655 - Der letzte Magier
The Last Magician
William Voltz

Hotrenor-Taak informs Rhodan that Atlan must be chased with all the Terranforces in order to be tried and judged for the edification of the inhabitants of theMilky Way. Before Rhodan can even react, the Larens capture Atlan near theVega system and his trial is quickly scheduled.

Rhodan comes up with a hopeless plan involving a Kayndell, acosmopsychologist and Goronkon, a magician, former specialist of impossibleescape tricks. The first phase of this plan consists in stealing Atlan'scell activator and replacing it with a fake. Rhodan and the magician aresuccessful in their attempt and the deadly countdown then starts for theunsuspecting Atlan, who only has 62 hours left to live.

The trial starts and not surprisingly, Atlan is found guilty and charged with all possibleespionnage deeds and sentenced to death. Then Rhodan speaks and to thegeneral bewilderment, asks Hotrenor-Taak if he can execute the sentencehimself. The Laren agrees and then, on Rhodan's demand, hands theAdministrator his gun. Rhodan enters the cell and aims at Atlan's chest,destroying the pseudo-activator. Atlan is severeley injured in the processbut remains alive. Rhodan then explains that the sentence he decided wouldbe for the Arkonid to slowly decay to death. Rhodan becomes the most hatedperson throughout the Galaxy.

A few hours later, he goes to see Hotrenor-Taak and tells him he estimatesthe Terrans have had their share of shock. Atlan should at least bedecently buried. He convinces the Laren to bury the Arkonid in a cemetery hechose. A clever arrangement ofmirrors is supposed to make Atlan's body immediately replaced with a dummy,while he will be transfered to a safe place where his cell activator awaitshim.

Although suspicious, Hotrenor-Taak agrees and using a diversion caused bythe Terrans, Goronkon successfully substitutes Atlan's body with the dummy.Atlan, who was on the verge of death, realizes that Perry never let himdown and understands the risks he took to save him.

Cedric Beust

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