884 - Raumschiff des Mächtigen
The Spaceship of the Mighty
William Voltz

Still prisoners, Demeter, Plondfair and Hytawath Borl receive a mission from the Lard: they must cross the Pale Frontier and investigate what happened on the other side, called the Lost Paradise. Since their only alternative is to stay prisoners, they accept. The area beyond the Pale Frontier appears to be an intermediary area between the normal continuum and hyperspace. There, they meet Arquath, a mutilated Wyngian who was once sent by the Lard to deliver a message to the inhabitants of this area, called the Anskians. Arquath receives orders from the master of the Lost Paradise, a creature called Modo.

Modo explains that he is in charge of making sure that nobody crosses the Lost Paradise to reach the next section, but he agrees not to kill his prisoners. Instead, they will be turned over to the Malgonians, a race of people that Modo has enslaved.

Ganerc-Callibso arrives in Tschuschik and realizes that the Pan-Thau-Ra is not at the coordinates that Bardioc gave him. Using a beacon, the Timeless locates the spore ship in the Torgnisch system. Puzzled that the impulses emitted by the Pan-Thau-Ra are much weaker than they should be, Ganerc-Callibso realizes that Bardioc hid his spore ship in the hyperspace. However, something must have happened because one-thirteenth of the ship is now in the normal continuum, allowing the inhabitants of this system to be able to spot it from a specific place and at certain times.

The Timeless enters the Pan-Thau-Ra and realizes that something went horribly wrong: someone freed the spores, called biophores, which have now gone haywire inside the spaceship. The biophores are made of two types: the Quanta-On, which are in charge of creating living organic matter, and the Quanta-Noon, which are used to create intelligence.

Ganerc-Callibso is puzzled and wonders who could have freed the spores. But most of all, he is afraid that once the power beyond the Matter Source where the Pan-Thau-Ra was loaded learns what happened, they will retaliate against the galaxies that have been involved in this operation, including the Milky Way.

As he progresses through the Pan-Thau-Ra, which is more than a hundred kilometers long, Ganerc-Callibso is captured and taken into a cell where he meets Plondfair, Demeter and Hytawath Borl, who got there by escaping through a passageway before the Malgonians could catch them.

Cedric Beust 2003-05-23

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