693 - In den Höhlen der Ploohns
In the Caves of the Ploohns
H.G. Ewers

The Marco Polo emerges from the transmitter near a solar system. Rhodan immediately seeks shelter around its main sun. The solar system is made of four planets, the second one being obviously important to the Ploohns judging by the heavy traffic of spaceships around it.

The recent events between Terrans and Ploohns have been observed by a mysterious entity called Schuyt-34027. He seems to be a mere observer and he makes a quick contact with Dalaimor Rorvic. He withdraws before the mutant can ask him any more questions.

A small commando led by Ras Tschubai is sent to the second planet. They notice that the insects are using a mysterious powder to fertilize their plants and Tschubai suddenly identifies the substance, which emits powerful hyper-vibrations : it is molkex (Molecular Extract). Tschubai remembers the fight of the Terrans against the Blue empire, and how they managed to synthesize the only weapon efficient against the molkex : the B-Hormone. However, as soon as the molkex was exposed to this hormone, the mysterious "drive effect" took place and the samples flew in the sky at incredible speeds, toward an unknwown destination. Tschubai suspects that the molkex samples were headed toward the center of the galaxy where the transmitter sent them into the Maelstrom.

As they are about to withdraw, the Terrans are spotted and captured by the Ploohns. Jaymadahr Conzentryn questions Tschubai and is stunned when she learns that the Terrans know about the molkex, but most of all, that they have a weapon against it. The Terrans manage to escape and flee into subterranean caves. There, they meet with Kayzihr Mandaynah, a former queen who assists them. She explains that at birth, all queens are killed but one, and that she was able to escape the slaughter and find shelter underground.

Cedric Beust

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