It was Stretch who suggested they should steal a small launch and sail it from Brisbane to Cairns. It was Jazza who told them that the idea wasn’t stupid; it was the size of the boat they were thinking of stealing that was stupid. They were all bored, some in low-paying jobs, others unemployed, none of them with much of a future. And so the subject was tossed around until the small group of friends, ten former serving members of the Australian Army, decided to proceed with Jazza’s suggestion that they should hijack a cruise ship. It had been a suggestion uttered more as an aside than anything else, yet it led to the operation which would take them out into the waters of the South Pacific, to the hijacking of a cruise ship and its passengers, to an operation which might bring each of them many millions of dollars. But the taking of the Ocean Pearl should have been carried out without the shedding of blood, without the death and destruction which they had gone through in Afghanistan, in East Timor, and in Iraq, places which would sometimes haunt them in the depths of night. But once begun, once the Pearl had been taken, death and destruction followed as it had done in those other places. And there was no way it could be stopped.