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   Chapter 11 Pilot

Pilot: Book One of the Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 9252

Updated: 2018-02-02 13:04

After brunch Elena didn't see much of the council members, including her grandfather. A preliminary search found the door to the meeting room closed and Elena could hear the murmur of voices on the other side of the wood. She didn't test the door to see if it was locked as she had enough of council politics for the moment. The council was probably taking care of business she had no interest in. Elena turned away from the door.

Spending some time with her grandfather would be nice, but she was also relieved not to cautiously tread the verbal minefield of family relations. In the dining area the wait staff were completing the clean up from breakfast. She watched them and wondered if interrupting would be a good idea.

"May I help you miss?" A voice said from behind her. Elena turned, startled. "My apologies, I didn't realize you hadn't seen me." The voice belonged to a woman with dark brown hair pulled back into a ponytail and wearing a dark blue shirt with a golden L emblazoned on the breast pocket. It made Elena think of the shirts Laverne wore in the old television show. The show's theme song began playing in the back of her mind.

The woman's shirt was tucked into a pair of khaki pants. White canvas shoes completed the outfit. Elena recognized it as the staff uniform.

"Yes actually, I need to run an errand. I don't suppose there is a phone to call a taxi?" The woman shook her head.

"I'm sorry Miss. You are allowed the free run of the ship while you are here, but for your own safety we were asked to keep you aboard. If you let me know what is needed I could secure it for you." She looked apologetic and Elena sighed. "It really is for your own safety Miss."

"I understand, " Elena said, knowing that the Council was trying to help her as well as being paranoid. She also knew no one on board would go against the direct order of the Council. She sighed. "It's sort of personal." Elena felt her cheeks flush red. "Um, you see I didn't have time to do laundry before coming on this trip and I am running low on undergarments. I suppose I could just rinse these out in the sink and let them dry overnight." The last comment she uttered was more for herself than her uniformed companion. She bit her lip thinking of wearing the date underwear for an extra day, but not seeing another way. "Well I suppose I'll have to make do."

"Oh no miss." She seemed offended at the mere thought of a passenger's discomfort. "That won't do. If you give me your sizes I can arrange for the items to be in your room." She pulled out a small notepad from her back pocket. A golf pencil was stuck in the spiral binding. The woman slid it out and flipped to a clean page. Elena gave her size requirements to the woman and they wer

xcessive. The tithe was not a set amount, but rather a percentage of her annual income, revised every year. As sticks went it wasn't a particularly heavy handed one. Elena weighed the thought of paying the Guild and realized it didn't bother her that much. She smiled at the page as she thought of Therese realizing what Elena had been given.

"Cheap at twice the price, " she decided. Elena flipped back to the table of contents and continued scanning for a reference to Friends of the Guild. She spent an hour flipping between table of contents and pages in the Council Law book as well as several others. By the time she reached the end of the shelf, the only thing that she had learned was that a Friend of the Guild was someone who acted on behalf of the Guild and to whom the Council was somehow beholden.

She sighed and looked at the stack of books heaped on the floor beside her. Elena began re-shelving them. She was pretty sure her act on behalf of the Council was tied to Ian and the military, but could find no reference as to how the Council was beholden and what that actually meant. That was something she found strange. The Council may always take something when it gave you something else, but it was always a very straightforward business transaction. Benefits and responsibilities were always clearly marked.

"Maybe there aren't that many people who actually help the Council out, so they haven't really thought about it." She mused. All of the books except Council Law were re-shelved. She picked the book up and deciding she didn't really have a better way to spend her afternoon, she stood and took the book over to one of the comfortable chairs. She settled herself into the chair and opened the book. Idly she wished she had a notebook to jot down key points, but let the thought go as she began to read.

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