2377 - ESCHER
Christian Montillon

As Dr. Laurence Savoire enters the Solar Residence he is in a state of almost complete confusion, but manages to make contact with Perry Rhodan. Then he breaks down, but is given medical treatment. When he wakes up, he is in a medical bed and Perry Rhodan is in the room with him. Savoire requires that all technical communication devices be switched off in the room, including and above all any access to NATHAN. Then, under psychic pains, he puts himself in a trance and begins his report:

Dr. Laurence Savoire comes from the backwoods planet Diakat. On May 17, 1340 NGE he is celebrating the awarding of his doctorate degree in cybernetics. He receives the response that his application to join the Waringer Academy was accepted and flies to Terra. However, things do not turn out as expected. At the same time as him, a team from the academy made a particular pioneering breakthrough in the field. They gain the acclaim for it and he is left with a minor lecturing position.

Due to the environmental adaptation on his home planet he has a single eye sitting almost in the center of his head. This gains him the unflattering nickname on Terra of “Cyclops”. Outsiders do not realize his ability to see into the infrared and ultraviolet ranges or the fact that he has a faint telepathic talent. This changes only when he is found by Baldwin Carapol and becomes friends with him. Baldwin is also the one who draws his attention to the project ESCHER. The confidential project, run by rude, arrogant scientist named Rodin Kowa, is looking for a capable cybernetist.

On October 5, 1340 NGE Savoire is accepted. He is immediately entranced by the project, which is based upon the Tefroder project Thought Tower, done by order the Masters of the Island. The project failed in approximately 17,200 B.C., and Rodin Kowa only discovered the documentation in 1324 NGE. The Tefroder project ended in disaster, with everyone involved in it dying.

The core of Project ESCHER is the Thought Chamber, in which each of sixty-four cross cocoons can hold a Processor, a human volunteer. By means of SERT like technology a merged group of the neural net of the test subjects and the ESCHER Positronic is supposed to be produced, whose computational performance is to put a Syntronic in its shadow. However, the project stagnates. Some researchers think that it lies with the hypercrystals used. In fact, they are poking around in the dark.

In the course of the years Savoire climbs up the career ladder to the post of Kowa’s deputy. He also becomes friends with the scientist couple Sybel Bytter and Wilbuntir Gilead.

The project seems to stand shortly before failure several times, but squeaks through each time. In the process, Savoire personally meets Perry Rhodan. His friendship with Carapol, who is making a name for himself, also continues, even if they do meet more irregularly.

The appearance of TRAITOR marks a turning point, and supply of volunteers dries up more and more. However, this changes again, as Fawn Suzuke abruptly appears on November 3, 1344 NGE in the Thought Chamber, examines it and then gives the vague pronouncement that: “ The Nucleus will support ESCHER from now on. ESCHER contains all the prerequisites to become a Para-Positronic.”

Then the projection of the Nucleus disappears as abruptly as she had appeared. Kowa and Savoire can make no rhyme or reason of what the Nucleus might have meant by a Para-Positronic, but suddenly ESCHER stands at the very top of projects being supported by the LFT. Two TLS agents, Pal Astuin and Merlin Myhr, are assigned for security and recruitment duties at the ESCHER building. However, the Nucleus does not show up any more. The two TLS agents are very effective at their jobs. They recruit a steady stream of volunteers, but Dr. Savoire still does not feel comfortable about them.

As time goes on, Dr. Savoire notices that whenever he thinks to have noticed something strange occurring, he gets a strong headache. After he takes a nap, the headache vanishes and he is no longer worried about whatever it was he thought strange. Conditions in ESCHER become stranger and stranger. As a matter of course, even though it is scientifically completely improper, the scientists take up positions of test subjects, including the head of ESCHER himself. In addition, the employees become more and more apathetic towards each other, while they were earlier always almost like a family. Savoire catches Kowa once, when he is having contact with the Nucleus in the Thought Chamber, but he gets another pain attack. When the pain is gone and he goes to check the security recordings of the affair, they have been erased and replaced to make it seem as if nothing had occurred. Savoire slowly realizes that a post hypnotic block is collectively paralyzing the initiative of the colleagues.

When ESCHER begins to use small amounts of Salkrit as a power source, short test runs succeed with amazing results. However, it also comes along with deaths among the test subjects, which Dr. Savoire is not notified about. In addition, small “fireballs”, splinters of the Nucleus begin to appear more and more.

When Rodin Kowa disappears on April 25, 1345 NGE, Savoire makes an unbelievable discovery: Up to now thirty-six people have died in 2216 Torah Road, the ESCHER building; among them was Kowa on April 23, Sybel Bytter on April 16, Wilbuntir Gilead on April 17 and many other acquaintances. All of them dying of heart failure!

The first part of Savoire’s report ends with this, as he is too weak to continue. The post hypnotic block is trying to kill him whenever he tries to talk about the events. Perry orders him to stop for now. He has heard enough. He recognizes that ESCHER is running out of control and immediately orders heavily armed troops to surround the building in the middle of Terrania.

Jerry Schneiderman 2007-08-22

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