Polar. Story. (Second author's edition)

Sailor Vyacheslav Shakhov,
Dedicated to ...

So happiness is not waiting
So wait - end:
Soldiers salute
And in the chest - lead.

Letters Square:
Ink and spells!
For the sleep of death
Nobody is old!

Marina Tsvetaeva.


PROLOGUE


Murmansk accompanied us cold rain.
So cold that it seemed as if among the caustic water droplets have caught the first, half-melted icicles.
We arrived at the train station late at night. Green naval UAZ took us straight to the train on the platform.
There were five. Two sailors - Sergey Troshin and I, Midshipman Torchin - our commander and sergeant of the second article, Vladimir Trofimov, the driver.
Who was the fifth?
Fifth ... This is the whole point ...
Unlike us, it does not wrap up in the collar of a black naval greatcoat, everlasting cursing the bad weather and the cold of Murmansk.
He has not adhered peakless cap by hand, so it does not fly away, caught by the wind, which blew through us as soon as we left the salon warm UAZ.
He was not breathing and then on reddened, cold hands, trying to warm them a little bit.
Our "fifth" lay quietly in the two-meter zinc box, trimmed top not planed pine boards. And he was no longer worried about anything. Absolutely nothing ...
"CARGO 200". This was our "fifth"...
And the four of us were his "the accompanying"...
Here it is, the most disgusting job in the Navy that they could charge. Worse than a hundred outfits out of turn. Worse than a thousand of night watches and guards.
We volunteered to do ...
We carried the dead body of one of those who until recently served together in Moscow.
"Accompanying" - Neutral, almost a secular word. It does not sound scary ...
Buried BRIGADE - it sounds much worse. But - true ...
A week ago, none of us could not even imagine that this could happen at all. All of us, all our small part, permanently kicked out of the rut occurred in our events eyes.
Anyway - we were all of their parties.
The only difference is that we - were alive and well, but the two men - were killed.
And their death was swift and terrible ...
We were absolutely not ready for this.
Everything that happened seemed to us absurd, nonsense, someone awful, stupid, evil joke ...
We did not expect. We do not even allow the thought that this could happen in principle ...
Not only do we - snotty boy-sailors, and that twenty-something not yet fulfilled. But our leaders, our officers, men, wise life experience - they, too, were not ready, they as well as we were caught unawares.
It is one thing - to hear of the death, to know about it. It is quite another - be it face to face, to feel its icy breath, her insane brutality, it extends to the madness ease and irreparable.
We are all deeply worried the incident. Each in its own way. Indifferent among us was not, and could not be.
It so happened that we lost both his best friend and his worst enemy. But is it?
No, we have lost something more ... But this does not tell me that's so right ...
When we opened the rear doors Sergei UAZ to transfer "zinc" in the baggage car, a rough wooden box, with a strange and scary contents inside, calmly looked at us from the dark interior.
I could not bring myself to think of him as a "things". I did not manage it. At times, while we still went to Murmansk, I threw on his cap careful, quick glances, and my back and arms ran goose. Sergei looked at all the whole way only to him as if spellbound.
Sergei ... Sergei Troshin ... My friend ...
He suffered in this story more than any of us put together. And if we were not easy - you can imagine what it was!
Why?
He did not just lost a friend. He lost the dearest person on earth ...
He lost not an enemy. He escaped from Satan himself, a demon in human form, trampled in a flash the most sacred and the most expensive, that Sergei was.
I know that Sergei would have given anything to be able to take revenge on her abuser.
And that's an understatement!
He'd twisted it inside out, cut into pieces, I would be forced to die slowly and painfully.
He would like to be his executioner ...
But to avenge the dead - it is impossible ...
It seems to me, that's about it, Sergei was thinking when his eyes stared in a wooden box, which we accompanied on his last journey.
Although, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he was thinking about something else ...
midshipman's voice brought us both out of his stupor.
- Come on, guys ... suffered ...
Sergei grabbed one edge "zinc" and pushed him out of the UAZ. I picked up the other.
When the two of us carried him down the platform to the baggage car - rain fell harder and the wind - a verse.
Ensign did not hurry us - he knew how hard was our burden. In all senses.
I walked back and saw the jet of water crashing against the rough pine boards "zinc"As they penetrate into the loose joints, where gleaming gray metal. Rain seemed to have washed the coffin on all sides ...
I saw the black overcoat Sergey already rather strange wet and glistening in the light of the station lamps. Large drops rolled down his cap with his and fell down on his back. Black ribbons with gold anchors swayed from side to side with each step. As in slow motion ...
Obsession ...
Now would tweak his ear and wake up ...
Only, alas, not a dream ...
Head of the train was already waiting for us at the baggage car, whose doors were open. Inside the car is dark. Doorway - like the entrance to an empty cave, - a receptacle hollow echo, the ancient crypt, silently and patiently waiting for his new "inhabitant". Huge square mouth in a silent scream unstopped ...
In the hands of ... the chief of the train flashed the flashlight. Our warrant officer handed him some papers. Head of train nodded and waved his hand to us, first to enter the baggage car. The light from the flashlight darted to the shelves and shelves ...
Loading did not take us long ...
Head of the train was close and seal the door of the car, and we went back to his UAZ.
Ensign Volodya gave Trofimov, our driver, the last instruction - he had to go back to the part without us. We Sergei picked up their backpacks, slammed the rear doors now empty salon and came to say goodbye too.
Volodya Sergey silently shook his hand and as he walked away - threw me a meaningful look short.
"There eyeing him" - He whispered with his lips and his words vanished in the noise of the cold, northern rain.
"Oh sure" - I nodded, too, and shook his hand Volodya.
UAZ has released a cloud of white smoke and left, and the three of us headed to his car.
Midshipman walked first, Sergey and I - for him.
We are not in a hurry, as if oblivious to the rain and bad weather. We have not even had a cold.
Sergei walked silently next to me and his face was pale and stony. Not a drop of blood ...
His boots fought off the step on the asphalt apron as a particularly loud and clear, and from under the heavy soles on all sides flew dazzling water spray.

