291 - Brücke zwischen den Sternen
Bridge Between The Stars
Kurt Mahr


Timo Benz is the commandant of a patrol ship in the Lost System. He notices a weird phenomenon coming out of the transmitter: a green light extends itself over several millions of kilometers and eventually disappears, revealing a 5km asteroid made partially of terkonite. With a small crew, he investigages the asteroid to discover a huge being, made of rock and terkonite, spelling out the letters "elpa" in morse. Terrified, the crew hastily comes back on board their ship and reports to Rhodan.

The situation in the Andromeda galaxy is dramatic: all the transmitters are beginning to show signs of decay and instability. They work intermittently and when they fail, all the ships that go through them are turned into a molten piece of rock. The asteroid discovered by Benz was one of these ships, which entered the transmitter during an instability phase. The four letters was actually a part of the name of the ship. The Terrans are alarmed, the solar fleet needs to leave Andro-Beta as soon as possible, or they will be stranded on the micro-nebula.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Mory Abro gives birth to twins.

Timo Benz departs from Andro-Beta and heads for the Lost System. A malfunction in their engine forces them to drop back into normal space and they detect a nearby planet in the inter-galactic void: Solo. Puzzled by the existence of this planet and because it is their only hope of ever making it back to their galaxy, they head toward it and are quickly greeted by a Tefrodian message enquiring about them. They pretend to be Tefrodians themselves and simulate a crash on the planet. The Helipon drops a small corvette which then sets out to attack the base.

They eventually conquer the base and find spare engines, allowing them to resume their journey to the Lost System. When they reach Calife, Benz reports about this base and its existence puzzles the Terrans. Suddenly, a huge Tefrodian fleet is detected and it is headed directly at the Calife base. The Terrans have only 150 ships left, against 15,000 from the Tefrodians. The situation is helpless. Benz must absolutely inform Rhodan about the situation before he arrives to the Lost System.

He enters the unstable transmitter and heads for Kahalo. His ship is turned into a molten rock but he manages to crash on the planet. He has been turned into a multidimensional being and merged with his ship. He manages to inform the Terrans about the Tefrodian attack in the Lost System but eventually dies. There can be only one explanation to this attack: the Tefrodians now have a way to reach across the stars without using the transmitters.

*Note - found this summary several years ago on an old internet site - http://www.ed.ac.uk/~geas?CYCLO/P/PR-291.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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