22 - Thoras Flucht
Thora's Flight (Ace Title: Escape to Venus)
Clark Darlton

(June 1981) While the earth celebrates the tenth anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon, Thora steals an experimental destroyer craft and streaks toward Venus, where she hopes to establish contact with Arkon, using the hyperwave sender in the Venus base. However, the ship has not yet been programmed with the proper authentication signals to be cleared for entry into Venus base. Her craft is shot down in the jungles, where Thora and the robot pilot R-17 fall in with Sergeant Rabow, one of Tomisenkow's men, dispatched to investigate the crash.

The Russians stranded on the moon have broken into several warring factions, and Rabow is considering abandoning Tomisenkow and joining the rebels, who have determined they will stay and colonize Venus, rather than continue the generalís effort to capture the technology of Venus base and use it to conquer the earth. Having turned Thora and R-17 over to Tomisenkow, Rabow and his company are sent to investigate fighting at the rebels' settlement.

Rhodan, John Marshall, and Son Okura pursue Thora in a second of the experimental destroyers, and like Thora, are shot down in the jungles by Venus base's defenses. Investigating the fighting around the rebel settlement, they, too, are found by Rabow. A third faction of Russians, the "totalitarian pacifists," led by Lieutenant Wallerinski, has attacked, and virtually wiped out the peaceful colonists. They turn next to Tomisenkow. Rabow and Rhodan escape, rejoin the mutants, and rush to warn Tomisenkow and to free Thora.

Bull approaches Venus in a Good Hope class cruiser, but the positronic brain has reacted to the (assumed) attacks by activating "secret barrier X," a defensive shield that prevents anyone from entering Venusí atmosphere. Only an Arkonide or Rhodan, entering the base itself, can deactivate the shield.

Recognizing what a prize he has in Thora, Tomisenkow tightens security around his camp. These defenses kill Rabow and wound Rhodan as they are approaching. Rhodan resolves to make his way to Venus base. He sends Marshall ahead to the sea, hoping the telepath can establish contact with the semi-intelligent seal creatures (who they had met and assisted in Heft #8: Base on Venus), and gain their assistance crossing the sea.

Mark J. Golden 2007-08-26

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