606 - Marathon der Raumschiffe
Marathon Of The Spaceships
Kurt Mahr

Taking place once every ten years, the Marathon of the Spaceships is shortly imminent in the Milky Way. As always, also Perry Rhodan II will take part in it. He has won the competition continuously for 800 years and unscrupulously applies every insidious trick for the victory: from the betrayal of the air route by Atlan II up to killing off all serious adversaries. This year, his murder attack is for the Haluter Terengi San, who however, manages to barely survive the attack and swears revenge on Rhodan II and the assassin Kalle Wessel.

Meanwhile, the scientists of both MARCO POLOs have determined the single escape possibility from the dilemma of the parallel universe: the respective Perry Rhodan must kill his antipodean. Since Atlan as member of the interstellar marathon-committee knows the inter-goals of the marathon from his own universe, Rhodan I decides to set a trap on the route for his opponent. Before hand, however, he must see for himself that the data is accurate also in the anti-universe. For this purpose, two officers of the MARCO POLO - Paul Reit and Mintru Kansel - fly to the planet Kano-Kano, on which the MARCO POLO II is at the moment. They are disguised as Space Tramps. Having hardly arrived there, they begin to boast loudly that they will win the race without problems, since they possess secret data, that guarantee them the victory. Eventually Rhodan II is alerted by his subordinates about the two disguised Space Tramps and wants to find out the reason for their self-confidence. He sends Kalle Wessel to the two Tramps. Wessel’s mission is to buy the information from them in order to determine if it is real or not.

The data turns out to contain the correct coordinates, and so Rhodan II decides to have the two Space Tramps killed. Wessel is sent out once again to carry out this mission. However, as he tries to get into the spaceship of the Tramps, the angry Terengi San appears, saves the two men, and drags the unconscious Wessel with himself in order to enjoy his revenge to the full. Reit and Kansel have successfully completed their mission and leave Kano-Kano on the return trip to the MARCO POLO I which is located in the orientation protection of the sun Verko-Voy, the first goal of the marathon-participants.

After approximately six days, the MARCO POLO II appears in the system, and the MARCO POLO I goes on the attack. Since the mistake in their Nugas Black Field Reactors have already been corrected, Rhodan expects that his ship now has the upper hand in any contest between the two ships. And he is correct! The first volley of the MARCO POLO I breaks through the energy protection shield of the MARCO POLO II and cripples it. Rhodan II, together with Atlan II, seizes the escape and sets out for the rescue hangars. However shortly before they can climb into a space-lentil, Roi Danton II appears, shoots Atlan II and takes his place at his father's side.

As Rhodan locates the start of the mini-spaceship, he sets out in pursuit together with Atlan in a Space-Jet. In the meantime, the MARCO POLO II passes in a gigantic explosion.

Michael Mahoney 2014-08-12

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