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   Chapter 23 Skyside

Skyside: Book Five of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 15044

Updated: 2018-02-26 16:30

Chapter 23

It took two days for Rene to pronounce the temporary council Chamber ready and in less than an hour after the pronouncement, Elena received a summons to appear before the assembled Council. Clearly no one was willing to wait for answers. She dressed carefully, keeping in mind that she needed to appear professional and sober minded as well as not trip over her own feet or sweat in the confines of the Council Chamber.

When she arrived, Elena was relieved to see that even though she would ultimately have to stand alone for her actions, she was not the only one who was called to provide an accounting. Commander McLaughlin, Mateo and Akashi were all waiting outside of the temporary chamber.

"Evan just went in, " Mateo told her as she joined the group. "Apparently Senior Librarians don't have to wait outside."

"Hopefully we won't have to wait long either, " she said wondering if they would leave them standing outside for a while as some sort of power play. No seating was placed in the area and the four of them stood on bare stone with no overhanging tree limbs to block the scorching sun. As they waited, Elena noticed that the area around the Librarian's quarter was a lot more populated by non-librarians than usual. People lurked in the nearby shade having conversations, but darting glances towards the four of them, seemingly in no hurry to continue on their way.

"Apparently we are not the only ones who wish to know the outcome of this session, " McLaughlin said. Elena glanced at the commander and saw that he was standing as though his backbone had been fused to a titanium rod. While she never thought of him as a sloucher, this was a whole new degree of stiffness. Clearly he was as anxious as she was about this meeting.

"I suppose we aren't, " she said, keeping her voice even. The door leading to the interior opened. They all turned to stare at the council aide who stood on the threshold.

"The Council is ready for you, " he said. He turned and the others let Elena lead them into the Council chamber. Across the back of the chamber was a long wooden table. The councilors were arranged behind the table in a row. In front of each was a small pitcher of water, a cup, a notebook and a pen. Behind each was a bodyguard. All of the bodyguards were stone faced, their arms down by their sides while their eyes continuously scanned the mostly empty room. Evan sat off to one side, provided with his own small table water and notebook. On the other side was a court stenographer. There were no seats or water provided for the four of them and Elena wondered if it was deliberate of unintentional.

'Knowing the Council I'm betting on deliberate, ' she thought, trying not to let the irritation show on her face.

"Elena Bastianne Calabrese, " John Havers said loudly making it clear that he was in charge of these proceedings. Elena stepped forward, grateful that Alex was not in charge. She resisted the urge to glance at the other councilors and instead focused on Havers. "Please explain how you came to be skyside during the off season."

Elena took a deep breath to steady herself. "The Storm Chaser returned to Grant's inlet at the end of last season with the intention of wintering earthside during the off season, " She began. "As you are well aware I have been under some observation by the military for a while. The night we returned I received a call stating that some of my people were under observation and that a plan was in place to bring them in to be tested."

"Tested, how?" Havers asked.

"The rumor was that they would be under threat of contamination by some sort of outbreak and their blood taken for testing, " Elena clarified. Havers nodded and she could see looks of disgust and horror on several of the other councilors' faces. Being taken and studied like a lab rat was a recurring fear in many of the Guild.

"Continue, " Havers said.

"Not wishing for this to happen, I called the ships of my House and we took those who were under threat of testing through the channels to the port now known as Haven." Elena stopped letting the Council digest this news, wondering if they would ask further questions about the channels.

"And once in Haven?" Havers asked. Elena tried not to sigh with relief. After all they could always circle back and ask which channel she came through and how she managed to stretch the channel later.

"Once in Haven, I realized that we would need more supplies to see us thro

said, leaving no room for debate in her statement. She was not here to ask to petition. Havers blinked. Elena saw a small satisfied smile on her Grandfather's face. The silence was so deep that had a pin been dropped on the stone floor it would have sounded like a steel I-beam.

"I believe, " Riko said calmly, "that before we discuss the long overdue induction ceremony for our first New World Councilor, there are a few loose ends to discuss."

Havers cleared his throat and shook his head as though startled. "Yes of course. Mateo Andreseti." Mateo stepped forward. "Is there anything that has been said here that you wish to deny, correct or adjust?"

"There is not, " Mateo said.

"Very well, " Havers said nodding. He looked to Riko. "I turn the discussion over to you, " he told her.

Riko called Akashi forward with an imperious command. "The blood of your House has been aligned with mine for more than two centuries, " she told him. "And although it pains me to see this change, I have heard your reasoning and found it sound. Do you still wish to change your House alliance?" she asked.

"More so than when the season closed, " Akashi told her. "At no time in all of her dealings with the Guild in a state of emergency did Captain Calabrese forget my House. She made certain we did not run low on supplies and had leave to replenish ourselves from her store and allowed us to trade with the people of her settlement."

"Very well, " Riko said. "I am satisfied you will be in good hands. "Captain Calabrese, will you accept charge for this new House, adding it to your own?"

"I will Councilor, " Elena said somewhat surprised that this was happening now, but unable to deny Akashi, knowing he did not want to participate in the bloodshed that would soon follow Riko's all too imminent demise.

"Then we shall draw up the papers to make it official prior to your induction onto the Council as a full Councilor."

"My thanks to you for your trust, " Elena said, inclining her head towards the frail woman. Elena wondered if she now in fact had control of the ship yard. She squashed down all thoughts of how this change affected her House as well as her future dealings with Riko.

"I move that we accept this recording of the evacuation and destruction of the Docking Facility into the official record and make the announcement of Captain Calabrese's upcoming induction with the date to be set once we have coordinated with Rene."

"Rene?" Elena asked.

"He or another Rene has always coordinated Councilor inductions, " Riko explained. "And from what I have heard, he has experience with events in Haven." The motion passed and Elena soon found herself leaving the Council chamber in somewhat of a daze.

Mateo gave her a one armed hug as they walked away from the Council. "I can't wait to see what sort of commemorative plate they come up with for you, " Mateo told her with a wink.

"Great, " Elena replied. "Grandfather can collect a complete set."

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