2312 - Die Unschlagbaren
The Unbeatables
Horst Hoffmann

On June 20, 1344 NGE, the first direct contact is made contact between the Charonii and the forces of the LFT. Kempo Doll'Arym arrives on the VERACRUZ. He reports on the history of the Motana descendants, and in return Atlan tells of the events beyond the Charon Cloud and, most of all, of the danger which emanates from TRAITOR. Kempo is interested in a possible alliance, but has reservations with regard to the Charonii Council. Nevertheless he returns into the cloud to fetch other structure pilots, so that the DORYNA can virtually piggyback the VERACRUZ to the Ijor system.

Shortly after they penetrate the cloud, the field which holds back the structural-drift begins to shrink. At the last minute Gucky recognizes that Marc London is unconsciously interfering with the forces of the Charonii. Only shifting the young Terran into a deep sleep saves them, and the flight goes on, until the Ijor system is reached on July 1st.

There the Explorer is “parked” on the moon Houtog, at the spaceport of the crater city Aram Verger. As Kempo expected, the council closes its mind to the changed circumstances. Five council members who come to the VERACRUZ for negotiations do not want to accept any of Atlan’s arguments. No progress is made.

In Aram Verger, a small group of four Charonii youths calling themselves 'the Unbeatables', keep getting into trouble, ignoring the adults rules. This time they go their own way into the Ring Mountains where there are old ruins and artifacts, but it is strictly forbidden to roam around there, because the gravo-generators and screen fields that hold the atmosphere end there.

The four are caught, after an ancient station collapses. Ceppink, the "Professor" of the group no longer wants to take part in any more excursions, but Praulynd, Gyra and Leydon still talk him into helping them to go out once more, and they promptly get in trouble again.

An old, forgotten defense station of the Protectors of Jamondi reacts to the VERACRUZ showing up, and the last active robot guard cannot identify it as a ship of the Protectors, Charonii or Seecharan. Therefore, it begins charging up the station’s cannon and targets the ship. Unfortunately it does not recognize the Charonii city that it is parked on, as requiring protection. Its emergency programming is too narrow to judge the situation correctly. The Unbeatables fall through a hole in the ground that appears from the switching off of the force field surrounding the cannon. Caught in the beam shaft, the three recognize what is happening, and decide to try deactivating the weapon. They succeed in this at the last minute, but with the last of its remaining energy, the robot guard activates the countdown of the facilities self-destruct mechanism.

Meanwhile the fourth Unbeatable has informed the adults of everything, because it was getting dark in the meantime and his friends did not return. A search party is sent out, but is looking in the wrong direction. Only Ceppink finds the trail of his friends and succeeds in saving them from the shaft. The search party is called in and succeeds in picking up and leaving with the youngsters just before the defense station explodes. The pressure wave and the earthquakes that follow are so strong that the electrical supply of Aram Vergers fails and the artificial gravity and atmosphere force field go down. Atmosphere begins to dissapate in the crater city.

Atlan orders the crew of the VERACRUZ intervene immediately, and by means of the protection field generators of the powerful Explorer ship the artificial atmosphere is kept in place, so that the Charonii survive until they can get their power back up. A day later, on July 2, 1344 NGE the Charonii Council makes its first concession to the Galactics. Certainly, they still wish for no alliance, but they will allow the VERACRUZ to push ahead with the help of the Charon Corps to the Golden system.

Jerry Schneiderman 2006-03-19

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