3001 - Von Goettern und Goennern
Of Gods and Protectors
Oliver Froehlich

Before heading into the Milky Way and make contact with Bull, Rhodan decides to gather information. He chooses to visit the Olubfans, a race he encountered 500 years ago before they had reached the industrialized age. Communications seem to indicate that they have now reached the early space age and that they might provide useful information. Also, their home system is next to an abandoned base that Rhodan wants to reactivate. The Olubfans are quadrupedes who can stand on their hind legs. Their hands only have three fingers and no knuckles, so in order to use them, they have a symbiosis with Tolnautes, worms that live on their body and with which they have a telepathic bond, allowing them to operate on objects.

On the way, the Bjo spots an Olubfan spaceship in distress. The ship was making hyperspace transitions limited to a few light years, since they haven't discovered linear flight yet, and their engine broke down. They were then attacked by a race of pirates called Ladhonians, who kidnapped half of their crew. Rhodan rescues the spaceship and uses this action to be invited on Ollfa, the Olubfan main planet.

As Rhodan's crew makes first contact with the residents, Rhodan learns they all have an organ called Organoid, which was a present from the Cairans. The entire Olubfan civilization seems to be very grateful to the Cairans for having initiated them into the space age, but the Cairans have also forced them to abandon their gods and beliefs, so a lot of Olubfans are conflicted between their gods and their protectors.

Rhodan is invited to attend a ceremony during which young Olubfans are making their first contact with their Tolnautes, but the alarms soon ring as Ladhonian spaceships are spotted approaching the system. The pirates land on Ollfa and ask all Olubfans to not get in the way if they don't want to be harmed. Rhodan is surprised by the passivity and resignation of the Olubfans, who let the Ladhonians kidnap their own without any resistance. After kidnapping a lot of Olubfans, the Ladhonians depart. Rhodan cannot act on the spot, since his actions would lead to retaliations on the Olubfans, but he quickly orders his crew to rush back to the Bjo and get in pursuit of the Ladhonians.

They take off and leave the Olubfan system just as a fleet of Cairan spaceships arrives.

Cedric Beust 2019-03-10

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