Progress report/Отчет о работе
Our dearest backers:
We are continuing to search for a publisher for the English translation. The translation is moving at a very good pace: Alex has finished Chapters 1-5, 8, 14 and 16. Meanwhile, we will be collecting information from you as backers to fulfill our obligations and send out the rewards. The first one we need is your name or the name of your friend/relative you want to be included in the list of sponsors, exactly the way you want it to appear on the list. We will be also asking for other information through surveys on Kickstarter, so please read those messages carefully.
Below, as always, a translated excerpt from Chapter 8. Thanks, as always, for your support and faith in the project.
Дорогие наши поддержатели:
Мы продолжаем искать издателя для Аэропорта на английском. Перевод движется хорошими темпами: Александр закончил Главы 1-5, 8, 14 и 16. В то же время, мы будем запрашивать от вас информацию как от тех, кто поддержал проект, чтобы выполнить наши обязательства перед вами и разослать призы. Первое, что нам нужно - это Ваше имя или имя родственника/друга, которое Вы хотели бы включить в список спонсоров, написанное именно так, как Вы хотели бы его видеть в списке спонсоров. Мы будем также запрашивать другую информацию, так что пожалуйста не пропускайте сообщения с опросами от Кикстартера.
Ниже, как всегда, переведенный отрывок из Гл.8. И, как всегда, огромное спасибо за Вашу поддержку и веру в проект.
Команда BNRW team.
KOLYA and SASHA
Episode from AIRPORT, chapter 8 (new edition)
Nikolai Sivko, Distinguished Hero of Mother Russia, did not like fighting. In his 45 years, he had already taken part in several wars, one worse and more despicable than the next. But he knew no other work, and so he did what he knew how to do, and he did it professionally. But this particular war, the one they were in now, he couldn’t have even imagined. Yes, the artillery did its work the way it should, and the soldiers and officers carried out his orders as usual, digging in, going on patrol, going on the attack, killing, and dying themselves. The glass of vodka in the evenings in a damp field tent singed your throat just as before. But here, in this idiotic war (that was the mildest epithet for it on the lips of all the officers familiar to him), everything was weird from the very start.
* * *
On a torrid July midday, near Savur-Mahyla kurgan, where the Ukrainians were engaged for the fourth straight day in protracted machine gun battles, barely holding back the superior forces of the Russian troops that had suddenly and unexpectedly crossed the border, Colonel Savinykh, the commander of the assault airborne brigade of the AFU, was preparing to send out a Spetsnaz group, to search and rescue his own wounded and dead fighters: the morning patrol had stumbled on an ambush. He was waiting for the Russian artillery to stop. It had been pounding his positions directly from Russia's territory. Primarily Grad rockets and 152 mm howitzers. It was strictly prohibited to suppress their artillery by shooting back across the border.
“What’s wrong with you, Savinykh, are you out of your fucking mind, man?! You’ll have a war on your hands! A real war, damn it, not this fucking bullshit! Can you get that through your thick skull, Colonel?” the general was screaming into the walkie-talkie so loudly that the dust was sifting down from the concrete barrier of the dugout. “What we’ve got ourselves is ATO, Savinykh! Got that, fucking ATO! I’m repeating for the last time for the specially fucking resourceful! It’s ATO, fucking A! Nothing more, shit! Do you read me, Colonel?
The Colonel understood that, if this business keeps up, there would soon be nothing left of his brigade. But there was no choice but to stay put, ATO or no fucking ATO.
As soon as the Russian artillery decided to take a break, the cell phone rang.
“The wife! She got through after all. What a stubborn dame…”
“Hi, Sasha. How goes it?” The “stubborn dame” was speaking in some sort of hoarse, once familiar voice, in masculine, smoky bass tones.
“Who is this?”
“Don’t cry for me, don’t grieve! Don’t shed your tears pointlessly! Better save me a kiss, when we all return from the boot camps… – the bass boomed in reply a line from Sasha’s cadet unit song, the marching in formation of their training platoon in the Ryazan’ airborne troop academy neither of them would ever forget.
“Hey, hello! Who is this? Who are you?” Sasha’s voice suddenly seemed to have cracked.
