2263 - Das Ding aus dem All
The Thing from Space
Arndt Ellmer

The hyperradio impulses radiated by the space probe have clearly not gone undiscovered: a cylinder disc ship by chance flying past near the system catches the impulses and approaches the planet Gray Foam. It becomes a danger when it approaches the planet's surface, because on gray foam all the cities and facilities are under the water and a screening mechanism was integrated into this sea, so that energy emissions are hardly to be located from above water. The Kybb ship is only destroyed when it comes underneath the security distance. Because only purely mechanical weapon systems are used, the hostile ship does not explode, but breaks up in numerous parts, some of them relatively large. Certainly, a revealing energy flare was avoided in this way, but at the same time there exists the danger that somebody could have survived in the bigger debris pieces. Search parties are sent out, but suddenly the contact with them breaks off. It is soon certain: one of the feared Moto-clones has come to Gray Foam with the cylinder disc.

The Moto-clone is a robot android mixed being fitted out with his own consciousness by the name 109. He was built by Technits and is essentially an endoskeleton, which consists of 32 million multi- functional elements as well as a decentralized brain which is distributed in an eightfold redundancy about the whole body. The whole thing is wrapped up by a kind of flesh covering, which can regenerate itself, while it takes substances for the new formation from his surroundings. The whole thing reminds one of an upright walking reptile with two arms and two legs which is 2.9 meters tall, 2 meters wide and 1.95 metric tons heavy. Certainly, a part of 109's endoskeleton was destroyed during the crash and most of his extensive weapon systems irreparably destroyed, but he can take losses of up to 20 million endoskeleton elements without being limited in his basic functions and is still a combat unit that can take on whole armies. Because his hyperbroadcasting station has failed, his highest priority consists of taking control of such a device from the inhabitants of Gray Foam, because from radio messages he caught, he knows where he is. Certainly, his protection screen projectors have also failed out, but the most terrible weapon of which a Moto-clone disposes still functions: the moto-shock. It is a psionic shock wave front which destroys all life in the radius of several kilometers, but s ineffective against biotronics. It also drains 109 of most of his energy. The psionic source cell discharges entirely and must be loaded again (which does not take long, however), before a moto-shock can be released again.

With this weapon 109 develops in into a great danger for Gray Foam within a short time. On his search for a hyperbroadcasting station the moto-clone namely pursues still other goals: to gather information on Gray Foam, to cause as much damage as he can and to kill Carya Andaxi, or if possible to abduct her. In his travels, 109 discovers large hatches in the sea bed that must hide something. They have clearly not been opened in thousands of years. As he moves along, nothing seems to be able to stop the moto-clone on his campaign of destruction. Many thousands of living beings are killed when he destroys a submarine sphere (one of many undersea cities). But then Rhodan and Atlan, who believe their cell activator chips can protect them enough from the moto-shock, set up a trap for their opponent. They present themselves as bait, and at the crucial moment a group of Schota-Magathes are to teleport the moto-clone into space. The plan succeeds, but only with the second attempt. The first group of the Schota-Magathes falls victim to the moto-shock, but then 109 does not have enough energy for the second blow.

Another group of the Oceanic Oracles produces a teleportation rip funnel through which the moto-clone is flung into orbit around the sun where white cruisers hold him in custody with shackle fields.

Rhodan and Atlan, who barely survived the moto-shock, do not want to let the opportunity escape them to examine one of the most powerful weapons Tagg Kharzani has. The deaths of so many Schota-Magathes at once caused by 109, shock Carya Andaxi so hard that it finally tears her from her depression and lethargy. Certainly, she will not still intervene actively in the battle, but she will no longer oppose the wishes of the arrivals from Jamondi. She betrays to Rhodan and Atlan that the Paragon Cross was last seen in the Petaccha system, 51 light years removed from Gray Foam. Unfortunately, the system has long been firmly in the hands of Tagg Kharzani now. Carya Andaxi recognizes Zephyda as a Stellar Majesty. She will be Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the shadow government. Lyressea receives the function of an adviser with the power of veto over the Stellar Majesty. Zephyda then declares a union of the free people of Jamondi, the shadow government and the Terrans the alliance of morality.

Jerry Schneiderman 2005-03-29

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