Nathaniel Cannon and the Panamanian Idol No. 14

Cannon hardly noticed. He turned the page, and found what he was looking for. Or so he thought: on closer inspection, the detailed deck plan he’d just laid eyes on only showed the passenger spaces. It wasn’t a bust altogether, however. He saw four ways between the passenger spaces and the crew deck below: the aftermost hatches in the lounge and the dining room, a hatch he’d passed on his way aft in the main central corridor, and the far forward hatch at the corridor’s other end. Besides that, the plan showed dead-end hatches in the luxury cabins fore and aft of the lounge, through which the crew could presumably serve the more distinguished passengers without disturbing the common masses. Volkov had one of the fancy cabins, and Cannon had a strong suspicion Wailani had the other. Could come in handy, if it came to burglary, or if they had to beat it in a hurry.

He took one last look, then folded the deck plan away and returned to the shelves. His next stop was a Russian knockoff of Jane’s All The World’s Airships, which was a little more in keeping with the quality he expected out of the Soviets. It had no entry for the Red Banner, though, as he flipped through the pages, he discovered it did have an entry for Inconstant. As far as technical accuracy went, Cannon gave it a failing grade. He knew enough Russian to know his own name, and spotted it in the text. Fifteen minutes with the dictionary suggested he already had quite the reputation with the Soviets. he smiled to himself as he put it away. If only they knew.

That pleasant interlude behind him, he went back to the card catalog and rifled through it aimlessly. He had very few ideas left. Unless— a card caught his eye. He pulled it from the catalog and sounded out the title: Джейнс.

… Jane’s. He rubbed at his temples. Just his luck.

Sure enough, the Red Banner‘s copy of Jane’s All The World’s Airships was tucked away in a corner on the balcony level, along with a shelf or two of other, unrelated volumes, the sum total of the library’s English-speaking material. Cannon took Jane’s and found a secluded reading desk tucked against a section of wall where the bookshelves momentarily gave way to wood paneling.

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