681 - Das Sonnen-Fünfeck
The Pentagon of Suns
Kurt Mahr

Atlan meets secretly with the Maahks on Midway, the starbase in the Great Void, 800,000 light years away from the Milky Way. He asks them if they are monitoring all the solar transmitters in Andromeda and if they do, if they have noticed anything special recently. Grek-1 answers that all the Andromeda transmitters are under close Maahk scrutiny but nothing of importance has happened recently. Then Grek-1 remembers that there is one transmitter only which they don't monitor : Gercksvira. As he is about to explain why, two Laren agents interrupt the meeting and shoot on them.

Atlan and his crew barely escape. It seems that the Maahks are surprised too by the Laren agression. The fact remains that the Larens have advanced in the Great Void and maybe even as far as Andromeda. Atlan decides to investigate the matter and heads for the neighbor galaxy.

In the fringe of Andromeda, a small Terran colony has settled in the Kraltmock system. A Maahk ship lands on the planet and informs the Terrans that they have to leave the planet immediately. The mayor refuses to comply and captures the two Maak spokespersons. Soon, a whole Maahk fleet surrounds the planet and starts attacking it.

Atlan arrives in the vicinity of Kraltmock and tries to rescue the Terrans, but the situation is hopeless. An imperial ship of the Maahk materializes in the system with the main ambassador on board. He asks to speak with Atlan. They eventually agree that the whole fight was based on a misunderstanding but the ambassador reiterates his demand : the Terrans must leave the system as soon as possible. Atlan now knows for sure that the Larens have set foot in Andromeda, and that they are pressuring the Maahks to interrupt all contacts with the Terrans.

Asked about Gercksvira, the Maahk ambassador explains to Atlan that this transmitter emits deadly radiations which already caused the loss of several ships. However, he accepts to take the Terrans there.

As they are closing in on the transmitter, made of a pentagon of stars, the bedroom of the Terran is suddenly filled with ammoniac. Soon, the gravity reaches 3g, which is the normal living condition for the Maahks. The Terrans reach their spacesuits in time. First, Atlan thinks that the Maahks are trying to kill them. However, it turns out that they must be getting too close to the transmitter because the whole Maahk crew is acting insane.

Atlan rescues the Maahk ambassador and they all escape in a shuttle. Shortly thereafter, the Maahk ship explodes. They are soon rescued by the rest of the Maahk fleet. During the debriefing, Atlan explains he thinks that somehow, the deadly radiations emitted by Gercksvira might be connected to whatever happened to the Earth in Archi-Tritrans. He is decided to unravel the secret of the Pentagon of Suns.

Cedric Beust

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