21 - Der Atomkrieg findet nicht statt
Menace of Atomigeddon
Kurt Mahr

(June 1980) Returning to earth, the Stardust collides with a fleet of 200 Eastern Bloc spacecraft, in route to reinforce Tomisenkov's troops on Venus. (The primitive technology at the Russians' disposal is incapable of radio contact between the Earth and Venus, and, under the best of circumstances, five to ten percent of the ships will fail to successfully land on the distant world, and those that do survive will be incapable of returning to Earth until resupplied by another transport.) The Stardust is unharmed, but 34 Russian ships are destroyed and the squadron commander, Major General Pjotkin, is killed. The remaining ships have no choice but to remain on course for Venus, to be stranded there.

Rhodan had left the New Power on earth under the control of his deputy, Colonel Michael Freyt. But fearing that the almost limitless power of the Arkonide technology might tempt even so stalwart a deputy to abuse his position, Rhodan had secretly imposed a post-hypnotic block on Freyt, preventing him from using the forces at his disposal to intervene in world affairs, unless Galacto City was attacked. It is for this reason that Freyt has not intervened to prevent the revolution in Russia that brought Fedor A. Strelnikov to power.

Through a combination of psychological warfare tactics and limited shows of force, Rhodan foments uncertainty and counterrevolution in Russia. Major Derringhouse is Rhodan's principal agent of discord, assisted by a Russian fighter captain who has been persuaded to join the New Power’s cause, Captain Jaroslaw Afimovich Welinski. Derringhouse is successful in capturing Strelnikow and the renegade Russian Supreme Council, but not before the dictator's right hand man, Marshall Sirow, kills Welinski.

In the meantime, Rhodan has convened a meeting of the governments of the Asiatic Federation and NATO countries, which together establish a world tribunal, entrusted with the task of safeguarding human rights across the earth. Australian Frederick Donnifer is named Chief Justice of the tribunal. On June 16th, the tribunal indicts the leadership of the Russian Soviet Council for its crimes against basic human rights. Derringhouse surrenders the prisoners to them on June 19th, which Rhodan declares a holiday in the New Power. Further, in the hopes that these events are prelude to the unification of all the peoples of the Earth, Rhodan renames Galacto City Terrania.

Mark J. Golden 2007-08-26

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