Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 64

Lecocq spun his radio knob to ‘Intercom’ and said, “No time. Go to the cargo hold and be ready with the grappling hook. The captain will be alongside in twenty seconds. You will have to talk me close enough.”

Emma’s voice cut off in the middle of a stream of inventive profanity, as she tore off her headset and scrambled down from the turret. Lecocq leveled out, lined up parallel to the road, and pulled the throttles all the way back. Fifteen seconds later, the plane reached the shore.


“I tell you, I can still drive!” Masaracchia protested.

In mid-slither through the shattered rear window, Cannon said, “You can’t climb, not with your shoulder hit.” He twisted to the left and gave himself a good push, and fell into the cab with his head on the dashboard and his feet sticking out the back. Righting himself, he said, “Give me the wheel.”

Masaracchia shifted, grunting as blood oozed from his wounded shoulder. “After this turn. It puts us on the coastal road.” He spun the wheel, and the truck skidded around the corner. The throaty rumble of idling aero engines filled Cannon’s ears as Lecocq’s Albatross soared past, slowing rapidly. Its wing passed a mere ten feet over the truck’s roof.

Cannon grabbed the wheel and half-stood as Masaracchia slid past beneath him. Sitting heavily, he gunned the engine. “Burr, give the monk a hand.”

“This is not the first time I’ve been shot,” Masaracchia objected, as Burr and Iseabail pulled him through the window.

Cannon looked for his mirrors before remembering he didn’t have them anymore, then stuck his head out the window and looked back. Quickly, he ducked back inside, as a soldier in the British truck fifty yards back leveled his rifle. Cannon heard the Lee-Enfield crack, hunched over the wheel, and glanced down at the speedometer, just in time to see it pass seventy-five. He risked sitting up for a moment to peer ahead—two miles or so. The Albatross grew further ahead every second, and Cannon figured he had less than a minute and a half to catch it before he ran out of road.

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