124 - Das Psycho-Duell
The Psycho Duel
William Voltz

On Zalit, one of the colonies of the Greater Imperium, Salor Henno, the delegate of the Imperator Atlan, is attempting to escape from his palace following a revolt by the colonists. He is able to flee thanks to the help of the Terran spy, Lieutenant Wayne Tate. Tate informs Henno that the squadron expected by him and the government of Zalit to subdue the rebellion won't come. Indeed the cruiser TROY commanded by Michael Fellmann was on patrol with five other Terran cruisers and a squadron of robot ships when it received the mission order to subdue the rebellion on Zalit. However, the robot vessels refused to follow the TROY and even fired on the Terran cruiser in order to stop it from getting under way for Zalit!

Aboard the IRONDUKE, Rhodan reviews the present situation: the Regent refuses to collaborate with the Terran squadrons thereby forcing him to enact a state of emergency. Henceforth, the entire Solar Fleet is ordered to withdraw to Earth in order to protect the Sol System. In addition, all reservists are recalled.

On Arkon III the Regent informs Atlan that he has become "useless" and that he will refuse to obey his orders henceforth because "a decision must be taken". At the same time the Regent stops broadcasting orders and, as a result, the entire Crystal Empire is paralyzed. Atlan calls Rhodan for his help. Shortly afterwards Perry Rhodan lands on Arkon 3.

It soon becomes clear that the Akonides have indeed succeeded in reprograming the Regent or, at the very least, obliging it to review its position in regards to Atlan. Shortly afterwards one of their vessels lands next to the IRONDUKE under the protection of Arkonide robotships.

On board of the Akonide ship is Sansaro, an old Akonide who is in fact the real chief of the conspiracy aiming to overthrow Atlan. He comes with Carba of Mintérol who doesn't suspect that he is in fact a stooge whose IQ has been increased artificially and which, in the long term, will drive him insane.

In fact the Akonides, while modifying the emergency control circuit A-1, succeeded in convincing the Regent that Atlan no longer governs exclusively for the profit of the empire and that his alliance with the Terrans is contrary to his own people's interests.

Sansaro contacts Atlan: he and Carba must immediately surrender themselves to the Regent for a psycho-duel whose winner will be proclaimed Imperator.

While traveling together aboard a robot car into the interior of the Regent, Atlan attempts to convince Carba of his mistakes but the young Arkonide refuses to hear anything.

The duel takes place on an imaginary planet upon which Atlan founded and developed a colony. Carba lands to announce to the colonists that the colony must close and that they all must leave the planet aboard his vessel. Atlan won't oppose the departure of the colonists but, at the same time, will not abandon the colony himself. Once the other colonists are aboard the ship, Carba returns to the village and a death struggle commences between the two men.

There is no winner because the Regent "wakes them up". To overrule them, he submits the two men to a set of questions. Carba uses the close collaboration between Atlan and the Terrans to turn the Regent in his favor because the computer can not understand such subjective concepts as friendship: it bases all its decisions only on facts.

Carba is proclaimed the new Imperator and his first act as Arkon’s supreme ruler is a treacherous one: he orders the arrest of Atlan! As a result, the old Arkonide begins a race against death to reach the surface.

At his end, Rhodan negotiates with Sansaro to ensure the Akonide’s neutrality during his attempt to save Atlan.

After many adventures, Atlan manages to regain the surface safe and sound. The mutants then enter into action and succeed in bringing Atlan safely aboard the IRONDUKE. The Terran squadron then executes an emergency takes off and successfully returns to the Sol System. Arkon, along with all its military power, is now under the control of the Akonides and, as a result, the Solar Imperium’s very existence is threatened.

Michael P. Mahoney 2007-10-21

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