1100 - Der Frostrubin
The Frost Ruby
William Voltz

When the Endless Armada reaches the area where the Frost Ruby is, Ordoban, the Heart of the Armada, announces that they have reached their goal: they have found Triicle-9. The quest of the Armada started millions of years ago when Triicl-9 was robbed despite it being heavily guarded, and the fleet has been trying to retrieve the stolen artefact since then. No Armadist has ever seen Ordoban, who is the creator of the Armada and who lives in a restricted area inside the Armada.

The Armada Unit 176 is made of 50,000 Cygride spaceships and they reach the zone first. They fight off Seth Apophis' spaceships and stop to observe Triicle-9. Every spaceship of the Endless Armada must obey the Pulse, which forbids them from straying off the Armade further than 10,000 light years. Also, all the spaceships are fitted with Goon Blocks, four spherical devices surrounding the spaceship and whose origin is unknown.

The Terran fleet arrives near the Frost Ruby, led by the Base, the Sol and 10,000 other spaceships. Rhodan asks Clifton Callamon to simulate a breakdown with his spaceship, the Sodome, and enter the Endless Armada to gather information.

A mysterious human appears on the Base, who introduces himself as Taurec. He claims he was sent by the Cosmocrats to lead the fight against Seth Apophis. Taurec is worried by how Carfesch and Gesil will react when they see him. He landed on the Base with his spaceship, the Syzzel, and he asks Rhodan to accompany him inside the Frost Ruby in order to determine if Seth Apophis has taken control of it. Taurec also mentions the name Hint Lamasso, in an attempt to get the Terrans to gather information about that person.

Rhodan accepts but once in the Syzzel, he neutralizes Taurec and pilots the spaceship inside the Frost Ruby himself. The inside of the gigantic structure is a mini-continuum in itself, with planets and solar systems. The two men land on one of the planets and meet other humans who are splintered consciousnesses of beings that Seth Apophis control.

Taurec explains to Rhodan that Seth Apophis is actually made of all these splintered consciousnesses and that he is able to cast psycho-streams across the universe to subjugate intelligent creatures. Each time someone becomes his slave, a part of its consciousness is transfered inside the Frost Ruby. Rhodan realizes that the Frost Ruby is nothing else than the mysterious Warehouse, that Tolot was trying to find. The Frost Ruby is a gateway toward the central location of Seth Apophis, which Rhodan identifies with certainy now as being the galaxy M82.

Quiupu reappears inside Srakenduurn. He escaped Gesil with a teleportation step, similar to what Laire's eye allows. Virus researchers are allowed to do this only once in their life, only when their life is threatened. Quiupu meets other virus researchers and observes the reconstruction of the Viral Empire inside the dust cloud.

On Kran, Surfo Mallagan decides to act against Seth Apophis and takes the command of a fleet toward M82. The flagship will be the Cell 2 of the Sol, which will be salvaged from Krane Trap.

Cedric Beust 2004-04-02

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