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   Chapter 37 Storm Chaser

Storm Chaser: Book Two of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 9163

Updated: 2018-02-26 14:41


Chapter 37

Elena altered the Storm Chaser's course slightly to be able to come alongside the disabled ship. Mateo and Benjamin were on deck watching the bulk of the strange ship as they approached. They were in protected space so the possibility of a raider attack was slim, but Elena monitored the horizon as they approached. She strongly suspected mechanical failure. She shrugged a little as she guided them closer. Whatever the cause her course was clear. No channel rider left a stranded ship without helping clear survivors.

Elena glanced to the men on deck. Mateo had a spy glass trained on the ship and was muttering to himself as he tried to spot either details or movement. Benjamin slung a bright white backpack emblazoned with a big red cross on his back. She knew it was the emergency medical kit stashed in the galley. She returned to studying the ship. She was less concerned with determining markings and more concerned with finding the emergency dock. If she could find the docking area that would allow the ship's crew to move from the ship to the Docking Facility she could line up with it and Mateo and Benjamin could use the docking tube to board the floundering ship and retrieve survivors. So far Elena was having no luck spotting it. Soon they would be too close to correct her course. She pushed the window open.

"Do you see the emergency dock?" Elena called down to Mateo. He shook his head.

"It isn't built like a channel rider. I can't see any of the normal safeties." Elena swore under her breath at the response. She couldn't risk sending the two over without a secure dock.

"Do you see a place we could set a tow line?" They were less than an hour from the channel mouth. If they could secure the ship they could simply tow it earthside and at least not have the complications of space's vacuum, using a simpler boarding system.

"I think so. Keep this course steady and we should be able to secure a tow line." Elena gave them a thumbs up and watched as they readied the winch. As the ship still had to float when they hit the water of earthside she knew they would risk no damage to the hull.

"Otherwise we're both sunk." She told Spin, who had climbed up onto the top of one of the instrument panels in order to have a safe view of the proceedings. The grapple was launched, and Elena was reminded of the old fashioned whaling ships. She rubbed Spin's ears. "Of course this is a bit more humane." The grapple caught and the line was secured. Elena moved the Storm Chaser past the disabled ship and held her breath as the line went taut. It held. She exhaled slowly.

"I think quicker would be better for this, " She muttered. If the crew were oxygen deprived, seconds

d to be their biggest weakness after scale, " Elena said.

"Probably didn't account for the heat differential, " Mateo commented absently. Elena saw him staring off at the tethered ship.

"You aren't going on board to study it, " Elena said. Mateo looked ready to argue until Elena pointed to the sky in front of them. Benjamin and Mateo turned to look. The sky was dark with storm clouds and the wind that should have calmed when they lost momentum remained. In the excitement it had gone unnoticed.

"We will keep the ship in tow for a little while, but if the weather gets worse, we cut the line."

"Why keep it in tow at all?" Benjamin asked.

"I want it away from the Marta, " Elena replied. "If we can tow it to port Mateo can look at it before we report it to the military's lost and found. If not we can just report the coordinates where we cut it loose. Would you two mind checking in on our visitors? I want to see if we can get some speed to get some distance between the ships and each other as well as the Marta." They nodded and took the emergency medical kits to the crew's bunk.

Elena returned to the pilot house and kicked the engines into gear. The tow line rose out of the water, dripping as it stretched. She adjusted the Storm Chaser's course to hopefully stay on the edges of the approaching storm rather than barreling directly into it. One glance at the sky told her complete avoidance would not be possible as the dark clouds stretched across the entire expanse of horizon and were closing fast. Spin mewled and Elena reached over to rub her ears.

"You'll be high and dry in here, " Elena told her. Spin turned large eyes to the sky line. "I just hope there were no serious injuries." Live military personal on her ship was one thing. Dead ones were a whole different ball game.

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