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Breaking Liberty

by TS Hottle

Breaking Liberty - TS Hottle - Suicide Arc
Editions:Kindle: $ 2.99
Pages: 277
Paperback: $ 12.99
ISBN: 979-8320697307
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Pages: 196

Ellie Nardino finds a dazed and confused man wandering the forests of Amargosa's tundra. They soon learn he is the stricken former president of the Compact. To find out what happened to him, they will smuggle him to a clinic inside the Compact. Ellie is tasked with escorting the former president and Tishla, now working as a genetic researcher in an off-the-books mission. When their pilot betrays them, they'll have to survive a lawless colony to keep him away from those who want to kill him.

Tropes: Band of Misfits, Conspiracy, FTL, Galactic Civilization, Here Comes the Cavalry, Immortality, Interspecies Romance, Interstellar Travel, Marooned, Space Pilot
Word Count: 77,000
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Tropes: Band of Misfits, Conspiracy, FTL, Galactic Civilization, Here Comes the Cavalry, Immortality, Interspecies Romance, Interstellar Travel, Marooned, Space Pilot
Word Count: 77,000
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters

“What species am I?” the beautiful, gray-skinned woman in the white shirt with a blue medical smock asked the man.

“You’re a Gelt,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’ve only met one female Gelt before.”

The woman smiled. “Well, I hope I’m making a good impression for my species. And my friend Ellie over there. What species is she?” The woman pointed at Ellie.

“She’s human,” said the man. “Sapiens, specifically. And her friend is what’s called a lycanth. Although I didn’t know that until Ellie told me what he was. I thought he was a dog.”

Red warbled something at the gray-skinned woman, then gave that laughing bark of his.

“You sniff your wife’s butt with that snout, Red?” The Gelt woman’s tone dripped with sarcasm.

Red laughed again, and so did Ellie.

“Not used to being equal with us peasants now, are you, Tishla?” said Ellie.


“Red’s language is slow for Gelt to translate. I never realized what a foul mouth he had on him until now.” Tishla looked up at her patient. “Be glad you can’t understand them. Sometimes, it’s better you don’t know what they say. In fact, most of it’s not worth repeating.”

“Hey!” Red managed to say in rough Humanic.

Tishla winked. “He can dish it out, but he can’t take it. Just like my husband.”

“She’s not kidding,” said Ellie. “I used to date him before they got married. And Tishla, you need better taste in human men.”

“He tastes just fine to me,” said Tishla. “Although traditionally, in Gelt copulation, it’s usually the woman being tasted. But that’s an anatomical quirk on our species’ part.” She looked back at the man. “Is there anything else from the Too Much Information Department that Ellie or I can tell you? Bra sizes? Menstrual cycles? Those secret little habits we have when nobody’s looking? Did you know Ellie used to eat paint when she was in elementary school?”

“Who told you that?” said Ellie. “Duffy? Or JT? Because JT doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.”

Red warbled something, his own tone sounding impatient.

“Right, right,” said Tishla. “We need to focus. Do you mind if I take a blood sample?”

The man, now wearing surgical scrubs and looking a bit more dignified for it, shrugged. “Why stop now? I’m willing to be poked and prodded until somebody finds me an answer. Have at.”

Tishla looked over at Ellie again. “And here they warned me patients would normally be uncooperative. Or else, they just tell all the geneticists that so we don’t feel like we’re real doctors.”

“You’re not a real doctor?” asked the man.

“I’m a geneticist,” said Tishla. “I’m here to find out who you are. Since the public database doesn’t have your genome on file, we’re trying to see if the Clinic over in the Thulian Enclave has it. I work there, but that doesn’t mean I knew you were there. There are a lot of people who come in they don’t tell everybody about. Some of them I work with. So, they could have hidden you either as a matter of secrecy, or I’m simply too busy to know who you are. In any case, we want to know your identity. I’m pretty sure you do, too.”

“I do.”

Tishla took out a lancer. The man winced as it punctured his finger. She took a slide and pressed it against the bleeding wound, then dabbed some cold water on it. The bleeding stopped. She placed the slide inside a portable scanner she had brought with her. The copy of the genetic database she needed remained back on the Falcon she had flown aboard. The results made her frown. “It says inconclusive. I’m sorry. I think, however, you should go to the Clinic. At the very least, we can help you recover from premature stasis termination. It’s not healthy to keep your circulation as impaired as it is now. You might lose your fingers.”

“I never heard of that,” said Ellie. “Is that common?”

“I’m not sure how common it is in your history, since humans didn’t have a very long sleeper ship phase. But the Gelt used sleeper ships for about a century. There are a lot of horror stories about coming out of stasis improperly. In some ways, it’s like getting the bends.” She looked around the room. “Is Suicide still here? I have a couple of questions for her. Maybe you should come with me.” She turned back to the man. “Will you be okay in here by yourself for a few minutes?”

The man laughed. “Well, I’m not going anywhere for a while. But hurry back. I have a vague memory of a hot date tonight.”

Ellie could tell by his tone that he was kidding. At least he had a sense of humor now. She didn’t know if he normally had one. But hearing it from someone who could barely speak and finish his sentences only a few hours ago sounded good. “She’s outside talking to the constable. JT is with her if you want to talk to him as well.”

“Might as well,” she said. “I’m going to have to give him some bad news here shortly, anyway.”

“And here you thought being married to the pilot meant you were the one going to be alone for a long time. Or at least with a predictable schedule.”


About the Author

TS Hottle is the creator of the Compact Universe, a series of loosely connected novels and novellas set in a confederation of human worlds as they deal with a disastrous first contact with a similar species known as the Gelt. By day, he is a software developer. He lives in suburban Cincinnati with his wife Candy.