1169 - Pforte des Loolandre
The Gates of the Loolandre
Kurt Mahr

The Galactic Fleet approaches the Loolandre, which is protected by a barrier. A creature called Chmekyr materalizes on the Base and claims that he is the gatekeeper of the Loolandre. He admits that the Armada Prince looks like the heir of the Loolandre but as a proof, Chmekyr asks him the four passwords that open the four gates of the Loolandre. Despite his efforts, Nachor can't remember. Chmekyr disappears, threatening the humans that they will be destroyed if they try to penetrate the Loolandre unauthorized.

A crewmember called Sato Ambush contacts Rhodan and tells him they have just entered a different reality. Using intuition driven by an Asian philosophy, Sato predicts some of the events that are about to happen.

Thirteen spaceships appear in the vicinity, containing the dead bodies of one-eyed creatures called Ephemereals. Rhodan realizes that they represent a warning.

Chmekyr starts appearing in hundreds of different copies throughout the Galactic Fleet, which soon succumbes to the Epicure Syndrome: the crew starts eating and drinking without rest. The energy is supplied by the hulls of the ships, which Chmekyr is capable of assimilating. The Galactic Fleet slowly starts self-destroying.

Sato Ambush devises a way for the fleet to return to the reality and Nachor, who has been subjected to a deep brain scan, remembers the password to the first gate: Avidity and satiety lead to confusion.

Chmekyr's doubles disappear and the first gate of the Loolandre opens.

Cedric Beust 2004-08-08

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