What do you think about field propulsion

Reggy's System, January 2084

The robot looked like a big, mechanical spider, and in principle it actually was. On a cuboid body sat eight thin-looking legs, each with three joints, the maximum span of which was about 15 meters, the trunk was five meters long, two wide and one high. In front of it sat the head in the shape of a cube with a side length of three meters, countless fine measuring devices with a myriad of sensors controlled the bot and its instruments precisely to a few angstroms, the picotronic neuronics was the most modern of its kind. The abdomen was also rectangular, Six meters long, three wide and two high, he received a steady stream of atoms via a miniature transmitter, passed them on to the ends of the legs, where they were formed into molecules and deposited on existing ones. The three parts were connected with flexible joints, the legs worked incessantly, from the tips of which dark violet rays of light emanated, deposited molecule upon molecule, layer by layer, it looked as if they were weaving the body over which they crawled out of light. A homogeneous body without seams and weak points was created here in an almost perfect vacuum under the conditions that were easily understandable, but not quite correctly called weightless. At least in theory, practice was now put to the test.

Five of these bots wandered at regular intervals around the round plate, which was already about one and a half kilometers in diameter and five meters high, 'top' and 'bottom' consisted of 75 cm solid clear steel, in between three and a half meters of a three-dimensional honeycomb construction made of even, offset Hexagon grids formed. Cable and maintenance shafts as well as the recesses in which the central and the six inner lifts were to be built later could already be seen. A small work ferry, manned by two people, hovered just above the structure, the gripping arms drawn close to the body. Only the sensors were constantly in motion, measuring the plate and checking the composition of the material. Reginald Starlight cheered, who operated the measuring instruments like an experienced technician who was twice his age. "The reintegrators are doing a great job, the middle plate is already looking very good!" Leslie Myers steered the boat and looked out the window. "Yeah, looks pretty neat!" She muttered, Reginald paused. "Is something wrong, Leslie?"

She sighed. “This monster we're building here! It just hits my mind a little. Hell, in every calculation, in every construction there are hundreds of tiny errors, tolerances that cancel each other out. Unless you make a single mistake, the miscalculation that increases them all to the power and makes everything end in a catastrophe. ”“ But… ”“ Yes, I said, looks good, looks feasible, let's try it! But am I God the righteous? Damn it. I am not even one of his emissaries, so I am not perfect and infallible. What if I made a big mistake for the first time, if I made the huge mistake of my life! ”“ But… ”“ It's not about the money at all, Reginald. You can earn money again. It's about the human lives that should entrust themselves to this monster! ”“ LESLIE! ”“ Why are you yelling like that, Reg? ”“ So that you can finally listen to me, Leslie. ”Reginald took her right hand between his paws. “First of all, you are the smartest person I have met so far. Second, my ma is not stupid either, and she calculated the whole thing again. Not just recalculated, but recalculated from the start. Step by step. Two dozen structural engineers, mathematicians, the neuronics department of the HEPHAISTOS, all of them checked, checked every process, over and over again, the differences in the results were marginal. But we checked three more times, the calculations are good and the construction is stable. Even very stable, even if we should build conventionally. And - before anyone goes on board, everything is tested five more times! Mother taught me that paper is cheap, but life is expensive. I think by paper she meant something like writing foil. So, I think if we continue to be careful it will be fine. Maybe we'll screw the project up, but at least we're not going to kill anyone. ”Leslie smiled thinly. "God forbid your optimism, Reg!" Sighed Leslie. "Oh, the beautiful lightheartedness of youth, who can experience old age again!" Reginald smiled. “Are you quoting from the Torah or the Talmud again?” “Nope. A Meyrism. Quoting allowed. "

Marie France Meunier was a confident young woman who knew exactly what she wanted. And that was a good thing, because it gave the somewhat insecure Reginald more support and self-confidence. Reginald's uncertainty was quite understandable, because many girls wanted the 'Starlight', the nimbus of the name magically attracted them. Marie France, however, only wanted the young man behind the name, the somewhat shy, slightly clumsy-looking youth. Even if, like so many, she had respect for the achievements and the person Tana Starlight. But she, Marie France Meunier, wasn't just anyone, she was also worth something, even a lot! Reginald must have felt somehow that she wanted him and not his mother's heir, because he began to 'court her' and slowly put his trust in her. So much so that he was the first girl to introduce her to his mother.

When Reginald returned from his inspection tour with Leslie, the Caribbean beauty was waiting for him outside the lock. “Uh, Leslie, may I introduce you to Marie France Meunier? Marie, this is Leslie Myers. We work together on a project. Do you still need me, Leslie? ”Reginald was no longer the cool, laid-back youth, he didn't have to be anymore either, Marie France had already chosen him. And she preferred him differently, namely the way he really was. She had turned off the 'Eis Reginald' several times, only when it revealed feelings did she agree to a date. And a second. Then many, many other meetings with Reginald. Leslie looked at the couple. "Not for today, Reg. Have fun!" The young woman looked after the intuitionist. “Was that the Leslie Myers? I am honestly impressed with her. She has inner strength, she exudes calm and competence, she has what my father would call a great aura! ”“ It certainly has. What do we two want to do now? ”Reginald took his beloved's hand. "Hm - think about it! Does the door open here? Where is this going? ”“ In a work boat. That's where I come from. ”Reginald brushed the hair off his forehead with both hands. “Will you show me something like that?” Marie France pulled Reginald through the bulkhead. "Gladly!" Reginald followed her. "At least that's where I know my way around."

"This is the automatic starter, but everything is secured so that it doesn't happen." Reginald pointed to a few switches on top of a desk. "So nothing happens when I press the buttons?" Marie France leaned forward curiously, but kept her hands behind her back, careful not to get anywhere on a switch. “Oh no, first the flap has to be opened here, then the lever underneath it thrown. Look here, it's on 'OFF'. ”He pressed a few keys at random, nothing happened. "Pleasing. Is that the stick for the energy? ”She had taken her hands from her back and grabbed it courageously. "Not from the ferry!" Reginald gasped tightly. "Well, something like that too!" Whispered Marie France and pressed herself close to him. "Should I have been so wrong?" She pulled his head towards her with both hands and kissed him. "Have you already nibbled a lot of girls here?" She asked softly during a pause. "I ..." began Reginald. "Shut up and kiss me again!" She whispered in a thick, rough voice. It was lucky that the designer had thought of the sunk lever under a safety flap, otherwise the ferry might also have exploded.

