The brig on the South Korean carrier was little more than an angular enclosure contained in a larger, white room devoid of any furnishings or implements, save a garbage can and small first aid kit affixed to the opposite wall. Inside the cell were four bunks, one toilet, and a small metal desk with rounded corners which jutted out about six inches from the wall. Between the pairs of bunks was a big, circular mirror like the ones used in retail stores for loss prevention.

I glimpsed my reflection as Telders guided me into the cell. I was covered in mud, my clothes were soiled, and my hair was matted and full of debris. I barely recognized myself.

I sat down on one of the low bunks and released my grip on my dinner plate.

“I can’t believe you carried that all the way down here without dropping it. Pretty impressive,” Telders said. He slammed the cell door behind me and shrugged. “I was going to give you this one if you did, actually.”

“You’re a saint.”

“Guess you don’t need it now,” he added, and dumped the plate in the trash.

I winced. It’d been days since I’d had a proper meal. I could have easily eaten both servings, and then some.

“Come over here and turn around. I’ll uncuff you.”

I stood up and turned, inserting my wrists through a slot in the bars.

“Don’t I get a proper shower?” I said as he worked a key into the handcuffs.

“I’ll send in someone with a hose.”


The cuffs came off one at a time.

“Eat up, buddy,” Telders smirked, pocketing the handcuffs. “You’re gonna need your energy.”

“Energy for what?” I said, rubbing my wrists.

“For the interview of course.”

“What interview? I’ve already told you everything.”

Telders stared at me with his dark, sunken eyes. “Psychotic ramblings are hardly a proper substitution for a thorough account of events, Robertson. We will take a full statement, so when we arrive at the station we’ll know exactly what may or may not be waiting for us.”

“We will? Who is we?”

“Oh, I dunno. Both South and North Korean military are well represented on this ship. I’m sure there’s someone on board who has experience with these things.”

I folded my arms. “Why does it sound like I’m about to be interrogated?”

“Call it what you like,” Telders said, then turned to leave.

“Wait,” I shouted, grabbing the cell bars. “Where are you going?”

“Oh sorry I can’t stay and chat. I’m dining at Captain Stubing’s table this evening.” Michael smiled and shut off the lights. “Don’t stay up too late.”


The outer door slammed, and I was engulfed in darkness.