1442 - Die grauen Eminenzen
The Gray Eminences
Kurt Mahr

The Perseus, the Cassiopeia and the Barbarossa reach the Vaasurian world Kaalix, the second planet of the Maurooda sun. The neighboring black hole is called Bousholl, and it is a fully functional black star gate. The Galactics are received with respect on Kaalix and they soon receive the visit of three Cutenexians called Pontima Scud, Algebeyn Nugud and Barracn Zcam. They call themselves the administrators of the Black Star Paths but they don't know anything about Illu Siragusa and the Narga Sant.

While Tifflor is struggling diplomatically with the Vaasurians, the Barbarossa, whose crew is mostly made of free traders, leaves orbit and disappears. Tifflor suspects that the disobedience to his orders was led by Ferr-Moon, who has disagreed with the Terrans even since they left Phoenix. Felmer Lloyd learns telepathically that the Vaasurians, who have grown increasingly suspiciousof the Terransafter the disappearance of the Barbarossa, serve a people called the Bnescorres.

Pontima Scud tells Tifflor that a race called the Gimtras can probably answer his questions and he offers the Terran to join him on his ship and make the trip to Mareesh, the main Gimtras world. Tifflor accepts but is asked to not be accompanied with any of his mutants.

Tifflor boards Pontima's ship, the Armanpuara, and they enter Bousholl to emerge in the black hole Cintexx, next to a red giant called Gamquam, in the center of the Neyscuur galaxy. On Mareesh, Tifflor meets Gion Shaub Ayn, who recognizes the names Narga Sant and Illu Siragusa, even though the young lady disappeared in the black hole that now carries her name more than seven hundred years ago. The Gimtra explains that the Galactics need to understand the wisdom of the Anorees, the real creators of the Black Star Path, and which the Vaasurians call the Bnescorres.

During their stay, the Terrans feel that they are being spied on and they manage to capture three mysterious humanoids called Degruum, Gavval and Shyrbaat. They are Anorees and Degruum explains to Tifflor that he thought the Galactics were actually Cantarui and that he's the one who sent Pontima Scud in order to bring them to him. Of course, Tifflor immediately connects the Cantarui with the Cantaros and he asks for details.

Degruum says that the Cantarui came from the Anorees millions of years ago but they diverged from their origin because they were trying to optimize their bodies with mechanical, psionic and genetic means. Since they left so long ago, the Anorees have no way of knowing what the Cantarui look like, which is why they suspected the Galactics.

Degruum tells Tifflor that he will learn more about the Narga Sant, Illu Siragusa and the Cantarui if he joins him on his spaceship, the Yalcandu, on a trip through the Blak Star Paths.

Cedric Beust 2010-03-17

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