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   Chapter 7 Councilor

Councilor: Book Six of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 24757

Updated: 2018-02-26 16:37

Chapter 7

The next few days fell into a rhythm with Elena drifting between the office, her apartment and the two stores. James, and those he represented were still considering their possibilities and Elena felt more solid as she dealt with more customary business dealings. Store inventory and sales were more in her comfort zone than colonization and building an armada. Still as she worked, thoughts swirled in the back of her mind; niggling worries that wouldn't go away and wound up seeping into her dreams.

After returning to the Guild, Elena's dreams took on some premonition like qualities. Since the destruction of the DF, they had been quiet. As her sleeping hours were now filled with dreams of death and destruction where she caused Andre and Tina to die horrible, screaming deaths, she almost wished the weirder dreams would return.

The time of the meeting on the Lorenzo drew closer and still no word was given about either Tina or Andre. She hadn't really expected any information on Andre before the meeting, but she doubted Peter would drag his feet when it came to looking into Tina. The fact that he hadn't contacted her within twenty-four hours with a reasonable explanation set her on edge and started her imagining the worst. Nightly visions of governmental raids began to dance in her head and she wondered if leaving for a while might not be the best thing.

Lisa was both thrilled and somewhat terrified to be included in the meeting aboard the Lorenzo. Elena thought that the excitement was due to actually seeing all of the random elements she read about in action. The terror she felt was due to some of the nastier elements that already surfaced. She had not taken well to news of Hashi eliminating the competition for Riko's council seat. In her mind, that was not how politics or any sort of legal system worked.

"And I'll get to put faces with names, " Lisa told her when she was in one of her enthusiastic moods. "Peter I've met, he is the uber-sexy scary one, and I've met your grandfather Alexandro." Lisa thought about it. Elena crossed her arms and leaned back against her desk, listening amusedly.

"Riko is the super terrifying one who has family members killing each other off because she is dying and they all want to take her place, " Lisa continued, oblivious to Elena's amusement. "I can't wait to meet her. Then there is Alex who hates you because you turned in Ian for breaking Guild law and telling the military about the Guild, and then there is Siobhan who wanted you to use kids as laboratory experiments. Did I forget anyone?"

"Robert Anderson and John Havers, " Elena told her, admitting to herself at least that Lisa's rundown was more or less accurate. "I haven't worked with either before, so they neither like nor hate me, at least they shouldn't. I'd keep most of the details in your head though. Riko might take offense at being thought of as the one whose family is killing each other off because she's dying. Even if it is true."

"Oh, I'd never say those things out loud, " Lisa replied. She tilted her head and grinned. "Well at least not where they could hear me. It's just my way of remembering who they are. Now, what are the other people the councilors are bringing as aides or assistants wearing? Should I dress like I would for court or wear something a little more office like?"

"I'm wearing dress slacks and a nice blouse if that helps, " Elena told her. She didn't add that as the other councilors were more or less bringing bodyguards instead of lawyers, there was really no way for Lisa to blend. "Edgar wears a three piece suit, " she remembered, thinking of the small somewhat compact man. "He's with Riko, " she clarified. Lisa nodded and looked as though she were mentally rifling through her wardrobe.

Before Lisa could continue, Elena's phone rang. She glanced at the screen and felt her heart nearly stop as she saw Peter's name flash onto it. She took a deep breath and hoped she sounded calm as she answered the call.

"Good afternoon Peter, " Elena said, worried about what he would tell her.

"Elena, " Peter replied. His voice was warm and friendly. "My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. I was wondering if I might offer you and Lisa a ride tomorrow. It would give us time to talk before seeing the others."

"Sure, " Elena said slowly. "Does this mean that you found something?"

"Nothing I wish to discuss on the phone, " he replied keeping his tone light which for some reason sent a shiver of foreboding up Elena's spine.

"Of course, could you pick us up at the office?"

"I will arrive at nine, " Peter told her. "Until then." Before Elena could respond, he hung up. Elena let out a deep and shaky breath. Clearly Peter found something. Just as clearly, he didn't want to tell her over the phone.

"Which means he might think someone is listening." She thought about it for a second. "And given the brevity of his conversation he might think someone was tracking him." She knew she was easy to find. In the past few days, she had only been to four places, if one included her brief trip to the grocery store. She clearly wasn't too hidden. On the other hand, she had no clue where Peter was and somehow suspected few others did either. She wondered if someone was using her to find the others.

Smith certainly thought she knew where other pilots could be found even though Thompson told her that after watching her and analyzing everyone she came in contact with they knew she was out of touch with the Guild. At least until they forced her to run back to them by kidnapping her and starting their own channel riding program.

"Maybe I should just permanently relocate to Haven, " she thought, not for the first time. "It would certainly make my life easier and I wouldn't be used as bait." She thought about it for a moment and then rubbed her eyes with the heels of her hands. "Maybe I'll ship the plumbers and electricians and anyone capable of building a functional waste management system to Haven first. Then I'll relocate." Even though she had been the one warning James and his people of revised expectations, she really wasn't terribly interested in permanently living rough either, even if her position did give her access to a semi-private bathing facility.

