851 - Kosmischer Alptraum
Cosmic Nightmare
William Voltz

In a distant past.

The galaxy Barxoft has the particularity to have a strong blue radiance emanating from its center. The radiation affects Bardioc's capsule which slowly starts to erode from the inside. Bardioc's brain makes contact with the surrounding plants and soon, the animals on the planet. He falls into a deep sleep while keeping a strong control over the whole planet. His power keeps getting stronger and he soon hypnotizes a spaceship from a race called the Hulkoos, that was visiting Barxoft. The Hulkoos fall under the influence of Bardioc who orders them to take portions of his genetic matter, the Baby Majesties, to other planets within the galaxy in order to enslave them.

In an attempt to recover his lost body, Bardioc creates the first incarnation: Clermac. However, the creature is so ugly that Bardioc has to hide it behind a Psi Reflector, some sort of shield that appears as a sphere. In the next centuries, Bardioc creates the incarnations Vernoc and then Shernoc, thus increasing his power, but in his eyes, these experimentations are failures since he can't use them to recover a body. Bardioc decides to be more careful when creating the fourth incarnation.

As Bardioc's expansion is progressing, the Hulkoos finally meet another race that shows some fierce resistance and eventually manages to defeat them. They claim to serve a super-intelligence called the Empress of Therm and tell Bardioc that he shouldn't try to expand his Sphere of Influence any further.

The present.

Bulloc releases Rhodan periodically while he goes on a mysterious quest. Rhodan realizes quickly that Bulloc is trying to find Bardioc, whom he has never met. After learning about Bardioc's history, it becomes clear to Rhodan that Bulloc has no other intention than killing the super-intelligence in its sleep and take its place.

Rhodan makes contact with a creature who was brought by accident in a Hulkoo spaceship named Onklantson. Onklantson turns out to be a precious ally but he can't help Rhodan contact Bardioc. However, he acts as an intermediary and allows Rhodan to talk to a Hulkoo commander. The Hulkoos are defiant from Rhodan but the sudden appearance of Bulloc interrupts the meeting. Rhodan knows that his fate is sealed: since he can't fight Bulloc's mental power, he will soon be killed by the incarnation.

As he runs away in a futile attempt to escape, he is suddenly surrounded by hundreds of animals. Bulloc's mental attack reaches him but very weakened. Rhodan understands that somehow, Bardioc heard his call and that the super-intelligence is now trying to protect him. Rhodan realizes that the only reason why an intelligent being has finally made contact with Bardioc is thanks to the bite he received from Gahlmann on the Sol earlier. Rhodan falls asleep on the ground and plants soon recover his body, creating a symbiosis between him and Bardioc.

In his Cosmic Castle, Ganerc finds a message from Kemoauc, who tells him that Ariolc has turned crazy, Murcon has been killed by strangers, Partoc is dead and Lorvorc has built a tomb in his Castle. The message ends by a warning telling him to stay away from the Sources of Matter. Ganerc shuts down his Castle and leaves for Bardioc's world.

Cedric Beust

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