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When The Stars Go Out
|Perry Rhodan refuses to take on any official role after the redistribution of the cellular activator chips. He wants to free up more of his time. Nevertheless, he remains active in the League of Free Terrans, the Galacticum and the Cosmic House. In 1187 he visits Truillau with the ODIN. He and his companions are poorly welcomed. After the Protector's disappearance, the different races are at war. Rhodan reaches the Sphere of Power of Estartu by way of the re-established transmitter link. A visit on Etustar is forbidden him. Then he leaves for Khrat in the Norgan-Tur galaxy where he tries in vain to meet Salaam Siin on Mardakaan. In the Dom Kesdschan he learns from Jen Salik and Lethos-Terakdschan that he will always possess the aura of a Knight of the Abyss and that the prophecy announcing the extinction of the stars after the end of the Knights of the Abyss is always valid. In addition, they tell Rhodan that the answer to the Third Ultimate Question is still valid and remains of great importance.
On 3 October 1189 NGE Reginald Bell and Julian Tifflor leave with the CIMARRON, the PERSEUS and the experimental vessel FORNAX for the galaxies NGC 398, 1399 and 1316 in the Fornax Cluster, which is 70 million light-years from the Milky Way. They want to study them and, at the same time, to localize the cosmo-nucleotide FORNAX-A. The duration of the expedition is set for five years. During a stopover in the dwarf galaxy Rumpelstilz, twenty-two million light-years from the Milky Way, the expedition comes upon a station of the Cosmic House on the planet Ofen, which was founded in 350 NGE by shipwrecked victims. In the station they find the tomb of an Arachnoid, who died because of the atmosphere that was harmful to him. A small vessel of the station has already left for NGC 1400 to make contact with this highly evolved arachnoid race.
When Bell and Tifflor’s expedition comes back after the discovery and examination of the cosmo-nucleotide, they find that the station on Ofen has been ravaged by the Arachnoids. The Galactics take the tomb of the Arachnoid on board and leave for NGC 1400. Once in NGC 1400, they discover that about forty years ago, seventy-three suns of the Arachnoid empire were artificially stimulated to become novae. A conical emitter has been installed to act as beacon. This beacon is taken on board of the Terran ships. This beacon leads them to the seventy-fourth system where an Arachnoid is discovered, hidden in the ruins. He commits suicide upon the approach of the Galactics. After additional research it is determined that the apparently extinct race received its intelligence from the Swarm millions of years ago. They reigned peacefully in their galaxy afterwards for a half million of years. After a flight of four and a half months the CIMARRON, the PERSEUS and the FORNAX reach the Solar System on 31 October 1199. Myles Kantor and Bell begin to study the Arachnoids and their technology in the former fortress of Leticron on Titan.
On 31 December the beginning of a new century is celebrated with great pomp. The next day Rhodan receives a warning from the nexialist Boris Siankow. He affirms that because of unexplained disruptions in the hyperphysical domain, the hyperespace is going to collapse. The prophecy on the extinction of the stars is going to be confirmed. Kantor, Siankow’s superior, doesn't believe it. He sends his nexialist colleague back to Earth.
On 4 January 1200 Bell relives the events in NGC 1400 by simulation. To repulse the humanoid Riins, a pair of Arachnoids converted themselves into the pitiless Sriins - in other words, they took on the behavior and the appearance of their aggressive forebears. They ultimately retired into an asteroid. Shortly afterwards they must have recognize that their people had disappeared. All the suns of their empire had turned into novae and their people had retreated. The male Arachnoïd then killed its companion and not long afterwards he was taken in by the small vessel from the Cosmic House station on Ofen, which he mistakenly took for the tormentors of his race. He arrived on Ofen, killed the members of the station and came back with the vessel into his system of origin. When the Galactics under Bell and Tifflor approached his hiding place he committed suicide in order to protect the reasons for his vengeance.
In the following days, several five-dimensional disruptions take place. On January 9 at 22:17 a fluctuation of the hyperspace takes place while Kantor is leading some hyperphysical experiments with the arachnoid technology on Titan. The hyperspatial constant and the speed of light take on new values. The breakdown of the hyperspace entails numerous disasters in the Solar System. To the surprise of all, Voltago, immobile in the house of Rhodan for the past twenty-six years, emerges on the ODIN. On the morning of January 10, Rhodan leaves with the ODIN in order to carry out some research in the hyperespace. At the same moment all devices functioning on a five-dimensional bases break down in the Solar System.
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