Heirs of Earth

Heirs of Earth by Sean Williams, Shane Dix Read Free Book Online

Book: Heirs of Earth by Sean Williams, Shane Dix Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sean Williams, Shane Dix
sight.”
    “Except you know it wouldn’t be in your best interest to do so,” said Axford smugly. “Like I said, I hold the key to your salvation.”
    “I thought you said Lucia was the key?” Alander was looking increasingly lost.
    “What she knows is the key,” Axford explained.
    “And what is that?” pressed Alander.
    “Pi-1 Ursa Major,” Sol answered for the ex-general. “That’s where Thor has come from, and where she found Lucia. I’m guessing she saw something when she flew through, right? Was it the Starfish base, Frank?”
    Axford smiled. “Actually, it’s not a Starfish base at all. It’s a Spinner base. Or so I reckon. Does that get your attention?”
    Alander and Sol stared at the ex-general. Thor could practically see their minds working at superfast speed.
    “You have evidence?” asked Sol.
    “Enough to convince me.”
    “Assuming you’re not bullshitting us, then, Frank, what exactly is it you’re suggesting we do?”
    “Simple. I suggest we force the Starfish into talking to us and, once we’ve done that, we offer to tell them where their enemy is hiding. I doubt there’d be a military intelligence in the universe that would ignore that kind of information.”
    “Or ignore the people offering it,” said Thor, herself unable to suppress her smugness.
    “That’s the plan?” said Sol. “To run headlong into the very thing that wants to kill us?”
    “Better to run to your death than run from it,” said Axford.
    “He’s right, Sol,” said Thor. “And by allying ourselves with the force destroying us, we might be able to turn the tide.”
    “You make it sound easy,” said Alander eventually. “And I won’t even go into the morality of doing it.”
    “Well, easy it won’t be,” said Axford. “Getting over that first hurdle is going to be tricky.”
    “Any thoughts on how we’d go about that?”
    Axford’s smile widened. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”
    “Wait a second,” said Sol. “I’m with Peter. What about the morality of what you’re suggesting? We’d be biting the hand that feeds us. Setting the Spinners up like this strikes me as being more than a little ungrateful. It could just as easily turn them against us, too. Then we’d end up with two enemies, not one.”
    “It’s either this or the Starfish wipe us out once and for all,” said Axford. “And it’s not as if the Spinners are exactly paying us any attention or anything. They won’t answer our calls. If they’re not supplying any answers, then, gifts or no gifts, I say they haven’t earned our gratitude.”
    “Just hear him out, Sol,” said Thor as her original opened her mouth to protest. “What he’s saying makes sense—and it could give us the edge we need to get out of this mess. Besides which, it’s not as if we have unlimited time on our hands.”
    “We have eight days, to be precise,” said Sol, intoning the deadline as though she was laying mausoleum slabs in place.
    “It’s all we’ll need.” Axford’s surety was infectious. Thor could feel Sol and Alander beginning to think it over just as she had done, days earlier. Frank Axford was amoral and vicious; she knew that. And she also knew that to trust him any further than was necessary would be asking for trouble—something she had learned all too clearly when she’d heard the facts behind Beid. But if parleying with the devil was the only way to ensure hers and the rest of humanity’s survival, then what choice did they really have? An opportunity like this might never present itself again.
    “What makes you so keen to stay, Frank?” Sol asked.
    “I’m not,” he said.
    Sol’s eyes narrowed. “That doesn’t make sense. If you’re pitching us on some damfool mission designed to distract or kill us while the rest of you follow some other agenda—”
    He cut her off with a laugh. “Okay, I take your point. But you’re only half right. The rest of me are off doing something else, but nothing

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