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143 - Für Menschen verboten
Humans Keep Out!
William Voltz


A team of scientists studies the facilities of the Mechanica civilization on the planet Surprise, in search of a means to detect the Laurins. On 7 March 2114, some Posbi ships emerge and attack the planet. The Terran surveillance squadron is forced to take flight. A damaged Posbi ship crashes on the planet and breaks apart upon impact. The staff on the planet is evacuated but five people are missing.

Those of the team who are missing, including a doctor Riesenhaft, are projected by a transmitter to another planet, soon named Fossil. They are welcomed by robots identical to those of Mechanica.

The natives of Fossil, later given the name Snoofs, live underground close to a city protected by the "guards ", who are in fact the robots. Schoepproït, one of the Snoofs, burrows an underground passageway that leads to the city. He is witness to the arrest of the Terrans by the robots of the city.

The robots only recognize two forms of life: life which comes from the stars and the mechanical life. The Terrans pass themselves off as mechanical beings like the robots by placing the artificial prosthesis of Dr. Riesenhaft before the robots for their examination. It is studied from every angle by the robots who finally free the humans. They escape from the city and approach a stream beyond which lives the Snoofs.

Terrans and Snoofs meet and get along well. The natives of Fossil even learn some words of the Terran language. The Terrans clandestinely return to the city by way of the tunnel dug by the Snoofs and finished by Schoepproït. They find a device allowing the Posbis to detect the Laurins. The robots realize that they had been fooled by the Terran scientists earlier and attack the intruders. The Terran leader, Loden, cuts the city’s energy supply, allowing them to flee.

After having started the power back up again, they find the hypercom which they then utilize to call for help. The station-relay FS-491 receives the message and transmits it to the THEODORIC. A squadron immediately arrives on Fossil and recovers the scientists.

Michael Mahoney 2011-08-25

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