304 - Überfall auf Old Man
Raid over Old Man
H.G. Ewers

The commando trapped inside Old Man keeps progressing. Some of the obstacles are removed in strange circumstances, and Roi Danton begins to suspect that Omar Kaiman is responsible for it. The Free Trader remembers that Kaiman once mentioned Hawk, a former officer of the Solar Fleet. During the conflict against the Masters of the Island, Hawk had been allowed by Rhodan to leave the Terran ranks and follow Saar Lun, a Modul. Together, they were taken on board the Ship of Eternity, piloted by a Guardian of the Light. Their goal was to restore the peace between Maahks and Tefrodians.

Pucky executes a short teleportation and rematerializes in the middle of a large clearing. Looking around, he recognizes the familiar landscape of Serengeti, in Tasmania. First thinking it is yet another psychic trap, he realizes that the dangers are real, and to top it all, his paranormal skills no longer work. Pucky barely escapes being trampled on and suddenly, he finds himself back on board Old Man.

They eventually reach the heart of the positronic computer and Pucky attempts to teleport inside. He fails and Old Man suddenly realizes the presence of intruders. The main computer is suddenly protected by a high-energy field. The Terrans are now chased by Old Man's robots, who also kill Walkers, whereas they used to leave them alone. The Walkers are indeed behaving strangely and as Rhodan tries to examine one of them, Ivan Goratchine suddenly pushes him away and urges everyone to back off immediately.

Asked to explain himself, Goratchine says he thinks the base is infected with hypno-crystals. Rhodan and Atlan remember only too well the Magellanic crystals. In March 2388, an unknown spaceship in the shape of a drop had tried to approach Quinto Center. It had been destroyed but later, a meteorite crashed near the Center. The meteorite turned out to be a Great Crystal which was directing the hypno-cristals, a microscopic dust, towards the Center. The Great Crystal was eventually destroyed by an atomic blast, but the base had been infected already, making most of the crew insane.

The Terrans manage to steal a cruiser and leave Old Man.

Cedric Beust

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