"You know, I can't believe you're saying all this nonsense," John said earnestly, looking over at Thomas. "Why are you even here if you hate the state so much?"
"He doesn't know," Frank replied on Thomas' behalf. "Isn't that so?"
"Yeah. It's the truth," Thomas replied with a crooked grin. "It's not like I made any secret of my opinions either, yet here I am."
"But spending all your time watching YouTube videos and looking stuff up on Wikipedia hasn't helped, has it?" Frank suggested. "You're worse now than when you came. I'm pretty sure about that."
"You think so?" Thomas asked. "Well... you're probably right. But it's the truth what they're saying."
"You know! It isn't," Frank replied confidently. "And even if it was. What are you going to do about it? Start a revolution, or something?"
Thomas did not bother to reply. But he was cool about it all. It did not seem to bother him that none of his colleagues were buying into his propaganda, not openly anyway.
"But seriously, how did you end up here?" John asked. "They didn't draft you or anything, did they?"
"No, of course not. I applied for the job, thinking I was sure not to get it. Yet I got it anyway."
"Yeah. So here I am, secretly hoping that Frank will fire me so I can go back to being unemployed."
Frank chuckled. "Hey! It's not that bad up here, is it?" he protested.
"No. It's not bad at all," Thomas admitted. "I'm fine. I really am."
Ante put a fruit salad and a bowl of whipped cream on the table, and there was a pause in the discussion while everybody served themselves desert.
"Did you guys see the latest news from Libya?" Espen asked, as he dug into his bowl of fresh fruits. "Things are really getting out of hand down there."
"They sure are," Frank agreed. "It's just a matter of time before they attack one of those production facilities again. We got to send ground troops. There's no way around that."
"You heard anything about that, though?" Thomas asked. "They are not sending any of us, are they?"
"Not that I know. I'd be very surprised if they did. We're not trained for that kind of stuff."
"Well, actually we are," Espen noted dryly. "You know, border control, skirmishes, insurgence... Or did you guys get a different training than I did?"
"No," Bjorn commented. "But it was a two week thing. Not exactly a whole lot of training."
"Still... It's more than many others out there."
Frank had to admit that Espen had a point, but it was in his view very unlikely that anyone at the checkpoint would be called upon to go to Libya, especially at a time when the village was about to have its first major influx of refugees.
"It's just not going to happen," Frank said confidently. "We're almost as much in the news as the Libya crisis these days. They are not going to shift us around. This project is just too important for them to risk a cock up."
"Yeah, you're right," Espen said with a nod. "The foreign minister even said this whole project is essential for the re-vitalization of the north."
"Really?" Ante asked, genuinely surprised.
"Yeah! It's now suddenly the driving force behind his arctic conquest thing."
"You're kidding! A couple of miners, a casino, and a fish processing plant. And he's thinking he's conquering the arctic?"
"I don't think he means it literally, Ante," Frank noted dryly. "But he has this vision of the arctic, with the North East Passage connecting Europe with the far east. And Lundby is an important part of that vision. It's not a bad idea at all, when you think about it."
"It's a great idea," Espen agreed. "It's the shortest route for ships going between Europe and China. Shorter by at least a week compared to the alternatives."
"When it is ice free," Thomas added. "Which is like a few weeks every summer,"
"Sure! But with the global warming and all. The passage will be used more and more."
"And it explain why the foreign minister is so obsessed with this whole thing," Frank added. "And why we don't have to worry about Libya."