When Perry Rhodan awakens, Icho Tolot is tapping on his helmet. Some of the Ertruser and Epsaler crewmembers of the JULES VERNE are also active already. Colonel Lanz Ahakin finally awakens, and NEMO delivers messages with a Positronic voice. Everything working on board is back to lower level technology, so the context jump back into the present has succeeded. But the ship is still in Tare Scharm and the Margin-Chrilox black hole at its center is still reaching for them.
Using another emergency maneuver the JULES VERNE manages to escape into linear space and covers thirteen light years with it. Afterwards the Salkrit and HS-Howalgonium of the Hawk II converter are all used up. Meanwhile there has been a strange fire in the center section, and the context converter has dissolved from the inside. Almost all the sections and departments of the ship announce themselves as not clar for duty – except for the cafeteria behind the Main Bridge. All of the Salkrit and HS-Howalgonium in the storage rooms have also been drained of their power, so the barbell ship can only fly another eighty light years before all power is gone.
In his first address to the crew, with Mondra Diamond at his side, Rhodan tries to award them courage. However, he must reprimand Malcolm S. Daellian, who is spreading pessimism. Nevertheless, the Retroversion of Tare Scharm had been documented in detail, and they know how to carry out the Atrentus procedure. On the negative side, is the death of the four Cypron Sphärikers, as well as the probable death of General Kamuko, although this is not certain due to the total disappearance of her sloop and the Glowlight Armor. They assume that the infiltration at the last second did not succeed and she was destroyed. On the positive side, the explosive guard pillars from the INTAZO disintegrated. Alaska Saedelaere, Gucky, Ekatus Atimoss and the Algorrians are still unconscious in a healing sleep.
Rhodan orders the only possible option carried out, namely a cry for help on the hyperradio. Then the Terran visits the two hundred two Laosoors with Pothawk. Meanwhile, these people have understood that they will never again see the LAOMARK, their homeland. They appear to take it calmly, because they know there is nothing theydo do to change this. For now, they look at the barbell ship as their new homeland.
One day later twenty-one spaceships appear by the JULES VERNE, which immediately get the designation silver fish. They are between two hundred twenty and one thousand two hundred meters long and capable of taking modules in their middle. On the radio a delicate humanoid with emerald-green skin and catlike eyes announces himself, who wears a wine-red outfit. For Rhodan it does not come surprisingly when they announce themselves in the language of the Mighty. The spokesman introduces himself as Castun Ogoras, and his ship as the LIRIO. He belongs to the people of the Yakonto and their rapid-cruisers represent the guard fleet of Evolux. Ogoras insists on the fact that a robot command examines the JULES VERNE to rule out any affiliation to the Chaos powers. Meanwhile the barbell ship has been intensely scanned, and Ogoras receives some piece of information. Afterwards he wants to see Rhodan’s whole body and he is surprised in embarrassment expels the term Honored Aulicio Mac'lai - and announces his personal arrival on the JULES VERNE.
Ogoras comes in the company of six comrades aboard the JULES VERNE. Only he wears a white beard which is, however, no mark of age. Rhodan is known to the Yakontos as a Knight of the Depth, because their people worked long ago for the Knights (in particular, for Igsorian von Veylt). Even if the Order does not exist any longer, the Yakonto still hold the old values of it.
A lot is told to the Yakonto of the mission of the JULES VERNE and the battle against TRAITOR, but not the journey into the past. This naturally produces distrust, and Ogoras wants to have the information checked on Evolux. He does not believe that a Knight would deliberately lie. Nevertheless, at the end of the inspection Ogoras informs Rhodan that it was not the radio message that led his ships to the JULES VERNE, but rather the penetration of an object into their territory under temporal physical effects. Ogoras anticipates the full truth, but Rhodan acts the Knight and reprimands him for this. The bearded Yakonto accepts this and reports of the white world Evolux. It is a shipyard planet of the Cosmocrats, and the Yakontos protect it.
Subsequently a tender appears, a ring-shaped unit with four and a half kilometers of diameter which takes up the VERNE. After a one hour flight a constellation of eight white suns is reached which form a cube of seven billion kilometers of edge length. There stand three hundred thousand Yakonto units and approximately two thousand watch forts. And in the centre of the sun cube there stands the shipyard planet Evolux. It is actually about a brown dwarf with 77.11 times the mass of Jupiter. Evolux is an impossibility become reality with an oxygen atmosphere, one hundred forty-two thousand five hundred nineteen kilometers of diameter and 1.05 Gravos gravity.
