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   Chapter 12 Haven

Haven: Book Four of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 30765

Updated: 2018-02-26 16:04

Chapter 12

Elena still had no clue what she would do about the possibility that Jonathan might be Jennifer's father by the time Benjamin and Thompson returned. Alice's three crewmen began to move into the provided spaces and several pizzas were ordered. An impromptu party was beginning in the living room as everyone started to get to know each other and Elena finished her list and schedule and sent it off to Devon so he could begin to prepare.

She then tucked the files away and decided to worry about any trouble they would bring later. Benjamin handed her a new E-reader and Elena set it to charge. She decided that her brain had taken as many surprises as it was prepared to take and pushed her own curiosity aside. She would check the files later as well.

Thompson seemed amused by the whole affair, but joined in the merriment, debating pizza toppings with Jacob and smoothly covering his surprise at some of the more extra-terrestrial toppings. Elena noted that he was willing to try just about anything, whether he knew what it was or not. She still couldn't decide if he was playing a role or not.

"Which I suppose is the point, " Elena thought as she took another slice.

The evening was fun and Elena found herself relaxing more than she had in a while. She pushed all thoughts of conspiracies and political agendas aside and just enjoyed herself, sharing jokes and swapping stories. When she finally got to sleep, the dreams kept their distance and she woke refreshed, wondering if she learned whatever lesson her dreams were trying to tell her. She shook the thought off and grabbed her pack.

After saying goodbye to the rest of the House, Elena led Benjamin and Thompson back through the maze of the DF's back corridors to the Storm Chaser. The three of them boarded and Spin greeted them by threading herself around everyone's ankles. While Elena left plenty of food for the cat, human companionship had apparently been missed.

"So you do like us after all, huh?" She asked Spin as she tossed her bag on her bunk and made her way back to the pilot house. Spin turned her back on Elena and walked primly away, tail held high in the air. Elena laughed and shook her head, pleased to be on her way.

Even if it was just an illusion, she felt that she was leaving her problems behind. She checked the clock and noted that it was time to go. The Storm Chaser pulled slowly away from the dock and Elena could see the outline of another ship moving in her direction. She swung the telescope over and noted that it was the Sea Rascal.

"Which means that Aunt Catherine and Uncle Tomas are on time, " Elena said. She allowed the Sea Rascal to close the distance and once they were clearly able to follow her, Elena settled into a steady pace. Once clear of traffic, Elena pulled out the new e-reader and her document storage device. With one eye still on their course, Elena loaded the documents into the reader. The amount of information now available to her made her nervous. Once the documents were loaded, duty warred with curiosity. Curiosity won and instead of pulling up the files to check Thompson's story, Elena pulled up the files on her mother.

Her heart beating fast, she went through the files in chronological order. The first few she went through were standard. The initial documents listed that she passed the early aptitude test and had been taken for training. Elena absently wondered if her mother would have developed the Calling and if the trait was inherited like the ability to pilot in the first place.

"If I got the skill from my mother it would explain why I got it and Therese didn't, " she mused as she scanned the decades old paperwork. The documents followed her mother's training and Elena frowned, forgetting her Council mandated experiment. The Council took quite an interest in her mother's training. It looked as though Lenore was being watched.

"Apparently she was, " Elena said a little while later, finding a Council eyes only memo that listed certain children to watch. Lenore was on the list, as were five others. Elena made a minor course correction and returned to study the document.

"They were already thinking about the possibility of New World seats on the Council, " Elena realized. All of the people listed could trace their family to their locations for the requisite two hundred years. Elena knew that Victor's father had to be on the list. She also knew that Victor changed his name, so she was unsure which of the men listed he would be.

The documents on her mother followed her through the purchase of her first ship, her elevation to Head of House and her marriage to Elena's father. Then, Elena found the document Alexandro told her about. Her grandfather spoke truthfully when he told her the Council accepted her father as Alexandro's heir, but specified that any children they produced would go towards any New World seats that might be created. Elena found her birth certificate and the legal document that certified the creation of the North American Seat. She then found her mother's death certificate and an inquest report. Taking a deep breath, Elena began to read.

