Ramius chuckled. “Remember the incident on Lenin?” He referred to the nuclear-powered icebreaker that had spent two years tied to the dock, unusable because of a nuclear mishap. “A ship’s cook had some badly crusted pans, and a madman of an engineer suggested that he use live steam to get them cleaned. So the idiot walked down to the steam generator and opened an inspection valve, with his pots under it!”

Melekhin rolled his eyes. “I remember it! I was a staff engineering officer then. The captain had asked for a Kazakh cook – “

“He liked horsemen with his kasha,” Ramius said.

” – and the fool didn’t know the first thing about a ship. Killed himself and three other men, contaminated the whole… compartment for twenty months. The captain only got out of the gulag last year.”

“I bet the cook got his pans cleaned, though,” Ramius observed.

“Indeed Marko Aleksandrovich – they may even be safe to use in another fifty years.” Melekhin laughed raucously.

Captain Ramius and Engineer Melekhin, The Hunt for red october, Tom Clancy

This led the doctor on board to wonder at this phlegmatic conversation.