William Voltz

After it successfully destroyed the incarnations Clermac, Vernoc and Shernoc, Bulloc reaches the planet Parfox-Par, in the galaxy Barxoft, which is where Bardioc lives. Though the super-intelligence is nowhere to be seen, Rhodan realizes that it lives in symbiosis with the whole planet, directing the plants, the animals and also Hulkoos, who have entire fleets of spaceships in the vicinity and are busy picking up Baby Majesties off the planet and taking them to unknown destinations. Bulloc decides to tell Rhodan the history of Bardioc.

In a distant past.

The seven Mighties -- also called the Timeless Ones -- Ariolc, Bardioc, Ganerc, Kemoauc, Lorvorc, Murcon and Partoc used to live in the Cosmic Castles until one day, they received the Call, a message from an area of space beyond the Matter Sources. They all met on the Plane, an area in the middle of space where they were received by a one-eyed robot called Laire.

The Mighties receive the mission to create a gigantic structure made of planets called the Swarm and to drive it through areas in space in order to disseminate life using to a special radiation coming from Spore Ships. They assign the control of the Swarm to a people called the Cynos. However, Bardioc has a lot of ambition and wants to create his own kingdom. As he is on his way to assist in the creation of the Swarm, he finds Laire on board his ship and realizes that the robot has similar intentions. Since he doesn't have any use of the robot for now, Bardioc abandons him on a planet of the Swarm, telling him he will pick him up later.

Following an intuition, Ganerc decides to become a Swarm Guardian. He changes his name to Gallibso, changes himself into a gnome and dons the Suit of Annihilation, a suit with unique capabilities, and sets off to make sure that the Swarm is proceeding as planned. The first race picked up by the Swarm is a race called the Karties, and as centuries go by, thirty-six more races join in the construction of the Swarm.

The Swarm was supposed to cross the Milky Way in five hundred thousand years, however, a complication happened: the Suprahet, a creature made of pure energy appeared in the Milky Way but was successfully defeated by the thirty-six races and then turned into antimatter. A warning in the form of an observatory was left for future races about the Suprahet (this observatory was discovered by the Terrans in Heft 152).

Afraid that the creation of too many intelligent races would get in the way of his plan, Bardioc decides to sabotage the Swarm. He manipulates a race of insects which become the Karduuhls after an evolution period of twenty thousand years. Bardioc also needs to neutralize Ganerc/Gallibso, so he steals the Suit of Annihilation and hides it on Stato II, a planet inside the Swarm.

Laire finally finds Bardioc and asks him about his plans. Bardioc complies and suddenly realizes that he has been tricked: he is actually talking to Kemoauc, who took the shape of the robot in order to confront him. Kemoauc brings Bardioc back on the Plane where he is put on trial. The other Mighties decide to condemn him to disembodiment: his brain will be placed inside a hermetic capsule and abandoned on a planet.

Millenia go by and Callibso eventually recovers the Suit of Annihilation. He returns to the Plane but finds it partially destroyed. Puzzled, he flies to the Cosmic Castles of his former compatriots to figure out what is going on. Ariolc's Castle is abandonced, Lorvirc's is destroyed and Murcon's is controlled by strangers. Kemoauc finds a skeleton inside Partoc's Castle and discovers that Kemoauc's Castle is the only one intact, but that it's locked.

Discouraged, Callibso goes back to his Castle. More time goes by and as he has lost all hope to ever see anyone again, he receives a new Call. However, he realizes, this Call is destined to different people, who are probably the successors of the Mighties.

Cedric Beust

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