1261 - Devolution
Ernst Vlcek

After losing the fight against Gesil, V'Aupertir returns to Camp, the last base of the Decalogue of the Elements, and Thinker, its syntronic computer, recommends to get Stalker as an ally in order to destroy the Moebius satellites and the hexadim pulses around Aertham, which should stop his devolution.

The first step of the devolution strikes and V'Aupertir is brought back to the Age of the Second Silence, where he is now clled Llyn'Vough, one of the first V'Aupertirs who separated their body from their consciousness. Llyn'Vough suddenly realizes the presence of another being in his consciousness and is shocked to realize that the newcomer is none else than Perry Rhodan.

Now merged with the Man of the Element's consciousness, Rhodan relives his history and the flight of the Ark, which was a spaceship bigger and more powerful than the Machines of the Decalogue, Parsfon and Klongheim and even the Loolandre. The close proximity of a super-intelligence about to turn into a Matter Sink gives the V'Aupertirs the ability to zero-dream. With their aspiration to become a super-intelligence themselves at some point in the future, they are outraged when they are asked by the Cosmocrats to become guardians of a region of the moral code, a task they deem unworthy of their standing. When Llyn'Vough hears about the Negasphere, it occurs to him that exploring it would be a task of cosmic importance that might get them the privilege to turn into a super-intelligence, so he convinces his people to head there.

On the Base, the failed attempt to activate the Chronofossil has caused the partial dissolution of the Porleyer anchor, which is creating phenomena known as Time Spots: people randomly disappear and jump a few minutes in the future. Time Spots immobilize the Base since they can't take the risk of somebody reappearing in the middle of space, and the crew realizes that the duration of the time jumps is increasing every time.

The failed activation of the Chronofossil ripples throughout the Milky Way and until the Earth, where objects disappear suddenly before showing strange white spots, a phenomenon called Space Mold.

Llyn'Vough arrives in the Solar System and convinces Stalker to meet on Acheron, one of Jupiter's moons. Aware of Llyn'Vough's condition, Stalker listens to his plan: by striking the Porleyters, Stalker would be able to achieve something that would serve them both since it would be a blow to the Cosmocrats. Llyn'Vough offers to Stalker complete access to his base, Camp, which he says is located in orbit of the sun Outside. With it, Stalker could attack the Moebius satellites and the hexadim pulses, and everybody would suspect the Man of the Elements.

Then Llyn'Vough leaves and heads for the Earth where he intends to hide until Stalker has stopped the devolution process.

One week later, Llyn'Vought learns that Stalker led a Galactic fleet toward Outside and destroyed his base by turning the dying sun into a nova.

Cedric Beust 2005-03-29

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