691 - Sargasso des Alls
Sargasso of the Universe
Clark Darlton

An expedition of 12,000 spaceships is sent towards the center of the Maelstrom, in the hope that some meaningful information can be found there. As the fleet is approaching its goal, all the spaceships are slowed down and then finally completely stopped by golden filaments that surround them. The little worms, hardly more than a few centimeters long, are able to penetrate inside the metal and completely incapacitate the fleet. They seem to be stopped by plastic, though.

Toronar Kasom makes an analogy between this region of space and the Sargasso sea, where similar things happened in the past on the Earth. A small shuttle manages to escape before it gets caught. On their way out, they notice a foreign spaceship which doesn't seem to be inconvenienced by the golden worms.

On the Earth, Pucky detects Kasom's thoughts and takes the lead of a rescue mission on board the San Antonio. They spot one of the unknown spaceships and follow it to a barren planet, which they call Onyx. The inhabitants look like kangaroos and they tell the Terrans that they inherited this technology in a distant past. Their civilization is dying. They only have seventeen spaceships left and have no idea how they could help the Terrans.

An elder knows more about the mysterious substance, called Schanath. It is half-organic and half-living, and works through the golden filaments by establishing a symbiosis with them. The Terrans cut a piece of the metal and bring it back on Earth. Unfortunately, the piece of Schanath dies once it is on Earth. Somehow, Pucky thinks that there might be a connection with the Blues but he cannot explain his intuition.

Cedric Beust

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