* * *

The black band, white ...
Black, white ...
Black ...
White ...

This I believe strips Sergei vest. It lies on the top shelf of our compartment, back to me. He pretends to be asleep. I pretend to believe him. And I think the strip on it. Top - down, bottom - up ... And again on the new ...
The train thunders at the joints often-often. To disperse ...
Every minute we are getting closer to Moscow.
Thirty-six hours of travel. Only...
I izmayalsya. I go to sleep and could not - did not want to sleep. In front of the whole night - what do I do? Maybe go find our drunken midshipman and join him?
No really ...
I look at the three black overcoat that hung neatly here, next to my shelf. I look at the round shtandartiki sewn to the sleeves, I look at the straps. On his cap on the ribbons with gold anchors on the officer's cap midshipman ...
Black, all black ... As my mind ... Like everyone around us ...
Buried CORPS ...
No, you can not!
I decide to go into the lobby to smoke, although smoking is not very desirable. But lying in the compartment and count the stripes on the vest Sergei becomes simply unbearable!
In the vestibule, probably cold. I take off my coat and pounced on his shoulders. She - wet. Unpleasant ...
Carefully I go out into the corridor and slowly I cover the door. Sergei did not move on its shelf. Can really asleep?
In the vestibule is really cold and smells disgusting. I light up "belomorinu". Acrid smoke burns the throat first. Then it passes.
I walk over to the door leading out into the street and look out the window.
Dark. Very dark. No lights ... Only poles flashed, very close. Whitewashed rains as bone ...
Everywhere, everywhere now I chudyatsya symbols of death ...
Behind my back suddenly slams the door vestibule. I turn around.
Sergei...
So, after all, I was right - he was not asleep.
He comes up to me, he looked straight into his eyes. He firmly holding me with his eyes, that I can not look away, I can not even blink.
- Andrew, let smoke ... - his voice hoarse and low, like a cold.
During these last days I have forgotten how his voice sounded really ...
I silently climb into his overcoat pocket and hands him a wad. He shakes out a cigarette and lights up her from mine. When he does, his strong, warm fingers squeeze my hand a little harder than it should be.
And then I feel a shiver ... I feel his hand tremble ... And I know that he wants now is to hide all the forces.
- You feel bad ?
That said, I was surprised myself. I did not want to ask anything. Moreover - it is.
Silly and trivial question ...
Sergei said nothing. He just nodded his head and slid down the wall and sat down on his haunches right in front of me. I did the same.
Now I'll want to look into his eyes, but he lowers his head and I can not.
Sergey gaining a lungful of smoke, inhaling deeply on his cigarette, and exhales a huge cloud of murky right in my face. I zazhmurivayus - stings the eyes.
- I'm sorry ... - I hear his voice again.
- Garbage, do not pay attention ...
- Yes, I feel bad ... - Sergei cracked voice - a little more - and I go crazy ... no strength to endure more all ...
I extend my hand and stroked it on the barbed head, back of the head. I do so because I just can not do it again. I know that he will understand everything correctly and do not condemn me.
- You can not, Serge ... You know ...
He is looking at me. This opinion hunted beast. I hurt from his eyes ...
- I know nothing! - Almost a cry.
And then it "burst"...
He falls to his knees and poked his head into my chest. The cigarette slips from his fingers and flies on a dirty floor ...
He had a long and terrible cries, and I keep it. With both hands, like a little, hugging the shoulders. It seems to me that if I was not so hard to keep him - he just will break.
What we were so - I do not know. Long. Little by little he calms down. I lift his head, wiping his face with his hands. He tries to look away. He was embarrassed by his weakness.
Weakness?
I podkurivayu cigarette and insert it on the lips.
- Smoke, Serge ...
- Thank you...
He nods and again squats, leaning back against the wall. He looks into the vestibule depth. There swirling smoke from our cigarettes.
- I can not forget about this terrible box that we carry with them! He is constantly in front of my eyes! - These words he whispers, but it seems to me that screams - If I could forget about it! If it was not! But nothing is not it right ... Nothing ... Why life is shit? Why everything is always against us? Why should I ... take the damn box, this death? I'm a regular guy, the same as you ... For what it's all us? For what ? For what ?!
I have nothing to say to him. If i knew...
Around us - darkness, gloom of some kind. We are still here in the cold, smelly, smoky vestibule of the train, hurrying to Moscow. Both of us are drowning in sizom, caustic tobacco smoke. We seem to get lost in the fog. And there is nobody to lead us ...
I close my eyes...
A strange state of duality. When it seems that you are - you do not really. And something infinitely more unfamiliar, far away ... From this is frightening. All the senses are exposed ... This pain is difficult to describe. And hopelessness surrounding only multiplies it ...
- How nice that you came with me, - I feel the heavy hand of Sergei falls on my shoulder and his touch again pulls me out of sticky syrup madness.
I try to smile at him. Smile, probably beyond pathetic.
- If you want, I'll get the vodka? - Suddenly comes to me with the idea.
- What for ? We as a midshipman, insensitivity to get drunk?
- No, not for this ...
- Then what?
- Remember ...
Ending phrase stuck in my throat. I can not pronounce. I try and I can not ...
Here Sergei clearer view. From foggy and detached it turns into a sharp and hard.
- Forgive me ! - It has been said in a firm voice, - of course, we must remember the ... Slavik How is it I did not ... And where we'll get the vodka?
- I will find. You wait here?
- Yes. But if you want to - go with you.
- No. Not necessary. I myself. I quickly...
- Okay.
I get up and go to the door of the car. Before opening it, I turn to Sergei. He stands against the wall and looked out the window. In that same black void, where I looked in front of this. I have a feeling "deja vu"... As if Sergey is now - it was me ...
So strange it all ...
But as soon as I stepped into the vestibule of heavy dusk on a warm and bright wagon corridor - the feeling immediately disappeared.
Money in my pocket was not so much. But on the bottle it should be enough. And where to get the vodka in the night train - we all know.
I went to a compartment conductors, gently knocked the door and yanked.
She was sitting at a desk and writing something ...
Small, mischievous eyes. Surprised raised eyebrow. For thin lips - a smile.
- What do you need ?
The voice of a young and full of life, like herself.
- I would get the vodka. We are here with a friend ...
Her smile widens.
- And only then? And the money is?
I reach out to her hand, which is based on three crumpled bills and coins.
- Not much, sailor! - It is clearly flirts with me, do not hesitate - and that's all that you can offer me?
I'm embarassing. However, quite a bit.
- I have vodka ... It is not ...
- And I would - man ... Also very necessary ... - she burst out laughing.
I hesitate more. Or just pretend to be embarrassed? I dont know...
- In short - she gets up - If you come to me then, when all the dust settles - will give vodka. And their money - hide. So that ? Will you come or not?
- I'll come, okay - I did not surprised by this turn of events. This has happened to me in the train. And more than once.
- Look! - She jokingly threatening finger at me and pulls out a bottle from under the seat "Russian". - Here you are. And do not forget that promise! A friend can also lead ...
I have taken out of her hands vodka and turn to open the door to leave.
She lightly slaps my hand on the butt and laughing again.
- Look no census! Sailor!
I blush and fall out into the hallway, clutching a treasured bottle with both hands, like a banner.
"Well, damn!" - I rush to my head, and I thought I hasten back to the platform, to Sergei.
He was still standing at the door and looks out the window.
- Fed up?
- Yes. Here ...
I hand him the vodka.
- No - he shakes his head - Discover you ...
I tear off the neck of the aluminum tube. Now Sergei gently takes the bottle out of my hand. He looks at the floor.
- Come have a drink with you, Andrei ... Let's Remember our friend ...
- For Slavik ...
- For Slavik ... - Sergei's voice faltered, and he kissed the bottle first.
Then I.
Snack was nothing.
I put the vodka in the very corner of the vestibule, not to accidentally knock over.
We again sat on his haunches, facing each other. They smoke.
So whether it is easier? I do not know. Well, maybe - quite a bit. For ten minutes we were silent. Only smoked and listened to the sound of wheels. Every thought of his. But at the same time - we were thinking about the same. It was clear without words.
- You know, Andrei, you're done ... - Sergei strengthened voice and become so, to which I am accustomed to at our last year of a joint service. - You made me at least something to do right. And then I really ... That ...
- I see ... I, too, is not easy ...
- Yes, hard to ...
We again paused.
- And where you got the vodka? - Sergey is asked with interest. Or it seemed to me ?
- In conductors ... - I said, and grinned.
Sergei said.
- What ? - The edge of his lips, too, rose. A little bit.
- Money is not enough. But I agreed that she would take the rest of the nature. Or rather - "negotiated" she is.
- Yes ? - Sergey has smiled for real.
- And what could I do? - I shrugged.
- Now she really has nothing to do. We'll have to work ...
We chuckled softly in unison.
- And though she pretty? - Sergei cheeks flushed and I was pleased.
- I do not know ... I did not have time to notice ... slapped me on the ass ... Can you imagine?
- Imagine. But your ass is experienced?
- Through, - I nodded.
Then we looked at each other in a strange way, and if awake. They both stood in front of the same question: "What is it with us?".
Why do we laugh ...? It is now is the time for jokes?
Sergei looked down and I saw that he was ashamed. I was ashamed and I. Although shame - not exactly the feeling that we have experienced. Rather - awkwardness.
How so ? Smile, after what happened? Talk about some playful and dissolute the conductor when you're on their own became a member of the funeral team?
After the baggage car is not so far away ...
- You know, Andrei, you take a minute and went to the bottle compartment. It's cold here ... - interrupted Sergei wearisome pause.
- Yes, let's go ... - I nodded, picked up the bottle and we went.

