2609 - Im Reich der Masken
In the Empire of Masks
Christian Montillon

The masked humanoids aboard the log like vessel are Escalianers, a race belonging to the Empire of Harmony. They may be suspicious, but do not behave hostilely. Alaska Saedelaere speaks with Guard Lieutenant Pridon, the commander of a fleet that had been protecting the Administrative Palace. Alaska Saedelaere learns that the fleet has been abducted by an unknown space-time phenomena in the Libration zone anomaly and lost contact with the Administrative Palace. Some fleet ships were destroyed and the same fate threatens the remaining units. Saedelaere offers to help - not entirely altruistically, because Pridon claims the builder Sholoubwa Saedelaere has been looking for is located in the Administrative Palace. This unit, in which the Duchess is staying, must have been placed in the core of the anomaly. To get there, the Escalianers need Saedelaereís protection. The fact is that this protection is not produced by the ROTOR-G, but by the Cappin fragment, which the Terran does not initially reveal. The ships are grouped closely around the ROTOR-G. In this way they can penetrate deeper into the anomaly.

During the flight, the Escalianers suffer from increasing physical ailments. The first death is Pridonís adviser Boraod. Saedelaere tries to concentrate the emanations of the Cappin fragment on the tracking devices of the ROTOR-G, for a systematic search for the Administrative Palace is otherwise not possible due to the raging hyperphysical chaos in the anomaly. The Administrative Palace is finally found. The Duchess receives Guard Lieutenant Pridon, Saedelaere and Eroin Blitzer. The Firibirim are with Saedelaere, carried in the pockets of his outfit. While they can still not communicate with Saedelaere, their Zenta organ allows them to understand his words. The conversation with the Duchess has to be interrupted because the Escalianers in the Palace are suddenly suffering from the same ailments as Pridonís crews. It becomes clear that the Cappin fragment is responsible. Saedelaere tries to warn Pridon, but the Guard Lieutenant suffers cardiac arrest as he attempts this. Battle robots arrive to arrest Saedelaere. A spider-like robot appears and wants to converse, but apparently it has an organic component, because the Cappin fragment badly affects it also. When the battle robots open fire, Eroin Blitzer catches the identification of the spider robot. It is "Sholoubwa"...

Jerry Schneiderman 2014-06-07

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