2032 - Suche in der Silberwolke
Search in the Silver Cloud
H.G. Francis

Segafrendo, deep in the past: the SOL is on its way to the dark cloud Auroch-Maxo to retrieve a being with the mysterious designation Kym Jorier by order of IT. According to the information from the superintelligence, the future of mankind depends on the success of carrying out this order. The Auroch-Maxo system has been wrapped since its birth by ESTARTU in a silvery dark cloud. The dark cloud is almost spherical and still twenty light hours wide four hundred thousand after its creation.

Unfortunately, the Auroch-Maxo dark cloud seems to be the area of concentration of the Mundänes, because the SOL locates massive naval concentrations of the warriors from the galaxy Dubensys around the target area. Because the deadline for the task put to them is trickling down, Atlan has no choice. With a risky maneuver the SOL drops from hypertime shortly before the dark cloud and is immediately attacked by the Mundänes. When the barbell ship penetrates into the dark cloud, no more detection is possible due to the special structure of the cloud and the ships of the Mundänes cannot follow the SOL.

The deeper the SOL penetrates into the dark cloud, the less the ship’s sensors can pick up. But in that case, how is the SOL supposed to locate the coordinate point that is designated Auroch-Maxo 55? Atlan and the crew do not yet even know whether the term designates a coordinate, a planet or even a space station. For some time the SOL penetrates deeper and deeper into the silver cloud without being able to look intelligently for Auroch-Maxo 55. Without functioning sensors the barbell ship moves practically blindly forward.

In parallel to these events the SOL treasure divers at their work in the center section. The Dookie Necker Ravved and his team have returned to the cinders of the destroyed center section and dig out mysterious objects to the light of day. This time Ravved discovers a collection of objects, which faintly remind him of petals and piece together like a puzzle. Laboriously he frees them piece by piece from the ash and put the mysterious object together. When the object is seemingly composed, a strange event occurs. The object disappears into nowhere.

It is possible that the object has converted itself to psionic energy, because at the same time a reaction takes place with young Delorian Rhodan, who gives the signal to his mother Mondra Diamond to stop the SOL on its trip through the dark cloud immediately. Atlan gives in to Mondra’s energetically presented wish and stops the ship.

A short time later they come upon something in the dark cloud. The SOL bumps into the wreck of an ancient ship of the Rautak! Without Delorian’s warning, this meeting would never have occurred. Judging by the extent of the devastation, the wreck must have already been floating here in the fog for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years by the fog. Only the original ship’s hull and dimensions can be told.

Atlan instructs the treasure divers to examine the wreck, and they soon retrieve a heap of burned out computers. Atlan, who had hoped for far more is slightly disappointed. Nevertheless the Arkonide has the treasure divers work on the evaluation of the retrieved devices. With the help of Icho Tolot, SENECA, Tangens da Falcon and Myles Kantor, the specialists actually manage to read and restore some memory fragments of the destroyed devices.

One memory component shows a picture of a humanoid being that is said to be a Rautak and inhabitant of the Auroch Maxo system. The crew of the SOL learns details about the extreme changes, which were caused by spore clouds in the Auroch Maxo system. First of all, the reduced solar radiation led to massive climatological problems on the worlds of the Rautak. The crew of the SOL learns that the Rautak were working on a project with all the resources available to them to make a planet close to the sun Auroch Maxo 55 habitable by terraforming. At the end of the recording the crew learns that the resettlement supposedly failed and that the Rautak built a generation ship in a final effort to evacuate their most capable people to another solar system. This plan also seems to have failed, as Atlan easily recognizes by the wreck.

Shortly after this, it comes to another frightening meeting in the spore cloud. At a relatively small distance a gigantic object passes the SOL, which shows nearly planetary dimensions. It can only be one of the legendary S-Zentrant’s, one of the gigantic command ships of the Mundänen. In front of the S-Zentranten flies a blue cylindrical ship that is obviously leading the Mundänen ship. In the blue cylindrical ship, Atlan recognizes a vessel of the same type as was used by Cairol. Did that mean the force of Order had their hands in the game with the events in Segafrendo?

When the S-Zentrant disappears again in the spore cloud, a kind of freely floating hologram abruptly appears, directly near the cocoon delivered by IT, which is still in the Main Bridge of the SOL. The hologram shows the picture of a Rautak, which lifts both hands and introduces itself as an "envoy". The events are becoming much more mysterious and the crew of the SOL has only a few hours of time left to successfully conclude their task.

jerry schneiderman 2006-05-01

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