2276 - Tanz auf dem Vulkan
Dance on the Volcano
Uwe Anton

Myles Kantor leads a high-quality scientific team which studies, among other things, the 6-D radiation of the sun from the research facilities at Vulcan Center on Mercury. Since February 8, 1333 NGE, the jet-ray directed at Sol has been siphoning off between one hundred to one thousand times as much 6-D energy packets than it had previously. Therefore, Kantor orders all further research in Vulcan Center to focus upon on the subject of ARCHETIM. It is clear to him that there is a danger for all mankind at hand.

His work is hindered by new attacks of the "Takvorianismus" during which his perception of time is slowed down many times (the phenomenon had not appeared since he had received his cell activator). And the team in Vulcan Center no longer runs as smoothly as it had, since the arrival of the eccentric, young, high frequency physicist Inshanin (requested by Kantor), because he and the attractive young woman (who is convinced of her own importance), grate on one another from the moment they meet. He feels her attitude is a threat to his authority, and she feels (not unjustly) her skills are not being fully utilized by him.

Kantor and his team penetrate with the DISCOVERER-class ship MUNGO PARK into the lower boundary layer of the sun's corona. They discover a foreign mass embedded in the photosphere, but can approach it only for a short time, before the protection screens overload. Kantor assumes that the foreign object has been hidden in the sun since prehistoric times and has been, in addition, in a hypercocoon that has now broken down. This could be an explanation why the object has not been detected until now. With the MUNGO PARK the object can neither be examined or more closely approached. Therefore, Kantor places an order for the building of a special "sun diver" to be designed at the Waringer Academy. He also retrieves Orren Snaussenid from the small village that has been built near Little Goshun for the Schohaakes. Snaussenid is depressed because like all his comrades, he does not remember his past and because he cannot endure the collective dreams, which all the Schohaakes share with each other. Kantor offers him a place with the sun diver-expedition and the small humanoid gratefully seizes this chance to learn something about his origin.

With the second advance into the photosphere of the sun, the MUNGO PARK approaches the unknown object closer. It is in a hyperphysical cavity about 500 kilometers in diameter. Within the sphere there are three enormous, knot-shaped objects. This investigation is also cut short when the protection screens threaten to break down again. Some time later, the tension between Kantor and Inshanin unexpectedly discharges…in a night of sex.

On March 5, 1333 NGE, Kantor receives the finished sun diver INTRALUX. The ship consists of a 940 meter wide, 400 meter deep, 110 meter of high trapezoidal DISCOVERER insertion module, has a self-sufficient airworthy corvette as a core cell, and consists mainly of highly efficient engines, energy producers and protection screen projectors. The next day MUNGO PARK transports the INTRALUX to the border of the photosphere, where it flies on independently. Because of the high risk, the crew consists of only eight people, Myles Kantor, Inshanin, Attaca Meganon and Orren Snaussenid among them.

When the INTRALUX approaches the hyperphysical cavity, it turns out that there is probably in reality only one of the twenty five kilometer wide knot-like objects there. The optical impression of the triptych appears from a phase displacement over several existence levels. The INTRALUX ends up in the gravest danger when an enormous prominence approaches it. Inshanin has the idea to have the Schohaakes take up radio communication with the knot station. At the last second, when one crew member has already died, somebody on the station actually seems to hear Orren's desperate cries for help: an energy tube extends from the knot shaped object, wraps around the INTRALUX and keeps it from destruction.

Now the object can be more carefully studied. The knot construct seems to consist of a gold material, embedded in thirty-five kilometer wide spheres of the same, but less thick, substance. The surface of the station is in constant movement, and new ornaments and reliefs constantly appear in it. The INTRALUX is pulled into the station by a tractor ray. The inside looks like a kind of museum, a gorgeously decorated exhibition room. Two small statues flank a hall that leads further inside the station. To Snaussenid's delight these sculptures represent beings of his race…


Back to the cycle