2417 - Sklave der Maschinen
Slave of the Machines
Horst Hoffmann

The RICHARD BURTON reaches Kosichi on July 31, 1346 NGE and is met by the leader of the NK Hangay there, the Kartanin Elo-Dar-S'oon. The resistance has its center on the main continent in the city of Makeshi II, which is under construction. Atlan and Dao-Lin-H'ay enter the contact woods there. It is in turmoil, and they find out the story of its origin.

The existence of Alomendris begins as an offshoot of the plant father Aryste eighteen million years ago in the galaxy Segafrendo. He was bred specially for the purpose of serving the robot civilization of the Erish Vikhtold as its new master. These robots have been moving through the universe in search of a new master whom they could serve, after their creators, the White Masters had intellectualized themselves, in order to escape the robots. The robots transport Alomendris in a dish to their main planet 1A-Imeon where he grows and spreads out into a total of one hundred and twenty-six bowls, each of which is fifteen kilometers wide and connected by tunnels with each other. All together they comprise the entity Alomendris. The Erish Vikhtold report to him about their investigations of the galaxy, but they conceal something from him. He gets around the lines of communication controlled by the robots, using the tunnels and maintains the connection between the one hundred twenty-six individual woods at a higher mental level. The White Masters get in touch with him and inform him that the Erish Vihktold are actually leading a war of conquest and subjugation of other races in the name of Alomendris.

Four million years before the current time, he enters a symbiosis with some of the White Masters and develops new abilities. He also discovers that the one hundred twenty-six bowls are flightworthy. Meanwhile the empire of the robots breaks down, because it finally meets an equal opponent, who forces them to retreat. In the fight for the central world 1A-Imeon, Alomendris flees with all one hundred twenty-six forests.

After the long escape he sets down two million years ago in the galaxy Cydis-Cym, on the planet Ninilath. The Erish Vihktold eventually find him and establish her empire once again. Alomendris urges the White Masters to destroy the robots created by them. They finally become corporeal again and activate the self-destruction mechanism in whose consequence they and the robot civilization are both extinguished. However, Alomendris succeeds in escaping again.

Five hundred fifty thousand years ago he landed on the planet Yishra, where he atrophied for over half a million years. Then he felt a new power nearby, the Xybane, a cybernetic intelligence which has arisen from the remains of the Erish Vikhtold and continues their war of destruction. As a result Alomendris flees once more, finally coming upon the galaxy Hangay, which had recently been shifted into our universe. He distributes his one hundred twenty-six forests about Hangay. One forest ends up cut off by the presence of TRAITOR and the beginning of the establishment of the Negasphere in the center of Hangay. The rest are utterly terrified by the emanations of KOLTOROC. He sacrifices the one forest to secure the rest, and begins to take part actively in the opposition against TRAITOR. He gets in touch with the mortals and serves them as a communications network, where he gets the name of the contact woods.

Atlan and Dao-Lin-H'ay find out the reason for Alomendris' turmoil. ESCHER has been sending its Avatars down into the contact forest, in order to try to establish its own contact with Alomendris and he feels reminded of the robot civilization. He expels the RICHARD BURTON and ESCHER from the planet, but agrees to act as an information clearinghouse for the squadron, just as he does with the NK Hangay. Then, he dismisses the petitioners from the forest

After they have left the contact woods, Atlan and Dao-Lin-H'ay learn of a sighting of the SOL sixteen thousand light years away from their current location. They leave orbit to head there. Shortly before to the jump into linear space, Alomendris gets in touch once more and supplies Atlan with the location of the other one hundred twenty-five contact forests. He also lifts the land ban on the RICHARD BURTON again. After the shock of ESCHERíS intrusion, he has gathered new courage from Dao-Lin-H'ayís old friend, Afa-Hem-F'ur, who had joined with the contact forest and he now trusts the newcomers from the Milky Way.

jerry schneiderman 2008-07-21

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