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   Chapter 15 Skyside

Skyside: Book Five of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 23878

Updated: 2018-02-26 16:25

Chapter 15

With Mateo off to talk to Kiera, Elena asked for a runner to be sent to Rene, figuring a personal request might help when it came to dealing with the situation. As Rene entered her quarters Elena realized she should have sent more than simply a bare bones request. Rene looked slightly panicked and she realized that while he negotiated for a place here it was with the belief that he would soon be going back to the DF.

Now he and his family had nowhere else to go. Elena made a mental note to alter her messages in the future so people didn't arrive expecting the worst. She smiled at Rene, realizing she would need to smooth his feathers and appeal to his vanity to get things done properly. Again she wondered why anyone actually wanted to go into politics.

"Thank you so much for agreeing to see me, " Elena said, standing and walking over to him instead of simply offering him a seat. "I hope I haven't interrupted anything important?" She smiled again as Rene relaxed at her reaction.

"Rene's is always happy to be of service, " he said.

"Thank you so much, " Elena replied. "Please, won't you have a seat?"

"Thank you, " Rene said following Elena back to the table and pulling out a chair opposite her. "How may I be of use to you, Captain?" he asked once she was seated.

"Well, it is a somewhat delicate matter, " she began. "As you know Mateo and Kiera are engaged and planned to be married at the family church."

"Of course, " Rene said. "A lovely couple. The ceremony will be, of course, spectacular. One would expect nothing less."

"No doubt, " Elena said. "As you may or may not be aware at their marriage, Kiera will bring a substantial new House to the Guild. Many of her people are here in Haven now."

"I had heard rumors, " Rene said nodding. "And of course I have met several. They are the ones who are not yet Guild."

"This is correct, " Elena said, noting the tone of the very proper Rene. No doubt he would have complaints about Kiera's people not being officially Guild, even if he did not voice them directly. "It is also the problem. While in Haven they were kept separate from the Guild and there was no need to rush as they could remain separate until the wedding and then slowly be incorporated into the Guild as they learned our ways. Now that the circumstances have changed, we are no longer able to keep them separate until a future date. They need to become officially Guild as soon as possible. We want the oaths of loyalty in place."

"I see, " Rene said nodding. "This is very wise. So the wedding is to be pushed forward?" he asked shrewdly.

"It is, for political reasons. However, it is Mateo and Kiera's wedding day and I want it to be as special as it would have been had it gone through normal channels."

"Ah, " Rene said with a smile his body seeming to almost melt as he realized why he was there. "This is why you called Rene. It all becomes clear." Elena saw pride flash into his eyes and saw he sat a little straighter. "Politics are the necessity, but the glory of the moment should not be lost. The bride should have her day."

"I knew you were the one to call to make this day spectacular, " Elena said making sure to let her relief show. "It is after all an extremely important event, not just for the couple, but for Haven and the Guild as well, " She continued. "After all this is the first wedding ever on Haven and will probably set all sorts of precedents. Also, barring the memorial service, this is the first major event of the Guild after the destruction of the DF. An entirely new House is being added to the Guild with this wedding."

"The beginning of a new era, " Rene gasped, eyes shining, hands clasped. "It must be magnificent."

"So I can trust you to work with Kiera and Mateo to plan this wedding right, keeping with both the couples wishes and the needs of the Guild?"

"Of course, " Rene told her. "This is my top priority. I will begin at once." He stood. "So much to do, especially if we are to do so in a timely manner. If you will excuse me Captain. So much to do." Rene left the room already muttering to himself.

Thompson shook his head. "The beginning of a new Era?" he asked.

Elena smiled and shrugged. "We need the wedding fast, but I don't want it to be a shotgun wedding. They deserve to have the wedding they want. Well, as much as we are able to provide anyway." She shrugged knowing her cousin would be much happier with a sequined Elvis impersonator in Vegas doing the ceremony. "Besides, " she continued. "A big showy wedding will allow for proper pomp and circumstance when Kiera's House is added to the Guild."

"Leaving no question in anyone's mind that this is serious and official, " He added. "Very nicely done."

"And word will spread quickly, so even before the actual wedding, people will know it is coming and that it will be an event, " Benjamin added. "After all one doesn't hire Rene for just any old thing."

"My point exactly, " Elena said. "Besides if no one manages to kill Mateo, then after grandfather dies, he will be seated on the Council. If his wedding to Kiera is an event talked about for the ages then it will give her people a stronger standing, which if they can't go back to Earth for a while, they will certainly need."

"Speaking of which, " Benjamin added. "I saw several of Kiera's people asking how one joins the Patrol. Apparently they figured out if a new patrol ship was being built then at some point they will need a new crew for it."

"I'll leave that issue to McLaughlin, " Elena said with a laugh. "Patrol recruiting is not on my 'to do' list even though I'll accept it needs to be done. After all I never managed to get a full crew for the Storm Chaser."

