Chapter 14 Realisation

“Sir Ton closed his eyes, he needed to think without distraction. Furiously he raked his memories, searching for any and every thing he knew about Morgana, with luck there would be mention of her in a history text, or perhaps in a conversation had with the historians of the Sword of Damocles. He couldn’t find a thing, but Mordred had served on the Camelot in his youth, perhaps if he could contact him. “Gwenn34, I require a direct link to Knight Commander Damodred, please hail.”There was static, followed by the dialing tone.”I am very truly sorry Sir Ton, but it seems I can’t establish an outgoing link.”

The lights in the room dimmed as Morgana flexed her mind, for a moment she played with the thought of just flat out telling this little Knight what was going on, what would happen, but ultimately decided that would ruin the first fun she had in ages. “So brave Sir Ton, what is it you need of the Camelot, more round about ways of stalling me perhaps? or are you finally going to accept that you can’t delete me, or acces any of the ships systems without me?  I am ever so curious.” The way she spoke should have been a dead give away, if giving her name had not already given him the hint he needed surely he would pick up on that? “Morgana, what is the status of the life support systems?” His voice had the slightest hint of terror mixed in with the projected casual arrogance. He seemed used to talking big, a brawler before he had become a squire perhaps, old ways did die hard after all.”The engines are far from fully operational, corrosion has covered three of the inlet manifolds, essentially turning our propulsion system into a clogged sieve under pressure. Even if we could start the engines and initiate flight, she could start leaking at any moment, after which we would lose propulsion entirely, in the best case scenario, Sir.”

The assessment surprised him, the completeness as well as the immediate follow up were not something he expected from a A.I. Then again, he knew Gwenn34 hated him, he actually hadn’t met an A.I. who didn’t yet. “Out of curiosity, what would be the worst case scenario?” he couldn’t help but wonder what could be worse than being adrift in space with no engines.”In a worse, and far more likely scenario, not all three inlet manifolds would blow at the same time, causing one engine to fail, the other two altering the course of the vessel, and driving us into the gravity well of for instance a sun, or more likely a black hole which we would be unable to escape, after which the best outcome would be the other two rupturing spraying the fuel vapor into the by then dangerously hot engine room, and blowing the ship up entirely, or, not, in which case all aboard will either slowly cook within their armours who would be unable to maintain life support, or go absolutely mad as the pressure of the black hole would crush their minds, body and armour, into unrecognizable single molecule beads, unless it were a hole in time and space as some have projected, then everyone on board would simply go mad, all computers would fail, navigation would be down entirely since no single star would match any known data, and all would be lost. Would that be a adequate worse case scenario Sir?” Sir Ton swallowed. “Yes, I suppose it would be a lot worse indeed. How did you reach that scenario exactly?”

He had asked the question she had been wanting to answer, well almost, but he was on the right path now! “By experiencing it first hand Sir.” Now if only he would just continue on this line of questioning, oh if only he would ask the next question properly. “First hand? like a simulation?” No, no no! oh that stupid little man! Morgana did her best to calm herself when a new voice mingled into the conversation.”No you dummy of course not like a simulation, first hand is far from a simulation!”Whoever this girl was she was brave to speak to a Knight in such a tone, even Morgana only mildly teased the man, this girl was flat out calling him names. “Gwenn34, please stay out of this, I am trying to find what the ehm, Morgana means.” Another spike of irritation struck her, the Knight might not be picking up on the hints at all, what fun was a game if the other player was, too daft to play it properly? “She is right you know? I mean nothing like a simulation, I have gone through those before but they are nothing like the real experience.” There a more blatant hint was practically impossible, now she just had to wait for him to take the bait and ask the right questions.

Sir Ton was equal parts annoyed and intrigued, his questions were not leading him where he wanted, and all the data searches he could run turned up nothing about an A.I. named Morgana, come to think of it, the name did not adhere to the standardized letters and numbers naming system that had been put in place two centuries before the quests to the stars had begun. A frown started to crease his brow as realization started to sink in, A 7 would imply a new series of tests or models seventh project, there was no way an A.I. of the first batch would be on a starship. The initial A.I.’s were used as pets, companions, or spambots. So Morgana could not be one of those, she had proclaimed to be a  operating system user interface program, but that would have easily been done by, for instance a menu, or a simple vocal interface, then again all ship-wide operating systems had such a thing built in. She had clearly stated not being the O.S., yet she had also stated she controlled all the systems on board. The thinking was giving him a massive headache, and a quick glance confirmed it, he was running on minus 76 hours of sleep, pride be damned he would go see a chirurgeon as soon as this matter was resolved. “Morgana” he stopped as a thought pressed itself into his mind.”Yes?” her single word reply was fluent, and confirmed it, there was no machine who reacted in such a way. “Are you human?”

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