Nathaniel Cannon and the Panamanian Idol No. 8

Iseabail pulled the cabin door closed. “Three-time heavyweight champion, eh? I dinnae think ye can take him anymore.”

Cannon paced, or tried to. The narrow confines of the cabin, along with the baggage still sitting on the deck—evidently, it was not within the stewards’ purview—conspired to make it difficult. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

“Tha’ he’s a scholar an’ a boxer?”

Cannon shook his head, kicking his suitcase out of the way. He took a few steps to the opposite wall, turned on his heel, and crossed the room again. “No. It doesn’t make any sense that he’s that big and that good.”

Iseabail wisely stayed out of his way. “Aye?”

Cannon waved dismissively. “A smaller man’d run circles around him. It doesn’t matter.” Now that he could move, he could think. “We have two problems. First, we need to meet Volkov. Second, unless you’ve been doing something useful with all that time you’ve been spending around Emma, we need a way to turn his lights out that doesn’t mean taking a fist to the kisser.”

“Wha’, friendship’s nae a good enough reason?”

“Never mind.” Cannon tapped his chin. “Wailani’s right. We’ll have a few shots at meeting Volkov before we get to Hawaii. Taking him out will be the hard part.”

Iseabail held up a finger. “I may be able tae help wi’ that. D’ye think this place has a cleanin’ cabinet?”

“Count on it,” Cannon replied.

The Scot grinned. “Ach. That’ll do. I’ll make up a shoppin’ list.”


That would have to wait. The captain’s voice, ringing over the loudspeakers, had called all guests to dinner, first in Russian and Spanish, and then, to Cannon’s relief, in French. The two of them, once again staid English archaeologists, joined the flow of passengers to the starboard dining room.

In rough layout, it mirrored the portside lounge. They entered on the upper tier, more accurately a balcony here: it extended only ten yards or so to either side of the door, and the rest of the room constituted the lower tier. Four small, round tables, one at each corner, occupied the balcony, while long banquet tables ran in rows below.

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