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Jack loaded a tear gas shell into the launcher.
Facing aft, he aimed the weapon with his left hand toward the
starboard side. Then he lifted the grenade in his right hand and
pulled its pin with his teeth.
He hurled the grenade over the stacked covers. It rebounded
off the blocky base of the forward crane and detonated. Jack
moved left and fired the tear gas aft down the starboard side. The
fat shell hit one of the pirates square in the gut and knocked him
on his back, just before it erupted and engulfed him and his companion
in toxic smoke.
Knowing his cover would last for only a few seconds, Jack bit
down on his pain and climbed the steps to the forecastle deck,
then pivoted into position behind its bulwark.
On the main deck, the starboard pirates ran forward to escape
the smoke, and the two on the port side looked scuffed but otherwise
Jack pulled the submachine gun off his back, loaded its last
full magazine, and set the weapon for single- fire. He aimed over
the bulwark and put his first shot in the crane’s working light,
which exploded and rained shattered glass and dying sparks on
the pirates below. When the phosphors faded, the deck disappeared
into near total darkness.
This, he decided, was a good time to negotiate. “Hey! On the
deck! Can you hear me?”
A momentary delay, then a wary reply. “We can hear you.”
“Lay down your weapons and abandon ship in one of the life
rafts, and I’ll let you live.”
His ultimatum was met by laughter. A burst of automatic fi re
stuttered against the other side of the bulwark. Then a different,
more arrogant voice called out, “This ship is ours! Throw down
your weapons, and maybe we will let you live!”
Jack felt blood seeping from his wound. He didn’t have time
for a standoff.
I gave them a chance. He loaded a fresh magazine into his SIG.
No mercy. No prisoners.