Kopeikin’s eyes narrowed. Volkov said, “Go into hallway, turn left. Is second door on your right.”
Cannon excused himself and stood. The vial of chloroform in his jacket pocket bounced against his side. He left the room, closed the door behind him, and walked in place, footsteps loud at first, then quieter. Finally, he took a step up the hall, away from the bathroom, and flattened himself against the wall behind him. He took his handkerchief in his left hand and the vial of chloroform in his right, and then he waited.
“Zep spotted, two points forward the port beam!” the spotter cried.
Joe Copeland, second in command of the Long Nines and, for the moment, the man in charge aboard Inconstant, crossed the control gondola to the spotter’s position by the windows. He held his hand out, and the spotter passed Copeland his binoculars.
Copeland raised them to his eyes and scanned the horizon. There—a zeppelin, much smaller than Inconstant, with a red star on its upper tailplane. “Red Banner,” he said. “Twenty miles out. Go to battle stations. Launch the air wing.”
Alarms sounded throughout the pirate airship. In her hangar bay, airplanes swung on their arresting gear as the overhead rails carried them to the skyhooks. In threes, they dropped free of the zep, clawing back into the sky with the roar of powerful engines and forming up five hundred feet above Inconstant.
Copeland checked his watch. Ten minutes.
Iseabail glanced at the clock over her shoulder. Ten minutes to eight.
Suddenly, Kopeikin spoke. Iseabail jumped. “Enough of this,” the Russian said harshly. “Where is Doctor Smith?”
“I dinnae know,” Iseabail replied. “Yon washroom, I’d say, if I were made tae guess.”
Kopeikin snarled and stood, throwing his chair back three feet. “Stay here, Comrade Volkov,” he said. “Keep watch on our guest.”
“What’re ye going tae do? Barge in?”
Kopeikin turned a glare on Iseabail. “What do you have planned? What is your scheme?”
“I have no idea wha’ yer on about.”
Kopeikin stared her down for a few moments. Iseabail returned the look unblinkingly. The Russian shook his head and strode for the door, throwing it open and disappearing through it.
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