Chapter 28

Mordred stared aghast as the female Knight undressed before him, seemingly without shame or common sense. “What are you doing? ” There really seemed to be no other question he could possibly ask of her that might make sense of her behavior. And yet her silence persisted as she dove headlong into the cluster of wiring once more, either she did not hear him, which was unlikely, or she did not want to tell him. He was about to repeat his question, albeit with more force and authority, when the muffled answer came.”I’m getting to grips with the sitch, something horrible this here, too much bulk to fit, hand me the spanner will you?” Dumbstruck by the woman’s nigh incomprehensible babble Mordred handed her the requested item. ” Thank you K.C. Heh you know you’re a decent guy, oi what did they do to you my poor darling this has to hurt, don’t worry I’m here to make it better.” Mordred shook his head, and requested Gwenn34 to interpret the incomprehensible parts of the woman’s verbal endeavors. ” Say could you hand me the flathead number two please, thank you mighty nice, holds this” For some reason Mordred did not feel insulted, and he took pause at that, was it because of the lady’s good natured mannerisms? Perhaps her lack of armour had something to do with it? He even considered briefly that it had something to do with the fact that she was working and not facing him in challenge, after all, it was less than an hour ago he that he had executed another Knight for a similar affront to his honour. ” Unbelievable, they did it, they actually did it, the tech is centuries ahead of where it ought to be, but they pulled it off.” Finally Mordred lost his patience. ” What did WHO pull off, and speak clearly darn it!” For a moment it seemed as if Dame Krim would lapse into silence again, then she handed the spanner back to him.” The Camelot’s engineers Sir, they interfaced man or woman in this case, and machine, it is far from the elegance one might expect, but this beautiful monstrosity, well it is keeping your mother alive, managing her vitals, gastric track etcetera, and at the same time it uses her brain as the replacement for the ship’s computer, Sir.” Mordred’s fear had come true, it really was his mother, not a simulation based of her behavior, or some twisted simulacrum Arthur had made. Instead his mother laid here before him, integrated into a warship like she was just another spare part. But at least she was alive, and as far as he could tell, sane.

Sir Ton had sat down for a scant few moments before chirurgeon Tyelin had regained consciousness and now they were staring at eachother like a pair of old drinking buddies that had lost contact for half a decade, possibly thinking the other had died of alcohol poisoning, only to find each other on the very edge of misery in a smoky bar so far from anything approaching civilisation that they would both not have expected to see another living soul, let alone their old friend there. The thought put a wry smile on Dame Ariadne’s face, all too often a Knight would be in such a situation, their friends left behind, to a Knight mere days ago, upon returning would be decades older, or even long dead, with another taking their place. The same technology that healed them would, in a wicked twist of fate, also cause them great pain. The very reason they were humanity’s greatest hope, was the very reason they themselves felt disconnected from their own people. Some knights would spend a hundred years in a state of suspended animation, either recovering from a grievous injury, or traveling to a distant battlefield on a world far from home, to them it would be like sleeping a single night, a dreamless sleep. She considered herself to be one of the luckier Knights, she had been an Orphan when the order of the shield had taken her in, no friends, no family to return to, no one to miss while she was abroad, no one who would grow old and die without her being there, her family was here, on the ship, her fellow Knights, still she felt sorry for Sir Ton, he had been friends with chirurgeon Tyelin for twenty years, and although at least he would know how his friend fared, they did not age at same rate any longer, too often had Sir Ton been injured. Too often had the machinery restored him to the optimal condition, and too much of his body had been replaced by the tombs for him to age as Tyelin did. For a moment Ariadne wondered how much of her was still purely human, but she disregarded the notion, every seven years a person’s entire body would have been renewed, it was the same for a Knight, some parts just got renewed quicker, and with the machines preventing damage to their genetics, and overall cell structures every time they got in a tomb, well a Knight was hard to kill, and not just because of their skills with a blade. Still, she reminded herself, if they could refrain from needing to be patched up, they might resume ageing, eventually. ” Why are you smiling?” The voice was edged with a nearly malicious sounding layer of metal, as if it had been broadcast from a torn speaker. ” I imagined myself as a grandmother, wearing my cuirass and shield while young squires tippy toe across the deck afraid granny knight will startle and die.”Sir Balin leaned down to her and refreshed the cold compress on her forehead, she had overexerted herself because of the damned fool Bodwin, curse his house. ” It won’t happen.” He stated matter of factly, at least she thought it had been matter of factly, it was always hard to tell with him. ” You are made of far too sturdy things too falter and die, they will tippy toe of fear, yes, the fear you will wake and spank them all for disturbing your rest.” She was pretty certain that had been a joke. So why then was he frowning? ” Close your eyes.” She obeyed the command without question, and as she closed her eyes, Balin closed her tomb. “Granny knight will have to wait, sleep now, and be well on the morrow.” The cryo tomb hissed, and activated as it sealed Knight and Squire inside.

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