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   Chapter 36 Storm Chaser

Storm Chaser: Book Two of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 10542

Updated: 2018-02-26 14:40


Chapter 36

"Doesn't that break the fifty pound rule?" Mateo asked as Elena took the third bag from her trunk.

"Captain's prerogative, " She answered with a grin. "The quarters I'm in are too standard and need a bit of personal in them." She closed her trunk and slung the heavy bag to her shoulder. The second she picked up with her right hand while Mateo grabbed the third. His regulation weight bag was over his shoulder.

"Besides, " Elena continued as they began moving towards the docks, "I realized there was some stuff I wouldn't want Smith and company going through while I was gone, so I decided to stash it elsewhere for the time being. Since we don't have a full crew this run I thought it was as good a time as any."

"Good plan, " Mateo said. "It would be a shame for the military to see your rock collection." Elena laughed.

"That would be my moon rock collection, " she countered.

"Uh huh, and this is one small step." To Elena's relief the only person she saw was Ted. He waved as he continued his morning patrol. The docks were still dark and dawn was just edging into the horizon. Golden light was beginning to trace fine fingers across the water. Elena smiled. Her smile wilted as she heard another car pull up. She turned to see Benjamin getting out of a cab and Elena nearly sighed with relief. The last two days she dealt with Isa six times, a new personal record for her. Elena was actually proud that Isa had sustained no bodily damage during the time. She and Mateo stopped to wait for him as he paid the driver, grabbed his gear and crossed over to them.

"Am I late?" he asked. Spin, who was trailing along silently mewed loudly. Benjamin reached down and rubbed her ears. "My apologies for being late, " he told her.

"Not late enough to worry about, " Elena said as they continued to the ship. Benjamin took Elena's second bag and she typed in her pass code. Once they were inside, each of them placed the items they wouldn't need in lockers against the wall. Elena placed her purse, keys and cell phone in the locker and swung it shut with a sense of relief. While she was gone the cell phone would be off and any issues that arose would have to wait. There was an extra bounce in her step as she followed Spin to the ship. In a short while they were underway and Elena felt all was right with her world.

The weather was fine all the way to the channel mouth and Elena had that last week of school feeling. Time alternately went too slow and at the same time seemed to rush away. As they approached the channel she found herself studying it more than usual. She did not attempt to alter the channel in any way, but instead of simply registering the depth and location so she could pilot through, she studied the edges. The channel seemed to be a little like an onion, as if the distance between the channel entrance and its exit had been separated into layers too thin to count and peeled back to reveal the channel. It was an observation she kept to herself along with the details of her latest set of dreams.

Opening new channels was enough to worry about. Altering existing ones was an is

by."

"You aren't helping, " Mateo said as he tied off the last of the gear.

"Uh huh, " Elena commented walking towards the pilot house. "Like you helped last night with your comments about Andre?"

"I was deflecting."

"Sure, " Elena said with a laugh. "Throw me under the bus." Slowly the Docking Facility faded into the horizon. Elena was a little jumpy and had to remind herself that the entire trip was in protected space. There were no raiders here. She did not need to be as hyper vigilant. They retrieved the probes with no incident. To Mateo's surprise, all but one of the probes was recovered.

"Excellent recovery rate, " he sing-songed as he stashed the information chips in lead lined containers to protect them and the information they contained through the journey in the channels. Elena ignored him as an anomaly came into view. She squinted at the horizon, but the blip did not change. It was a dark spot a few hours ride from the channel mouth. Mateo noticed Elena's lack of comment and looked up. He saw her concentration and turned. He reached into the bag by his feet and handed her a small telescope. Elena took it silently and held it up to her eye. The dark spot resolved itself.

"A ship, " she said. She took in some of the details, the way the ship was listing somewhat to the side, and the way it was seemingly floating at random rather than sailing on course. "No raider's here, " she said absently. She scanned the surrounding area, detecting nothing out of the ordinary. That meant the ship had encountered another sort of trouble. The distance was still too great to make out any kind of specific details, but Elena had a sinking suspicion she knew who the ship belonged to. She sighed, knowing she couldn't leave them there with no assistance.

"It's not like they can call triple A, " She looked over at Mateo, who had continued to store his gear. "Make sure anything you don't want the military to see is well hidden, " she told him. "Hide it among the cargo if need be. I have a feeling we are going to be taking on passengers after all."

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