Recap / Perry Rhodan The Third Power

June 1971: The first lunar landing mission with the STARDUST and its crew Perry Rhodan, Reginald Bull, Clark Flipper and doctor Eric Manoli appears to have failed when contact to the ship broke off. Instead, they land safely and find a marooned spaceship from the Arkonide Empire in M13. Their mission head Crest makes a deal with Rhodan: Earth would help them build them a spaceship to complete their mission to search for the world of immortality and return to Arkon, and would receive Arkonide technology and protection.

The STARDUST returns to Earth, also carrying Crest and some Arkonide technology. Rhodan insists he must remain neutral, as sharing the technology with a single world power (there are: Westblock/NATO, Soviet Union, and Asian Federation) would cause the others to attack before they would be overpowered. The STARDUST lands in the Gobi Desert near Lake Goshun, and puts up a forcefield. This causes the AF to claim everything in the STARDUST, which it initially believes to be a bridgehead for invasion, while the Westblock demand the ship and everything in it back.

Only Arkonide technology prevents a nuclear war, and after a demonstration of force from the Arkonide ship by its captain Thora the world powers form an alliance against Rhodan and the Arkonides. A plot to blow up the STARDUST from below fails because Rhodan had been warned by teleporter Tako Kakuta who believes in Rhodan's idea of a united mankind. After Thora pilots a smaller craft (still 50m big) to support the defenses of the STARDUST, the world powers manage to get new cold fusion bombs to the Moon and destroy the mothership before Thora and Rhodan can get back there. Thora can be convinced not to seek revenge, but the automatic alert of the ship soon attracts other spaceships who would hope to gain Arkonide technology. The craft manages to destroy the first invaders, and Earth's powers finally ally with Rhodan.

On Earth, the Mutant Corps is founded, headed by Australian telepath John Marshall, also containing telekinets, teleporters and more, including financial genius Adams with a photographic memory. but the next ones are more dangerous: the insectoid "Individual Shifters" can take over other species' bodies if they're close enough, and they plan to destroy mankind before it can become a danger. When the Arkonides declare the situation hopeless, Rhodan decides to fight and takes over command over the craft, renaming it GOOD HOPE. The first attempt, taking over nuclear scientist Toufry to cause a major explosion, is foiled because his little daughter Betty is a telepath who espered the takeover, and as a telekinet she also managed to kill Toufry with his own gun. The Mutant Corps becomes a major factor in the human defense and counterattack, while Betty is adopted by Manoli and his wife.

After the first I.S. attack, Rhodan went to Venus (here: a warm but Earthlike planet with plenty of megafauna) to create a base on truly neutral territory, and the GOOD HOPE is caught in a tractor beam it just manages to escape. Rhodan eventually finds the culprit is "The Commander", a giant positronic computer managing the defense of an old Arkonide base from 10.000 years ago, when Arkonides settled on "Larsa" and "Larsaf III" before getting destroyed by a mysterious enemy. The Commander then hands over command powers to Rhodan, whom it believes to be a colonist. Sub-light fighter crafts prove helpful to drive out the I.S. which are technologically inferior and flee.

Three years later, in 1975: Fighters have been built and pilots trained, and the first interstellar ship is under construction, when sensors pick up over hundred ships coming out of hyperspace - near Vega, as data analysis finds out. Crest is initially sure they're Arkonide ships, but while Rhodan is not convinced, the GOOD HOPE also goes there. It turns out instead the lizardlike Topsiders, formerly part of the Arkonide Empire, have invaded and mercilessly destroy the space defenses of the humanoid Ferrons, who have only sub-light units with hardly any shields. The GOOD HOPE shoots down many Topsid units while defending their attacks easily, but is then grazed by a shot from an Arkonide battleship taken over by Topsiders, and can then only flee to Rofus, an Earthlike world, and getting evacuated there. Its two fighters are luckier, but then one is grazed over Ferrol, and its pilot Deringhouse has to eject.

Rhodan with his crew and mutants manage to contact the Thort and the rest of the Ferron government, who escaped to Rofus using transmitters (transporters) left to them by immortals thousands of years ago. Rhodan promises to free the Vega worlds by taking over the Arkonide battleship that had landed in the Ferron capital and using it against the Topsiders. While Rhodan uses the transmitter connection to get to Ferrol, Deringhouse contacted the Ferron resistance, and also tries to reach the capital, where both groups meet. Meanwhile Topsid commander Chrekt-Orn in his headquarter in the government palace can't find clues about the world of immortality which should be near, and wonders why Ferrol suddenly becomes more difficult after it had originally only needed minimal violence to hold it. But Rhodan's people have already infiltrated the palace, and hypno Andre Noir has Chrekt-Orn giving emergency evacuation orders for the battleship. The ship's captain Trker-Hon manages to stop the evacuation, but with teleporters and other mutants, the ship is taken.