Of course, Marie France had more dreams than 'just' a man, even if she was genuinely in love with Reginald. For example, she wanted a title that she had developed herself. At least a PhD in biomimetics, to be precise. She was well on the way there, and if she did, she'd be happy to do one in philosophy too. Fortunately, the UGC had been admitting external students for some time, and attendance at the headquarters in Galacto City was only compulsory for the semester exams. And of course for the entrance exam, which was also essential for external students. Only two months left to learn, then she would leave the HEPHAISTOS for the first time to take her qualification test in Galacto City, the CYRANO had already adapted its flight plan to these exams at the university for several years. Victoria Rhodan loved education and research, but her experience with scholastic institutions was not the best. But she also knew that sometimes a doctorate from a prestigious university counted more than knowledge and experience, so her employees' offspring should have the opportunity to earn such a degree if they wanted it. There were some students who gladly accepted this offer, including Marie France.

Reginald was to take the same flight, his entrance exam was due for him too, the UGC had no idea about his research, and so it was to stay that way for a while. If everything went smoothly, he should remain a candidate for university and then one of the many students. He had actually planned to visit his grandparents too, but now he was faced with the problem of how to explain this to Marie France. "By the way, I'm visiting Grandpa Perry and Grandma Thora today" was not really a viable option. Not only did he not want to go through life as Rhodan, but work out everything himself, he would also have disclosed his mother's incognito. And that shouldn't even find out about Marie France. Well, there was still a little time to think about it.

And because Marie France was ambitious and wanted to do her doctorate, she asked while she slipped back into her blouse: “Studying with you?” He ran his hand through her black hair, gently followed the jawline with his index finger and sighed. "It will be better!" She bit his finger gently and then gave him a quick kiss on the tip of his nose. "Little gluttonous! First we learn now! Hop, hop, in your pants, then we'll go to you and have a look at it. Only two months left until the exam! Allez, Allez! And I'm not like you! It is not enough for me to read through a script once to be able to quote from it at will and understand everything. I have to plow like a horse! ”She turned and bent down to get off the workboat. Reginald patted Marie France one more time on the inviting and seductively stretched rump. "Ouch! Leave it now and come at last! ”“ Well, well, we'll learn to walk. I'll help you, you'll already pass your test! ”Reginald pushed his way through the hatch and laughed happily.

New Orleans, Louisiana, Terra

The medium-sized, somewhat corpulent, European-looking man in Desirees Oyster Bar picked up his oyster knife and skilfully opened the shells, detached the molus from its shell with a fork and drizzled the twitching meat with lemon juice before he opened the oyster clearly Enjoyment sipped, chewed and swallowed dreamily, washed down with a little champagne, while his tall, lean, Japanese-looking and very ascetic friend poked his fork in his portion of seafood and rice. "Girl, I would like six more of these delicious oysters!" The man waved to a waitress and handed her a $ 20 bill. "For the nice and charming service!" The young, dark-skinned woman smiled gratefully at him with white teeth. "Gladly, sir! Coming now!"

The Japanese looked at the European in astonishment. "$ 20? A lot of tips, already for the second time today! ”Andre Noir grinned at Kitai Ishibashi. “It's not really too much. Do you actually know how much such a girl earns here so that old goats like us can stare at her tits and butt? Not enough in my opinion, service staff in restaurants live from tips! So if I am allowed to look at something, I should show my appreciation! ”“ I'm not an old goat! ”Said Ishibashi calmly, and Andre grinned even stronger. “Oh, you are one of those celibate Zen monks. So it was your twin in the 'Arkonides' who stared the young things so intensely into the clipping! You're Kitai, aren't you? I mean, the Kitai Ishibashi? ”Ishibashi shrugged, but then grinned back. “All right, so old goats like us. But the young things in the 'Arkonides' also want you to look carefully! So - I treat myself to a few glances from time to time! ”Noir refilled his champagne glass and raised it to Kitai. "To us old goats, who look after the youngsters with gratitude!" He took a sip, rolled it gleefully in his mouth before swallowing it. "Hm, didn't think I could get a real Veuve Clicquot here." "To young girls and old goats!" Kitai raised his beer glass.

The two members of the GCC Mutant Corps had come to New Orleans after a sleeper had been positively identified there. Cesar Alexander had asked for psychic agents to be sent, ideally hypno and / or suggestor, and both Mercant and Rhodan had immediately agreed to work, and the two were chosen as the right team for this type of work. At first, however, they had found it necessary to sound out the environment a little, especially the experience Andre Noir had gained as a mercenary, urged him not to work in completely unknown territory. Escape routes had to be explored, hiding places found, connecting routes explored. The gourmet and connoisseur Noir had found this high-class and expensive oyster restaurant on their expeditions through Bourbon Street, was enthusiastic and could no longer be dissuaded from a visit. Ishibashi, for his part, was not fond of live oysters, and the Japanese did not even like smoked mussels. Nevertheless, he had accompanied Andre, the range of marine and river animals was huge, the beer cold, the service nice.

The Desirees was a very old, upscale eatery, but Dakota, the founder's great-granddaughter and current manager of this establishment, knew that New Orleans shouldn't employ properly covered waiters. Her girls wore a gray and gold striped uniform with a large neckline and extremely short panties, the 'Big Easy Style'. But the female guests also got their money's worth visually, the male staff had even less reception, the men's top was limited to an old-fashioned bow tie around the neck. Gray and gold striped, of course, the shorts were short and tight. If one of her employees cheated a little with the equipment, Dakota was fine. The main thing is that the guests had something to see and were satisfied. As long as one did not insist on the meat of land animals, the range of dishes left little to be desired, the wine, sparkling wine and champagne menu read like a who's who of the world's great winemakers. Beer and, of course, non-alcoholic beverages were also available, and of course the famous hurricane punch was a must. Recently, the restaurant even had fish and wine specialties from the great empire on the menu. Dakota, like her father, hesitated for a long time, but finally found a chef who mixed modern and classic elements and designed new creations. Food and drinks from the intergalactic regions, in addition to the classic Cayun cuisine. It had proven itself, not stunning, but enough to be rewarding. Dakota wasn't dissatisfied, only her son worried her. The boy really wanted to go into space, she wondered why? After all, this was the Big Easy, the Homeland of Jazz, everything that a young man should be enthusiastic about, even if he wasn't a fan of women. Well, at least her daughter showed a little interest in cooking. Somebody had to keep the place running.

