2321 - Schatten über Halut
Shadows Over Halut
Hubert Haensel

In the first week of October 1344 NGE Icho Tolot returns to Halut. He brings along a Kantor sextant, in order to be able to prove to his people that Halut is also standing on the list of worlds desired by the Terminal Column TRAITOR. Contrary to the other sextants, which Perry Rhodan is having distributed among the important peoples of the Milky Way, the equipment given to the Haluters is open for inspection. With some select scientists Tolot goes on the hunt with the HALUTA III for the Column-Fort and finds it. They immediately arrange a conference on Halut that will decide upon the future of the Haluters. Less than ninety thousand individuals still live on Halut, as the race of gentle giants was also hit by the risen hyperimpedance, as only eighteen of the nearly ten thousand Haluters that were off planet to deal with their pressure urge have returned so far. The giants have now adapted their spaceships to the new conditions, adding a new exterior shell to their spaceships to hold all the new modular equipment needed, while keeping the original ship as a core cell for emergencies.

As the same time as Tolot arrives, the Dual Captain calls the commanders of the other Column Forts together for a conference in TRAICOON 0106, which stand over Halut. The Dual Captain had selected this Fort because of its central position in the Milky Way. He wants to pull the other commanders, who are all lower ranked than him, onto his side and thereby protect his back keeps for his arbitrary action involving the Dark Obelisks. Most of the commanders are simple Kalbarones from the race of the Mor'Daer; only three commanders have the rank of Vice Captain and are dual beings like him. Among them is the commander of TRAICOON 0106.

In the Haluter conference it comes to an agreement, as Icho Tolot finds enough support for his plan for the Haluters to abandon Halut. Tolot states that it is not the planet that is of interest as a resource for TRAITOR, but the Haluter race, which would be integrated as gigantic combat machines into the Column. The old Haluter Conor Lerz, who had already took part in the escape before the Laren to Terzrock, holds the opinion that the Haluters should remain, in order to go down with their planet if need be. But the decision falls in favor of the escape.

On TRAICOON 0106 Zerberoff describes his past actions and his plans for the future. In Malikadi, the Vice Dual Captain of TRAICOON 0106, he finds an opponent, but just when Zerberoff thinks he has gotten control of the situation, a dark capsule appears on an approach vector to the Fort. At first the commanders think that it contains a Dark Investigator, but it turns out to be a much higher Terminal Herald, a powerful messenger in the service of the True-Progress and higher in rank than a Dual Captain. The Herald reports that the higher powers in Hangay are surprised that the Dark Obelisks were already sent out, and demands to know who gave the instruction for it. Zerberoff recognizes clearly that he cannot hide himself from the Herald, and confesses that it was he, but argues, as he had prepared for it, that the Dark Investigators must have done faulty work and he therefore had no choice but to proceed.

Exactly at this moment, it is October 11, 1344 NGE, twenty-five Haluter ships attack the Fort; they contain twenty-four Haluters in the throes of the pressure urge and who do not want to abandon Halut, as well as Icho Tolot, who is steering the attack with his Kantor sextant in order to give the escaping Haluters cover.

At first the commanders and the Herald ignore the annoying, but harmless attack. Eventually though, it becomes clear to Zerberoff that this is only a simulated attack, because the remaining Haluter ships are launching and scattering themselves in all directions within a short time, but none take course for the Fort. Zerberoff takes over command of the Fort and sends out the Chaos squadron, but it is too late. The five hundred forty Traitanks succeed in only intercepting one hundred twelve Haluter ships, including the twenty-four of the simulated attack. The others, including Tolot, which manage to get into linear space before the potential launcher slams again, disappears, in order to collect later at various coordinates. Halut is abandoned and thus worthless as a resource for TRAITOR.

The Terminal-Herald holds this lost battle against Zerberoff, but he also recognizes that the manner in which the Dual Captain has proceeded was meant for the advantage of the Column. Therefore he orders that Malikadi act as the Dual Captain’s adviser on all matters from now on. An affront, as Zerberoff sees it, but he cannot resist. He is to continue the campaign with "Stage Two", and as far as the Sol system is concerned, the Herald informs the Dual Captain that the Koda Ariel have been camped down within the range of Sol for quite some time now as observers. Zerberoff had not known this before. The activation of the system-clamping crystal screen will make the Koda Ariel go into action.

After the Herald has left the Fort again, Zerberoff attempts to take a closer look at the recordings of the events with the Herald and Column Motivators who accompanied him. But the Fort computer system breaks off the recording and informs Zerberoff that this was not authorized, and his action would be reported to a higher level the next time contact is made with it. In order to prevent this, Zerberoff hatches the plan to destroy TRAICOON 0106 before this happens, in order to cover his tracks.

jerry schneiderman 2006-05-16

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