2346 - Chyndors Weg
Chyndorís Path

On January 18, 1345 NGE Chyndor, together with his Peace Driver colleagues Siby'an and Mas Bathe, arrives at the border of the Fantamagula system. There are strange incidents occurring there. The railway station in the small galaxy Qoor, a satellite galaxy of Andromeda, has given full alarm and lured the three Peace Drivers there. In the home system of the Dinath, descendants of the Lemurer, Peace Drivers get word of the confrontation between two unknown spaceships. One was completely destroyed and the other, clearly a Column unit, fell onto the home world of the Dinath, Dina Baca. The wreck is sending out emergency locator signals, but they are too weak to reach more than three light years. Complete chaos rules in the system, as all living beings become enraged and fight each other to the death.

The Peace Drivers discover the "black zones". These black zones are impenetrable visually. There are detectable only by sensors. They suddenly appear in an area and devour everything that comes within their reach. Chyndor decides to go to Dina Baca and examine the Column unit more closely, in order to try to prevent the senseless deaths of the Dinaths.

During this period, the RESEARCHER returns to the Sol system. When Kantiran and Alaska describe the failure of their mission to the Nucleus, the mental entity becomes agitated. Without the information the ARCHETIMíS home should have supplied them, the Nucleus has no idea of how the Negasphere is to be fought. The Nucleus sees no chance for Terra now, but the mental being wants time alone to think about what to do next. The being gives Alaska and Kantiran the order to fly to Rosella Rosado, in order to pull the whole organization of the Peace Drivers onto their side, because only with them might a stand be made against TRAITOR.

Chyndorís OREON Capsule approaches the planet Dina Baca, but its OREON Cover suddenly fails during flight and a black zone proceeds to pursue it, as if intelligent. The Peace Driver just manages to land before the Capsule fails completely. They flee before it is swallowed by the black zone and disappears without a trace. Because the radio failed before the crash, Siby'an and Mas Bathe assume that Chyndor is dead; they feed this message into the relay radio net of the Peace Drivers. However, the two still want to hold out to see how things develop.

On Earth, Kantiran is met by the TLS agent Cosmuel Kain. She wants to become a Peace Driver. Kant rejects her rather sharply and experiences a surprise, as Alaska appears a short time later accompanied by an agent from the RESEARCHER. Kantiran has something to say about this, but then Alaska explains it to him. Cosmuel Kain is no Terran; she is a Cyno. The forty year-old grew up without parents on Terra, ignorant that she is a Cyno. It was only a month ago that she realized she is a Cyno. It happened when the words ARCHETIM and Negasphere were mentioned together in a news story, triggering the release of some kind of block in her hereditary memory.

The two Peace Drivers take off with the Cyno aboard and proceed to Devolter II, intending to call a plenary assembly from there. When they reach the railway station, they learn about the supposed destiny of Chyndor and decide to help their friend. Because the transmitter in the railway station on Devolter II doesn't work, they proceed to another railway station in the Milky Way which is in the Southside. From there they are radiated to Qoor, arriving on January twentieth at the Fantamagula system. Upon seeing the black zones, Alaska Saedelaere quickly makes a connection with the past. These zones are nothing less than Elements of Darkness. Does the Element of Darkness now belong to TRAITOR?

Meanwhile, on Dina Baca, Chyndor tries to reach the site of the crash of the Column unit, but can't make it. Hate, rage, uncontrollable fury and fear, all this makes him lose control and his orientation to the crashed unit. Because he cannot accomplish anything there, he returns to the main part of the city and tries to tear as many Dinaths as possible from their rampaging. As a Para-Charismat he is absolutely successful, but in the end it is only a drop in the bucket, when compared to the entire population put together.

Out in space, Alaska hatches a plan: while one Peace Driver ship should copy the emergency locator signals and reradiate it, amplified to attract a TRAITOR rescue unit, a second Peace Driver ship should distract the black zones, while he pushes ahead with Kant and Cosmuel to Dina Baca.

The plan is carried out and actually succeeds. The three make it safely to Chyndor, and he brings them as close as possible to the fallen unit, without completely breaking down himself. At the border of the darkness, Chyndor cannot continue, and neither can Kantiran. But using the vector helmet, Alaska can penetrate it and surprisingly enough Cosmuel Kain is able to accompany him without trouble. The two go into absolute darkness and push ahead up to the wreck, which is stuck in a two hundred wide and deep crater gleaming in black light. Alaska uses a rope to get lowered by Cosmuel. What he discovers in the depths, surprises and overpowers him.

Eventually, Chyndor cannot endure the psychic power any more and returns to the RESEARCHER, while Kantiran remains. On the RESEARCHER Chyndor suddenly discovers that a Column unit two hundred meters diameter is approaching the system. He succeeds in warning Kantiran on the radio. Kantiran now faces a dilemma; he cannot radio his two companions inside the border by radio, but he does not want to get hopelessly lost inside it. He makes a dangerous plan. He takes off his Dwarmari holster and takes out two queens. These little animals are immune to the radiation, because they operate using only about their instincts and these can lead them back to their holsters. Kantiran wants to order them to "show" him the way back. So equipped, he also crosses the dark border and sends out the message, then lets go of the two Dwarmaris and follows them by means of his Para-gift.

Alaska stands, or actually hangs, in the pit facing a Dark Investigator. This being is sending out the madness radiation, unending sorrow, and bewilderment, which the mask bearer perceives. This being does not belong in this universe; it is a descendant of the Element of Darkness. Alaska is paralyzed by horror, and he loses his sense of time. When he can think clearly again, he notices that he was pulled back up by Cosmuel Kain, since she received Kantiranís radio message. The two make their way back out of the darkness. When they reach the light again Kantiran is still not back, but Cosmuel can see him a few meters inside the border. She retrieves Rhodanís son, then events speed up.

Chyndor comes with the RESEARCHER and takes the three aboard, because a second Dark Investigator has emerged in the system and quickly approached the site of the crash. He destroys his "colleague" and the wrecked ship. From this, the Peace Drivers conclude that there are apparently two factions of Dark Investigators and they do not like each other. Apparently the fight which led to the fall of the first Investigator, was a battle between these two factions. The Peace Drivers note that the madness inducing radiation suddenly stopped as soon as the wrecked ship and its Dark Investigator were destroyed. The Remaining Dark Investigator attacks the RESEARCHER, which barely succeeds in escaping into hyperspace. The Peace Drivers now head to Rosella Rosado.

jerry schneiderman 2006-11-12

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