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   Chapter 25 Alliance

Alliance: Book Three of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 10656

Updated: 2018-02-26 15:12

Chapter 25

"You had better have a damn good explanation, " Elena called out when she reached the railing. She stared at the attached military ship as she heard her crew exit the galley and walk over. Thompson exited what passed for his pilot house and walked towards his railing. His crew remained inside and appeared to working feverishly on something.

"So what channel was that?" Thompson asked, a polite smile on his face. Behind her she could hear Mateo stifling a laugh. She was not about to tell him that this was the Elena.

"What exactly did you think you were doing?" She demanded instead. Unruffled, Thompson looked around.

"Our sensors didn't pick up the channel until we were moving through it. Do you know why?"

"Really, " she heard Mateo say behind her and she knew his technological interest was piqued. She tossed him a glare over her shoulder.

"Sorry, " he mumbled looking a little shame-faced. She turned back to Thompson.

"It will take us a moment to get our systems back on line, " Thompson told her. "We should be fine after that if you'd like to give us back our tow line." Elena noticed that Thompson's ship had begun to list a little bit to starboard.

"I'm going to have to cut it soon regardless of you finding your way, " Elena told him. "You are taking on water and I don't want to be dragged down with you." The surprise on Thompson's face was almost worth having to rescue them. Thompson spun on his heels and headed quickly back to the pilot house.

"This should be interesting, " Benjamin said leaning on the rail and watching the now frantic activity. He handed her a knife so she could cut the tow line if she felt it necessary.

"What's going on?" Lisa asked as the men on the other ship began to scramble.

"Their ship is sinking, " Elena told her.

"What happens then?" she asked somewhat nervously. Elena could see her looking around and realizing there was only water in every direction.

"We have a few more passengers, " Elena told her. "I wouldn't just stand by and let them drown. No matter how tempting the prospect." Lisa seemed relieved.

"Of course, they don't have to know that right away do they?" Mateo asked. Kiera punched him in the arm.

"That's mean, " she said. "Well deserved, but mean." After a few minutes, Thompson returned to deck. His confidence dwindled and he looked a little sheepish.

"Yeah, apparently we are taking on water. A lot of water actually." He paused and ran his hand through his hair. "Too much to be honest. We're, um, going to have to abandon ship." Behind Thompson, Elena could see his three member crew piling things into a life raft.

"At least you managed to bring a life raft with you, " Elena commented.

"Yeah, " Thompson said, glancing back at his crew before continuing. "Our systems more or less shorted when we came through the second channel and so we don't exactly know where we are or have any way to contact base, " he said. Elena realized that he thought they just made a loop back to Earth. "Would you mind giving us a lift and sending out a distress call for us?" Elena stared at him for a moment, weighing her options.

"We can take you aboard

told him. "She probably knows less about the ship than you do."

"Ah, " Thompson said with a smile. He made no move to recall his crewman.

"You are just going to let him sit and watch her read?"

"It might be a ruse, " he told her. "Once she is no longer under observation, she could go into the engine room and perform some action integral to the working of the ship."

"As she is a lawyer, not a mechanic, I seriously doubt it, but they are your people." Elena let the matter drop and went back to ignoring him. Eventually, the day wore thin and Benjamin distributed soup and sandwiches to everyone on board. As there were too many people to comfortably fit around the galley table in one sitting, they all ate sitting out on the deck.

As they ate, stars began to glow in the darkening sky. Elena swallowed a smile as one of the crewmen turned to stare upward. As the sky grew darker and more stars began to appear, he placed his empty soup bowl down and began walking around the deck, his gaze glued to the night sky. Elena had the feeling this man had at least a passing familiarity with the night sky.

After a few circuits, his gaze snapped to the pilot house. She could almost see the thoughts coalesce behind his eyes. Elena watched him hurry over and step into the pilot house. He darted a glance at her and then spoke in a low voice to Thompson. Elena could only hear the dull rumble of the conversation and not the actual words, but she had the feeling she knew what the problem was. The crewman lead Thompson back out on deck and Elena chuckled to herself as she took a spoonful of soup. Thompson burst back into the pilot house, looking slightly ashen.

"There are two moons, " he said. His voice was accusatory.

"I didn't put them there, " Elena said. "They were like that when we got here." She took another spoonful of soup.

"You told me we were on Earth, " he said.

"No, I didn't, " Elena said calmly. "You assumed we were on Earth. That's a very different thing."

"You didn't correct me, " he shot back.

"Yeah, well occasionally, I can be a bastard too." Elena told him.

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