1961 - Ein Sechstel SENECA
One sixth Seneca
Arndt Ellmer

On board the Sol, the Terrans are busy trying to find a way to destroy the Nano-Column that is corrupting Seneca. The computer is locking them out of the vital parts of the ship. Seneca is made of six independent parts separating the positronic from the hyperimpotronic parts. They decide to try two strategies : damage the Hypercadence engines and severe the links between the different sections of Seneca, hoping that this will lessen the impact of the Nano-Column. Tautmo Aagenfelt is asked to resume working on his Hypercadence radar, so that they can know at least where the Sol is headed.

The Terrans split in several groups and, communicating in Ayindi language so that the Nano-Column can't understand them, they proceed to execute their plans. Tautmo Aagenfelts completes the Hypercadence location device and finds out that the Sol is headed towards the center of the Milky Way. The commando in charge of destroying the Hyptertakt engine fails, and the Terrans have to deplore the first casualties. However, Monkey is successful in his attempt to isolate the six parts of Seneca. The explosion has made each part independent and all sections except number three now respond as the original Seneca. Section three is no longer responding and it turns out that the explosion destroyed the Nano-Column. Seneca informs Rhodan that if they had waited a few more hours, the Nano-Column would have infected the six sections.

The Terrans resume a normal discussion with Seneca and they try to understand why the ship is headed towards the Black Hole in the center of the Milky Way. First they assume that Shabazza wants the Sol to enter the Black Hole, as the Tolkandians did not long ago. As they are approaching the Black Hole, a gigantic structure of sixty on thirty-three kilometers emerges. Rhodan immediately suspects that it is Materia.

The Sol is attracted to Materia and Seneca is helpless trying to diverge its course. Muel-Chen, the emotionaut, cadences the command and turns on all the engines. The Sol hits the 50% light speed shortly before colliding with Materia and the ship disappears in Hypercadence space.

Asked about the intentions of the Nano-Column, Seneca tells Rhodan that first, it was supposed to transmit all the information it had stolen about the defenses of the Sol System to Materia. And then, the crew would have received implant chips that would have turned them into slaves of Shabazza. Moreover, a "high-rank" super-intelligence has found shelter in the Black Hole but Seneca doesn't know more about it.

Cedric Beust

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