982 - Der Auserwählte
The Chosen One
William Voltz

Laire announces that Atlan has been chosen to negotiate with the Cosmocrats, and not Rhodan. Atlan will undergo a training for a few days and then, Laire will take him beyond the Matter Source. Furious, Rhodan convinces Laire to take part in the training as well.

The Orbiter Zorg asks to talk with Atlan. He reveals to the Arkonide that he feels some sort of connection with Samkar, who he thinks might be a Knight of the Abyss. After several tests, Laire takes the two men on Samkar's space factory where they are separated.

Atlan mentions to Laire what Zorg told him and Laire's reaction is very agitated. He asks Atlan how he heard about the Knights of the Abyss, and he finally confesses that indeed, Samkar should have been a Knight of the Abyss but that something happened and he was then turned into a robot. Atlan realizes that Laire must have had a different shape before he became a robot himself.

Laire then tells Rhodan that the Cosmocrats never had any intention to take him beyond the Matter Source, and the only reason why he was allowed to take part in the training and come to the space factory was not to upset his friends. Laire manages to convince him that the Cosmocrats made this decision for a good reason and Rhodan slowly comes to terms with it. Laire tells him that "An immortal who can go anywhere any time should not get discouraged", which is the exact same thing that It told him when he was in the Matter Sink.

Rhodan asks Laire more details about the origin of It, and he learns that the super-intelligence was once created out of many consciences. It also contained a negative personality, anti-It, which broke free one day, forcing a duel in which the humans were involved in the past. The Cosmocrats helped ban anti-It in the Nameless Zone for a time described as ten "relative units", which Laire refuses to translate into human terms.

When Laire leaves him alone, Rhodan decides to hide in the space station, hoping to be part of the trip to the Matter Source. Wandering in the space factory, Rhodan meets with Neerad who tells him that he knows where Atlan is. He leads Rhodan there.

The latest tests that Atlan took had an unexpected effect on his second brain and the Arkonide is now delusional, thinking that Rhodan is Orbanaschol, the Arkonide tyrant. Rhodan has to let his friend go and is instructed by Laire to return to the Base. Shortly thereafter, the space factory dematerializes and Rhodan gives the order to head back to the Milky Way after making one last unfruitful attempt with Laire's eye.

Cedric Beust 2003-10-30

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