Naturally it was not noticeable in the Vieux Carre to see new faces, after all, new visitors came to this city every day. It was more noticeable when the same face appeared regularly in a pub for more than two to three days. Paul Camper had a very good memory, especially when it came to faces, and this Asian man, noticeable by his size and lean figure, was now at the Fat Catz for the third time, and that in the morning. Camper got a little suspicious and decided to watch him more closely.

It was mid-morning, a warm day for February even in New Orleans, so Fat Catz isn't very busy yet, but that was Camper's favorite time here. Jamie King, a dark-skinned curly head with a beaming smile and huge paws, was working devotedly to his classic bass, Caroll Lewis was sitting at the piano, her long, slender fingers flew shadowily over the keys, her long hair kept covering her narrow face and Camper's friend played the saxophone since the formation's old saxophonist had dropped out. 'Fasthand' Bill had taken over his job; instead of him, Catherine served the drinks, a buxom blonde who, due to her figure, could expect a lot of tips. The Japanese was sitting at the bar and was already drinking the third Diet Coke, slowly, deliberately, his elbows on the counter. He had already given the band a generous gift once so that they could play 'Big Boy', one of the ancient blues tracks. Caroll's alto was good enough to take on the vocal part, even if it didn't quite match Dana Gillespie's smoky voice. Nevertheless, the Asian had listened to this song devoutly with his eyes closed, then his eyes had looked for Catherine again, in the mirror behind the bar you could see the whole room. The sleeper gave a fleeting smile when he noticed this interest. Catherine was worth a few looks, front and back, the regulars had quickly learned their motto 'look, yes, touch no', most of them in the gentle way, a few on a less pleasant tour, and now limited themselves to looking. But of course Catherine didn't object in principle to being touched, it just had to be - the right person.

Kitai Ishibashi got up, went to the band, and asked for a piece by Clara Bley. 'Who will rescue you', with the crystal clear and long piano solo. Then he sat in his seat and put his forearms on the counter. When the saxophone began with the intro, he closed his eyes again. Unnoticed by all the guests, his mysterious powers went invisibly on the journey and strengthened the spiritual bond with Paul Camper, without being felt by him. Carefully he penetrated the Springer's mind, probed the content of his thoughts. On the one hand, it would be easier than feared, the man was already hoping that Atzgol would stay away from earth for as long as possible, because he thoroughly enjoyed his stay, he hoped to be able to stay in this city for a long time, with jazz and free life. On the other hand, there was the sense of duty, the loyalty that he felt towards his patriarch, and that must make his work more difficult for the suggestor. Kitai bowed in spirit to his opponent, who was entirely in conformity with his understanding of honor. Duty came above all else, and its fulfillment brought satisfaction and honor. Kitai Ishibashi almost regretted having to rob Panvlaat of part of his honor because the jumper was supposed to switch sides. But he only almost regretted it, for he too was resolutely doing his duty.

Unfortunately, the telepathic search only yielded a list of cities, Panvlaat did not know which camouflages his 'colleagues' had assumed. It took a tiny add-on program for a social media app to send and receive short 'everything is okay' messages, but those messages were the only contact. No two sleepers were scheduled to meet yet, far from it. That's why they wanted to turn the sleeper into a counter-spy, someone who could warn the authorities in good time if the signal should come one day. But the list of cities alone was worth a lot, a lot, preparation was half the battle in an argument. Ishibashi slowly increased his suggestive pressure on Paul Camper, building up suggestion after suggestion, strengthening one doubt here, softening another there. The last notes of the piece of music faded away softly, Kitai mentally returned to his body, opened his eyes, looked at his watch and paid his bill, not without a generous tip. Without looking around he left the restaurant and was satisfied for the time being. It would be a little while longer, but Panvlaat would switch sides. Soon. He just didn't know yet.

Tricky Secret

On board the KLEOPATRA

The last sounds of 'Samba Pa Ti' by Carlos Santana faded away and Tana Starlight sipped her grappa again with her eyes closed. The light aroma of pears with a grape flavor that the alcohol evaporating in the mouth exposed and also crept into the nose as a smell, the warmth that gently moved through the throat into the stomach, she enjoyed it with every one of her senses. Then Carlos started with the intro to 'Black Magic Woman', and Tana continued to indulge in her memories.

She had managed without great effort that that first evening after landing Chris was far more interested in her curves than in those on the screen; it had become a tender, slow act, more of a warmth and feeling than simple sex . Which she neither wanted to devalue nor miss him, but this time - it had just become something special. Only that with the entrance to the dome, that didn't work the next day either. And the next but one. And neither for the next few days and weeks. She then organized an excursion into the canyon, while Chris continued obsessively trying to find a gear somewhere, an entry point, something to get into. She had taken a zoologist and a botanist on board the PB 01, plus Sergeants Margit Standing and Ghüsteef My'irthan.

The zoologist, Doctor Rosheen Kutrel, was a colonial arconid of Phoolgha, and as such was not affected by the decadence of the inhabitants of the Arcon system. She was tall and slim, with white hair and dark brown skin, the result of long hours in the sun, under an artificial one if necessary. Many men wondered if this tan would cover their bodies seamlessly, Tana could have answered this question. Yes, it was seamless brown, an effect of the nudist section on the HEPHAISTOS sundeck where they saw each other regularly. Not yet 40 years old, Rosheen was one of the most powerful in the field of exozoology. Actually she was only supposed to spend a short time at the HEPHAISTOS and give a few lectures, but it turned out to be a few years. When she heard that Tana was planning a longer trip with the KLEOPATRA, simply wanted to fly into the unknown, she stormed off, asked Hera for the whereabouts of Starlights and received them, stormed past Giovanna with the force of a natural event and then got them from Tana Get permission to go on board.

