Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 44

Cannon’s camel spat, and Cannon gave it a dirty look he was sure it was returning. Masaracchia’s men took the camels further into town, and Cannon and his crew followed Masaracchia into the house. Crates filled the interior, mixed in between neat piles of things the monks had seen fit to cover with sheets. Narrowly, Cannon decided against wondering aloud what monks had to hide, and sat in front of the radio set to which Masaracchia pointed him. Cannon pulled a piece of paper from his pocket, spun the tuning knob until the frequency dial matched the numbers he’d written down, and tapped out a sequence of letters with the Morse key.


“Rule, Britannia! Britannia rule the waves!” blared the headphones attached to Inconstant‘s main shortwave set.

“What do you make of it, Willie?” said Joe.

The radioman turned the volume back down. “It means they know we’re out here somewhere,” he said. “I remember the RAF started this sort of thing toward the end of the war. Play a signal loud enough, and the other guy can’t send or receive from near as far away as he’d like.”

“Does that mean they know the boss is on the ground?”

“Maybe,” Willie said. “I don’t think they think they’ll keep us from talking to our scouts, anyway. They probably think we want to talk to someone further away.”

“Which we do. Send the abort signal, and keep sending it. Better the boss knows something’s not right.”

“Aye aye.”

“Thanks, Mr. Wiggins.” Joe took the two steps from the radio room door back to the plotting table. The clock read six in the evening. Another hour, and he would turn south.


The radio set’s speaker produced a tenor’s voice, piercing the static on the airwaves: “When Britain fi-i-i-rst at heav’n’s command!”

“Four times,” Iseabail said.

Cannon looked skyward. “If it wasn’t for the accent, I’d swear you were Emma. Wait—did you hear that?”

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