136 - Bestien der Unterwelt
The Beasts Below
Kurt Mahr

A commando team of about ten Terrans led by Landry, Patterson, Hannigan and Randall disembarks on board of a Gazelle for Afzot. This planet, previously uninhabited, seems to now shelter an Akonide base which is detected quickly by Hannigan, the special Terran robot.

On Earth, Rhodan learns that the Akonides have agreed to negotiate an alliance with the Terrans in order to fight the threat posed by the Posbis. This is the result of an attack by a Posbi ship around Afzot which is repulsed by a solar squadron.

On Afzot, the Terran commandos comes nose to nose with a Draak, an animal which proves quickly to have escaped from the Akonide base: their suspicions were justified therefore.

Inside the base, two brown masses in two glass containers seem upset about the escape of the Draak. In one of the laboratories the Akonide Con-Ki continues her experiments on creatures which seem to have been made by genetic manipulations.

Meanwhile, the Terrans follow the ship that had originally pursued the Draak all the way back to the secret base and succeed in penetrating it. The commando team enters what seems to be a jungle inside the planet, with a normal gravity! It needs several hours to cross this forest and find shelter very close to a lake. The commando team wakes up under an artificial sun, which explains the jungle. They are then attacked by a species of spheres (balls) that enlarge themselves up to twenty meters of diameter and then absorb their prey; they manage to flee onto the lake on board of a boat found by Meech. The lake is revealed to be an interior sea populated by some very strange animals.

A scholarly Ara, Kule-Tats, begins an experiment on an unusual animal which looks like a piece of abdomen: in several minutes, he makes extreme variations to the climatic conditions of its aquarium without disrupting the animal.

Meanwhile, Con-Ki takes her boat in order to reach an island and continue her experiments.

The Terrans succeed in overcoming the dangers of the sea. Meech reveals to them the famous spheres of which in fact he recovered a specimen that he has been holding in his hand. Their density is 6 kg to the cubic centimeter and their matter doesn't come from our galaxy! After several hours of navigation they reach the island on which Con-Ki is and take her prisoner.

Kule-Tats departs his laboratory while leaving a message for the commander of the base informing him of the presence of a Terran commando team for which he intends to set a trap!

The commando team attempts to enter the headquarters portion of the base on Con-Kiís boat but, when night falls, the sea freezes and the prisoners are trapped when their boat becomes immobilized by the ice. They donít succeed in reaching land because while walking on the ice the sun rises and the ice begins to melt... The men are saved by Kule-Tats who wants to run away with them and who has already prepared their escape. He brings back with him the two brown masses that are made up of Posbi protoplasm!

The mission of the Terrans is a success and seven hours later Quinto informs them that the Akonides have agreed to negotiate: the attacking "box" ship of the Posbis has frightened them.

Michael Mahoney 2011-08-18

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