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   Chapter 8 Pilot

Pilot: Book One of the Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 12766

Updated: 2018-02-02 13:02


The Council recorder sat with his hands poised above the keys of his machine, not looking at anyone. Elena realized that the Council respected her enough to give her the privacy to answer personal questions without a witness. It was not a courtesy she would have expected of them and she felt grateful.

The recorder began clacking away at his machine and as no one was speaking Elena assumed he was recording the filing information that stated date, time, and location. He clattered to a stop and looked up at the Council.

"Please state your name for the record, " Peter said.

"Elena Bastianne Calabrese, " she responded.

"Our records show that you have been absent from the Guild for five years. Is this correct?"

"Yes, " she replied.

"Let the record show the Council has been satisfied that the reasons Elena Calabrese chose to leave the Guild have no bearing upon the current matter. The Council is satisfied with her account." Peter shot a look at Alex who frowned at Elena, the grooves on either side of his mouth deepening into canyons, but he remained silent.

"And during this time did you receive any form of financial support from members of your family still associated with the Guild?"

"No, " Elena replied wondering where this was actually going. All she wanted to do was pass the problems Ian and the military represented and go home. Riko smiled encouragingly at her and her grandfather refused to meet her eyes. It was clear he was here for the Council, but would not interfere. She was on her own.

"And did you return to the Guild for reasons of monetary gain or reward?" Peter asked, interrupting her thoughts. She focused solely on him allowing everything else to slip away.

"No, " she replied. Peter nodded.

"Then let the record show that Elena Bastianne Calabrese has stood as an independent two years past the required three and proven she is a Friend to the Guild and has chosen to return without promise of monetary gain, nor under duress. She is therefore under Council law regarded as the Head of her own family." Peter finished and the recorder click clacked the words into Council record. Elena swallowed hard.

Essentially, she was now only bound by official Council law and allowed to run her own affairs as she saw fit while operating with the Guild instead of being bound to her grandfather's will. Normally such an honor and responsibility would not be placed on someone's shoulders until they had much more age on them than she had.

Elena also realized that she had effectively been brought back into the Guild with one easy step. She fought back a snap of temper at the assumption that she would want to return. After all, they had not asked her. However, a sly thought whispered in the back of her mind, there might be some benefits to being a Head of House in the eyes of the Council.

The only benefit she knew of was that Therese could not hold her choices against her in public or she would risk the direct censor of the Council. Therese would no doubt find some way around it, but it would annoy her to no end. No doubt there were other benefits besides discomfiting her cousin and at some point she would have to find out what they actually were.

"On the fifteenth of this month, Elena Calabrese contacted her family's Councilmember advocate and mentioned that the military had taken an interest in both herself and Ian Jensen, a former Guild member under the House of Barton. Given the relatively public way in which this information was conveyed details were few. The Council would like to hear a more complete account from Ms. Calabrese at this time." Peter inclined his head towards Elena, indicating she now had the floor.

Elena took a deep breath and related her Sunday morning adventure to the Council. She noticed

oes not make much sense?" Peter asked. The laughter in his voice brought a blush to Elena's cheeks.

"No pilot would attempt the Blood Channel, even for a deeper drought. Within ten miles of the Channel any pilot would sense the blockade and know that it was impassable. The blockade was meant to be as discrete as a blinking neon arrow in a Bugs Bunny cartoon."

"This is true." Riko said. "It was meant as a glaring warning. A pilot would have to be crazy." She blinked a few times. "Maybe they have a crazy pilot."

"If that is so then they have no pilot left as the pilot and crew would have been killed when the ship smashed into the barrier and all on board were sent drifting into space."

"You are correct then, " Peter said. "In this case logic makes no sense. The only ones who would know the truth of this matter would be the military and Ian. In this case I suggest that Ian be brought in for an accounting. All in favor?" Peter raised the motion and in half a breath it passed with Alex abstaining in the face of the yes votes. "Are there any changes to what was decided earlier?" Silence met his question and he nodded.

"Very well, in the morning I will accompany Elena back to the military base and we will settle this matter." Elena fought not to roll her eyes. Peter could have just come to her apartment in the first place and saved her a trip. But the council had operated as it had for centuries and was not likely to change now.

"I call this meeting officially to a close. Thank you Ms. Calabrese for your assistance."

"You are welcome, " she answered as the reporter clattered to a halt, stood up and wheeled his machine out of the council chamber, closing the door behind him.

"I believe brunch is being served in the dining area, " Peter said. The council members stood and Elena was momentarily unsure what to do. "Will you join us Ms. Calbrese?" Peter asked.

"I would be delighted, " she said rising to her feet. Now that she had finished her interrogation, Elena's butterflies had calmed and her stomach was intent on reminding her she had skipped both dinner and breakfast. Her grandfather smiled at her and for a second the stony mask of the Council member crumbled and she could see the relief written large in every line of his face. He offered her his arm and they followed the rest of the council up the stairs. Elena shook her head. The Council was about to go up against the military. 'It might be fun to watch, ' she thought to herself. 'Even if it does get me killed.'

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