Olivia pushed through the doors of the conference room and headed back to her office. She felt as if she were moving through are river of jello or cotton. The office had none of it’s normal buzz of activity. The florescent lights in the hallways seemed to be transmitting a yellow light that was depressing and sucked the energy out of her limbs. Once she was standing over her desk she forced herself to try and concentrate on what she needed to accomplish to be able to leave for Siberia in two days. She started thinking about the gear she had left in Homer and her mind wandered back to where she had been day before yesterday. Then her problem had been that she was two days behind schedule on the Sandhill Crane satellite tracking project. That problem seemed like a state of grace today. Audrey had been alive. Olivia was doing what she loved, tracking animals and trying to figure out what could be done to better protect them from the threats that came from human development. Now Audrey was gone and Olivia was about to dive into a cesspool of politics.
She pulled the top report off the stack that John had given her and flipped open the clear plastic cover. The executive summary gave a dry recitation of numbers that made Olivia feel confused. There was no question that there had been excessive numbers of deaths of the Red Crowned Cranes in the vicinity of the Arkhara oil development. The start of the excess deaths coincided with the beginning of work on the oilfield. It seemed pretty straight forward. She wondered what Audrey had seen that made her willing to work for the oil companies. There must have been something that Audrey had seen that Olivia was missing. She spread out the rest of the reports and began to dig into the information.