Nathaniel Cannon and the Hunt for the Majestic No. 19

Lecocq stubbed out his cigarette in the ashtray on Cannon’s desk. “We left then,” he said, lighting a new cigarette and waving it expansively. “There was a little chase, but we shook them. Then, we found the rest of the crew and left. It seemed wise.”

“You made the right move,” Cannon agreed. “Make a note, Joe. Double shares for Marcel here next payday.”

“You got it, boss.”

“Thank you, sir,” Lecocq replied. “What happens next?”

Cannon gestured toward the door. “I talk it over with Joe.”

Lecocq nodded, stood, and left. Cannon raised his eyebrows at Joe. “What do you think?”

Joe shrugged. “Don’t like it.”

Cannon leaned back in his chair. “Neither do I. The Brotherhood nosing around in our business? Nothing good can come of that.”

“What are we gonna do about it?” Joe said.

“We aren’t going to take it lying down, that’s for sure,” Cannon replied, fire in his eyes. It faded as he caught himself. “Then again, maybe I shouldn’t fly off the handle here.”

“They did want to kidnap one of ours,” Joe reminded him.

Cannon fixed him with a look. “You’re the one who’s always telling me to slow down and think it over.”

“Just saying.”

Cannon nodded. “You know, I’d kill for an icebox out here.”

“Don’t change the subject,” Joe replied.

Sighing, Cannon said, “I’m thinking.” A moment passed. “You know, why don’t we pay them a visit?”

“Come again?” said Joe.

Cannon leaned forward, speaking quickly and excitedly. “Hear me out. Figure they know we know they’re looking for me.”

“With you so far.”

“What’s the very last thing they’ll expect us to do?”

“Show up,” Joe said, frowning. “That’s not what you mean, is it?”

“Exactly that.” Cannon stabbed his finger against his desk. “We show up. Me, Emma, and Choufeng, maybe, plus some backup. They give me the third degree. We find out what they want, and if they try to get cute, we shoot our way out.”

Joe blinked, quiet for a long moment. “That is a terrible plan.”

Cannon rolled his eyes. “Come on, Joe. We always ignore problems like this, then we blunder into them anyway, down the line. Why not get the blundering out of the way now?”

“Because ten Long Nines against everyone on the Rock is bad odds, boss.”

“Then let’s figure out how to even them up,” Cannon replied. “Plan with me. Scheme. I’ve made up my mind on this.”

Joe sighed a long-suffering sigh. “Fine.”

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