50 - Der Einsame der Zeit
Time's Lonely One
K.H. Scheer

The Arkonide Atlan wakes up after a long period of hibernation in his submarine dome situated close to the Azores trench. He had gone there during the catastrophe of 1971 when the Terrans were preparing to unleash the atomic war. He believes he is now the last surviving individual on the planet. Atlan is wakened up by Rico, a robot that appears humanoid. He is cut of from all contact with the surface, his satellite Tek-1 having been shot down two days after the beginning of his hibernation. The Positronic brain of the fortress detects radioactivity in the direction of the Azores trench, which seems to confirm Atlan's fears.

Five days later, Atlan leaves his fortress, equipped with a protection suit. He remembers hearing before his hibernation about the test pilot Perry Rhodan and his departure for the Moon. He thought that the story of Rhodan’s meeting with extraterrestrials was a hoax but was intrigued all the same by a photo showing what appeared to be a strong energy screen. Atlan is detected by an atomic submarine and captured as part of an undersea hunt. He is touched by a paralyzing torpedo.

Atlan wakes up and learns that he is aboard a tour submarine, which contradicts his hypothesis on the nuclear war. He has been mistaken for a fish of the depths. With the help of his psycho-radiator, he takes controls of the crew. He learns what happened since 1971, and in particular the foundation of the Solar Empire in 1990 over which Perry Rhodan rules as the Administrator. He decides to go to a library to get more information. He takes the identity papers of one of the passengers of the submarine, Phil Holding, and leaves the submarine. After having hidden his protection suit in a creek, he stops a car which brings him to Lisbon. He settles in at the Escorial Hotel where his cellular wavelength is then registered.

Atlan learns during his daily visits to the library that Mars, Venus and some of the moons of Jupiter have been colonized. He ends up feeling the presence of telepaths. He realizes that the submarine has been found. He seizes a boat in order to recover his protection suit. He returns to his fortress which he buries under tons of mud as a precaution.

Atlan decides to go to Terrania in order to have access to a spacecraft that can bring him back to Arkon. He fabricates a false identity for himself. He becomes a scientist, Skörld Gonardson, and applies for a position in Terrania. On 24 April 2040, he travels to Terrania aboard the ZACHO, the flight lasting a half-hour. Lieutenant Tombe Gmuna informs him that he will be in charge of Control Station S-18. Atlan is impressed by the takeoff of an "Imperial" class battleship, the SUPERNOVA II. He is introduced to Peter Kosnow, the Chief of the Solar Defense.

Atlan uses his psycho-radiator to escape an x-ray which would reveal his absence of ribs. His work includes the testing of Panther class Corvettes. He wants to escape with one of them. Rhodan arrives to carry out a test flight himself. When Atlan sees that suspicions against him are materializing, he uses his deflector, becomes invisible and, utilizing a helicopter, reaches some workshops three kilometers from there. He then comes back on foot, having erased his tracks. He hears Rhodan ask Kosnow to send out a call requesting Atlan to give up and make contact with him. Atlan enters the corvette before Rhodan takes off.

Atlan’s original plan was to emerge from his hiding place after the first transition jump but instead he faints from the shock of the three long-distance hyperjumps. When he finally does leave his hiding place, he finds himself facing Rhodan who detected his presence with his weak telepathic faculties. He and Rhodan fight and the corvette ends up flying out of control. It crashes on a desert planet called “Hellgate”. Perry Rhodan frees Atlan from the debris after the crash and the two men head toward a base two kilometers away.

Atlan and Rhodan face off against each other, using words as much as weapons. Rhodan tries to persuade Atlan that Arkon is now under the control of a robot. He learns that Rhodan had a son with Thora. They begin to endure the torturous heat. After a dozen hours, difficulties due to the extreme heat and the shortage of water increase. Atlan sings a song containing imbecilic text speaking about water and almost drives Rhodan out of his mind. Atlan shoots and believes for one moment to have killed Rhodan. After another eight hours and at the limits of their endurance, Atlan and Rhodan head toward the site of the base. Together, they succeed in opening the door to it.

A robot wakes up Atlan and Rhodan while pouring water over them. A Terran cruiser lands, disembarking several men. Atlan is now a prisoner of the Terrans. He then makes allusion to the Thirty Years War, causing Rhodan to go pale. Who is Atlan and how old is he?

Michael P. Mahoney 2007-02-11

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