2353 - Requiem für einen Mond
Requiem for a Moon
Horst Hoffman

Taje Karoon Baal takes over command of the small group of resisters. Jere tan Baloy accepts the change without comment and gives the impulse generator to the E-Command agent. For safety’s sake, the group goes underground in the artist colony Echnaricoll, lying outside of Konars. There Taje evaluates data about the events going on in the Blue system, which he collected in a secret Energy Command sensor station: twenty-four Chaos squadrons are in the system, as well as fourteen Column ferries and six enormous objects, which Taje calls Column MACHINES, because they are similar to the MACHINE TWELVE, which was used in 427 NGE by the Dekalog of the Elements. All the Column MACHINES consist of two hemispheres attached at the pole, whose flat sides are covered with superstructures. In the center is a rotating drive ring. They have a diameter of one hundred kilometers, and altogether are one hundred fifty kilometers high. These enormous objects go into orbit around Xoelyar, the major moon of Drorah.

Conditions continue to worsen on Drorah. Public order did not yet break down completely, but the suicide rate rises to a frightening extent. On August 8, 1345 NGE eighty-eight more Column ferries appear in the Blue system. They are with sixty-six TRAIGOT and twenty-two TRAICAH factories. These also go into an orbit around Xoelyar, and the moon is completely radio isolated and wrapped in anti-detection fields. Energy chaos develops within this area. Some days before all Akonian ships that were near Xoelyar were forced to land on the moon. Now it is certain that the Terminal Column is actually interested not in Drorah, but its moon.

On August 11, thousands and thousands of mini-obelisks emerge from the dark zone that surrounds the Dark Obelisk on Drorah and fly off into the sky towards Xoelyar. Taje and Jere use a secret Energy Command cage transmitter to reach the moon. While Jere helps the survivors of the fallen space dock CROFON-4 to evacuate to Drorah, Taje uses the signal generator to ignite some explosive charges, which were already put some time ago at critical facilities on the moon, just as they had on Drorah. All it accomplishes is drawing the Mor'Daers attention to him. They shoot him, but it is only a glancing blow and he manages to escape. His positronic returns his unconscious body to Jere and they return to Drorah.

Back on Drorah, Taje’s group find themselves a new hiding place. On August 16, the Akones observe how Xoelyar seems to grow smaller and then disappears in an enormous explosion. The explosion should tear Drorah apart, but the Terminal Column shields it from this. The Column factories are obviously adjusting the system’s gravity conditions, which were suddenly changed by the loss of the moon. But why is it doing all this…?

jerry schneiderman 2007-01-27

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