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   Chapter 57 Storm Chaser

Storm Chaser: Book Two of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 14411

Updated: 2018-02-26 14:52


Chapter 57

Elena awoke to find two messages awaiting her. The first was from the Council saying that Riko agreed to verify her proposal and that two of the Librarians would be going along to verify coordinates. The second was from Riko essentially ordering her to prepare the Storm Chaser for immediate departure. It was worded as a polite request of course, but Elena understood the message.

She checked the time and notified all involved that the Storm Chaser would be ready for departure within the hour. Glad that she had not bothered to unpack, Elena had time to wash her face and grab a quick bite at one of the concession stands before needing to be at the ship. She was somehow unsurprised to see Riko and her body guard already waiting. To her credit, Riko did not look all that impatient.

'More excited than anything, ' Elena thought. Benjamin was also waiting and Elena said good morning to all. By the time her initial greetings were complete Evan Greggs and a brown haired man with fair skin had joined them. Elena guessed his age to be early twenties. Riko introduced Evan to the group as Senior Librarian Greggs. Evan introduced the younger man as his apprentice Shawn. Elena managed to convey how honored she felt by the presence of both a Senior Librarian and a counselor. Luckily, all were eager to get underway so formalities were kept to a minimum. They boarded and were soon under way.

"This will be an interesting ride, " She thought as she followed her passengers. Spin took one look at their guests and retreated to the pilot house. Elena had the feeling she would be spending most of her time in the pilot house as well. She really hoped her passengers could entertain themselves for most of the trip.

As luck would have it, once they were underway, Riko was more interested in cultivating a friendship with the senior librarian than in dealing with Elena. Evan on his part was doing his best to be aloof and pretend he didn't know Elena from Adam. Thus, for most of the journey she was left blessedly alone. It was only as they slowed in their approach to the channel that Riko's attention diverted to Elena.

"Channel entry in five, " Elena called the customary warning. All but Riko reacted according to protocol. Riko, quickly moved to join Elena in the pilot house.

"Where, " she demanded, her black eyes searching.

"Dead ahead, " Elena responded. Riko's eyes narrowed to slits.

"I do not see it." Elena blinked, realizing Riko was as blind as a non-pilot. Both Maria and Jasmine could sense the channel even when it was closed. That fact was not likely to sit well with the councilor.

"It is not opened yet, " Elena told her in even tones. They waited in silence as they approached the correct location. "Opening now, " She said. Elena stretched her energy forth and the black parted with ease. Beside her Riko gasped, able to see the newly opened channel. Elena piloted the Storm Chaser through and entered the planet's waters. When they were safely through, Elena closed the channel. Riko, who had been studying it, raised an eyebrow and turned to Elena. Elena realized once closed, Riko again lost the sense of the channel's existence.

'Definitely something to remember, ' She thought as Riko turned and left the pilot house without a word. The two days to shore were uneventful as Riko returned to getting to know the Librarians. Elena had the feeling Riko was taking in everything for future use. It was still with relief that Elena saw the shore's outline with the Crazy Chicken safely in port.

"I thought this planet was uninhabited, " Riko said sharply, turning to Elena.

"It is, " Elena replied. "That is a pilot of my House. They are here gathering samples and studying the planet."

"I see. You have a proper laboratory?"

"Yes, " Elena said. She didn't add that the laboratory was in its infancy or that she would be spending most of the off season vetting folks to staff it. In her opinion that was none of the councilor's business.

"Have they found much yet?"

"Several things, " Elena told her. "One that may be of use to you."

"Oh?"

"There are several stands of old growth wood, dense enough to be used in the building of channel riders."

"I see, " Riko said. Her eyes studied the shore and Ele

of their table.

"Captain Calabrese, " he said.

"Yes?" Elena replied putting her fork down.

"It is my duty to inform you that the Council requests your presence in their chambers at exactly 2 DFT."

"Thank you?" Elena replied. He nodded stiffly, turned and retreated. Elena pushed her plate away.

"Looks like I will have to pass on the rest of lunch, " She said glancing up at the large market clock. "I need to get showered and dressed for my appearance."

"Good luck, " Catherine said. "I'd go for moral support, but I am told it is to be a closed session."

"Told?"

"Alexandro made the rounds. Apparently there is a family dinner tonight at Grazos."

"Well he is thinking positively, " Elena said.

"Do you mind?" Catherine asked, indicating Elena's plate. "I think yours has less cholesterol."

"Go ahead, " Elena said as she stood. "At this point if I ate anything I would just throw it up at my hearing." She left Catherine to swap plates and headed off towards her quarters. She was nearly there when Therese stepped into the corridor and decided to keep pace with Elena as she moved.

"What have you done this time?" Therese asked with a hiss.

"Nothing, " Elena replied. "Why, should I have done something?"

"A closed session is never good." Therese said.

"Then obviously I have done something bad, " Elena replied. "Either way I have only a little time to get ready to meet the Council and no time to deal with you."

"Do not shame the family. Some of us plan on being more than just simple transporters." With that comment Therese wheeled off and started walking in the opposite direction. Elena thought of all the comments she could have made but shrugged it off. There simply wasn't time. She entered her quarters at a near run. She shed clothes as soon as the door shut behind her, leaving a trail on her way to the shower. A short while later she was cleaned and dressed in a burgundy suit with a white dress shirt and heading back down the same corridor, veering left at the fork to head towards the council chambers rather than the market.

"The council never moves this fast, " she told herself as she tugged her cuffs straight. "Riko must be quite persuasive." Elena entered the Council chambers with ten minutes to spare and took her seat on the bench with the other supplicants, waiting to be called. A trade hearing was in progress. It was one she was close to and she listened with only half her attention. The two people seated before she arrived each had minor issues and were quickly cleared up. A clearing of the council chambers was called and everyone who qualified as the general public filed out of the room, leaving only Elena, the court recorder and the Council.

"Captain Calabrese, we are ready for you now." Elena took a deep breath, stood and took her place in the center of the room.

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