Hell's Gate

Seeds of Chaos - Book Two

by Herbert Grosshans

Barely escaping with his life from Eden's Gate, Thomas Stone and his two alien companions seek aid from the reptilian Srax. Unfortunately, things do not turn out as expected. When they finally end up on Ramarra, Thomas faces his greatest challenge yet. Will he find the answer to his past?

Hell's Gate is the second book in the 'Seeds of Chaos' series. The first book was published in January 2007 under the title 'Eden's Gate' by Midnight Showcase.



Commodore Stone, why did you destroy that ship full of colonists?” The deep, resonant voice of Admiral Sasmussen asked me again. I’ve never liked that man. There was something about him that I couldn’t put my finger on. He was tall and skinny, with a haggard and gaunt looking face. His dark eyes seemed to burrow right into my skull, and his voice was the voice of doom.

And in my case, it certainly was. This man wanted to bury me.

I wasn’t intimidated by his constant badgering, and I was getting angry. “Sir, as the record shows, it was not my ship that fired, even though we had sealed orders to destroy that ship. If I am guilty of anything, it would be: disobeying orders.”

Admiral Sasmussen shook his head. “Commodore Stone, when are you going to stop this charade? I have a record of your orders right in front of me. You were supposed to carry out a routine inspection of the starship ‘Hope’ and to make sure that the ship would leave in the designated time-span. No mention of destroying it.” He smiled. An executioner looked friendlier. “I signed those orders myself.”

I shrugged. “Then those records are false.” I said and knew how he would answer. We had been through this before.

The admiral stood up and pounded both fists on the desk. “Are you accusing me of lying, Commodore?”

“No, sir, I would never do that.” I stayed cool even though I wanted to wring his scrawny neck. “I am only stating the facts as they happened and as I know them. My crew is witness.”

“Your crew?” he barked. “How convenient! There is no one left.”

“That’s right!” It was my turn to bark. “How convenient. I demand an investigation why every member of my crew happened to be on the same cruise ship at the same time. And why that same cruiser collided with a rogue asteroid.”

“Do not raise your voice in my courtroom again!” Admiral Sasmussen’s voice was dangerously low. “I have a good mind to have you executed immediately. But you have friends.” He gave Admiral Curtis a sour look.

Admiral Curtis, who sat beside him, said nothing. He kept looking at me, his face unreadable. He was my superior, but he was more than that, much more.

His wife, Elesia Stone-Curtis, was my adopted mother. That made him my stepfather.

“Let me give you the real facts, Commodore Thomas Reginald Stone.” The voice of Admiral Sasmussen dripped with sarcasm. “Even though you had no orders to do so, you took it upon yourself to destroy the starship ‘Hope’, which carried 10,000 colonists in deep stasis. Ten thousand people who dreamed of a better life on a frontier planet, where they could live in peace, raise their children, and grow their own food. Ten thousand lives that you destroyed with your unspeakable act of playing god. This act brought us to the brink of war with the colonies. You claim that you had orders to destroy the ship, but you disobeyed those orders. Then an unknown ship came out of nowhere and fired the lethal shots. A ship which you had seen before on another mission ten months ago, when, after pursuing a pirate ship, you dropped into an unknown system.” He looked up and stared at me. “You insist on keeping this story alive and yet--there is no record of that mission, and there is no record of any mystery ship. There are no records, Commodore Stone, not in the Fleet’s computers, nor in your own ship’s computer! And computers don’t lie.”

“The computers don’t lie, but the people who program and maintain them do.” I kept my voice low and calm, even though I was boiling. “I don’t know what is going on, but somebody is trying to sweep something under the rug and me with it, and I will lead my own investigation to find out why.”

“There will be no investigation, at least none you will head, Commodore. I recommend your dishonorable discharge from the Service. You will be stripped of your rank and privileges!” Admiral Sasmussen spoke coldly. His eyes could have frozen Hell itself. “And if you insist on pursuing your conspiracy theories I will personally see to it that you end up on some hell-hole of prison planet for the rest of your life...”

* * * *

I am a foundling. A team of researchers found me living among a tribe of aborigines on one of the planets in the Altair System, naked and filthy. I had no memory of my natural parents. There were no other humans living on that planet. I was either the lone survivor of a crashed space ship or the abandoned reject of a slave trader. The only language I spoke was the language of the aborigines, which consisted mainly of grunts and gestures.

The head of the team, Prof. Elisia Stone, took a liking to me and began to educate me. With the help of computers, I learned the Terran language very quickly and everything else that was crammed into my head.

A year later Elisia Stone adopted me as her son and a year after that she married Admiral Curtis.

The Admiral and I became good friends. He was like a father to me. He recommended I join the Space-force, because he saw potential in me. I rose very quickly in the ranks; I became Commodore Thomas Reginald Stone, until two months ago.

Now I was just plain Thomas Reginald Stone, private citizen.

* * * *

“Why would anyone want to discredit or even kill me?”

Admiral Curtis stared at me. “You carry dangerous knowledge inside your head.”

“Like what?”

“The co-ordinates to an unknown planetary system.” He leaned forward. “We want you to go to that system and find out who these people are.” He smiled. “You will become a pirate.”

“A pirate?”

“That’s right, a pirate.” He grinned. “After you got kicked off the force you were so angry that you wanted nothing but revenge. What better is there but turning to piracy.” He indicated the man beside him. “Colonel Voltaire will make all the arrangements.”

* * * *

So I became a pirate-merchant. After purchasing a ship, I took off on my mission to find that mysterious planetary system, accompanied by my two alien companions, twin sisters Sharina and Kabrina.

But first, we had to make a stop at Eden’s Gate, to buy merchandise we could use for trading.

After making a deal with the Intergalactic Spice Company and having sex with the lovely Senjarina Dorles Rodrigo, she betrayed me and had me taken to a garbage dump.

I survived an attack by the Ghouls and was rescued by Renha, one of the Katre-people, who introduced me to her cousin, Rinca. Both of them claimed that my coming to Eden’s Gate was prophesied and my union with them would produce two sons, who would lead the Katre-people into victory against the humans, who kept them as slaves.

Captured by the local Enforcers, I was charged with the murder of Dorles Rodrigo, but managed to escape my prison. With the help of Liom Valdigo, a Katre-female who had undergone surgery to make her human in appearance, I was able to board my ship and join up with my two companions.

We blasted off Eden’s Gate without permission and our ship was damaged when one of the planet’s defense ships fired upon us. Our life-support system was damaged in the attack. We needed to take the ship in for repairs.

The closest system was four jumps away. The inhabitants of the system were oxygen-breathers, humanoid looking, but not human. Their ancestors had been reptiles.

Apparently, they didn’t like humans overly much, but we had no choice but to pay them a visit.


"Seeds of Chaos 2: Hell's Gate" - Herbert Grosshans


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