It took most of the trip to the channel entry for Elena to make it through the dense legal document and in the end she was rather disappointed. Sensing the channel was near, Elena turned off her e-reader and slipped it inside a padded, lead lined box to protect it from power surges.

As she steered towards the channel, Elena thought about what she read. Alexandro pushed for every line of inquiry to be pursued and every possible clue to be studied. Elena could practically feel his anger and need for retribution echo through the words. His family was attacked and he wanted someone to bleed for it.

"Unfortunately there were no easy targets, " Elena said with a frown. Whoever orchestrated her parents' deaths covered their tracks well. There was no-one who could be found to be held accountable. Elena sighed.

"Perhaps Lisa can find something, " she thought. Despite Alexandro's assurances that a culprit was never identified, Elena was still hoping for something. She pushed the thoughts away as the Storm Chaser approached the channel.

"Signal the Sea Rascal, " Elena called down. Benjamin picked up the signal flags and made his way to the bow. Elena watched as he signaled the ship with the message previously agreed upon. Elena peered through her telescope at the Sea Rascal and saw one of the crewmen, Gavin, signal back that the message was received.

Elena slowed the Storm Chaser and watched as the Sea Rascal picked up speed. Soon the ship began to gain on them and when they were sailing roughly parallel, Elena turned her attention to the channel. Elena took a deep breath and stretched her mind forward to touch the channel. The channel opened slowly and Elena held it open as the Sea Rascal passed the Storm Chaser and sailed into the open channel. The ship disappeared and Elena counted slowly to ten, giving the ship time to move away from the channel mouth.

"Channel entry in five, " She called. Once the decks were clear, she let the Storm Chaser follow the Sea Rascal into the alien sea. Once through, she closed the channel and sighed with relief.

"All clear, " she called. Knowing that channel crossings depleted her energy, Benjamin started up to the pilot house with what Elena thought looked like a peanut butter sandwich. She found out she was right as he handed it to her. Benjamin studied her as she ate the sandwich.

"You look calmer, " Benjamin said. Elena looked at him in surprise and suddenly realized that both Benjamin and Thompson managed to avoid her for the better part of the last few days.

"Sorry about that, " She said with a wry smile. "I hope I wasn't too big of a pain."

Benjamin shrugged. "I've dealt with worse. I don't suppose you'd like to share?"

"Do you remember me telling you that Evan let me have greater access to the Library's documents?"

"I do, " he said, settling himself in one of the collapsible chairs.

"Well, I found several documents about my mother, including the investigation into her death."

"That can't have been fun to read, " Benjamin said softly, his eyes sympathetic.

"It wasn't, " she confirmed. "It didn't tell me much and I could pretty much feel how much my grandfather wanted to kill someone. I don't know what good the documents will do you, but I'll pass them off. Maybe you'll see something I didn't."

"I'll look into them. Either way its more information than we had before, " he told her. He smiled with relief. "I was actually worried you found out something about Thompson."

"No, " Elena said shaking her head. "I probably should have started with those documents, but I didn't."

"Understandable, " Benjamin told her with a nod. "I'd start with my parents too, if I were in your shoes. Although if you don't mind sharing, I'd like to see the Mother Nelson documents as well. It'd be nice to know what is fact and what is fairy tale after hearing the stories for so long."

"I can do that, " she told him with a smile.

"Good, my reader is stashed in the port locke

, " Mateo said. He stood up a little straighter and tried to look distinguished. "Elena your cousin has asked me to pass along a message. Please stop looking like you are planning to take things from her that aren't actually hers." Mateo dropped his Alexandro impression. "Oh that would go over well." He chuckled.

"Does she not realize that Mateo is the one potentially eligible for the seat and you are eligible for a different seat?" Kiera asked, frowning.

"Apparently not, " Elena said, surprised that Mateo told her the details.

"And won't that be fun to deal with, " Mateo said. The look on Mateo's face did not promise puppies and rainbows for Therese.

"Yeah, " Elena said, changing the subject. "So, new workers to arrive in a few days."

"We have a safety lecture already set up and housing shouldn't be a problem, " Kiera told her. "We've managed to clear most of the smaller houses. Actually, that is something I wanted to talk to you about."

