2617 - Der dunkelste aller Tage
The Darkest Day of All
Hubert Haensel

The sun does not go out immediately after the Fimbul Pulse, but only two weeks later. In the meantime, it is possible for Shanda Sarmotte to locate the creator of the strange miniature universe where the AMATERASU is trapped. Korbinian Boko seems to lie asleep in his cabin, but is enraptured by his false reality. Shanda believes that she can get in touch with him when she leaves the station. She is supported by Reginald Bell, who accompanies her. The two intrude into Boko’s dream world. Due to his feeling of guilt for it, the Stardust Terran keeps living through his parents' house fire in which his sister Lia was seriously injured. Shanda takes on Lia’s shape and leads Boko back to reality. He materializes in his cabin, while at the same time the “refuge” expires. Bull and Shanda reappear somewhat singed in the airlock. The station is suddenly back in the solar corona , but they cannot leave, because the sun is now wrapped by the Fimbul Crust, a two-dimensional membrane of ephemeral matter that does not let photons through and is impenetrable for the AMATERASU.

Meanwhile, a meeting occurs on Terra at the Society of Absent Friends - a group launched by Homer G. Adams. The Whistler robotics specialist Toja Zanabazar is a member of the society. The young woman is a director of the Whistler Museum in Terrania and has created several elaborate robots, including the increasingly "human" becoming Pollux and huge icicle shaped machines based on VARIO-1000 robots - OTHER and WISE. On behalf of Adams she brings messages to the Plophoser Flint Surtland, the hermit Virgil Rifeshyd living in the Arctic and Enoch Godolphin, the head of the Syncopha Syndicate. With the Springer cylinder LADY LAVERNA Toja travels to a gigantic construction site in space. There the Syncopha is working on the reconstruction Jupiter moon Ganymede, which had been destroyed in the year 1461 NGE. OTHER and WISE combine into a super computer that will serve as the central computer of the fort, which is a control station inside the emerging moon.

On September 29, 1469 NGE the sun begins to darken. Since it is also inflating, the AMATERASU caught on the other side of the Fimbul Crust is brought to the brink of destruction. Shanda takes up mental contact with the dying Boko and convinces him to create the "refuge" one last time. In the protection of this inverted space the AMATERASU manages to pierce the Fimbul Crust on September 30. Boko then dies.

Seen from the outside, the sun is like a giant black ball...

Jerry Schneiderman 2014-12-05

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