129 - Atombrand auf Mechanica
Atom Fire On Mechanica
Clark Darlton

To solve the unknown robot mystery, Perry Rhodan looks for information on Mechanica. He leaves on June 5, 2112 with a squadron to install a base on Mechanica with the help of the Mutant Corps. Everyone involved in the mission will be equipped with a mental-absorber in order to avoid being recognized as organic creatures - everyone that is except for Putzi, a gigantic cat originally a half-telepath from another planet, who serves in fact as a "guinea pig".

On Mechanica, five technicians, Ras Tschubai, Pucky and Iltu begin the installation of a transmitter. Pucky and Putzi leave on a "reconnaissance mission" and they fall victim to an unusual meeting. Through the finished transmitter, Perry Rhodan arrives and is informed of the disappearance of Pucky and Putzi. Perry, Ras and Iltu leave to look for Pucky and Putzi.

Pucky and Putzi have in fact been paralyzed by robots who take them to a secret chamber under one of the ruined cities on Mechanica but they are rescued by Perry and Iltu. After returning to the base, Claudrin warns Rhodan that five ships of the Laurins - an old legendary Germanic name given to the Invisibles - approach. They initiate the total destruction of the planet by dropping from orbit bombs similar to arkon bombs. Shortly afterwards, three Posbi fragment ships hurry toward the Outside system.

The fragment ships destroy the five Laurin ships, however one of the fragment ships is damaged severely and crashes on Mechanica. Immediately, Perry Rhodan gives Vassilov, the commander of the Terran squadron, the order to attack and to destroy the two remaining fragment ships with the help of five-dimensional bombs (gravity bombs). These bombs prove to be extremely effective. Rhodan and the commando team on Mechanica arrive at the crash site of the fragment ship and use their mental-absorbers to fool the robots.

All the robots of the wreckage are taken without resistance, since they don't detect any organic life, until the moment Putzi appears on the scene. A combat robot immediately reacts and reduces the tiger-cat to ash with one of its energy weapons. Pucky disobeys the orders of Rhodan by completely destroying his friend's murderer. Perry, feeling responsible for the useless death of Putzi, asks Pucky to forgive him but Pucky, deeply hurt, doesn't want to hear anything from Rhodan. During this time, the wreckage of the fragment ship is cut up into blocks and then stowed on the Terran salvage vessels. When Perry Rhodan goes for a walk in order to think about recent events, the soil of the doomed planet collapses under him.

Rhodan, after a dizzying slide, arrives in an ancient underground defense base of Mechanica. Trapped underground with no visible way out, Rhodan realizes the progression of the atomic hell initiated by the Laurins is quickly advancing and will end up killing him in a very short term. On the surface, Reginald Bell and Ras Tschubai attempt to force Pucky from his apathy and rage so that he will search for Rhodan by telepathy. They are successful and, when Pucky finally captures Rhodan’s thoughts and understands his situation, he himself teleports to his friend's help.

When the last pieces of the fragment ship are onboard, Iltu informs Rhodan that at the time of her telepathic “sweep” that she carried out during the search for him, she captured impulses coming from the robots. First calm and logical, these thoughts quickly transformed into anger, then into rage and then, finally, into hate until the moment that she put her mental-absorber back on. This indicates that the Posbis are robots capable of autonomous thoughts and feelings.

The THEODORIC takes off and moves away from the planet which quickly changes into a nova and threatens to destroy the vessel. Only the quick reflexes of Claudrin permit the THEODORIC to avoid disaster. Later, Pucky and Iltu argue over the prospect of their eventual marriage.

Michael P. Mahoney 2007-11-26

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