Emma led Whiskey flight away from the stricken zep. Swiftsure drifted, all her engines out of commission. Further ahead, Majestic cut her engines. It looked as though the Devil’s Daggers had chosen the better part of valor and hoisted the white flag.
Whiskey flight circled while Inconstant caught up. Boarding an airship with no engine power, like Swiftsure, was not straightforward. The typical solution—taking an airplane across to the other zep’s skyhook—only worked if the other zeppelin could make way.
The boarding party would have to go across from Inconstant. That could get very dicey indeed, as Emma knew all too well, if the other airship’s crew wasn’t in a cooperative mood. Swiftsure had surrendered, though, and some of her crew were already waiting on her stern gun platform.
Cannon laid Inconstant fifty yards aft of Swiftsure, and by means of a reduced charge and a heavy grapple in the bow gun, launched a heavy line across the gap. Other lines followed, and soon the two zeppelins were loosely moored together.
Emma led her flight higher, until they circled a thousand feet above the airships. Looking out the side of her cockpit, she could just see figures crossing the ropes between the airships.
Joe Copeland held his machine pistol across his chest, waited for Cannon to cross the ropes, slung his gun over his shoulder, and followed. He had never minded flying, but standing on a four-inch hawser two thousand feet above the sea with nothing but a lifeline around his waist was a different story. He hurried across, then took up position behind Cannon, taking the submachine gun in hand once again.
He spent a lot of time playing the intimidating bodyguard. He was the largest Long Nine by a good margin, the fact that the gang’s most dangerous fighters were a skinny Australian woman and an old Chinese man notwithstanding. He looked the part, and that was what mattered at times like this.
The trio of Devil’s Daggers manning Swiftsure‘s aft platform were conspicuously unarmed. That was a good sign. They waited for the other two members of Cannon’s party to cross the lines, then informed the Long Nines that Captain Thorne would speak to them in his quarters at their leisure.