14 - Das galaktische Rätsel
The Galactic Riddle
Clark Darlton

After the removal of the Topsider danger, Perry Rhodan and the Terrans concentrate more strongly now on the search for the world of eternal life. However they find no indications of inhabitants of the tenth planet of the Vega of system in the Arkon index of the ship’s positronic. The Ferrone scientist Lossoshér provides the crucial clue to a gap between the ninth and the tenth planets. Perry Rhodan realizes: Vega is missing a planet!

After this point the search for the beings, which live longer than the sun hits a blockade and Perry Rhodan turns to the next reference on the trail of the galactic mystery - the time vault on Ferrol.

After a short radiogram, in which Michael Freyt, as Rhodans deputy on Terra, is informed about the new developments, like the conclusion of trade relations with the Ferrons and the STARDUST II continuing to remain in the Vega system, Rhodan confers with Crest and Thora. The path they will follow is agreed upon. After the successful search for the world of eternal life, a journey will be made to Arkon. Firstly, the position of the Earth would be announced, and secondly the Arkonides would get home. Afterwards they would return to the Earth.

While the Terrans follow their path on the search, the Ferrone Lossoshér wants to follow up on his own theory. He is of the opinion, that the immortals wanted to fool the searchers, and maintains they would have removed an uninhabited planet from the system and established themselves on another planet or moon of Vega. Rhodan gives Sergeant Groll to him as an assistant, who will pursue this theory with Lossoshér.

While the two leave with a space hunter, the time vault is to be completely opened by means of the documents in the recently retrieved container, which the ship’s positronic decoded. A screen field is produced with a generator, which holds back the radiation of the radio stars, thereby allowing everything hidden in the future to return to the present. One of the things that return is a material transmitter with the capacity to carry several people. However, it is defective - the searchers are to prove that they are capable of five-dimensional thinking and repairing it, in order to be able to follow the trail.

To assist them, there is writing that appears on the back of the transmitter, which reads when translated: You will find the light, if your spirit is of the highest order. This indicates that the trail does continue.

With the help of the ship’s positronic a robot is programmed to repair the transmitter. On the next day Rhodan, Khrest, Frank M. Haggard, Anne Sloane, John Marshall, the robot and Reginald Bull go into the transmitter cage. After something resembling the pain of a very long range transition, the group appears in an enormous hall. Owing to Khrest’s photographic memory the only briefly lit up characters on the ceiling of the hall can be taken down. They send the robot back to the original hall and it returns to the STARDUST II to decode the new clue.

Meanwhile the other members of the investigation group are checked out by a mental structure scanner. They are then requested to continue looking around. All of a sudden energy arcs appear from an unknown source which sets two gigantic robots in motion. The group is trapped in a corridor between the two robots, which threaten to approach and crush them. Only Anne Sloane’s telekinetic abilities can free them from the trap. However Anne is too weak to fight off the second robot.

When the robot from STARDUST II returns by means of the transmitter, it brings along Betty Toufry, who puts the second robot out of action. The decoded writing says: Welcome to the center of the thousand tasks - nevertheless only one of them will bring you closer to your goal. With the removal of the second robot the transmitter suddenly disappears. Then hall begins to heat itself to unbearable temperatures.

The only place left cool is the location of equipment, which is recognized by Khrest to be a fictiv transmitter. According to markings, which are indicated with a glowing of its control buttons, Perry Rhodan puts it into operation. The transmitter shifts a wall, behind which another, larger fictive transmitter becomes visible. The group finds another message that tells them they have only fifteen minutes to leave the hall before they will die. The control button of the fictitious transmitter lights up, but cannot be operated because it is protected by a locking field. The group figures out with only a few seconds to spare what is required. Betty Toufry presses the button in telekinetically. After the group dematerializes the center of the thousand tasks evaporates in an atomic nuclear chain reaction.

During their search on the outermost moon thirteen, Sergeant Groll and the Ferrone Lossoshér come upon a pyramid, whose inscription contains a reference to the immortals. There they also meet up with a shipwrecked Topsider. He threatens the two with its weapon and is shot by Sergeant Groll.

When the dematerialized searchers reappear in the fictiv transmitter within the time vault, they learn that during their four hour adventure, only five minutes had passed in the vault. With their arrival a bright ball begins to float down to the floor from the ceiling. In it is a capsule, which Perry Rhodan barely saves in time. Its content is a foil with coded characters, which must be decoded by the ship’s positronic.

Later on Lossoshér and Groll return, and report of their find. Rhodan determines that the pyramid represents a detour in the galactic mystery, and is meant for those who have lost their way from the direct route. He however intends to take the direct path.

Jerry Schneiderman 2005-11-30

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