1966 - Der Schattenbruder
The Shadow Brother
Uwe Anton

The present. In Chearth. Vil at Desch is still prisoner of the Terrans. Mhogena convinced him that the Algiotic Hikers have been deceived and that the Solar Prison does not detain their god, Gaintanu, but the Solar Worms. The Scoctorian accepted to act as a mediator between the Galactics and the Algiots but only if he can be assured that he will receive a regular supply of Elcoxol. Meanwhile, his physical condition is deteriorating.

Using videos taken during the conquest of the Thagarum Mushroom Dome, the Terrans learn more about this substance : Vil at Desch had a special room filled with insects, called Myrdens. When he entered the room, the insects came to him and restored his skin.

A hundred years in the past. We learn about Mhogena's childhood. He was part of a nine brother family and was raised by Phisagon, his mentor, who mentioned to him the existence of another brother. Mhogena never met this "Shadow Brother" but received hints of his existence during his life. Mhogena soon developed skills as a Psi Reflector and decided to become a Master of the Sand. He proved his ability by being able to assist the other Masters of the Sand erect a protection field around their whole solar system.

The present. Only one hundred and twenty Myrdens have survived the attack. When they are used on Vil at Desch, the physical condition of the Scoctorian improves, but all the insects die shortly thereafter. Vil at Desch knows that the Terrans are once again out of Elcoxol so he still won't cooperate. Atlan consider creating a fake video of the Scoctorian talking to his people and asking them to stop fighting.

The past. Mohogena talks with the Master of the Sand leader, Botagho, who instructs him about the universe. Mhogena learns about the onion model, the super-intelligences, the matter sinks and the matter wells. He also learns that Nisaaru is the super-intelligence in charge of the region where Chearth is. Six thousand years earlier, the Nonggos were sent by the Thoregon coalition to Chearth and they built the Solar Prison, which is made of sixty suns. The Nonggo Fourth Messenger, Urid, nominated a Gharrian as Fifth Messenger. The title was then transmitted throughout the generations.

Phisagon takes Mhogena on board his ship to meet with Nisaaru. They finally contact the super-intelligence and Phisagon asks It about the whereabouts of the current Fifth Messenger, who hasn't been seen in decades. Nisaaru refuses to answer but expresses interest in Mhogena.

The present. Vincent Garron makes a quick appearance on the Merlin, and talks briefly with Tuyula Azik. He says he can't stay long and he must return into the Solar Prison, the only place where he actually feels good. Before the young Arkonid can convince him to stay, he vanishes again.

Cedric Beust

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