103 - Das Plasma-Ungeheuer
The Plasma Monster
Kurt Brand

On Earth in June 2102, Perry Rhodan and Allan D Mercant debate whether or not to inform the Terran population about the danger posed by the Akonides. Rhodan decides to meet Ballin, a columnist of the Europe Evening News who has been critical of Rhodan's politics, in order to discuss some current issues with him.

At the same moment on the relay station Ori 12-1818, close to Bételgeuse, a Springer ship, the Ug-DVI, is inspected by the Nile. Sergeant Penter (of the Nile) discovers a half dead crew, apparently victims of a virus of the intestinal tract. The hospital ship N-H III is sent in to help.

An unknown ship, the Retse-U, emerges close to Ori 12-1818 and continues its trip while apparently being unaware of the Terrans. It is soon revealed that the Retse-U is an Akonide ship and the alert is given on Earth. Rhodan orders the ships of the fleet to the Orion System. He takes off in the Drusus accompanied by Bell and Ballin.

On Sphinx, capital of the Blue System, the Retse-U takes off towards Orion. The crew is charged with setting up a mysterious station on the 7th planet of the Betelgeuse System. It transports with it the "Myl-Sé". The crew, completely ignorant of the N-H III nearby, disembarks without incident on Bételgeuse VII, accomplishes its mission in twenty minutes and leaves without being intercepted by the Terran Fleet that arrives shortly afterwards.

Worried, Rhodan decides to land the Drusus on Bételgeuse VII in order to study the strange construction left by the Akonides. He doesn't suspect that those same Akonides can also observe him on Betelgeuse VII from Sphinx. Once combat robots approach to within one hundred meters of the strange construction on Betelgeuse VII, the Akonides send the Myl-Sé.

Before the discharge of energy, Rhodan understands that the Akonide Structure on Betelgeuse VII is a matter transmitter and he immediately orders the return of the robots as well as the destruction of the machine. However, the destruction of the matter transmitter comes too late.

At the same time Degen, the chief physician of the N-H III, informs Rhodan that the virus that contaminated the Springers has been manufactured on the Earth.

While studying the energy tracings emitted by the hostile vessel and the transmitter, the Terrans discover that the Akonides have in fact sent something to Bételgeuse VII, but what?

In a matter of hours after the return to Earth of the Drusus (after a detour to the N-H III to recover the vial of virus in order to study it), a mysterious epidemic spreads itself all over the planet, as well as on the Moon. No one is spared! The N-H III is a victim of the epidemic and Rhodan understands then what was the "gift" of the Akonides on Bételgeuse VII.

Koatu, a physician at the Center of Antiviral Research, discovers the nature of the Akonide illness: it is a protoplasm mutant (the Myl-Sé for the Akonides) that attacks albumin. Humanity has less than three months to find a cure or all is lost. Even the Robot Regent is of no help to them. There is only one positive aspect to this epidemic: the protoplasm heals the intestinal tract virus found on the Springer ship.

Ballin and Rhodan address all Terrans, enjoining them to not give up in despair. A race against time begins….

In Soisy-on-Seine close to Paris, an agent of the Solar Defense, Jo Garibaldi, notices that there are no victims of the protoplasm.

Rhodan goes to Soisy-on-Seine accompanied by Bell, Ballin, Mercant and the mutants Pucky, Ras Tschubai and John Marshall. There, thanks to Pucky's powers, they discover a secret base of the Aras. The Aras are the ones who have manufactured the virus of the intestinal tract and are just now preparing to spread it throughout the Sol System. The Terrans discover the Pulsator device that holds the protoplasm at bay. They also discover an antidote against this same protoplasm and the intestinal virus. The threat of total annihilation is abolished on Earth, and the Aras will be judged on Arkon for the murder of the Springers.

Four months later the entire population has been healed but Ballin decides to tell Earth nothing so as not to revive any bad memories.

Michael Mahoney 2005-03-06

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