1977 - Transformation
Horst Hoffmann

January 2512. The Humboldt, a Terran ship, is patrolling in Eastside, the Blue sector. They are attacked by a Blue fleet and their ship is destroyed. Just as the last survivor, Lotho Keraete, is about to die too, he is rescued by an unknown ship.

He wakes up thirty days later in a base, orbiting a lonely sun called Goppler. A robot, which he calls James, explains to him that they are now in a double galaxy called Whirlpool. Lotho has been chosen for a mission but before he can ask more questions, he is put into a cryogenic sleep.

Lotho wakes up one hundred years later. James explains to him that Whirlpool is made of two twin galaxies, DaGlausch and Himmelreich, and that the super-intelligence IT has a special mission for him in the future. Meanwhile, a fleet of four hundred space ships has entered the system and they seem to be willing to establish themselves here. They are the last survivors of their race, which was exterminated by a vibration coming from the intersection of the two galaxies, an area referred to as "The Cauldron". They look like spiders and call themselves CawCadds.

The CawCadds notice the presence of the stellar base but they quickly realize they cannot get in. They start building an orbital city around it.

Lotho is put to sleep again. He is awakened several centuries later and he notices that his arm has been replaced by a prosthesis. James explains that the recycling device is not working optimally and that they had to make that replacement. They used an extremely resistant material for the operation. Future cryogenic sleeps will most likely result in more parts of his body being replaced this way.

Further observations of the CawCadds reveal that they are a hostile race : they make repeated incursions into DaGlausch and bring back prisoners, which they eat.

Several centuries later, Lotho is awakened again : the CawCadds are breeding some kind of moss on the hull of the base and it is beginning to erode it. Lotho investigates the matter and almost gets killed by the plants that are growing there, despite half of his body being now made of a reputedly indestructible material.

More centuries go by. This time, observations show that Whirlpool is being shaken by increasingly powerful vibrations from the Cauldron. IT eventually manifests itself. He says He will be needing Lotho soon in the Milky Way. The coordinates are in the center of the galaxy, in the middle of the big black hole.

The aggressivity of the CawCadds has increased because they can no longer find enough nourishment from the nearby planets. They start attacking the station. Using the moss, they breach into the hull and start destroying everything inside. Lotho has now almost completely turned into a robot. He manages to send a message to IT before the whole station is destroyed. Then he escapes in open space.

A huge (more than one hundred kilometers long) ship materializes and rescues him.

Cedric Beust

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