710 - Raumschiff in Fesseln
Spaceship in Shackles
Hans Kneifel

Thirty-eight years have gone by since Rhodan and his crew left the Earth on board the Sol. They arrive in the vicinity of a micro-nebula, which they call Balayndagar. Astronomic computations soon reveal that this will be their last stop before they finally reach the Milky Way. Rhodan decides to separate the spaceship : Cell-1 will land on Last Halt, a planet which they just discovered, and Cell-2 will remain in orbit.

As soon as they have set foot on the planet, It manifests itself with His usual laughter. He says he is surprised to see that Rhodan found Balayndagar, and that this galaxy will lead him to the first of the seven seals that Rhodan is supposed to break. Then It vanishes.

As Cell-1 is ready to leave the planet after filling up with food, water and other supplies from the planet, Seneca aborts the take-off and tells the crew that some unknown agent has penetrated the spaceship. Any attempt to take off will result in an explosion. A shuttle is sent in orbit to verify the theory and it explodes when it reaches 38,000 meters. The scientists soon realize that the unknown agent which has been brought onboard must be in the water and the air, making it impossible for anybody to leave the planet.

Rhodan contacts Senco, the officer in command on Cell-2, and asks him to abandon them and head for the Milky Way. The commandant complies reluctantly.

On Last Stop, a group of men discover a strange machine on the ground. When Romeo and Julia, the two robots under Seneca's control, arrive to analyze the strange device, they open fire and destroy it. Asked later about the incident, Seneca affirms that none of the two robots told it about the discovery and that they acted on their own.

Cedric Beust

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