3 - Die strahlende Kuppel
The Radiant Dome
K.H. Scheer

29 July 1971. Major Perry Rhodan, commander of the Stardust, dictates a report on a tape recorder: it involves his meeting with the Arkonides, whose research vessel has crashlanded on the Moon, and a few of the events that have followed. During this time, Dr. Eric Manoli, physician of the Stardust, and Dr. Frank M. Haggard, who came of his own free will from Australia, have begun taking care of Khrest, one of the Arkonides who was suffering with leukemia. The Stardust and its crew are presently besieged by the Asiatic Federation that intensively bombards the energy screen that protects them. Rhodan is worried and wants to know if the screen put in place by the Arkonides is capable, over the long term, of resisting the intense bombardment that it is being subjected to. Rhodan decides to make contact by radio with Thora, who is still in command of the Arkonide research ship that has remained on the Moon.

In the General Headquarters of the IIA in Greenland, Allan D. Mercant receives representatives from the Eastern Bloc and the Asiatic Block. Their goal is to create a coalition in order to fight against Rhodan and his Third Power. This Third Power has certainly prevented an atomic war on the Earth and has promoted an alliance between all nations (due to the present circumstances). However, for the great power blocs, it also represents legal and diplomatic difficulties and especially a serious military danger. After having exchanged information that would have remained secret in normal times, the representatives of the three power blocs arrive at the conclusion that Rhodan is sustained by an unknown alien power situated on the hidden face of the Moon. They each agree to send a rocket, equipped with “cold” fusion bombs, to the Moon to discover where this help comes from and to destroy it.

26 August 1971. At the perimeter of the Third Power, General Tai-Tiang tries a new tactic to pierce the screen of energy. He concentrates all artillery fire on a reduced surface area of the screen. Initially this tactic proves to be unsuccessful but it also serves as a diversion. Albrecht Klein of the IIA, who knows Rhodan, accompanied of Li-Tschaï-tung of the Asiatic Bloc and by Piotr Kosnov, agent of the Easter Bloc, receives the mission to make contact with Rhodan under the false pretenses that he represents a revolutionary group that is favorable to the Third Power. In reality, the three agent’s mission is to introduce a bacteriological weapon inside the energy screen. But the three men, who realize that Rhodan has prevented an atomic war, have doubts about the merits of their mission.

Dr Haggard succeeds in healing Krest of his leukemia but the Arkonide scientist remains in a very deep sleep due to the action of the medications that he received. The energy screen begins to give signs of weakness in the face of the intense bombardment. Also the Arkonide telecom device has broken down due to the shock waves coming from the explosions taking place on the energy screen. Rhodan cannot communicate with Thora nor speak with Khrest. He asks Dr Haggard to wake up Krest by giving him a stimulant. At this moment Reginald Bell detects the arrival of Klein and his two companions in a helicopter close to the energy screen. Rhodan leaves the Stardust to meet them.

A rocket, the Stardust II, takes off from Nevada Fields. Its first two stages are equipped with chemical rockets so that it is able to cross the first 120 kilometers of atmosphere where the antineutron field of the Arkonides prevents all atomic devices from working. At the same moment, a rocket of the Eastern Bloc takes off from Siberia and another one from the territory of the Asiatic Federation. These three rockets are each carrying a “cold” fusion bomb to the Moon in order to destroy the lunar base of the Third Power. The takeoff of the three rockets occurs without a hitch. However, at Nevada Fields, Mercant and the other officers doubt the efficiency of this operation.

Perry Rhodan has the three men, who have presented themselves close to the energy screen, brought in. Rather than making use of his small steel bottle by freeing the culture broth that it contains, Klein unveils to Rhodan the deadly mission that has been given to him and the other two agents. It turns out that this mission, that Klein had proposed himself, was only a cover to contact Rhodan and make him aware of the departure of the three rockets with their dangerous cargos towards the Moon. While they listen, Rhodan lets them know about his present difficulties: the energy screen that gives signs of weakness, the impossibility to make contact with Thora by radio, Khrest who is in a coma and, finally, the threat of reprisal that will descend upon the earth if Khrest comes upon misfortune at the hands of mankind. Klein and his two companions leave, ready to help Rhodan whenever possible. Since the Arkonide ship stranded on the Moon is not aware of the immenent surprise attack, Rhodan asks Haggard to wake up Krest no matter what the risks are so that Khrest can repair the telecom device.

Haggard succeeds in waking up Khrest. Immediately Rhodan lets him know about the situation. Khrest understands that the energy screen is overloaded but that one can not shut it off because of the constant bombardment by the Asiatic Federation. It is necessary, therefore, to make contact with Thora by radio. Khrest is at least able to repair the Arkonide telecom device using the autorepair function. Khrest informs Thora on the state of the energy screen. Thora decides to come directly to the aid of Rhodan and Khrest. She immediately leaves aboard an auxiliary space vessel. Unfortunately Khrest forgets to warn her of the imminent arrival of the three rocket carriers of the cold fusion bombs that are destined to destroy the stranded cruiser on the Moon. Thora arrives above the Gobi Desert a few minutes later.

Thora invokes an artificial storm using an antigravity field. The energy bell protects the Stardust. All the soldiers and their material that were besieging the Stardust are blown far away and, as a result, the concentrated artillery fire stops. After the storm has subsided, Major Butaan gives the order to stop all firing. Thora lands with her auxiliary vessel close to the Stardust and Khrest warns her of the danger heading for the lunar cruiser. Accompanied by Rhodan and Bell she immediately leaves for the Moon. However, it is too late to protect the cruiser. The auxiliary vessel arrives right at the moment when the three Earth rockets drops their bombs. Rhodan, Thora and Bell directly witnesses the destruction of the Arkonide cruiser. Rhodan dissuades Thora from carrying out any reprisals and convinces her to return to the base of the Third Power.

Michael Mahoney 2005-03-30

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