Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 69

“This is Whiskey One,” said Lecocq over the radio. “Do you see bandits?”

“Whiskey Three says negative,” Henderson replied.

“Whiskey Two, also negative.”

“No need to stick around, then,” Lecocq said. “Meet at rendezvous point one.”

The radio clicked twice. A few minutes south of the city, the two Falcons caught up and settled in behind the Albatross, and thirty seconds later, the Kestrels fell into formation ahead. Cannon looked them over for battle damage. Bullet holes marred two of them—one had taken fire to the wing, and the other showed damage behind the cockpit. He watched the latter for a moment longer, but no smoke or plume of fluid trailed behind it; the British gunner had missed both engines. That was a spot of luck, Cannon thought. They were low on spares already.

Ten minutes later, Lecocq lined up the Albatross’ arrester hook on the zeppelin’s main skyhook, goosed the throttles, and pulled them all the way back as the hooks engaged. The skyhook lifted the plane up toward Inconstant‘s hangar.

“Whiskey One,” the radio crackled, “Inconstant here. Is that the skipper in the right seat?”

Cannon reached for his radio panel. “Sure is.”

“Good to have you back. Lookouts just caught a British zep about twenty miles off. How do you want to play it?”

Cannon closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead. “Ready the air wing, and put the Royal Navy on our tail. If we can give them the slip without a fight that would be swell.”

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