1993 - Vorstoß in den Kessel
First Steps in the Cauldron
Rainer Castor

Alaska Saedalere arrives in the vicinity of the Cauldron on board his Virtual Ship, the Kytoma. He is followed by seventeen other Virtual Ships. He spots an unknown object but cannot identify it.

On Wanderer, Bully is busy preparing the Sol for the trip into the Cauldron. He is contacted by the collective conscience of the dead mutants, who merged with It several centuries ago. John Marshall tells him that once they are in the Cauldron, the Paratron shields should never be activated. The five other super-intelligences have settled on Wanderer, big enough to host them all. Mondra Diamond explains to Bully that the six super-intelligences will form the Council of Thoregon. It then becomes clear to Bully that Pulse, the central place where Thoregon will exist, is actually the Cauldron of DaGlausch. The multitude of races that have converged towards the Thorrtimer system for shelter will become the multi-racial nation representing Thoregon.

It contacts Alaska and tells him about his mission : the eighteen Virtual Ships are needed by the super-intelligences to penetrate the Cauldron. They must be taken in the exact center of the maelstrom within ten days, or Thoregon will never be born. Each Virtual Ship will receive the spirit of a dead mutant as co-pilot, except Alaska who is assigned Harno, the mysterious black sphere that Perry Rhodan met several times over the past centuries.

While talking with Pucky, Alaska mentions the dimensions of the unidentified object he spotted earlier -- sixty kilometers -- and the mouse-beaver immediately realizes that it must have been a Cosmic Factory. Pucky is contacted by the spirit of Iltu, his former wife, who reassures him about the fate of the other Ilts : they all live safely within It's conscience.

The Sol penetrates inside the Cauldron and is submitted to extremely harsh conditions, which get worse as they get closer to the center. As the situation is getting desperate, Bully decides to activate the Paratron shield. The burst of energy sends them through the last barrier and they penetrate into the heart of the disturbance. Inside, they discover a colossal Mushroom Dome. Except for its twenty-three kilometers of diameter and almost niney kilometers in height, the Dome is exactly similar to those they have been using in the past.

Cedric Beust

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