(///prosecuted.amplification.showings – Null Island (0 degrees lat, 0 degrees long), international waters)
The prisoners could scarcely believe their luck. Two weeks into the transportation, a card game between the captain and other senior crew members had escalated from a minor disagreement into open warfare, culminating in the deaths of those who had played.
The remaining seamen had no real quarrel with the prisoners they were taking to New South Wales. Feeling kinship with the deprivations which had motivated many of their crimes, they promptly freed them and declared that all those left on board now owned the ship.
“We are in the middle of everywhere!” declared Paddy, previously prosecuted and convicted for stealing a woollen jacket. “We can go where we please. The world is ours!”
They ate, they drank, they honed their cartography skills as they surveyed the surrounding seas and the stars at night.
And while they decided where next, they relaxed.
Molly, also a minor thief, indulged her passion for dancing and put on performances, two showings a day. Davey, condemned for political activism, experimented with the rudimentary machines on board to create different sounds, amplification or muffling. Thomas, admittedly a convicted murderer, was welcomed into the fold as people felt that disembowelling the former teacher who had flogged him mercilessly was simply justice and not a crime. And they liked the way he baked bread.
Two weeks passed in a haze as the ship sailed in circles and the food supplies started to dwindle. Two weeks to come up with a plan. Two weeks to take advantage of being in the middle of everywhere.
Until finally, a group of them sat down together. They ate a little. They drank a little. They shuffled the maps a lot. And then Paddy stood up.
“We are in the middle of everywhere,” he said. “But we are also in the middle of nowhere. And truth be told, we need to be in the middle of somewhere.” He stared ruefully at the map he held and then looked at the sailors. “Which of you knows how to get to Australia?” he asked.