800 - Die Kaiserin von Therm
The Empress of Therm
William Voltz

In a distant past, in the galaxy Golgatnur, the civilization of the Soberians was blossoming. They had known space travel for over 180,000 years and their civilization had developed a very sophisticated computer-based science that they named tiotronics. However, a few scientists were beginning to foresee the decline of their civilization, and they started a project that would send a message throughout the universe in order to warn other intelligences so that they wouldn't repeat the same mistakes.

The hyperdimensional wave is finally broadcast, as the Soberian civilization falls into chaos. The communication ripples across the universe and one of its occurrences reaches a small cloud where a solar system is in formation. The conjunction of the hyperdimensional wavefront and of the local conditions creates a crystalline-based entity that starts developing over the third and fourth planet of the solar system, which contains eighteen planets total. A crystal layer soon covers the third planet -- called Drackrioch -- and starts influencing its evolution. Drackrioch develops a lifeform called the Kelsirens, who become servants of the crystalline network, now acting as a super-tiotronic device.

The Kelsiren are fish-like creatures that are about 1.60 meter high, and they have the ability to send mental calls to communicate with their peers. One of them, called Mitra, takes possession of a crystal and becomes the ruler of the Kelsiren. Mitra reports directly to the crystalline structure, which calls itself the Empress of Therm.

One day, a spaceship of the Choolks reaches the home system of the Empress of Therm. The super-intelligence decides to make them her bodyguards, and their first mission is to determine what happened to the Soberian civilization. The Empress is constantly creating new crystals, which are taken on board the Choolk spaceships, while the defective crystals are evacuated on the fourth planet. As the Empress of Therm slowly expands its sphere of influence, it eventually encounters the boundaries of another realm ruled by an entity called Bardioc.

In order to assist the Choolks in their quest, the Empress creates the Comp, a giant computer, which is fitted on the lead spaceship. After travelling to the confines of the known universe, the fleet determines that the Soberian civilization has disappeared. On a distant planet, the Choolks start digging a cave where the Comp is then taken. Shortly thereafter, the entire Choolk crew is assimilated within the Comp.

On the Sol, Dobrak tells Rhodan that the Keloskians will soon leave the Sol to find a new home, and that they will take the Shetanmargt with them. Also, thanks to his psychic skills, Bjo Breiskoll determines that Joscan Hellmut seems to be under the influence of the Empress of Therm, although he doesn't seem to be aware of it.

On April 11th, 3583, the Sol reaches the location of the Empress of Therm.

Cedric Beust

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