2329 - Gestrandet in Hangay
Stranded in Hangay
Hubert Haensel

Ultrablue is an inhospitable, cold world with a long winter and a short but intensive summer. There is a small colony of the Kartanes here. The settlers call themselves Gray Kartanes, because their body fur has evolved a gray coloring due to the lighting conditions predominant on Ultrablue. Most of the Kartanes live in domed structures in the capital U'Hartu, but there are small settlements and farmsteads on all the continents of the planet. The head of the Gray Kartanes of Ultrablue is the "High Lord" Ron Sha R'itt, a courageous and charismatic leader, who can reach for hard methods though, if it depends on it. When all high-tech fails due to the hyperimpedance shock, the Gray Kartanes initially believe in an attack by the Karaponides. The Karapon Empire intended to make Ultrablue a support base and had already furnished a spaceport in the proximity of U'Hartu some time ago. It frequently came to disagreements with the Karaponide security guards there. But then the SOL lands somewhat roughly near U'Hartu. Ron Sha R'itt does not recognize the ship, and regards it as a Karaponide unit.

The crew of the SOL gradually comes to understand that the generation spaceship will not launch again very soon - if at all. All the power supply units and the permanent taps failed, and only the earlier refurbishing of certain equipment to low tech levels prevented the worst from occurring. Fortunately the on-board computer SENECA is not Syntronic, but a Biopositronic, which still functions without any problems. For now the SOL is stranded on Ultrablue. Dao Lin H'ay takes up contact with the Gray Kartanes and quickly exchanges information with them, in particular with Ron Sha R'itt, with whom she immediately feels a connection. She ensures that the suffering Kartanes quickly receive urgently needed technical aid. After all, the Gray Kartanes and the Solaners are now neighbors for the indefinite future and will have to get along with one another.

Ronald Tekener swiftly notices that Dao is changing. Gradually he understands that she has clearly fallen in love with her Kartane comrade R’itt. For the time being there is however a different, more urgent matter, that pulls his attention: An unknown ship had fallen on Ultrablue’s moon during their approach, and the addressee of the message, which they had followed from the Duff system, must be found. A Gray Kartane had actually discovered a strange station on the south continent, but it had allegedly been found abandoned.

Tek’s first action is to explore the moon Rothger with a quickly repaired cruiser from the SOL. In the crash location of the unknown ship only small pieces of rubble are to be find at first - the strangers have already disappeared again. They however left a corpse, who is examined later on the SOL: It is a humanoid, obviously avian descended being.

Ron Sha R'itt meanwhile solves the Karaponide problem, after a raid on the Gray Kartanes fuel depot and food farm, without listening to Dao’s attempts at conciliation. The Karaponides have been badly suffering from the consequences of the increased hyperimpedance and therefore attacked the city, in order to rob it of the supplies. Ron Sha R'itt takes a team and storms the space port, killing the entire security force. He discovers enormous supplies of weapons - a further proof of the arming of the empire for war. Ironically, it turns out that the weapons are no longer usable because of the hyperimpedance rise.

When Dao informs Tek she is moving into U'Hartu in order to try to help them down a peaceful path, he finally confronts her. She is shamed into confessing her feelings for Ron Sha R'itt. She says that she will not return to the SOL. Tek’s final thought on the matter is that Ron Sha R'itt is not immortal, like Dao Lin H'ay…

jerry schneiderman 2006-07-06

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