The botanist Professor Doctor Walter Stein was already over 50, he wore the pale blonde hairline around his bald head, tied in a horse tail, and his beard was carefully trimmed. Medium in height and slim, he kept fit and exercised regularly. He was from Leipzig and had studied at the Humboldt University in Berlin, where he had established a genetic relationship between the Terran oaks and a Ferrol shrub, experts had just shaken their heads in amusement, and many had laughed bluntly. In the meantime, not only had this relationship been scientifically proven, but Stein had left the earth bitter and was now teaching the offspring at the HEPHAISTOS in botany, an activity that gave him plenty of time for research. His students adored him for his ambiguous remarks, which always hit black. He, too, was enthusiastic about the possibility of such a trip; he too had rushed to Tana immediately to be included in the crew.

The five people boarded the dinghy, the Marines were happy to be there again. Tana had considered for a long time whether it would be necessary to take infantry on board the KLEOPATRA, after about a second and a half she knew that the question was not whether, but how many, combat drones or robots were not always the right choice. She'd chosen fifty, she didn't want to wage wars, but sometimes you wanted a proper bodyguard. There were also about 300 combat drones that it was hoped would be able to leave them inactive. Or to be able to use your hands profitably instead of destructively. 50 of them were just clearing the rubble from the steel girders, Chris did not want to let these machines near the dome, Tana agreed. “Belly, we won't let them near the dome!” Chris argued, “Your stomach is good enough! I have such a strange feeling too. No, not that, another one! Now take your fingers away from there! ”Tana laughed, hugged and kissed him. That dealt with the issue of drones near the dome.

Victoria dalRhodan booted the patrol boat systems and went through the short checklist. “Well, ladies, gentlemen, let's go! Buckle up, fold the tables and put your seats in an upright position! ”She said, smiling contentedly. "I beg your pardon?" Rosheen had looked at Tana in astonishment. “A phrase from the beginning of passenger flights on earth!” Ghüsteef had looked out of the dome, and silence spread as everyone looked at him. "What? I found an old 2D movie in memory. 'Emanuelle' was the title, a woman gets on a plane and after take-off starts to play around with her… ”“ Thank you! ”Walter Stein interrupted the Kh'Entha'Hur. “You don't have to tell the whole story of this sex film now. First of all, I think everyone knows it, except maybe Rosheen, secondly we don't have the time now, but the most important point is that the film is awful and boring. ”And turned to Rosheen. "In case you haven't seen him, I can recommend better visuals, my dearest." "Really?" Rosheen tilted her head to one side, she knew her colleague well enough. “I hope the 'Story of the O' doesn't come now, because that's not my whole area. That's probably more for a psychiatrist! ”“ But no, my dear. ”Walter waggled his eyebrows obscenely. "What do you think! Of course I meant 3D and the original! I ... "" Let's fly. You can flirt when we're back on board! Cheek! This turtling when I can't play along! I'm still jealous! "Laughed Tana interrupted the banter and started the PB 01.

Margit Standig looked out of the dome at the former sea floor. She had plaited her long brunette hair in a braid and wound it around her head so that he couldn't disturb the work of the suit. The tall, broad-shouldered woman liked being with the infantry, although she was quite intelligent. She was working towards the rank of officer, but a thirst for adventure and adrenaline addiction still stood in the way of that at the moment. Margit only felt really well and alive when she was approaching a possible danger, something unknown, something amazing. The grooves of the waves, which had disappeared for centuries, millennia, were still visible beneath her. By the time Atlantis set, this sun was ancient, its death had begun long before, and it was still dying. "What is time?" Whispered Margit, and Ghüsteef whispered back just as softly. “An illusion if you ask the priestesses. If you are a sun, thousands of years are a blink, for a Mkha - that is, something like a mosquito - a lunar cycle is an unimaginable eternity. But is that important? Yesterday is just a memory, just a few thoughts in the vast universe. The future can end now, in a second, in a ball of fire, or it can end quietly and inconspicuously! So what remains is today, here, now. And that alone also counts. In the minute of death, does it matter whether you can look back on 50, 100, 200 or 5000 years? What if you've already straightened out the past in such a way that it is comfortable for you and the truth is only a vague shadow? ”“ Amen! ”Walter Stein had listened. "Give the man a medal, or better still, a decent drink, he'll definitely have more of that than a piece of tin! Damn it, there is no better way to put it! ”“ He can have it, Prof! ”Shouted Victoria. “The drink, I mean. We will then deduct it from your account. What should it be, Ghüsteef? Terran cognac? Arkonide Ha'as'kar? Choose something good for yourself! ”Ghüsteef licked his lips and bared the prominent teeth protruding from his face. "Then Port from Terra, Vintage Port from Burmeester, please!" I'll have him come from the HEPHAISTOS, agree, Prof? ”Walter Stein grimaced. "Oh, my ducats!" He declaimed in a tearful voice. "I'll wait until we're back." The Kh'Entha'Hur said he was willing to cooperate, and Walter was able to smile again. "Thanks! Back at the HEPHAISTOS we will then empty a bottle together! "

Victoria put the disc at an angle and dived with a curve into the canyon, which had once been deep under an ocean, beneath them one could see again the orange-green canopy of vegetation. “Big leaves to catch as much light as possible. It must be pretty dark underneath! ”Stein almost crawled into a screen that showed the bottom of the gorge in high magnification. Margit Standig smiled. “It's quite light under the leaves, Professor. The flowers shine in all sorts of colors! ”“ Out of themselves? Do you not reflect the sunlight, but light up yourself? That is rather rare. That's even very rare! ”Professor Stein was enthusiastic. "Can I see that once?" "That's what we're here for, Prof!" Victoria steered lower. "It looks like a good landing spot up there." A bare island protruded from the river. “There must be a reason why there is no vegetation here!” Ghüsteef looked carefully out of the dome and then back at the screens. "Is it sure the floor is made of sand and stones?" "Hm!" Victoria checked all the instruments one more time. "Looks like it. But of course we remain cautious. There is an unknown world here! "

The disc-shaped patrol boat hovered motionless close to the island, then six telescopic legs extended. Slowly the boat sank deeper, the support plates of the legs came into contact with the ground, slowly it sank even deeper until the underside came to a standstill only two and a half meters above the scree. In the middle, a cylinder two meters in diameter pushed down. Part of the wall slid to the left and right, revealing a strange shape, a roughly triangular torso rested on two seemingly fragile legs, the upper pair of arms ended in gripping hands, the lower in heavy thermal emitters. The creature's head was reminiscent of a helmet from the Middle Ages, the starlight star could be seen on its forehead, a dull red glow from the horizontal slit. A combat robot from Starlight Enterprises, two meters tall, of course also painted smoky blue, with the designation RK 423 on the chest. Starlight Enterprises manufactured their robots in modular construction, and they could be equipped with legs or a flight unit as required. Or with both, through the pair of upper arms, combat bots could also be used for work, and legs were sometimes very useful for this. Behind the robot were a heavily armed human woman and an even more heavily armed Kh'Entha'Hur, both wearing closed protective suits of smoky blue color. Countless eyes observed this process from the forest, but hardly a brain behind them could do anything with these images.

