2303 - Der Duale Kapitän
The Dual Captain
Arndt Ellmer

By unfortunate accident, the Terrans receive knowledge of the exact location of the Column Fort, TRAICOON 0098. One of the local gunners destroys the terran search cruiser, BRIXBIE, which approached beyond the a critical distance. When the DISCOVERER, FRITJOF NANSEN went to examine what remained of the BRIXBIE, this ship is also destroyed. The Terrans determine that the enemy must possess a weapon, which no known protection screen can withstand: The potential-pitcher. This cannon has a range of 5.3 million kilometers and only PRAETORIAS weapons can bridge a still greater distance; causes an overload of matter within a space sphere of up to 25 kilometers in diameter. A gravitational field the strength of a neutron star builds, so that within fractions of a second approximately 120 billion Gravos affect the target. In this way, the 1800 meter FRITJOF NANSEN is compressed to a ball of super dense matter approximately 90 meters diameter. This effect is temporary in nature; after a certain time the compressed matter tries to assume its original physical state again. In the case of spaceships this is equivalent to an enormous explosion.

Every available ship in the Solar system is drawn together in the relevant space-sector. Through the use of thousands of probes they are able to penetrate the darkness-field, that appears as a sphere with a diameter of 500 kilometers. It is completely impervious to all perception and orientation. Perry Rhodan arrives in person to get a first glimpse of the convoy-fort. There, the Siganese report back, that they have escaped unseen together with Zon Facter from the fort. Rhodan speaks with the purified microbeast and discovers that the Milky Way is to be changed into a resource-galaxy for the Terminal Convoy. The convoy even has the task to accelerate the formation of the Negasphere in Hangay. Zon Facter recommends an immediate attack on the fort, because it is only assailable as long as the construction is not yet completed.

Rhodan has no other choice and gives the instruction to attack. One salvo from PRAETORIA is sufficient, to break down the dark-screen. Then however the second defense system of the Fort is used: The Fractal Tear Bell. This energy screen has the form of a network 50 kilometers in diameter, whose "meshes" consist of constantly moving structure tears. If it is fired at, branchings are formed at the affected positions, in which the transformer salvos get caught. The weapon's energy is absorbed by the network. It is revealed that the network is so efficient partly because of its fractal structure, but above all, because it is charged within the UHF range of the hyperspectrum; the effect is comparable with the individual charge, which can be achieved by the Antis.

Another attack would only be reasonable at the moment that the only operating projector for the fractal tear bell could be destroyed. Zon Facter wants to take over this task. He returns to the fort with the dark capsule, and is accompanied by Demetrius Luke and Dani Queenz. Actually for him it is only about revenge against the Dual Captain. He faces him while the Siganese bring some fusion bombs into the target. They wait in the dark capsule for Zon Facter's return, but he does not come, because the Dual Captain has seen through his intentions and kills him with the endogenous torture. Just in time, the Siganese take off with the dark capsule, but must abandon it again because it is blown up by remote control. In addition, the bombs they set ignite and the highly impenetrable protection screen of the Fort collapses. The terran units attack immediately. Admittedly, the losses are high, since in the meantime further potential-pitchers are completed, but in the end TRAICOON 0098 can be annihilated. In the final moment, the Dual Captain's escape succeeds.

The Siganese are able to collect some new data. The information doesn't promise anything good: In a second wave, 2000 more Column Forts are to be installed in the Milky Way! Additionally, the chaos squadron will arrive soon, which was to have been stationed on TRAICOON 0098. Malcolm S. Daellian discovers meanwhile, something about the strange, curved-up on itself form of the Column Fort; One can join the individual Forts into an enormous structure. In this way, with more than 2000 Forts a gigantic structure would result in the form of a double-helix, which would be approximately 20,000 kilometers long…


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