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Below is a copy of the series summary from issues #500 to #999.
Since this is of great interest to old fans and new, it is presented below.
FROM THE SWARM TO PAN-THAU-RA
the year 3441, the Marco Polo returned home from Gruelfin -- and found
indescribable chaos waiting.
The Swarm, a kind of mobile small galaxy, was passing through the Milky Way, and its influence caused a drastic decrease of intelligence in almost all living intelligent beings. The Immortals around Perry Rhodan gathered the few immune individuals and took up the new challenge. They penetrated the Swarm and learned its history.
The gigantic object had been built long before by parties unknown in order to spread intelligence through the universe under the guidance of the Cynos. Then, however, the Karduuhls, a race bred by the Cynos and which had gone out of control, took power, and perverted the Swarm's mission into promoting their own personal interests.
The Cynos retook the Swarm with the help of the Terrans and left the Milky Way. The mystery of the Swarm's construction and its strange mission of spreading intelligence would be solved only much later.
In a short interlude thirty issues long (PR #570 - 599), eight of the members of the Mutant Corps who had died in the year 2909 reappeared. Just before their deaths, they had been able to project their consciousnesses into hyperspace. Perry Rhodan helped his long-gone friends, who were later absorbed by the Superintelligence IT and integrated into its collective intelligence.
In the year 3456, mankind was drawn into the conflict between the two Superintelligences IT and Anti-IT, which entered the history books as a cosmic chess game. After some adventures in a parallel universe in which the Milky Way was enslaved by a negative twin of Perry Rhodan, Anti-IT replaced the Terran's brain with a programmed duplicate and removed the original for some unknown purpose.
After an incredible odyssey in the distant galaxy Naupaum, Rhodan's real brain returned home. Anti-IT was defeated, and because of its infractions of the rules of cosmic conflicts, it was banished by the Cosmocrats to the Nameless Zone, a sort of intermediate dimension.
With PR #650, the Invasion of the Laren began. These beings wanted to annex the Milky Way to the Hetos of Seven (or Council of Seven), a federation of seven galaxies, and make Perry Rhodan the First Hetran, or governor. The Terran only pretended to go along with the invaders' demands, and secretly supported the activities of his companions working in the underground. When the Laren caught on, he was pursued by the unscrupulous Mounder Leticron.
The situation became critical when the Laren recognized the Solar System as the source of resistance and attacked. In one of the most daring undertakings in human history, a gigantic matter transmitter was used to send the Earth and Moon to safety. The plan failed: while the transport went off as planned, the Earth and Moon materialized in a far distant maelstrom of stars, a sort of umbilical cord connecting two galaxies and containing a multitude of stars and planets. As the Earth slowly headed towards a star called Medallion, a conflict arose with the Ploohns, the leading civilization in the Maelstrom. Perry Rhodan was able to make peace with the aliens, and the Ploohns stabilized the Earth and Moon in an orbit around Medallion.
After some decades passed, it was noticed that the star's radiation was changing human beings. They were losing the ability to feel emotions, and the age of Aphilia, or lovelessness, began. Only a few naturally immune individuals and the carriers of the cell activators were untouched by this development. But even in the ranks of the Immortals there was an exception: Reginald Bell's activator was apparently defective. It came to revolts and the banishing of the Immortals from Earth. They fled on the deepspace ship Sol, while on Earth the dark regime of the Aphiliacs began.
A resistance organization called the GALCO (Galactic Coalition) comprised of all the races in the Galaxy rose against the invaders. On Gaia, a world in the dark nebula Provcon-Fist, the New Einstein Imperium (NEI) was established under Atlan's aegis as the center of free humanity. Meanwhile, Perry Rhodan went to the Balayndagar Galaxy in order to discover the aims and motives of the Hetos, found allies in the Keloskians, and finally returned in the year 3581 to the Milky Way.
In the maelstrom of stars, Terra was about to fall into the Maw, a high-energy whirlpool in the thinnest part of the galactic umbilical cord. IT stepped in, freed the human race from Aphilia, and absorbed the twenty billion people. Rhodan and Atlan set off in the Sol in search of the Earth, which had vanished without a trace, transported by the Maw into an unknown region of the universe.
The following odyssey put the friends in the middle of a conflict between two Superintelligences, the Empress of Therm and Bardioc. Rhodan was abducted by Bardioc and gained insight into grand-scale cosmic relationships. He learned of the Seven Powerful, who in the service of the Cosmocrats spread life and intelligence through the universe with their gigantic spore ships. It had been under their guidance that the Swarm had originated, which the Terran remembered only too well and none too fondly.
But the powerful Bardioc became a traitor and evolved into a Superintelligence driven by a psychotic desire for expansion, which eventually threatened the the Empress of Therm's sphere of influence. After a bitter struggle, Bardioc was defeated and absorbed by the Empress.
Meanwhile, IT intervened to restore Earth and Moon to their proper place, and they were resettled by the surviving remnants of humanity. With the help of the Keloskians, the Laren were driven out of the Milky Way after 126 years of oppression. Slowly, normal conditions returned to the Galaxy, but in PR #868, Perry Rhodan began a new adventure. The Superintelligence IT had given him a set of position data with the mission to go to the place indicated and neutralize a growing danger there.
Soon after the departure of the deepspace ship Basis, a cry for help was received from IT, whose fate was at first unknown. In the Algstogermaht Galaxy, Rhodan confronted the mysterious robot Laire, which had been controlling Bardioc's forgotten spore ship Pan-Thau-Ra for millions of years. This was the danger that IT had sent Rhodan to deal with. The Cosmocrats tried to eliminate the danger by manipulating a Matter Source, but that manipulation had catastrophic effects on the Milky Way, and could mean the end of all races living there.
Perry Rhodan set off on the search for the six other spore ships in order to recover the "keys" that had been placed on them. After many adventures, these keys allowed him to find the artificially altered Matter Source and fend off all dangers. Even IT, held prisoner in a Matter Sink, could be freed.
With Atlan's disappearance behind the Matter Source as a chosen agent of the Cosmocrats, it was not just the end of the "Cosmic Fortresses" cycle, but also of a storyline that had stretched over no less than 350 issues and wound up in the year 3587.
The plot elements described up to this point are undoubtably some of the most complicated that the PR series has featured in its long history. However, the newcomer should not give it all up as hopeless if he does not understand everything in the above -- admittedly very abbreviated -- summary.
The Laren, the Council of Seven, and the Cosmic Fortresses were just the foundation on which the next 300 issues would be built, but the essence of all these developments can be found in the article "The Cosmic Background."
Considering the current direction of the series, a knowledge of the cosmic interconnections, the Cosmocrats, or the Moral Code are not vitally necessary in order to read -- and understand -- the issues now being published.
Even so, we wanted to cover those developments that led to the great celebration issue #1000 (The Terran by William Voltz) and the grand scheme of the universe that at the time topped off the greatest space series of all.