60 - Festung Atlantis
Fortress Atlantis
K.H. Scheer

In October 2040, Captain Hubert Gorlat of the security services comes to look for Atlan in his apartment. He is brought aboard the DRUSUS, the flagship of the Solar Imperium. Facing Rhodan, Atlan explains that he wants to return to Arkon but the Administrator provides him with proof of the decadence of the Arkonides and Atlan must surrender to the evidence. Perry Rhodan informs him about what happened in the Mirsal System with the disappearance of the entire population and the ghost squadron that had pursued them. Atlan receives a shock because he already has had experience in the past with this type of phenomenon. He then begins to relate what took place ten thousand years earlier:

At this time, the Arkonides lead a fierce war against the Methane Breathers, beings inhabiting planets with atmospheres of ammonia and methane. In the system of Larsaf, a small yellow sun, the Arkonides have founded a colony on the second planet, Larsa (present day Venus). A colonist sends a distress message to the wise men of the Arkonide Great Council, complaining about the methods of the governor Amonar. Atlan, who has the rank of squadron admiral, is sent to restore order. Amonar is stopped and is sent back to Arkon. Atlan also sends a message and waits for his recall, little interested by this distant system.

A delegation of colonists comes to see Atlan. Among the inhabitants of Larsa are five thousand Zakrebians brought there by mistake and with whom the climate of Larsa doesn't agree. They ask to be brought to the third planet (present day Earth). Atlan leaves to take a closer look at this planet and finds the ideal place, a vast island between two continents (the lost continent of Atlantis). He obtains permission from the Great Council of Arkon to evacuate the colonists. After having left Captain Feltif there with men and the material, Atlan leaves the Larsaf System to support Admiral Sakal against the Methane Breathers.

Two years later, in the chaos without name generated by the intense battles against the Methane Breathers, Atlan succeeds in getting ten light cruisers on the base Alaget III. He receives a message from his uncle, the Imperator, who sends him back to the Larsaf System which Atlan had already forgotten about; the planet Larsa undergoes an unknown attack and a hundred thousand colonists have mysteriously disappeared.

When Atlan arrives, he learns from Feltif that the problem doesn't have anything to do with the Methane Breathers. The hostile ships seem to belong to another dimension. The inhabitants of Larsa disappeared without leaving a trace. One of Atlan's cruisers detects one of the strange ships that displaces itself half in the hyperespace, half in the normal space. The squadron hurls itself at it but without effect. The arkonide cruiser MATATO suddenly doesn't answer anymore while, meanwhile, the unknown ship disappears without causing any reaction from the structure detectors. The crew of the MATATO disappears, with the exception of one crewmember who has half of his body seemingly frozen in time. Grun, chief mathematician of Atlanís flagship, the TOSOMA, proposes to transform ship propulsion units into cannons. Two ancient cruisers are sacrificed. Atlan requisitions cargo ships and sends back a major part of the colonists to Arkon, thereby reducing the remaining colonists to only one hundred fifty thousand.

Larsa is suddenly attacked. An extinction front resulting in a glimmering of air propagates itself across the surface of the planet, causing the disapperance of all animals and humans. For Grun, this is not the effect of a weapon but a natural phenomenon. When the mysterious curtain approaches Amonaris, the capital of Larsa, the propulsion units transformed into cannons open fire. Concentrations of energy produce themselves in space in the form of funnels and all of Atlan's squadron disappears with the exception of three ships. Atlan and the other survivors return to Larsaf III. A citadel covered by an arkonite dome is installed at the bottom of the ocean to shelter survivors in case of attack. Atlan informs the Great Council of Arkon about the situation but they are preoccupied solely by the Methane War.

Two months later, Atlan leaves for Larsa on a reconnaissance mission. He succeeds in pulling one of the foreign vessels, a long dark spindle, into the normal universe and destroys it. Atlan then receives a strange mental call. He travels alone to a mysterious object that is revealed to be a robot ship. An unknown being gives him a device that is supposed to stop ageing, a cellular activator, and plans for a dangerous weapon, the converter cannon. He also hears a thundering laughter. When Atlan returns to his men, eighteen hours have passed by on the outside. The plans of the converter cannon is sent to Arkon as well as two transports sheltering 40,000 colonists. With only 10,000 colonists remaining on Larsa III, Atlan takes care to fortify Atlantis, waiting for the decisive confrontation.

Once awakened, Atlan learns from Perry Rhodan the identity of the mysterious master of the robot vessel who has given him the cellular activator: the immortal unkown, IT. Alas, the secret of the converter cannon has long since been lost (many thousands of years ago).

Michael P. Mahoney 2007-10-19

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