By Arthur C. Clarke
Das rätselhafte Objekt, das die Astronomen auf den Namen Rama tauften, gab allen Rätsel auf. Es battle noch weit entfernt, deutlich außerhalb der Jupiter-Umlaufbahn. Etwas, das auf eine solch große Entfernung auf dem Radar erschien, musste gigantisch groß sein. Während das Objekt durch das Sonnensystem raste, zeigte sich bald, dass es geformt warfare wie ein perfekter Zylinder. Offenbar stand die Menschheit im Begriff, ihren ersten Besucher von den Sternen zu empfangen ...
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Vulkan and Dorn are returning to Terra. ’ ‘Forgive me, Warmaster, but we have received nothing from Mars. ’ ‘You have failed in this, Sing. ’ Ing Mae Sing had telepathically broadcast a multitude of encoded messages between the Vengeful Spirit and Fabricator General Kelbor-Hal of the Mechanicum in the last few weeks. Although their substance was unknown to her, the emotions contained in them were all too clear. Whatever the Warmaster was planning, the Mechanicum was a key part of it. Horus spoke again, distracting her from her thoughts.
Where the Imperial Truth is comforting in its rigorous rejection of the unseen and the unknown, the Divine Word requires the strength to believe in that which we cannot see. The longer we look upon this dark galaxy and live through the fires of its conquest, the more we realise that the Emperor’s divinity is the only truth that can exist. We do not seek out the Divine Word; instead, we hear it, and are compelled to follow it. Faith is not a flag of allegiance or a theory for debate; it is something deep within us, complete and inevitable.
In the interstellar distance, the closest star of the Isstvan system glinted, cold and hard against the blackness. The Eye of Horus glared from the top of the ship’s prow, the entire vessel having been refitted following the victory against the Technocracy, the bone-white of the Luna Wolves replaced by the metallic grey-green of the Sons of Horus. Within moments, another ship broke through, tearing its way into real space with the brutal functionality of its Legion. Where the Vengeful Spirit had a deadly grace to it, the newcomer was brutish and ugly, its hull a drab gunmetal-grey, its only decoration, a single brazen skull on its prow.