492 - Das stählerne Gefängnis
The Steel Prison
Hans Kneifel

Vascalo the Crooked, the new Marsav Chief, activates the final-block-circuit at the risk of his life. This circuit gives the Taschkar the control over 146,000 Collectors. Vascalo can bring himself to safety by way of a Transmitter in the last second and starts on the way to the main world of the Takerer with one of the last spaceships from Takera. Soon afterwards Takera is destroyed by the atomic fire, that had been initiated by "Operation Wasp Nest".

Arriving on the planet Arptof, Vascalo meets with the Taschkar and tells him about his success. As a result, the Taschkar realizes that the Collectors, which Guvalasch, recently killed by Pucky, could command with the Komudak-Belt, now are under his exclusive control.

Instead of executing a combined attack of the Collectors and the Takerer fleet on the Ganjasen armed forces, the Taschkar decides to send the Collectors into the Milky Way under the command of Vascalo in order to execute a damning blow against the Terrans before they can come to the help of the Ganjasen. As was established in the meantime, the Terrans are immune against the Pedo-takeover thanks to the development of the Dakkarschleifen (Dakkar-Grinders?). Therefore, the Collector fleet should pick up the Pedotransferers stationed in the Milky Way and then attack the Sol System.

The Taschkar then presents Vascalo with his two prisoners, Roi Danton and the Paladin, who are implied in a Marsav Safe (a transparent steel block which completely encases them). He hands over the two to Vascalo since he believes that they cannot deliver any valuable information to him regarding the Ganjasen - for Vascalo however they possess information about his objective in the Milky Way which would be very helpful.

Within the Pakadin, the Thunderbolts discuss the possibilities of breaking out from the prison. Finally, they decide to clear a way with their Desintegrators to Danton in order to be able to communicate with him. Dart Hulos, who has displeased Harl Dephin with a Destillery setup in his weapons armory, is selected as a "volunteer" for the breakthrough mission. After the breakthrough succeeded, Danton and the Siganesen finally can communicate with each other.

The Collector fleet comes out close to the Vega System meanwhile and must get the bearings. The Terran GEK Missionary Matton Exloster, who has just escaped an unpleasant encounter with the Vegan authorities, becomes the first victim of the Takerer invasion in his spaceship.

Vascalo goes to his prisoners and questions Roi Danton over the identity of the system in which the fleet has materialized. Furthermore, his Collectors pick up the Takerers stationed in the Milky Way, who shift on board of the fleet. After Danton informs him that the Vega System is 27 light-years from the Sol System, Vascalo must prepare for battle because the Terran fleet gathers to an attack. Danton now informs Dephin that the Collectors are near the Vega System, and gives the command for the outbreak from the safe. The Siganesens now burn out six separated tunnels to the surface of the safe.

Two Takerer are sent to the Marsav Safe by the fleet commander Pultor in order to keep an eye on the prisoners. They discover the efforts of the Siganesen to free Roi Danton which presents as small holes in the surface of the safe. One of the two Takerers is shot by the Thunderbolts, the other escapes panic-stricken from the room. Pultor and Vascalo admittedly hear his screams but must concentrate on the fight with the Terran ships.

For a few hours the Siganesen utilize their desintigrators on the area of the safe around Roi Danton, who is slightly hurt several times on that occasion. Finally Danton can wriggle from the rest of the steel prison and can arm himself with the weapon of the dead Takerer. The Paladin must be left behind. Unopposed, the escapees reach a hangar, that is full of Cappins.

Danton succeeds with it, to sneak by the 500 Takerers without becoming noticed. He operates the controls of a mini-spaceship and shoots a hole in the hangar-wall. The captured Takerer ship escapes through this hole and afterwards Danton radios the attacking Terrans, to inform them about his identity before they mistakenly shoot him and his small spaceship. The 50,000 Terran ships are under the command of Reginald Bell and they are up against 60,000 Collectors. With a literary trick, Danton is able to convince Bell of his identity. Danton and the Thunderbolt team are successfully rescued by the Terran fleet.

Michael Mahoney 2015-04-02

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