1400 - Götter der Nacht
The Gods of the Night
Kurt Mahr

The Cimarron approaches the Hyperion-Alpha point at the fringes of Hangay, with the rest of the fleet, on March 10th, 448. Benneker Vling appears and explains that even though his assignment is complete now that Estartu has been reborn on Narna, he's been sent on another mission because the structural shocks due to the materialization of Hangay in the Milky Way are causing disturbances that are increasing in amplitude. Sato Ambush and Eirene find out that the cosmonucleotide Dorifer is trying to get rid of the extra mass in order to isolate itself.

On their way to X-Door, the fleet goes through several waves of structural shocks and is displaced 12,000 light years from their planned course. They end up in an unknown star cluster and suddenly, Vling disappears with the words "It's the end, farewell, you will not...".

The crew wakes up prisoners on a planet and realize that they have been psychically neutralized by Hauris. When Rhodan talks to them for the first time, he's surprised to discover their captors, called Khorras, hardly identify themselves to Hauris. They serve fourteen "Gods of the Night" and they want to convert their prisoners to this religion as well.

The Khorras have reverted to a primitive cultural level and they have no knowledge of the Lord Heptamer nor of the Hexameron. A Khorra scientist called Kabaul explains to Rhodan that these fourteen gods are actually fourteen lights in the sky. Inexplicably, these lights appeared 25 generations ago and have been immobile in space ever since. Rhodan doesn't believe the scientist at first but pictures taken by telescopes confirm the story. When Rhodan asks to see these lights himself, Kabaul tells him the lights disappeared from the sky pretty much the same day Rhodan and his companions arrived on the planet.

Rhodan suddenly understands what happened: the structural shocks captured the galactic fleet in a stasis field and held them prisoners for years, thus creating the fourteen Gods of the Night. After a few quick calculations, the Terrans realize that they've been in stasis for 695 years...

The Terrans leave the system and calculate that the Strangeness constant between the two universes has since stabilized to close to zero. The exact date is now March 17th 1143, and the Terrans decide to head for X-Door where Rhodan hopes to find a message from the Base.

Cedric Beust 2006-03-11

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