650 - Der Bund der Sieben
The Alliance of the Seven
William Voltz

On December 28th, 3458, the whole Sol system is suddenly isolated fromthe rest of the universe. An unpassable hyperdimensional veil covers allthe system and prevents anyone inside from communicating to the outside.The ships can no longer travel to distant systems and linear travel isunoperative, while inside communications are undisturbed. Perry Rhodanmakes a short intervention on the TV to sum up the situation and confessesthe scientists think a greater power is currently making them a demonstration.

Alaska Saedalaere, the alien with a Cappin implant in his face, is joiningImperium Alpha, where all the mutants have been called back. He is startledto find an extraterrestrian in his room, who introduces himself as Calloberian,a Xysrapen.

Calloberian pretends he, and all those of his race, is able to see thestars, even though nobody in the Sol system can. He pretends he can switchbetween the dimensions, thanks to a special organ, not unlike the Laurinsflexorgan. As the scientists are trying to figure out how he can achievethis, on the 5th of January, the stars appear again. Shortly after, a mysteriousspheric ship suddenly materializes  in orbit around the Earth. Atfirst, the ship doesn't seem to be willing to land and keeps orbitting the Earth.

Rhodan finally makes contact with the unknown ship. It is piloted byHotrenor-Taak, a Laren, who seems to know Perry Rhodan and the human racefairly well. The Larens come from the NGC 21-3190-galaxy million light-yearsaway from Sol. He is the representative of the Council (or Hetos) of theSeven, which gathers seven galaxies. The Council wants the Milky Way tojoin them, with Perry Rhodan as the First Hetran. When Rhodan replies thathe doubts that all the peoples in the Milky Way would accept this nomination,Hotrenor-Taak says the Council supports First Hetrans with all their power ifneed be.

In order to impress the Terrans, Hotrenor-Taak asks them to test hisenergy shield. It quickly turns out that none of the Terran weapons canshake the energy shield of his ship. After the first blasts, the initially500 meter wide round ship swells to reach 5000 meters and takes a yellowish,bright hue. The energy shield seems to be made of pure energy, which leadsthe Terran scientists to coin the term "Energy cell shield", EC-Shield[Struktur-Variablen-Energiezellen Raumer or SVE Raumer. I am at a losstranslating accurately this term... --Cedric]

Shocked, Rhodan decides to allow the Laren to land in Terrania. He willpretend he accepts to enter the Hetos of the Seven until he learns moreabout this EC-Shield, and also on the other races involved in the Council.

The Laren ship lands and Hotrenor-Taak appears before the Terrans forthe first time. He says the Council is currently holding a meeting in theirgalaxy, and invites Rhodan to join them there in order to be introducedto the other six members. Pressed by the Terranian TV, broadcasting theevent galaxy-wide, Rhodan is urged to answer immediately. He turns theoffer down, saying that nobody in the Council ever considered asking himhis opinion.

Hotrenor-Taak is very surprised and retires to think the matter further.Meanwhile, reactions from the various peoples in the Milky Way start toarrive to Terrania, and they are essentially in favor of the nominationof Rhodan as the First Hetran. Rhodan still can't resign himself to it.He eventually agrees to go to Hotrenor-Taak's home galaxy, but accompanied.

He informs Hotrenor-Taak he wants to travel on board of one of his corvettes,inside the Laren's ship. He also gives him a list of people that will joinhim, among which Icho Tolot, Alaska Saedalaere, Gucky and Calloberian.Hotrenor-Taak is not surprised by all the names he reads, except for Calloberian,whom he admits he does not know. Rhodan explains that the Xisrapen is ableto see the stars despite the protection field the Larens used recentlyover the Sol system. Hotrenor-Taak accepts Rhodan's conditions.

The MC8 corvette is brought into the Laren ship, which then takes off.Shortly after, Hotrenor-Taak comes to see his guests and invites them tovisit the ship. He also informs them that the meeting will not take placein the NGC-3190 galaxy, as initially planned, but in the void between thegalaxies, on the planet Hetossa, second planet a seven-planet system, revolvingaround the Hartzon star. This unexpected change makes the Terrans moresuspicious about the Laren's intentions.

Shortly before they land on Hetossa, a Laren named Muskenor-Aart joinsthem on board and informs them about the planet, which capital is calledMivtrav. Hotrenor-Taak tells Rhodan that for now, he will only deal withthe Larens and will not get to meet the other members of the Council. Furthermore,the discussion makes Rhodan think that the Larens might be aware of Rhodan'srecent interactions with IT and Anti-IT. Questioned about this, Hotrenor-Taakadmits he knows about these facts but won't say more.

Hotrenor-Taak then alludes to the fact that Rhodan would have to disarmall the Solar Fleet, along with all the armed forces of the other races,in order for the Milky Way to join the Council. Rhodan is shocked by thisdemand but remains imperturbable, as Hotrenor-Taak seems to be confidentthat he will answer positively.

The Terrans are brought to their apartments. Fearing for their safetyif he refused the Laren's offer, Rhodan decides to pretend he will acceptall their demands. He sends the teleporters in reconnaissance, hoping tolearn more about the city before the conference begins.

After a few teleportations, Gucky and Tschubai discover a raging fightopposing two Laren armies. Forces coming from the capital are surroundinga group of Larens fighting for their lives. Gucky teleports back to thecity and brings Rhodan back on the battlefield. They kidnap one of thesoldiers and question him. Before he dies, the Laren says he's part ofa resistance movement. They wanted to take advantage of the arrival ofthe Terrans to make a demonstration to the Council. He says the Councilare merciless beasts that enslave people. He asks Rhodan to rescue Roctin-Par,their leader, who is about to be captured. Should this happen, there wouldbe nobody left to question the authority of the Council.

The teleporters eventually locate the rebels base and are able to rescueRoctin-Par before the Larens take over. Unfortunately, Calloberian diesduring the battle. Roctin-Par is brought back to the Terrans apartmentsand explains Rhodan that they're opposing the dictatorial ruling of theLarens. Questioned about the exact motivations of the rebels, Roctin-Parrefuses to answer.

On the Earth, the other Xisrapens realize that Calloberian might bedead, since they are no longer in mental contact with her (Calloberianactually turns out to be a female). However, she might also be simply pretending,they can't tell.

Meanwhile, on Hetossa, Rhodan prepares to meet the Council.

Cedric Beust

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