46 - Geschäfte mit Arkon-Stahl
Business with Arkon Steel
Kurt Brand

Ace title: Project: Earthsave

Despite Perry Rhodan's energetic approach to Aralon, the galactic physicians are not yet ready to throw in the towel and make plans to destroy Rhodan and Terra. Gegul, who is responsible for Aralon’s safety, takes a leading role in the planning and will soon send Ara-couriers throughout the galaxy to contact the Springer patriarchs.

Meanwhile, Rhodan, has received a "vacation" from the Robot Regent, but before he can leave M-13, his new friend Talamon asks for a conference. He reports that the Springers are being blackmailed by the Aras to destroy Terra and a patriarch meeting will that take place in the near future in a yet undisclosed location. He offers to Rhodan his honestly meant help, which in turn Rhodan offers Arkon-T-steel from the spaceship graveyard on Honur as a thank you. Talamon takes time to consider the offer.

In the meantime, the Aras determine as the venue, Laros 18, a moon of the planet Gom in the Gonom system, , where they have their large, partly secret laboratories. They assume that they have the appropriate resources available there to protect the planned meeting from any disruptive events, as they have learned the appropriate lessons from the events at Goszuls Planet.

Rhodan and Talamon reach an agreement. In their first joint action, they deceive the Robot Regent and the Springers about the departure of the TITAN and GANYMED to Terra. Under the protection of its structure compensator, GANYMED actually flies to Earth. The TITAN hides 8000 light years away from Arkon until it intercepts any hyper radio messages that indicate new crimes by the Aras.

To verify the information, the Terrans fly to the planet Exsar, which is inhabited by the only Springer clan who refused to send a patriarch to the meeting. Lieutenant Julian Tifflor reaches the planet with a Gazelle and confirms with his own eyes that the 3-hour rhythm plague has infected the planet as a punishment by Gegul. Two hundred thousand people are infected each day with this disease. Using the hyper radio station on the planet, Tifflor informs the Milky Way. Subsequently, the TITAN withdraws to Honur.

The Aras deny any connection with the disease and as a sign of their good will send a free ambulance ship with more than 6,000 physicians and all stocks of g/Z 45, the only antidote. The damage is enormous and Gegul is sentenced and executed in a summary trial to death in a converter. His plan for the destruction of Terra is pursued now under the leadership of the chief biologist Keklos on Laros. He is the most brilliant biologist of his people. In massive trials and cruel experiments he tried on the one hand to explore the secret of eternal life and develop the other hand, the so-called Bios from the enigmatic base substance of Gom: highly resistant organic creatures with very low intelligence.

Informed by Talamon about time and place of the meeting, Rhodan goes to the Gonom system. With the aid of the Springer, a Gazelle infiltrates Laros with the mutants Ivan Ivanovich Goratschin, Kitai Ishibashi, Tako Kakuta, John Marshall, Wuriu Sengu, Betty Toufry, Ras Tschubai and Tama Yokida, all under the leadership of Reginald Bull. Their primary goal - that Talamon does not even know - is the manipulation of the memory sector of a single alien positronicon with new position data of the Earth in Topthor’s flagship. Although the mutants are repeatedly attacked by an unknown paranormal power, they manage the complex project and "Terra" is now the third planet of the Betelgeuse system, 272 light years away from its actual location. Subsequently, the mutants even disrupt the Assembly, but they can no longer influence a favorable vote result for Terra. The Springers decide to attack more often and more brutally. At the last minute they succeed in escaping from Laros in the Gazelle.

The actions of the mutants do not remain hidden from Keklos. He even discovers Talamon’s duplicity, but he can prove nothing without betraying the secret of the Gom basic substance. Moreover Topthor, Talamons best friend, also suspects that Perry Rhodan has his finger in the pie. But firstly Topthor is upset about the machinations of the Aras and secondly Talamon has asked him to join him in a business venture with the prospect of high profits.

In the meantime, the Gazelle is suddenly captured by an incredibly strong, telekinetic power and forced to crash on Gom. Marshall can just inform Gucky telepathically about the most important details before he faints. Rhodan, who must not betray his presence to protect Terra, must wait for the end of the meeting and watch the developments on Gom.

John E McClure 2015-08-23

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