78 - Thoras Opfergang
Thoras Sacrifice
Kurt Brand

October 2043. Three months earlier, Thora lost all traces of youth over night. Since then, she lives alone on Venus. When an emergency arises, the physicians who treat Thora call Eric Manoli. The days of Rhodan’s wife are counted. The Ara serum of longevity have led to the development of deadly tumors. On 4 October 2043, Doctor Villnoess proposes to confide Thora with a mission in order to fight against the apathy that he sees growing in her. He only gives her six months to live. General Deringhouse informs Perry Rhodan of the bad news. At the front, Druufs and Arkonides are weakening each other in a deadly protracted struggle. The Regent contacts Rhodan and asks him to come in person to pick up the hundred ships of war which Rhodan asked Arkon for back at the end of September. The Solar Administrator assigns Deringhouse to pick up the ships for him. In turn, Deringhouse proposes to take Thora. At first Rhodan is opposed but Bell persuades him to accept.

Deringhouse goes to look for Thora on Venus, who is mad with joy at the idea of taking part in an important mission and on returning to her home world Arkon.

In the battle zone, the Regent is in full confusion. As a precaution, all communication is forbidden between Grautier and the Solar System. Bell receives a short message from an agent on Aralon who states that the Regent is preparing a new plan of attack.

The Terran frigate BURMA arrives in the battle zone at the same time as the Regent puts its new plan in place against the Druufs. When the commander of the BURMA establishes contact with a robot-cruiser, Thora presents herself in the BURMA’s command center, again full of vitality. The Regent orders them to come to Arkon III. When the frigate arrives in the system, some robot cruisers insist that the BURMA be taken over by remote control. Deringhouse refuses. The BURMA is forced to land on Mutral, also known as Arkon XXVII. They are contacted by Taa-rell, the decadent Arkonide commander of the base. The Regent calls them and agrees to deliver the hundred vessels promised in return for thousands of officers and Terran technicians. Thora refuses.

The BURMA attempts in vain to take off. Some heavy combat robots approach in order to seize the Terrans and get Earth’s position from them. A fight begins between the robots and the frigate which still cannot manage to take off. A Terran robot commando probe is sent to disturb the computers and the P-brains of the base. The Terran robots bring back some prisoners, Taa-rell and two Aras, and the frigate can finally get under way. The base explodes but other Arkonide units appear.

The frigate carries out a hurried hypertransition as it begins to receive direct hits from the enemy ships. It reappears on the other side of the Tri-Planet system, escapes the attraction of the sun, and then makes a jump of more of fifteen thousand light-years. The physicians on board the BURMA confirm that Thora’s rejuvenation is complete - the serum ended up having its intended effect. However, when Deringhouse goes to announce the good news to Thora, he is witness to her murder by one of the prisoners, an Ara.

Thora is buried on the Moon, a mausoleum being constructed at the crash site of Thora’s old cruiser. Thomas Cardif attends the ceremony but he refuses to shake the hand that Rhodan holds out to him.

Michael Mahoney 2012-08-23

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