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Kurt Brand

On 22 November 2044, Perry Rhodan escapes an assassination attempt on Arkon III. He is persuaded that Thomas Cardif is the instigator of it, although the Regent is not of this opinion. Several other attempts take place and all tracks lead to Archetz, the planet of the Springers that was believed destroyed by the Druufs. It is in fact intact and the Galactic Merchants have organized themselves beneath the surface of the planet.

The actions of the Terrans focus on the Soltenites, who have the strange reputation as being liars. It is Rhodan who gave everyone the order to include them in the upcoming operation to find Thomas Cardif on Archetz but he does not remember himself why he included the Soltenites as part of the plan. The Terran Solar Defense and other specialists search for information on contracts between the Springer Cokaze and the Soltenites.

On Archetz, encoded communications between Terrania and the Regent are intercepted. Thomas Cardif has fallen into disgrace after the failure of the theft of Atlanís cellular activator. Only Cokaze is again on his side.

The DRUSUS leaves for the Forit system, the home system of the Soltenites. It is finally determined that it was Pucky who put the idea of the Soltenites in the head of Rhodan. He had extricated this name from the thoughts of Cokaze several months before when the Springers were still on Venus. Once the Terran Commando Team arrives in the Forit system, the DRUSUS paralyzes the crew of a Soltenite vessel and seventeen Terrans take their place disguised as Soltenites. They leave with the captured Soltenite vessel for Archetz.

Once it has landed on Archetz, an explosion is triggered aboard the Soltenite vessel, the LORCH-ARTO, in order to permit the disguised Terrans to remain long enough on the planet Archetz. Mutants begin searching for Thomas Cardif but at the end of one week, they still have not found him. The various mysterious events triggered by Pucky attract the attention of Cardif. When the LORCH-ARTO is finally repaired, Pucky comes back aboard with Thomas Cardif. Rhodan and his team are then unmasked and the LORCH-ARTO is prevented from taking off by the Springers. Rhodan then calls Atlan for help.

The Terrans find shelter in the control tower just in time because the LORCH-ARTO is destroyed by the Springers. The arrival of Atlan's squadron permits them to leave Archetz safe and sound. Back on Arkon III, Thomas Cardif is submitted to an intense hypnotic block making him forget his identity and his origins.

Michael Mahoney 2012-11-18

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