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1650 - Flugziel Große Leere
Destination - The Great Void
Horst Hoffmann


The BASIS and a fleet of allied ships are taking part in one of the greatest exploration missions. They are travelling from the Milky Way to the Great Void where the Ennox Philip says a great mystery awaits discovery.

To aid the journey, a series of supply bases are being built by robots. Coma-1 is settled on a world 16 million light years from Earth. The second, Coma-2 is built in the void between galaxies, some 44 millions years distant.

Atlan confides to Theta of Ariga that he doesn't entirely trust Philip and thinks the Ennox may have his own hidden motives for this mission. He is also concerned that the direction they are travelling takes them back to some grim times in the past - Seth Apophis, the endless Armada and the Frost Ruby.

Coma-3, their third base is the first to get a nick-name, Evolution. The third of nine planets, it is 63 million ight years into their journey. While supervising the robots, Robert Gruener has one of his key robots destroyed by two members of the ground troops that accompany the mission. For Robert, this is a deeply distressing as the robots are like children to him and he is already upset at leaving some behind at each base.

As the months go by, the moral of the expedition drops, the long isolation, the lack of contct, wears down on even the strongest. Coma-4 is set up on an icy moon in a small stellar cluster. They suffer the first deaths, six humans die after leaving to visit a nearby oxygen world. Coma-5 is another base set into the void, a 100 million light years into the journey. The halfway point of the voyage has been reached.

Just before the start of the sixth part of the journey, the mysterious Philip materializes on the bridge of the BASIS, keeping his promise to meet them on the way. He is in a strange mood, mocking that they have come so slowly, that each day not at the destination is a day lost. Rhodan tries to get Philip to say if there is some threat waiting for them, but as too often in the past, Philip is evasive - but for a moment the mask crumbles - there may be a threat. Then the strange creature is gone again.

Two crew members are found dead just before the start of te jump, they could no longer take the isolation and had killed themselves.

While Coma-6 is being built, Rhodan takes his ship the ODIN on a detour to keep a rendevouz with the Arcoanans and their ship LAMCIA. But they are delayed. They had been searching for descendents of their people and found only ruins.

Galaxy NGC 4793, supposedy without any significant technological civilizations might just be the base of a super intelligence or something equally as strange which reacts to the 'invasion'. There is a confrontation with alien ships but no shots are fired - though there may have been an attempt to influence some or all of the expedition through psychic means which failed.

14. January 1206 NGZ, the explorers are now 225 million light years from Earth. They have finally arrived.

Andrew Fullen 2007-09-12

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