92 - Geheimmission Moluk
Secret Mission: Moluk
William Voltz

After having searched the house of Maatal and recovered some of his documents, the Solar Defense believes it has found the position of Moluk, one of the planets that was the goal of some Molecular Deformer colonists. Since the Molecular Deformers possess psychic powers, Rhodan and Mercant debate the opportunity to travel to this planet in order to meet them. Indeed, the Solar Imperium is in a delicate military situation and Rhodan is in search of new allies.

Colonel Everson, the mutant telepath Goldstein and eight other former crew members of the FAUN take off on board of the MEXICO and travel to the planet Moluk which is twenty thousand light years from Earth. After spending forty-eight hours surveying the Greenol System, the vessel lands on Moluk which seems to be inhabited only by primitive beings. At thirty-four meters of altitude, the antigrav propulsion unit cuts out and the vessel crashes to the ground. It will be necessary to carry out repairs which will take four weeks to complete. Weiss, Goldstein and Morton leave on a reconnaissance mission and discover a city inhabited by the primitive inhabitants of the planet. Based on their appearance, these primitive beings are named the “Greens”.

About thirty Greens attack the trio who defend themselves and capture one of the attackers. After four days and thanks to the translator device, the captured Green, named Murgut, can communicate with them. He explains to the Terrans that his people are terrorized by the" Pain Within" from the desert. At the same time Goldstein sees his mutant faculties neutralized. After some research it is determined that the Greens, unbeknownst to themselves, have a natural ability to neutralize psychic faculties and that probably due to this fact the Molecular Deformers have remained at a distance in the desert. Everson decides to put together an expedition, with the help of the Greens, which will go in search of the Molecular Deformers in the desert. However, out of superstition and fear, the Greens refuse to accompany them into the desert. Only the very old Green, Napoleon, informs them that there is a Tower in the desert and agrees to guide them.

Everson, accompanied by about thirty men, penetrates into the desert guided by Napoleon. Very quickly some strange phenomena occur: the goniometer disappears and crewman Bellinger shrinks before the horrified eyes of his friends for a few seconds before resuming his normal size, but not before being wounded by a rat. After some deductions, Everson concludes that these occurrences are a warning from the Molecular Deformers but he decides to continue. During the night a terrifying sand hurricane is released, carrying away a major portion of the equipment and hurting several men of the expedition. In addition, Napoleon is now missing. However, the wind seems to have brought them closer to their goal because in the morning they see the Tower.

The Tower is hundred fifty meters in height and has a hexagonal cross section. It is disfigured by crevasses and rips. It is determined that the Tower is, in fact, a stranded space ship. Napoleon's tracks guide them to an opening through which Everson, Goldstein, Sternal, Weiss and Bellinger decide to enter. They find Napoleon who now tells them his true history. He is not a Green but the last representative of the Molecular Deformers – he is the last member of his race, his planet having been accidentally destroyed by his people. The last vessel was stranded on Moluk and its crew of five thousand Molecular Deformers died. Napoleon wants to seize the MEXICO and keep the five men as prisoners. Meanwhile four men led by Dr. Morton penetrate in their turn into the ship. The first group notes that their prison cell is not real and that they have in fact been hypnotized; they escape and then continue to explore the wreckage.

An emergency expedition from the MEXICO led by Scoobey and guided by Murgut sets out to help the members of the first expedition. The men of Dr. Morton’s group feel strange earthquakes inside the ship. Goldstein, surrounded by his four unconscious companions, starts a psychic duel with Napoleon, just as he had done with Maatal on board of the FAUN (in Episode #74 “The Horror”). He unknowingly uses Murgut as a psychic relay and, as a result, Murgut begins to feel very sick. Napoleon defeats Goldstein and succeeds in taking over the nine men of Everson’s and Dr. Morton’s groups.

Soon afterwards Napoleon takes control of all thirty men of the first expedition and everybody gets under way toward the MEXICO.

They then join the group led by Scoobey. Goldstein attempts to escape the mental ascendancy of the Molecular Deformer again but he fails. Fortunately Murgut’s presence weakens Napoleon's psychic power considerably. Goldstein breaks free from Napoleon’s control and attempts to kill him. He is still met by significant resistence from Napoleon but the Molecular Deformer’s hostile attitude towards the Terrans activates a robot which came with the second expedition. This robot kills Napoleon with a single thermobeam shot. The expedition members of the MEXICO are freed but they were unsuccessful in finding new allies for the Earth.

Michael Mahoney 2012-09-06

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