Somewhere in the Atlantic, several criminal organisations funded the creation of an artificial island, a huge floating platform out in lawless, international waters that serves as a hub for smuggling, drug running and other illegal activities. The Dockyards serves as a central hub for trade in all things illegal and legal, natural and unnatural, good and evil. The criminals that set up the place take little interest in what goes through the place, as long as they get their cut.
Doctor Jeremy Towler stood nervously on the docks, his coat flapping in the breeze and the salt spray stinging his face as he waited for the boat to arrive.
The opportunity had been too good to pass up and with the promise of a substantial salary and the increasing medical bills he just couldn't turn it down, even if it meant being away from his wife. He felt bad about it, but he sometimes hoped she wouldn't wake up while he was away, that he would come back home with all the money they'd ever need and she'd emerge from her coma to welcome home her knight in shining armour with open arms.
It had all happened so fast. After the accident, he'd had to take time off work to look after his wife but soon it had become apparent that the hospital couldn't justify a part-time doctor and he had to choose between his wife and the hospital. It hadn't been easy but he'd chosen the hospital, he kept justifying to himself that without the money, his wife would suffer even worse, that really he was doing it for her and not for his career but he felt guilty nonetheless. Putting her into full time care had been the worst though and to his dismay even his full time job couldn't fully cover the expenses, not with the mortgage and the legal battle with the insurance company. They'd refused to pay out, due to some minor slip in his wife's information, an omission of no relevance or importance but for them, a golden ticket to screwing them over. He felt bitter and angry and even though he doubted he would ever see a pay out he couldn't back down from the courts. However, he'd had to eventually, justice took second fiddle to his wife's life and the legal battle seemed like it would never end. It was shortly after that the letter came.
It had been hand delivered, that much was clear. The letter offered him a lucrative position off-shore on what was described as a mobile research and trade hub. It told him accommodation and living expenses would all be covered. The specifics of exactly what would be required were vague and evasive. Clearly they valued his skills as a surgeon, but exactly what he would be doing was unclear though he suspected he would be working in some kind of private hospital. Despite the reservations about the position, the promise of three whole months pay in advance, more than enough to cover the medical bills, the mortgage and plenty left over to start up the legal battle with the insurance company again, he'd agreed. There has been no interview, no phone call, the employers had made it quite clear they wanted him and so he had followed the instructions in the letter, dialled the number and said "I agree". The next day he awoke to a new set of instructions, telling him to waiting at a certain dock.
As the grey clouds rumbled overhead he spotted a boat in the distance heading towards him and shivered once again from the cold.