18 - Die Rebellen von Tuglan
The Rebels of Tuglan
Clark Darlton

A mutant mouse-beaver (unlike the others, he suffers no diminution of intelligence at night) stows aboard the Stardust. His playful interference (via telekinetics) with the shipís control as it goes into a hyperspace jump sends the Stardust to the planet Tuglan, rather than returning it to Vega. Tuglan is an Arkonide colony, governed by an Arkonide High Commissioner, Rathon, and native Lord of Tuglan, Alban. (The Tuglanian race itself is descendent from an earlier Arkonide expedition that had settled the planet twelve thousand years earlier.) Rathon suffers from the same general decline as the rest of the Arkonides, as well as from leukemia. Although the Tuglanians enjoy peace and freedom, Alban sees the degeneration of Arkon as an opportunity to revolt against Arkonide rule. His younger brother, Daros disagrees with this plan. Albanís operatives succeed in destroying critical communications facilities, cutting Tuglan off from contact with Arkon.

The stowaway mouse-beaver, Gucky, is discovered on board the Stardust, and John Marshall is able to communicate with it telepathically. Following a course of hynotraining, it is able to speak and be understood by the crew.

Rhodan and his team disguise themselves as Arkonides in order to protect the secret of the earth's existence. Alban implicates his brother Daros as the rebel leader and succeeds in casting grave suspicions upon him. When Rhodan is ready to expose him, Alban successfully captures Rhodan, Crest, John Marshall, Rathon and Daros.

Meanwhile, Karolan, leader of an underground, counterrevolutionary force loyal to the Arkon high commissioner and seeking to expose Alban and replace him with Daros, launches an attack on the palace. With the assistance of Gucky, Albanís forces are defeated, and order is restored on Tuglan.

Rhodan and the Stardust depart for Vega.

NOTE: In the Ace English language edition, until the final pages, the character Gucky is referred to as ďEmbyĒ (from m.b. for mouse-beaver). Series editor Forest J. Ackermann added an episode on the final page, in which a character absent from the German original, Spaceman First Class Phillip Callen, jokingly refers to the mouse-beaver as a veritable Puck, making reference to that character in A Midsummer Nightís Dream and Rhodan rechristens the mouse-beaver Pucky. Ackermann had conducted a contest in which readers were invited to suggest new names for Gucky. Because Forryís only copy of the editorial for the Ace Edition announcing the contest winner was lost during production, the contest winnerís name was never explicitly announced. Ackermann is reported to have indicated in conversations many years after the fact that the winning entry was from a reader named Phillip Callen, and that he had used the winnerís name in the story as part of his prize. The accuracy of this anecdote is not documented anywhere, however.

Mark J. Golden 2007-07-13

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