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   Chapter 37 Pilot

Pilot: Book One of the Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 10492

Updated: 2018-02-02 13:23

"What do you mean you didn't use any of the instruments?" Smith demanded. Elena ground her teeth and calmly answered him for what seemed like the millionth time. They were only three hours into the passage to the Docking Facility and Elena dully wondered how many times she would have to answer it.

"I mean that I didn't use any of the electronic instruments in the pilot house to see the channels." Tiredness pulled at the edges of her voice.

"That is impossible, " he bellowed.

"That is a Pilot, " Alexandro said. Smith jumped, not realizing the man had joined them. "Elena your shift ended half an hour ago."

"Of course, " Elena said. She turned to leave. She hadn't really expected Smith to believe her anyway. The only technology still running was built into the hull of the ship and would have been below the water line when the ship was earthside.

'And that doesn't even look that impressive, ' she thought. The system when viewed from the outside looked just like fine lines tracing the ships hull. She knew they worked and left the details to Mateo.

"And you will refrain from yelling at my pilot, " he told Smith.

"Your pilot is supposed to be answering my questions, " Smith insisted.

"She has done so. You just don't want to believe her. I believe that makes your lack of knowledge your fault and not hers." Elena knew it was cowardly, but she wanted nothing to do with this argument and kept walking away.

"You were telling the truth weren't you? They are something you can just see, " Jonathan asked. Elena looked over to where Smith and her grandfather were glaring at each other. She was too far away to make out the words.

"Yes I was. That is why I am a pilot. Now if you will excuse me. I am only off duty as long as there is no trouble so I need to rest while it is quiet." Elena turned and walked away, ducking behind Anthony and Marco as they went about their tasks. She knew full well they had overheard. They discreetly moved to block Jonathan from following.

Instead of going to her cabin Elena found a quiet stretch of deck and sat down, her head resting against the exterior wall of the cabin. From here the ship was at her back and only the dark was in front of her. The entry into the channels always tired her out as if sensing as well as guiding the ship took more of her energy than it seemed. This trip out Elena felt the tiredness, but there was also a jumpy sort of energy that made the thought of sleep sound silly.

'Perhaps it is being on a ship after so long being gone, ' she thought. Elena waited for the whisperings that she remembered from the Calling. They didn't come and she felt a little of the jumpy tension ease. She rested her head against the wooden wall and watched the stars slide by in the distance. With a start she realized it hadn't been so long since she had seen these particular stars.

This was the section of space where her dreams always took her. Elena looked around. By now she knew exactly which sectors of space to look for the heat ripples. Elena focused her sight as they passed one such area. For a second the spot remaine

east in regards to piloting a channel rider.

"Of course, " Marco said. "They are the only kind I do." Elena smiled as she uncovered her tray. Marco's willingness to offer assistance without hesitation was one of his better-known traits. Only slightly less known was his love of gossip.

"I don't suppose filling me in on what happened after I crashed would fall into that category? Perhaps relieving you of the burden of secrecy?" Elena said. She picked up the fork and began cutting small pieces of her omelet to eat.

"I can't believe you slept through that." Elena continued to eat her omelet. "The Captain and the Bear hurled names and threats loud enough to shake the masts." The Bear had become the crew's favorite term for Smith. Jonathan had likewise become known as Smiley.

"And which one came out on top?" Elena asked. Marco looked shocked.

"No one outranks the captain, " he told her sternly.

"Of course, " Elena said. "I merely meant to ask if Smith actually made the captain give him any lee way or if he was now confined to quarters."

"Ah, of course. There is no confinement. The Bear received no special favors and is grumbling, but accepting of the realities of life." Elena nodded and finished her omelet. She picked up the coffee and took a sip.

"Thanks, " she said as Marco picked up the plate and cover. He shrugged.

"It was my turn in the galley today." He left with the empty plate. A few minutes later Elena saw Smith stalk across the deck and had to admit the crew's description of a bear was quite accurate. He was grumbling as if he had been awakened from hibernation too soon. He reached the pilothouse and to Elena's surprise he was relatively polite when she expected him to snap.

Apparently he decided discretion was the better part of valor, at least in this instance. Elena turned away from Smith and looked ahead. Alexandro stood on deck surveying the daily operations. As his eyes turned towards her, she winked. He smiled and nodded and continued on his way. Elena wondered how long the cease-fire would last.

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