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656 - Der Geheimnisträger
The Secret Messenger
Clark Darlton


While Perry Rhodan is in a meeting, Orana Sestores -- his fiancee -- irrupts into the room and publicly insults him for murdering his long-time friend, Atlan. Rhodan tries to defend himself but nothing can convince her. She leaves, saying she never wants to hear about him again. Atlan and Pucky feel that Rhodan has been hardly hurt by this loss and decide that Orana must be informed of the situation, despite Perry's recommendation.

In Imperium-Alpha, Alpar Goronkon -- the magician who made Atlan's escape possible -- is now part the the secret services. However, he turns out to be the former agent of a terrorist organization, the ZGU. Despite the mutants' close watch, he escapes, killing several guards. He eventually meets Hotrenor-Taak but to Rhodan's surprise, he does not disclose his information.

Atlan and Pucky kidnap Orana and take her into Para-Burg, an undersea secret base. Para-Burg is a former lemurian outpost sitting 5000m under the ocean. They let her know about Rhodan's bluff against the Larens and install a psychic block so that if ever she is interrogated, she will forget everything she knows on this matter. When she gets back to Imperium-Alpha, she lets Rhodan know that she now understands his reasons. They decide to get married.

Rhodan, now certain that Goronkon will somehow try to extort him something, decides to put the pressure on the traitor and sends the mutants after him. The stratagem succeeds and, now feeling unsafe even within Laren territory, Goronkon escapes, killing more Laren guards on his way.

In Imperium-Alpha, Orana vanishes. Hotrenor-Taak soon lets Rhodan know that she is on board his ship and that they are on their way to his home galaxy, NGC-3190. On the screen, Orana explains that she is being well treated and that Hotrenor-Taak asked her to come as the future wife of the First Hetran, so that she can receive appropriate information on her duties. Rhodan is helpless and the SVE-ship leaves for the distant galaxy.

Meanwhile, the chase for Goronkon is continuing. He first heads for the Moon but he is quickly spotted by the mutants. He steals a spaceship and sets sail for a secret ZGU base on a lonely asteroid. Atlan and Pucky are on his heels but they can't stop the ship to enter the base. Inside, Goronkon is greeted with hostility, as he previously quit the organization. He wants to inform the ZGU headquarters about what he knows but refuses to disclose this information to the commandant. The link is established with the ZGU headquarters and Goronkon starts to speak, but Pucky intervenes and manages to kill the traitor before he can say anything vital.

A few days later, Orana is back on Earth where she confirms that she was well treated and had a very impressive glance at the Laren culture. However, she mentions having had some sort of sickness while she was there, which Hotrenor-Taak attributed to some harmless radiation emanating from the distant galaxy.

Once again, Rhodan's secret is safe, but the psychological struggle against the Larens, who have now set foot everywhere on the Earth, becomes more tense than ever.

Cedric Beust

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