People who remember the release of 99 Luftballons are maybe feeling a bit queasy, as tensions between Russia and America are on the rise again. Adding to that unwanted nostalgia for the Cold War, there's now talk of a Russian spy trying to defect to the West via Norway. Except there's one new thing about this classic story: The spy is a whale.
EPA/Norwegian Directorate Of Fisheries
Last week, Norwegian fishermen noticed a strange white whale wearing some sort of harness near the delightfully named port city of Hammerfest. After they reported the suspicious activity, the beluga whale was put under investigation, whereupon it was discovered that his harness had "Equipment St. Petersburg" printed on the inside. Marine biologists concluded that the whale, who has yet to state his name and rank, could very well be Russian special ops, part of the country's disavowed sea mammal military program. The harness could mount all kinds of gadgets, like weapons, cameras, or, and we're just spitballing, pens that shoot lasers or poison shoe daggers.
While the military-style equipment is being investigated by Norway's Police Security Service (or PST), the whale himself "is not a suspect in our investigation," said a representative, "for now." But the spy/ex-spy doesn't mind sticking around for questioning, as he seems to have developed quite a taste for Western values. Despite immediately blowholing his cover, he has refused to leave the area and is spending his time charming the locals by being socially aggressive -- truly the James Bond of sub-Arctic cetaceans.
So far, the Russian government has yet to respond to the turncoat whale, probably still trying to figure out how to deal with someone who doesn't drink tea and can't open doors. Meanwhile, the PST is also weighing its options what to do with this new asset, considering perhaps to transport the whale to a safe house -- sorry, "sanctuary" -- far away in Iceland. Maybe then he'll have enough time to enjoy his sudden popularity, write a le Carre-style memoir, and convince Gary Oldman to play him in the movie adaptation.
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