In Shonaar, a man named Jakob Ellmer discovers a twelve-year old who has forgotten where she came from. A strange aura emanates from the young girl, whom Ellmer calls Srimavo but who soon gets nicknamed Sphinx. Everyone around her seems to get the vision of black flames, hinting that she might be a natural mutant. Rhodan has Srimavo taken to Terrania where he talks with her.
She doesn't remember anything about her arrival but she asks to have access to the library. Rhodan accepts. Srimavo is looking for records of spaceships that landed or left with an alien on board in the past six months but she can't find anything. She manifests the highest interest when the librarian mentions the recent discovery of Quiupu.
Still busy trying to rid Alaska Saedelaere of his mask, Carfesch is chatting with Rhodan when he sees Srimavo on a screen. He loses control of himself and heads out to murder her. The mutants stop him in time and question him, but he's unable to explain why he reacted this way. Srimavo affims she never saw him before either.
In front of the increasing threat, Rhodan announces the goals of the Cosmic Hanse publicly, explaining that he wants to try to save Seth Apophis and not destroy it. Srimavo asks to be taken where Quiupu was seen last, on Lokvorth. Rhodan accepts but has her accompanied by Jakob Ellmer.
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