115 - Der Imperator und das Ungeheuer
The Emperor And The Monster
William Voltz

On September 2, 2103, the IRONDUKE and a Terran squadron of four thousand vessels arrives in the system of the planet Saos. Cardif-Rhodan whose physical appearance is becoming worse by the hour wants the Antis to cure him. He appears increasingly intolerable. He wants to remove Hunts Krefenbac from his position as second in command of the IRONDUKE because he refuses to pick up a fallen collar button from the ground.

In the very heart of the Arkonide Imperium, the light cruiser ZUMBASI illegally inspects a Springer vessel. Its captain immediately informs Arkon. Atlan, who at the time is meeting with General Alter Toseff, one of those rare Arkonide officers who still posseses significant energy and vitality, is informed about the ZUMBASI incident as well as about the attack on Saos by the Terran units. It is the High Priest Kutlos who calls him in person to force him to act. He decides to send ten thousand robot-ships, which he accompanies along with Toseff.

Cardif-Rhodan, who is continuing to gain weight and continuing to grow, arrives in the control center of the IRONDUKE and orders an immediate attack on Saos. On the planet, seeing that their last moments have arrived, the Antis Hepna-Kaloot, Kutlos and Tasnor begin a game of Paloot, which consists of a duel governed by certain rules. Even the arrival of the ten thousand robot-units can not stop the game once it has begun. The old priest Hanoor takes command of the Anti base.

Bell and Mercant call Atlan without the knowledge of Cardif-Rhodan. Cardif, whose face is now a formless mass of flesh, is in the process of making himself a new uniform which takes into account his larger body measurements and displays all the badges of his rank. All the same, Atlan agrees to withdraw his fleet that forms a blockade around Saos.

While Cardif-Rhodan launches ten cruisers to attack Saos, Bell organizes an operation on the side. A lifeboat deposits a commando team led by Brazo Alkher to the surface. Its men come upon Kutlos who dies without revealing the position of Trakarat. By luck, they find the Springers who Alkher and Nolinov had stolen a lifeboat from at the time of their escape. They obtain from them a description of Trakarat and its sun, Aptut.

On his end, Cardif-Rhodan, achieves nothing after having destroyed the base of the Antis. Upon returning to the IRONDUKE, he is called by Atlan, who appears shocked by his appearance. Cardif-Rhodan abuses him but Atlan decides to do everything possible to save the one who he considers to be his friend.

Michael P. Mahoney 2007-01-26

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