* * *

I opened the door to our compartment and was about to enter, when Sergei, who was walking behind him, touched my shoulder.
- Andryukha ...
I turned to him.
- Yes, Serge?
- Do you really want to go to her?
Before I did not immediately realized he was talking about. Then I realized - of the conductor.
- No, Serge. To be honest - I do not want. But I have promised ...
- If so, then no need to go anywhere - it seemed to me that the voice of Sergei was jealous - I'll go myself and give her the money.
- Silly it all happened ...
- Never mind - he looked me in the eye, - Come, I'll be right back ...
I turned away from him and went into our empty compartment, and Sergey went down the hall.
The first step I took off and hung in place a semi-wet overcoat. Then he turned to the window and looked around.
The overhead light seemed too bright and I turned it off. Instead, I lit two reading lamps. It immediately became comfortable. Coupe is now looked different ...
Midshipman still was not. It looks like he's not really in a hurry to return to us. And why? I imagined he would return in which a state where it will be decided on. The train is full of Navy officers, the company will always find himself. Our presence is clearly irked him. And to Moscow's still so far away ...
I sat down at the table. To eat, maybe? No, I do not want ... Do not want to ...
Sergei returned. So fast ?
- Well ? - I asked quietly.
- Nothing. It's okay - he said, closing the door to the compartment and removed his coat.
I realized that the theme of possession.
Sergei sat down to the table with the other hand. He looked first at our bottle of booze, then at me.
- Pourable, Andrei ...
I poured some vodka into glasses and put the bottle in place.
They drank in silence.
- Do not take it my all, - Sergey nodded at the bottle.
I nodded, too. But it was not in the vodka, of course. It was in us. If this continues, one bottle we can not do ...
Sergei leaned back and leaned against the wall of the compartment. I leaned on the table, resting his elbows on it.
He looks out the window, beyond which nothing can be seen. And I look at it ...
Train knocks at the junction of rail wagon sways and creaks.
Serge ... He's so handsome, in that his vest ... But the face, his face ...
- God ... No one knows what it is ... What is this ... No one can not explain ... - suddenly said Sergei, - Here it is - a living, very close, talking to you, looking at you ... And then ... then he was lying on the dock with his head ... and his blood everywhere ... even on your face ... If you've seen his eyes when he was shot ... If you could only their saw ! That will never forget! Do you hear? Never!
- I know Serge, all I know ... - I heart aches - I did, and he was not so far away, when it happened.
- Yes, damn you all know! The hell ... damn ... - Sergei zazhmurivaetsya and shakes his head from side to side.
I thought that now would be another tantrum that Sergei again give vent to his feelings, but no hysteria followed.
He put the bottle, took a swig, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and sniffed loudly.
- You know a lot, Andrei, more ... You're one of us ... and you were there ... then ... I was ... But - not all. No, not everything you know ... Even you. No one knows the whole truth. No one can know it - he thought for a moment as if taking for themselves some important decision, and then said firmly, - but I know it ...

