1962 - Das Virtuelle Schiff
The Virtual Ship
H.G. Francis

In a distant past. In the Pharau galaxy, the planet Sphanka is doomed because of the imminent arrival of the Dorifer Pest. This plague will eventually gain the whole universe and so, Gabrel Gurh and his race, the Creators, have been trying to devise a way to flee to another universe. The Creators have the ability to teleport and reincarnate themselves into foreign bodies. They use this skill to explore the universes and learn about the other races. Sphanka, the planet he is visiting now, has only ten days to live before it is hit by the Dorifer Pest.

The present. Alaska Saedelaere is wandering through the Virtual Ship that kidnapped him. A beautiful woman appears to him and says that her name is Vaiyatha. The board computer inspected Alaska's memories and synthesized this hologram to establish contact with him. The ship is called Virtua/18 and the computer's name is Poran/18. The hologram refuses to disclose further information about their goal and their mission.

The past. The Creators are a small family of 322 people. They are now leaving Pharau and are heading towards the Karakhoum galaxy. As they are reaching it, one of them, Aba Ossaq, detects interesting psychic emissions from a nearby planet and invests the body of the emitter. They are furry bipedes called the Skaerhams, and they are at war with the Sharbanians. Another Creator dies in mysterious conditions and Gabrel Gurh orders Aba Ossaq to come back to the ship to be questioned.

The present. Vaiyatha explains that the Virtua/18 was the last ship that could escape the Baolin Delta Space before it was destroyed (the Delta Space was the home of the Baolin Ndas, the creators of the Thoregon coalition). Twenty ships were supposed to be built and each of them received the task to find its "K Factor", its pilot and master. Alaska and the ship have a task to accomplish in the DaGlausch galaxy, and more specifically in the so-called Cauldron region of space, where the two twin galaxies intersect. Right now, they must meet with the other Virtual Ships on the planet Duxic in Karakhoum.

Aba Ossaq is suspected of having murdered one of his race. He tries to defend himself but cannot convince his peers. He decides to leave the community. He teleports on board the Zatrium 235, a Truzenian ship navigating nearby and currently under attack by the Yac Reals, a lizard-like race. Exploring the memory of his host, Aba Ossaq gains insight about the current events in Kharakhoum and decides he wants to take an active part in them. But since the Truzenians are about to be destroyed, he leaves his current host and invests a Yac Real. The Yac Real fleet destroys the Truzenian war ship and vanishes into Kharakhoum.

Cedric Beust

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