55 - Der Schatten des Overhead
Shadow Of The Mutant Master
Kurt Brand

The light cuiser LOTUS has been waiting for fourteen days close to the sun Hesperais. It waits for news from Ralph Sikeron, a member of the Mutant Corps, who is on a mission on the planet Volat. On July 12, 2040, it receives the message "The bell sounded three times" then all contact is cut. This sentence means that the Earth is threatened and the LOTUS immediately leaves for the Earth to inform Rhodan of it. There, the Administrator asks the LOTUS commander, Captain Jim Markus, to bring the mutant Fellmer Lloyd to Volat.

A gazelle with Fellmer Lloyd on it leaves the LOTUS to land on the planet Volat, not far from Sikeron’s gazelle, hidden under an energy bell. Lloyd takes an aero-train to reach Kuklôn, the planetary capital. He is suspected by the Springers but he presents himself as a Prebonian. He reaches the building where Sikeron worked and that belongs to the clan of the Uxlads. Others are interested in Getlox Asargud, the identity that Sikeron had taken. Lloyd is accosted by Kuri Onoré, whose clan had been ruined eight years earlier by the Uxlads. She knew Asargud who told her he had discovered something terrifying. After some investigating, Lloyd determines that he should go see the “Omniscient Mother”, the queen or great priestess of the indigenous Volatians.

While searching in the business of Sikeron, Lloyd finds the name Monterny written down on a diary. Stafford Monterny, a Super Mutant known as the Mutant Master, has been dead since 1981. He also finds mention of the KLO-XXII vessel there. The Springers break into the office but Lloyd uses his psycho-radiator to rid himself of them. He then leaves the Uxlad residence with Kuri Onoré. They inquire about the KLO-XXII which made a stopover on Volat one week earlier. He learns, by way of a rumor, that there may have been a murder but there is no corpse to be found.

Lloyd goes to the forest and gets an audience with the “Omniscient Mother”. She tells him that she had conversed with Sikeron who informed her at that time that he had discovered in Kuklôn two men possessing strange faculties. Back in the capital, Lloyd is confronted again by the Springers, of which one of them, Jidif, kills himself. The mutant learns from the Springer’s thoughts that they obey a chief without a face, the same as had been the case previously with the victims of the Mutant Master. Lloyd and Kuri flee into the poor district of the city. Lloyd now knows that he deals with a hypno and a telepath. They flee into the virgin forest, to the plateau where the city of the Volatians stands. When a mental attack hits Lloyd, Kuri follows his instructions and paralyzes him, thereby neutralizing him (as well has his hypnotic powers) but at the same time saving them both from further harm.

After have been welcomed by the Volatians, Lloyd leaves for Kuklôn with a team that he recruited. He ends up localizing a mutant of the Mutant Corps, Gregor Tropnow. He is one of the former followers of the Mutant Master. His accomplice is Nomo Yatuhin, also an old member of the Mutant Corps. Both were refused the cell shower on Wanderer because of their character and their mentality. In order to take vengeance, they concluded an alliance with the Springers, promising them the coordinates of the Earth. Their goal is to force Rhodan to bring them to Wanderer.

Zinxt, a Springer who works for Lloyd, witnessed Tirr Uxlad bringing the coordinates of the Earth to the P brain of the cargo ship RE-IX. After several confrontations, Lloyd succeeds in entering the ship and destroying the P brain. Attacked by the Springers, he is nearly paralyzed by a weapon but he succeeds in regaining his Gazelle and warning the LOTUS. He is then sheltered by the Volatians.

Michael P. Mahoney 2007-09-07

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