"Ah. Also Maria stopped by while you were meeting with one of the council aides, " Benjamin added. "I think it was the one who wanted a steam room as well as new tile for his councilor's private bath. She said there are several of your ships ready to sign on crew members and need your approval. She also mentioned something about having the research you requested ready for you, although she didn't explain and didn't leave it behind."

"Excellent, " Elena replied, not bother to explain the research. She knew she couldn't hide the newly opened trade routes from Thompson for very long, but was hoping that she could at least research and get several opened before he noticed. Elena rubbed her eyes and looked at the time.

All of the clocks on Haven were now set to the same standard time that was used on the DF. Evan had people monitoring the time, trying to figure out if the planetary days lined up with the time pieces or not, but for now it helped provide the continuation of order. She realized that it had been quite a while since she had made it out of her quarters.

"I think I'll go check in with McLaughlin and see how things stand, " she decided. "If you could tell Maria I'll catch up with her after I would appreciate it."

"Of course, " Benjamin replied. "I think the Commander is down at the docks, you aren't planning to go alone are yo

ing. Elena was once again thankful for Benjamin's innate ability to bring order from chaos. She sighed when it looked like order was finally brought out of the stacked paper maze.

"If possible, " Elena told the commander as she and Benjamin prepared to depart. "Could you send all information about the lost Matrovean ships, clan markings and suppositions to me as well as the Librarians?" she asked. McLaughlin agreed, seeming surprised at her request. She smiled.

"Thompson has been working with the information, " she explained. "His trained eyes may prove useful."

It was full dark when Elena and Benjamin left a happy and contented commander on the Intrepid. The same patrolman saw them safe to shore and seeing the light still on in the harbor master's office, they turned their steps to his door.

"Captain, " Sam said answering the door. "What a surprise, please come in. we were just going over some of the expansion plans the Librarians dropped off. Simon has been helping me see how the dock designs affect the operations." Elena noted the relief in Sam's voice and was glad the two harbor masters were able to work well together.

"Excellent, " She said. "It actually good that both of you are here as I have some news."

"The trade routes are open?" Simon guessed, sounding hopeful.

"Many of them yes, " she confirmed. "The patrol ships are going to need to provide protection and so shipping out is going to require some scheduling." She held out the stack of papers to the two men. "We've assigned patrol ships to routes and scheduled departure. I am going to need you to coordinate with individual ships for their routes so they don't get ahead of their protectors. In addition, we will have ships to open the channels available. Captains and Pilots without the Calling will need to know the schedule or they will end up circling the closed Channel, at least until Mateo gets the way station launched."

Sam took the papers and she could see that he was both nervous and excited at the prospect. Simon looked determined. "Things could get ugly in the morning, " Sam warned.

"No one expects harbor masters to be pretty, " Elena told him. "As long as the bloodshed is kept to a minimum we should be fine." Both men nodded.

"I'll leave you to it. Even though we have a few days before the first ship gets under way, the announcement will be posted in the morning, so expect people soon after breakfast, " She warned. The two men began to go over the pages as Benjamin and Elena headed back to town.

"What next?" Benjamin asked. Elena sighed and rubbed her forehead.

"How about we stop and see how Mateo is doing before I talk to Maria." She told him.

Benjamin nodded. "I also suggest you add a meal and something for that headache of yours before we head back."

"Agreed, " Elena said. "You know I never really thought I'd miss a drive-thru restaurant, but right now, I could really use a fast food place."

Benjamin laughed. "Maybe we could lure one of the franchises when the season opens again, " he suggested. "First off world fast food should appeal to someone."

"And we only want to export the best of human commodities, " Elena said with a laugh.

"Hey, have you seen what some of these aliens eat?" he quipped, eyes wide and head shaking in disapproval. Elena smiled. "You know, " Benjamin said after a while. "The opening of the trade routes will be helpful as the House starts to look into new routes. Thompson and his men won't pay much attention to just one of the ships sailing out with the rest."

"This is true, " Elena replied. "I hadn't thought of that." She knew that even though many of the former trade routes were open, there were still many more that either were still closed or were beyond their current capabilities to protect. There was a reason for the DF's original location. It allowed a base of operations close enough to keep the shipping lanes relatively clear without the need to maintain an armada of patrol ships. With many of the Guild, cost effective was often more important than guaranteed safety. Most of the pilots and captains had enough pirate in their blood to relish a limited amount of danger in their daily lives.

"We are still going to need those channels up and running before the season opens." She told him.

Benjamin favored her with a wry smile. "Trying to present the Council with a shiny new toy to distract them from war?" he asked.

"There is always a hope, slim though it may be, " she said. "Although given the look on McLaughlin's face, I doubt much is going to compete with the chance of winning a glorious war."

"As long as we win, " Benjamin replied as they climbed the steps to Mateo and Kiera's house. "As long as we win."

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