- Unternehmen Stardust-System
On November 13, 1346 NGE, the date of the closing of the Teletrans point, Lotho Keraete secretly carries out one last task in the Stardust system before he embarks on another dangerous mission: He sabotages the three Vario-1000 robots left by the LFT to observe the colonists.
About half a year later, on June 25, 1347 NGE, Administrator Timber F. Whistler, elected for a term of five years, receives a visit from the TLS-agent Duncan Legrange. Whistler has just launched the inaugural session of the parliament and government of Stardust humanity and found that the reality of his everyday life may be politics, but that it is not what he has longed for his future to be. His strongest rival, the opposition leader Rabea Furtok has already shown him in the debate over the naming of various institutions that he faces strong resistance to him. Whistler has established that the proposed seat of government will receive the name of Zeus Tower, and the the administration building Stardust Alpha. Furtok has pushed the designations Stardust Intelligence Agency (SIA) for the Intelligence bureau and Interstellar Bureau of Investigation (IBI) for the Federal Police. Legrange, who feels more committed to Stardust humanity than the LFT had reported to Whistler of the existence of the Vario-1000 robots. All three, Whistler learns two days later from Sigurd Echnatom went wild after assembly and had to be destroyed. Legrange wins Whistler's trust and is appointed the Special Representative of the Administration.
The design of the cities for the eight hundred and four million emigrants (which includes 2.2 million non-human beings) on the planets and moons of the Stardust system continues. Many people take part in the hunt after the cell activators hidden by the superintelligence ES. Beginning in July 1347 NGE Whistler learns from Lexa Maximilian, a member of the team that is investigating the Stardust Monument, that this structure contains hidden cavities that secured from sensor investigation. Lexa is the second of the three former TLS agents in the Stardust system and has made the same decision as Legrange. He also believes that Stardust Mankind must evolve independently and regardless of the LFT. As Whistler personally looks around on the grounds of the Stardust Monument, a matter projection disguised as a wall in front of him dissolves. A holographic message appears, which is identical to that of the first Galactic Puzzle and one thousand symbols are found which any cell activator hunter must puzzle through for the gift of immortality. A system of tunnels and halls is now accessible, which appears to be empty – except for a cage transmitter, which is assumed to be connected to a network of four thousand and ninety-six transmitters distributed throughout the system. Whistler realizes that it will not be easy to find the two cell activators ...
Since the supply situation in the Stardust system has gradually stabilized, on July 5, 1347 NGE a new project can be addressed: The FARAWAY I, a battle cruiser of the MARS class heads out on its first long-range reconnaissance to the border areas of the cluster Far Away. The expedition leader is Duncan Legrange, and Maximilian Lexa replaces the former pilot of the cruiser. The commander of the ship is Rikoph Furtok, Rabea Furtok’s son. Therefore, tensions are inevitable on board. The mission objective seems to be simple: They want to find out what is beyond the imaginary barrier that has prevented any long range detection on the edge of the two hundred light year in diameter globular cluster. When the FARAWAY I uses its long range sensors about one light years away far from the Stardust system, it must recognize the fact that the barrier is real. All detections (normal visual observation) fail, and the superluminal flight is affected by an unknown factor so that it decelerates until the ship has to go sublight. Whatever is causing this, it is topping the ship from moving, even though all the drive systems are running on overload. The FARAWAY is thus firmly stuck in a barrier that they call the Sextadim veil. The ship can only free itself by having standard drive units mounted outside the ship and moving relatively slowly through normal space, until out of the range of the veil’s influence. The FARAWAY I returns empty-handed to the Stardust system. The only knowledge gained was that Stardust humanity cannot leave the globular cluster - at least not by traditional means.
On the world Cataract, many fortune hunters settled in the area of the intangible city of Prymtuor become known as the prophets of the cities. Others are devoted to the exploration of the ruins that were discovered on Cataract. A team of archaeologists digging in the city Marirthorn on the big island Candall discover a rock fossil that resembles a whale preserved in the mesa. Huslik Valting a colonial Terran from the planet Cyrglar belongs to this team. During a storm early in July 1347 NGE his glider crashes and the base camp is destroyed. Valting is seriously wounded and is dying, so he regards the voices that he hears, at first, as a fevered hallucination. He has a vision of the island Talanis and finds himself in a pavilion full of butterflies. When he regains consciousness, he sees an apparition of a gold sphere, which dissolves into countless sparks. These press into him and his buried comrades, and heal them. Filled with new energy (he feels almost rejuvenated) Valting discovers a cave, which contains a hidden chamber with a cage transmitter. He manages to activate it and ends up at the pavilion of his vision. There he hears that laugh that people immediately associate with the superintelligence ES, but it is not an amused laugh - it sounds more desperate. Filled with fear Valting flees back through the transmitter. Upon his return, he learns that over a year has passed by...
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