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IV. Deserters

The ORION is testing a new secret weapon the Earth wants to continue standing its ground against the exoterrists who rendered the currently used ray guns ineffective with a new light deflector shield. The test of a so-called Overkill Projector at an asteroid proceeds successfully.
Meanwhile the Supreme Space Bureau is buzzing with excitement. Commander Alonzo Pietro apparently attempted on his own initiative to desert to the exoterrists, taking course to their base AC-1000. Even Pietro himself has no explanation for his actions. The light launcher crews of Vesta base, whose vicinity he operated in, had recently fallen ill with space tantrum, yet among the deserters no symptoms can be found.
Because of the incident there is, by order of the Galactic Security Division, a brain specialist joining the ORION on her flight to the Vesta section. Once there, Overkill Projectors are supposed to be set up at the stations M-8-8-12 and K-16, now occupied by robots.
After 36 days the ORION has reached her destination. The station M-8-8-12 doesn't reply, yet permits a landing. When McLane and his team come into the control center Cliff is attacked by a robot yet able to overpower him.
The robot neurosis strikes not only the accompanying professor as odd, because the deployed robots are considered very reliable. Tamara Jagellovsk who had been on guard duty is replaced by Hasso Sigbjörnson, since she's detailed to take care of the robots while the others set up the Overkill system.
Even while at work Helga Legrelle tries to contact stations H5 and Olaf-1. That fails. Aboard the ORION Hasso is meanwhile programming--apparently under a foreign influence--a new course for the ORION. Instead of K-16 to AC-1000, the exoterrist base Alonzo Pietro intended to desert to.
During liftoff McLane notices the course change and sounds the alarm. Tamara takes command as security officer and accuses Hasso of treason, him being the only one who could have programmed the coordinates while alone on the ORION. Only Helga points out that before Hasso Tamara had already been on space observation detail. She could have programmed AC-1000 also. When right into the discussion Mario de Monti walks up to the computer and programs the course to AC-100, it's obvious to the present brain specialist that Hasso, Mario, and presumably Alonzo Pietro, too, have been influenced by so-called telenosis rays of the exoterrists. He confirms this simply by asking Tamara to approach the computer, which picks up the rays and disseminates them in its vicinity. Tamara also programs AC-100.
McLane and the professor expecting the telenosis base on AC-1000, Cliff decides to pretend deserting, yet once there to destroy the base. However, the ORION cannot inform the Supreme Space Bureau, for one thing because the exoterrists might be given a warning through this, on the other hand because the space stations H5 and the intelligence satellite Olaf-1 still aren't reacting.
On Earth it's already known both have been completely eliminated, and all ships in the Vesta sector are sent after the seemingly deserted ORION, among the Hydra, to destroy McLane's ship before she arrives with the exoterrists on AC-1000--
German TV: 29. October 1966

Starlight Info:
Translated from "Deserteure"
by: Ulrich Schreglmann [12/97]

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