284 - Anfang gegen die Erde
Strike Against Terra
William Voltz


Another summit conference is in the making. Perry Rhodan is more and more criticized and a growing part of the colonized worlds are thinking about voting him down from his position. Each world will send an ambassador to the conference. Rhodan expects another strike from the Masters of the Islands at this conference, and he is indeed right: Miras-Etrin is sending a hoard of duplicates toward Terra, in what he expects to be one last offensive that will bring the Terran empire to its knees.

Agents from the Secret Services are sent to escort each ambassador and keep them under a close surveillance. Al Boyer is one of them, and he quickly realizes that something is going on with the wife of Rabkob, the person he is in charge of. He suspects she might have been replaced by a clone, and his suspicion is confirmed when he finds a small metallic device in Rabkob's belongings.

He reports his finding to Rhodan who immediately sends all his mutants, asking them to search thoroughly and secretly all the ambassadors. The device turns out to be a part of a bigger machine, whose purpose remains undetermined. The mutants eventually gather the thirty-two pieces of the device, which then assembles itself automatically, in the middle of Mercant's office. The machine is immediately taken away from Terrania and abandoned into space. After some time, the weapon hasn't done anything more than emitting harmless beams.

The scientists bring the machine back and eventually conclude that this device is harmless, and was most likely used as a bait to keep the Terranian Defense busy as the conference date is closing in. Rhodan instructs the mutants to search for a second weapon, expected to be much harder to find.

Two mutants are found very heavily burned. Using spacesuits this time, the mutants keep searching and gather another round of pieces, each one guarded by a powerful radiant beam designed to kill whoever finds it.

Meanwhile, Boyer estimates that the fragments of this second weapon are still too easily found. He begins to suspect that the Masters of the Islands might once again be tricking the Terrans and a hypothesis begins to take shape. He contacts an old friend of his, who is working on the Moon with the hyper-inpotronic Nathan. He submits his hypothese and waits for the answer.

Meanwhile, the mutants have almost reconstituted the second weapon just as Nathan's answer arrives. It says that the second weapon is most likely another lure, and that Boyer's hypothesis about a third weapon has 63% of being the right one...

*Note - found this summary several years ago on an old internet site - http://www.ed.ac.uk/~geas?CYCLO/P/PR-284.sub.html - that no longer exists (same site that the previous short summaries in the "Master of the Island" cycle that Cedric had obtained came from).

Michael P. Mahoney 2007-09-11

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