* * *

How it all began?
Very simple...
In the year 199 .. Slavik eighteen and one spring day he found in a mailbox on the agenda of the call to active military service.
There were wires, friends, songs and dances ... It was my mother, first fussy, wishing to please everybody all the time to make "how to"And then - in tears when it was morning the next day and had to leave his home and go to the military enlistment office, to the collection. My mother left him for a few hours, Slavik - for a few years ... He, too, was sad - because of it. It will be here all alone. It will feed, drink, clothing and shoes all the time. And it is all the time will have to take care of itself. Could she? to be all she okay? Who will help her if it would be difficult?
He did not know the answers to these questions ...
At the military enlistment office, he kissed her and got on the bus, as well as other children - future soldiers. He has long waved to her from the window until she was out of sight ...
Then he looked out the window a long time - saying goodbye to his native city, with his beloved Moscow.
When now he would be here again? And he prepares his immediate future? What is going to be there ?
Ahead it is a long separation, and with all that he loved in his life, what he valued, cared about ... And he was sad ... Ahead of him stretched a path completely unknown to him ... and it was a little scary. .. In front of him waiting for the road and the bus carrying him along this road on and on ... What? He had no idea ...

First - he was in the suburban town Railway, the famous "a staging" all recruits. Medical examination, inspection, food sleep ... And again in a circle. Slavik stayed here for three days. He and a dozen guys who called with it from one of RVC. For three days, of course, a bit too much. All joking and said that they have prepared "something special". When in their recreation room on the third day, right after lunch, smart man entered the naval form, and two sailors with him, everyone understood, "why they waited"...

Navy.
Navy.
Three instead of two years.
Here you and ... "on"...
Sailed ...

They came as a group to the Leningrad railway station and boarded a train "Moscow-Nickel". A bit after recovering from the initial shock, the boys began to comfort each other, saying that the Navy because there are still Marines, and there lifespan - as in the Army for two years.
This simple consolation worked surprisingly well and mood all improved again.
We drove for a long time. Two days. But - it is fun. Food, still home, there were many. It piled up in "dorm" and each took what he wanted. Grass jokes, telling stories, smoking on the platform, looked in the window, in the places where never before been. In a word - no one was bored ...
Accompanying - Navy lieutenant and two sailors kept a deafening silence about the destination of the "little trip"And about the fate of all the waiting children.
On the third day, for dinner, "destination" It clarifies itself.
City Severomorsk.
He met the guys cold, wet weather, drizzle and a leaden sky.
That's right, yes - from summer to chilly autumn ... unusual ...
The city was gray and dull, as if he was asleep. Circle - mass of sailors in black uniforms. It is not surprising, because Severomorsk - the capital of the Northern Fleet.
They were placed in a separate one-story building - barracks. Temporarily. There had to part with the Civil and Civil clothing hair ... They washed, dressed in blue robes with no jack, boots, black overcoat and white ribbons without his cap. So, yes, no ribbons - like a plate on the head. Viewed guys funny and wonderful. Each was given a backpack with uncomplicated content - jacket, foot wraps, flanks, vest, jack ...
In Severomorsk Slavik spent a total of about a month. Even I managed to send two letters home, mom.
Day had a huge part to cut down on fish pellets Galley (dining part) or unload the car with coal.
The medical board followed one after another. They came "buyers" from different parts of it and took one, then the other guys.
As often stated in the Marines, all with bated breath, prayed to God that they took with them was his.
Slavik about what God is not praying. Probably because the Marines did not pay much attention to him, even though he and on the way, and bearing, and growth, and it is for them to fit in physical development.
But you do realize that they need?

By the end of the month acquaintances guys in the hut is almost gone. Old dismantled, new Slavik just do not have time to get acquainted - they were leaving, if not on the first day, then certainly - on the second.
In Slavik gradually began to give the impression that he was here alone is the longest that he "the oldest"But it certainly was not the case - just so it seemed.
"Local sailors" Slavik treated well and even - with respect. Whatever work they did not give it, he was doing it honestly and hard, even when it was very difficult.
"This guy sticks as moose, - once said one of the senior sailors, most healthy, about Slavik - If someone touches his finger - I ebalo to break ..."
And nobody Slavik "I touched". Never.

One completely normal, rainy, cold and gray days, Slavik suddenly took off the dress and ordered to go to the barracks - to collect things. So, he decided, wait ...
And so it proved.
The orderly gave him, that he should come with things and documents at the checkpoint. And yet - he wished me luck. Slavik shook his hand goodbye - he knew that out of here for good.
For PPC was "jeep"And around it - Lieutenant, "let¸ha". In the form of the Navy, the usual. Three years ? Three years...
The Marine Corps has lost a lot ...
"Let¸ha" He was a young and mustache.

