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   Chapter 38 Storm Chaser

Storm Chaser: Book Two of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 12599

Updated: 2018-02-26 14:41

Chapter 38

The wind began to pick up speed and the dark clouds seemed to be rushing towards them. Judging she moved far enough from the Marta, Elena cut the tow line loose, releasing the unknown ship to its own fate. She marked down the coordinates, but somehow thought they would be of little use. With no one at the helm it was likely to shift position drastically in the approaching storm.

"It will at least give them a starting point, " she said to herself. She thought about Peter and his conversation with Andre. "That ship was not bound for the Augustine. Peter could have lied." She adjusted her course. "Or Jonathan could have lied." She thought about it. She rubbed a hand across her burning eyes. "Or the military could be building several different ships at the same time." Somehow she liked that scenario less than the others. "Sad day when you hope you are being lied to." Multiple ships under construction at the same time meant that the military was comfortable enough in its design to use it as a template. Given the ship she just released she felt this was probably the more likely option.

"I wonder how many dead that translates into?" She frowned as the first drops of rain ticked against the glass of the pilot house windows. "I suppose the regular channel riders are supposed to act life lifeguards until they get it right." She shook her head. Considering the low number of American pilots and the complicated allegiance system, she had the feeling the military was in for a rude awakening.

"After all New World pilots are still bound to Old World council members." It was a situation that could be at best described as uneasy. Briefly Elena thought of her mother. A wave crested the Storm Chaser's bow and she was forced to put anything but the ship out of her thoughts. She trusted Mateo and Benjamin to see to their passengers. She just had to fight her own exhaustion and ride out the storm.

The rain increased and individual droplets disappeared into a gray sheet. Whatever sun remained was hidden and Elena switched on the ship's lanterns. She didn't know if anyone else was out here, but the squares of butter yellow light gave her comfort. It also provided distinction between her ship and the world turned gray. Water sluiced across the deck as the ship dove into troughs and rode crests. She hoped none of the passengers suffered from sea sickness. Elena held steady, riding each wave and keeping them more or less on course. Her focus was as tight as when she fled raiders. For all the technology the Storm Chaser possessed, the ocean was still the ocean, giant and unfathomable in its glory. Every ship on its back was at its mercy.

Time passed and Elena blocked fatigue with adrenaline. Gradually, the rain eased. The wind took longer to die down and waves still buffeted the ship. Elena felt the ache in her arms, but shook it off. Eventually the waves became merely choppy and the sky began to clear. Elena loosened her grip and checked their heading.

"Not bad, " she said. Spin stuck her head out from under the equipment panel where she had taken refuge. "A minor correction will have us heading towards home in no time." Spin meowed in her direction and began to groom herself with dignity, as if she hadn't spent a chunk of time cowering from the elements. Elena laughed and her stomach growled.

"Looks like I came just in time, " Benjamin said as he stepped into the pilot house. He held out a plate containing a sandwich.

"Have I ever told you that you are my favorite non- blood relation crew member?" She said taking the plate from him. He laughed.

"And the competition for that position was fierce."

"Of course, " she said taking a bite of the sandwich so her stomach would quiet.

he turned her attention back to the ocean where the submarine was still rising out of the depths. She sipped her coffee.

When it stopped rising, not much of it was out of the water. From its elongated shape however it was clear Mateo was right. It was a sub and she had a feeling it would want her three new passengers back. To her surprise the sub did not attempt to hail the Storm Chaser. Instead, it kept a more or less parallel course. It didn't come any closer, but it easily kept pace. The sun crested the horizon and spilled golden light across the waves, breaking up the pearly gray that came before.

"Maybe they are waiting for a decent hour to call, " she mused softly. Mateo snored softly in the background. A little while later Benjamin brought a bowl of soup and a couple of hot rolls.

"Not exactly normal breakfast, " he commented "But since we all missed dinner I suppose it could be called catching up."

"Works for me, " Elena told him.

"I would have brought a second bowl, but I thought he was out in his bunk."

"No problem. He crashed up here in case something happened. I'll send him down for a bowl when he wakes."

"Are you expecting something to happen?" Benjamin asked. Elena used her spoon to gesture towards the submarine.

"They have been shadowing us for about two hours, " she told him. "More or less." Benjamin looked out across the water. "Have our guests been fed?"

"Yeah, I dropped off their food on the way up. I'm guessing from the way they went for it their last meal was quite some time ago. They don't feel like chatting, but apparently we aren't enough of a danger not to take our food." Elena calculated how long it took the Storm Chaser to get from the channel opening to the Docking Facility and back.

"Nearly a week would be my guess, " Elena told him. "So I guess it is a good thing we didn't tarry at the Docking Facility."

"For them at least. So do you think they will ask us to pull over and show identification?" Benjamin asked.

"They might, " Elena said with a smile. She dipped a corner of the roll into the soup and then took a bite. "If they are pretending not to know who we are. Pretty sure they will want their people back in any case." They stood quietly, both watching the sub as Elena ate. She was halfway through her bowl of soup when the hail came across the radio.

"I guess they decided we were up, " Elena commented. Mateo blinked awake and sat up rubbing his eyes. "I suppose we better talk to them."

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