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   Chapter 5 Storm Chaser

Storm Chaser: Book Two of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 6061

Updated: 2018-02-26 14:21


Chapter 5

The Storm Chaser pulled away from the Docking Facility and slid off into space. A thin ribbon of water separated from the band that floated moat-like around the Docking Facility. Each ship brought a measure with them when they left Earth's oceans. When they docked the water merged and when they left a section followed them home. Elena smiled as she adjusted her course. She was certain her cousin Mateo could tell her the exact volume for each transaction. He lived to ferret out facts like that.

The pathway home was an easy run, the space between the channel mouth leading to Earth and the Docking Facility was well protected from raiders. Elena shook her head in thought. A few months ago she thought she left this world behind. She was grounded by the Calling, a mysterious disease that whispered in the pilot's mind to try to lead them off the established channels and into the black. Rather than risk the crew of her grandfather's ship she had retired and officially left the guild. The imports store she opened sold only earth-made goods and she liked to think she had done well for herself.

"Until Ian betrayed the guild, " Elena muttered to herself. One of the primary rules among the families of the guild was that no one ever work with any nation's military. It was an old rule and until Ian, always followed. She had no doubts various people suspected things, but one of the jobs of the Council was to make sure no one took those thoughts seriously. Any mention of people with pilot like abilities were linked to the more outrageous conspiracy theories. There was even a group the Council formed to spend their days on the internet digging out such rumors. Since Ian's betrayal they had been especially busy.

Since she was the pilot the military had picked up for questioning, she got to deal with some of the fall out. In a blink the five years she had been gone meant nothing and she was brought back in. She also found out that the Calling was less a disease as everyone thought and more of an evolution of ability. On her first trip out she found she could actually open up new channels, something no one had ever thought possible. Since then she hadn't had much time to investigate this new ability and shared the details of this new skill only with her cousin Mateo.

'That is about to change, ' she thought as the new workload came to mind. Mateo would soon be working with her to devise a safe way to investigate these new channel possibilities. 'And who knows where that will lead.' The time of keeping it to herself might soon be ending. Elena caught movement out of the corner of her eye and looked down at the deck to find Spin meandering back towards the pilothouse.

The cat seemed content, which was a good sign. Cats were a tradition aboard channel riders. There were many stories about why. Some Elena found plausible others nearly laughable superstition. One of the more popular versions tied it to the Goddess Bast. Elena personally wasn't sure what t

he connection was, if it even existed. But the ties persisted and even her parents had given her the middle name of Bastienne in honor of the goddess.

"And I would never leave port without a cat on board, " she said.

"Of course not. That would be courting disaster." Elena nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound of the voice. She turned to find Benjamin standing in the doorway. He filled the frame completely. Spin snaked through his legs and came to rest at Elena's feet. "Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you."

"That's okay, " Elena commented. "Do you ever wonder why people who startle you always claim they didn't mean to?"

"Not really, " Benjamin said with a half smile.

"Sorry, just in an introspective mood, " Elena said waving off her own comments.

"And thinking about cats?"

"And wondering if there really is a connection to Egypt."

"Ah, Bast." He said following her train of thought.

"Something like that." She said with a smile.

"I like to think there is a connection."

"Really?"

"Oh yeah, " Benjamin said. "It's nice to think that you have a Goddess specifically looking out for you?"

"How do you know she would be specifically looking out for us?" Elena asked.

"How many practicing temples to Bast do you think there are? I think by default we would be her favorite of those left."

"By default huh? I think some Egyptians might argue that." Elena thought about for a moment. "Do you know much about the connection?"

"Not much, " he said. "Just that the Egyptians made her a solar deity and the Greeks changed her to a moon deity. Since we sail in the stars between the sun and moon we claim her. Or something to that effect. I have to admit I never really looked at it too closely."

"And are you superstitious?"

"Not really, " he replied with a shrug.

"But I bet you'd never get on a channel rider without a cat present."

"Of course not." Benjamin smiled. "That would be trouble." Spin wound around Elena's ankles purring as if the humans in her presence finally made some sense. Elena bent down and scratched Spin behind the ears. The purring increased.

"But you never bothered to find out why?" She asked straightening back up.

"Wasn't part of my job description, " he said with a wry smile teasing his lips.

"Really? One would think that a travel agent would pick up lots of local color to pass on."

"I came to the travel gig late in life."

"Oh? What did you do before?" Elena asked. Benjamin's smile widened into an easy going grin.

"I mostly came to ask where the galley was and if you had a preference for dinner." Elena raised an eyebrow acknowledging the dodge and gestured towards the nearby door.

"Over there, " she said. "Whatever you feel like making, I'm sure we'll be happy to eat."

"Then I'll go and get started." Benjamin left the pilothouse and opened the door Elena had indicated. She watched him go then looked back down at the cat.

"Should be an interesting run." Spin mewed in agreement.

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