2669 - Wettstreit der Konstrukteure
Competition of the Designers
Marc A. Herren

4,235 years after the foundation of their empire, the humanoid Moweners in the galaxy Karn-Legrek are carrying out a war against the Orfenars. In the battle for the insignificant planet of Nunngar, a young industrialist’s son Cholaquin Port'aldonar - better known as Sholoubwa , author of the poetry volume » Love in Times of Abundance « dripping with patriotism - suffers a horrible abdominal injury. An airworthy medo-drone saves the dying Mowener's life, but for the rest of his life Cholaquin has to take a cocktail of medicines to maintain the unstable network of artificial organs in his body. His war experiences are processed by Cholaquin against the opposition of his father, who finally disinherits him, in new, far from patriotic poems. He is quickly attacked for this because the enthusiasm of his people has not diminished. Disillusioned, he ends his writing career and follows in the footsteps of his now bankrupt father. His own genius as a designer by far surpasses that of his father.

Already during his convalescence, Cholaquin comprehensively perfects the old Medo-drone, which he never wants to part with. Cholaquin is now involved in the creation of large transmitters and discovers the so-called Zero Channel - a kind of dimensional gate , through which two arbitrary points can be permanently connected. A deadly radiation released by this prevents the use of the Zero Channel by living things. Cholaquin gets involved in a bet. He sets his company against the hand of the wife of his competitor Husen, who is developing bio-Positronics. Cholaquin has to greatly increase the capacity of the Medo-drone if he wants to win the bet and prove that bio-Positronics are not as powerful as Husen claims. Cholaquin cheats by connecting the drone via Zero Channel with a Grand Positronic. He wins, but quickly loses interest in Husen's wife. Years later, he notes that the drone's circuits have changed in an irreproducible manner due to Zero Channel radiation. The drone is far superior to any mainframe because it can develop creative ideas. Cholaquin continues to improve the drone and gives it the name Sholoubwa.

In 4255 NRG Cholaquin is propositioned by a messenger of the Cosmocrats. With the development of the Zero Channel, the Designer has qualified to enter the service of the forces of Order. When Cholaquin asks for payment, the messenger reacts with incomprehension. Cholaquin sends him away laughing. Eighteen years later, Cholaquin's corporation is facing forced nationalization. Sholoubwa, who now has a pseudo Mowener body, is to be destroyed because biological shaped robots are illegal. Sholoubwa defends himself and kills the government delegates on his own. Cholaquin’s only choice left is to run. He and Sholoubwa engage in contracts with two hostile races and thus wage a kind of war against their own race. Cholaquin builds special subroutines in Sholoubwa, because the robot’s callous initiative for self-preservation has become scary to him. In addition, the student has long outstripped the master.

At the age of ninety-three, Cholaquin realizes that his death is imminent. Since his body cannot be saved, Cholaquin wants to temporarily transplant his brain into Sholoubwa's body and connect it with the Grand Positronic via an interface that was being developed by Husen. Sholoubwa is supposed to build the neural transmitter himself. He estimates the construction time to be seventy-two years. Cholaquin bridges this time with a dilatation flight. Arriving in 4379, he wants to use the subroutines to wipe out Sholoubwa’s intellect and take his place. But he is cheated. Sholoubwa has long since made the programs harmless and stopped building the neural transmitter after just twenty-two years. Cholaquin finally dies.

Jerry Schneiderman 2018-10-24

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