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   Chapter 28 Pilot

Pilot: Book One of the Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 12088

Updated: 2018-02-02 13:16

Elena walked to work the next morning pleased with herself over the party. She managed to skate through conversations about what she had been up to and what her new business venture entailed without having the conversation feel stilted.

"Of course, " she thought as she unlocked the door to Calabrese Imports, "The only thing I have to watch out for at the moment is the military. Compared to that everything is gravy." She grimaced at her reflection in the glass as she pushed the door open. She really couldn't think of a way to explain why the military kidnapped her and why she would now be required for meetings once a week for the next few months.

"And any reason the military would logically be interested in an imports store owner would probably be something illegal like smuggling, " she muttered, turning on the lights and readying the store for opening. "I can't see that being good for business." Tactfully she left all mention of the military out of her small talk. With luck they would behave for the duration of her involvement with them.

The store hummed to life as first staff and then customers walked through the doors. Around mid-morning the over-nighted bundle of papers Peter sent arrived. Elena signed for them and took a look around. All of the customers were being helped and none of the staff looked overwhelmed. Emily had the morning off and Janine was manning the register.

"I'll be back in the office if anyone needs me, " she told Janine, slapping the papers against her leg. The urge to read through them immediately was too great to ignore. "If we get a rush give me a yell, I'm just dealing with paperwork." Janine nodded her understanding and turned towards the approaching customer. Elena ducked back into the office. She left the door open a crack so everyone would know she could be interrupted if needed.

Once seated, she pulled open the perforated edge of the mailing envelope and slid the papers out. One section was a contract including all of the legal details forming the new company the three of them created. There were four copies; one for each of them and one for the legal folks. All four copies were already signed and dated by both Peter and her grandfather.

"I guess they don't want to waste time, " she said. On top of the contract was a basic outline. It was the plan she had sent. There were a few tweaks. She read over them and couldn't find fault. The final changes made her raise her eyebrows. Peter and her Grandfather had increased the amount of capitol available for the venture as a cushion. At the bottom of the proposal was the break out. Her amount of funds given to the project remained the same. Peter and her grandfather's contributions however increased substantially.

"As the bulk of the leg work and organization will be done by Elena Calabrese, Peter Baranov and Alexandro Calabrese shall be seen as primary investors, " Elena read. "Sounds reasonable." She set the paper aside and began working her way through the legalese of the contract. At the end she took a deep breath and let it out slowly. It was her plan and she felt it could work. Butterflies danced in her belly. Elena swallowed hard and unearthed a blue pen from the desk drawer. Quickly she scrawled her signature and the date on each of the copies. Elena realized she was holding her breath and slowly let it out.

"Well that's done it, " she said folding her copy into her filing cabinet and placing the other three into an envelope to be sent back. Rather than dwell on the concept of being a part of a newly formed corporation, Elen

up the space. She glanced at the hanging florescent lights. Those would have to go. Mentally she replaced them with something a little more upscale.

'Actually I think I have some in storage that would work, ' she thought. "The electricity was not turned off?" she asked Ruby.

"No, neither were the other utilities, " Ruby answered her. Elena smiled thinking Ruby considered a functioning building easier to offload than an abandoned one.

'And she'd be right.' The tour led them up the back stairs. There the space had been divided into two apartments. They were very basic and Elena thought the back apartment could be transformed into a meeting space and larger office. 'Keeping the Guild business separate. It might be nice to leave the front as an apartment though. Possibly offer it to Andre as part of an incentive package if he works out.' She nodded at the thought. Not only would the idea help her move him in, but it would also ensure someone was around should the military try to investigate. Elena turned and smiled at Ruby.

"Let's talk details." After some negotiation and a brief telephone conversation with the owner, Ruby left with a conditionally accepted offer and a smile on her face. Elena returned to the imports store. The rest of the day passed fairly quietly in a steady stream of customers. When the last had left and everyone started gathering their coats, Elena asked them to stay a few minutes.

"I mentioned a few days ago that there was a possibility of a new business venture, " she began when they were all gathered. "Well the paperwork was signed today and I have made arrangements to buy the building next door."

"Woo hoo, " Max said. "We're expanding."

"Not exactly, " she explained with a smile. "It will be completely separate." She explained the concept, leaving out the off- world aspects."

"I can see how that would really play well with what you already have, " TJ commented.

"So the end result is that we are going to be doing a bit of a shuffle around here for the next little while. I probably won't be around here full time every day for a while until things are settled. And if any of you feel you might be interested in working with the new store on a full time basis please come and see me." With that pronouncement she let them go locking the store behind her and wondering how things were going to end up shaking out.

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