By the time Bjorn got out in the hallway, everybody were clattering down the stairs, except for Frank who came staggering out of his room apparently just woken up from a dream.
"Hi Frank," Bjorn said cheerfully. "I need to talk to you about a thing."
"About what?" Frank asked grumpily.
"About a boat taxi I came across last night."
"I know, I know," Frank interjected. "Geir told me all about it."
"He did?" Bjorn asked, feeling a sting of disappointment.
"He sent me an e-mail."
"Oh... So that's taken care of then?"
"I've reported it on to Oslo," Frank explained, leading Bjorn towards the stairs. "We don't have the resources to control the entire coast line for this kind of thing, so my suggestion is that we should employ the coast guard to patrol the entrance to the bay. That way every boat coming and going can be controlled as they pass through the narrow straight to Kirkenes."
Bjorn nodded in agreement, as he walked down the stairs. Frank sure knew his stuff. He might be a show off, but he had a good head on his shoulders, at least when he made an effort to use it.
Sitting down at the table, Frank was not very happy to see his gun, but revealed no concern about this apart from an almost undetectable twitch. Then, he simply pulled the gun towards himself, and lay it across his lap. Frank was obviously in no mood to talk about the gun, and Ante, together with Bjorn, pretended to be completely ignorant about it. And with John and Espen either oblivious to it, or sensing the unspoken tension related to the gun, did not remark on it either.
And to make absolutely sure that no one would mention the gun, Bjorn announced to everyone his intention to go out with a plate of food and a glass of wine to Thomas out in the glass cage. And this had the desired effect of setting off the conversation on a happy and careless note.
Bjorn piled up some meat, potatoes and vegetables on a plate, poured a generous glass of red wine, and headed out to Thomas with it all, grabbing a paper napkin and some cutlery on his way out.
The rain had turned to a light drizzle, and Bjorn got to the glass cage without getting wet beyond a very light sprinkle that did not even soak into his clothes.
"Thanks, that's very good of you," Thomas said cheerfully as Bjorn entered the tiny office. "This will certainly make my time here in the cage pass quicker."
"I´m sure it will," Bjorn agreed.
Then, before heading back to the barracks, Bjorn took in the view from the glass cage. The clouds hanging low and heavy over the bay added to the fairy tale beauty of the place. The utter greyness and lifelessness conjured up the feeling that this was indeed the edge of the world, an arctic corner where no man was ever supposed to come, and which civilization had violated by adding roads and houses in godless defiance of the natural order of things.
"It's almost a little spooky, isn't it?" Bjorn asked rhetorically.
"What is?" Thomas asked, taking an initial sip of his wine.
"I like it," Thomas said as a matter of fact.
"Me too," Bjorn agreed. "It's beautiful."
Bjorn left Thomas with his plate of food and glass of wine, heading back to the kitchen where the conversation had turned to the riots at the asylum centre in Lier. John had learned from looking around on the web that the riots had indeed been taking place at the very same place where Lars had organized his demonstration just days before, and John was sensing a conspiracy of some kind.
"So you think that Lars is behind it?" Espen asked.
"Well, he did not seem very upset with the riots, did he?" John replied.
"When was Lars ever upset with a riot?" Frank commented with a grin.
"But you have to admit it's a little disconcerting that he is targeting Lundby with his rhetoric these days." John added in defence of his theory.
"And that is why we are going to get a big fence around this place," Frank explained. "As long as we are one step ahead of the mob, we're fine."
The men fell silent on this note, and Bjorn took another sip of his red wine, only to be struck by its unusual taste.
"So what wine is this?" Bjorn asked, taking the opportunity to change the subject matter.
"It is a red green wine," Ante answered with a big smile.
"So they do exist," Bjorn commented glibly.
"They do indeed! Proves that even you can be right at times."
"Wasn't it Espen who came up with that theory" Bjorn asked modestly, turning to Espen.
"Or was it Thomas?" Espen asked.
Ante looked around the table with a smile.
"You know, maybe we should all take credit for being such good thinkers," Ante suggested.
And with this the conversation turned permanently to lighter matters. The wine drinkers at the table all agreed that the wine had an unusual feel to it which went quite well with the turkey. But they were more divided when it came to whether or not to repeat the experience. Frank and Espen thought it a nice experience as a one off, while Bjorn and Ante thought it good enough to try again, with Ante suggesting they should try the wine again one day with a duck or a goose or some similar fatty bird.
"Well, you're the one in charge of the household," Frank noted. "So I guess the decision is ultimately yours to make."
"It is indeed," Ante said smiling form ear to ear.