2259 - Tod von den Sternen
Death from the Stars
Horst Hoffmann

The RICHARD BURTON lands to do repair work on an Earth-like planet in the Parrakhon star cluster and remains there for eight days. During their stay there, Gucky works his way through a mental crisis. The physical injuries, which he suffered with the investigation of the spaceship wreck in the previous issue, have almost healed, but all his fur was burned off. Until the fur has grown again, Gucky will not allow his friend Bull to see him in the medical station. However, by the end of the eight days Gucky is back to his old self.

The evaluation of the logbook found in the wreck brings new findings: the spaceship had belonged to a part of Gon-Orbhon's forces, which were to have attacked Jamondi. At the moment when the hypercocoons were activated the voice of Gon-Orbhon fell silent, presumably because of the shock, which he had suffered by the fact that his "pipeline" to Sol was cut off. The now leaderless army in Parrakhon fell upon each other over the succeeding centuries and at last had activated the self-sufficient and decentralized weapon systems known today as Helix torpedoes.

On the planet, which the RICHARD BURTON uses as a repair stop live the last Cortezen. These short humanoid former support race of the Protectors of Jamondi have sunk back to a relatively primitive state of civilization. When a Corteze discovers the spaceship hidden behind its deflector screens and approaches it, it turns out that these beings can "see through" the deflector screens. In addition, Jerofe Gangan Ouwmar, the indeed fearing, but cheeky Corteze, has the special ability of "true dreaming". Thus he had already dreamed of the fact that a spaceship would land on his home world and bring death to the Cortezen. When he sees the Gurrads, he suffers a shock.

The Gurrads also cause more trouble when Bull brings them with him in the nearby Cortezen city. They suddenly attack the "weak" natives. Bull promptly incarcerates them, but the damage is already done.

A few days later many Cortezen succumb to a puzzling illness, which was brought - as the Terrans figure out just in time by the Gurrads. It turns out that the Guarrads are the descendants of the Cortezen who were not trapped in the hypercocoon. Although they developed to the point of being visually different, their diseases can still affect the Cortezen to the point where a cold virus is deadly. An antidote is developed, and the disaster is turned away. Jerofe closes a friendship with the mousebeaver, who is now completely recovered and joins the crew of the ship as the RICHARD BURTON continues its trip, having learned more about Gon-Orbhon's history.

Jerry Schneiderman 2005-03-05

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