Nathaniel Cannon and the Hunt for the Majestic No. 24

The truck rolled to a stop at a T-junction. A three-story stone building faced them; past the buildings to their left was a large park. Emma leaned forward, looked to her right, then looked to her left. An endless arcade, the building’s facade went on for what could have been a mile.

“They call it the Mile-Long Barracks,” Cannon said, turning left onto the main street. Sheltered beneath the ground-level arches were a few market stalls, empty at present. “It’s only about fifteen hundred feet long, though.”

“Looks like they packed it in, too,” Emma observed, pointing at the arcade with her thumb.

Cannon nodded.

“They know something about the storm we don’t?” she wondered.

Cannon shook his head. “Not unless they flew up to the edge of it in the last few hours.” The truck ground to a halt.

“Only everyone seems a lot more concerned than you are,” Emma persisted.

Swinging the truck’s door open, Cannon stepped out. Choufeng slid behind the wheel. “Turn it around,” Cannon said. “Keep it running and be ready to pick us up.” Cannon closed the door and banged on it with a fist, and the truck clunked into gear and drove off.

Emma waited for the skipper on the sidewalk. Just in front of them, the barracks jutted outward; decorative patterns adorned the gables above the third-floor windows. “The Brotherhood’s in there, then?”

“The council, at least,” said Cannon. “I spent six months on the council, back before you signed on. Whenever the whole council’s in one place, they can’t escape. There’s always something on the docket.”

“Sounds like torture.”

“The worst part is, they charge dues for the privilege.”

Emma made a face.

Cannon nodded. “We still pay dues, too. You can find a fence for anything here, and it keeps the pirating community away from our prizes.”

“So would shooting down any zep that stole from us,” Emma said.

Cannon raised an eyebrow at her. “Are you volunteering to tell the crew we’re taking on work that doesn’t pay six months out of the year?”

“When you put it that way…”

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