54 - Der Zweikampf
Again: Atlan!
K.H. Scheer

Since his return to the Earth, Atlan is constantly interrogated. On June 16, 2040, he is at his 22nd cross-examination.

Atlan is lodged in a small house in the administrative district of Terrania. A detachment led by Lieutenant Tombe Gmuna brings him to the HQ of the Solar Defense where he is presented to Allan D. Mercant who is in the company of Piotr Kosnow. The Solar Defense has uncovered Atlanís previous identity from the twentieth century and now assumes that he has been on the Earth for a long time. The discussion at this meeting is about Atlanís cellular activator, the function of which is unknown to the Terrans at this time. Atlan satisfies Mercant for the time being by telling him that the device is indespensible to his well-being - it is a matter of life or death.

Ever since May 12, Atlan lectures at the Space Academy in Terrania. He meets Marlis Gentner there, a descendent of Venus colonists who is proud of her forefathers. She is part of those who considers that the Earth doesn't treat the Venusians as equals. She expresses to Atlan her indignation regarding his captivity. On June 13, Atlan tells her where a part of his equipment is hidden.

Atlan gives a lecture on the colonial politics of Arkon and the psychology of various cosmic races. Marlis Gentner secretly gives him a deflector. They set up a future appointment on Venus. On the terrace of the Space Academy, Atlan takes advantage of the crowd of students who have come to ask him for autographs to escape from Gmuna. Atlan uses the transportation strips that are distributed throughout the capital to reach the central station.

Atlanís train is fully searched in the Gobi Desert, but he still manages to get aboard a tender that brings him to Calcutta. He borrows a freighter to Tel Aviv. From there a small machine brings him to Tripoli where he seizes the private plane of a Lebanese official. In Casablanca, he takes control of a helicopter of the coastal police. He ends up recovering his diving suit in an underground cave close to Tangiers and then returns to his secret submarine fortress. The positronic brain of the fortress prepares him a mi-organic carcass to simulate a human skeleton.

Atlan takes an emigrant's place, Hinrich Volkmar, who has been put into hibernation in the submarine fortress. At Nevada Space Harbor, he is submitted to an x-ray that reveals a human skeleton. He embarks then on the GLORIA for Venus in the company of two hundred fifty other emigrants.

The emigrants are disembarked at the spaceport of Port-Venus. They are informed of the dangers of the planet. Atlan writes a letter to Marlis Gentner who provides him a contact, her half-brother Gunter Viesspahn. He meets him at the Terran museum. As he is the stepbrother of Marlis, Atlan understands that the Solar Defense probably has him under surveillance and will, therefore, soon be able to track him down again. Viesspahn proposes to Atlan that they meet again at his farm. After their separation, Atlan uses his deflector and locates agents of the Solar Defense. He wants to now see Marlis who lives in her aunt's armory (weapons shop).

Atlan visits Marlis Gentner in order to procure himself a heavy energy weapon. He leaves again to meet Gunter Viesspahn at the fixed appointment time. Invisible, he sees Pucky materialize, followed by Rhodan. Rhodan gives orders that nobody stops Viesspahn in order to be able to capture Atlan. Then he leaves in a jetcopter but suddenly returns and attacks and destroys Viesspahnís unoccupied helicopter which he believes may hold the invisible Atlan. Atlan survives the attack but remains undetected in the area. Rhodan promises to deliver a new helicopter for Gunter Viesspahn. When the the new helicopter arrives, Viesspahn leaves with it but not before Atlan hides himself aboard.

Atlan secretly remains for three days at the farm of Viesspahn. Gunter Viesspahn repulses two sprinter dragon-lizards with the energy cannon of a watch tower. Pucky and the seer Wuriu Sengu suddenly materialize behind Viesspahn. Wuriu Sengu is able to see through the deflector field of the Arkonide and attempts to fire on Atlan. The Arkonide paralyzes them both. He recovers his things and seizes a launch. After having discarded the launch in Marshall Falls, he takes an individual flight device and leaves for Port-Venus. He wants to hide in the Terran museum.

Atlan spends twenty-four hours in the museum where many objects appear to him false or, at the very least, bad reconstructions. Perry Rhodan appears, also equipped with a deflector, and the two men fight with the medieval weapons in the museum. With his vast experience, Atlan defeats and wounds Rhodan. Thereupon, Atlan reveals that he is ten thousand years old and that he supervised the construction of the Venus base. Rhodan asks for his help to defeat the Robot Regent. When Pucky appears, the two men are quickly becoming close friends. Some medical robots arrive soon, accompanied of Piotr Kosnow and Tombe Gmuna.

Michael Mahoney 2014-03-26

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