- Die Augen von Charon
The Eyes of Charon
April 2, 1344 NGE: Atlan is on board the VERACRUZ, a Explorer, in the center of the Milky Way. The high star density there, with which the hyperphysical resistance rises proportionally, makes space travel in this sector very dangerous. Hyperlight speed flights are possible only over a distance of few light-years. The VERACRUZ is in the company of the TABASCO, another Explorer, and the AUBERG, a battle ship, which was detailed for the protection of the Explorer. Atlan wants to work together with the scientists to follow up the hints from Gon Orbhons, concerning the Charon Cloud. The Charonii, a race in the star cluster, supposedly keeps itself hidden there in the Golden system. In addition, there is supposed to be Salkrit in the Cloud; a material that could be of great value to the Terrans, according to Gon Orbhon. The investigation of the twenty-eight solar systems of the star cluster however, turns out to be almost impossible. The Charon Cloud is surrounded by the structural drift, a phenomenon, which prevents penetration into the cloud and also massively disturbs detectors. Outside of the cloud only eight blue giants are located, that are arranged into a perfect cube. They are obviously the energy supply suns, which held the Charon Cloud in the hypercocoon until the hyperimpedance rise occurred. The expenditure taken to isolate the Cloud, suggests that ES assumed a danger to exist inside the Charon cloud.
The Terran researchers do not remain alone for long. Three spaceships of the Cystal Imperium arrive - two research spaceships and a GWALON CUP, as military backup. While Atlan and the commander of the Arkonide group work to make nice with other, the scientists cooperate without any problems. The researchers’ thirst for knowledge is clearly stronger than patriotism.
The scientists succeed in locating small stable zones in the Structural drift which prove to show everchanging Strangeness values. Since the VERACRUZ flies with forty-eight percent the speed of light, and the zones nevertheless remain stable in the detectors, the " eyes of Charon" seem to follow the Explorer, observing it. Atlan comes to the conclusion that the " eyes" must be spaceships or space stations of the Charonii.
Soon enough, the Terrans discover that they are not alone in the company of the Arkonides outside the Charon cloud. The three Arkonidw spaceships are destroyed, by the effect of a Potential Launcher. TRAITOR units are obviously operating in the area. Atlan sends the AUBERG to Terra, in order to request reinforcement. The weeks up to the arrival of the support are spent by the VERACRUZ and the TABASCO in the detection shadow of a sun. The dormant waiting eats at Atlan’s nerves. A long discussion with the commander Alysha Sarron does not help it, but at least makes it possible for the Venus born commander to better understand the immortal.
The Column-Prospector ships ACARO 1033 and ACARO 0830 stand under the command of Ain Cokkrys. Beside the members of his own people, the Charnaz Bakr, a Column-Motivator is also on board. Nobody knows exactly, what it is that the form wrapped in a nebulous fog does, but it obviously has an effect on the crew and watches over their performance of their duties in penetrating the Charon Cloud in order to retrieve the Salkrit.
After ten weeks, on June 10th, the AUBERG returns to the Charon Cloud, carrying the requested reinforcements. One of them is the Psi-Correspondent Marc London. Atlan believes that the young Terran, who travels in the company of Hajmo Siderip, can take up contact, using his psi-ability, with the Charonii. In addition the AUBERG has a Kantor sextant on board. The Cloud is measured again - without any major results. Atlan informs Marc about what has happened till now, and then events begin to heat up.
The Kantor sextant locates the TRAITOR units. The fourteen hundred meter ships deactivate their dark screen and develop an incomprehensibly strong gravitational field around themselves. They then – at first successfully – begin to penetrate the Charon Cloud. However they are soon attacked by an unknown weapon. Spellbound, the Terrans observe, how one of the Column ships is completely destroyed, while the other one is heavily damaged and leaves the Cloud again. Atlan sees his chance and takes a boarding crew to it.
On board the damaged ship the Terrans meet the Charnaz Bakr. The Haluter like beings are four and a half meters tall and have two pairs of arms. However they cannot structurally transform themselves and possess only one brain. Actually the Column-Prospectors had originally intended to surrender, but the Column-Motivator forced them to fight and instructed them to initiate the self-destruct mechanism. At the last second Atlan and his team escape. Nevertheless, they did retrieve a data crystal.
Back on board the VERACRUZ, the evaluation of the memory module reveals that the Charnaz Bakr were looking for the Slakrit for TRAITOR. Later on, Marc London believes to psionically recognize a pattern in the structural drift. The young Terran cannot say any more, but Atlan is sure that he will still be of further great assistance.
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