RK 423 took a few steps forward and tested the ground with his weight. The small, constantly rotating antenna on his head allowed him complete all-round localization in the electromagnetic range, infrared, UV, optical and motion sensors gave him a perception that you could rely on. “I thought so, I don't know any form of life that can be attracted with metal!” Walter Stein's voice came from the headsets of the infantrymen, then a soft female voice."Me, yes! There is a species on a moon in the BZK 498/41 system, the males of which specifically absorb metal into their bodies before the mating season, deposit it in their exoskeleton and fight heavily armored. After the fighting time, they quickly break down the metal again in order to mate the females. Then the search for metal begins again! ”Rosheen laughed softly. "When it comes to reproduction, nature can come up with a lot." All right! ”Admitted stone beaten. "Then finally throw the steak out so that it can continue!"

Margit smiled and made a gesture to Ghüsteef, a gesture that could be found in any military sign language, even if it was highly unofficial. 'The old man is impatient again' it should mean, the Kh'Entha'Hur grinned back. "I saw that!" Laughed Stein. “Yes, I am impatient. Throw the lump of meat out! ”The piece of meat did not come to rest far from the robot's feet, which stood completely motionless. "Movement!" He reported, and indeed a billowing, reddish shimmering carpet was moving towards the meat. The high-resolution cameras showed hundreds, thousands of small animals, tiny like ants, with comparatively huge jump legs and short front legs that ended in scissors with three limbs. Large, hemispherical compound eyes allowed a wide view all around. In a few seconds the animals had reached the meat and with their tongs cut off small pieces that they carried away. There was a crackling of dead leaves over the scene, and the bait disappeared as if in fast motion.

"Shall we throw the potato afterwards?" Margit was impressed by the speed with which her bait had disappeared. "Yes, throw, please!" Rosheen, as almost always, remained calm and polite. The tuber came to rest not far from where the meat had been before, jumped up again and rolled to one side. Before she lay still, the carpet swirled again from cracks and cracks in the stone, and the potato was removed even faster. "I think getting out without a spacesuit is quite a risk!" Sighed Stein. "Pity! I was looking forward to it, I was curious about the smell of the plants. ”“ Maybe with a suit. Does anyone volunteer? ”Tana was still cautious, Margit went out of the lock chamber. "If you haven't noticed us yet, why now?" Still, she kept her gun ready.

She took a few steps, then stopped. "Move!" Warned the robot, and Margit backed away. “Wait a minute!” Called Rosheen. “Stand still!” Again the fighting machine reported “Movement!” “Take a few steps, no matter which direction. Preferably a circle with the lock chamber at the end. Get in immediately and close the bulkhead! ”Margit followed the zoologist's instructions, walked in a circle, jumped into the lock and Ghüsteef pushed the lever down. The outer bulkheads closed, the elevator retracted. "Look!" Rosheen Kutrel pointed excitedly at the screen. The animals hadn't moved as long as Margit Standing had been moving, but when the infantryman stood still, they had started moving. Where the elevator was just a moment ago, they tried desperately to find a trace of their prey. “They react to a certain type of movement or to the lack of it. Probably the shocks of the robot were too strong or too hard to induce them to react. ”“ Sneaky little beasts! ”Stein cursed. "Spoil our whole trip!" "Oh!" Victoria declined a little. “They probably won't come through a body screen. However, I prefer not to have even one of these animals on board. "

Rosheen had closed her suit and was standing in the lock chamber, the PB 01 had risen a little, the lift would end in the air. No problem for a modern spacesuit with a flight unit, it floated gently to the ground like a feather, after the bulkheads had opened, while it sank lower, it activated the body screen. This variant of the impact screen traced the body's contours, so you could use it to operate devices and take samples. After landing, she didn't have to wait long either, the red carpet came up and countless animals swarmed over the arkonidin trying to find something to eat. Unsuccessful of course, their pincers slipped off the energy barrier, so they gradually gave up, only to come back immediately when Rosheen took a few steps and then stopped. It was not difficult for the zoologist to do some experiments and also to collect some samples, she did not assume after her attempts that an intelligent species was in front of her.

Before she got back on the boat, she would undergo a close examination by 423. As an exozoologist you quickly learned that you could never, never be too careful. The story of NO'ROMO was hammered into all students over and over again. A creature had smuggled itself on board on a still unexplored planet, within a few hours almost the entire crew was dead. The first officer had recorded the events, launched a communications drone and then destroyed the ship with the creature and itself through antimatter annihilation. All right, the creature was a little bigger, but what did you know about these animals? There were - and still are - routines that became flesh and blood.

Rosheen and 423 flew directly from the island across the river to the edge of the forest, where Walter Stein joined them with Margit and Ghüsteef while Victoria took over the ship's watch. A question of training, she scolded herself for not taking a pilot with her. But she flew those little discs with a passion, and despite the best picotronic neuronics, she didn't want to leave the boat alone. Rosheen Kutrel had also warned against it, so Victoria with a heavy heart had decided not to go on an excursion. At least for now, when everyone else was back on board, she could still disembark.