"Sailor Shakhov?" - He asked Slavik and stepped toward him, holding out his hand.
"Yes, Comrade Lieutenant".
"Good. Then jump into the car. Let's go to serve!" - He smiled.

Slavik threw his backpack on the back seat and sat down himself. In the car, in addition to them there was another man - the driver. Slavik greeted him by the hand.

"Well, go ahead!" - ordered "let¸ha".

The sailor started the engine and the jeep ran briskly along the muddy road.
by the way "let¸ha" Slavik spoke about the place of his future life. It was a small part of the coast in the border area, near the town of Polar - the former capital of the Northern Fleet. In all of the thirty personnel. The staff is small but friendly. No "hazing" and "vneustavnyaka". Yes, I have to serve three years. But during this time, if all goes well, you can go on vacation again 5-6, that is, it turns out - in six months time.

"It could be worse - then said Slavik himself - After all I could get on a submarine or a ship ...".
Yes, it could be ... But it was not ... And he heard plenty of Severomorsk about boats and ships such ....
In short, we can assume - How lucky ... "rescued" drowned man ... not quite drowned ...

"Let¸ha" said that "SCHOOL" as it is - will not. BMP (basic training), it will be in place, in part. Somewhere in a month - Oath, issuing personal weapons ... Well, "universal respect for"...

"But you have already served a month, mind you - recalled, laughing, Lieutenant - After a stay in Severomorsk counts in life. So, there are very little ..."

This last remark a little upset Slavik. It once again reminded of the ill-fated three years, instead of two ...

From Severomorsk to Murmansk reached quickly. During the conversations and jokes, which let the "let¸ha", The engine-driver, the time passed quickly.
They drove through the city, over which hovered indestructible "fish" smell (Murmansk - the only one of the northern ports, an ice-free year round) and arrived at the huge military dock.
There were huge ships at anchor - gray, numbered, with rotating locators, several submarines - black, huge, too, license, as well as boats of all sizes and purposes.
They arrived in a small boat (similar to the border) and out of the car. Slavik and lieutenant. Engine-driver - remained. It turns out, he served in Murmansk and was not part of them. Parting with it did not take long.
They are two of the ladder boarded the boat. Lieutenant Slavik spent in the wardroom, put there your suitcase ... and said that he will rise to the bridge to report to the captain that they have arrived, and you can go.
Slavik asked him if they go long?
"Let¸ha" a mischievous grin:

-Remember, sailor. Swim - shit in the hole. And the sailors - go! No, we did not last long. For half an hour, I think, on a calm water - get.

And he was gone.
Soon the boat started the car, they mooring and set off. Lieutenant, it was not. Slavik did not dare go on deck without his permission, so watching the road from the porthole window, which was open.
Port passed quickly. Then - watch it no matter what. They were wide fairway, which is on both sides surrounded the rocky hill with the pitiful pieces of greenery. Gray sizoe sky here in Murmansk, hung even lower than in Severomorsk and it seemed that it was about to fall into the water because of its severity.
He returned the lieutenant.
Then came silence. Only the boat rumbled and rattled ...
Lieutenant something thoughtful. I think about how good it was on vacation, and even that the service begins again ... this service is really only began to Slavik ...
After a while "let¸ha" He shook his head, as if banishing evil thoughts, and again became talkative.
He said that the city Polar Slavik today do not see - part of them is a little away from him. And yet, despite the late hour, they are sure to feed ...
Soon they arrived ...
On the left side of the strait volcano has become more smooth and Slavik saw her terrace that looks like a giant step. It is on this "step" and settled their part.
The boat slowed down and began to be moored to a concrete wharf, it must be noted - quite a long jetty. The lieutenant remarked that there is deep enough, and the pier is so long - to moor could not only boats but also submarines. He said that the channel is deepened specifically here - he was on the right side is much smaller ...
When the car stopped the boat, they began to gather.
On the quay they had never met.
"Do not be afraid - said Lieutenant winked Slavik - People here are found ... It's just that everyone has their own thing. Now let's go, report back on duty".
They said good-bye to the captain, who went on deck to hold them and went ashore on the spill temporary ramp.
The boat started the car and headed back. Slavik did not look after him ...
He turned and looked at this place ...
The place which was to be his home for a long time ...
"Come on, sailor Shakhov, - he said the lieutenant, - We are waiting for great things".
And they went ...
Ahead of them, very close, it was a team - two-story brick building, whose basement was painted blue paint. From it went up the hill and lost for the asphalt slope, the old road. To the left of the team were car boxes and one box with no windows - most likely warehouse. That was all. It was all part of the ...
Slavik sighed wistfully - sparsely ...
I wonder how many people live here? Commanders? Sailors?

"Do not be afraid, Shakhov, - said, "let¸ha"Noticing his mood - it seems at first sight that the desert here. Then you will be closely here, it is that you really believe me ...

Slavik adjusted his backpack over his shoulder and nodded to Lieutenant ... They walked faster. A minute later, the lieutenant on duty already reported midshipman military unit 954HH-B on his arrival from vacation and recharge arrival - Vyacheslav Shakhov sailor ...

So it all began ...

In this part, 954HH-B, the first time Slavik issued a black ribbon to his cap with the inscription in gold "Northern Fleet"As well as shoulder straps to overcoats, jackets, robes and insignia - the little black-and-red banners round. So Slavik of ordinary "BMY" - "Naval U¸bische" (As expressed "local" Severomorsk) - has become a real sailor, the same as everyone else.
In this small part he had to serve the full three years and here turn from ordinary "greenhorns" in this man. In this part ... Yes who knows what else! Who can know it for sure ... And Slavik did not know too ...
As lieutenant promised - they fed. Pretty tasty. Slavik leave their belongings on duty midshipman on the remote. Watchman led him to the second floor, in a cockpit, where long ago the black screens on the windows were down and was frank snoring (after all, the local time, it was already close to midnight), shown on the free koechku already tucked.
"Borrow, - said the watchman, - If you want to latrine - go there, down the hall and to the right. And so - to sleep. All the rest - tomorrow. Up at 6 in the morning. Good night".
Slavik did not want to use the toilet, so dismantled koechku, undressed and lay down. But sleep he could not get all - too many new impressions in one day. Finally, he did it ...

