is an incident. The victims cannot be hidden anywhere. And it’s impossible to even blame anyone involved in the incident for anything. Everyone is sorry. Express sincere sympathy. They promise to help. But no one intends to admit their guilt. And why? Still, something happened, of course. Out of nothing.

It was a gray March day. The storm went far beyond the horizon. A lazy swell reluctantly rocked the small fishing trawler “Captain Lobanov” abeam the Pionersky port. The team of seven sailors knew their job. And a good catch was quite possible in the Kaliningrad Bay that morning. The only thing left was... But at that exact moment, something in the surrounding space suddenly howled, whistled loudly and crashed with such a deafening sound, as if the sky itself had suddenly collapsed. The side of the ship turned around. The captain's cabin seemed to be swept off the deck. Instead, only the gnarled remnant of the superstructure stuck out in the black smoke.

The captain died. And two more people from the team. The rest, with injuries of varying severity, were taken by rescuers to the nearest hospital. And there, after providing them with first aid, they were visited by strict employees of the taciturn department. They interrogated everyone and warned that they should never tell anyone about any details of what happened.

And then something strange and peculiar began. Usually, when some kind of incident occurs with the death of people, the authorities initiate a criminal case. They give information to the press. But for some reason no one was in a hurry to do this. But the times are not the same anymore. And no one has banned gadgets yet. Naturally, all sorts of rumors began to spread.

The version about the Martians who tried to disrupt the peaceful life of the enclave was decisively rejected. Wrong handwriting. The machinations of dark forces also do not go wrong. The only thing that remains is the traditional version of the Soviet press — “the echo of the past war.” Quite plausible. Fishermen could easily catch something rusty at the bottom with their net.

But the authorities resolutely rejected this. And the first message, leaked into the information space with the assistance of the governor’s press service, looked more than strange. Local officials pushed the idea of some kind of fire that broke out on the trawler for unknown reasons. The team allegedly tried to extinguish all this. But in the end the captain died. And two went missing. And then, having received a distress signal, rescuers rushed to help. But everything is already under the personal control of the governor. The victims and families of the victims will be provided with financial assistance.

This information appeared at a time when the soldiers of the invisible front had already received an accurate picture of what had happened. First-hand. In the hospital, where doctors provided first aid to the victims. Didn’t they share the information with the local authorities? So they had to make up some kind of story about a fire that came out of nowhere in the end?

All last autumn and winter, various exercises of the Baltic Fleet took place alternately. Ship groups practiced all sorts of tasks. Everyone around, and especially those in the rear, need to show their level of skill. And by the beginning of the inspiring fifth term it was necessary to evoke a stormy surge of popular enthusiasm. Who else can raise the mood of the people if not the Baltic sailors, smashing the conditional enemy with artillery and missile fire. The Ministry of Defense sent streams of inspirational information to television screens. Military skill was off the charts. And somewhere, as usual, something flew in the wrong place. It happens.

When the old St. Petersburg gateway outlines have already become so clear in the country, ordinary residents of big cities and small villages begin to create for themselves all sorts of illusions and even shy fairy tales where round and round the story goes, and where it stops nobody knows. It has always been this way. This is when the well-known lines arose — “the master will come, he will figure things out.” And in the new era, an even more optimistic slogan was born: “Wait, they will answer you!” So they are waiting. Patiently. Resignedly. The fifth term has already set sail from the pier and is heading out into the open with all sails. And everything is fair, and there is nowhere to go — just wait a little longer.

And the rescuers had already taken the battered trawler in tow and apparently moved it to the Kaliningrad port. It is quite possible that the ship repairers will somehow patch it up, replace something there, do a makeover, and show miracles of ingenuity. And one day the rescued ship will go out to sea again. They say it sank once before. In those days, the same repairmen returned it to working condition. Modernized it and reconstructed it beyond recognition. And it was as if they gave it a new name then. So that dashing misfortune does not follow in his wake. Could something similar happen this time too? No, I don’t think so.

There is a good name for a ship that has survived so many incidents and hardships. It amazingly reflects both the present time and the future of the country, which is so uniquely and indomitably rising from its knees. A new name, if they seriously consider changing it, would be extremely relevant. It clearly reflected all the features of this strange and extremely confusing time.

“The Fifth term”.

Uladzimir Khalip, specially for Charter97.org

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