1809 - Hetzjagd durch den Hyperraum
Chase Through Hyperspace
Horst Hoffmann

In the periphery of the spherical star cluster M13 lies the penal planet Trankun, a hydrogen methane world of the Arkonide Crystal Empire, which serves for the development and production of biological weapons. On December 7, 1288 NGE Atlan frees one hundred sixty prisoners from this planet with two VESTA cruisers from the IPRASA. The IPRASA is an organization similar to the USO, which also helps itself to numerous, still secret bases of the United Stars Organization.

Among the released prisoners is Hermon von Ariga, a twenty-seven year old distantly related cousin to Atlanís former longtime companion Theta von Ariga, who is externally very similar to the Arkonide. He was on Trankun because his relatively insignificant resistance movement ďStrikers for ArkonĒ was captured five months ago by the empire. The VESTA cruisers return to Atlanís GILGAMESCH MODULE II with the proper name RICO. The RICO is equipped with five VESTA Cruisers, five Minor-Globes, ten space jets with thirty meters of diameter and twenty small jets. Its commander is the Arkonide Gerine, a former naval commander of the empire. She fell into disgrace and was sentenced to death on account of her refusal in 1279 NGE to attack an unarmed peace fleet of the Linguides which denounced the political developments and the threatening dissolution of the Galacticum in a protest flight. Atlan makes Hermon the fire control chief of the RICO, which returns to the GILGAMESCH in the Sol system.

Shortly after this, Atlan gets to know of the events on Lafayette. Other incidents with the hedgehog ships, now also called foreign ships, are also observed on Siga and Grampasz, a colonial world of the Blues. The cell activator bearers also associate the destruction of the PRETTY PLAID with the strangers and approach the space sector concerned with the GILGAMESCH. There Myles Kantor unsuccessfully investigates it with the new hyperspace-resonator. It is a device still presently in the testing stage, with which 5-dimensional resonances can be measured by which suns contrast in a characteristic way with the little background radiation of the universe. This resonator was what pointed out the unusual hyperstructures on Trokan to the activator bearers.

However, Myles Kantor does discover that there are two types of hedgehog ships. One type is four hundred fifty meters long and radiates the dangerous detection rays whose purpose seems to be it to deeply analyze foreign living beings. Kantor names this scanning a Tangle-Scan. The second type of hedgehog ships on the contrary is six hundred meters long and evidently serves as a battleship, which destroys all approaching ships.

On December 9, 1288 NGE the GILGAMESCH comes upon a four hundred fifty meter hedgehog ship which threatens the LFT planet Haparon in the Moron system. The RICO separates from the GILGAMESCH and attacks the hedgehog ship with transform cannons. The crew is exposed to the Tangle-Scan during the confrontation from whose effects the mousebeaver Gucky has to particularly suffer. The strangers remain undamaged by the attack, but nevertheless flee from the system. This begins a wild chase through hyperspace, until the RICO can finally catch the hedgehog ship and shoot it until it is no longer maneuverable. While the ship can able to send out a short emergency call in the direction of the Westside of the Milky Way, it is boarded by Atlan, Chief Engineer Kaha von Sceer, the sloop chief Sassaron and other seven companions.

The foreigners had withdrawn into the control room and secured it by an energy screen. When Atlan tries to make contact with the strangers, they blow up central section of the ship and themselves with it. In the nearly completely destroyed area, the combat patrol can now only find greenish scraps of flesh. While thirty six hundred meter hedgehog ships approach the wreck, it is caught with tractor rays by Atlanís ship and taken away.

jerry schneiderman 2007-01-21

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