126 - Die Schatten greifen an
The Shadows Attack
Clark Darlton

In search of units of the robot fleet of the Arkonide Imperium that are drifting aimlessly in space, the ALDERAMIN is obliged to destroy three of them in order to ensure that they don't fall into the hands of the Springers. The CAESAR, which also is given the mission of searching for robot vessels, picks up Pucky and Iltu, a young female Ilt (mousebeaver), before getting under way for the search sector that has been allocated to it.

The CAESAR locates a squadron of eleven robotships and sends Lieutenant Germa and five men to open the robot flagship’s main hanger lock and to take possession of it. The gazelle of the lieutenant is taken over by invisible hands and moves out of control into inter-galactic space. Pucky himself teleports to the robot super-battleship and discovers that it is in the hands of invisible beings which he has already had experience with on the planet Barkon many years before.

By teleportation, Pucky jumps to Lieutenant Germa’s gazelle that is now moving at maximum speed toward a nebula outside of the Milky Way (turns out that this nebula is the Andromeda Galaxy). After having unblocked the gazelle's controls by means of Pucky’s telekenesis, they return to the CAESAR only to discover that the invisible opponent has penetrated into the Terran vessel.

However, before the CAESAR was taken over, a large number of Terran commando teams had already disembarked in order to take control of all eleven robot vessels. Thanks to the help of Iltu, the invisible opponent records more losses than the Terrans. It was during this time period, that the phantom beings managed to take possession of the CAESAR while using an unknown weapon to knock the entire crew unconscious. Sergeant Gork manages to penetrate into the CAESAR before the phantoms succeed in getting the ship under way.

After having warned Perry Rhodan by hypercom, Pucky and Iltu teleport aboard the CAESAR that is still moving away at maximum speed. With the help of Lieutenant Germa and Sergeant Gork, they are successful in reviving the crew but they are obliged to damage the propulsion system in order to stop the insane race of the CAESAR.

The crew of the CAESAR launches itself in a desperate defense against the phantoms, which, in turn, permits the IRONDUKE to arrive in time to rescue them. Rhodan uses a special device which can detect the ship of the shadow beings thereby enabling the Terrans to destroy it. Pucky seems to have a weak place in his heart for Iltu.

Michael P. Mahoney 2007-11-02

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