- Landung auf Lafayette
Landing on Lafayette
On the marsh world Lafayette, the fourth planet of the Collore system lays the research base Camp Mirage, which is led by the Xeno-biologist Anja Shriver. Among others the base is manned by three former Beausoleils, Joseph Broussard Jr., Michael Doucet and Dewey Balfa. These veterans of the second Coma expedition had remained aboard the BASIS after its return from Hirdobaan and conversion into a casino around Sifterman III as entertainments officers, until they returned to Lafayette, the homeland of the Beausoleils, after Broussard had an accident in 1270 NGE. This accident resulted in heavy brain damage for Broussard. The injury could be diminished somewhat by the implantation of a chip, but could not be entirely cured. The slightly simple Lafayette boy Pepe is his constant companion.
On December 1, 1288 NGE - even as a LFT delegation, which is to decide on the continued operation of Camp Mirage, is arriving, a screeching staccato sound begins coming over the hyperradio receiver, and the whole staff of the base breaks down under terrible pains. Only Broussard seems to be immune to the foreign influence, and he succeeds in switching off the receiver. This leads to an alleviation of the tortures, however, can not prevent the death of the radio operator in charge of it. All the other people feel a disorientation and strong tickling headache, which seem to be caused by constant detection rays of an unknown origin.
The following day a spaceship is located by base from four hundred kilometers distance, which is approximately four hundred fifty meters long and is covered with prickly outgrowths. But the sensors can return only phantom like representations of the approaching ship. At the same moment the painful detection radiation also increases, so that it is clear that Camp Mirage has been discovered. Before the base is destroyed by three approximately twenty meter long "quills", Anja Shriver’s team is able to flee. Radio contact with Swamp City, the capital of Lafayette, is prevented by an interference field, so that no help can be called from there. During their flight through the marshes they come upon the LFT delegation which was also impaired by the detection rays.
When they try to reach the big spaceship, they discover some seven meter high domes which are fifteen meters thick and are fitted out with a multiplicity of vibrating aerials similar to quills. Three meter tall egg-shaped objects fly back and forth between these domes. Joseph Broussard Jr. succeeds in shooting one of these objects. Tough, evidently living green masses flee from it and disintegrate. Shortly after the object explodes.
A short time later, the egg-shaped try to drive the Terrans to the spaceship. When they resist, the things attack. Shortly after the small quill ships also intervene in the battle and kill the refugees. Only Broussard and Pepe escape the massacre. They head out int eh direction of Swamp City on December 7, 1288 NGE in order to report on the attack of the quill ships.
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