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68 - Hetzjagd durch die Dimensionen
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Kurt Mahr


In January 2042, Perry Rhodan and Reginald Bell are worried. It is time that they renew their cellular shower that must, by necessity, take place before May first. But Wanderer is not where it should be. The artificial planet was almost certainly the victim of the interference between the two temporal (time) planes.

The DRUSUS arrives at the location where the artificial planet is supposed to be and on January 17 the guppy C-238, with Rhodan, Bell, Captain Gorlat and Lieutenant Tompetch aboard, travels into the the Druuf’s universe by means of the Warp-Field Generator. It arrives on a planet whose orbit has been modified lately, probably by the recent appearance of Wanderer. The guppy lands on the planet which is given the name Solitude. It seems petrified by the temporal shift and a ghostly silhouette is repeatedly seen. They follow it and arrive in a crypt where six caissons in the shape of coffins are located in the middle of technological devices. They use a psychograph to capture some thoughts, but the crypt explodes. The slowness of the process allows them to escape. The psychograph proves that an intelligent creature had tried to make contact with them.

Several ships are detected in space. The guppy gets under way and surpasses the speed of the light of the Druuf universe which is only 4.7 km/s. This results in a loss of causality and the hostile ships disappear.

Bell and Rhodan return to Solitude and detect a new spectral silhouette. They find another crypt but before continuing their research, they deactivate the bomb. Suddenly, they feel a strong heat and determine that they have just dropped into the time plane of the Druufs. As a result, the eight hostile ships are again there but the C-238 has now disappeared. The Terrans determine that the six bodies living in the crypt are actually all parts of one living being - a non-humanoid unisexual being capable of dissociating its mind from its body. The mind appears in the shape of an ectoplasm (ghostly apparition). The Druufs are responsible for the mutilation of these Solitude beings and take advantage of them to detect intruders. The Terrans gather the six parts of the Solitude intelligence from the crypt, allow them to recombine and give the resulting, fully awakened, being the name Nathan.

Some Druuf robots intervene and then the crypt explodes. Rhodan assumes that the Druufs passed into their time plane and reconnected the bomb, certainly to destroy an emitter that would have permitted localization of the Druuf’s home world. The robots begin to construct a building, probably to move Solitude back onto its original orbit. Captain Gorlat and Lieutenant Tompetch succeed in seizing one of the robots which appears to have the role of architect. Taking advantage of particular conditions bound to the loss of causality, Rhodan manages to board the C-238 when it rematerializes and to bring back everybody to their own time plane.

When the C-238 arrives back in normal space, it is 21 April 2042. Some specialists take care of the captured robot and learn that Wanderer came back into normal space but at another place of its orbit - a position that it should not have reached for another eighteen thousand years. When the DRUSUS leaves for Wanderer’s new location on April 23, there remains only eight days for Rhodan and Bell to receive their cell shower and keep their immortality.

Michael Mahoney 2011-09-07

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