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2273 - Der gefallene Schutzherr
The Fallen Protector
Horst Hoffmann


Waiting for news on the attack on Gray Foam, the fallen Protector Tagg Kharzani ponders the past…

In the time before the Blood Night of Barinx, when Tagg Kharzani had not yet gone completely to ruin in insanity, a morbid craving for recognition and envy already poisoned his relationship with the other Protectors. He is of the opinion that they refused him the recognition entitled to him, and he therefore begins to produce a huge monument for himself: A huge castle complex of glorious palaces and other wondrous construction projects on the planet Kherzesch. With time, Kharzani who is a mortal being, develops an overpowering fear of death and with it a mania to pursue immortality, in contrast to the other Protectors. Indeed, his aging process ends up strongly slowed down by Enkrine, an intelligent symbiont which lays down like a second skin around Kharzani's body. However, this is not enough for Kharzani. In addition, he grows tired of the Symbiont because of its constant stream of moralizing comments. As one component of his castle complex, Kharzani has a Stellar Hospital set up, where the best doctors in Arphonie (kidnapped by Kharzani's henchmen) work for the single purpose of keeping Kharzani healthy. A kind of royal court is also established there, because Kharzani thirsts for accolades. Twelve powerful Kybbs from the sub-species of the Rodish are set up to be his eternal companions and deputies.

Kharzani has always felt a special mistrust and even hatred for Carya Andaxi, who continues to goad him on these sensations, when she makes Gray Foam, a planet in the direct vicinity of Kherzesch, her domicile. In Kharzani's mind, it is clear that Andaxi wants to keep an eye on him from there and one day take from him everything that he has built on Kherzesch. After the disastrous battle against STROWWAN'S servant races, Kharzani is invited to Parrakh, Gon-Orbohn's former residence by the entity which had arisen from the merging of Gon-Orbhon and the Nocturnen obelisk Satrugar. Gon-Orbhon offers guaranteed immortality to him by allowing Kharzani to move into the Nocturnen obelisk, if he first stands by Gon-Orbohn against the Protectors. However, this did not come to be, because ES ends the conflict by the exile of all the Protector's systems into hypercocoons – unfortunately, Kharzani is in Jamondi at that time, and cannot reach his castle in time. With the other Protectors, he eventually begins work on Project DISTANCE TRAIL, because even his Bearer gets destroyed with an attempt to break through the hypercocoon.

Nevertheless, Kharzani does not want to do without absolute power in Jamondi, which is all that can provide the feeling of security for him. Therefore, with his Kybb races, he leads the final blow against the Protectors and destroys the Order during the Blood Night of Barinx. Later, he discovers that he cannot attain immortality in the dead Nocturnen obelisk Antallin, which died in a crash landing on Baikhal Cain, but that it is possible to gain some life-extending power from the grounds of it: The foam opal mined from it can be processed into opal bricks. The more of this substance he stacks around himself in the Kybb-Titan which serves him as a domicile, the more his aging slows down, until it is practically not measurable any more. After the DISTANCE TRAIL starts up, Kharzani returns to his castle again, and the opal bricks are transported there. Only Carya Andaxis, who was at this time creating her shadow government and the Hyperdimos cause Kharzani headaches in his pursuit for immortality. He creates a personal body guard, the dark policemen, and installs a cloud of dust around the Kher system made from eight crushed planets, which he calls the "Kher diamond" on account of its percentage of hypercrystal dust and prevents any detection from outside.

Then, however, the raised hyperimpedance strikes. The opal bricks lose their effect, and new ones can no longer be brought after the breakdown of the DISTANCE TRAIL. Kharzani then has to depend upon his symbiont Enkrine again. Nevertheless, the fallen Protector does not give up, but begins the re-equipment of everything to technologies which are capable of being used with the new physical conditions. He takes new hope from the thought that the hypercocoons will dissolve soon, so that he can reach the planet Parrakh - and with it immortality inside Satrugar. He is also again being influenced indiscernibly by the splinter of the Nocturnen obelisk that he had received from Gon-Orbhon during his visit to Parrakh. Then a poison attack is made on him, which he ascribes to his twelve Prim-directors. He decides to sterilize the whole planet Kherzesch of its whole population, but is talked out of it by Enkrine, which threatens to kill itself, and thereby doom Kharzani to death himself. Instead, Kharzani ends up killing only the twelve Prim- directors.

Back in the present, Tagg Kharzani receives the news from Deitz Duarto that the battle for Gray Foam has led to a defeat for the Kybbs. In addition, his most important weapon manufacturing planet has fallen from the hypercooon. What to do next?

Cedric Beust 2005-06-07

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