“Sasha, you mother fucker, this is Kolyan, your fucking combat bro! Did you forget how the two of us raised hell at the academy in Ryazan’ together? And that time in Salang, when we were suffocating in that fucking tunnel, how we were dying, spitting up blood. Shit, you remember how you carried me out of there? Sasha, it’s me, Kolya!
“Kol’ka! Kolyan! You’re alive! You OK? Man, it's been ages, damn! How did you find me? I can’t believe it, shit! Kolya – bro! Where are you?
“Sasha, now listen to me carefully. I’m here, Sasha, right here. Right in front of you. I have some of your men, one dead one wounded! We should hash it out. The ruined water pumping station, in the no-man’s zone. Sixteen zero zero. Alone. Unarmed." The line went dead.
Sasha sat entirely still the three hours till the appointed time as though he were petrified, without getting up, without issuing any orders. His whole life flashed by in his head. Especially memorable for some reason was how they, an entire company, were running along the sandy white road outside Konstantinovo, Esenin’s birthplace, then hurtling headfirst down the steep bank, shedding their boots, pants on the run, devastating every living thing around with the rancid stench of their foot rags – the most lethal WMD in the world. How they would dive in with a scream, laughter and profanities into the chilly, deep blue river…. How everyone had started swimming out together, but soon turned around and only Kolyan had managed to swim all the way across to the other side and was now lying on his back exhausted on the scalding hot sand....
And now they were once again separated from each other by a river. But this time not by the sky-blue Oka, but by the river of death, arrayed along whose shores they stood.... Friend against friend.
* * *
At ten to four, Sasha downed a glass of vodka, smoked a couple of cigarettes, grabbed an an unstoppered bottle, gave the coordinates to the mortar operators, left his sidearm to the captain and started walking slowly toward the frontline.
They met in the half-demolished, crudely constructed red brick pumphouse next to the entirely demolished pumping station deeply scarred by bullets and shrapnel.
Embraces…. Their memories send chills running down their backs. Standing, they drink straight from the bottle, without choking on it, without taking their eyes off each other, not believing their eyes. Could this be happening! This should not be fucking happening. This is weird shit.
They chat about their lives, about wives, children, women, the measly salary, their failed lives. They couldn’t possibly formulate this themselves, but both the one and the other feel unconsciously harrowed, just as by shrapnel on armor plate, by one and the same sensation – somebody has betrayed them, and now there's no way out for them.
“Sasha, ok, here’s the fucking situation, bro.” Kolya finally got down to business. “Let’s trade. I have two of yours, one dead, one wounded. We gave the boy first aid. It’s his shoulder. Entrance and exit wound. He’ll live.”
“Kol’, my exchange fund’s not going too hot today,” answers Sasha, feeling an almost misplaced sense of shame before his friend, that he hasn’t yet killed or maimed any of his people.
“You can take them on loan. You’ll pay me back later….”
They looked once again in each other’s eyes. Now, both of their expressions had already changed. The high banks of the eternal Oka River of their memories have become covered in snow.
Each of them called for their group with stretchers. Unarmed.
One group delivered, and the other took away the principle stock in trade at war toward their own camp – the dead and the wounded.
In two days’ time, it was now Sasha calling Kolya. His people had picked up a dead Russian and the two wounded. He was now able to repay his debt.
Everything took place exactly as the first time, but without the vodka, tears, and embraces.
“I’d only given you one wounded, and you’ve dragged back two.
“I’m paying you back with interest.”
Neither one of them laughed or even as much as smiled at the joke.
“And, by the way,” Kolya said to Sasha when they were parting, as though recalling something insignificant. “The artillery is going to work today. Three thousand shells. They’ll fire away at twenty two hours. Dig in well, just in case.”
“There isn’t enough time. I just switched almost all of my positions,” Sasha answered grimly.
“Alright, we’ll think of something.” All night long, the Russian artillery pounded away at the soulless black forest nearby. Kolya had changed the coordinates supplied to them, “according to the latest intelligence data….”
The next morning, Kolya received the following message from an unidentified number: “Thank you.”
The two have neither met nor communicated with each other by phone since.