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The Original Sex Gates [MultiFormat]
eBook by Darrell Bain

eBook Category: Science Fiction/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Description: The Original Sex Gates Novel! This is the Sex Gates novel as originally written by Darrell Bain alone. It has a widely divergent, completely different ending, and it contains one more major character and several more supporting ones. In this original version, all questions are answered and all issues resolved in this one book. It is being published now in response to all the fan mail and interest the trilogy generated-and continues to generate. The Sex Gates has already become a science fiction cult classic and this book should be a significant addition to the sex gates universe. Author's note: I wrote The Sex Gates in 1993 at a frenzied pace, completing the first draft in one month flat. In looking over my original novel and the one ten years later which includes Jeanine Berry as a collaborator, I am unable to judge which version I like best. That is for readers to decide. I can only say that going back over the old manuscript helped me recapture most of the original emotion and intensity with which I first got this notion into novel form. When I revisited The Original Sex Gates, I was reminded of the two versions of Arthur C. Clark's grand stories, Against the Fall of Night and The City and the Stars. I have been reading both versions over and over for many years and continue to enjoy both of them to this day. I sincerely hope you can do the same with the two different versions of The Sex Gates.

eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks, Published: DDP, 2005
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2005


112 Reader Ratings:
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Chapter One

To say that the sex gates changed my life would be a gross understatement. They changed everyone's lives in one way or another, whether they went through them or not. In my case, they not only brought an endless sense of fascination and curiosity, but finally provided a purpose and direction to my life, which had been sadly lacking up until then.

Before the arrival of the gates, I was more or less a perpetual student. I had already earned degrees in journalism and biology at North Houston College, but I was still taking undergraduate courses in psychology, business, sociology and anything else that took my fancy. I was completely uninterested in earning a postgraduate degree, but still found many subjects I wanted to know more about.

I should explain how I was able to afford to stay in school as long as I wanted while so many other kids had to struggle so hard after the last of the federal loan programs were cancelled. My grandfather, Mosby Stuart (whom my parents say I take after) was an eclectic jack-of-all-trades who was relatively uneducated but self-taught in a number of subjects, most notably, electronics. He was a visionary, a dreamer (or so I've been told) and wandered all over the South for years, seeking a niche and dragging his family along with him while he looked. He finally found a place for himself during the electronics explosion back before the Millennium. I'm not sure exactly what he all did, but I understand he made most of his fortune designing software for some of the earlier computers. After that, he mostly stayed home in east Texas, spending a lot of his time sitting in front of the keyboard of his computer or browsing through his vast library (Dad used to tell me stories of how he and Grandma argued over the cost of shipping his books every time they moved. Apparently, he could never bear to throw a book away). I wish I had known him better, but Dad was in the military while I was growing up and we didn't get back to Texas that often. Then he and Grandma died together in a car crash in Houston one day while they were making the rounds of their favorite bookstores.

Grandpa's will left the home and half his money to Dad. The other half of the money was split between me and my brother, Derek. I started drawing my annuity on my eighteenth birthday, just as I was ready to start college. It was really a tidy sum, especially for a young kid. I was able to afford a four-bedroom home off campus, a new car every couple of years and still had plenty of money left over. As to why I chose North Houston College when I could have afforded to go to almost any university in America, I'm not sure. Probably, it had a lot to do with the fact Dad and Mom had moved into Grandpa's old house only thirty miles further north on the NAFTA highway when Dad retired, and in the two years before I started college, I grew to love that old place and the piney woods it was set in a few miles out from the little town of Ruston. Dad stayed home and did consulting work over the web and Mom gardened. They both contributed a lot of time to the antiquated public library, improving it enough so it became somewhat of a teenage hangout (which might tell you something about how much they changed it). I worked there summers and some evenings. It gave me a job and extra spending money, things not easy to come by for most of the local kids, but I'm not sure I really earned my salary. I grew up loving to read and letting me work in a library was somewhat akin to putting a rabbit in charge of a lettuce shop.

