87 - Die Schläfer der ISC
The Sleepers
William Voltz

At 48 years of age, Maurice Dunbee, disappointed by life, decides to call on the service of the Intertime Sleeping Corporation (ISC) in order to have himself placed in an artificial sleep for a length of three hundred years. He is brought to the underground facilities of the ISC in Wyoming. But while the preparations are underway for himself and his sleeper vat, Maurice Dunbee discovers something that frightens him. He runs away and hides in the caves.

In April 2044, Jeanne Dunbee, the wife of Maurice Dunbee, hires the private detective Richard Kennof, a former member of the Solar Defense, to go to the ISC and convince Maurice Dunbee to change his mind about having himself put to sleep for three hundred years. Richard Kennof, who has been suspicious of the ISC’s activities for some time, sees Jeanne Dunbee’s offer as an opportunity and decides to take on the job. He infiltrates the ISC by applying as a potential customer, also known as a “Sleeper”. In order to come across as a more realistic customer, he simulates the bankruptcy of his business, and demands that Celia, a friend of his, play the part of an unfaithful fiancee. This makes his application to the Company more credible. He also gets help from Shane, a former colleague of his in the Solar Defense.

In a local office of the ISC, Richard Kennof is interrogated by the suspicious Mr. Me Artois, who finally accepts his application. With two other candidates, Kennof is taken to the main facilities of the ISC in Wyoming, where he undergoes a medical exam. Thanks to a micro-deflector that makes him invisible, he succeeds in placing a transmitter in the lower levels of the station. He then returns to visit the vats where the sleepers are stored but doesn't discover anything abnormal.

Shortly afterwards, he captures a quintidimentionnel signal that intrigues him. He discovers that the bodies of two other candidates have been sent by transmitter to an unknown location. However, during his unauthorized excursion through the base of the ISC, Kennof finally ends up being discovered. Pursued by the henchmen of Dunc Clinkskate, the chief of the base, Kennof takes refuge in the vat room and threatens to kill himself and, in the process, destroy the vats. He receives unexpected help from Doctor Le Boeuf, who works for the ISC but has decided at the last minute to change sides. Shortly afterwards, Le Boeuf is captured by the men of the ISC. Kennof then asks for a delay of twelve hours before surrendering, while hoping to be rescued in the meantime by Shane and Celia. Dunc Clinkskate accepts Kennof’s offer, but warns Owen Cavanaugh, the founder and president of the ISC. Kennof takes advantage of this delay to examine one of the sleepers more closely, and discover that the sleeper’s body is in fact an artificial disguise that contains a sleepy monster. The monster awakens and Kennof discovers that it is a Druuf.

Having received a S.O.S. from Kennof, Shane and Celia decide to intervene. They detain Cavanaugh and head for the Wyoming base of the ISC.

Dunc Clinkskate thinks back on how the whole enterprise began: the Druufs intercepted the broadcasts of a transmitter between the Earth and the Moon, which allowed them to discover the coordinates of the Earth and to enter into contact with Owen Cavanaugh, a wheeler-dealer without scruple. With Cavanaugh’s help, they set up the ISC, which is merely a means to allow an army of Druufs, to gradually infiltrate the Earth by means of a transmitter. The sleep candidates are sent by transmitter to the universe of the Druufs. In exchange, the Druufs send to Earth young Druufs who are hidden in the human sleeper disguises. The Druufs promise Cavanaugh the position of Solar Administrator once they have taken control of Earth.

When Shane and other members of the Solar Defense attack the ISC base, they meet resistance from Dunc Clinkskate’s musclemen. During this time, Kennof sets fire to the vat room, thereby killing the Druufs there.

Dunc Clinkskate and his men are neutralized, and the men of the Solar Defense link up with Kennof. During the battle, Doctor Le Boeuf succeeds in escaping from the cell where the men of the ISC had imprisoned him, and sacrifices himself by making an unauthorized (and therefore irregular and destructive) jump thru the transmitter joining the Wyoming base with the universe of the Druufs. Thus, the transmitter link between the Earth and the Druuf Universe is permanently severed.

Michael Mahoney 2012-09-06

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