“On your feet,” the nameless short man buttoned his khaki suit jacket, “we have visitors.”
Pierre and Yan lurched to their feet and were promptly unshackled.
“A steamer hailed us and invited themselves aboard to inspect the ship,” he continued. “So go on up, and when they ask; you wanted to sail the Aegean for your honeymoon.”
“Very well,” Pierre agreed, they left their holding room as one of the burly men tore the shackle-mountings from the floorboards.
“And of course,” their captor called, “you will regret any complications.”
Pierre squinted into the sunrise as he stepped on deck. A large grey steamer was tethered to their starboard side, a short bridge spanned the gap. The seal read Cyprus Police.
Cyprus was their destination all along, Greek Intelligence had a field office in Paphos. Pierre’s lips tightened almost imperceptibly as he remembered one or two operatives he’d disavowed who bounced around neighboring Turkey and Syria. Name a country, Monsieur Christoph had one reliable contact, one compromised safe-house, and a few vengeful enemies.
Yan leaned against the railing next to him. She slipped an arm around his waist and he remembered that they were happily married.
“Do you know anyone in Greek Intel?” he whispered.
“Better question,” she replied. “Why are they so interested in us?”
A swarm of officers turned over every board, and emptied every crate on the ship. Another division searched the lower decks. All crew stood sequestered at the stern, documents changed hands.
“We’re close to land,” Pierre observed, “but we still need a boat.”
Yan flicked her eyes at the steamer. “And they’ve thoughtfully provided one.”
“Handcuffs would be easiest.”
“I thought the same thing.”
“I apologize in advance for any broken bones.”
“Don’t bother, after all, my plans involve significantly more bloodshed than yours.” Zhang Yan smirked before shoving Pierre backwards into the railing and screaming something about infidelity.
Pierre emphatically denied her ludicrous allegations and slapped her full across the face. Yan’s long black hair streamed out to the side as she collapsed on the deck.
Two Cypriot Policemen seized him and smashed a pair of handcuffs on his wrists. They shouted for the crew to stand back, the crew shouted for the officers to release Pierre, Pierre shouted vile claims at Yan, Yan dashed forward and stabbed Monsieur Christoph twice in his shoulder.
She dropped the loose nail into the water. Another set of manacles closed around her wrists.
“Officers, I apologize for their actions,” the captain said. “But I must insist that you release them, after all, it was only a lover’s spat, no harm done.”
“No harm done?” the commanding officer with an impressive collection of flags and medals on his chest countered. “Look at her face, it’s bruising already. And his wounds are serious enough to warrant emergency medical attention. They’re coming with me.”
Three hours later, they sat together in the processing office.
“One prison for another,” Yan said.
“Temporarily,” Pierre flexed his bleeding shoulder. “I don’t see why I needed to get wounded this time.”
“That’s no wound, you’ll be fine.”
“No one within 1000 kilometers owes me any favors, so that meeting might have to wait a while.”
“My employer is not the patient type.”
Pierre shrugged and winced.
“Sir,” Zhang Yan beckoned the orderly. “I would like to make a phone call.”