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   Chapter 7 Skyside

Skyside: Book Five of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 10753

Updated: 2018-02-26 16:21

Chapter 7

As expected the messages each requested a meeting of some kind with someone who had a trade to offer. Most of them were with merchants she never worked with and whose names were only vaguely familiar. She sighed and began to make arrangements to hold the meetings. Hopefully there would be trade offers that would help her people stuck skyside for the off season. As she thought about the situation, Elena realized that there was a good chance that at the end of the season Kiera's people still would not be able to go home.

"I'll have to check on conditions before I take any of them back, " she thought, wondering what kind of reception she could expect upon her return. There was the all too likely possibility that she could no longer go back. Victor would be able to see everyone paid and to keep the businesses open in her absence, provided that her property was not seized under some form of Homeland Security law.

"I wonder if Smith would do it, " she mused out loud after passing her responses off to a courier who would see them delivered. Admittedly, Elena wasn't completely sure that Smith's group had even been in charge of the possible detention of Kiera's people.

"For all I know it could be a completely different operation." Elena could feel a headache start to build and decided to worry about Smith and possible earth side complications at a later date. The demands of the off season were more pressing at the moment. Unfortunately, the sense of urgency left over from her dream did not let go and left her feeling slightly twitchy. It was with some relief that she heard the doorbell chime.

Elena moved to answer the door before the chimes could wake anyone else. She smiled when she found Rene, the younger standing on her doorstep. "Good morning, " she told him.

He smiled and held out a parcel wrapped in waxed brown paper and tied with twine. "My father sends his regards, Captain and wants me to assure you that he will be ready to ship out on the schedule you provided."

"Thank you, " Elena said, smiling at the formality. "I'll let him know if there are any changes he should be aware of." She took the package and Rene quickly left. Elena let the door slide closed and took the package to the breakfast bar in the kitchen. She hoisted herself up on one of the stools and wished she thought to pick up coffee when in the market the day before. At this time of year she knew the price would escalate since it could only be imported from one small skyside plantation where an enterprising guild member managed to set up shop after retiring from his ship.

"Worth every penny though, " Elena muttered as her fingers began untying the knot in the twine around the package.

"What's worth every penny?" Benjamin asked, stepping into the room. His hair was still slicked back from his shower and had yet to be styled.

"The off season prices for Logan Plantations' coffee, " Elena told him. The knot loosened and she unfastened the string binding.

"Ah, good old LP coffee, " Benjamin said with a smile. "You know their teas are pretty good too."

"Never tried them, " Elena confessed as she began unwrapping the rectangular package.

"I'm guessing we a

current situation." Elena gestured to a small flash drive that had arrived with the other messages. "I looked through the first few and they are the warnings that went out at the end of the season. The last Matrovean advancement was two months prior to the end of the season and it was determined that they finished advancing their territorial claims." The report actually made her feel much better about the Council taking their leave without calling an evacuation.

"The Matrovean don't start to move again until a week after the season shallowed out Earth's channels, " she added trying not to see diabolical motives in the timing. "You are welcome to look over the reports and see if anything makes sense to you."

"Happy to, " Thompson said nodding.

Elena glanced at the clock and started cleaning up from breakfast. "Peter Wells should be arriving at nine, " she told them. Both men helped put the remains of breakfast away before the arrival of Mr. Wells.

"I'll head out to the library to pick up the info, if you want to take first shift in the quarters, " Benjamin said. Thompson nodded as Elena wrote out her code for Benjamin.

"Sounds fair since I got to leave for coffee, " he said.

Elena smiled and shook her head. "I feel like the naughty child the babysitters don't want out of their sight, " she told them.

"If it helps any, " Benjamin told her, folding the slip of paper and tucking it into his pocket. "It's not you we suspect of plotting evil."

"Good to know, " Elena said with a laugh. "Oh and I get an actual break around lunch so I was going to call the laundry service to do a large scale wash since I am down to the tail end of anything other than formal wear. If you have anything to go, then have it ready for pick up then." Both men looked relieved and she assumed they were getting as low as she was on available clean clothing.

"I'll let Jennifer know, " Benjamin promised. "That way none of us will stink for a while."

"I'll try to set up a regular schedule since we are going to be here a while." Elena promised. "It'll beat rinsing clothes out in the ocean every trip planet side."

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