"Oh, was there a problem clearing the houses?" Elena asked. Mateo gestured towards a small table with a couple of folding chairs nearby. They took their seats.

"You know that people like me tend to hide what we do, " Kiera began. Elena nodded. She had the feeling that if anyone found out what they could do with plants, Kiera and those like her, would be rounded up and either studied or used for various governmental projects. Since she was pretty sure that is what the government would like to do with her, she could sympathize.

"Well, " Kiera continued. "We sort of have a system that involves a type of community shuffle when outsiders get a little too curious. With so many people in our normal community off planet, the system is a little bent."

"Have people been looking into you?" Elena asked. She immediately thought of Thompson and Smith.

"There has been some suggestion that someone is interested." Catching Elena's look of distress, Kiera reassured her. "It happens from time to time, you didn't bring this on." Elena wasn't so certain, but didn't interrupt.

"There has been some concern mentioned in some of the letters and it has caused a bit of unease. Since it is summer break back home and the kids are out of school, we were wondering if some of the families of those remaining on site could come for a short visit. It would allow the suspicion to die down, people to stop worrying about their families and give them a chance to see their families before being stuck out here during the off season."

"We could get them here, " Elena said slowly. "That isn't really a problem. Some of the ships could take a lighter cargo going out and we could easily bring them back if we work out a schedule." She looked into the distance, calculating the details.

"Practically speaking, transportation isn't an issue. They will be as safe as any ship's passenger on board, which does entail some risk, but then they will be here. Will they be safe once they get here? That would more or less be for you two to decide since you know the set up." She gestured to the jungle surrounding them. Elena looked between Mateo and Kiera. Kiera looked a little relieved at Elena's words.

"We talked about it, " Mateo said. "The shipboard risks are understood and we have a fairly secure living area. Anyone who wants their family to join them understands those risks. They would weigh them and decide. And like Kiera said we have safety protocols in place."

"And if you are bringing a doctor, " Kiera added. "That would be even better." Elena looked between the two.

"All right, " she said finally. "If you two think it will be a good idea, then I won't stop it. I'll see if Lucas can ship out on my next trip or with one of the others as soon as possible. If you can get the list of folks here who want their family to come, I'll take it to Steven in the lab and hopefully he and Victor can work out some sort of schedule." Kiera leapt up and gave Elena a fierce hug.

"Thank you, " she said. "I'll go talk to the others about that list so you can have it when you ship out." Kiera left Elena and Mateo sitting in the open sided tent.

"A lot of people will rest easier, " Mateo told her. Elena nodded, knowing she would not be one of them. "And they can mix with the Guild. Your apprentices won't look so out of place."

"That's true." Elena conceded. "And maybe we can all build summer houses here. You talked to Kiera about the Council?"

"I did, " Mateo said. He rubbed his hands on his jeans as though they had suddenly gotten sweaty.


"And I asked her to think about it for a little while before giving me an answer."

"So you asked her to marry you and then told her she couldn't answer?" Elena asked. She smiled and shook her head.

"I want her to be sure, " Mateo said. "So I told her I was going to ask her and what all of the mess she would be in for would be with the Council and Therese and then I gave her some time to think about it before I ask her properly."

"You are a strange, strange man, Mateo." Elena told him.

"Yeah, well I want to get a ring before I ask her officially anyway, " he said. "I don't suppose you could pick one up for me? You know one of those temporary type ones that she can exchange for something she actually likes later, you know back when we are earthside?"

"Sure, " Elena said with a laugh. "I'll just add it to the list, wire mesh to protect the generators, medical supplies including a doctor, engagement ring, mail bag."

"While you're at it, we could also use some more canteens, " Mateo told her. "You know as long as you are making a list."

Elena laughed. "You know, " she said, a thought occurring to her. "I picked up a case of jewelry on the DF. There were some rings in there. You could pick one of them out and use it. If she doesn't like it you can always tell her it is a temporary until you get home and that she can think of it as a souvenir from the planet since it was made with the blue stones we found here."

"Really?" Mateo said, liking the idea of giving her something from the planet. "That sounds about perfect."

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