Van Djik spat on the ground. “Why should we help you?” he said. “So you can be free to ransom or execute us if our shipping line won’t pay? Bloody fucking pirates.”

Kediye, the chief of the Somalis, hefted his lavishly decorated AK. “This is not enough reason for you?” he said.

“No, it’s not,” said Van Djik. The other captured sailors murmured their assent. “We’re dead anyway if we’re not ransomed.”

Alatas, the Javan pirate, held out a hand and lowered Kediye’s rifle. “Listen to me, Netherland. Seven of our men are missing and the boat is taking on water. The engine is frozen. Without repairs, we will all drown or be taken by whatever dwells in the mists. Some of you may die later, but all of you will die now unless we work together.”

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