The flowers, which opened towards the bottom, literally glowed in the darkness under the canopy of leaves, in many different colors they seemed to compete for the favor of the small pollinators with their long legs. Walter was enthusiastic and examined the flowers in detail with his picotronic magnifying glass. "They are different species, I would boldly say!" He shouted, and Rosheen also admired the insect-like pollinators. "Ouch!" Margit grabbed her leg, next to her foot lay one of the jump animals with a shattered head that was hunting the pollinators. Despite the body screen, a lot of kinetic energy still got through when Margit accidentally moved her foot into the trajectory of the being. Rosheen Kutrel immediately grabbed it. "This release of energy is amazing, this animal is a living spring!" She exclaimed. “These muscles pull the body together, and then they release their tense force explosively. It's a little miracle! ”Walter Stein pointed to the forest. "Four twenty-three, clear a path and go ahead." In amazement and admiring the magnificent colors, the group advanced into the forest. And people came back with lots of samples that they could examine in peace in the KLEOPATRA laboratory ...

"I would have played with him once too!" Tana half opened her eyes and returned to the present, Chris had come home. "With Carlos Santana?" She asked while turning the music down. "Of course, the man was a genius!" Chris leaned over Tana and kissed her. “In my opinion the best guitarist in history. Even Keith Richards won't come with you! ”“ Really? Would you like a grappa? ”She asked languidly with half-closed lids. "Uh, no thanks! Do we want to eat something? ”“ Sure! ”Tana swung her legs to the floor and stood up. "Just give me some time to shower."

Master Sergeant Sysun D'Ghun of Bekhon II cheered loudly and happily! Under the influence of their environment, for some inexplicable reason, the hair of the colonial arconids born there had taken on a green color, the palette ranged from light turquoise to emerald. With this exception, the Bekhonids were physically typical Arkonides, psychologically they were something that could only be described as adrenaline junkies. They looked for danger, exertion and adventure, of every kind, women especially. So the assignment was just what she wanted: 'Take your dragoon train and check the terrain and soil conditions between here and the deep-sea trench. See if they can find any artifacts from the ground. ‘

The word dragoon was a holdover from the time when horses were still used in war, when it referred to mounted infantry. In Sysun's time, however, the horses consisted of Klarstahl, Picotronic and a drive such as that used in gliders. Strictly speaking, the basic design was an Easy Nuke from Harley-Davidson with a clear steel cockpit that looked like a rounded triangle from the side. Two wide landing skids with inflatable floats on the sides, under the cockpit two thermal emitters firing rigidly in the direction of flight, as they were usually built into robots. Up to 700 kilometers per hour fast, small, agile and snappy, they were intended to support landing companies or for reconnaissance. Tana hadn't planned to invade, but for tasks like this she bought fifty Harley-Davidsons, replaced the computer, and put it back into service with new weapons. And she had taken two platoons of ten dragoons with these scouts on board the KLEOPATRA. The master sergeant had recently received orders from Lieutenant Deiddesh, the commander of the two dragoons, that her crew had mounted and left.

The ten scouts hunted far over the former seabed. "Sarge, Wilson, Position Lima Able, I think I see something!" Wilson, report! ”Sysun Corporal Wilson urged from the far left. "I'm not sure, Sarge, but it seems gigantic." Sysun made a quick decision. Even if it represented a deviation from the route, an infantryman of the 21st century had to be so flexible. "KLEOPATRA, go after the sighting of Lima Able. Direction 173.6 degrees! First dragoons, catching up with Lima Able. "

The closer they got to the object, the better one saw the gigantic dimensions of the object. "At Ghorts Blechei ..." Sysun swallowed the rest of the curse and was amazed. “The straight deck has to be around 400 meters wide! And the whole thing must be a nice stretch over a kilometer long! ”“ 1,327.592 meters! ”Wilson had measured with the tactical HUD visor of his helmet. 402.284 meters the straight deck, 201.140 the radius of the curved part. ”“ I think I know what that is! ”Private Salomon Rubinstein swung himself out of his machine, they had stopped a distance in front of the object. “That, friends, is a bloody submersible aircraft carrier! In the second half of the 20th there were studies for similar ships on, or rather, in the oceans of Terras, but only a little over two hundred meters. So - the colossus could once have belonged to the wet navy. ”“ Then why aren't there more shipwrecks lying around? ”Sysun thought aloud. “Which I don't mean to say that you are absolutely wrong. Still, to me it almost looks like a half-cut springer roller with a rather large hump on the side. ”“ I wonder why the hunters haven't found anything. And why the dome was located as the only MV steel object. ”Private Saloumne Mahmadhi put her head back and darkened the window of her infantry helmet, which they all wore instead of the hood, a little more than the automatic system intended. “Well!” Private Rubinstein pointed to the area around the structure. “It was probably not visible during their overflights, the best instruments cannot look under the overhang.” “Somehow it looks as if the pilot had built himself into the side of the slope!” Corporal Karl Hodina from Vienna carefully stepped on the thing too, a tracking device in hand. “And that's not MV steel. That is something completely different! "

The Kh'Entha'Hur Sissat Hi'Minun pointed to the platforms which, three on each side, emanated from the level deck. “These twelve guns in the six turrets have a huge caliber! If they're firing, you'd better stay out of the way. If they bundle energy as efficiently as ours. ”“ Speaking of energy! ”Corporal Charlene Hobbs from Ottawa narrowed her eyes and zoomed in on the guns with her tactical helmet visor. "What kind of bottom?" Interjected Hodina. "Certainly not yours much too fat and wrinkled!" Answered Charlene. “I mean, such a caliber - I estimate one and a half to two meters from here - not only needs a lot of power when it fires, with the mass the alignment is an incredible feat. So an immense energy supply is necessary. Either a really large part of the ship consists of piles, or they use a completely different system. ”“ Antimatter, almost certainly not! ”Hodina kept his device pointed at the wreck. "Energetically, the thing is more dead than the mummy of Ramses." "And?" Private Charlotte Darling from Sidney made a perplexed face. “Oh, yes, no magnetic field, annihilation. All right. “The wiry Australian had lightning-fast reactions, was a masterful shooter and flew the scout with a dreamlike confidence. In addition, she was by no means stupid, but strangely enough it often took a little longer for her to 'drop the penny'. You had got used to it, she was a good comrade, that was all that counted.