* * *

Slavik sat in "red corner" at the window, looking at the Strait. He tried to write a letter to my mother. On the windowsill in front of him lay a clean sheet and pen. Outside, sprinkled with small nasty rain. Gray sky, leaden clouds ... Each day, day by day ... Where is the sun got lost?
Summer ... It's called - Summer ... It's funny ... During the month that he had spent a total of here, in the North, he saw the sun no more than three times ... A few minutes ... What will happen in the winter ?
He really did not have enough of the night because of this grebuchego, DC, the polar day - it lacked its darkness, its mysteries, its special mood ... The first time, he even did not sleep well because of this, despite the exhausting work and tremendous fatigue ... Despite the fact that the windows "overnight" closed opaque black screens ... All the same, he felt that the window - light ... Even through the screens ...
He really did not have enough stars, their type, their radiance, their bewitching brilliance ... He missed him, just as my mother was bored, in their city, in their previous life, but knew - past life will not be the same, everything is changed, everything was different ... Because he has changed ... and these changes continued ...
Slavik looked at the blank sheet and picked up a pen. What is he going to write? It's his first letter here ...
He started: "Hello, dear mother!"
What's next ? Somewhere quiet singing radio ...

Gone are the days of sun and the birds flew away,
And we're alone again, week after week ...
Together with you, together with you, left you and me,
My favorite ... favorite, my precious ...

Voices from the past life ...

He continued:

"I write to you, finally, from the military unit, where I will stay to serve. The place where I was taken, can be described as the hills, the Barents Sea and our small military unit. Nothing else. A few kilometers away is the town of Polar, the former capital of the Northern Fleet, of which I was now. For three long years. What I'm here and what I will do - is still unknown. The future will show. Come here to me should not be - we've got a border zone. So the only way to see me - that's when I'm going on vacation. And it will be no earlier than a year. Northern nature will not describe - you've seen it many times in movies and on television. And you also know about the polar night. How everything is engaged in at this time - no idea. Light, blizzard, cold - 45 degrees ... There is a beautiful thing - aurora. They happen during the polar winter. But they are not very well affect the health, I'm told. I have yet to find it all. So far, after all, it is summer and the polar day ... The climate is wet and damp - the sea close ... almost do not see the sun - only the clouds, clouds, rain ...
While I only work - individual did not commit. And I'm doing everything I ordered. In the early days it was very bad and sad, now like a little getting used to ... But all this can get used - I'll never know ... But here, someone have to serve what Garrison ... do we miserable in all of the 30 people. And not another soul around - just us. About a month later - Oath. It's a pity you can not come - I would like to! Anyway...
Once released into the firing - be photographed and will send you a photo, look at me. All the same form sailor thing rather beautiful. I'm older even though it has become. And in general - I really changed. But this is - not the worst. Quite the contrary.
Friends is not acquired, but also enemies - too. They treat me normal, so do not worry about me. Just a lot of work and I am very tired. And I have to hope only for themselves. Perhaps more will be a little easier ... And yet - all the way there.
Tell a huge hello to all who knew me.
While saying goodbye. I will write more.

Your son Glory".

* * *

Slavik sat in the cockpit, a table and a second strap sewed to their new jackets. The first, he sewed fifteen minutes ago. It's not kleilos - he tore all his fingers already.
He did not see how someone came into the cockpit and said clearly: "Sailor Shakhov - to the commissar!".
Slavik looked up from the pea jacket, but the one who said it - has turned his back on him and left the cockpit.
He put the jacket and rose from the table. He was summoned. Why interesting?
zampolit room was here, on the second floor. After ten seconds, Slavik was already at her door. He gently knocked and pushed the handle.

-Can ?
-Yes, come ...
-Sailor Shakhov came ... - he began to report "in form" and suddenly stopped.

At the table sat a political officer sailor as he was, just a little older. He caught a glimpse of it before, but did not know his name.

-What confused? - He smiled broadly and opened a sailor, - Come on. I was asked to fill out some documents for you. Political officer was summoned to the headquarters. I sometimes help him.
-Yes, yes ... I ... Yeah, I understand ... - Slavik stood still saluting.
-Yes, put down your hand is ... - smile at the guy was charming.
-Oh ... - Slavik seemed to have thought of his hand, which he still applied to his cap and dropped it.
-Okay, this is the name of Shakhov. A name is something you like?
-Slavik ...
-Hmm - sailor grinned and shook his head - "Slavik"Vyacheslav ..., then ... A middle name?
-Andreevich...

He wrote something on a piece of paper that lay before him on the table and looked back at Slavica.

-My name is Sergey. Last Troshin. I serve for a year. What are you standing then?
-What? - Slava shrugged, as if to ask "Something is wrong ?".
-Take a jar and sit closer.
-What to take? - Slavik felt that he looks like an idiot, but he did not really understand Sergei.
-Jar ... stools, take ... Fool! - Sergei smiled broadly again. His smile was kind and warm.
-Ahh !! - Slavik took one of the stools, facing the wall and sat down at the table.

And at this very moment, something inside him "sank". He did not realize what it was. Only he felt a strange feeling - is still unknown, completely new and incomprehensible. This experience was like a light melancholy, but it was not sad - quite the contrary. Slavik frowned - what is happening to him? If life experience he had had more, he would know - THAT ... But the life experience he did not have much ...

