2579 - Der Spieler und die Toten
The Actor and the Dead
Marc A. Herren

With the means of the ROTOR-G Eroin Blitzer scans the spaceships that orbit Tolmar, and notes that there is no life in any of them - just as on the planet itself, which he visits again a little later. The evaluation of the radio communications in the system shows that it is all recordings. His investigation shows that all the living beings in the system died simultaneously between two thousand and two thousand five hundred years ago. Moreover, the android finds that the radiation of the triangle configuration of the system is aimed at the area of the stage of the cautionary play, and that a normal person could not survive this radiation for long. It is clear to Eroin Blitzer that Alaska Saedelaere’s life is in mortal danger, and that all the residents of Tolmar - including the actors – are merely projections of a powerful disembodied entity. On Tolmar he meets Vetri who now behaves anything but kindly. She suddenly turns into Gommrich Dranat, the actor playing the jester in the cautionary tale. The projected figure lunges at the Commo'Dyr, but he successfully repels the attack with one of his Cosmocrat devices. He then taps the planetary data networks and heads out to rescue Saedelaere.

In his couch capsule Saedelaere takes part in the cautionary play and experiences the fall of the Empire of Harmony. The emotions of the actors are amplified and projected into his mind. This torment nearly kills him, but using his SERUN he manages to get out of the capsule. The mental influence that he was subjected to fades enough that he regains his free will. He approaches the bottom of the stage platform, where he meets the "actors". Because he assumes that the spectacle means death for the occupants of the other couch capsules (he does not know that there are no other spectators), he demands the play be stopped. The actors attack him, during which they merge into a single entity. The actor attacks right through the helmet of the SERUN and tears down Saedelaere’s mask. The Cappin fragment erupts with its energies that interact with the broadcast of the triangular constellation and shatters reality for Saedelaere into a kaleidoscope of visions. One of them shows him Samburi Yura’s first mission on behalf of Cosmocrats:

Samburi Yura was investigating Tolmar and decided to end the cautionary play once and for all. The entity Tafalla, a splinter from another entity had been repeating it again and again, although the spectators were killed during rehearsals for the first performance. The space sector was then declared a taboo zone. Since Tafalla appears unapologetic for this, Samburi Yura decides to destroy the stage platform, but Tafalla’s projection figures kill her androids. Samburi Yura has visions of various alternative futures - in one of which she provides Alaska Saedelaere with the Cappin fragment. The Enthone flees into the LUMINOSITY and now wants to destroy both the platform and Tolmar itself, but suddenly the designer Sholoubwa appears in the form of an amorphous mass of liquid metal in the Cosmocrat cylinder. He claims Tolmar was needed for a project of the Cosmocrats. Therefore Samburi Yura leaves with her mission incomplete, but expecting her tool Alaska Saedelaere to eventually complete it.

Saedelaere eventually returns to his reality, where Tafalla continues to attack him. Eroin Blitzer rescues Saedelaere from Tafalla’s projection shape by dispersing it with the weapons of ROTOR-G. Saedelaere then orders him to destroy the stage platform. Eroin Blitzer informs Saedelaere of his findings. Tolmar was in fact originally a factory world of Sholoubwa’s - and only one of many whose positions are now stored in DAN. Sholoubwas had probably created the BOTNETZ on one of them. The Hyperperforation at Tolmar, also a creation of the designer, could possibly be used for time travel and travel to parallel worlds. It also turns out that the ship Protenor Gavras came from the Empire of Harmony, so it was in fact a real place.

Saedelaere asks himself bitterly whether Samburi Yura had only given him the Cappin fragment in case one of her visions became reality and make him her tool. He will continue his search for her and when he finds her, she will have some questions to answer for him...

Jerry Schneiderman 2013-03-28

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