The JULES VERNE is told to remain in orbit while Ogoras finds out what they are to do next. The Sequence Council in the Steep City has to decide on their destiny. The head of this is the Highest Sequence Inspector Dyramesch. This could take some time to happen. Nevertheless, measurements can be carried out. It is discovered that Evolux is divided into one hundred one thousand one hundred twelve Segments where just as many races perform service in them. They work on behalf of nine so-called Center Shipyards. The Segments on their part are organized by the Segment Control, a network of twelve thousand floating stations. Dividing fields between the separate Segments also stabilize the planet as a whole. The nine Center Shipyards are not observable, but blind spots. Center Shipyard One has been located. It is surrounded by the administration city Beliosa to which also the Steep City belongs.
The very next day Dyramesch, the Cosmofect of Evolux, appears as a projection on the JULES VERNE. Somehow he resembles the Mighty Kemoauc, perhaps coming from the same genetic pool. He cannot be impressed by Rhodan. As far as he is concerned, their mission has no importance for the forces of Order. He decides to have an inventory scan made on the ship before deciding on its destiny.
The JULES VERNE is set down in the Segment Gelephant, more than forty-seven thousand kilometers from Beliosa. The Galactics sense out the area and Rhodan undertakes an investigation in a Shift with Gucky and Mondra. Gelephant seems uninhabited, but then they meet four ursine Fralambs. They come from a neighboring Segment, and the words of Erlaruud deepen the realization that they have been pushed off by the Inspector. Nevertheless, the being informs them of the Transmitter-Tripod which possesses three gates of different capacities. Erlaruud even gives Rhodan a code for their utilization, before he laves with his comrades.
They then have the Tripod computer send them a copy of the Segment Catalog, which NEMO evaluates, and then an expedition will take place based on this. However, before this occurs, First Chief Engineer Istorico points out a repaired emergency Antigrav that must have been repaired by a ghost or power from outside the ship, because nobody on board did it. Then Ogoras appears from the Tripod and says he was told to fetch Rhodan to Dyramesch.
For Rhodan Beliosa is like a fairy tale city, a conglomerate of many cultures. He learns about the Sathox, a kind of military police and protection troop that has taken over use of the planetary teleport system, and sees the Steep City which does all honor to its name. It rises up to forty-five kilometers. There resides the Cosmofect - and Dyramesch lets the Terran look at what is being built in Center Shipyard One: a cobalt blue cylinder, a ship of the Cosmocrats that in now almost complete, after a ten thousand year construction time. It will be named the PENDULUM.
Dyramesch clears up Rhodan about his point of view: Hangay and the Proto-Negasphere are not the Terrans problem to deal with, but that of the Cosmocrats, who will take care it in good time. Therefore, there will be no aid to the JULES VERNE, but rather the Cosmofect has his own plans for the barbell ship. With this information the cell activator bearer is returned to his ship.
Back aboard he experiences a surprise, because in the meantime Gucky, Pothawk, Vizquegatomi, Limbox and Mondra Diamond have carried out their expedition. In the Chucharan segment they stole 1.5 kilograms of hypercrystals akin to Salkrit, ten kilograms of Howalkrit (which was still in production on Terra at the time of the takeoff of the JULES VERNE into the past) and all kinds of Evo chips, the local currency. With it the barbell ship, according to Daellian’s prognosis, can be made capable of acting again. It is also learned that the inventory scan must have already taken place.
In all secrecy the JULES VERNE is repaired. Afterwards the flight of the barbell ship begins. It divides, and led by Lanz Ahakin, Loni Geleske and Porter Lasik the JV-1, JV-2 and JV centerpiece push through Gate One of the Transmitter-Tripods one after another and materialize in Chucharan Segment. This is barren, in contrast to Gelephant, and Gucky cares for some confusion there, as he portrays himself in radio inquiries as a Fralamb. This gives them enough time to reunify the ship and bring it into space.
The acceleration phase begins immediately, but before the JULES VERNE can enter the safety of linear space, the barbell ship is jumped upon by a shadow of some kind, which knocks everyone out - and when Rhodan awakes, the JULES VERNE stands again in Gelephant. Before he can think about the unknown phenomenon, the projection of Dyramesch stands in the Main Bridge again. However, this goes out quickly again, and in its place the Cosmofect is standing there personally in the accompaniment of five Sathoxs by teleport. Dyramesch announces his judgment: Gelephant will now be the Terran Segment, and the crew of the VERNE will integrate itself into Evolux. He counts on resistance, but he will break it.
With these words the Cosmofect leaves with his guards, but not without getting a bloody nose from Mondra Diamond, who steps up to him and punches him out. Dyramesch lets go of it, without punishment. The Transmitter-Tripods are deactivated, except for their capacity for sending messages. Afterwards the Ara Istorico announces himself again. There was another ghost cure, this time documented on camera. The gradual repair of a Daellian pile is to be seen on it, but not the helping hand which does it. It awards them courage to hope …
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