Sysun switched a channel to the KLEOPATRA. "Lieutenant, did you overhear?" "Loud and clear, Master Sergeant." Major Di Tian-Ling immediately reported on behalf of the company commander. “Stay on site, the skipper will send you a couple of scientists with an infantry landing craft. Make sure you are as safe as possible! ”“ Understood! ”The Bekhonidin turned to her team. “So you heard it! Mahmadhi, Rubinstein, to the left, explore the path. Wilson, Hobbs, save the two. Hodina, Hi'Minun, up there, take the tracking device and the motion detector with you. The rest stays with me. Quick, folks, we're getting high-profile visitors! "

Major Di was from the Asian Federation and had completed solid training in military property protection, industrial security and industrial espionage in Hong Kong. One day the delicate woman no longer enjoyed life in AF. Like many of her compatriots, she had secretly left the country and wanted to join the GCC in order to get into space. As life played, she had met a person in Galacto City who recommended her a position at Tana Starlight. She had gone to the captain of the CYGNUS by chance, who had asked the boss. Shortly afterwards she got on board and landed on the HEPHAISTOS, like many others she had liked the job, she stayed and had finally been given command of the ground troops of the KLEOPATRA. So far she has been more than satisfied with her position and felt comfortable.

Lieutenant Deiddesh had the typical appearance of a Zalite woman, which was not surprising, she came from there. She had followed the communications of the second Dragoons and called the major over as soon as it was found. While the second platoon of the Dragoons speculated about the discovery, Major Di Ghoma had informed and she had also overheard the rest. She quickly gathered planetologists, exobiologists, mathematicians and engineers together and had two infantry landing boats ready.

These boats from the had an angular, not very attractive design, the front was heavily beveled, and the upper third of the side walls were slightly inclined inward. The front plate was made of curved clear steel, the coating of which allowed a view, while it was opaque from the outside. On the upper side of the vehicles of the 'Husar' type there was a flat turret with a heavy thermal emitter, caliber 7.5 centimeters, and coated clear steel was also used there. This tower also housed the commander's seat, who thus had an excellent all-round view and also acted as a gunner, the pilot sat in the bow pulpit and had a good view in the direction of travel, to the right of him was the position of the locator and radio operator.Of course, radar or infrared images of the surroundings could be called up on some screens, the commander and the helmsman were always able to recognize and assess the surroundings, at least as far as obstacles and movement were concerned. The boat was moved with the same field drive as a shuttle, in addition it had two armored chains with electric drive. In earlier times, before one flew to the stars, such a landing craft would have been called a 'flyable armored personnel carrier', with a length of 8.5 meters, a width of 3.5 and a height of 2.65 it was not only for the crew but also for the crew There was still room for a train of three men in two groups, i.e. ten infantrymen, and was able to change position quickly at a cruising speed of 600 kilometers per hour, with the chain drive the vehicle managed at least 98 km / h on reasonably level ground. Usually the stern was opened for the infantry to get on and off, but if the situation permitted, a simple rotating lock was placed sideways for individual people.

Today, instead of the infantrymen, scientists ran through the wide open hatchbacks into a special Humboldt-type boat, which was basically the same, but was 9.85 meters long, 3.95 wide, also 2.65 high and instead of guns a myriad of guns Had sensors, her assistants dragged all kinds of measuring devices, which they stowed in various compartments. Both scientists and assistants naturally wore full protective suits with an umbrella generator and a weapon in their belt holster, a disintegrator, pulse or thermal emitter, depending on their preference. The slightly larger boat was a vehicle specially built for scientific research, not armed, but well protected. The KLEOPATRA had 20 of these Humboldts on board, plus 40 hussar boats.

And fifteen real combat airplanes, the cuirassiers. 12.7 meters long. 4.57 wide. 3.35 high. The turret was angular, larger, the main armament was a 12.6 centimeter caliber pulse emitter, the secondary armament consisted of a 13 mm caliber disintegrator and an 18.7 mm thermal emitter. The crew consisted of six men who had fold-out bunks to sleep on during longer missions. The cuirassiers were flying fortresses, gazing at guns, terrifying, respectful machines, which even bound on the ground on their tracks could still travel 82 kilometers an hour.

The second ferry, which was made ready to take off to support the first dragoons, was a hussar, which was supposed to bring ten combat drones to the place where they were found. For the first time, Tian-Ling was primarily responsible for the ground forces; she wanted everything except the battle tanks ready on site. Thanks to their gripping hands, the bots could be used universally.

Unlike the hunting units, the landing craft were not launched by catapult, but floated gently out of the hangar and set course next to each other from Sysun's train, which had already put a tracking device into operation. During the flight, the scientists' fingers glided over the touchscreens on their pads, bringing the concentrated power of the sensors to life, while in the second boat the robots waited stoically and motionless for a command. They knew no impatience, no boredom and no excitement, none of that was part of their programming. Without any command to the contrary, they would stay that way for millennia.

“I hadn't imagined it to be that gigantic!” Admitted Ing. La Paz Sysun. “I've heard your estimated sizes, but my God, when you see it with your own eyes, it's madness.” Benito la Paz from Costa Rica was a technician and metallurgist. Together with the Bekhonidin he walked towards the structure, five of the robots formed a circle around them. Mahmadhi waved at them with her left hand, and with her right she held the assault rifle with the barrel tilted upwards. 'Everything calm, no problems' meant the gesture.

When viewed up close, there were clear signs of destruction. "That thing came from a gun battle, I guess that's pretty clear." Benito pointed to some traces of melt. “Thermal emitters or something like that, these smooth holes indicate disintegrators, but I can't make out any of these here. Missile warheads maybe, but I'm not sure. Would you tell the landing craft to come this far, please? My colleagues will be scratching their hooves. ”“ With pleasure, Engineer la Paz! ”Sysun switched to command frequency. “Landing craft advance. Second dragoons, collect here! "

