89 - Guckys große Stunde
Puckys Greatest Hour
Kurt Brand

On 2 June 2044, the situation is confusing on the Earth where great turmoil reigns. On the one hand the Springer Patriarch, Cokaze, occupies Mars and Venus with his fleet, on the other hand several voices rise up against Perry Rhodan complaining about his use of emergency powers stemming from the recent Druuf invasion. Not wanting to pass for a dictator, Rhodan plans to personally convince the parliamentarians. The parliament is getting ready to consider a vote of confidence and the Solar Administrator agrees to present himself before it. During the session that takes place three days later, a representative of the African group accuses Rhodan of misusing the Mutant Corps against the public. However, the tables are turned against the African representative, especially when Bell accuses the representative of having been involved in a shady business deal. It is at this moment that Rhodan is dismayed to learn that Thomas Cardif has deserted.

Perry Rhodan makes a call to Cokaze whose objective is to obtain a trade monopoly with Earth. The robot fleet of Arkon has withdrawn from the Solar System and Rhodan asks the Galactic Traders to do the same. Cokaze puts an end to the communication after having learned that Thomas Cardif waits for him on one of his vessels. At the same time, a rumor is circulated according to which Rhodan would have deliberately sent his sick wife to her death on Arkon. Cokaze meets Thomas Cardif and both agree to develop a plan which will lead to Rhodan’s downfall, if not the actual destruction of the Solar Imperium itself. Cardif wants to consult the Great Coordinator, ignorant of the fact that Atlan is now the real power in Arkon. The Regent answers that the laws of Arkon forbid interference in the business of another Empire. Next, Cardif distributes a message where he proclaims himself the new Solar Administrator.

Following Cardif’s announcement, many destructive acts of sabotage occur throughout the Solar Imperium (with the notable exceptions of Mars and Venus), stirring the publics rancor towards Rhodan. A state of emergency is declared on the Earth and the senators convene the parliament in extraordinary session. Rhodan receives Cokaze and his three eldest sons. John Marshall learns from their thoughts that Thomas Cardif is on the COKAZ I, the flagship of Cokaze. The Springers are ready to help the Solar Imperium but in return they continue to insist on a trade monopoly with the Earth. They are finally taken back to their ship. Later, Cokaze wants to double his attempts for a trade monopoly but Cardif advises him that prudence is the best course of action. He also warns Cokaze to especially be wary of the mutants.

The solar fleet positions itself between Mars, the Earth and Venus. Rhodan plans a commando operation against Thomas Cardif but he cancels it when he learns that the rumors about the death of Thora are spreading throughout the Imperium. Pucky then decides to act alone. He has himself brought to Venus by the vessel DON-4 and ultimately he reaches the COKAZ I. Meanwhile, Bell distributes to all the news networks the movie of the funeral of Thora where one sees Thomas Cardif refusing to hold out the hand to his father.

Pucky intervenes on the Springer flagship in order to stop some bombs from being used against the Earth. The alert is given on board, Cardif showing a lot of composure in relation to the panicky Springers. The hostility grows between Cokaze and Cardif with only their common interest in bringing down Rhodan keeping them as allies. Pucky joins Perry Rhodan on Earth and informs him that Thomas Cardif is absolutely convinced that Rhodan wanted the death of his mother.

The mutants go into action and sow confusion in the fleet of Cokaze. Several crews abandon their ships, others are destroyed to include the COKAZ I where Pucky destroys the nuclear power plants and propulsion system. Cokaze changes vessels and makes the COKAZ II his new flagship. On the advice of Cardif he hides the ship on the bottom of the Venusian ocean.

A hundred thousand specialists in interstellar navigation are sent to Arkon. In spite of the confusion, Perry Rhodan survives parliaments vote of confidence and is confirmed in his position as Solar Administrator. While concern reigns in regards to the fate of the three thousand Druuf vessels that took flight after the battle in the Sol System (The Columbus Affair), work continues to transform the Moon into a planetary arsenal.

Perry Rhodan gives the Springers five hours to leave the Solar System. Cokaze decides to launch an all-out attack against the Earth. Thomas Cardif interrogates two Terran prisoners who reveal that Atlan has taken power in Arkon. Made aware of this new fact, Cokaze changes his plans entirely. The news is of such importance that the Solar Imperium does not interest him anymore. And when the Arkonide reinforcements arrive, in the form of two thousand five hundred cruisers manned by the Terran specialists sent to Arkon, Cokaze accepts Rhodans ultimatum and withdraws from the system. The two prisoners are freed.

Michael Mahoney 2012-09-04

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