2261 - Jenseits der Hoffnung
Beyond Hope
Hubert Haensel

The SWORD is taken in piggyback by a white cruiser and is brought to Carya Andaxi's home world Gray Foam. At the moment there all the available ships of the Gray Foam Squadron are being gathered together. General Traver, the commander of the squadron, is not very friendly. In his eyes the people of the SWORD are useless refugees or better said madmen because they have the intention to attack the militarily far superior perfidious Protector Tagg Kharzani. Traver regards Rorkhete as a weakling and does not recognize Zephyda's claim to leadership. Of course he also refuses any help, if Rhodan and Atlan (who he regards as Motanas) want to attack Castle Kherzesch. The five hundred transition ships (T-ships) of which Traver disposes would anyway be not even a roughly sufficient armed forces for that kind of mission.

The Arphonie-Shozides have enough problems of their own, as it is. They serve Carya Andaxi, who has built up a shadow state since her exile in the hypercocoon and offered resistance to Tagg Kharzani. Approximately twelve planets of her shadow state were hidden up till now in artificial space time folds, but they have dissolved due to the hyperimpedance change. Therefore the worlds are now defenseless. The Kybb have quickly overcome the trouble linked with the raised hyperimpedance and press heavily upon the white cruisers with her new cylinder discuses. All Traver knows about the "space whales" is that they are called Hyperdimos and that they attack spaceships at random. Where they come from, what they are and what their intentions are, is unknown.

While the Arphonie-Shozides consult on their next actions, the SWORD is held on Gray Foam. Rorkhete, who has to suffer from the despising rejection by his fellow Shozides looks around a little on the planet. He meets some women and finds out from them that the local Shoziden are all the descendants of only two hundred individuals who had been on Gray Foam at the time it was trapped in the hypercocoon.

Now " fresh blood " is urgently required to maintain genetic variety. Rorkhete is just what the women have been looking for - he is to serve them as a breeding bull! On the one hand it is a tempting offer for the still young loner, but on the other hand, it is also a humiliation. Rorkhete refuses, but the women do not accept it. They lure him into an ambush and take for themselves by force what he was not ready to voluntarily give them. They also read and destroy Rorkhete's awkwardly written diary.

Meanwhile Rhodan and Atlan bring the Sentry Lyressea and the Oceanic Oracles into play. General Traver immediately recognizes whom he has before himself, but is obviously not impressed enough. Namely, as Lyressea ordered him to be put in contact with Carya Andaxi, Traver regretfully refuses. The reason for Traver's strange behavior reveals itself, as Gray Foam is discovered by the Kybb and attacked.

Because four Kybb-Titans also approach, any opposition is useless. The planet is destroyed in the fire of the Titans. The SWORD escapes together with Travers cruiser ELEBATO, to which it is still coupled, and the remaining Squadron. Now Traver reveals the truth: the planet was not Gray Foam at all, but a dummy meant to distract the enemy.

Jerry Schneiderman 2005-03-17

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