86 - Der Schlüssel zur Macht
Power Key
K.H. Scheer

On Naator, the instruction of the new recruits is finished. On 18 March 2044, the group that includes the Terran Commando Team takes off for Arkon III. Atlan has dark thoughts on the state of the Arkonide Fleet, which has been forced to entrust its vessels to robots and colonial races.

Once on Arkon, the squadron of cruisers led by Atlan’s ship, the KOR-VELETE, engages in space battle exercises. The dark mood of Atlan is not improved by the behavior of the degenerate Arkonide commodore that has been imposed upon him on board the flagship. Observing the intense activity on Arkon III, the former admiral becomes aware of the titanic task that the administration of the Arkonide Imperium, with all its colonies, represents. He wishes ardently that a security device exists that will permit a limitation to the Regents power so that it can be utilized only as an administrative computer.

The battle squadron led by the KOR-VELETE is judged ready for action. Before leaving for the front, the cruisers must first go to the shipyard for last minute maintenance and alterations. The crews of the ships benefit from this short delay when the Robot Regent approves shore leave for all personnel, allowing them to relax in one of the underground cities. In addition, Rhodan’s commando team benefits from this turn of events because their temporary living quarters during this short break are very near the Regents facilities.

Rhodan makes his decision: now is the time to strike! A group of ten men will attempt to destroy the energy power stations that nourish the giant robot.

But the Terrans only penetrate into supplementary facilities. The vital sectors for the Regent are protected by an impassable quintidimensionnel defense screen which cannot even be penetrated by the teleporters. The commando team must beat a quick retreat before the combat robots of the Robot Regent.

The Regent identifies the aggressors (Rhodan’s strike team) as Zalites. Hoping to catch them, it obliges all soldiers on leave in the underground cities to go back to their assigned quarters in a very short period of time, and then it kills any stragglers still in the streets. The teleporters are successful in transporting the entire commando team in just a few minutes back to their quarters - and safety.

Rhodan orders his explosives expert to start an Arkon bomb. Atlan opposes this decision in order to avoid the disintegration of the empire, but the Terran remains deaf to his arguments.

The Regent orders all Zalites in the underground cities evacuated under close guard by its combat robots.

The Arkon bomb doesn’t explode at the foreseen hour. The Regent presumably located it by its emissions and deactivated it. With the Regent now quickly closing in on the identity of the would-be saboteurs, the Terrans are obliged to attempt an escape from Arkon III, a decision doomed to failure.

As they are about to succumb to the superior numbers of Arkonide combat robots, Atlan, who is now desperate, reveals his identity and titles to the Regent, and voices his contempt for it. To the general surprise of all involved, his words trigger the security relay A-1, which in turn recognizes the right of Atlan to the imperial succession and banishes the Regent to an administrative role.

Rhodan’s complicated plan proves to be a long detour, but finally, the goal is reached. The Regent is dismissed and Atlan is now the master of the Great Imperium of Arkon.

Michael Mahoney 2012-08-23

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