120 - Der Planet Mechanica
Planet Mechanica
K.H. Scheer

On Snarfot, the Terrans, rejoined by Atlan, continue to study the seed ship. They are informed that four other contaminated planets have been discovered. Unfortunately, spore supplies were delivered to Arkon II in order to be studied but following carelessness by Arkon's Science Council they are inadvertently released into the atmosphere and spread throughout the planet. Two billion Arkonides are threatened. As a precaution, Atlan has all spaceports closed.

Atlan rejoins the IRONDUKE in order to take part in the search for the harvester vessel, the only possible course of action at this time for getting rid of the spores. The Robot Regent determines that the transmitter that answered the seed ship is in a sector of space on the fringes of the galaxy. On 14 September 2104, one discovers that the only unique object in this sector of space is the red star Outside. The IRONDUKE immediately departs for it.

The only planet worthy of interest is the second one, baptized Mechanica by reason of the proliferation of robots on its surface. No living being is discovered. The automatic facilities attack the Terran ship with the paralyzing weapon named the narco-beamer. Harvest drones intervene, spreading chaos in the hydroponics rooms of the IRONDUKE. The Terrans disembark and must fight continually. Their goal is to locate the issuing hypercom, the “Collector", and to get the list of planets sowed by the seed ship. In order to help locate the "Collector", a Gazelle leaves for deep space where it emits a distress signal identical to those of the seed ship. They end up finding the station, which they capture after heavy fighting and great loss in men and materials. Indications prove that the constructors of the robots were of reptilian lineage. They are named the “Sauriens”.

The Terrans obtain the register of the coordinates for planets already sowed, but more importantly they manage to force the "Collector" to emit a signal which will send the missing harvester ship to Azgola.

Michael P. Mahoney 2007-02-01

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