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   Chapter 29 Alliance

Alliance: Book Three of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 11079

Updated: 2018-02-26 15:15

Chapter 29

The next morning Lisa was practically glowing with excitement, which pushed most of Elena's worries to the back of her mind. Benjamin left as soon as he woke to begin the process of transferring his belongings to her House. Despite Elena's fears, he seemed happy about the move.

She wondered if his happiness was due to the increased level of respect he would have when transferring from a houseless status into any House or if he wanted to feel a sense of belonging. She knew it wasn't always easy for those without a House. Business and trade were all done based on House ties. Those without houses could only rise so high and mostly just took odd, temporary jobs with the Houses, drifting until they found a place.

Elena shook the thought away as she prepared to head out. She wore a nice sweater with a comfortable pair of slacks and shoes that were worn enough to be comfortable. Once dropping Lisa off at the library, she would be working her way through the market and wanted to do so without incurring blisters. As expected Thompson decided he would rather accompany her dress shopping than remain confined to quarters. Once everyone was dressed, Elena led the others to the library by the most direct route, pointing out landmarks along the way so Lisa could find her way back to quarters.

Once through the library door, Lisa's eyes went wide as she stared around. Elena smiled and had to admit it was well worth looking at. Most of the library, or at least the part on the Docking Facility was turned into an electronic storage format that could be downloaded and plugged into an e-reader. So the walls were lined with what looked like small wooden drawers, each emblazoned with a brass catalog number. There were thousands of them, the polished wood and brass glowing under the indirect light. The roof of the room was composed of some sort of clear material that Elena strongly hoped was sturdier than glass. It provided a view of the star filled sky and made it look like the Library was open to the night. Elena knew it made some people uncomfortable, but Lisa did not appear to be one of them as she marveled at the sight.

"The catalog is over there, " Elena said pointing to a discretely placed computer terminal. "I'll give you my code so you can log in."

"Or we could just give her a code attached to your House, " A voice said. Elena turned to find the Senior Librarian, Evan Greggs, standing in the doorway. She smiled.

"Or we could do that, " She agreed. "I would like to introduce you to Senior Librarian Greggs, " Elena said, introducing Evan. Mr. Greggs, this is Lisa Franklin and Will Thompson."

"A pleasure, " Evan said with a smile. He appeared to be wearing his 'kindly old man' guise today. "I heard your House expanded."

"Exponentially so, " Elena said. "Lisa is the lawyer for my House, but she is new to the Guild and is conducting research."

"Excellent, " Evan said. I would be happy to show her around and get her settled, if you have other duties to attend to."

"That would be wonderful, " Elena told him. "Thank you for your time."

"Of course, " Evan said. "I assume I will be seeing you tonight?" The question was asked somewhat slyly.

"I will be at Danvers tonight, " Elena told him. Evan's smile brightened at the news.

aring he would try to establish a position to watch the gathering.

"And that is part of the problem?" He guessed shrewdly.

"It is, " Elena answered. He tapped the side of his now empty bowl with his spoon.

"And Matrovean are?"

"Raiders, " Elena answered. "They attack ships, steal their cargo and kill their crews."

"Ah, " he said. "I'm sorry to hear about your friend then."

"Thank you." She stood and took her trash to a nearby receptacle. Thompson followed her and they spent another couple of hours in the market place, Elena conducting business and Thompson silently observing everything that went on around him. Eventually they headed back toward her House quarters so Elena could get dressed for Danvers. They walked in silence, Thompson still observing the crowd. Once they were out of the more populated areas their footsteps started to echo.

"At least Therese's attempt to kill you makes sense now, " Thompson said breaking the silence when there was no one else to watch.

"Oh?" Elena asked.

"You're being groomed to take power. She wants power, but isn't getting it. It's a fairly simple equation, " Thompson said. They stopped in front of the entrance to the quarters and Elena dug the key out of her pocket.

"I don't want power, " she told him.

"I didn't say you did, " Thompson told her with a shrug. "I said others want to give it to you." Elena frowned at him and opened the door. They stepped inside. The faint sound of music was coming from Benjamin's quarters and she assumed the big man was unpacking and settling in. She let him know they were back and passed Thompson off to him while she went to get dressed.

She tried to dismiss Thompson's observations and repeated the phrase, 'just a business partner' to herself as she dressed. She repeated it while she showered, when she pulled on her dress and slipped on her heels. She muttered it to herself as she put on her make-up and curled her hair. Finally she looked at herself in the mirror.

"Yeah, I don't believe it either, " She told herself. With that final thought, she let herself out of her quarters, managing not to run into any one else on her way out, and made her way to Danvers.

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