900 - LAIRE
William Voltz

In a distant past.

The Loowians are one of the many races that have been chosen by the mysterious power that lives in the Matter Sources to disseminate the spores throughout the universe. However, they have noticed that all the races involved in this task eventually degenerate, and they suspect the powers of the Matter Source are the reason for this degeneration.

A group of severn Loowians decides to act and devises an audacious plan: they are going to impersonate the seven Mighty Ones and respond to the Call in their place. They want to meet with Laire and steal his eye, which they know is the key to the Matter Sources. Their goal is to enter the Matter Source and to try to convince the powers that send the spore ships throughout the universe that they should spare the Loowian race.

The trick succeeds and while Laire is able to kill some of the Loowians, two of them immobilize the robot and steal his eye. The Loowians quickly realize that the eye opens the door to a very specific Matter Source, and that until they have located it, the eye is of no use to them. They hide in on a planet devoid of intelligent life and put it in a container that is supposed to send an impulse every time the said planet makes a complete rotation around its galaxy, which is 226,000 years. This planet ends up being the Earth.

Laire realizes that he will never be able to return to the Matter Sources. As centuries go by, the robot decides that he will try to recover his eye on his own. He will steal Bardioc's sport ship to that purpose.

After the following Call, Laire hides on the Pan-Thau-Ra and eventually opens up to Bardioc, who tells him that he had also decided to betray his mission and create his own stellar empire. The Pan-Thau-Ra arrives in Alstogermaht and Bardioc leaves Laire on the spore ship while he goes back to meet the Timeless Ones.

While he is waiting, Laire captures some members of the insectoid race that lives nearby, the Anskians, and brings them on board. He exposes them to the On and Noon quanta in order to make them more intelligent and they become his servants.

Centuries go by and Laire realizes that something must have happened to Bardioc. He decides to take matter in hiw own hands and to steal the Pan-Thau-Ra. He takes the ship to another system made of forty-seven planets. He tries to hide the ship in hyperspace but something goes wrong and one-thirteenth of the ship remains in the normal space. Laire notices an advanced civilization on one of the moons of the giant planet Valgerspare, the Wyngians, and decides to present himself as a god in the person of the mysterious entity called the Universal Wheel.

Laire builds up a religion based on the Universal Wheel and has many Wyngian expeditions sent out in the universe in an attempt to find his eye. The section of the Pan-Thau-Ra that is in the normal space, and which received the name Quostoht, is soon occupied by other Wyngians. To them, Laire presents himself as another deity called the Lard.

The Anskians on board the Pan-Thau-Ra rebel and ambush Laire. They want to conquer Quostoht and they almost manage to cross the Pale Border before Laire tricks them and manages to kill them. However, he is now on Quostoht and can no longer go back to the heaqquarters because the Anskians are now in control.

The present

Laire explains to Rhodan that the mysterious device they planted in the headquarters was none other than himself. Rhodan quickly puts together what he knows of Bardioc and Laire's stories and the events now make sense. He tells Laire that he intends to enter the Matter Sources and the robot doesn't take long before he accepts to work with the Terrans. He gives the Terrans a shuttle so that they can go back to the Basis while Plondfair and Demeter become the new emissaries of the Universal Wheel and will attempt to make sure their civilization survives after Laire has left.

Laire tells Rhodan that he has chosen the K2 robot Augustus as his new partner.

Cedric Beust 2003-06-31

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