81 - Raumschiff der Ahnen
Spaceship Of Ancestors
Clark Darlton

For millennia, a gigantic Arkonide vessel has traveled thru the universe at sub-light speed.

Aboard, the machinist known as M-7 attempts to enter into a conversation with his colleague M-4, then the chief physician, D-3, but without success. The First Officer, O-1, loses patience waiting to replace the commander of the ship, C-1. Three men, Ps-5 (Psychologist), D-3 and R-75 (Repairman), ask for an interview with C-1. They ask a very important question: what is the purpose of their life? They then convey some very important information to C-1 in regards to their recent activities.

Within the past few days D-3 lured a robot into a trap and disassembled its weapons with the complicity of M-4. Meanwhile, R-75 penetrated with a colleague into a forbidden sector of the vessel to repair a broken down piece of machinery – a sector in which there were containers filled with people. However, some guards intervened and killed the colleague of R-75. R-75 barely escaped with his life. The three men, Ps-5, D-3 & R-75, returned to the forbidden room and discovered that their ancestors are kept in a cryogenic sleep. As they are leaving the room they are stopped by robots and a battle ensues. They are forced to destroy three of the robots before taking flight.

At the time of the interview with C-1, this one refuses to answer their questions and threatens them with death in the converter based on the charge of mutiny. But Ps-5 learns that the commander is the only one informed about all the workings of their world and that he must pass on all his knowledge to his successor before dying. In order to remain alive to pass on this knowledge, C-1 is forced to take the three men into his cabin to reveal to them the greatest secret of the vessel. At the same time, M-4 informs M-7 on his recent efforts (on his own initiative) to disable robots around the ship and M-7 lets M-4 know the identity of the other conspirators to include D-3 who is their leader.

In the commander's cabin, the four men (C-1, D-3, Ps-5, and R-75) are welcomed by their ancestor's picture. This one asks the commander why he brought other men with him and orders him to call the robots so that they all are taken to the converter. The commander refuses. O-1 asks for an interview with C-1 but this one refuses, thinking that O-1, in a hurry to take command, only thinks about murdering him. The four men finalize a plan of action in order to take true control of the vessel. M-4 and M-7 are given the responsibility of continuing to disable the largest possible number of robots and to recover their weapons. The ship’s Second Officer, O-2, is informed of the conspiracy and recruits new conspirators, among them T-39. Alas, this one is at the end of his life and must be led to the converter by the robots.

End of December 2043: the Terran Cruiser ARCTIC emerges in normal space twenty thousand light-years from Earth. Pucky is on the vessel returning from a mission on Blisher III. He captures a telepathic call for help coming from another vessel and teleports to the vessel in question. He rematerializes in the room where the robots have just pushed T-39 into the converter. During the conversation that follows, he pretends that C-1 rescinded the order to execute T -39. The robots want to push Pucky into the converter but he defends himself by sending a robot into the converter while teleporting himself to safety. He meets M-4 in another room as M-4 is trying to convince some crew members to participate in a mutiny with the commander's support. After his initial surprise at Pucky’s appearance, M-4 informs him of the current situation on the “Ship of Ancestors”.

The conspirators decide to inform O-1 of the mutiny. At this moment, the five remaining robots of the death commando arrive in the control room in order to take C-1 to the converter for having contravened the law - supposedly in regards to rescinding the order to execute T-39. M-7 disables two of the robots while Ps-5 destroys two other and the last is destroyed by D-3. M-4 informs C-1 of the arrival of Pucky, their new ally. Pucky teleports with M-4 to the control room and is presented with the “master’s” picture on the television screen. After some minutes he informs the conspirators that the master is only a robot.

We now learn that after T-39 was placed in the so-called converter, this device actually began the process of placing him into a cryogenic sleep. Pucky, Ps-5, D-3 and R-75 go to the forbidden room where the people in the containers are located. In one of the containers they are surprised to recognize T-39. Pucky explains that the converters don't exist and that the men designated for death are in fact placed in a cryogenic sleep. The robots attack the ship’s control room but are annihilated. Pucky teleports into the center of the vessel - into a room filled with Sleepers. Meanwhile, Ps-5, D-3 and R-75 are attacked by robots. R-75 is killed while he attempts to flee. In the middle of the battle, the robots stop suddenly. Pucky reappears and explains that the robots are remote-controlled and that they are henceforth harmless because he cut their power supply.

Pucky now reveals to the conspirators the overall picture on board the ship. The master is actually a robot utilizing a projection with a human face. The so-called people driven to the converter are actually placed in a cryogenic sleep in order to be awakened in the future to found a new race, supposedly when the vessel arrives at a planet that can support life. They are destined to serve as a slave race to the robots. As a result of this new information, all the robots are reprogrammed to obey the crew of the ship (actually they are Arkonides) and Pucky returns to the ARCTIC where he does not inform the Terran commander of what has occurred on the ship. He believes that only Perry Rhodan should know what actually happened on the Ship of Ancestors.

Michael Mahoney 2012-09-24

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