287 - Die Halle der Unbesiegbaren
The Hall of the Invincible
H.G. Ewers

The Terrans have come to the conclusion that their only hope is to sign a peace treaty with the Maahks. Atlan volunteers for this mission, arguing that the Arkonids have been dealing with them since several thousand years. When he arrives in Andro-Alpha, a Maahk ship immediately detects them and welcomes them. It seems the Methanian people had been expecting them for some time, coming to the same conclusion as them regarding the outcome of their struggle against the Masters of the Island.

Atlan is taken in front of the Maahk Council, in the so-called Hall of the Invicibles. He starts his psychological game by letting the Maahks know that he is an immortal, and he proves it by relating a battle he fought a thousand years ago against the ancestors of the current Maahk Elders. However, he doesn't intend to disclose his main argument yet : the existence of the multi-duplicators, about which the Maahks do not seem to be informed.

A quick scan by Wuriu Sengu reveals that out of the nine Elders who form the Council, three of them are actually duplicates. They quickly contradict Atlan, who is then forced to reveal the existence of the the multi-duplicators, frightening the Maahks who rely on their very strong natality to keep fighting the Masters of the Island. However, unable to prove his sayings, he is forced to silence and the Terrans withdraw in their quarters.

During the night, the mutants go after the three traitors in order to collect proof. Unfortunately, they are surprised by the Secret Services and brought before Grek 1, the head of the Council. To Atlan's greatest surprise, Grek 1 is completely informed of the intentions of the Terrans and even though he questioned their saying during the audition earlier, he had eventually come to believe them after having them spied by his agents. Atlan show the X Ray pictures they took of the three traitors, who clearly reveal the brain implant which is used by the Masters of the Island to keep the duplicates under their control.

The next day, Atlan exposes his evidence but pretends he hasn't identified any traitor yet. One of the duplicates then leaves the council and heads for what Atlan suspects to be a secret base, where they must have a multi-duplicator. The Maahk is discreetly followed and leads the Terrans to his base on a nearby planet, close to the sun.

Maahks and Terrans invest the base and capture its personnel. Shortly after, a treaty is signed between the two races. Rhodan can now get to the second phase of his plan : the destruction of the Andromeda transmitter.

Cedric Beust

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