116 - Duell unter der Doppelsonne
Duel Under The Double Sun
K.H. Scheer

On October 20, 2103, Atlan has a secret meeting, without the knowledge of Cardif-Rhodan, in the headquarters of the Solar Imperium on Saos. He informs Bell and the other senior leaders that he has delivered one thousand cruisers to the Akonides. Cardif-Rhodan has become a real tyrant, even ordering false arrests. Revolts are threatening to erupt throughout the Solar Imperium. Bell and his comrades want to place the Administrator under protective custody. To their surprise, Atlan has succeeded in procuring the coordinates of Trakarat by appealing to the Akonides.

When Atlan returns to his ship, he is called by Cardif-Rhodan and is immediately impressed by the extent of the physical and mental decay of the one that he always took to be his friend.

On October 23, the Terran and Arkonide fleets redeploy themselves close to Aptut. The Arkonide fleet is composed of robot-ships of which Atlan is the only organic occupant. A spacehunter rushed by Rhodan brings Atlan aboard the IRONDUKE. Cardif-Rhodan is now a monster of two meters thirty-eight centimeters tall. He acts very arrogantly towards Atlan and during their meeting makes allusion to the fight between Rhodan and Atlan on Venus in 2040. His description of the fight doesn't correspond precisely to the memories of Atlan, which awakens his suspicions.

The two fleets prepare to attack Trakarat by surrounding the planet completely. While stating he wants to recover Thomas Cardif from its surface, Atlan arouses the anger of Cardif-Rhodan. Atlan must appease Cardif by humiliating himself in front of the other officers in the command headquarters of the IRONDUKE. Atlan sings a nursery rhyme that had played an important role in the conflict between him and Rhodan on Hellgate. Cardif-Rhodan doesn't understand the significance of the nursery rhyme. Atlan then makes Bell explain to him the exact conditions of the liberation of Rhodan on Okul. Having understood finally that Perry Rhodan is actually Thomas Cardif, he goes to confront him in his own cabin.

There, Atlan reveals to Cardif-Rhodan that his game of deception is up. He threatens Cardif with his weapon but a robot intervenes and paralyzes him. When the attack on Trakarat begins, Cardif-Rhodan declares martial law, becomes violent, but just as he attempts to kill Atlan (who is still paralyzed), Pucky intervenes and prevents him. Cardif-Rhodan runs away whereby enormous laughter can be heard. Atlan manages to overcome the effects of the paralysis and reveals to Bell and the others that the man they thought was Perry Rhodan is, in fact, Thomas Cardif.

Cardif flees aboard a corvette, pursued soon by a Gazelle with Atlan, Pucky and Alkher aboard. The Gazelle is shot down and the passengers are obligated to eject. Leaving Alkher, who is injured, Pucky and Atlan head toward the Anti city. In the middle of the attack on Trakarat, they arrive at the center of the temple-city and attend a meeting between Cardif and the Antis. The son of Rhodan demands that the Antis remove the activator that he currently carries and that they give back to him one of the twenty other activators. By following Cardif, Atlan and the mousebeaver are finally able to recover the real Perry Rhodan. After Atlan concludes an agreement with the Supreme Baalol, the cellular activator pulls itself from the body of Thomas Cardif, who then dies in agony, and fixes itself on the chest of Rhodan.

After the body of Cardif has been delivered to space, the IRONDUKE leaves in order to bring Atlan back to Arkon.

Michael P. Mahoney 2007-01-26

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