The Last Pirate In Peng Chau

This is an extract from the forth-coming novel. The Last Pirate In Peng Chau. The intention is to publish in digital format on Kindle, and your feedback would be most welcome. Would this work better as straight text or more like a blog post with links and photos? What do you think?

Map of the South China Sea
Map of the South China Sea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In another time, In another place,

A young ghost fellow

Met a young woman.

So much happened.

So many involved.

Aah…

So whose story is this?

Who is the star

Who outshines the rest?

Who is content

To play the support?

Each has their own tale to tell.

Greed and corruption,

Science and stone-age superstition

Side by side in the

Sophisticated City of Sin.

A duel of magic,

Finding a treasure

Losing an opportunity ……

All this to show,

Or is it really so?

Did these things happen?

Or is it yet to be?

My humble name is Wong,

(Meaning ‘king’,

Not the colour yellow,)

My given name is

Lee-Yuen,

And I have the honour

To be the last pirate

In Peng Chow.

He could tell that the engines of the specially adapted junkChinese junk were straining now, as they rounded the headland and saw the bay with its sandy beach stretching between the hills like the arm of a dumbbell. Although this was home, there would be no point trying to make for the harbour. The 2 police launches were not so far behind, and he couldn’t see if either of them was showing the agreed signal.

“Which way now, Dai Lo?” shouted the oldest of the Hakka crew, planted firmly behind the helm.

“Head for The Oysters, and we’ll see if these Gwai Lo have the stomach for proper sailing!”

The 2 younger men laughed aloud as the helmsman adjusted his course.

Not for the first time, the big Chinese thanked his joss for having been born into a sea-faring tribe with much stronger ties than any amount of blood-thirsty Triad oaths could command. His father had been a Shanghainese from Putow province, which was why he stood head and shoulders above all his mother’s kin, but perhaps his very size added to the mystique that already shrouded his reputation as the most successful pirate in the South China Seas.

The cargo currently secured in the junk’s hold would bring a huge price once he could get it to safety and arrange for its subsequent passage to the mainland. It was a god-cursed misfortune that he had stumbled upon a pair of Police launches with nothing better to do than amuse themselves by stopping an honest-seeming fishing junk for a routine inspection. Had there been any way of concealing his cargo, he would have taken a chance and let them board, especially if he could have seen if a red port navigation light was blinking. But the nature of his cargo meant that even the fish-reeking hold would not mask the smell, and so he had turned away, pretending he had not heard the police loud-hailer.

Now they would know that something was amiss, and his only chance was to try and lure them into the shallows round The Oysters and make good his escape.

On board Royal Hong Kong Police Launch TST1, Thompson, the sandy-haired Marine Police officer glanced nervously across to the other launch, which was now beginning to speed away in pursuit of the junk. By rights, being the senior of the 2 launch commanders, he should be directing this operation, but he somehow always felt intimidated by the older man because of his experience gained in other Police Forces.

Of course, rank is rank, and he was the Acting Superintendent, but that cut no ice with the swarthy tattooed inspector who had recently transferred to Hong Kong from Borneo.

And what were those tattoos about anyway? Only squaddies form the ranks or your common-or-garden jack tar would allow themselves to be painted in such a way. No gentleman would ever dream of such a thing. But that is the way the Force was going. Before you knew it, they would be promoting Chinese officers to senior ranks!

Not but what they were extremely capable, of course, and what Station Sergeant Tsang – universally known as The Major because his badge of office resembled that of a Regimental Sergeant Major – didn’t know about the shadowy world of triad gangsters and their various enterprises wasn’t worth knowing.

Actually, he wished Station Sergeant Tsang was on board as his own cox’n instead of the dark skinned Hakka sergeant, Ng. He didn’t really trust Ng, coming as he did from the same background as half the villains they were supposed to be investigating. Tsang, on the other hand, was Cantonese, and much easier to get on with.

However, he was thick as thieves with Godwinson, and had been as soon as Godwinson had arrived at Marine HQ. It was almost as if the two of them had a history, although that was hard to understand, since , as far as he knew, Tsang had lived all his life in Hong Kong, whereas this was Godwinson’s first tour there, no matter how many other Colonial postings he might boast of.

But then, even Acting Superintendents don’t know everything.

Pirates of the Seven Seas

Arctic Ocean seaports.
Image via Wikipedia

Where are the Seven Seas? It varies considerably. In fact, if the Seven Seas was a religious festival, it would be a moveable feast.

 

The fact is, that, at one time or another, this term has included bodies of water from the Sea of Galilee to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the South China Sea to the Arctic Ocean.

 

And now it seems there is to be a new addition to the family.

According to a new report in the Barents Observer, the Northeast Passage, now renamed the Northern Sea Route, will become the new shipping route between Europe and Asia, now that it’s proved to be ice-free.

The journey through the Arctic Ocean was a hazardous one when Finnish-Swedish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskioeld made the 15-month journey in 1878-1879.

But this summer, Norwegian explorer Børge Ousland sailed the exact same route in his little trimaran. It took a few weeks instead of 15 months, and he hardly saw any ice. In fact, he hardly saw any living things at all.

The Russian and international shipping industry see the ongoing climate changes and the retreating of the summer ice-cap in the Arctic as a new opportunity.

The great boon, of course, is that, once the ice has gone, you can actually sail to the other side of the world instead of getting stuck inside a Russian version of Hudson Bay. Saves time, saves fuel, saves money.

 

Also, and this is where the report gets interesting, “the Arctic is free of pirates.”

Well, of course that would be the clincher, except that pirates, just like the good people at BoingBoing, are not famous for their sense of direction.

 

A band of Algerian web pirates recently raided Belvoir Castle 

Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire

 

 , the family seat of the 11th Duke of Rutland, mistaking its website for that of  the

Belvoir Fortress, Israel

 

Crusader fortress of Belvoir in Israel.

Doubtless, the error stems from not realising that, in England, Belvoir is pronounced ‘Beaver’.

 

 Heaven help them if they ever have to ask Mr. Featherstonehaugh for directions to Cholmondley!