So this is happening: Human Traffickers Are Abandoning Ships Full of Migrants.
The short version, for those of you wary of clicking away from the safety of The Department’s servers, is that human traffickers have taken to filling cargo ships with refugees, pointing them at Europe, locking off the controls and then leaving the ship. Sometimes they warn the refugees to radio for help before abandoning ship.
I’m sure you all agree that this is absolutely despicable. Those of you who think it’s despicable because of illegal immigrants coming here and taking our jobs while simultaneously living the high live on our generous benefits system can leave right now. Seriously, fuck off and don’t let the virtual door slap you on your bigoted arse on the way out.
I’m going to assume that those of you left have a more nuanced attitude to immigration, human trafficking and refugees. You’re going to need it because the real story behind these ghost ships is even more horrifying and tragic than the one reported.
It’s probably fortunate for mainland Europe that the first of these ships was pointed at Italy. Our friends in Cestus Dei had a priest on scene, not because anyone suspected anything supernatural in this case but because Cestus Dei watch the Mediterranean the way we watch the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
The report into the most serious incident arrived on my desk this morning. I could tell it was a bad one because I didn’t have to translate it from latin. When Cestus Dei resorts to paperwork in modern languages you know things are serious.
The incident in question took place during the “Dead Days”, the period between Christmas and the New Year. It was a stormy night when the Italian Coast Guard received a mayday from the decommissioned cargo ship Persephone. It was packed with refugees mainly from Syria. They had paid hundreds of dollars a head to an Egyptian middle man for passage across the Mediterranean to safety.
People began to fall ill almost as soon as they boarded. They were forced to spend a night at anchor in [REDACTED] when ill weather prevented them from leaving port. That first night many of the refugees experienced vivid nightmares but that was hardly unusual given that they were stuck on an overcrowded and unfamiliar ship and fleeing a warzone. In the morning around twelve people were sick.
All of them showed similar symptoms. All were pale and clammy. All had reported particularly disturbed sleep with sensations of choking, or a weight on the chest which had caused them to claw at their own throats leaving visible scratches. All twelve had difficulty in staying awake the next day.