-Well, Slavik, that's how we met. Very nice - Sergei stood up and held out his hand across the table. The handshake was firm. - I kept an eye on you all these days, since you came here. It seems to me - you're a great guy, sailor Shakhov.
-You too ... - suddenly found himself said Slavik and somehow embarrassed. Sergei did not seem to notice it. But he, of course, heard everything ...
-We serve together after two years. I can call just Serega. I am a simple man and without "Zadvigi"- He again dazzling smile - Did you know that here is where our part, pass the border zone?
-Someone I've said it. I know...
-So. You must sign this paper, - Sergey handed him a sheet of paper, in which he wrote, - it's just a formality, but you still read it before you put on it his autograph.

Slavik took the paper and began to read. "A special form of access and privacy ... secrecy ... It is forbidden to leave the part without special permission or instruction ... visits relatives are excluded ... In letters and phone calls are not allowed to mention the ..." - And so on and in the same spirit. Slavik read it all, but at the same time thinking about something else. He thought about Sergei. This guy had some strange magical effect on him ... Why? Slavik could not understand ... But he felt the power of the man above him, his authority and his attraction ... - yes, that's it, right word ...

He pretended to read until the end ... form, signed it (Sergey gave him a pen) and returned back.

-Well. This is all a sailor Shakhov. Slavik ... - Sergei smile like the sun was shining all around.
-I can go ? I still need to sew a second crop ... - said Slava and immediately regretted it. Unless he had to hurry? Is was so important right now that damn shoulder straps? And anyway, it looks stupid ... Did he? What's going on with him?

Now, the man does not merely smiled - he laughed out loud and rollicking. His laugh sounded crystal clear and so contagious that Slavik smiled.

-Pogon? Wow ! - Sergey stopped laughing - Well, go on, of course. I think we'll be friends. Yes, you do not be shy! Here you one of the guys would not hurt. In such tiny parts like ours - its laws. And "teapots" a special attitude, not like everywhere else. Feel equal among equals. All the same plow as horses. So that you are harnessed ...
-Yes, I have ...
-Well ... And if there are any problems - come to me, okay? I see you stand like that apart. Yet no one made friends?
-With you here ...
-Well and good. Well, to me here is something else to do, and you epaulettes dosha. After lunch - you find me? Talk if you want ..
-Naidu! - Slavik nodded and showed Sergey all his teeth. - Well, I'm going?
-Yes, - Sergey again held out his hand - it was very nice to meet you.
-And me...

Slavik gave Sergei gaze and left the political officer's office. Sergei watched him until the door had closed behind him, but then for some reason he shook his head and returned to his work ...

In the afternoon they met, as planned. Slavik found Sergei about the team, "smoking room".
All afternoon "hour rest" they had been there, in conversation together. They no one interfered. Slavik told about himself, where he is living and who spoke about their hobbies and that did not even think to get served in the Navy - all the more so for three years.
Sergei told him that this feeling "resentment" will soon pass. What first of all it was. You just need time to get used to a new place, new life, new people. Then Sergey told about himself.
He was born in Nizhny Novgorod, a city where Slavik never been. He studied at the school, was fond of motorsports. He lived with his father and mother, yet he had a younger brother. He loved movies and travel. As a family they have traveled almost half the country. In Moscow, it was only a few times. He did not really like - vain and too many people. He loved the city and would return after the service there. ABOUT "of extended" I do not dream - no, a career military man, it's not for him. Here - it helps political officer when he asked him about it and tinkering in the garage with cars. Something like mechanics, yes. Technique - it "skate". His name and then - "Mechanic number 1"... Funny ...
While Sergei is all told, Slavik had the opportunity to get a better view of it. High, almost half a head above him. Excellent figure from above - just a mountain of muscle. However, all "local" these guys were. As Slavik learned later, training with weights sometimes help clear your head from unnecessary and bad thoughts. On the face of Sergey was a very handsome, one might even say - beautiful. Short brown hair (as Slava), clear blue eyes (from Slavik they were green), dark eyebrows "vrazlet", Large, sensual lips ... And yet - SMILE ...
With a smile, Sergei nothing could be compared. She was unique. Slavik had never met people with a smile. When Sergei smiled or laughed, his eyes radiated solar sparkle, they shone with the warmth that seemed possible to feel the skin - it was so palpable. Smile Sergei fascinated, disarming, uplifting ... Beside him Slavik felt almost happy ... From his loneliness was gone ... Sergei fascinated him, even with the first of their meetings, political officer in the office .. .
Only one could not understand ... Slavik How was taken in him a strange feeling of awkwardness and embarrassment, when Sergei was there ... He had never experienced the awkwardness and embarrassment in front of the guys. And with the other sailors here that was not there ... But with Sergei - was ...
Listening to the story of Sergey, Slava decided for myself that perhaps this comes from the fact that Sergei - a special man, "not all"He just really like him ... Slavik With him it is very nice that he - "his people"... Maybe, even, his friend ... That's right, with "a capital letter"...
But this ...
No, it does not mean anything. Nothing wrong with that, right? True friendship - a strange thing and then all at once you will not understand ...
Slavik knew for sure only one thing - he is incredibly happy that Sergei offered his friendship. Yet he knew - that if he did not offer this friendship, Slavik would do anything to achieve it ...
The hour passed quickly with little. They smoked a lot of cigarettes and had a lot to talk about. Evening was approaching divorce in the works.

-I would like to tell you another thing, it is very important, - said Sergey. Now he was not smiling. He was very serious, and even ... concerned. - You see, in every ointment necessarily a fly in the ointment. We've got - the same way. Soon you must call to his first deputy commander. For a private conversation ...
-So what ? - I asked Slavik, but his thoughts were far from the deputy commander.
-It - goat, which is not enough. You'll see. He is, at the headquarters of the Navy "his own hand"So he is still here. So - keep him on the alert. This man - shit ...
-Is it so bad ?
-Hard to say ... come to him - then tell me. And I can tell you - it is bad or not.
-Okay, it's a deal...

