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   Chapter 21 Pilot

Pilot: Book One of the Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 11393

Updated: 2018-02-02 13:11


Elena pried herself reluctantly out of bed and got ready to face the day. She glanced at the closed notebook as she dressed and tried to think of anything she could add from her dreams. She shook her head and tugged her sweater on. Aside from the dream that woke her there wasn't much to report. The rest of the night contained flashes like she had seen at the end of the non-existent channel.

"I think I was too afraid to fall deeply asleep, " she thought. A few seconds after the images began to play she would start awake. Elena rubbed a hand across her eyes and wished she could crawl back into bed. Images of Peter and Smith breaking in to come get her danced on her mental view screen.

"Well maybe Peter wouldn't, " she corrected. "Smith probably would though." Elena left the bedroom and walked into the living room, giving her kitchen a scowl as she passed, knowing there was no coffee. The headache throbbed behind her eyes, but it was not nearly as bad as it had been in the night. She thought about her dreams as she waited for Peter.

Elena closed her eyes and pictured herself standing on the deck of the Storm Chaser. She replayed the dream and when it reached the point where she turned away she flinched, expecting the pain. Elena opened her eyes.

"What if they are right?" She asked the empty apartment. "What if it is an evolution of abilities? Could I open a new channel?" The thought sounded idiotic to her own ears. That simply wasn't the way the channels worked. The thought kept circling though as she grabbed a blank notebook and slipped a pen into her purse. A knock sounded at the door, interrupting her thoughts.

"Good morning, " she said, opening the door for Peter. In his hand he held a cup of coffee from the local coffee shop. He held it out to her and she reached for it automatically.

"And good morning to you, " he said. "I did not know if you would have time to make a pot of coffee so I brought some."

"Thank you, " she said, taking a delicate sip of the hot brew. He had added a dollop of milk and a teaspoon of sugar. It was exactly the way she fixed her cup when on board the Lorenzo. Obviously Peter was paying attention. She picked up her purse, calendar and notebook. She slung the purse strap to her shoulder and tucked the notebook and calendar under her arm so she could lock the door. She followed Peter into the hallway then shut and locked the apartment door. As she tucked her keys away and followed Peter down the stairs she wondered if the lock was any good. Had the military been in her place while she was out? She shook the thought away and got into the waiting car.

"You seem pre-occupied, " Peter commented as Thomas navigated the car through morning traffic.

"Just thinking about my dreams, " she said.

"Ah, " he replied. "And the Calling?"

"Yes." Elena sipped her coffee.

"My brother has been studying it for quite some time and often uses me as a sounding board for his theories and thoughts."

"Is he fond of the evolution of ability theory?"

"As a matter of fact yes, I believe he is."

"And has he theories about nature of this evolution?"

"Several, " Peter said with a smile. "But none he is really pleased with."

"I see, " Elena said thoughtfully. "Do any of his theories deal with a pilot's ability to open new channels?"

"I'm not sure, " he replied, looking Elena over thoughtfull

ething like a safety feature. It wouldn't net him the kind of audience currently listening to his every word.

"And the channel locations are programmed into the automated pilot, " Ian said gesturing to the screen. Elena's frown deepened as she waited for the rest. "This ship is then fully equipped to go through the world gates." Elena's eyebrows rose and she looked over to Peter. He was frowning at the stage. Ian had mentioned nothing about seasonal variations or channel depth. From Ian's words she got the impression the location of the channel was only entered once and then forgotten. She wondered if he had the locations marked on the space side, what they called skyside, as well as the earthside since the coordinates would be quite different.

'That would explain the mis-marked map Macmillan had, ' she thought. 'They marked the channel one time and concluded it was always there.' Elena ground her teeth. Either Ian had not bothered to learn too much about the channels or he was holding back information. 'Either way twenty six people died of it.' Ian began listing the benefits of his system, mostly concentrating on the fact that actual pilots were not needed and that the military could run the operation themselves.

"And the practical applications are endless. These ships can move troops and supplies with ease." Elena snorted in derision and Peter shook his head. An image of a ship's blueprint came up and Elena sucked in her breath. The ship was designed to hold over one hundred men. She blinked hard at the image and bit back an exclamation.

"As you can see, the USS Reconnaissance is designed for just such a mission." Ian flipped the slide and an image of a half built ship appeared. "In three months she will be complete and ready to launch." Ian paused and let his gaze slide around the audience. They slid over Peter and Elena without pause. "Are there any questions?" Peter put a hand on Elena's knee reminding her that there would be time for her questions later. She kept quiet and no questions arose from the audience. Ian thanked them for their time and walked off stage and out of the door without looking back. Peter turned off the recorder.

"And Elvis has left the building, " Elena muttered as she stood up.

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