1805 - Arsenal der Macht
Arsenal of Power
Peter Terrid

After they entered the silver mushroom cathedral on Trokan, Perry Rhodan, Reginald Bull and Alaska Saedelaere arrive through a fogbank at the "Bridge to Infinity", a ten meter wide bridge, which consists of solid black planks twenty centimeters thick. The fifty centimeter thick columns holding the Bridge up lose themselves in unrecognizable depths. The beginning and the end of the bridge are also not to be seen. While his companions feel uneasy and would clearly like to turn around immediately, Rhodan, on the contrary, feels comfortable where he is. As he proceeds along the bridge, he can observe planets, stars, black holes and the passing of whole galaxies.

The companions discover a blue and white striped backpack and after exactly one thousand two hundred seventy-nine steps arrive at the end of the bridge. Fog again coats the three Terrans. They appear before another mushroom cathedral, in which a nine kilometer long and seven kilometer wide space station is installed on an elliptical cross section. A closing bulkhead cuts Rhodan, Bull and Saedelaere off from a return to the mushroom cathedral. The inside of the abandoned station, which stands at an unknown location in intergalactic empty space, is nearly completely devastated by a fire. Water is not to be found anywhere. In the hope that their cell activators will neutralize any possible poisons, as once occurred with their kidnapping by the chairman of Plophos, the immortals finally quench their thirst with an unknown yellow liquid.

Many areas of the station contain miniatures of spaceships, weapons and other technical objects in countless niches under hardened extinguisher foam, which the Terrans initially regard as samples of a sales exhibit, particularly since the characteristics of the exhibits are mentally described, as soon as one approaches a niche. But defects are also announced in all the devices. In one hangar the companions discover a three hundred meter long, wedge-shaped, black spaceship, which is one hundred meters wide at the tail, forty meters high and has a thirty meters thick gold colored hemisphere in the nose.

In order to be able to investigate the space station better, the three cell activator bearers separate. Bull discovers a box in a niche, and in his mind the picture of a one hundred forty centimeter tall Myranian mercenary develops. When the Terran jokingly orders three hundred of them, the box grows into a barrack, from whose openings the dwarf sized humanoid Myraners rush out. While they attack Bull with battleaxes, it turns out that the warriors possess a second shadow, which can act independently of its original. Rhodan hurries to his friend to assist him and recognizes the fact that one can defeat the Myraner and its shadow by attacking the passive part of the duo in each case. Nevertheless the two Terrans threaten to be defeated by the tiny warriors, until the Myraners perish due to a painful malfunction in the barrack device.

Rhodan and Bull now realize that this is not a sample exhibition hall, but an arsenal of power. The two Terrans find its control center at one foci of the elliptical cross section of the space station. In a picture made up of numerous beads, the control brain shows a portrait of Rhodan.

Meanwhile a gelatinous covering has engulfed Saedelaere, who is in the proximity of the black ship. When the two other cell activator carriers finally leave the center and find their companion, Rhodan and Bull are also coated by the same type of material and lose consciousness. When they awake again, the gelatin has to a large extent dropped from the bodies of Rhodan and Bull. Rhodan is convinced that the radiation from their cell activator chips killed the amoebas, like his old cell activator once did with his son Thomas Cardif.

Robots carry the two immortals back into the center. The control brain welcomes Rhodan as a master of the arsenal and conveys mentally: "you are the one, who is to come here, in order to take possession of the arsenal of the Baolin Nda. But you came before your time." Because it takes ten thousand years before an arsenal like this is ready for its use, and before this arsenal will be available again, Rhodan came too late and too early.

On the instruction of the immortal, the control brain opens the bulkhead to the mushroom cathedral, which stands in the other focus of the arsenalís cross section. Before the two immortals leave the center, on the bead screen the brain shows them the honeycomb symbol followed by a flood of pictures of organisms, worlds, spaceships, galaxies and machines underneath the Kummerog temple on Trokan.

When Rhodan and Bull return to the hangar, Saedelaere and the black wedge spaceship have disappeared. The two friends turn to the mushroom cathedral, in order to go back to Trokan. Rhodan has firmly decided to use all the instruments of power of the GILGAMESCH to air the secrets of the arsenal.

Cedric Beust 2006-03-14

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