"Did Peter find anything?" Lisa asked nervously, dropping all thought of Council appropriate attire.

"Possibly, but he won't tell me over the phone."

"Did he sound upset?"

Elena shook her head. "No, " she replied. "He sounded perfectly pleasant. Somehow I think that's worse." She shook her head as though clearing it. "He's picking us up tomorrow morning, here at nine."

Lisa nodded and left Elena to her thoughts. Elena frowned as she tried to order things inside her mind. Peter could be paranoid, but on the other hand she had never known him to become concerned about something when there was nothing to be concerned about. "Perhaps paranoia is a viable option, " she muttered to herself.

Suffering from her own paranoia, she already asked Victor to relocate their files to Haven and decided that perhaps shifting the small lab Mateo kept here, as well as anything Guild related, skyside might be an option as well. "I should wait to hear what Peter has to say, " she mused. "It might be nothing." Somehow she doubted it though. Since her return, she develop

aid. "I'm sure it will all work out in the end." He stepped to the side and Elena nodded, her dreamself not surprised by the kiss as she turned her attention back to the channel.

"Channel entry in five, " she called out and sensed rather than saw movement as the decks were cleared. The Storm Chaser entered the channel and all else became irrelevant as she piloted the ship through, emerging in the stars.

She sighed with relief at their safe passage and called the all clear. As people began returning to the deck, Elena blinked in surprise. Only one person on deck was clearly visible, everyone else seemed to be slightly blurry. The man she could see clearly was an older man. Something about the set of his mouth made him resemble Thompson and she wondered if they were related and if she were bringing the descendants of Mother Nelson's House back to the Guild. Thompson promised to get in touch with them before the world turned upside down. It would explain his presence. The older man was staring at the stars in wonder, spinning this way and that as though trying to take everything in at once.

Elena smiled, the signs of his evident pleasure easing some of the worries she felt inside. "You had better make certain your father doesn't tumble over the side by accident, " Elena told Thompson, her dream self somehow knowing who he was. Thompson chuckled and went to join his father. The two of them remained visible as they walked the deck and now that she was certain they were safe, she turned her attention to the others, the ones who were blurry. Every now and then she thought she saw faces. She stared at one man and once she decided it was probably Stephen, something shifted as she looked and suddenly she was certain it was Max she was looking at.

"That doesn't make sense, " she thought. "Max knows nothing about the Guild. Why would he be here?" She shifted to look at one of the others, thinking she might have better luck and possibly an explanation, and found that she couldn't tell if the person she was looking at was Lisa or Emily. Elena shook her head as though trying to clear it. No matter what person she looked at, their image shifted from person to person. It was as if her dream knew there were people with her, but couldn't decide who exactly they were.

"Except for Thompson and his father, " she realized. They were clear as day. She remembered how her dreams, at least the ones that more or less turned into reality, became clearer as the event came closer to occurring. "So I know I'll see Thompson again, " she decided as that seemed to be the only concrete detail she could pick out. Elena heard a soft meow and looked towards the sound. Elena blinked in surprise at what she saw.

In the corner, Spin was purring as she lightly rubbed against a two foot tall statue of the Egyptian Goddess Bast. It was a replica of a museum piece that her grandfather gave her for her sixteenth birthday. When she opened Calabrese Imports, she put the statue in her office so she could have a touch of the familiar as she started on her new life. It remained in the store ever since. She had never taken it out. As she looked, the statue seemed to glow. It got brighter and brighter until she could no longer stand to look at it any more.

With a start, Elena opened her eyes, blinking in the bright morning sunlight. For a second she thought the glowing statue followed her. Then the outline of a cat meowed and Elena smiled. She forgot to pull the blinds before climbing into bed and the outlined goddess was nothing more than Spin standing on the pillow between her and the sunlight, reminding Elena that as the bringer of food, she had duties to perform. Elena reached up and rubbed Spin's head, scratching behind her ears and along her spine.

"At least you get your fishing buddy back for one more trip at least, " she told the cat. The cat purred as though understanding her words. Elena smiled and then remembered she and Lisa were due to meet Peter soon so that he could tell her information he didn't want to relate over the phone. Her humor soured.

"Damn, " she said sitting up in bed. She reached for the dream journal she still kept on her nightstand and jotted down the details and impressions from her dream before the waking day could fade them. After making her notes, she slid out of bed and added the journal to her already packed bag in case more dreams occurred while she was gone. She decided to wait until after her meeting with the council to start analyzing the details, such as they were. Considering how blurry some of the details were at the moment, she thought she probably had some time.

"For now, shower and coffee, " she decided, pushing away her odd rationale of dream analysis. Even in her head she couldn't make it sound less crazy. Spin mewled. "And a breakfast fit for a feline goddess of course, " Elena told her. "How could I forget?"

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