Strong lamps drove the darkness away in the corridors of the structure, the five combat robots carried along illuminated the area thoroughly. “The aisle is slightly higher than the one in our ships!” Sysun determined the height with the help of her tactical display in the helmet. “Exactly 3,296 meters. If they walked upright, they should have been about our size! ”Her fingers gently and carefully brushed the walls. “The structure is also very similar to our bulkheads.” Hi'Minun, Hodina, Darling and Hobbs had accompanied Sysun with five combat robots when she penetrated the interior through a large leak. Walking would have been a problem due to the incline, which was around 40 degrees, so they had their anti-gravure units activated and were floating down a long corridor. “If I interpret the position of the passages correctly, then the 'flight deck', as Rubinstein called it, is actually at the top and the round part is the keel. I see a wedged bulkhead that is ajar. Hodina, insert the endoscope. Have a look. ”The person addressed knelt and pushed a tiny camera with a lamp through the gap. “Huge, technical looking stuff, Sarge. No idea! ”“ La Paz? ”Now Sysun didn't bother with titles anymore. “Do you see the broadcast?” “Thank you, Miss Sysun, razor sharp!” Came the answer from outside, where the scientists sat at the screens and watched everything. A faint smile flew over the Bekhonidin's lips, and vanished just as quickly. “Sarge or Sysun is enough!” “Good, Sysun!” Nevertheless, La Paz could not make friends with a military tone. “They could actually be energy producers. Your corporal Hobbs was right, a lot of energy was generated here. ”Involuntarily, Charlene clenched her right hand and jerked her elbow to her hip, but immediately put her hand back on her weapon. The Master Sergeant gave the Canadian woman a disapproving look, who acknowledged the criticism with a brief tensing of the jaw and neck muscles and thus also apologized. The patrol cautiously floated on.

“That seems to have been a lift shaft once!” Reported Sysun, while the scientists were able to follow every step on their screens thanks to the camera built into each helmet for the tactical 'HUD'. At the same time, of course, everything was recorded, optical, IR, UV, the entire spectrum, including the electromagnetic. Worn by the panels of their suits, the group slowly floated upward. "Open bulkhead!" Reported Hi'Minun, and everyone stopped in front of it. Sysun slowly worked her way through opening what she saw took her breath away for a moment. “I'm on a catwalk here, the hall after the HUD is 78.3 meters high, 987 meters long and spans the entire width of the ship, I can see huge outer bulkheads on both sides. Below me, on one of the bulkheads, lies a smaller version of the ship. So, from the optics half spring roll, on the top two gun turrets with a heavy caliber, by the external appearance thermal emitters. Length 369 meters, width 98. Height 49. Rather destroyed, you can see multiple impacts on the shell. After the crash of the mother ship and the failure of the energy, the already damaged ship should have fallen from the inside against the bulkhead. ”“ Plausible theory! ”The voice of La Paz rang in her helmet. “In terms of size, there could have been nine to ten of these boats here. Let's see! "

The next open bulkhead brought the group back into a long, wide passage. "La Paz, I guess, should be pretty much in the middle of the height, about a quarter in width on the port side, a third towards one end, you can't tell the front and the rear." Sysun had a good orientation, but wanted to be sure. “Correct!” La Paz was able to locate the signals well and knew exactly where the raiding party was. She thought for a moment. “We go left first, the path is shorter, we can explore the long one afterwards.” The Bekhonidin was completely in her element. Adrenaline boiled in her veins, making her happy and content. “A quarter. 4 beds on two floors, chair, table, doors, everything is there. ”Sysun went into the room. “A small thing over two meters, good length for a bed. The vacuum that almost prevails here has preserved the metal well. The table and chair could also come from an Arkonide online delivery service. ”Carefully she tried to open a door, it rolled slightly aside. “There are clothes hanging here, colorful stuff. I won't reach for it, it might fall apart. Oh, already done, the vibrations were probably too strong! ”“ We recorded everything, no problem. Please carry on, Sysun. ”Of course, la Paz regretted the destruction of the clothes as much as the Master Sergeant, but that was to be expected. A miracle, a stroke of luck, that at least a quick look was possible.

The raiding party advanced, Sysun reported. “Here is a bulkhead that is a different color. Try to open that door. Ah, the wet room. Easily recognizable, even those from mail order. Metal, but otherwise like at home! ”“ Understandable! If this species is a two-legged, endoskeleton walking sole-walker, its buttocks will look exactly like yours with small variations in size, and then the latrine will have a certain resemblance. ”Sysun looked around. “Ten toilets, only separated by half-height walls, without a door. No real privacy. Ten hand basins. We could also have them at KLEOPATRA. Opposite the door was a similar color. I'll try to see if it's a manual door too. Is it. Oh, here we have the showers. No walls at all! Nobody really knew anything about privacy here. It's worse than in the barracks. ”Sysun was spoiled, on board the Starlight fleet everyone had their own room, even if it was tiny. But nobody had to share their room, close the door, be alone. A luxury that she sometimes did not want to miss.

“There are characters here. If there isn't a whole novel here, then it's probably an alphabet font. ”“ A very aesthetic font! ”Hodina couldn't help but nod, and Hobbs nodded after a quick look. “Looks like a script, I think Nepal or Tibet. What is? Don't you watch any documentaries? ”Hodina mumbled something. “Speak louder, Charly!” Asked Charlene. “It's called Karl, thank you. And I said, not only beautiful, but also smart! ”Charlene took a breath. “Carry on at home, children, we still have a lot of work to do. And you can't get out of your suit here. Further!"

“That could be the headquarters! I wonder why the bulkhead is open here in particular! ”They entered a large room. Raised in the middle is a platform with three steps on which an armchair stood, the upholstery of which had long since crumbled to dust, the mechanism was clearly visible. In a three-quarters circle, a few stations with control panels and screens, three bulkheads behind the armchair, they had just come through the middle one. “Well, if someone was still on board when the crash happened, all that's left to find is dust. Maybe some of the metal pieces we found were from spacesuits. But I'm afraid… ”“ Sarge! ”Darling had opened a panel, behind it were some space suits, you could see that the ravages of time had already gnawed strongly. "So if there was NASA or GCC or something on it, you'd think humans made those things." Now the technicians should continue. La Paz, we are coming back. You are allowed in now, but be careful, let robots show you around. When my team comes back, there will be more units available. ”“ Master Sergeant! ”Came Major Dis's voice over the communication. "Ma'am?" D'Ghun stopped. “I'm sending two ferries with a platoon of infantry for reinforcement, with all the equipment needed to set up a camp. Take over the command on site until further notice. Well done so far, Sarge! ”“ Thank you ma'am! So, kids, don't dawdle. Big Mama is otherwise worried about us! "
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