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   Chapter 19 Pilot

Pilot: Book One of the Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 13465

Updated: 2018-02-02 13:10

Elena leaned against the closed door and stared at the packet of papers in her hand. It was covered with oiled leather to protect against the wet of the sea. She could hardly believe that she had just been given her own ship. Elena was still torn about the Calling and whether or not she would be able to once again pilot, despite Peter's confidence. Elena traced a finger over the leather in thought.

"Most ships are designed so only one person could theoretically sail them, " she mused. It was considered a safety feature not a design requirement. Most pilots did not sail alone. During an attack by raiders, the pilot was always the most protected crewmember. With the pilot alive and conscious there was always the possibility of escape. Without the pilot a ship was dead. If the entire crew was incapacitated a pilot could still sail the ship to a safe port. Elena tapped the packet.

"It might be wise to sail alone a few times, " she said. "I'd have to do that the first time out anyway." Eventually if she went back to piloting she would need to hire a crew. She would have to stay in the safe lanes and travel them alone to get to the Docking Facility. A person could not hire a crew landside. The crew was usually advertised for at the port. It was safer that way. Anyone at port would obviously already know about the channels. "Of course Ian already let that cat out of the bag."

Elena shrugged off the thought and opened the packet while she was still leaning up against the door and looked at her ship. Her hands were shaking and she knew that once she saw all of the particulars she was going to want that ship. Already being involved in the world of the pilots and channels she wanted to be back on the sea. She grew up on deck and when she was piloting there was nothing else. It was as if she were meant to be a pilot. The ship may sail under a captain's command, but when she was at the helm the ship was a part of her. That was the way it had always been. To leave had been almost like cutting off her own hand.

The first thing she saw when the leather parted was a set of pictures that had been tucked inside of the packet. It was her ship. The Storm Chaser was beautiful. Elena flipped through the pictures slowly. She could see the loving craftsmanship that went into her design. The wood gleamed in the sunlight. Elena felt the ship take hold of her. The figurehead was an angel with full spread wings that folded back along the prow making her look as though she were in full flight.

"You know just how beautiful you are don't you?" She said to the angel, her fingers tracing the lines of the ship. Just looking at the ship made Elena ache for the sea. She tore her eyes away from the set of pictures to glance over the particulars. It was being held in the same port as her grandfather's ship and at the moment that was fine. She would have to find a harbor closer to where she lived obviously and she began running through the list of possibilities.

The problems with safe harbor of course were the relatively few American ports that were considered safe by the Families. At the back of the ship's particulars was a list of possible ports for her consideration. Choosing one would require some thought.

The ship could berth six. That would normally be the captain, pilot and four crewmen. She could save some of the weight by being both captain and pilot and the style of the ship was the sort that she could manage on her own. She would realistically need to hire about three folks though for the season.

A four-man list would lighten the load and enable more merchandise to be brought in while still being of poundage suitable for riding the channels. That was one of the things that made the dual role of captain and pilot so appealing. The elimination of one person from the necessary crew not only eliminated that person's weight, along with their personal gear, but it eliminated the supplies needed to feed that person for the duration of the trip. As

sed jotting down test kitchen and processed food in her notebook. She tapped her pencil on the notebook and stretched out on the bed instead of sitting on it. Currently, she didn't sell food products.

"Perhaps it could be its own separate store." She thought. The business could also do on-line sales as well and that would help increase sales. Elena realized that it was definitely do-able and she started working figures around on the paper in front of her. There was a building for sale next door to her and she had been thinking of buying it for expansion and had been torn between the cost of expansion and the worth of such a move. She was not sure she had a large enough customer base to branch out quite that far. She really liked the cozy atmosphere of her own place as well and thought expanding it might make it feel more like a warehouse. Keeping it a separate store would help.

In her mind, she began to flesh out the building, using furniture from her own stock or pieces that were not quite kosher on their provenance; she could have a very attractive display area and give promotion to the existing imports store. And since she would be working with both her grandfather and Peter she could give it a name that did not tie it to just her family. It would be an interesting model to create and if the Families could expand it, then it would be beneficial to all. The ringing phone interrupted her thoughts and she rolled off of the bed to answer it.

"A little birdie told me you were seen having a very cozy dinner with a very attractive man in one of the most romantic restaurants in town. Spill." Elena laughed recognizing her friend Tina's voice. She put away her future business concerns, please to have a normal conversation that didn't involve her walking a dangerous tightrope.

"How exactly do you get gossip that fast?" She asked.

"My natural talent. You still haven't explained your date or why I did not know about this date in advance."

"It wasn't a date Tina, " Elena said sensing ruffled feathers. With a laugh they settled into a conversation and Elena felt the tension of the last few days ease.

Elena went to bed after her laundry was done and laid out for the morning. She had the feeling that her world was no longer the same as it had been when she woke up. For the second time in her life the cozy and comfortable world she inhabited had been shattered and she was left to recombine elements in new and interesting patterns. As she snuggled into the sheets she thought that at least this time it was good things happening as opposed to her leaving to prevent bad things from happening. That had to count for something.

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