Which are the alternatives today? Not only freeware, but tools affordable for a development team of 3-5 men.
I like the structure and flexibility of HP QC, so a similar tool would be nice to have.
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Not sure if it fits all your needs but I would recommend check out Jira. It commercial product, but for small teams (up to 10 users) price is not big.
You might take a look at Rally. We use it currently and it provides support for User stories -> Test cases, Test plans and defects. While advertised for Agile projects I suspect it may work pretty well for the needs you outlined.
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