1252 - Start der Vironauten
The Departure of the Vironauts
Ernst Vlcek

Assisted by Krohn Meysenhart, Stalker describes the Wonders of Estartu's Twelve Galaxies.

The Elysian Rings or Erendyra (NGC 4649) are asteroid belts surrounding most of the planets of this galaxy which is one of the biggest of Estartu's Sphere of Influence.

The Heraldic Gates of Siom Som (NGC 4503) allow traveling between the worlds of the galaxy. An inner void in its center prevents any interstellar flight there.

The Markets of Shufu represent the warrior Shufu, who once tried to confront the Super-Intelligence by making a pact with the Cosmocrats but eventually rejoined Estartu and became the symbol of its allegiance.

The Dancing and Singing Worlds of Syllagar (NGC 4579) are part of the biggest galaxy of Estartu and populated by Nomads who regularly get together and create magnificent structures in space. Their songs can be heard on all frequencies.

The Lost Gifts of the Hesperides of Muun (NGC 4608) are the costly legacy that Estartu once gave the Pteur, the first people who ever met the Super-Intelligence.

The Warning Ephemereals are cosmic diaries that materialize randomly in the two twin galaxies Absantha-Gom (NGC 4567) and Absantha-Shad (NGC 4568) in order to warn travelers from imminent disasters.

Stalker doesn't give any detail on the Caledonian Hunts of the Orphic Maze of Trovenoor (NGC 4564).

It contacts Rhodan and tells him that before the Terrans can break away from the Cosmocrats, the Frost Ruby must be repaired. When asked about the location of Eden II in order to activate the last Chronofossil, he only gives very vague directions. Rhodan decides to look for Eden II with Taurec.

The Virus Clouds turn into Viroships fitted with Enerpsi drives. Irmina Kotschistowa boards the Esculape, a lab spaceship. Reginald Bull christens his Explorer and tens of thousands of Vironauts join Bull by connecting their Viroship to the Explorer, among whom Stronker Keen and Lavoree. Ten thousand astronautes board the Lovely Boscyk with Roi Danton, Demeter and the Sigan Cornelius Tantal, a former Storm Rider.

Still suspicious of Stalker's motives, Ronald Tekener asks Srimavo to use her psychic skills to recover his lost memory of the past events. In the meantime, Stalker gives Bull and Danton a Permit, which will allow them to travel freely within Estartu's galaxies. He also mentions the teachings of the Upanishad, a ten-step instruction program leading to a complete control of one's physical and mental potential.

Srimavo unleashes Tekener's memories which show that Stalker killed the crew of Tsunami-114. When Tekener confronts him with the support of a small army, Stalker goes berserk and neutralizes everyone. Later, he apologizes for his behavior and continues to claim his innocence, saying that when he found the Tsunami-114, the crew was already missing. He gives Tekener a Permit and the coordinates where he found the Tsunami, in Erendyra.

The Vironauts finally depart, all headed toward various destinations: Eden II, Estartu's Sphere of Influence, M 87, Gruelfin or in search of Naupaum.

Cedric Beust 2005-03-08

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