Gates of Hell

Free Gates of Hell by Susan Sizemore

Book: Gates of Hell by Susan Sizemore Read Free Book Online
Authors: Susan Sizemore
We’re from Thensil 3. We sent the distress signal after we were overtaken and attacked by the other ship. Before they jammed our communications. We’d asked the Triallens for help. Their answer was to try to destroy us.”
    “Your system is under quarantine,” Eamon reminded them. “You were risking spreading the plague. Is that why the Triallens fired on you?”
    Roxy stood as close to Eamon as she could without looking like she wanted a reassuring hug. She did, but the man was here on business.
    “Yes,” Sady answered Eamon’s question. “I don’t blame them. Sag Fever is horrible. Horrible.” She shuddered. “Our world is dying. The government tells us there is no cure.”
    “There isn’t,” Roxy said. “You were healed, not cured… but let’s not go into the difference.”
    “You’re lying! There is a cure!” The outburst came from Kelem as he sprang out of the bed to tower angrily over them.
    Roxy took a step back just so she could look up at him, and she was over six feet tall. “Whoa, there, big fella,” she soothed. Kelem went red with indignation.
    Before he could shout again, Sady said, “We have heard of a medication that is available on Laborne. We were on our way to Laborne when we developed engine trouble and tried to set down on a Triallen repair station. The station was fully automated, but they wouldn’t allow us near it. We must get to Laborne and bring the cure back to Thensil.”
    Kelem began to sob, the tears rolling down his cheeks and into his beard. “You don’t know what it’s like watching a world… people you love… total strangers… it doesn’t matter. They’re all dying. I don’t want to go back. And I don’t want to live knowing what’s happened to the rest of my world. Would you want to go back to a world of skeletons?” he demanded of Roxy and Eamon.
    Dee and Hernandez had come back into the room. Dee stepped forward now. “Laborne’s a free-trader port. A not particularly reputable free-trader port. Sound’s like some charlatan’s trying to sell you a placebo just to make a profit. Some beings will do anything for a credit.”
    Sady looked confused and worried. She obviously didn’t want to believe that someone might try to take advantage of plague victims. “We were given a name.”
    “Of a friend of a friend of a friend,” Roxy said. She and Dee exchanged cynical looks and almost imperceptible nods.
    “A Bucon name?” Eamon asked, picking up on her and Dee’s suspicion.
    Sady shrugged. “I don’t know if he’s Bucon. His name is Stev Persey.”
    “Sounds Bucon,” Dee and Roxy said together.
    “Maybe they do have something,” Roxy suggested. She shot a glance at Hernandez.
    “Nothing I’ve heard about,” the doctor responded.
take us to Laborne,” Kelem insisted.
    Sady leaned out of her bed and touched Kelem on the hand. He turned to look down at her. “Why?” she asked him, voice bitter. “The Triallens destroyed our ship—our cargo. We have no way to buy the medicine now.”
    Kelem sat down heavily beside her and her arm came around his shoulder. He was still crying. “This can’t happen.” He looked up pleadingly at Roxy. “You saved us.”
    “Are you a Koltiran priestess?” Sady asked.
    “Koltiri, yes,” Roxy answered.
    Kelem was suddenly on his feet again, knocking Sady back against the pillow. “You can help us!”
    Roxy became aware that Eamon was holding her arm with a force that would have been bruising if she wasn’t koltiri. If she wasn’t koltiri—well, she was, and he couldn’t change that fundamental truth any more than she could, no matter how much they’d tried. She stepped away from her husband and turned her back on the Thensilans. “Yeah,” she said. “I could.”
    “Please,” the woman said.
    The word came like a stab between Roxy’s shoulder blades and she flinched away from it, surprised and suddenly very frightened. Why? Because to heal it, she would have to leave the shelter

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