Anyway, when some of the towns and villages north of the old airport got together and incorporated after the Houston riots, they named their new city North Houston, and the state funded the construction of a new campus there to replace the one in Houston proper that was destroyed. The new college was close to home and that was where I decided I wanted to go. I've never been much of an adventurer, except through books and web games. Like I said, I take after Grandpa. If he had made his money early on, I doubt he would have traveled much either. Besides, by that time, I had gotten interested in science fiction (which earned me not a little teasing from my friends when the sex gates appeared) and Grandpa's library contained a lot of old books I couldn't find anywhere else, even as ebooks.

The house I rented was only a few blocks from the college campus, a post-millennium modular, solid on the outside but easy to change around on the inside. That helped a lot because early on, I let a few of my friends with money problems move in. The first few years, they came and went, but by the time I had earned my first degree, the four persons living there besides myself were more or less permanently installed. There was Don Wesley, my best friend, and his girl, Seyla Wickerson; Russell Borderlon, another real close friend, and Rita Hernandez, my main orbit who had been living with me for over a year, and myself, Jackson Lee Stuart. Grandpa was a civil war buff and Dad told me that he and Mom named me after his favorite generals, but only after he promised a hefty donation to the Disabled Veterans of America, Mom's favorite charity. Mom and Dad had a disagreement about whether to call me Jackson or Lee, or so I heard from my older brother, Derek. Mom won, I guess, because as far back as I can remember, everyone has called me Lee instead of Jackson.

It was Don who got in trouble with the first sex gate any of us ever saw. It was on a Saturday afternoon during spring break, shortly after noon. The five of us had walked over from the house to the campus beanery for lunch. The food there isn't anything to brag about, but it's convenient and comes with the tuition, so we all ate there a lot. Besides, none of us are very good cooks. The campus was almost deserted because of spring break. Most of the students had headed for Galveston or Corpus Christi, or the ones who could afford it and didn't mind the risk, on down to Mexico.

Don and Seyla were walking hand in hand in front of me and Rita, with Russell dragging along behind us, probably lost in thought over some physics problem. I was saying something innocuous to Rita, using it as an excuse to blow in her ear, when I heard a gasp from Seyla and "Hey! I'll be goddamned!" from Don. I looked up just in time to keep from bumping into them. Russell did bump into me.

The sex gate had materialized almost on top of us, right on the grassy lawn at the east corner of the campus adjacent to Romana Street, where we always turned when going home from the cafeteria. Russell later told me its appearance was instantaneous so far as he could tell. One moment, there was only grass and a paved street in front of us, and the next, the path was blocked by the gate, a glowing green arch darkening to dull turquoise inward from the edges and toward a green mist in the center. Though it was only about twenty feet high and maybe ten feet across, we were so close, it seemed to tower over us.

"Where on earth did that come from?" Rita asked, puzzlement tingeing her voice. She had been looking down at her feet while I whispered in her ear. Now she was staring up at the gate with her pretty brown eyes as wide open as a frightened owl. For no reason I could understand, I slipped an arm around her waist.

"It just came out of nowhere!" Don said, awed. "I almost ran into it!" He stood with his hands on his hips, head tilted speculatively to one side as if he were examining a blackboard problem in one of his math classes.

"Impossible!" Russell exclaimed, coming back to earth. He shoved his muscular body past me and Rita to get a better view. He stared at the gate belligerently, as if it were defying some natural law.

"It did!" Don repeated.

"What in Christ is it?" Seyla asked. She had let loose of Don's hand and crossed her arms protectively around her chest, flattening her breasts into the crook of her elbows.

"I don't know, but I'm going to find out," Don said, in a tone suggesting the green arch was nothing more than a math problem he could solve. He took a step toward the gate, hands outstretched.

"Don, don't! It might be dangerous!" Seyla cried. She reached out to grab the back of his windbreaker.

Too late. Don took another step forward, bringing him into the edge of a faint nimbus extending from the darker turquoise inner portion. For a second, I could see him there, frozen motionless, then he disappeared as abruptly as a popped soap bubble.

"Don! Come back!" Seyla screamed. She took a step forward.

I was standing with one arm around Rita and the other half-raised, intending to stop Don myself. We had been buddies for years now, as close a friend as I ever had. I heard Seyla yell and start to move. Don vanished and I grabbed at Seyla, just catching the belt of her toga. I yanked her backward.

Rita had her hands to her face, holding her chin and cheeks and grimacing like a child watching a close-up of a monster in a horror movie on a big wall screen.

Copyright © 2005 Darrell Bain


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