2327 - Risikoplan Charlie
Suicide Plan Charlie
Uwe Anton

USO Major Raduk Hefner, disguised as an Arkonide, makes contact with the Termianl Column with the help of the local SENTENZA leader. The price of this help from the criminal organization consists of the murder of an Arkonide. Hefner is brought to the Column-Fort of the Hayok sector where he betrays the location of Quinto-Center to the Dual Deputy Captain Cardenuk. In return, the Deputy Captain guarantees the traitor, that his home world will be spared the same fate as Caiwan; being destroyed in order to retrieve its great resources of hypercrystals. Cardenuk scents his chance to earn credit with the Column leaders, and proceeds with some dozen Traitanks to the coordinates named by Hefner. His ships have been searching the Hayok sector for weeks already for the secret base of the USO.

At the coordinates named by Hefner, Cardenuk finds only a small asteroid, however - and a minefield in which some of his Traitanks explode because they had deactivated their fractal rip sheaths, because no obvious danger had emanated from the dead asteroid. Cardenuk’s Traitank is one of three that threaten to explode. Hefner delays the Deputy Captain long enough, so that he cannot flee and the two are apparently destroyed together with the ship.

This whole scene was part of the risky Plan Charlie, designated after the small asteroid. Hefner had become exposed during an earlier mission with an Ara contact poison – the man responsible for this turned out to be the Arkonide, which Hefner was made to kill for the SENTENZA - and had only a few weeks left to live. The poison causes attacks that become more and more incapacitating and painful each time. Therefore, Hefner had asked Monkey for a "suicide mission", in order to give a purpose and sense to his end and to save himself the final death throes connected with the poisoning.

By Hefner’s sacrifice and a diversionary maneuver flown by Taxit spaceships, two things are made possible: on the one hand, enough time is given for Quinto-Center to get Salkrit from Terra and boost itself to hyperlight speed. Certainly, the flight does not go off completely smoothly, but the moon can nevertheless temporarily be brought to a place of security that is not being searched by the armed forces of TRAITOR. The second thing is that the remaining Traitanks can be lured away from asteroid Charlie. This allows Roi Danton, who has returned on November 6, 1344 NGE to Quinto-Center and prepared the minefield, to recover the ruins of the destroyed Traitanks with the TRAJAN. The USO hopes to gain valuable knowledge from the examination of the scraps about the technology used by TRAITOR, particularly the mysterious Ricodin covering of which all the units of the Terminal Column consist.

jerry schneiderman 2006-06-27

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