127 - Zwischen den Milchstraßen
Between The Galaxies
Kurt Mahr

Since a conference took place in May 2012, humanity has tried to prepare itself to meet completely foreign civilizations from galaxies other then the Milky Way.

The BOB-21 station, whose role is to supervise a sector of space 5000 light years beyond the outer edge of the Milky Way, detects explosions and hypercom broadcasts, all signs of a fight in its immediate neighborhood (around 400 light years away). One of the messages is deciphered and reads as, "are you a true life form?" Alerted, Nike Quinto takes off with his team aboard the JOANN on May 2, 2112 and travels first to the station itself, and then to a position relatively close to the station (around 200 light years away).

He decides to answer the alien message with "Yes, we are a true life form". Shortly afterwards, the distant battle stops and soon a damaged vessel appears and heads, completely out of control, straight toward the BOB-21.

Eric Furchtbar, the commander of the station, manages to activate the station's navigation rockets and, in spite of an enormous shock wave which plunges everybody into unconsciousness, saves the station from destruction. A fter having regained consciousness, Eric Furchtbar and another crew member, Art Cavanaugh, witness bizarre events: a strange communication is sent by hypercom and the rate of oxygen consumption in the station is higher than normal. Eric sends a message to Nike Quinto: "Unknown invisibles aboard".

The "Invisibles" divert the station’s generator energy for some other, yet unknown, purpose. In spite of his instincts, Art Cavanaugh is not able to fight off the phantom beings but succeeds in giving the alert. The fight against the phantoms does not go well and the crew of the BOB-21 must evacuate to the JOANN with the help of the station's matter transmitters. Eric Furchtbar decides to remain aboard after having realized that the phantoms spied on them and now know how to use the matter transmitters.

Meech Hannigan and Ron Landry, both disguised as robots, return to the station and recover Eric Furchtbar after a particularly violent confrontation with the phantom beings. Together, they discover that the stations transmitter generator energy is being utilized to reinforce the defense screen of the station - probably in preparation of an attack by their initial enemies. It is at this moment that the hostile vessel arrives in view of the station.

The invisible phantoms, now the new masters of the BOB-21 station, open fire on the unknown vessel without producing the least damage. This unknown vessel apparently has power available to itself which is far superior to the BOB-21. Eric Furchtbar, Ron Landry and Meech Hannigan attempt to flee to the JOANN with the help of the transmitters. The first two successfully arrive there but Meech has less luck and the transmitter sends him to an indeterminate place. The station is destroyed as a result of the assault by the strange vessel which then disappears without leaving a trace after the attack.

Michael P. Mahoney 2007-11-05

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