"at parting"Before they parted, Sergei hugged Slavik's shoulders and said, "You're a cool guy. We are now - like a thread with a needle".
Nothing special, just a friendly hug ...
But from this Slavik "nothing special" skin crawl, and went through the body - a slight tremor. This has never happened before. And now - it was ...

* * *

From that day, Slavik life changed. She was filled with a sense of ...
HERE ...
She was filled with another person ... his friend ...
He never thought it could be so important ... And for him, and - in general ... Now he knew for sure - it has ...
All his not numerous and Sergey tried to spend free time together.
Sergey largely helped him explain some things ..., something taught ...
He was a year older and Slavik always listened to him, he trusted him ...
Sometimes - they were just talking as if for the first time in "smoking room"...
And even when Slavik long time did not see Sergei, he still felt his invisible presence somewhere very close, very close ... That gave him confidence and helped to deal with difficulties, which lacked ... He knew that Sergei will always be here, with him, that he is not going anywhere and will not go away ...
This place, this small military unit, gradually more liked Slavik - he even wrote about my mother ... And he did not regret that, instead of two years of service, he got three ... Now - no ...
And he knew the answer - because of what - or rather, because of whom all this is happening ...
SERGEI - that was the answer ...

* * *

After breakfast Slavik got outfit for the day - he had to paint the ground. The work is not too difficult, but tedious. It was necessary to refresh all of the white markings on the pavement in front of the team. A bucket of paint, a brush and a broom to sweep away the dust, he was given in the warehouse, in the hangar. Nothing more is required.

This produced a hangar Slavik a strange impression. On the surface - the usual prefabricated sheds of corrugated aluminum sheets, nothing special. But when Slavik was there - it was somehow not on itself. He could not explain why there is this feeling. But it was strong. In short - it is not like the place, that's all ...

The weather was windy but dry on this day. There was a strong wind from the sea and the sky quickly rushed off to the north ragged, gray clouds.

When Slavik got the paint, Leszek Averkin who gave him the paint, handed him an old, worn jacket with the words: "Here, put. And zadrygnesh ...". Slavik did not argue and took the jacket, although it was more like a scarecrow than a sailor of the Northern Fleet.

Employment Slavik dispute. He even thought that ended with her for dinner, but not in the evening. The paint was drying quickly, but it smelled awful. She climbed into the eyes and nose, it eats into the throat. Smoking was disgusting - the same feeling is when you are sick with influenza.

Seagulls at the pier noisily. "Perhaps the weather will change again ..." - Slavik thought, looking at their dizzying aerial dancing on the background of the sky came down from the mind.
But he had no time to watch the seagulls - I had to work.

Try as he might, for dinner, he mastered only a little more than half of the parade ground. And after dinner, when he once again donned a shabby jacket and picked up a brush - there was one very interesting event.

Slavik first saw the submarine life.

She went strait on the surface in the direction of Murmansk. There was absolutely silent, cutting the water like oil. The boat was huge and completely black. Only the white board the three-digit number is literally shone on her pilothouse.

Slavik did not think that such a big boat! He had never seen them so close, and the sight made a deep impression on him.

It seemed that the boat - was not made by people, that she was not just a dead piece of metal, stuffed with electronics and machinery. Slavik she seemed - live. Yes, yes - it is alive. So naturally it merged with the aqueous medium in which the move. She was the epitome of strength, power. She evoked the primeval, awe. Anyone would feel close to her absolute nonentity, a speck of dust ...

For the pilothouse along the hull of the submarine was a row convex, round hatches. Slavik knew it - missile silos. From the realization that here it is, a nuclear Armageddon, very close, very close, and "if anything" - Is anywhere from it can not escape by the skin Slavik ran chill.

open-mouthed stare Slavik accompanied the boat, until then, until it disappeared around the bend of the fairway.

Just screaming gulls, just roaring wind, just the sea lapped at the dock and ran through the clouds the sky. But inside Slavik warm and trembling a strange delight - as if he had just rolled on a dizzying ride and full of dangers.

As in childhood...

He reluctantly returned to work.

At this point, because of the hills seemed their green jeep staff. He was driving on the road against the wind, so Slavik first saw it, and only then heard.

Jeep smartly rounded the low hill and down from a small gorochki - driven in part. He stopped right in front of the team. The driver killed the engine.

In the cab sat two, but who exactly it was - it was not possible to discern Slavik.

Right door jeep flew open and from there, holding his cap, jumped on zampolit ground. He gave a quick glance Slavik, nodded and disappeared into the team.

Nothing else happened Slavik continued to paint the ground, still thinking about fascinated by his submarine.

The jeep cab driver on the spot, sat Sergey Troshin. He knew that glare windshields do not allow to consider it from the side of the parade ground. But he saw it all perfectly.

Putting his hands on his knees, Sergei was watching Slavik.

Here he dips the brush into the paint, squatting, then draws on the gray asphalt line, over exactly the same, but ist¸rsheysya and faded. Here he straightened to his full growth rather big and looks intently that he got.

He has a beautiful, inspired face. I wonder what he was thinking? Or talking about?

Sergey has repeatedly asked myself the last few days - what is this guy, an ordinary, in general, a guy caught it? Or unusual? Maybe that's just the point, that Slavik Shakhov - an unusual person? Sergei still could not understand ... He carefully listened to him and did not find the answer ...

But one thing he himself has admitted - he was attracted to this guy, it was obvious. And it was useless to fight it ... because I feel it - it was strong and it is growing every day ...

Sergei got out. At the sound of slamming doors ... Slavik turned and saw Sergei, - smiled.

- Hello ! - I shouted through the wind whistling Sergey and waved. Slavik waved back.

- Well, as you glory? - Sergey asked, coming closer.
[T

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