74 - Das Grauen
The Horror
William Voltz

Walt Scoobey and Colonel Marcus Everson, agents of the Solar Defense, arrive on Eppan in order to contact the mutant Goldstein who is on a mission on the planet. They meet up with the gladiator Maatal, an Eppan who is their contact. Goldstein himself is in an apathetic state, and the agents decide to bring him back to Earth.

In order to preserve the secret of their existence from the Eppans, they take Maatal by force with them on their vessel, the FAUN. It will be necessary to make three transitions to reach Earth.

Arriving on the FAUN, Goldstein pretends to have introduced "the Death" on board. Once in flight, some of the crew members feel a mysterious presence, like a ghost. The crew begins to worry and one of the crew members, Ramierez, appears to have been attacked and remains unconscious. In addition, the hypercom transmitter doesn't function anymore. The first transition is completed.

Two crew members, Stanford and Shorts, are the next ones to become victims of a sort of physical and mental paralysis. The fear begins to settle in on board of the vessel, and the transmitter is not completely repaired. Maatal is accused by some crew members and Zimmermen, one of the crewmen, attempts to kill him.

An iridescent, translucent and immaterial shade, detaches itself from the wall and attacks a crew member, Dealcour. Shortly after a fifth victim (Zimmerman) is found. In order to protect themselves, Colonel Everson concentrates all of the remaining crew in the control center. The victims can't stop repeating that "all is not finished". The second transition is completed.

The First Communications Officer, Marlo Landis, is the sixth victim. Doctor Norton suspects a psychic attack. A false reassuring message has been sent toward the Earth, and the propulsion unit is sabotaged. Finney and Wolkov, who are sent to repair it, are also attacked and neutralized. The third and last transition is now impossible.

Goldstein is in fact the person responsible for the attacks. On Eppan he discovered within himself the power to transform the atomic structure of objects and he decided to seize the vessel. He disconnects some nerves of the brain in order to paralyze the men. Navigator Inoshiro is about to unmask him but Goldstein is quicker. However, he feels an uneasiness deep down inside himself.

Goldstein succeeds in sowing confusion within the last four conscious Terrans who begin to mutually question themselves and to threaten each other. Fashong understands too late and succumbs in his turn. Everson paralyzes his last two colleagues and now faces alone both Maatal and Goldstein.

Goldstein explains that he wants to seize the ship in order to accomplish his "ultimate destiny" and that Everson and his crew must bring him secretly back to Earth. He won't hesitate to kill anyone who rebels. The crew's attempts to neutralize the mutant fail. Nevertheless Goldstein begins to wonder about the reality of his plans and the real source of his power. During a terrifying psychic fight that takes place without the knowledge of the crew, Goldstein succeeds in delivering himself from the control of Mataal who dies at the end of the fight.

Maatal is in fact a foreign creature, a Meetamorphe, capable of modifying his molecular structure. He had been stranded on Eppan and had hoped to enslave the Terrans through Perry Rhodan in order to make them servants of his race.

Michael Mahoney 2012-08-30

Back to the cycle